Monthly Archives: September 2012

The inspiring story of Adam Greenberg, getting 1 more shot at bat. A TV theme-song mashup from Jimmy Fallon. And “Big Bang” is back

It’s a rare Good News Friday when I tip my cap to the Miami Marlins baseball team. But that’s where I start today, because of a wonderful gesture they’re making to a guy who’s one shot at the big leagues was cruelly taken away.

Adam Greenberg was once a hot prospect in the Chicago Cubs organization, and on July 9, 2005 fulfilled every kid’s dream by getting into his first major-league game.
But on the first pitch he saw, a 92-miles per hour fastball from a Marlins pitcher named Valerio De los Santos, Greenberg was drilled in the head. It was his only at bat in the big leagues, as for the last seven years the kid has tried and tried to make it back to the majors.

Can you imagine the frustration Greenberg must’ve felt, getting so close to your dream but not really getting to touch it?
After just about every big-league team has taken a pass on Greenberg’s attempts to come back, a filmmaker named Matt Liston started an Internet publicity tour, trying to convince a club to give Greenberg just one more at-bat.

Well, in a beautiful twist, it was the Marlins reached out to Greenberg this week, and told him they were signing him to a one-day contract.

Next Tuesday, Adam Greenberg will get to play in the majors again, and finally get a real at-bat in the bigs.
Happy endings sometimes really can happen.

**Jimmy Fallon and friends are back with a great song mash-up; so many wonderful TV theme show songs here, and of course “The Greatest American Hero” is thrown in. It gets good around 45 seconds in…)

**Finally, it’s definitely good news that the funniest show on television came back with new episodes Thursday night. Watching “The Big Bang Theory” now, when everyone in the the world watches it, knowing that I was hooked from season 1, is like having a big secret and then the rest of the world finds out.

Last season ended on such a high note, with Howard blasting off into space, and the other couples showing real growth, that I couldn’t wait for this season to begin.

The good news was Thursday night’s episode was pretty funny; Raj drunk, giving love advice to Penny and Leonard, was terrific. And Howard’s mother being annoying and guilting her son even while he was in outer space… classic. (And the Russian guy’s line was great “And to think these people won the Cold War.”)

But I’m starting to get annoyed at the Amy-Sheldon relationship. At the end of last season it looked like completely emotionless automaton Sheldon finally was getting into a real relationship with real feelings with Amy, but Thursday it was back to normal, Sheldon being a total dumbass with Amy. Starting to wonder why she would put up with him this long.

I’m afraid this fantastic show is going to go overboard trying to stop Sheldon from growing like a normal human being.

Otherwise, it’s still the funniest 30 minutes of TV every week. If you’re not watching it by now, you just must not like to laugh.

The NFL referees are back, and thank God for that. Stealing tiny airplane liquor bottles? Not a good idea. And mocking the iPhone 5 obsession

Well it’s about time and not a minute too soon. The NFL “real” referees, the ones who haven’t been making a mockery of the sport we love for the past three weeks, with phantom calls and ridiculous decisions that cost teams game, are back on the field and in their jobs.

Very late Wednesday night, perhaps after all the negotiators fasted for Yom Kippur and atoned for their sins, the NFL and Referee’s Association agreed on a deal that will put the regular zebras back on the field as soon as tonight.

It’s amazing that the NFL owners were so tone-deaf that they let their product get so devalued like this for three weeks. As a very pro-union person myself, I was also impressed that the referees seem to get much of what they wanted, if not 100 percent of it.

It’s a disgrace that Green Bay lost Monday night because of incompetence, but hopefully from here on out we can watch NFL games that are at least called by people who know what the hell they’re doing.

Course, as soon as a phantom penalty gets called against the Jets, I’ll be screaming and yelling at these guys I’m so happy to have back today.

Here’s a funny column from Jason Gay at the Wall Street Journal; it’s a “going-away letter” from the replacements to the real referees.”

**I loved this video because it totally mocks the obsession people seem to have with the new iPhone 5. A guy dresses up as an Apple employee and pretends to drop a whole bunch of new iPhones, causing the people waiting on line for hours to act as if their dog just died.

Pretty funny. And pretty sick. It’s a phone, people, just a phone.

**Finally, I love this story. Eighteen employees at JFK Airport here in New York were arrested last week, for allegedly stealing 100,000 tiny airplane liquor bottles, ostensibly to sell them on the black market (is there a black market for tiny liquor bottles? This story says yes; they sold them to bodegas and liquor stores).

My question about all this is not how they snuck them out of the airport (they are, after all, tiny.). No, my question is this: When the police raided one of the defendant’s houses upon making the arrest, they found 50,000 tiny bottles there.

Fifty thousand??? How in the world does this guy have room for 50,000 tiny bottles in his house?

The cell phone addiction support group. The man who loved power ballads too much. And a fascinating study of teachers and incentives

To my Jewish readers, may I wish you all Happy Yom Kippur. Chances are, when you’re reading this, I’m hungry and dreaming of a seven layer chocolate cake or a pastrami on rye. Twenty-four hours of fasting… never easy.

You know how some people say that with 300 billion people in the world, there’s gotta be someone just like you out there?
Well, I think I’ve found my doppleganger. His name is Mark Sigston, and he’s a 31-year-old British guy who was arrested last week.
What’d he do? He refused to turn down his stereo when neighbors complained he was blasting power ballads too loud.

God I love me a good power ballad. I think I had several power ballad mix tapes in the 1980s. Sadly, though, it doesn’t appear that Mr. Sigston was grooving to the deep intensity of “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” “Heaven,” or “Wanted Dead or Alive.”

He was listening, really loudly, to Robbie Williams and Celine Dion, and I guess you just can’t do that in England. The cops seized his stereo and that was pretty much that.

I would totally post Robbie’s bail if he needed it. Rock on, power ballads.

**I know people talk about cell phones becoming an addiction, but this seems to be too much.
From the L.A. Times last week comes a story saying researchers have determined that nomophobia (no-mobile-phone-phobia, that’s really what it’s called) is a real thing, and that help is on the way.
According to the story, psychologist Elizabeth Waterman has started to address nomophobia in group therapy sessions she holds at the Morningside Recovery Center in California.  She teaches people to go 10 days without their phones to start “recovery” and tells them not to be scared when they don’t get cell reception.

I’m sorry, but this is ridiculous. People, it’s called human contact! Put the phone away every once in a while and talk to people around you.

Nomophobia. What a world we live in (and enable).

**Finally today, this struck me as a worthwhile study in education. A researcher in Chicago decided to try an experiment in one school district: He was wondering if giving teachers bonuses before instructing students led to higher test scores. But there was a catch: One group of teachers received a $4,000 bonus, but would have to give some or all of it back if their students scores didn’t improve.

The other 2 groups in the experiment were made up of teachers who got no bonus, and teachers who got a bonus only if the students did well.

The results?

“What we found is strong evidence in favor of loss aversion,” the man in charge of the study, John List, said. “Teachers who were paid in advance and [were] asked to give the money back if their students did not perform — their [students’] test scores were actually out of the roof: two to three times higher than the gains of the teachers in the traditional bonus group.”

Read the whole story here. Very interesting stuff, though I’m not sure this would hold up in a bigger study.

Thoughts from a 7-year-old’s Little League game. The biggest Nintendo question ever, answered! And the magazine correction of the year

I went to my 7-year-old nephew’s Little League game on Saturday, and man did it bring back memories.
Painful ones.

Like most of you, I was not exactly Miguel Cabrera or Albert Pujols in Little League. I spent a lot of time in right field; lemme tell you, you have lots of time to think out there in right field.
I also struck out a lot, and got hit by the pitch a lot (I was really small and pitchers had trouble throwing to me), and sat on the bench a lot while the “good” players played most of the game.

So yeah, except for postgame trips to Friendly’s for ice cream sundaes, Little League wasn’t always so much fun.

But Saturday I had a blast watching my nephew Benjamin, falling in love with the sport for the first time. He also played “right field,” but since these kids were 7 and 8 and it was a “coach pitch” league, right field was basically a deep second base.

He’s got a good eye at the plate, and seemed to really have fun while occasionally looking over at his mother and me and my Mom, making sure we were watching.

A few other musings from my first Little League experience in a while:

— Best part of this age group baseball is that the kids really don’t care so much who wins or loses. They go out, have fun, and five minutes after striking out they’re still pretty happy in the dugout. Despite losing 11-1, a kid on Ben’s team exclaimed “I can’t believe we got a run!”

— Apparently there’s a softer version of a real baseball that these kids were using. Man, wish we had that when I was playing, those bruises would’ve hurt a lot less.

— Most interesting thing that happened was the behavior of a kid on Ben’s team. This boy was clearly a player, fielding grounders well and totally on top of the fundamentals. Problem was, his teammates were, you know, little kids who were still learning.
After about the fifth error by another kid, Ben’s star teammate stomped off the field, threw his glove down and allegedly muttered “This team stinks.”
Thankfully, this brought a strong rebuke from said boy’s father, who said loudly “You want me to throw all this baseball stuff in the trash? That’s not how you behave!”

The boy didn’t play the rest of the day. Good to see.

–Few things funnier than a kid fielding a ground ball, not sure which base to throw to, so he just starts chasing the nearest runner or base to him. Parents yelling “Throw to first!” didn’t seem to have an effect. Pretty cute.

It really was a fun couple of hours, a brief reminder that pro athletes at their heart are really just little kids who never grew up and stopped playing.

** OK, I guarantee you that if you’re a kid like me who played Nintendo in the 1980s and ’90s, at one point or another when a game wasn’t working you took it out and blew on it, then put it back in and it worked.
Why did this work? I have no idea. How did anyone know to do this? Again, no idea. I probably heard it from a friend once and started doing it and it worked, and so I kept trying it.

But finally, the great people at Mental Floss (a really cool brain-teaser type website) have investigated the burning question: Did blowing on games really work?
Seriously, this article is fantastic. If you don’t want to click, they talk to scientists and say no, actually, all our blowing didn’t do anything. But check out why…

**Finally, you know how much I love newspaper and magazine corrections. This  beauty was in Vogue this month; apparently they called an assistant Secretary in the U.S. State Department an “interior designer.” Love it!

The Emmy Awards make me (mostly) happy. An agonizingly awful Jets win. And gay marriage ballot amendments looking good

My favorite awards show of the year took place Sunday night; The Academy Awards are great but so many times I feel like I’m not familiar with the nominees; but with the Emmys, I feel like I very strongly about who should win and who should never get a sniff of an Emmy.

Overall I thought it was a pretty good show, and was thrilled to see one show in particular kick serious butt (it rhymes with “Shmomeland.”)
With the help of my trusty sidekick/fellow TV addict fiance, some things that struck us from the show:

— Thrill of the night for me was seeing “Homeland” do so well, winning both major drama acting categories AND shocking “Mad Men” to win best show. I will continue to say this until the cows come home: “Homeland” is the best show on TV. The new season starts Sunday night on Showtime, time to get watching.

— The comedy awards were really predictable, but we were both stunned Mayim Bialik from “Big Bang Theory” didn’t win best supporting in a comedy. She was awesome. Not that Julie Bowen isn’t, but she’s won a few times already.
— Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue was pretty funny, but the best bits of the night were the Julia Louis-Dreyfus/Amy Poehler speech switch gag, and the opening skit in the bathroom.
— Jon Cryer does not age. He still looks like Ducky.
— Jimmy Fallon looked 3 feet taller than Kathy Bates when they presented together. “Has he been stretched for the Emmys?” the fiance asked.
— There were no major fashion faux pas (I was told), but man were there some hideous dress colors. Julianne Moore, Claire Danes and Julie Bowen all wore awful colors. I thought Danes, Amy Poehler and Zooey Deschanel (above) looked the best, along with the chick who plays Brody’s wife on “Homeland.”

— Really tough call for the producers on who gets the final spot of the Death Montage: Dick Clark or Andy Griffith? They did a seperate tribute to Andy G. instead.
— Can’t believe Doyle from “Gilmore Girls” won an Emmy for writing! He was such a great “GG” character, happy to see him get some more fame.

— Finally, whose idea was the stupid “Andre Braugher coming up in 8 minutes” screen teaser? Like that’s going to keep me watching the Emmys?

**At the end of my life, when I’m old and bald and dying, I’ll wish I had four more hours back.

Those would be the four hours I spent watching Sunday’s truly wretched Jets-Dolphins football game. Calling it ugly and unsightly would be a massive understatement; truly it was a shame either team had to win.
As a Jets fan, I was disgusted by so much of their play that it was hard to feel elated when they won.
Among the many, many problems of my team:
— Mark Sanchez, in his 4th year in the NFL, and 4th year as a starter, is not getting any better. It’s amazing, but he’s STILL making awful decisions, not feeling the rush, and misfiring to wide-open receivers; there were three TD’s the Jets should’ve had Sunday but Sanchez overthrew his receivers.  He’s just not a good quarterback and may never be.

— That said, the man had VERY little help Sunday. Receivers dropped passes all over the place, his offensive line was just OK, and the running game was non-existent. Sanchez just doesn’t have a lot of talent around him.

— Looks like the best defensive back in football, Darrelle Revis, may have torn his ACL, which would mean he’s out for the season. Devastating blow to an already-not-great team.

Other NFL thoughts on yet another crazy day…
— At one point three games were in overtime at the same time (KC-New Orleans, Jets-Dolphins, and Titans-Lions). Not sure that’s ever happened before.

— How crazy was that 44-41 Titans win over the Lions? Detroit scored 14 points in the last eighteen seconds of regulation to tie it, including a Hail Mary. Then in OT, down three, Lions could’ve kicked a FG to tie it, but on 4th and 1, had a miscommunication with the sideline and went for it when they weren’t supposed to. And they didn’t get the yard, and lost the game.

— I know all NFL fans are bitching about the replacement refs and how awful they are… but they are truly horrendous.  Watched the last 5 minutes of Pats-Ravens after the Emmys, and while it was a thrilling finish (that Ravens kicker gave the entire state of Maryland a heart attack, making that FG by inches), the refs practically blew it both ways.

How long is the NFL going to let this complete blow to its credibility last? Sadly, I think it’ll be a while. The NFL’s popularity is impervious, and I just don’t think they give a crap what fans and media (and their own coaches and players!) are saying about the refs right now.

— Stunning to see the 49ers lose, the Jaguars win, and the Saints be 0-3. One more reason I don’t bet on the NFL.

** Finally, it’s too early to be overly excited about this, but it’s certainly promising.  There are four states that in November will have ballot initiatives that in one form or another will legalize same sex marriage, and in three of those states (Maryland, Maine and Washington) it looks very likely that gay marriage will be legalized; only in Minnesota is the polling not looking promising.

If the 3 states’ numbers hold up, this will be a huge, history-making deal, as no states previously have had ballot initiatives supporting gay marriage get passed.

Consider my fingers crossed.


The Kalamazoo Promise: Every kid who graduates gets free college. Pink is awesome. A love story in 22 pictures. And the “West Wing” cast reunites for a hilarious commercial.

Today’s Good News Friday starts with a plug for moi: I’ve been writing for an environmental blog for the past year at, a publishing company that goes back over 100 years. If you’re interested in solar panels, wind turbines, electric cars and the like, you can find my musings on all things environmental at this link and in my blogroll at the homepage. Thanks.

There are so many challenges facing educators today: budget shortfalls, overcrowded classrooms, disinterested students, and the list goes on and on.
And education reforms seem to be all over the place these days, with ideas being thrown out, tried for a few years, then thrown back.
But there are certain “fads” that never go out of style. Things like opportunity, and a promise of college to every student in one town in America who wants to go.

It was really heartening for me to read this story in last Sunday’s New York Times magazine about The Kalamazoo Promise, which is this: In 2005, a series of wealthy anonymous donors decided to donate money for college tuition to every single student in the Kalamazoo school system who graduated from high school.

Every single kid gets a scholarship to a state school. What an incredible incentive, what a wonderful program, and man oh man if every city had the money to do this, what a difference it could make.

Read the story, and realize what’s possible.

**Brief interlude: Pink is awesome. She’s fierce and powerful and a hell of a good singer and songwriter.
She’s going on tour this winter and I hope to see her live for the second time. She was on “The Daily Show” this week and was awesome; here’s a clip from the show of her singing one of her excellent old hits, “Who Knew,” and here’s a clip from the first single off the new album, the very catchy (and NSFW lyrics) “Blow Me (One Last Kiss”).

Pink rules.

**If a picture paints a thousand words (hat tip to Bread there), then here’s a whole lot of words in 22 pictures (one of them is at the top of the page.

My awesome friend Victoria C. alerted me to this beautiful photo essay on about love, which starts happy, dances with tragedy in the middle, but ends up happy, too.
What a beautiful story.

**Finally today, you know I like to feature “The West Wing” clips on here from time to time, because it’s my second-favorite show, ever (behind “The Wire.”)  While I still pine away hope for a real “West Wing” reunion, this will have to do. In real life, the sister of former “West Wing” cast member Mary McCormack is running to be a Supreme Court judge in Michigan, so McCormack recruited her old castmates to help her sister.

The writing and the facial tics of all the actors are so perfectly in tune with their old roles, it’s scary.


“Boardwalk Empire” is back, and still awesome. The newest most ridiculous infomercial product ever. And an “Archie” comic from 1972 that’s eerily prescient.

It took me a few days, but it was well worth it. I watched the season premiere of “Boardwalk Empire” on Wednesday, and man, I have really missed this show.

If you’re not a fan yet, this would be a good time to get in, because the show is going through a little bit of a re-boot after Atlantic City gangster Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) killed his rival/former protege Jimmy Darmody at the end of last season.


I thought the season premiere was fantastic. Clearly, Margaret and Nucky have issues; was genuinely surprised to see Nucky shtupping the showgirl from the New Year’s Eve party. I love Bobby Cannavale’s new character Gyp Rosetti; that scene in the basement where he insults every other gangster in the room was fantastic.

So happy the kosher butcher from Philly was back in the show, until he wasn’t. Good on ya, Richard Harrell. Jimmy’s mother still creeps me out, I love that ex-FBI guy Van Alden (sorry, Mr. George Mueller) accidentally helps save a gangster’s life in a flower shop, and I can’t wait to see what happens with Nucky’s brother, who we haven’t seen yet but is lurking in the shadows.

A fantastic show. Looks like it’ll be getting even better this year.

**OK, someone please tell me this is a gag, or a rejected “SNL” skit, or something. Because there’s now ay this can be a real thing. This thing makes the Snuggie look as important as the invention of the cotton gin.

May I introduce you to The Popinator, a popcorn machine that directs kernels into your mouth when you say the word “pop” by following the sound of your voice?

We have this now. And yet … AIDS goes un-cured.

**Finally, this freaked me out a little. In 1972 there was an “Archie” comic where Archie traveled ahead in the future by 50 years, and this is what music is like.

Not all that far off, eh?

The son of Rae Carruth, being raised by an angel. A few thoughts on the late great Steve Sabol. And Soledad O’Brien fights lies on CNN

Been a while since I’ve linked to a real tear-jerker that doubles as a fantastic piece of writing, but this story is well worth your time.
Remember Rae Carruth? He was the NFL football player who, when his girlfriend Cherica Adams refused to have an abortion in 1999, hired a hitman to beat her up and kill her.
Well, the hitman didn’t quite do his job well enough, because Cherica survived the shooting long enough for little Chancellor Lee Adams to be born.
Carruth and his accomplices are in prison, rotting as they should be. And as you might expect, life has not been easy for Chancellor, now 13. Thanks to the shooting, he was born with a severe case of cerebral palsy.

But Chancellor has an angel for a grandmother, and Sports Illustrated’s Thomas Lake has written a beautiful tale of a boy being raised by a woman whose own daughter was taken from her far too young.

I don’t know if Saundra Evans is a saint or an angel, but her love and spirit have made one boy’s life so much better. Lake’s writing is fabulous; he paints such vivid word pictures that take your breath away.
Readthe story here, and grab the tissues.

There are a few, not many, but a few, cable television anchors who actually do their jobs as journalists. That is, they actually ask follow-up questions and challenge their guests on the bull-spit they constantly spew, and don’t let them get away with just, well, lying on the air.
Soledad O’Brien of CNN is one of those rare birds who actually stops these runaway bloviators in their tracks when they’re just making stuff up. I loved this clip of her calling out GOP Rep. Peter King the other day when he continued to insist Barack Obama is always “apologizing” for America.

**Finally, a few words on the late, great Steve Sabol, the genius behind NFL Films, who died Tuesday of a brain tumor. Millions of football fans like me grew up watching the incredible NFL Films highlights through the years; there was just nothing like their combination of rousing music, slow-motion highlights, and best of all, miked-up players (see above).

Before any other major sport did, the NFL presented their product as if it were a movie, as if it were art. And I was completely hooked. Between John Facenda’s deep voice (“the Green Bay Packers and the immortal Bart Starr”) and the behind-the-scenes access, NFL Films, led by Sabol, revolutionized how we watched sports.

From all accounts, Steve Sabol was a great man, and he will be deeply missed. Peter King of SI has a beautiful tribute here.

“The Master” filled with great performances, but man is it weird. Mitt sticks foot in mouth, again. And bizarre end to football’s Holy War game

I’m one of those people willing to watch any Paul Thomas Anderson movie, partly because he’s occasionally brilliant (“Boogie Nights”) and also because most of his films star Philip Seymour Hoffman, who is almost always fantastic in front of the camera.

So I was pretty excited to see their new collaboration that just came out, “The Master,” about a quasi-cult leader (Hoffman) who after World War II begins a quest to win over converts and finds as his loyal deputy a troubled young man played by Joaquin Phoenix.
After seeing it over the weekend, I had two immediate thoughts:
A. Joaquin Phoenix is absolutely getting an Oscar nomination; he was fantastic and moving and emotional and just all kinds of brilliant.
2.  I have no idea what to make of this movie.

Seriously, I sat in the theater pretty stunned after it ended, because I’m not sure what I just saw. The film was all kinds of weird.

There were scenes of real power, as Hoffman collects acolytes, including his wife (played by the terrific Amy Adams ), and gives great speeches. But the movie sort of meandered all over the place; without giving away too much, you’re never quite sure whether Lancaster Dodd (Hoffman’s character) really has a powerful hold on his flock, or if they’re just sheep dying to be led.

Still, I’d recommend seeing this film just for Phoenix. He is so expressive in every scene, and he completely nails his character. Up till now I thought he was just an OK actor with one amazing performance in him (“Walk the Line.”) But he was fabulous in “The Master,” outshining even the great Hoffman.

Go see it. And if you figure out what it’s about, shoot me a message, will ya?

**Oh Mitt, Mitt, Mitt. You just can’t seem to go more than a day or two without having some embarrassing statement come out. Monday the Internet sorta blew up with this video (above) of you talking at a fundraiser about how you’re going to win this election.
Here’s the money quote:

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.”
Romney went on: “[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

What an idiotic, cold-hearted thing for him to say. I don’t think this cost him the election; I think last week’s knee-jerk Libya response was worse. But man, he just has no clue about how Americans live. For more Internet pundits reaction to this Mitt video, click here.

**Finally today, check out the bizarre end to the Utah-BYU college football game (dubbed “The Holy War”) Saturday night. The game ended three times, with fans rushing the field three times as well. The second time the Utah fans rushed prematurely, it almost cost them the win.
Once again fans, a reminder: You are NOT part of the game. Stay off the damn field.
Thank you.

The Jets crash back to Earth, and the Giants win a wild one. Thoughts on Rosh Hashanah. And another NHL lockout makes me sad

Well, that’s more like what I expected this season.
My New York Jets shocked most people by scoring 48 points in an easy season-opening win last week.  Maybe they won’t be as bad as we think, right?
Um, yeah, reality struck on Sunday.
Sunday against Pittsburgh, my boys in green and white couldn’t run, couldn’t throw, couldn’t catch, and couldn’t tackle much at all in the second half, and fell to a much better Steelers team, 27-10.
Mark Sanchez was wild with his throws, the running game was non-existent after the first quarter, I have no idea why the hell Tim Tebow’s on the team if they’re not going to use him (he barely played Sunday), and I’m starting to wonder if the pass rush really has gotten any better, since they’re still not knocking down quarterbacks.

Just as I didn’t overreact with glee to the Week 1 win, not going to overreact a bad Week 2 loss. Still, they better win next week, because after that the Jets have San Fran and Houston, probably the 2 best teams in the league right now.

Some other quick-hit NFL thoughts on a wild week:
Watched that Giants-Bucs game in a sports bar and I can’t remember a wilder swing of emotions from fans watching their team. First Giants were awful, then great, then awful, then great. What a nutty and crazy 41-34 win over Tampa. Good Eli and Bad Eli both out in full force.
— Not sure if the Redskins and Panthers will be any good this year, but man they are so fun to watch. RGIII has an enormous arm.
— Cannot believe the Patriots lost that game to Arizona when the Cards begged them to take it in the final two minutes. I was happy, but stunned, when Brady’s boys lost.
–Is it me, or is there WAY more fighting and scuffling after the play this year? Maybe it’s because the replacement refs have no control over these games.
— Best play I saw all day: Reggie Bush’s run over the Raiders. Maybe he’ll finally become the star this year we all thought he’d be.

**Wanted to give a shout out all my fellow Members of the Tribe today and wish you all a Happy New Year, as we celebrate Rosh Hashanah together. As a kid, I loved Rosh because it meant days off from school, but I hated going to synagogue and sitting through interminable and boring services. My friends and I used to sneak out to the bathroom and just hang out there to kill time, we were so bored.

Now? I go to temple rarely, so services like the one I went to Sunday night wasn’t so bad. I’m a Reform Jew, and I was at a Reform synagogue I’d never been to, and one thing I noticed was how many men weren’t wearing yarmulkes. Seems strange to me.
Still, it was enjoyable and mercifully pretty quick. A Happy New Year to all.

**Finally, stop me if you’ve heard this before, hockey fans (and yes, I acknowledge that I may be talking to myself here). A great season ends, capped by a fabulous playoff run by a major market team, and with all that excitement for another season starting … the owners lock out the players, and months will go by before we see hockey again.
So damn frustrating, but for the third time in 17 years, the NHL owners have decided they’ve given players too much money and don’t want to do it anymore, so are shutting down the sport. As of Friday night, the NHL is closed. And it looks like it might be closed for a long, long time.

As usual, I side with the players here; they gave back a whole lot during the last lockout in 2004-05, and now the owners want further concessions. It’s the same old b.s.; the owners declare they’re losing tons of money, but won’t show us the books.
Man, Gary Bettman’s got some legacy as commissioner, huh? Three disgusting, unnecessary lockouts on his watch. Just a disgrace.