Monthly Archives: November 2012

Good News Friday: Dogs and babies, an unbeatable combination. An NYC cop shows great compassion. And overcoming loss by adopting orphans

Man I love “The Big Bang Theory.” Another stellar episode Thursday night, highlighted by our first-ever Amy and Bernadette verbal catfight. Best line, by Bernadette: “I’m sensing some hostility. Maybe because, like Sheldon’s work, your sex life is also theoretical?”
OK, on with the show.

Rarely has a news story based off a photo gone so viral, so fast. But you have probably already heard about the New York City police officer and his act of extreme kindness, that hit the Web the other day.

Here’s what happened: NYPD officer Lawrence DePrimo was walking on patrol Nov. 14, a very cold night, when he came across a homeless man begging for change, without any shoes or socks on.

DePrimo spoke to the man, and then walked into a nearby Skechers shoe store and purchased shoes and socks for the gentleman (and good for the Skechers store manager for giving DePrimo the employee discount). DePrimo then walked outside and put the footwear on the man.

This all would’ve gone unnoticed if tourist Jennifer Foster hadn’t snapped the above photo, and then put it on the NYPD’s Facebook page Tuesday night.

DePrimo, in interviews Thursday, seems stunned by the attention, and also seems like a really good guy; he repeatedly praised his parents and grandparents for raising him right, and giving him the kind of values that led to him exhibiting this great act of kindness.
You just wish it wasn’t so remarkable, that there weren’t hundreds, no, thousands of homeless people all over the city who also need a little help. And some clean shoes and socks to wear.

Great job, Office DePrimo.

**This is very simple: Dogs and babies, naturally cute and best friends. Guaranteed to make you smile (unless you hate dogs and babies, and if so, please leave this blog immediately and don’t come back.)
**Finally, a heartwarming story from my friend Jon Wertheim at Sports Illustrated, about NFL player Scott Wells, and he and his wife overcoming personal tragedy and adopting three orphans from Uganda.
Always a good reminder to be grateful for what you have.
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The people at the gym who bother me.An awesome photo of a storm on Saturn. And Duke guts out a big win over Ohio State


Until this winter, it had been a long time since I’d belonged to a gym.
So I had forgotten how many odd and annoying characters that are found there.

For example, just Wednesday night I noticed Guy Who is Way Too Impressed With Himself. This species of man walks around and checks himself out in the mirror every chance he gets. Dude, your biceps haven’t gotten bigger in the last four minutes.

I also like Guy Who Is Trying to Look Like He Knows What He’s Doing. This dude walks over to every piece of equipment and looks around for a minute, then starts working out. And then there’s the Guy Who is Way Too Intense, grunting with every rep and slamming the weights down when he’s done. Lay off the GNC supplements, pal.
There are some strange females at the gym, too; I like the Woman on Treadmill Who Refuses to Use a Towel. I was next to a girl the other day where the sweat was pouring off her, like Albert Brooks in Broadcast News, and she had a nice fresh towel right in front of her. But nope, she wanted to keep sweatin.’

And that’s not even getting into the odd things that happen in the locker rooms. Health clubs are just strange, strange places.

**Here’s something you don’t see every day. Check out this bizarre photo of the planet Saturn in the middle of a storm at its North Pole. I love scientific photos like this; check out the detail of the clouds that the NASA spacecraft Cassini was able to get with the photo.

Way cool. Also, if you’re stoned right now, stare at that photo for 5 minutes and you’ll feel even more stoned.

**Finally, after a fantastic start to the season, my Duke boys ran into a brick wall Wednesday night, named Ohio State. And really, a loss wouldn’t have been too unexpected. The Buckeyes are a Top-5 team, Duke was coming off three-games-in-three days last week, and they looked dead in trailing by eight at halftime.

But man, what a beautiful second half comeback. Mason Plumlee has made the greatest leap from junior season to senior season that I’ve ever seen from a Duke player. The guy is a monster now (and that alley-oop, above, was sick.)
Quinn Cook was playing way too fast and excited in the first half, but he settled down and was fabulous in the second half. He’s exactly the point guard Duke didn’t have last year.

I loved Rasheed Sulaimon, the freshman guard, too; he totally carried the team for parts of the second-half comeback.

Man, Ohio State is really good; I think they’re a Final Four team in March.

But this Duke team… starting to get really excited about them. They play together, they play defense, and different guys are stepping up every night. They’ve now got three big wins over three Top 5 teams… pretty sweet before December.

Very pumped up for this college basketball season. All you Duke haters, let’s hear you.

The most important man in 20th century sports dies. A Krispy Kreme employee goes above and beyond.. A very cool hoops trick-shot video.

In 1999, ESPN did this very cool “SportsCentury” series, where they counted down the top 100 athletes of the last 100 years.
If they had extended that list to the most important people in sports from 1900-99, one man would definitely have been in the Top 5, if not No. 1.

He didn’t play one down in the NFL, hit one jump shot in the NBA, or drive in any runs on the baseball field.
But I would argue Marvin Miller, who died Tuesday at 95, was more important than any athlete. Miller was the skilled lawyer who, in the late 1960s and early 1970s became a powerful force in baseball, unifying the players and taking on the owners and changing sports forever.

Before Miller, there was no free agency. Players were bound to their teams until the teams traded them, or cut them. Salaries were a joke; ownership had complete control.

Miller changed all that, first with Curt Flood and the reserve clause, then with free agency’s fight.
He made the baseball union so powerful that it was a model for other unions in America, and strengthened core values for America’s working class.

It’s a disgrace that Marvin Miller isn’t in the Baseball Hall of Fame; he fell one vote short of induction in 2010. Obviously the powers that run baseball are still a little angry, or maybe forgetful, at how important Miller was in the sport’s history.

Marvin Miller changed the world, and every sports fan in America today ought to be thankful he did.

Two really well-written appreciations of Miller are here, if you’d like to learn more about him: Jon Wertheim’s piece on SI.com is here, and Joe Posnanski writes about Miller’s achievements, and his feistiness to the end, here.

**Kyle Singler is a former Dukie so of course I love him, and always will be a fan of his.
But even if you hate Duke and all that it stands for, you have to admit this is pretty cool. Singler, now with the Detroit Pistons, put together this terrific trick-shot video shot in and around Detroit.
I don’t know how many tries that last shot took, but it’s different than anything I’ve ever seen.

**Finally, this story just made me smile Tuesday. I love Krispy Kreme donuts, as all red-blooded Americans who have tried one also do. Haven’t had one in years, but this story made me want one. Or at least, made me want to meet one of their employees, Jackie.

The story is this: A Texas man named Jia Jiang has a serious fear of rejection. So he’s trying to overcome that by spending the next 100 days making “crazy requests” of random strangers, so that they’ll say no, and he’ll get used to being rejected.

OK, I agree it’s nuts, but hey, strange people make our world interesting. So anyway, on his third day Jiang walks into a Krispy Kreme store in Austin, Texas and asks for a five-donut combination display that are colored and shaped like Olympic rings.

Ninety-nine store managers out of 100 would tell him no and then call the police or something. But not Jackie; she actually came through and worked her tail off to make Jiang happy.

Check out the video below… Krispy Kreme needs to give this woman a raise.

“Flight” is a compelling movie, but I’m not sure it was good. “Homeland” makes my head spin. And Tyler Hicks’ amazing photos of Gaza

Sometimes you go to a movie and as the credits role, you can’t stop smiling at how good it was, and you don’t want to get up and ruin the moment.
Othertimes you go to a movie and it’s so disappointing that you want to run out of the theater the minute it’s finished.
And then there are times like I experienced last weekend, after “Flight.” I sat there kind of dumbfounded, trying to decide in my own head whether I liked it or not, and whether it was any good.

There were lots of good parts; if you have seen it already you’d probably agree. Denzel Washington was terrific as pilot Whip Whitaker, the plane in a storm sequence in the beginning was beautifully shot, and John Goodman, well, he’s just jolly good fun whenever he’s on screen these days. I thought the way they showed Whip’s inner demons, his wild mood swings thanks to alcohol, and his troubled relationship with his son were all spot-on.

But there were some really strange holes in the plot, and odd decisions made, too. Like what the point was of the redhead Nicole, other than to give Whip someone to play off of? She disappears halfway through the movie and isn’t missed one bit?
And the whole final scene with the NTSB lady Ellen Block just played out really oddly to me, like nobody knew exactly where she was going with her line of questioning, including Ellen Block herself.

Still, if you haven’t seen it, I tentatively recommend “Flight.” If nothing else, you get to see John Goodman in two or three hilarious scenes, which is worth the $13 ticket price.

**What another heart-racing, pulse-pounding, what-are-they-gonna-do-next episode of “Homeland.”
I swear, each hour of this show has me scratching my head in confusion, awe, and sheer joy at how good of a show this is.
This week brought lots of questions, including…
— The biggest hole in believability this week was that the CIA was utterly and totally convinced that Nasir would be dumb enough to actually be directly involved in the “homecoming explosion” mission, and that he’d actually be in one of the cars in the parking lot. Why would Nazir take such a risk, when he’s not even sure he can trust our hero Nick Brody anymore? Just seemed like a silly assumption by the CIA.

— So Quinn, after all this time, is actually an assassin hired by a rogue former CIA Agent named Daradell, and he was two seconds from killing Brody in that limo? And who is that baby mama policewoman? And is Quinn going to get back at Saul, now that he knows it was him who interrogated the baby mama? So many fascinating questions around Quinn. He’s become a very interesting character.

So many great things about this episode, including Brody still leaving us guessing as to which side he’s on. I’m even willing to put aside the ridiculousness of Jessica deciding to shtup Mike while her kids are in the next room and they may be killed at any moment. Come on, she can’t be that horny.

Three episodes left, and I have absolutely no idea what will happen. Which I love.

**Finally, I’ve written before about my admiration for my one-time co-worker and current incredible New York Times photographer Tyler Hicks. The man is fearless and brave and a remarkable storyteller with his images, and he was at it again last week in Gaza. Check out this slideshow of images from the awful fighting, and read his thoughts about how he deals with seeing so much devastation every day.

Only

Thinking about death after a trip to the cemetery. The Giants and 49ers look awesome. And Alan Grayson, stirring it up again against Walmart

In between Thanksgiving meals, Thanksgiving leftovers, having my annual Thanksgiving weekend dinner with old friends and all that, I went to two cemeteries last week.

No one I knew died recently; I just went to visit my grandparents. Hadn’t been to their graves in a long time (they’ve all been dead for at least 10 years), but something made me want to visit.

Cemeteries are a strange, strange place. Very quiet, and very still, and especially when you’re there by yourself, you sometimes feel a little silly standing there talking to a piece of granite for a few minutes.

But I think it’s important to visit people who were once so important in your lives, even if they can’t really hear or see you anymore. So I talked to them, and told them about some of the milestones in my life they’d missed: the college I graduated from, the career I had as a journalist, my marriage that failed and the one that’s upcoming that I’m so excited about.

It felt good, almost like visiting an old friend. I wish Larry Lewis and Ruth Lewis and Don Kouvant were still here, to meet my fiance and one day meet some more grandkids.

I miss them very much, but cherish the time I had with them. As I was leaving, I promised them I’d come back and visit soon.

I hope I remember to honor my word.

**While still trying to swallow the bile from the Jets’ loss last Thursday (you know it’s bad when even Fireman Ed decides to quit, I took in some good football Sunday. My usual Monday ramblings…

— Now that looked like the Super Bowl champs on Sunday night. The Giants got their swagger back, Eli looked like Eli again, and they even looked like they could run the ball a little. I’m sure Giants fans will still find ways to complain about Eli, though; funniest thing I heard in a while was last week on WFAN, a caller started his point with “I’m not a big Eli fan, I know he won two Super Bowls … and the Jets fan-host, Joe Benigno, practically sputtered, “You know, I wish I could ever get to a point with my team where I say I’m not that big a fan of a guy who won me two Super Bowls!”

Don’t worry Joe, it won’t ever happen.

— I think Jim Harbaugh is crazy for yanking Alex Smith in the midst of a terrific winning season, but man, this Colin Kaepernick kid looks pretty good. Never thought I’d say this, but maybe the Jets can get Alex Smith for next year?

— I know a lot of obnoxious Steelers fans, so it was nice seeing Charlie Batch and friends screw up so royally Sunday.
— Only a Norv Turner-coached team can give up a 4th and 29 in the 4th quarter. I love me some Norv.

**If you follow politics fairly closely, you probably remember Alan Grayson. He’s a liberal Democrat from Florida who had a pretty eventful one-term in Congress a few years ago, standing up to Republicans, and the Iraq War, but got himself into a whole heap of trouble when he called his 2010 opponent “Taliban Dan” and ended up losing his seat.

Basically, Grayson is someone I admire for speaking his mind, but he goes a little too far sometimes. On Thanksgiving, though, I loved what Grayson did.

Just elected to the House again from a different district, Grayson spent his Turkey Day at a Florida Walmart, handing out turkey sandwiches and reminding Walmart employees how badly they’re treated by not being allowed to unionize. Most Walmart “associates” make around $10 an hour, by the way.

So Grayson gave each employee a paper bag that had three things in it: A turkey sandwich, a bag of chips, and a letter explaining their right to organize.

Much to my shock (yeah, right), Grayson was thrown out of the building.

OK, it was a stunt, but it certainly was worth a try. And the fact that one of the largest employers in America refuses to let its own employees bargain for rights, and get needed protection, is just one of the many, many reasons I am disgusted by Walmart.

Good News Friday: Michael Jackson blows me away in new doc. Andrew Luck makes a 6-year-old cancer patient happy. And the cabbie who returned $900,000.

After enduring about 1 1/2 quarters of some of the most disgusting, disgraceful football you’ll ever see from a team (thanks, New York Jets, for nearly making me hurl what was a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner), I flipped over to ABC at 9:30 p.m. to catch what I hoped would be a terrific show: Spike Lee’s documentary on Michael Jackson’s legendary “Bad” album, from 1987.

It was sensational. It’s been a few years since MJ died so I hadn’t been thinking about him much, but when you think about how phenomenal that “Bad” album was, with five consecutive No. 1 singles, it boggles the mind.
I know there’s no way to measure something like this, but Jackson had to have had the greatest chasm in history between “incredible, once-in-a lifetime talent” and personal demons/screwed-up life.

The documentary, told through the eyes of most of the people who worked on “Bad,” basically illustrated how uniquely talented Jackson was; who knew that among his other many talents, he could’ve sung bass but chose not to? Who knew that he laid down all the harmonies and lead vocals together for his songs?

The man was a true genius, with his feet, with his voice, and with his musical brain.
Other things I learned from this doc, and I highly recommend watching it if ABC put it online…

— After years of wondering, now we all know who the heck “Annie” is, during the highly-addictive “Smooth Criminal” chorus “Annie are you OK?”  She is a CPR dummy that Jackson was working with while learning CPR during the writing of the song. Never in a million years would I have guessed that.
— The model at the end of “The Way You Make Me Feel” video was told not to kiss him at the end because MJ was shy.
–The funniest thing in the doc was seeing Sheryl Crow as a Jackson backup singer, with incredibly big hair. I know it was the 80s, but I never knew Sheryl rocked the Aqua-Net that much.
— Very moving sequence with everyone Lee interviewed getting choked up when talking about Jackson’s death. It’s obvious how almost everyone who worked with him loved and admired him.

We’ll never see anyone like Jackson again, and 25 years after “Bad,” it was great to be reminded of that. Bravo, Spike Lee.

**There are so many reasons to like Indianapolis Colts rookie QB Andrew Luck.
By every account, he’s humble. He graduated from Stanford in three years, but stayed a fourth year because he loved college football so much.
In his rookie season, while trying to replace the legend Peyton Manning in Indianapolis, he’s shown poise and accuracy in stunningly leading the Colts to a 6-4 record so far.

But here’s why I like Andrew Luck today: My good buddy Jeff Pearlman lives next door to a 6-year-old kid named Andrew Cohen, who cruelly suffers from a rare cancer called neuroblastoma.
The poor kid has had a rough life, but last year he took a liking to Andrew Luck, that really good Stanford QB.
Well, thanks to Luck being alerted, he sent Andrew this signed football to help him in his battle.
Look at that kid’s face. And then tell me that athletes aren’t role models, and can’t have an enormous impact with just a small little gesture.

**Finally, here’s to the most honest cabdriver in the world, from Thailand.
A man named Sia Ka Tian returned $900,000 left in his cab this week.

Sia Ka Tian, 70, found the money a vacationing couple left in his cab on Monday, and turned it all in to authorities. The grateful couple gave him a little reward, but I loved Tian’s quote.

“The money is unimportant to me. It doesn’t belong to me, so how can I use it?”

A good soul, that Mr. Tian is.  Now, what the hell that couple was doing with $900,000 in a cab is another matter…

A Happy Thanksgiving to all. The guy who was arrested twice at the exact same time. And Larry David’s family Thanksgiving

Today is my favorite day of the year, just about every year.
I love everything about Thanksgiving: the great food, the good football, the family and friends all being together, no matter what the religion. And of course, one of the funniest movies of all time, “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” being on TV somewhere (Seriously, if you don’t like PTA, I don’t think we can be friends. Every scene in that movie is perfect, including the one above).
Most of all, I love that it reminds us to count our blessings, and be grateful for all that we have.
I know that’ s hard for a lot of people in my neck of the woods this year, in New York, where Hurricane Sandy devastated so many lives.
Still, I hope everyone has plenty to be thankful for this year. For me, this Thanksgiving will be a first, location-wise, as I’m at my wonderful soon-to-be-in laws for my first Turkey Day. As I write this, the aromas coming from the kitchen Wednesday night are enough to tempt any human, but alas, I must wait until tomorrow.

When it will be Thanksgiving.  Wishing all of you a wonderful day, and wishing the Jets a win over the Patriots (yeah, like that will happen. But a man can dream.)

**Been meaning to post about this story for a week and I keep forgetting. I’d say it’s probably never happened before.
So on Nov. 5, the night we all turned our clocks back an hour for Daylight Savings Time, 22-year-old Ohio man Niles Gammons was arrested for driving under the influence. Gammon was going the wrong way up a one-way alley and was stopped at 1:08 a.m., and when he failed the Breathalyzer test, he was arrested and brought to the police station.
The officer gave him a citation, suspended his drivers license, and then released him into the custody of another adult.

Exactly one hour after the first stop, when the clocks had turned back and it was again 1:08 a.m., Gammons got behind the wheel again and nearly rammed into a police cruiser. He was again cited for a DUI and his arrest time read 1:08 a.m.

I mean, what are the odds? DUI is a serious charge and I’m not at all trying to make light of it, but seriously, what are the odds of being arrested twice at the exact same time?

That’s some cosmic time-machine stuff right there.

**Speaking of Thanksgiving, let’s leave it to one of the funniest TV people alive, Larry David, to tell us what it was like at his house on Turkey Day growing up.

A college hoops kid scores 138 points. In one game. The woman who ran her husband over for not voting. And the grave dangers of playing Nintendo

For a quick laugh to start your day, here’s the mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, falling down while trying to throw a football. I’ve watched it 10 times and laugh every time.

So this happened Tuesday night.

A sophomore basketball player at Division III Grinnell (Iowa) College named Jack Taylor scored 138 points in a game.
I didn’t screw that up, that’s not a typo. 138 points.
In one game. Taylor made 52 of 108 shots, including 27-71 3-point attempts. All this in a 40-minute game.

That’s insane. A few words of partial explanation: Grinnell has long been famous in college hoops circles for their frenetic pace; they run and run and jack up 3-pointers all game, happily giving up layups to the other team in the process.

So their games are usually wildly high-scoring (Tuesday’s final was 179-104 over Faith Baptist Bible College), but still, this is unbelievable.
Normally I hate it when an individual record falls in a blowout, because it looks like bad sportsmanship.
But this sounds like it was just an amazing performance from the kid. Check out video from the game, and the boxscore, here.
One hundred and eight shots. I bet Taylor’s elbows are suing the rest of his body for abuse right now.

**I know the election’s been over for a few weeks now, but my friend Clay just sent me this story and I find it somehow pretty disturbing, but a tiny bit patriotic.

A woman in Arizona named Holly Solomon was in despair that Barack Obama got re-elected. So instead of cursing Mitt Romney or just going to bed mad, she ran down her husband with the family car because he failed to vote in the election.

Daniel Solomon, 36, was in critical condition at a local hospital, but is expected to survive, Gilbert police spokesman Sergeant Jesse Sanger said.
I’ve heard of crazy women running over their husbands before, but for not exercising their civic duty, this seems a bit extreme.

But hey, Mrs. Solomon really, really believes in freedom, you know.

**Finally, a scary news flashback from the 1990s from SI.com’s Hot Clicks: A serious news report warning of the major dangers to kids of Nintendo. I love the grave seriousness of the announcer’s voice… hilarious.

“Homeland” torturing Brody mentally, and now Nazir’s back. A football legend you’ve never heard of retires. And Key and Peele make me laugh


Too depressed thinking about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to write about it tonight, maybe tomorrow. All I’ll say tonight is this: How many of these occasional flare-ups are we going to see before all-out war really happens? And there’s no turning back once all-out war commences. So depressing. Now, onto the fake terrorists that delight me on Showtime each Sunday night…

Damien Lewis is such a terrific actor on “Homeland” that there are scenes where I truly have no idea whether he’s on board with being a CIA double-agent trying to stop terrorism or not, just by looking at his eyes.
The man has such an expressive face, that Brody can show several emotions at once, and lately, most of his expressions have been confusion and rage. The guy really has had to endure so damn much lately.

I  thought Sunday night’s episode was stellar, even the really creepy “everyone back at the CIA bunker listening to Brody and Carrie having sex” scene. (And poor Saul, you just know that had to kill his soul just a little.)

Brody lost it about two or three times Sunday, but there was his stalker crush/psychologically brilliant partner in this show, Carrie, there to put him back together.
I loved how the show dealt with Brody’s “capture” by Roya and the other bad dude whose name we don’t know yet, though I’m really surprised Quinn didn’t just OK his guys picking up the two terrorists when they had the chance (I know that would’ve ruined the ongoing plot, but still).

I continue to be amazed at how good Clare Danes is, and don’t believe her for a second when she tells Saul she’s got everything under control this time. Bitch be crazy for that Brody.

I also thought the Dana/hit and run storyline finally made some sense, and that I’m glad they’re giving Brody’s wife Jessica some more to do this year.
And now, Nazir’s back. Face-to-face with Brody. Can the future vice-president lie convincingly to the man who saved him? Does Brody turn full-on terrorist again, ignoring his bizarre lust for Carrie?

This show has three more episodes this season to tie us up in knots. What a fantastic, well-crafted piece of work.

**With any luck (and the speed and efficiency of the New York City Dept. of Education), I may start substitute teaching in the city public schools soon.
I would hope my first day wouldn’t go like this; it’s from the Comedy Centeral show “Key & Peele,” and it cracked me up toward the end…

**Finally, it’s hard to believe that someone as successful and smart as John Gagliardi can live so much of his career in the shadows, but that’s what he’s done.
If you’ve never heard of Gagliardi, you’re not alone, but he is definitely worth knowing about.
For the past 64 years, he’s been the head football coach at St. John’s (Minn.) College, a Division III team. He won 489 games and four national championships, with a delightfully unconventional style.

The man had few rules for his program, and the ones he did have were wildly different from the neanderthal policies of most successful coaches:
He didn’t believe in tackling in practice, fearing injury and not believing it was necessary.  Gagliardi never used a whistle in practice, and he demanded his players call him “John,” instead of “Coach.”

He also didn’t let players use words like “hit” or “kill,” and never cut anyone who wanted to be on the Johnnies team, meaning sometimes they had a roster of 200.

“I eliminate the unnecessary,” Gagliardi once told the L.A. Times. “And I think almost everything is unnecessary.”

He was a simple man who loved his job and never dreamed of chasing the brighter lights of big-time sports. He announced his retirement on Monday, at age 86, and I envy that he was able to coach so long, doing something he loved, and on his own terms. (Think of how Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden exited; this is a lot cleaner and happier).

I first learned of Gagliardi in 2003 thanks to this terrific Austin Murphy story in Sports Illustrated. Read it and realize that some of us really do get satisfaction in doing what we love, well, for decades.
And that we don’t all need the glory.

Some thoughts on the AMA’s from a confused, out-of-touch fan. The Jets look like a real football team! And a Twinkie commercial from the ’70s

I know almost nothing about current music.
I follow it very little, and most of what I learn is from my fiancee, who has introduced me to cool bands like Mumford and Sons and The Lumineers, and my friend Bill Werde on Twitter (he runs Billboard magazine), who at least teaches me one or two things a week.

Still, I’m really naive and uninformed when it comes to current tunes. Yet, I have fond childhood memories of the American Music Awards, watching Paula Abdul (my all-time No. 1 childhood celebrity crush), Boyz II Men, and Guns N’ Roses perform.

So I watched a little of Sunday night’s show, and herewith, my snap judgments:

— Was Justin Bieber trying to look like Vanilla Ice Sunday, or was that just a happy accident? I get that he’s trying to be like Usher but man, he looked kinda silly in the backwards hat. And stop grabbing your crotch so much, son. Only Michael Jackson looked cool doing that.

— I thought Pink and her whole “performance art” thing was pretty cool, and the song “Try” is definitely one of the best on her new album.
–Really, Carly Rae Jepson gets “Best New Artist?” For her one song? Somewhere, even Milli Vanilli are laughing.
–Gwen Stefani still looks amazing, and her voice was as good as ever. Always happy to see her perform.
— Whereas Nikki Minaj makes Lady Gaga look like a shy, reserved wallflower.
— Finally, the AMA’s made me miss Dick Clark, who founded them. Great to see Stevie Wonder do a little tribute to the man who was so influential in music history.

**The New York Jets looked like a real football team Sunday, and that was only about the fourth-most surprising thing that happened on a crazy-exciting day in the NFL.
Proves you never can tell what you’re going to get in this league: At 1 p.m. it looked like a pretty bad slate of games, and yet at 3:55 p.m. I had my head on a swivel at the sports bar, watching three games go into overtime.
First, a few words on my Jets. It’d been 35 long days since they’d won. And thankfully, they were playing St. Louis, who isn’t very good, either.

But there were lots of good things for the green and white Sunday: Mark Sanchez played mistake-free, efficient football, they ran the ball well, and the defense, after the opening drive, was outstanding.
I still expect Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum to get canned after the season, and for the team to finish 5-11, but it was nice to see the Jets actually play a complete game for once.

Elsewhere in the NFL…

— Insane shootout between Jacksonville and Houston. Andre Johnson, you are an incredible football player. 273 receiving yards and the game-winning TD in OT? Beautiful. But that Texans defense ought to be ashamed, giving up 37 points to Chad Henne.
— Everyone in the bar was rooting like hell for Cleveland to knock off the Cowboys, and they almost did it before falling in OT. “Almost” is a word Browns fans have heard for a long time, but they really killed themselves with penalties in the fourth quarter.
— If I’m an Atlanta Falcons fan, I’d be really nervous right now.
— So glad the Steelers again wore the ugliest uniforms in the history of the world Sunday night (above).
— Finally, not NFL but a college football thought: So Kansas State and Oregon lost, and now Notre Dame and one-loss Alabama are the top 2 teams. Once again,   if someone can explain to me why one-loss ‘Bama is more deserving of a national title shot than one-loss Oregon, I’m all ears. College football is such a mess when it comes to determining a champion.

**Finally today, as you surely have heard by now, Hostess is going out of business, and the world will no longer get to enjoy the delicious goodness that are Twinkies.
It’s hilarious that people are buying up boxes of Twinkies and selling them on eBay, like they’re a real collector’s item.
Saw this commercial on the Web this weekend and made me want one more. Just one more, though, because as a grown-up I realize how gross they are.