Good News Friday: Remembering the great Aretha Franklin, with a performance I loved. Kids having fun in a game I’ve never seen.

Happy Friday, world, and happy birthday to me! Yessir, your humble blogger turns two score and three years old today, or in other terms, 43. I will spend much of the day today on I-95 heading south for a family gathering, which will give me plenty of time to ponder things, like :

What percent of my life have I spent in traffic, and what could I have done more productively if I had those hours of my life back?

No but seriously, I’m sure my birthday will be great. Life is good.

OK, on with the show.. we start this week’s GNF with a remembrance of Aretha Franklin, who died Thursday at age 76. She lived one hell of a life, and her talent was immense. So many great Aretha performances to choose from to honor her, but oddball that I am, I always liked this one (below) the best. Just look at how incredibly excited and awed Candice Bergen is, sitting next to the Queen of Soul and hearing her belt out one of her signature songs.

Rest in peace, Aretha. And that voice will live forever.

**Next up today, you’re about to watch a game I’m pretty sure you’ve never seen before. A teacher named Eric Branch at an Indianapolis-area elementary school has invented a game called “Hoop Hop Showdown,” and the kids playing it in the video above just about lose their minds playing it.

This video has gone so viral that the local paper, the Indy Star, did a story on it and explained the rules of this awesome game: 

The game starts with hula hoops being placed in a path along the gym floor. The class then divides into two halves, with each half going to a different end of the path. Kids will then hop from hoop-to-hoop until members of each half meet face-to-face. When the players meet, they square off in a game of “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” until there is a victor. The loser returns to the back of their line and is replaced by the next person in their line. The winner continues along the hula hoop path until another opponent meets them.

If a player makes it all they way to the end of the path and wins one final game of “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” that person is the winner.

I love this game. Not only do I want to play it, but as many have said on Twitter, if it was on ESPN I would totally watch it.

Anything that gets students THIS excited has my vote of approval.

**Finally today, a nice story of college athletes doing good, to counteract so many of the negative stories we often hear. Two football players at the University of Miami have started a business called Second Spoon, taking extra food from local restaurants and delivering it to people who need it across Miami-Dade County. According to this Miami Herald story, they converted an old FedEx delivery van into a food truck, and recruited friends and UM athletes to help them deliver food that might have otherwise gone to waste.

The truck passes out hundreds of meals to so many hungry, needy people in the South Florida area.

Second Spoon only has one truck out now, but Hasan hopes to add one in Nashville, while at Vanderbilt. They’re also looking to partner with more churches and other businesses. But their end-goal is bigger.

“Hopefully within the next 10 years, we’re rendered obsolete,” he said, “when there’s not enough food waste for us to even exist.”

Way to go, guys. So much food waste becomes just that, waste. But Second Spoon is doing a wonderful service.

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My annual tribute to Jim Murray, the best sportswriter who ever lived. And a fabulous “old guy” basketball move schools a youngster

Thursday is August 16th, which always means three things in my life: 1, it’s my father’s birthday (Happy 75th, young man!). 2, My birthday is only a day away (whoo-hoo, I’ve made it to 43! Depressing old man thought of the week: I figured out the other day that I’m now only two years younger than my Dad was at my bar mitzvah. Good God…).

And 3, August 16th means it’s time for my annual tribute to the late, great Jim Murray, only the greatest sportswriter who ever lived. Murray died on Aug. 16, 1998, so my own little tribute to him is to educate readers who aren’t as familiar with his greatness.

Murray was an incredible journalist, columnist, and hell of a fun guy. He partied with Bogie and Brando, knew everyone in L.A. and Hollywood worth knowing, and had the best one-liners of any writer, ever.

Just a few of my favorites:
“The USC power sweep is as unstoppable as a woman’s tears.”
“Rickey Henderson’s strike zone is smaller than Hitler’s heart.”
On the city of Cincinnati:  “They still haven’t fixed the freeway. It’s Kentucky’s turn to use the cement mixer.”

Murray was the greatest, and his legacy is being kept alive by his late wife Linda Murray Hofmans, a terrific woman who (full disclosure: I’ve emailed with her many times and she’s all sorts of fantastic) has set up a foundation with scholarships in his honor. Johnette Howard of The Athletic wrote this terrific piece on Linda’s struggle to keep her husband’s memory alive

But as always at this time of year, here’s some Jim Murray, to give you some beauty on a Wednesday…

Here are my two favorite columns of his: First, a touching tribute to his first wife Gerry who had just died. Here’s an excerpt:

She never grew old and now, she never will. She wouldn’t have anyway. She had four children, this rogue husband, a loving family and this great wisdom and great heart, but I always saw her as this little girl running across a field with a swimming suit on her arm, on a summer day on the way to the gravel pit for an afternoon of swimming and laughing. Life just bubbled out of Gerry. We cry for ourselves. Wherever she is today, they can’t believe their good luck.

And second, Murray’s elegy for his left eye, which finally gave out on him in 1979, rendering him mostly blind. The last four paragraphs are just perfect, but here’s another excerpt:

I lost an old friend the other day. He was blue-eyed, impish, he cried a lot with me, saw a great many things with me. I don’t know why he left me. Boredom, perhaps.

We read a lot of books together, we did a lot of crossword puzzles together, we saw films together. He had a pretty exciting life. He saw Babe Ruth hit a home run when we were both 12 years old. He saw Willie Mays steal second base, he saw Maury Wills steal his 104th base. He saw Rocky Marciano get up. I thought he led a pretty good life.

 One night a long time ago he saw this pretty girl who laughed a lot, played the piano and he couldn’t look away from her. Later he looked on as I married this pretty lady.

He saw her through 34 years. He loved to see her laugh, he loved to see her happy …  He recorded the happy moments, the miracle of children, the beauty of a Pacific sunset, snow-capped mountains, faces on Christmas morning. He allowed me to hit fly balls to young sons in uniforms two sizes too large, to see a pretty daughter march in halftime parades. He allowed me to see most of the major sports events of our time.

I suppose I should be grateful that he didn’t drift away when I was 12 or 15 or 29 but stuck around over 50 years until we had a vault of memories. 

Read some Jim Murray today. It’ll make you feel better about humanity, and the written word. Man, I miss him.

**Finally today, as I get older I of course appreciate it when older folks school younger people. When it’s on the basketball court, where wisdom and experience sometimes do trump youth and athleticism, it’s even better.

Check out this viral clip and a brilliant one-on-one move from a man named Leroy (Papa Lee) Martens, who’s shot a few thousand free throws, against a kid named Andrew Menard, who wasn’t alive during Monica Lewinsky’s heyday. Superb, veteran fella. Superb.

We threw a party at the new house, and another “grown-up” box is checked off. The best throw of the year in MLB has to be seen to be believed. And a pretty amazing soccer goal by Wayne Rooney.

The idea of “being a grown-up” always used to seem so appealing to me. Getting to eat what you want, whenever you want, never having to go to school again? Yes please! Sign me up every day of the week.

Then you grow up, and being a grown-up isn’t always so great. Jobs. Bills. Relationships that don’t work out. Stress. All that stuff that’s missing from your life as a kid.

And being a grown-up isn’t as cool. Still, there are big moments that feel like big moments for me sometimes, and Sunday came another one.

As I’ve mentioned a few dozen times on here, we bought a big ole’ house a few months back, and moved into it in June. Things have been progressing as you’d expect, at least if you’re a homeowner: It’s awesome having so much space, neighbors are great, our new town is great… and lots of stuff needs to be fixed and it all seems to cost at least $500. But I’m not complaining (much); it’s a big life move to own a house.

Anyway, Sunday felt like another big grown-up moment: Hosting our first big shindig at the new house. It was an anniversary party for my mom and stepdad, 25 years together. We had about 20 people there, and Shelley and I were the hosts, making sure everyone had drinks, making sure the kids weren’t bored, just basically being traffic cops and sociable hosts at the same time.

It felt like something I’d done at 1,000 other people’s houses. So many times in my life I’ve taken advantage of other people’s hospitality and generosity, and I’ve appreciated it. It’s so nice to finally be able to repay others’ kindness, and have them all come to where I live and have a good time.

This felt different. The party was a success (no one got food poisoning and nothing got broken, those are the metrics I’m using.)

It was exhausting. But it felt great.

Just a small moment in a life full of them. This one felt a little bigger.

**Next up today, probably the throw of the year in Major League Baseball. The Oakland A’s, who are apparently very good again, have an outfielder named Ramon Laureano, and besides having a name straight out of a Spanish soap opera, he’s got a howitzer for an arm.

Check out this incredible catch and then even better strike from the outfield Sunday. That’s like a 300-foot throw on the fly!

Crazy good.

**Finally today, I know just a few things about world soccer superstar Wayne Rooney: A, He’s British and really good at soccer, 2, He’s incredibly foul-mouthed, maybe the most vulgar athlete I’ve heard on the field of play, 3, He’s now playing in America.

Now after seeing this play from Sunday’s D.C. United game pop up all over my Twitter feed Sunday night, I can add a fourth thing: He’s really, really fast.

Check out this defensive recovery with United’s goalie out of the net, and then incredible feed for a goal.

I have to admit, the announcer’s cackling laughter about :20 in makes the clip even better.

Good News Friday: A teacher gets a wonderful gift, and more teachers need help. A Muslim woman in Michigan set to make Congressional history. And a woman at Starbucks writes a beautiful note, thankful for a kindness

Happy Friday, world! Hope all is good with you today, a special day in our family since it’s my beautiful bride’s birthday. I won’t tell you how old she is because, you know, I value my life, but needless to say she still, seven years after I met her, is as young at heart as ever.

Lots of good news going on this week, but I want to start with this Alabama teacher who went above and beyond at her job. This educator, whose name has not appeared in the stories about this incident, would spend hours on the bus to get to her teaching job.

A parent who’s children had the teacher for several years learned she had to take the bus for so long decided to something about it. The parent, businesswoman Courtney Adeleye, gave the teacher her own car.

It’s a beautiful story and video, but as many have pointed out, wouldn’t it be nice if teachers got paid enough to afford reasonable transportation?

It’s unconscionable how poorly respected and paid educators are in America. But this video at least shows that many, many parents appreciate the sacrifice and try to make a difference where they can.

**Next up today, it’s so great to see barriers fall and diversity force its way into the way too male, way too white, halls of Congress.

Meet Rashida Tlaib, a Michigan woman who in January will become the first Muslim-American woman to ever serve in Congress. She won the Democratic primary last week and will run unopposed in November in the general election.

She’s 42, the son of a Ford auto worker, and was “at a loss for words” after her victory.

One by one, we’re getting a government that looks more like America. Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham don’t like it, but the Rashida Tlaib’s of the U.S. are the future. And it’s fabulous.

**Finally today, random acts of kindness can go such a long way. Something as simple as buying a cup of coffee for the next person in line at Starbucks can make a huge difference.

Check out this beautiful note a stranger sent to the woman who bought her coffee recently. You never, ever know what someone else is going through.

“Better Call Saul” is back, and you have no excuse not to watch. An awesome, joyful dance to a violin on an NYC street. And the Ohio DMV makes me laugh by how it gets people not to

Let me get this out of the way right up front: “Better Call Saul” is NOT as good, or better, than “Breaking Bad.”

It’s a sensational show, groundbreaking and smart and heart-wrenching and funny and a lot of other things.

But in the leadup to Season 4 of “BCS”, I’ve been reading critics and others say that “some fans” say that the current show is better than “Breaking Bad,” and maybe it’s as good, and yada yada yada.

And I hate starting with a negative about a show I positively adore, but “BCS” isn’t quite at the level of Walter White/Jesse Pinkman and some blue stuff. But man, I will say, it’s a hell of a lot closer than I ever thought it would be.

“Better Call Saul” is a fantastic show, and I will now once again perform my annual plea to get you to watch it, as Season 4 debuted Monday night (no spoilers, I promise, too soon to assume everyone has watched.)

Showing how the incredible character of Saul Goodman was formed, we’ve gotten three seasons of “BCS” so far and we’re STILL not up to the “Breaking Bad” years. That’s because the story of how Jimmy McGill (played by the amazing Bob Odenkirk), Mike Ehrmantrout (Jonathan Banks) and their crew end up morphing into the gang of evildoers we see in “Breaking Bad” has been so damn compelling that showrunner Vince Gilligan is no rush to turn Jimmy into Saul.

Seriously, Odenkirk is superb in this role, Banks is great, the supporting cast (Rhea Seehorn, and Michael McKean who sadly died at the end of Season 3) is terrific, and the writing is so, so good.

“Better Call Saul” is on Mondays at 10 on AMC. Not too late to start watching what’s easily one of the best shows on TV.

**Next up today, one of those random pieces of joy that just make you smile and feel better. A violin player, on a New York City street, and four men who just had to dance.

I have no idea if this was spontaneous or totally planned; I’m guessing it’s the latter. I don’t care, I still think it’s awesome.

My main takeaway from this: It’s kind of amazing what the human body can do.

**Finally today, this cracked me up. So there’s a rule at the Ohio Dept. of Motor Vehicles that people coming in to have their driver’s license photos taken are not allowed to smile. I’ve heard of rules like this before, something about smiling doesn’t always show your full face, or something. Seems silly to me.

Anyway, so Ohio’s DMV has come up with a novel way to make sure the state’s motorists don’t say cheese: They show them a picture of LeBron James in a Lakers jersey.

That’s right, one of my heroes and a man who left the Cleveland Cavs not once but twice in free agency, now has his photo wearing a Lakers jersey attached to cameras at the Ohio DMV offices.

That’s pretty hilarious. And brilliant. And a little sad.

Ray Lewis goes into the Football Hall of Fame, as his past sins get whitewashed away. The lizards that got hit with leafblowers, because, science. And a snapshot of America, 2018, from violent protests in Portland

 

This past weekend in Canton, Ohio was NFL Hall of Fame Induction Weekend, which is memorable for many reasons, but for me of course it always makes me think of the one time I went to the ceremony and crashed Michael Irvin’s party, and danced next to Jerry Jones for a few minutes. Ah, living the good life.

This year’s inductees were all worthy in the football sense, but there was one particular player whose enshrinement, and glorification, will always bother me, and I’m sure plenty of others.

I’m talking about the man who played linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, wore No. 52, talked a whole lot of smack, played dirty and without regard for his or anyone else’s body, and liked to dance before games.

We share a last name (no relation), but I certainly hope it’s the only trait we share. Because among all the other things Ray Lewis is, he’s also most certainly an accomplice to a double murder.

That’s right, don’t let all the glorification of his ego and accomplishments blind you to the fact that in 2000, Lewis was convicted on charges of obstruction of justice related to the slayings of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar in Atlanta during Super Bowl week in 2000.

There is more to the story, and there’s a bloody jacket involved, but Lewis has never truly had to answer for his crimes; certainly never did any jail time, and the court of public opinion has certainly always been in his favor.

Robert Klemko of Sports Illustrated wrote a remarkable first-person piece on Lewis this weekend, a healthy antidote to all of the worship. Klemko writes movingly about the amazing NFL PR machine that protected Lewis, Lewis’ own arrogance about even being asked about the murders, and how so much of Lewis’ story is emblematic of how high on a pedestal some athetes are placed.

This is truly outstanding, necessary writing and reporting from Klemko. Highly, highly recommend you read it.

**Next up today, more amazingness from the world of science. Check out this nature video that’s ostensibly asking the question, can hurricanes affect natural selection, but really, it’s about the hilarity of watching lizards get harassed with leaf blowers and watching them hang on for dear life.

**Finally today, a snapshot of America, 2018 from Portland this weekend. In a similar-type situation to what happened in Charlottesville last summer, there was a massive white-power march among Trump supporters and other formerly-extreme but now apparently quite commonplace groups in Oregon on Saturday. These were armed protesters wearing battle gear, and of course counter-protesters from the left showed up, and there was violence.

No one died (thank God), but there were street fights and some blood and just overall a sense of extreme menace. Listen to some of these quotes from Graeme Whitmeyer, a protester and Trump supporter and apparently big Alex Jones fan:

“This is like a civil war of ideas,” he said. “This is the cold civil war, right here. This is the epitome of it, in America, right here. I had to jump in and be a part of it—be on the right side of history.”

Whitmeyer had come prepared with a handwritten speech about forgiveness. Asked what, if anything, he thought could reconcile his Trump-supporting compatriots with opponents across the street, he replied:

“Only the exposing of the crimes of the evil leftists that are brainwashing those crowds over there. The media has twisted them to think that we’re Nazis. So once the people that are controlling the media are taken down in the courts of law, and arrested or whatever has to be done to them, you know—all of these globalists—you won’t see them [show up].

“It’s not a reconciliation between sides. They need to wake up,” he went on. “What they are, are zombies that were created. Minions that were created. They’re not thinking for themselves.”

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

The Daddy Chronicles returns, from suburbia. An almost-4 year old who’s obsessed with cars and watching visitors leave, and a 9-month old baby who loves doing the worm.

And a Happy Friday, world. It’s another fantastic weekend of friends and family coming to visit the Lewis hotel (I mean, our new house), but before I get to that it’s time for another edition of “The Daddy Chronicles.”

A whole lotta changes have gone on since my last missive, with our move from the city to the ‘burbs six weeks ago. I did check, though, and we had two kids when we left the apartment and we still have two now.

So we’re good.

Without further adieu, some tales from the front of Daddyhood…

— Well, the new house has been a revelation for both boys. Nate, now almost 4, is thrilled to have a big room and an even bigger basement for all his toys, trucks and puzzles, which he still loves doing. The basement is maybe my favorite room, too, because I hardly ever have to go down there and therefore not risk breaking my neck like I always had to in the apartment.

He’s truly become an independent playtime kid down there, happily puttering around among his cars and games. Nate also loves the backyard swingset we bought, the outside deck where he can ride his tricycle, and maybe most of all, the blinds in his and Theo’s rooms.

Truly, my son is destined to work for Blinds 2 Go. Every night he insists on closing the blinds in his room, and God help us if we do it first, he throws a fit.

I keep waiting for him to give me a treatise on curtain rods.

— The house has also created problems for a toddler who is constantly running around at full speed. While he’s got SO much more room here, there are also so many more corners, tabletops and banisters to run into. Once again I fear that one day someone will see him mostly naked, view all the bruises and bumps, and call Dept. of Child Services on us.

— It’s been fascinating, too, watching how his play habits develop. Nate now creates entire stories with his vehicles, and lines them up by color, and maybe most “Rain Man”-like, puts them on a mat matching the car color to the section of the mat that’s also that color. That can’t be normal.

— My oldest son has also turned into a combination of Elon Musk and Lee Iacocca (look him up, young’uns) with real cars as well. A week into summer camp he had memorized which cars belonged to which kid’s mommies, daddies or nannies, and told me whose was whose at pickup time every day. Then he expanded into asking me every time we’re in the car, as we pass other vehicles, “Daddy what car is that? Is it a Jeep? Is it a GMC? Because Ethan’s Mom has a GMC!”

To paraphrase the great Robin Williams, a year ago he was sitting in his own poop, now he’s an Earnhardt.

— This summer has been Nate’s first time in day camp, and he’s loving it. He loved preschool, and camp is basically preschool, but with sprinklers. He’s had great teachers, met some good friends, and most excitingly for me and his mother, has suddenly learned how to clear the table.

Last week, totally out of nowhere at dinner, he announces he’s done, picks up his plate, walks over to the garbage and dumps it all into the can. “Where did you learn that???” we asked, as we picked our jaws up from the floor.

“At camp!” he replied nonchalantly. Now, it’s true that he did throw the whole plate into the garbage, too, but hey, it’s a start.

— Last Nate thing: When visitors come over and it’s time for them to leave, he doesn’t like to say goodbye. He just runs to my office window, which overlooks the driveway, and watches them drive away. He also loves watching people pull up. Not to wave at them, but just to watch.
I think if the Blinds 2 Go gig doesn’t work out, we can get him work as a traffic cop.

— Now to the other boy: I know brothers are always different, and they develop at different stages, yada yada yada. I will say that Nate was moving a lot earlier than Theo, who’s just starting to crawl at nine months, and doesn’t show much interest in standing yet.

However, Nate never did a worm crawl like this (above). Truly, Theo is destined for a breakdancing career.

— I’m not sure Theo is aware we’ve moved; he’s still in his crib, his room looks similar to what he had in the apartment, and his brother is still always on top of him. He must look out the window and wonder why there are so few cars around the last few weeks.

— Happy to report that he’s over 20 pounds now and still eating and drinking everything. We had a good laugh the other day when another mom of a baby asked Shelley what we do when Theo doesn’t finish a bottle, do we save the milk, etc.

Shelley laughed and said “Yeah, we don’t have that problem. This kid never leaves over anything.”

Seriously he’s going to be a linebacker, this one (not that we’ll let him play football.)

— Finally, one more quick Theo thought:  Besides being the happiest baby ever, he’s figured out that if he puts his hands together in a clapping motion, it makes a funny sound and he giggles even more. When he does it, I do it over and over with his hands and he squeals like nothing I’ve ever heard.

Man, it’s so nice having a baby in the house again.

A fantastic column on the new trend of “parent shaming,” and how it’s ridiculous. Will Arnett teaches us Canadian slang. And the guy who stole his date’s car, to go on another date.

There were many times in my career as a journalist where I’d read a column or a feature story someone had written and been like “Man, I wish I’d written that! Because it’s exactly what I’ve been thinking and feeling.”

It’s interesting having that same sensation through the lens of being a parent, because I’ve read lots of things that I’ve agreed with and wanted to also write about, but someone has already done it better.

Not sure I’ve ever felt that way more than when I read this sensational piece, “Motherhood in the Age of Fear” that ran in the New York Times last weekend by Kim Brooks, a Chicago-based writer and Mom.

In the piece, which I cannot recommend strongly enough, Brooks speaks about the awful trend of Mom-shaming. This is when complete strangers observe behavior that they think is negligent and then admonish the parent, or in some cases actually call the police on the parent.

Ninety-nine times out of 100, the behavior isn’t negligent at all, it’s busybody alleged “caretakers” looking out for children sticking their nose in other people’s business, and it can have serious, serious consequences. Most of the time this behavior involves allowing a child to be alone for as little as a few minutes, which in this day and age of helicopter parenting is considered criminal.

We as a society have so over-managed and overscheduled and coddled our children, we are so afraid to have them be alone for even five minutes, that some think it’s a crime to let them have the tiniest bit of freedom and independence.

From the piece:

We now live in a country where it is seen as abnormal, or even criminal, to allow children to be away from direct adult supervision, even for a second.

We read, in the news or on social media, about children who have been kidnapped, raped and killed, about children forgotten for hours in broiling cars. We do not think about the statistical probabilities or compare the likelihood of such events with far more present dangers, like increasing rates of childhood diabetes or depression. Statistically speaking, according to the writer Warwick Cairns, you would have to leave a child alone in a public place for 750,000 years before he would be snatched by a stranger. Statistically speaking, a child is far more likely to be killed in a car on the way to a store than waiting in one that is parked. But we have decided such reasoning is beside the point. We have decided to do whatever we have to do to feel safe from such horrors, no matter how rare they might be.

And so now children do not walk to school or play in a park on their own. They do not wait in cars. They do not take long walks through the woods or ride bikes along paths or build secret forts while we are inside working or cooking or leading our lives.

There are stories in the piece about a woman in n 2014 named Debra Harrell, who let her 9-year-old daughter play in a park while she went to work at a nearby McDonald’s. It was a safe neighborhood on a summer day with lots of kids.
None of this mattered when another parent contacted the police. Ms. Harrell was charged with unlawful neglect of a child and her daughter was put in foster care for about two weeks.

That same year, an Arizona woman named Shanesha Taylor was charged with two counts of felony child abuse and sentenced to 18 years of supervised probation, all because she had no child care and had to leave her two younger children in the car while she went on a job interview.

Also from the piece: In a country that provides no subsidized child care and no mandatory family leave, no assurance of flexibility in the workplace for parents, no universal preschool and minimal safety nets for vulnerable families, making it a crime to offer children independence in effect makes it a crime to be poor.

It is unconscionable that this goes on in America. As a father I’m constantly worried about being judged by other parents, when my almost 4-year-old wanders a different aisle in the supermarket than I’m in (I can hear him the whole time), or when I have, once or twice, allowed him to (gasp) sit in the car for 2 minutes by myself at a gas station with the windows open while I ran in to pay the attendant.

We are so, so quick to judge other parents, and criminalize their behavior.

Read this essay. Parent-shaming needs to stop.

**Next up today, I have said many times on this blog how much I love Canada, and Canadians. Not just because they love hockey, but because every Canadian I’ve met has been a decent, fun human being, and every time I’ve visited Canada I’ve loved it.

But I don’t speak Canadian, so Will Arnett, a native of Toronto, is here to educate. Some of these are hilarious, like the “2-4” and the “suitcase” but I think “Goal suck” is my new favorite. Or “beaking.”

God bless Canada.

**Finally today, I’ve had a few bad dates in my life, including the time I accidentally left the restaurant with a woman and had forgotten to pay the check (shockingly, the relationship didn’t work out.)

But I have to say, a Memphis woman named Faith Pugh may have had just about the worst first date ever. She went out with a man named Kelton Griffin, an old acquaintance from high school. Kelton was dropped off for the date, and at a gas station asked Pugh to go inside and get him a cigar.

At that point Kelton stole Pugh’s car. And took a friend of Pugh’s on a date. In the stolen car.

Shockingly, this dream of a man was arrested for his crime, when Pugh’s friend helped locate the car using the GPS on her phone.

Can’t believe he was still single and not snatched up yet.

A study on obesity says that if you’re conceived in winter, you’re less likely to be fat. On his final broadcast of “Only A Game,” Bill Littlefield replays a beautiful essay. And the bear who wandered into a hot tub and drank a margarita

It’s Monday, it’s August, and I know what you’re thinking: It’s so hot out, my spouse and I should try to conceive a child.

OK, OK, maybe that’s not exactly what you’re thinking. But maybe some of you are thinking that. If you are, hey, more power to you. But just know, it’s entirely possible that if you DO decide to try and make a new human in the summertime, it’s more likely they’ll be overweight as an adult than if you just wait till December to have sex.

Sounds crazy, right? Well, I have science on my side to prove this. Well, to at least argue this. Check out this story on a new study from the Institute of Food Nutrition and Health at the ETH Zurich University in Switzerland.

Check this out, from a Newsweek story on the study: Their work hones in on brown adipose tissue, or brown fat, as opposed to white fat. The latter collects around the belly, and is used to store energy. In contrast, brown fat is used to keep us warm and gathers around the neck, torso, and in white fat reserves. Existing scientific evidence suggests brown fat burns a relatively large amount of energy when it is activated. It is believed the presence of it in the body could make it easier to lose weight, in the right conditions. It is also linked to a lower risk of becoming overweight or developing metabolic disorders, the authors noted.

“The study identifies for the first time a link between environmental temperature and offspring metabolism which is transmitted through the sperm,” Dr. Christian Wolfrum, lead author of the study, said.

I find this fascinating. The idea that the climate, and the temperature of the people involved in conception, could make a difference whether your offspring is heavy or skinny blows my mind.

Both my kids were conceived in winter, so I guess that means they can eat whatever they want? Of course not.

Still, science is kind of amazing sometimes.

**Next up, I’ve written many times in this space about my love for the NPR radio program Only a Game, and its wonderful host, Bill Littlefield. After 25 years of bringing listeners stories about little known and famous athletes alike, filled with humor, heart and insight, Littlefield is retiring.

On Saturday his show replayed some of his best pieces over the years, and this one in particular moved me greatly when it aired in 2015, and did again listening to it this weekend. (Listen to it at this link below).

https://player.wbur.org/onlyagame/2018/07/27/cooperstown-memories-father-son-final-show

It’s about Bill, his Dad, and two trips to Cooperstown taken a few decades apart, and what they meant. Just really beautiful stuff.

***And finally today, because we all need a good bear story every now and again, I bring you this enterprising little fellow out in California. Seems the bear in the video above decided to drink a margarita while at Mark Hough’s house in early July, and then help himself to the hot tub in the backyard.

Look, it’s not easy being a bear, OK? People are scary, the woods can be dangerous, and there’s always some joker calling you “Fozzie” or something.

Sometimes you just need to chill out, have a drink, and relax.

Good News Friday: A potentially huge breakthrough in Alzheimer’s treatment. A supermarket where you pay what you think is fair is a great idea. And a 12-year-old girl calls out sexism at a parade in a great newspaper letter.

And a Happy Friday to you all out there, hopefully enjoying the dog days of summer somewhere cool.

While I happily think about the fact that the U.S. Open is coming soon and the fact that our President really, really should’ve kept his lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen happy (this might really be big and lead to impeachment, I know we’ve said that before but this time we might be right), I throw three happy stories at you.

First up today, a potentially huge breakthrough in the fight against the insidious, awful disease called Alzheimer’s. Researchers have just announced the results of a clinical trial where, for the first time, a new drug was discovered to both reduce the plaques in the brains of patients and slow the progression of dementia.

This, from Thursday’s New York Times: “More extensive trials will be needed to know if the new drug is truly effective, but if the results, presented Wednesday at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Chicago, are borne out, the drug may be the first to successfully attack both the brain changes and the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.”

The top-line results of the study? “Of the 161 patients in the group taking the highest dose, 81 percent showed such significant drops in amyloid levels that they “converted from amyloid positive to amyloid negative,” Dr. Kramer said in an interview, meaning that the patients’ amyloid levels dropped from being considered high enough to correlate to dementia to a level below that dementia threshold.”

This is potentially huge. You, me, everyone we all know has seen a friend of loved one affected by Alzheimer’s. It’s a horrible, horrible disease that robbed my Grandmother of her brain for her final years.

This is a possibly-thrilling breakthrough. Of course further testing needs to be done, etc. But it’s a wonderful development.

**Next up today, this is a fantastic and crazy idea that just may revolutionize supermarkets, and restaurants. A man in Melbourne, Australia has started a supermarket called “The Inconvenience Store.”

The store collects produce that stores plan to throw away because it’s not fresh (or pretty) enough to sell and “sells” it by donation.

From this story I read on Upworthy.com: “It receives throwaways from a local bakery — breads that aren’t good enough to sell but are still perfectly edible — for its patrons to take home. Other things that stores are prepared to toss, like items that are dented or just past their best-before dates, also stock the store’s shelves.

There are no cashiers and no set prices — a contribution box sits near the exit as an unassuming invitation to give what you can in exchange for what you take. People can also volunteer at the store as a form of payment and support for the store.”

Very cool idea, and one that I hope catches on.

**Finally today, I have a couple of new heroes to tell you about, and they’re both people you’ve probably never heard of. First, meet Elin Errsson, a 21-year-old Swedish political activist (definitely three words I’ve never typed in a row before) who single-handedly prevented the deportation of a man from Sweden, to Afghanistan, on a flight last week. It’s a pretty amazing story; read it here from The Guardian.

But my other hero is someone closer to home, and Miss Julianne Speyer, you, young lady, are a rock star. Julianne, 12, lives in Russell Township, Ohio, and is a proud member of the Girl Scouts.

At her town’s recent Fourth of July parade, Julianne became bothered by the parade MC’s descriptive differences in talking about the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts.

So she wrote a letter (above) to her local paper, the Geauga County Maple Leaf,  printed above, calling out the sexism from the announcer and proudly declaring that women no longer should have to put up with this kind of demeaning attitude.

I love, love, LOVE this letter. Good for you, Julianne.