Monthly Archives: June 2013

Good News Friday: 2 short videos to make you feel good about marriage. And the paraplegic surfer: a tale of courage and will

Man, good news breaking out all over the place this week. Thursday an actual real, live, immigration reform bill was passed in the Senate, and my Brooklyn Nets made an outstanding (albeit one-sided) trade to get future Hall of Famers Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett from the Celtics).

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Happy Friday. Since marriage, and who’s allowed to get married (now everyone can, says the Supremes) has been so much in the news this week, wanted to start off today with a story and a clip both highlighting the awesomeness of love.

First, meet 81-year-old Cynthia Riggs, a mystery writer who lives on Martha’s Vineyard. Sixty years ago she had a friendship with a man she worked with in San Diego, and after losing touch for six decades, well, he found her in an unusual way. Enjoy this short piece from the always-excellent “CBS Sunday Morning.” So sweet…

**Next, a compilation of stories from one of one of my favorite movies of all-time (Top 10, no doubt, in my book), with some brilliant and hilarious tales of love (sadly, these are not real people, just actors, but the stories they’re telling are allegedly real).

“Nine extra floors…” so good.

**Finally, on a non-marriage front, check out this incredible story of an Australian surfer named Pascale Honore who, despite being a paraplegic, has still managed to find a unique way to keep her love of surfing alive.

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Supreme Court defends sanctity of marriage for all. And a streak ends shockingly for Federer on crazy day at Wimbledon.

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Finally.

On the very last day of its year, the Supreme Court did a hell of a thing on Wednesday:
It acknowledged what those of us in the 21st century have known forever: That the act of marriage requires only two people who are in love and are committed to each other.

That’s it. That’s all marriage is. But for so long, and through so many long fights, same-sex couples have been forced to swallow the idea that they were unworthy of being married, that it was only reserved for “those people,” of opposite genders.

What the Court did Wednesday, in striking down the odious Defense of Marriage Act (and let that please remain a stain on Bill Clinton’s reputation as President; it makes me sick when Dems in revisionist history terms recall the “liberal” side of Bubba) and turning back a challenge to the legal overturning of California’s Prop 8, is simply and clearly say that the federal government deciding who gets to marry whom is not kosher.

I know the fight isn’t over; there are still 37 states that don’t allow gay marriage. But Wednesday was another huge, more than symbolic brick crashing down from a wall of intolerance that has stood for far too long.

Bravo to the Supreme Court.

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*While the Supreme Court was making history, my man-crush Roger Federer was making history of his own, in a bad way.

For the first time in nine years our man Rog was knocked out of a Grand Slam tournament before the quarterfinals, an astonishing streak of consistency (36 straight tournaments he made the final 8; that’s mind-bogglingly good). In keeping with the bizarreness of the first week of Wimbledon, Fed lost to someone named Sergiy Stakhovsky, a player ranked out of the Top 100 (and the first time Roger has lost to someone that low since 2005).

Wednesday was maybe the wackiest day ever at Wimbledon; besides Federer, Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka, and Jo-Willie Tsonga all either lost or had to pull out with injury.

What does this mean? It means Andy Murray will never have a better chance to win Wimbledon.

It also means that without Federer and Nadal, Wimbledon got a little less compelling.

12-year-old girl kicked off football team for ridiculous reason. An alarm clock that will cost you money, literally. And the CBC wraps up the hockey season beautifully

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I try not to let myself get outraged by news stories in late June. I mean, it’s the summer, school’s out (no more subbing for me for a while!), and there’s rarely reason to get all hot and bothered.

Then I read about the story of 12-year-old Madison Baxter, an aspiring young football player at Strong Mountain Christian Academy outside of Atlanta, Ga. Madison was recently kicked off her football team, but not because the boys were too big for her and she was getting hurt, and not because she couldn’t keep up with them, skill-wise.

Why was Madison kicked off the team and not allowed to try out in 7th grade?
Because her male teammates are beginning to have “impure thoughts” about her, Strong Rock Christian Academy school administrator Patrick Stuart told Baxter’s mother.

“In the meeting with the CEO of the school [Patrick Stuart], I was told that the reasons behind it were one, that the boys were going to start lusting after her and have impure thoughts about her and that the locker-room talk was not appropriate for a female to hear even though she had a separate locker room from the boys,” Baxter’s mother, Cassy Blythe, told Atlanta’s WXIA-TV.

I mean, really? That’s a reason to discriminate, because the pre-teen boys are having feelings for her?

Just awful. It sure as hell isn’t Baxter’s fault that she’s a girl, and the idea that administrators cave to this kind of ridiculousness, and find another way to exclude girls from football, is just so, so wrong.

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**And now, a product for people like me that are downright impossible to drag from bed when the alarm goes off.

When all else fails, a man in Seattle named Rich Olson has invented an alarm clock that will literally cost you money if you roll over and go back to sleep.

Here’s how it works: You put some money, maybe a dollar bill, let’s say, into your alarm clock the night before. Then, when you wake up the next morning, if you refuse to turn off the alarm within a few minutes, it begins shredding your money.

Now… I have a lot of problems with this device; first of all, who the hell is going to remember to put money in their alarm clock? And second, if you do remember, are you really going to put $20 in? Imagine doing that and then sleeping in. Then you’re late and poorer.

Still, God bless Mr. Olson for trying to fix this age-old problem. Me, I’d rather sleep and be late (although my favorite alarm clock ever was one my aunt got me as a kid; it was a baseball alarm clock and to turn it off, you threw it against the wall across the room. Man, did I have fun with that thing.)

**Finally, for loyal reader Mark M. and the other hockey fans like me who are in mourning now that the Stanley Cup playoffs are over, here’s the CBC with yet another awesome playoff montage.
Best sport there is, played by the toughest athletes anywhere. Can’t wait till next season.

A bewildering season finale of “Mad Men.” Rafa Nadal, shocked at Wimbledon again. And a Wallenda does the impossible

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Big congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks and their fans for winning their second Stanley Cup in the last four years, in stunning fashion Monday night. Down 2-1 to the Bruins with 1:30 to go in the third period, Chicago scored twice in the last 1:19 to win. Amazing stuff. This photo just about sums up what it means to win the Cup, don’t you think?

“Mad Men” is a show that alternately delights, frustrates and angers me. It’s brilliant and wonderful and annoying and just a hell of a lot of fun to watch, especially this season, when it seemed like Matthew Weiner finally let some characters change and learn from past behavior.

Sunday night’s season finale (SPOILER ALERT! IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT YET, SKIP DOWN TO THE RAFAEL NADAL TENNIS PHOTO.) was very surprising, but still frustrating.
Don Draper, still as loathsome as ever, appears to have made a major breakthrough. He quit drinking cold turkey, actually did something selfless by letting Ted go to California to save his marriage (instead of Don going there to save his marriage), and actually owned up to who he really is in a huge pitch meeting with Hershey, and with his kids. Of course, he ended up getting “fired” by his partners, so maybe lying was the better way to go.
Pete Campbell, my favorite character to hate on the show, is also in bad shape, and he brought it all on himself too. (His “Not great, Bob!” in the elevator killed me with laughter).
I feel badly. for Peggy, once again loved and left by men she adored. I thought the finale gave us some sweet moments with Joan and Roger, who just seem destined to end up together, don’t they?
And Sally Draper, God bless her, continues to be awesome as a rebellious teen. Is there any doubt she’ll be selling drugs at her boarding school and listening to the Grateful Dead by next season?
Overall I thought this season was one of the best the show has had; they allowed the “real” 1960s to happen to these characters, and the writing was fantastic.
“Mad Men” has only one year left. I hope next year is just as good as this one.
And I hope Pete Campbell is never, ever happy.

nadal-wre0010155677-20130624**Last year was shocking.
This year, maybe even more so.
For the second year in a row, Rafael Nadal is going home from Wimbledon before the grass has even started to get chewed up.
I wouldn’t have believed it unless I saw it myself, but the great Spaniard spit the bit at Wimbledon again Monday, losing in the first round to a Belgian named Steve Darcis (I follow tennis very closely and even I’ve never heard of this dude).

Maybe it was a case of Nadal’s knees hurting again, with him playing too much tennis this year. Or maybe Darcis just caught fire and played the most beautiful tennis he’s ever played for about two hours.

Whatever it was, Wimbledon just got a whole lot easier for Andy Murray and Roger Federer, who could’ve had to play Nadal before the final (And say this for Federer, as tennis writer Greg Couch did on Twitter: He doesn’t lose to journeymen like Darcis at Slams. Not ever.).

Now it looks like we might get a Federer-Murray semi, which would be delicious.
As for Nadal, I really hope he’s not hurt again. The sport is so much better with him in it.

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**Finally, hope you all saw the insane stunt Nik Wallenda pulled Sunday night on the Discovery Channel, as he wire-walked 1,400 feet across the Grand Canyon, while 1,500 feet off the ground (that’s higher than the Empire State Building, FYI).

I watched it Monday after I knew he had made it safely, and I still had my heart in my throat as he walked. I enjoyed the calming commentary from Wallenda’s father, the incredible aerial views from the helicopter above, and the sheer chutzpah and courage it takes to do something like this.

But Nik Wallenda is nuts. And the Discovery Channel is even crazier for televising this. If he had fallen and died, on live television? A tragedy of the highest order.

He made it, so everyone breathed a sigh of relief. But what a crazy, insanely risky thing for Wallenda to put his family through every time he does something like this.

Barack Obama, sinking lower and lower with Syria/NSA decisions. Trampoline cliff diving? Sure. Will the Cup be awarded tonight?

I know I have only myself to blame for getting my hopes up. That in his second term Barack Obama would be a better, more decisive, more “2008” Obama than we saw in his first term.

But boy oh boy, have I been wildly disappointed. Over the last couple of weeks two major news items have shown that for many reasons Obama is failing miserably at being the kind of President millions of us hoped for.

First, the NSA data collection debacle. Oh, I know the NSA isn’t really listening to our phone calls and hearing about Aunt Ida’s trip to the Grand Canyon (random tangent: did you see that Wallenda dude walk across the Canyon on a wire last night on Discovery Channel? Insanely cool) or your hatred of your boss at work.

And I know there are legit national security grounds for data-mining some of our calls.
But this whole operation is wildly invasive and totally over the top; it reeks of what George W. Bush did during his term, and we liberals have been invoking that comparison way too often lately.

As the excellent Glenn Greenwald has been writing, prosecuting NSA leaker Edward Snowden for espionage, for God’s sakes, is ridiculous and wrong. As Greenwald points out, the Obama administration has doubled the number of espionage prosecutions in the entire history of the U.S., in just the last 4 1/2 years.

Then, Syria. Another American president, getting us deeper and deeper into a war with no end in sight, and helping arm a group of rebels who look just as dangerous and menacing as the Syrian army they’re fighting.

Obama swore up and down not to get the U.S. involved in “wars of choice.” Well, Syria is a war of choice, and like his choices on so many other issues, Obama has now made the wrong one.

Just so disappointing.

**And now, add this one to the list of sports I will never in a million years try. I present to you, trampoline cliff diving. These people are nuts…

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**Finally today, it’s a big night in the world of sports because the most awesome trophy in sports may be awarded tonight.
Through five games, the Stanley Cup Finals have been nothing short of spectacular. The Bruins and Blackhawks have played hard-hitting, compelling, intense hockey for five games, and I expect nothing less tonight when the Blackhawks try to finish the B’s off.

Saturday’s Game 5 was the nastiest of the series; the Bruins are awfully lucky Johnny Boychuk (and if that isn’t a great hockey name, I don’t know what is) didn’t get suspended for his vicious hit on Chicago captain Jonathan Toews the other night, though the B’s are likely without their best player, Patrice Bergeron, as well.

I’m rooting for Chicago in this series but honestly, I’m hoping it goes seven games. The hockey has been too good for it to end tonight.

And yes, I’ve found another excuse to run the photo (above) of me hanging with Lord Stanley, in 2005. Truly one of the Top 5 moments of my journalism career!

Good News Friday: Jerry Seinfeld, still really funny. NYC’ers show their creative and lazy side. And the most awesome sign-language interpreter ever

Jerry Seinfeld has been funny forever, back when my family and I would go to Westbury Music Fair on Long Island and watch him perform in front of a few thousand people and wonder, “Why isn’t this guy more famous? He’s terrific!”

Of course, he kind of got a little famous from this TV show he did.

Anyway, what I admire about Seinfeld these days is he’s a man who has all the money and career success you could want, yet he’s still out there doing stand-up, coming up with funny new material. He’s just a guy who still loves telling jokes, even when he doesn’t need to. He risks NOT being funny and tarnishing his rep, but he doesn’t care.

He was on Jimmy Fallon the other night and killed, as usual. His bit about golf was hilarious, especially to a golf-hater like myself.
Enjoy.

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**Next up, I tip my cap to the ingenuity of my fellow New Yorkers, which sort of counts as good news since I love it when citizens get around what the government wants.
What am I talking about? All over New York the last few weeks CitiBikes have popped up. This is the brainchild of our mayor forever Mike Bloomberg and Citibank, and basically it’s a bike-sharing service all over the city where people can swipe their debit card at any of 600 stations in the five boroughs, borrow a bike to get somewhere, then return it to another station.

Pretty simple, but my fellow Manhattanites have come up with a twist on this idea: Instead of going to a health club and paying hundreds of bucks a month to ride a stationary bike, they are going to the bike rental stations, leaving the bikes locked, and then riding them in place for a half hour for free.

Only catch? You can only ride the bikes backwards while they’re locked in place.
Still, it’s a hell of a workout.

**Finally today, something totally out of left field that made me smile (hat tip to my friend and fellow Blue Hen Rachel C. for pointing me to this). Check out this woman at the bottom right of the screen, a sign-language interpreter named Holly is totally translating the, um, un-clean lyrics of Wu-Tang Clan at a recent music festival.

Holly is totally into it!

James Gandolfini, gone too soon. CNN, sinking lower and lower. And Donnie Baseball, back in the Bronx

What an incredible hockey game Wednesday night. 6-5, Blackhawks over Bruins in OT, in a game with more twists and turns than Space Mountain. The last 2 nights of sports is why we watch. So good…

“The Sopranos” was a television show that was like an epic movie in a lot of ways; every week there was so much drama and plot twists and brilliant acting that you were sometimes exhausted on Sunday nights, from all the concentration required and subtext searching.

At the center of it all was a heavyset character actor who was pretty unknown to most of the world before 2000. But James Gandolfini quickly became a huge star, and man, could he act.
Tony Soprano commanded every single scene he was in. You couldn’t take your eyes off him, particularly when he sat smoldering at some perceived (or real) slight.

Gandolfini was good in other roles, too; he was a brilliant villian in a small role in “True Romance,” and I really liked him in an HBO movie a few years ago.

But just like Carroll O’Connor will always be Archie Bunker and Sherman Helmsley will always be George Jefferson, Gandolfini will always be Tony, philandering husband of Carmela, and father to screwed-up kids Meadow and A.J. You rooted for him against your will, because you knew he wasn’t someone worth emulating. But still, you ended up rooting for him/.

The news Wednesday that Gandolfini had died at 51 just seemed so wrong. From all accounts his death came out of nowhere; he wasn’t sick or anything.
Rest in peace, James.

For a terrific piece about Gandolfini, check out TV critic Alan Sepinwall’s wonderful tribute here.

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**I really don’t like making fun of CNN so often, since I used to really love the channel.
But when they do stuff like this (above), how can I NOT make fun of them?
Somewhere, Bernard Shaw is violently shaking in anger.

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**Had a very fun Wednesday afternoon; went to Yankee Stadium with my father-in-law to see, for the first time in 32 years, Yankees-Dodgers in the Bronx.
And oh yeah, my childhood hero was managing the visiting team in the other dugout.
It was beyond strange for me seeing Donald Arthur Mattingly of Evansville, Ind. wearing the iconic blue and white of the Dodgers. I know he’s been manager there for three years and hasn’t played for the Yankees since 1995, but to be in Yankee Stadium and see my idol on the other side… just really surreal.

Happily, everything worked out well. Donnie Baseball got a big ovation from  the crowd when he came out with the lineup card before the game, and the Yanks did the right thing by showing a video tribute to Mattingly’s career during the game.

After both, Mattingly tipped his cap and waved to the fans.
It’s hard for Yankees fans under 25 to appreciate this, but for Bombers fans like me who grew up in the 1980s and early 1990s, Mattingly was all we had. The team was horrendous, and there was little hope for the future.

But we had sweet-swinging No. 23, and he was a reason to watch.
So glad to see him back at the Stadium. I’d rather see him managing the Yankeees, but hey, I’ll take what I can get.

LeBron and the Heat survive in an NBA classic. A Spanish town figures out the public dog-poop problem. And introducing Rib Stain camo gear

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What. A. Game.

I’m not a fan of either the Miami Heat or San Antonio Spurs. I used to have a man-crush on LeBron but now I just admire his incredible talent, and I’ve always appreciated the lunch-pail work ethic and greatness of Tim Duncan.
But really, it didn’t matter much to me who won Tuesday night’s epic Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

And still, I was on the edge of my seat, screaming and pulling my (limited) hair out with every twist and turn.
That was a phenomenal NBA Finals game Tuesday night. I have no idea how the hell the Heat pulled out a 103-100 overtime win, when it looked for so long like the Spurs were headed to yet another NBA title.
LeBron, after being mortal all night, tosses his headband aside in the 4th quarter and became superhuman again. Duncan, great all night, could do nothing in the 4th quarter and overtime.

And poor Chris Bosh, who gets way too much blame when the Heat lose, came up with a couple of huge blocked shots in the final minute of OT.
Couple other thoughts:

— How good is Tony Parker? Imagine what would’ve been if the Spurs had traded him for Jason Kidd back in 2003, like they almost did. Would they have more titles, or fewer?
— The officiating was, predictably, awful, though I think the basketball might be the hardest sport to officiate. The Spurs’ Manu Ginobili absolutely got fouled at the end of overtime on his drive to the hoop, but he traveled also, so I guess it’s a wash. So many missed calls in this game.
— Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy are really an outstanding announcing team. I’d listen to them call anything.
— I haven’t seen much of this series, having been on the honeymoon, but it sounds like last night was the first “great” game of the Finals. I have no idea what’ll happen in Game 7, but I’m not betting against Tim Duncan. I say Spurs win by 3, even after that crushing loss last night.

**Time for our regular installment of “There’s no possible way this product could be real, except it is.”

Do you have a problem getting stains on your shirts while eating ribs? Well worry no more, my friend (By the way, this would’ve been a perfect Father’s Day gift for my dad if I knew about it before Sunday.)

**Finally today, I love what the Spanish town of Brunete is doing about a problem we all encounter every day: dog poop on the streets.
When Brunete police officers catch a dog-owner allowing the feces to stay on the sidewalk and forcing the rest of us to avoid stepping in it, they’ve come up with a novel solution:

They’re mailing the poop back to the owners.
How are they doing this? Get the full details here, but basically it involves spying and some good ole’ fashioned detective work.

I love it. Would love to see the careless owners’ faces when their “package” arrives in the mail.

Then again, I do feel pretty badly for the postal workers who have to deliver it.

June 17 and the anniversary of the O.J. chase. More Hawaii thoughts. And Miss Utah, oh, Miss Utah.

There are some anniversaries that are indelible in your mind: Your wedding anniversary, the day JFK got assassinated, etc.
But Monday, June 17 was an anniversary of another kind: The day reality TV got born.
Because on June 17, 1994, O.J. Simpson and his best buddy A.C. Cowlings took America on a freeway chase that 95 million people watched. (A tip of the cap to my friend Lisa, who reminded me that June 17 is also the great Barry Manilow’s birthday. From all your Fanilows, Barry, you are still the man.)

Like most of you who were alive then, I remember exactly where I was that day. I was still euphoric over the Rangers having won the Stanley Cup three days earlier, and I was hope from college for the summer and watching the Rangers’ Stanley Cup parade that day.
Later that night my Dad and I planned to watch the Knicks-Rockets NBA Finals Game 5 together, when early in the game all hell broke loose.
Suddenly Tom Brokaw was breaking in saying O.J. was on the 5 Freeway in California, with 100 police cars after him, with a gun to his head after allegedly killing his ex-wife and lover a few days earlier.

It was incredible. The chase went on and on, and you were afraid to look away from the TV. The newscasters had no idea what was going on, NBC split the screen for a while between the chase and the game, and all I wanted to do was watch that lone car going down the highway.

Of course we know what happened; O.J. eventually got out of the car, went on the trial of the century, and was somehow found not guilty.
But really, that was the day reality TV was born. Everybody was glued to their sets, pre-Internet, waiting to see if one of the most famous football players ever who may have been a murderer, was going to surrender or kill himself.
It doesn’t get much more real than that.

The fantastic ESPN documentary “June 17, 1994” (check out the trailer above) has great footage of that day; the whole movie is on YouTube here, I highly recommend checking it out.
Anyway, hope everyone had a great “OJ chase” anniversary.

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**OK, since I couldn’t get my Hawaii honeymoon all out of my system in one day, I have a few more thoughts to share from my just-completed trip.

— Definitely the most fun/scariest thing we did was ziplining through a rainforest on Kauai. I had ziplined (zipped?) before, but my wife hadn’t. It was thrilling and terrifying all at once; the best of the 3 ziplines we did was 1,800 feet long, where you traveled 65 miles per hour across the line for about 80 seconds. Me, who’s scared of heights, thought it was great as long as I didn’t look down.
The feeling of flying through the air is really, really cool.
— Other favorite activity we did was a night manta ray snorkel, where we saw these huge manta rays swim right up to us. (here’s a manta ray). They’re totally harmless but it was still squeal-provoking.
— Interacting with so many tour guide employees in Hawaii, I noticed they must possess a ton of patience to deal with the public every day. I asked one guy named Noel what the dumbest question he ever got from a customer was.
“Probably the lady who, when we went to a shrimp farm, asked if shrimp grow on trees or on bushes,” Noel said. (His reply: “They grow on trees, because we all know crabs grow on bushes.” Took me a few seconds to get that joke.)
— A fun game on your honeymoon: Count how many times the hotel staff calls you by your name. If I heard “Mr. Lewis” one more time I thought I would scream. Good thing I’m not a teacher or anything where I hear my name a lot.
Oh, wait…
— Finally, luaus. They’re just weird. I liked the dancing and the fire-eating and all that, but I had no idea what was going on on stage most of the time. Still, the food was great.

**Finally today, it’s been a while since we’ve seen a clip of a truly clueless beauty pageant contestant. We all remember Miss South Carolina and her lack of even basic speaking skills.
Well, now we have a new entrant into the club, Miss Utah, Merissa Powell. She was asked at the Miss USA pageant over the weekend what I thought to be a pretty straightforward question about women in the workplace, and Miss Utah, well, you need to watch to truly appreciate its wretchedness.

And you know, I saw a lot of people defending her on the Web today, saying “oh, she’s a beauty pageant contestant, what do you expect?” and “she was nervous, etc.”
But I’m sorry, just because you’re beautiful doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to know stuff, or have opinions on something like women in the workplace.

Just makes me sad how empty-headed some people are.

A Hawaiian vacation to remember: Tales from two weeks in paradise

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Hello loyal readers, your humble blogger has returned tanned, rested, and filled with guava juice and mahi mahi, two of the wonderful delights I enjoyed while on my two-week honeymoon spread over three Hawaiian Islands.

And let me tell you, it was real hard getting back on that plane to come home. Does anyone ever really want to leave Hawaii?

So much to blog about concerning the best trip of my life, and the birthplace of our current President (who I’m pretty angry with right now, but that’s for another day’s blog).

The food, the setting, the hotels, the excursions we signed up for… everything was just fantastic. I’ve heard my whole life from people who’ve been there how awesome Hawaii was, and still … they didn’t do it justice.

Because you don’t have time to read a 2,000 word blog post today (hey, it’s Monday, even I’m getting back to work) I’m breaking up my thoughts from the honeymoon trip into two parts; Part 2 will be tomorrow and will have other non-Hawaii stuff in it, too.

OK, here goes my ramblings on the best trip ever…

— First of all, the sunsets. Just beyond gorgeous (my bride took the one above), and that’s coming from a sunset freak with high standards. A few nights were too cloudy and other times we were busy doing other activities during the sunset, but the ones we saw were spectacular.

— Second, the hotels were magnificent. Our first two stops were in Maui and then on the Big Island, near Kona, and the hotels there were terrific. Great service, wonderful pools and beaches, absolutely no complaints.
But then we went to our “splurge” hotel on Kauai, the St. Regis in Princeville, and they made the other two hotels look like La Quinta’s on the side of the highway.
This is the view from the 9th floor lobby, and it get better from there. The finest hotel I’ve ever stayed in, and frankly I never wanted to leave even to go do fun stuff. If you ever go to Kauai, it’s worth it to stay there.

— One of the many, many differences between Hawaii and every other state I’ve visited: You never see one out-of-state license plate. I looked and looked but came up with nothing. Kind of a hard state to drive to, apparently.

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— One of the strangest things I’ve ever seen on the side of a road: On the Big Island of Hawaii, teenagers and others write graffiti in rocks on the side of the road, where there’s literally nothing else. I thought it was pretty cool.

— Shelley and I of course met a ton of other honeymooners on our trip, but surprisingly very few New Yorkers. We laughed quite a bit at others’ reactions to meeting us, including a few people from St. Louis who said after a few minutes of chatting, “You know, I’ve always heard NY’ers are mean, but you guys are really nice!”

— Probably my favorite trip we took was in Maui, when we went on a snorkel cruise that took us to the seriously isolated island of Lanai.

You may have heard that Larry Ellison, the Oracle billionaire, just bought the island for like $700 million. There are very few people and even fewer things to do on Lanai, so you can imagine our tour guide’s excitement when she raved about Larry putting in a new bowling alley, swimming pool and movie theatre. Man, was she excited.

— I think the general attitude of Hawaiians was summed up by an Avis rental car agent I overheard in Kona, telling a customer she’d be OK leaving her bags outside for a few moments while checking in at the counter.
“Lady,” he said, “you’re in Kona, not Los Angeles. The bags will be fine.”

— Some of my new favorite things after the last two weeks: Guava juice (who knew?), Hawaiian shirts, pineapple ginger ale, and the word “mahalo” for “thank you.”
— The “traffic” reports on Hawaii radio stations killed me. They said things like “there’s a slowdown on Kihuo Highway, a few stalled cars on (fill in other name), and that’s about it.” In New York, traffic reports go on for five minutes.

— Finally today, while walking through the town of Pa’ua on Maui, I saw a street musician playing Pat Benetar’s “Heartbreaker” on a ukulele. An inspired choice, I thought, so I gave her a buck. Hey, 80s music is 80s music.

More thoughts coming tomorrow, including how I ziplined across an 1,800 foot wire at 65 miles per hour and lived to tell about it.