Monthly Archives: September 2013

The Jets remember that they stink, and other NFL thoughts. An evil woman at a baseball game steals a ball. And Lane Kiffin, good riddance

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*”Homeland” is back! Very pumped up that my favorite show, by far, currently on TV has returned for the fall season. I watched the season premiere last night, but just like I did last season, I will do my weekly “Homeland” analysis/thoughts and stuff on Tuesdays, to give my fellow show fanatics a chance to watch it without risk of spoilers. All I’ll say today is that Sunday night’s episode was very, very interesting with many unexpected twists…

Yeah, so this is what life is like when your football team has a rookie quarterback.
One week, he plays awesome, and you think “Finally, a franchise signal-caller to build around.”

Then the next week he looks like a JV quarterback for a bad high school program, and you wonder if this guy really is the answer, or just another in a long line of failures.

That’s what the last two weeks were like for the Jets and Geno Smith. A week after playing pretty terrific against Buffalo, he was beyond awful against the Titans Sunday.
The Jets got walloped, 38-13, and it was mostly Geno’s fault. He committed four turnovers, should’ve gotten sacked for a safety, and just made stupid mistake after stupid mistake (the “switching hands with the ball behind your back while getting sacked” is a move not even Penn and Teller would try).
Smith’s teammates were of little help; the offensive line caved in like a terrified witness in a Mafia trial, the defense didn’t do much pressuring of Tennessee’s QB, Jake Locker, and the special teams weren’t any good.
But mostly, this loss is on Geno. Just one you’ve got to suck up and attribute to growing pains.

Couple quick-hit NFL thoughts from Sunday:
— How ’bout those Cleveland Browns? Two straight wins since trading their best player, including an impressive job in beating Cincinnati on Sunday. Good for them.
— Stick a fork in the Giants. Another miserable offensive performance by Eli Manning and friends.
— Seattle really stole one in Houston, coming back from 20-6 down to win in OT. Seahawks might be the best team in the NFL.
— Finally, is there a more exciting team to watch than Detroit? They always score a bunch of points, and always give up a bunch. They give you more thrills, both ways, than anybody else. Love watching the Lions. And they might even be good this year!

**Sometimes the headline of a YouTube video really does tell the whole story. The headline here: “Evil Woman Steals Ball from Little Girl.”

And you have to love the yutz who high-fives her for her “accomplishment” right after she does it. Awful.

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**So Lane Kiffin, a scumbag who stands out as a scumbag even among the moral morass that is big-time college football coaching, was fired by USC Saturday night, after they got beat by Arizona State.

Kiffin, if you know him at all, is known for being the most obnoxious, self-serving, pompous coach in all of the land. He burned all kinds of bridges in Oakland as coach of the Raiders, he cheated and angered everyone in the state of Tennessee while head coach at UT, and then has acted like himself again at USC, alienating the media, fans and players alike.

But even when you’re talking about Kiffin, who deserves everything bad that happens to him, how he was fired was pretty cruel.
The USC athletics director pulled him off the team bus as it was headed back from airport in L.A., and fired him. Then the AD, Pat Haden, wouldn’t let Kiffin back on the bus back to campus, telling the bus to go on without Kiffin.

That’s cold. Well-deserved, but cold.

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Good News Friday: Scientists reveal the secret to happiness (really). Another awesome Jimmy Fallon lip sync-off. And the canceled wedding that turned into a feast for the homeless

Two more things, besides the three below, that I wanted to mention for Good News Friday: One, there was a beautiful, emotional scene at Yankee Stadium last night, as Mariano Rivera pitched for the last time in his career at Yankee Stadium. In a perfect touch, the Yankees had Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter go out to take Mo out of the game.

And Michael J. Fox is back on TV! And his show is funny! At least the first two episodes were. Great to have Alex P. Keaton back on TV.

What’s the secret to happiness? It’s a question we’ve all asked or wondered from time to time, some of us in moments of clarity, others of us in moments of clarity caused by drugs in college.
No one really knows, but some researchers at something called Soul Pancake did a really interesting experiment recently where they asked a group of random people to talk about who has most influenced them in their lives.

The results are really sweet and interesting, and I’m almost certain this video will brighten your day.

**Next up, Jimmy Fallon has become known for his terrific musical numbers on his late-night show, whether it’s him singing in character like Bob Dylan or Neil Young, his raps with Justin Timberlake, or his lip-sync contest with other celebrities.

Here from the other night’s show, Jimmy, and actors Stephen Merchant and Joseph Gordon-Levitt do a fabulous medley, including Elton John, Will Smith, Beyonce-Z and classic 80s tunes as well… try not to laugh, I dare you.

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**Finally, a true feel-good story to head into the weekend. Carol and Willie Fowler, living in Georgia, had planned a big wedding for their only daughter, only to see the daughter split up with her fiancee and cancel the wedding 40 days before it was to take place.

So, faced with non-refundable deposits on food, venue and music, the Fowlers decided to do something wonderful, instead of just eating the money: They hosted a 200-person dinner for the homeless.

Partnering with a local non-profit that feeds and clothes Georgia’s most needy citizens, the Fowlers coordinated a wonderful event.

According to this story, on Sept. 15, buses transported 200 homeless women, children and families to Villa Christina for the event. It began at 2 p.m. with outdoor appetizers and space for the children to run and play.

The event then moved inside, where the approximately 50 children had a room to themselves with face-painting, juggling and crowns.

“The children had chicken fingers, French fries, fresh fruit and chocolate chip cookies,” Carol Fowler said. “The adults had salmon and chicken.”

The Fowlers say they hope to make this an annual event. What a wonderful gesture; I hope they do hold it every year.
I’ve worked at soup kitchens before, and I can imagine the looks on those guests faces when they walked into the fancy restaurant.

I guarantee you they would’ve been happier than any of those wedding guests to the Fowlers’ daughter’s wedding.

Finally, a football coach does something praise-worthy. New CBS show “Mom” is really funny. And Henrik Lundqvist, the Peyton Manning of hockey

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I spend some time on this blog bashing football coaches because, well, because many of them are numbskulls who use and abuse players, cheat to win, and do all sorts of other nefarious things, all while being treated like kings by their schools or universities.

But every once in a while along comes a leader on the gridiron who deserves our acclaim, and I just found one on Wednesday.

His name is Matt Labrum, and he coaches at Union High School in Roosevelt, Utah.
After his team’s loss last week, and faced with a string of off-the-field incidents involving his players skipping class and bullying other students, Labrum suspended all 41 players from the team.

“We felt like everything was going in a direction that we didn’t want our young men going,” Labrum told the Salt Lake City Deseret News. “We felt like we needed to make a stand.”
Labrum met with players Saturday and gave them a letter outlining what they needed to do to earn their way back onto the team.
An excerpt from the letter:

“The lack of character we are showing off the field is outshining what we are achieving on the field. It is a privilege to play this wonderful game! We must earn the opportunity to have the honor to put on our high school jerseys each Thursday and Friday night!”

I love it. A coach reminding his players that playing football is a privilege, not a right, is nothing new. But a coach actually meaning it, and taking it away from his kids when they behave like fools? That is something great.

Here’s an updated story on Labrum and the team; after two days of volunteer work, he allowed 32 of the 41 back on the squad. I would’ve liked to see him follow through by having them miss a game or two, but hey, I don’t want to pick nits.

Take a bow, Coach Labrum. I love what you did, and I’m sure many others did, too.
Hell, I bet even Eric Taylor at Dillon High would’ve been proud.

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**Next, in my continuing sorta, kinda fall TV preview, I’m happy to report that as awful as “The Goldbergs” pilot was, I can’t say enough good things about “Mom,” the new CBS show starring Anna Faris and Allison Janney, the latter of whom will always hold a special place in my heart for being C.J. Cregg on “The West Wing.”
I watched “Mom” last night and it was really, really funny. Faris is a recovering alcoholic waitress with two kids, no husband, and a loser for a mother (Janney).
Sadly, Faris’ Christy is repeating all the same mistakes her drug and alcohol-addicted mother made with her, and the first episode deals with them tentatively making up and forgiving each other. (My favorite line, spoken by Christy at an AA meeting: “Some mothers teach you how to cook. Mine taught me how to beat a cavity search and still feel like a lady.”)

French Stewart and Nate Corddry are also both in the cast, and both hilarious. I laughed out loud at least 10 times in the first episode; the jokes come fast and furious and are pretty raunchy, but you can tell there’s a strong heart beating in this show.
Chuck Lorre created it and he gave us “The Big Bang Theory” so I figured it was worth a shot.

Sometimes a show’s pilot is the best thing it ever does, and it all goes downhill from there. I hope that’s not the case here, because “Mom” was surprisingly awesome.

**Finally today, the NHL season is almost hear and I’m of course quite psyched. I have no idea if my Rangers, under a new coach, are going to be much better or much worse, but I feel confident it’ll be one extreme.
One thing I know for sure: Henrik Lundqvist will be awesome in net. He’s also proved to be awesome in commercials too; the Peyton Manning of the NHL, if you will.
Check out this new ad he did for a Swedish version of Head and Shoulders shampoo, showing a model how best to “sell” the product.

Senator Ted Cruz, the craziest of the Tea Party crazies. “The Goldbergs” disappointingly stinks. And a classic cover of a Led Zeppelin tune

As disgusted as I am by the Tea Party’s attempt to completely destroy the U.S. government and cram their agenda down the majority’s throat, part of me is oddly fascinated by one thing: Who can be the craziest of the crazy?

I mean let’s face it, it’s a pretty high bar for a person to clear. Sarah Palin is pretty nutty, as is Rand Paul. If you really want to be the most insane in the Tea Party, you’ve got to be more of a lunatic than Steve King, and more batshit-crazy than Michelle Bachmann.

I wasn’t sure anyone could beat that group. But happily, I’ve been proven wrong over the last few months: Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is way crazier than all of them.
Cruz is against affordable health care for all Americans, and over the past week he’s gone to extreme lengths to show it. If you haven’t been following, he demanded that the Senate strip the funding for Obamacare in the budget, or he’d shut down the federal government.
When the Senate said no, he then tried to get his fellow Republicans on board to filibuster the already-passed by the lunatics “Defund Obamacare” bill, the bill that Cruz and his fellow Republicans already are in favor of.
So he wanted to get everyone on board against a bill they all agreed upon!

Shockingly, that didn’t work. So Sen. Cruz took the Senate floor Tuesday and filibustered his little heart out (watch him read “Green Eggs and Ham” above), and for all I know he’s going to go all night.

Folks, this man makes Rick Perry look calm and rational. It would be even more hilarious if it wasn’t so scary. This schmuck might actually get enough of his cronies on board to shut down the federal government next week. All because he just cannot live in a world where people get affordable health care.

So congrats, Ted Cruz, you’re the world champion of crazy, 2013.

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**I had high hopes for the new ABC show “The Goldbergs,” for a bunch of reasons. One is that it’s set in the 1980s, and as anyone who knows me well will attest, I am in some ways still stuck in that decade that defined my childhood. I love all things 80s (movies, music, etc.) and figured a show that would bring us back to that glorious decade would be great.
Second, it stars Jeff Garlin, who’s very funny in real life and on “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
And third, it was drawing comparisons to “The Wonder Years,” one of my all-time favorite shows.
But after watching the premiere Tuesday, man, was I disappointed. The only thing it had in common with “The Wonder Years” was the adult voice-over narration, and even that was annoying.
“The Goldbergs” was stupid, it was loud (everyone on the show screamed most of their lines), and it took its characters in wildly different directions several times during a mere 22-minute episode.
I only half-laughed once, during an R.E.O. Speedwagon car sing-along between the father and the idiot son.
I know several families named Goldberg, and I think if we gave them a sitcom it would’ve been 10 times better than this.
Just a real bummer.

**Finally, this clip has been on the Internet for a while, but I just got a chance to see it Tuesday, and it was beautiful.
At the Kennedy Center honors last December, there was a tribute to Led Zeppelin, including this gorgeous cover of “Stairway to Heaven.”

Pretty awesome that the Wilson sisters could bring Robert Plant to tears. Just beautiful.

Kindergartners are mean: My subbing day with 5-year-olds. Golfers rap badly. Really badly. And a way-cool onside kick

Kindergarten welcome signLast year, my first as a substitute teacher, I thought I had it rough when I was asked to work at elementary schools.

I’m not certified to teach elementary, but as a sub, sometimes you get called anyway, and several times I agreed to go.
I thought fourth-graders were tough. First-graders? I wouldn’t wish teaching them on my worst enemy; first-grade teachers deserve to be sainted, or knighted, or given whatever honor you can name.

But then last Friday, I met a creature more fearsome than first-graders, more frightening than any boogie man under the bed of a child:
I taught kindergartners.
And let me tell you, 5-year-olds are evil.

OK, they’re not evil. They’re mostly wonderful and cute and fun and all those things you normally think about 5-year-olds. But when it’s your job to corral them and keep them busy for seven hours, well, let’s just say when the day was over I felt like Fred Flinstone after something fell on him at the quarry: dizzy and thrilled to be out of there.

A few tales from my day with the tiny set, and with all due respect to Robert Fulghum’s wonderful essay, I’m not sure I learned everything I needed to know:

— My day began with a boy who was brought in to the classroom crying, and he remained that way for a good 40 minutes. It was only the second week of school and E (his first initial) was having a little separation anxiety. He came in, sat for five seconds, then collapsed to the floor sobbing hysterically, saying “I want my mommy” for a while and then just dripping puddles of tears onto the lovely tile floor.
I spent a good 20 minutes begging, pleading, cajoling young E to please sit up and join us, but like a 1960s protester, he would not be moved. I thought I knew what feeling helpless was like before Friday, but this might have been my most helpless moment ever. I was so desperate I thought about offering him money, but I figured that might not be a good precedent to set.

— One thing I learned in a grad school psychology in the classroom course is that when we’re only 5, we don’t have a real grasp on “consequences” yet.
This was brought home to me at lunchtime. Three kids were doing as they were told, holding hands as we walked down the steps to the cafeteria. I was at the front of the line, and all of a sudden I heard two “OWWW!”‘s from behind me.

It seems the boy in the middle of the trio decided it’d be really awesome to jump from the third step down to the bottom step.
Only, he sorta forgot to let go of his two buddies’ hands when he jumped, and they apparently came tumbling down like dominoes. (They were fine.)
Oh sure, it’s funny now (my wife is still laughing at the visual four days later). But YOU try explaining to my little jumper that he can’t do stuff like that when holding hands with other children.

— Whoever designed the bathroom in this school clearly screwed up. I learned this when, while making the first of our many trips to the potty, two boys said they needed help at the sink. They could lean over and get their hands wet, but the soap dispenser was like 8 feet over their heads.
So all day I was pressing the dispenser, then watching the liquid soap slowly drop down into tiny waiting hands.
OK, that was funny at the time.

Of course, it wasn’t all bad. I got lots of hugs and lots of “Mr. Teacher” goodbyes and I got yet another new perspective on how teachers who teach 5-year-olds are the bravest people on Earth.

**Next up, here’s something hilariously awful. A bunch of white pro golfers got together and tried to rap, and it went about as badly as you’d expect.

Friends don’t let friends who can’t rap, rap.

**And finally, this was one of the coolest moves by a football kicker I’ve ever seen. Check out the fancy move by Rice University kicker Chris Boswell in the fourth quarter of his team’s game Saturday; the best replay of this awesome attempt starts at around the :46 mark.

Sadly, Rice didn’t win, but man, that was a sweet move.

The Emmy Awards: a “meh” telecast with some great surprise winners. And another nutty day in the NFL, as my Jets win an ugly one

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Pretty darn good Sunday, I’d say: The Emmy awards, and a New York Jets win (more on that in a bit).
I always love the Emmys, because there’s so much good TV out there these days, and with Neil Patrick Harris hosting, well, it was sure to be great.
Except…

When the hell did the Emmys become the Tonys? In the vocal tone of Chandler Bing, could there have BEEN more musical numbers in that show? I mean, I know you have Neil Patrick Harris who’s awesome at musical numbers, but good heavens, people, even Harvey Fierstein was probably watching going “OK, that’s enough.”
It’s the Emmys people, we don’t need so much damn music! You’re telling me we needed seven minutes of Elton John instead of a few good Edith Bunker and Tony Soprano clips?
Ugh. I thought it was a so-so telecast and the musical numbers were so unnecessary. Lots of other things I liked and didn’t like, including…

— Loved the surprise winners. Quite a few of them. The awesome Merritt Wever (above) from “Nurse Jackie” was a terrific shocker, as was “The Colbert Report” beating “The Daily Show” twice, and Tony Hale from “Veep” was a well-deserved winner, too (and his bit with Julia Louis-Dreyfus was great when she won, too.) And so happy for Bobby Cannavale, who won for his terrifying season on “Boardwalk Empire.”
But Jeff Daniels winning over Jon Hamm, Bryan Cranston and Damien Lewis was a crime.

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— From the wife, when Melissa Leo walked out: “What the F is she wearing? Gold hot pants?” Followed by “she looks like the ringmaster at the circus.”
— Jon Hamm’s beard scared me.
— I’m a huge fan of the death montages, and I loved that they broke out five notable passings for small tributes. The Rob Reiner/Jean Stapleton and Edie Falco/James Gandolfini ones were particularly beautiful and well-done. Bravo.
— Michael Douglas looked like death warmed over.
— Claire Danes: Terrible dress, beautiful speech.
— Finally, the “How I Met Your Mother” cast skit about Excessive Hosting Disease was spot-on and hilarious. If only that show were still funny.

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**OK, now on to the football. The New York Jets, who I said before the season might win four games this season, have now, improbably, won two of their first three.
Sunday’s game was an affront to football in some ways, as both the Jets and the Bills tried their damnedest to give the other team the game.
But Gang Green, despite committing 20 penalties (20!), got a great game from the defensive front seven, and had a better rookie QB than the Bills did.
Geno Smith threw his usual two interceptions per game (definitely not a good habit), but threw a couple of beautiful deep TD passes, including one to Santonio (Big Mouth) Holmes for the game-winner in the fourth.
It was, typically, a tear-your-hair-out kind of Jets win, but this year especially, I ain’t looking for style points. The Jets got a win against a division rival and stunningly, look like they might be good enough for mediocrity this year, maybe 7-9 or even 8-8.
Dare to dream boys, dare to dream.

Couple other quick-hit NFL thoughts:
— Good for the Cleveland Browns and their fans, who saw their team idiotically trade away their best player this week, then finally go out and get a win Sunday, beating Minnesota in the final minute. Brian Hoyer, your time is now!
— The Giants. Oh my Lord, the Giants. This is Ray Handley-level putridity, Giants fans. Thirty-eight to zip to Carolina? Wow.
— Anyone who had the 49ers 1-2 after three games, raise your hand. Didn’t think so.
— Finally, I love Marv Albert, we all love Marv Albert. But listening to his call on Jets-Bills was like getting a root canal. He was awful, misidentifying players, five seconds behind the action, and just plain bad. Is this what it was like for you older folks watching Willie Mays stumble around the outfield for the Mets?

Billie Jean King, a true American hero. The joy of tipping a waitress $200. And how far Rocky Balboa really ran in “Rocky II”

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Billie Jean King is one of the most important figures of the 20th century, and I really don’t think that’s an exaggeration.

She’s one of the 10 greatest tennis players of all time, but that’s almost secondary to why she’s so important.

King c0-founded the women’s pro tennis tour, and was a driving force in the feminism movement overall in the 1970s, and beyond. She was out front on every major women’s battle, in sports and otherwise, and showed guts and courage that few others did back then.
The National Tennis Center in New York, where the U.S. Open is held, bears her name, and it’s likely that no one has done more to further the awesome sport of tennis more than King.

Billie Jean has long been a hero of mine (I was lucky enough to interview her twice in my journalism career, and she was as friendly and intelligent as she has always seemed), and it bugs me that she sometimes gets forgotten when the list of trailblazing women get discussed.

But lately she’s been everywhere, and for good reason: Friday is the 40th anniversary of the famous King-Riggs “Battle of the Sexes” match (seen above), which psychologically did so much for the women’s equal rights movement in America.
If you somehow don’t know what I”m talking about, or are too young to know what it was, Bobby Riggs was a former top tennis player who, by 1973, was just a 55-year-old, washed-up showman.

Reading the culture of the moment, Riggs decided to put on a persona as a male chauvinist, and challenged King and the world’ No. 1 player at the time, Margaret Court, to play him in tennis.
King said no, but Court agreed. And then got waxed by Riggs, 6-2, 6-1.
After that, King knew she had to play Riggs, and their match was a spectacle like sports had never seen before.
What was at stake? Plenty. But King destroyed Riggs in straight sets, which countless women over the years, from Hillary Clinton to Gloria Steinem to average women on the street, have said was a major blow for equality at the time. (There was a high-profile story by ESPN writer Don Van Natta Jr. recently that alleges Riggs lost the match on purpose to settle gambling debts. It’s a fascinating tale, but I don’t buy it.)
Following her tennis career, King was outed as a lesbian by a former lover, and become a major champion of gay rights for the past 30 years.

PBS’ fabulous “American Masters” show has a new documentary out about King, and I watched it the other night: Truly great stuff.  She’s a pioneer who battled against the system time after time, and never stopped fighting.

I think the 40th anniversary of her beating Riggs is a wonderful time to acknowledge her; the PBS documentary will be airing all month on PBS stations, but the entire show is here on PBS’ website.

**Next up on Good News Friday, this was really sweet: Two guys named Stuart and Andrew had heard that waiters in Utah make only $2.13 an hour in salary, with the rest made up in tips (sounds impossible, but true).

So they found a few good waiters and wanted to see what the reaction would be if they left them $200 tips.

The expression on the woman’s face near the end is priceless.

**Finally today, not sure this qualifies as “good news” but it made me smile since it’s about one of my favorite movie scenes of all time, the final running scene in “Rocky II,” when our boy Rocky Balboa sprints through the streets of Philadelphia while every kid in the city runs behind him.

A blogger at Philly Magazine decided to figure out just how far Rocky ran, if it was a real training run. The answer? Like 30 miles! Check out the explanation here; I thought it was hilarious.

A new sports trend I just don’t understand. Jon Stewart eviscerates CNN, rightly. And HBO’s “Glickman” is fabulous

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OK, I need someone to explain this to me. For real, I just cannot understand this.

I’m reading this story in the New York Times about the Jacksonville Jaguars, and other NFL teams, and their new approach to make the “in-stadium” experience better for their fans, because we all know that, for a variety of reasons, football is the one sport that’s much better on TV than in person (no one blocking your view, it’s not freezing, you can check scores and watch other games since they all happen on Sundays, etc.)

And what the Jaguars have done is create an in-stadium lounge for their fans, complete with TVs, computers, food and drink, the whole works.
So that way, instead of paying for your ticket and watching the game happening right there in front of you, you can buy your ticket, go to this lounge, and watch everything BUT the game you paid to see.

I don’t understand this at all, not from either perspective. If you’re a fan, why are you spending $50 or whatever the ticket costs, to go to a stadium and sit in a room and watch other games while eating or drinking? We already have that people, they’re called “sports bars.” So why not just watch the game you paid to see?
And from the team’s perspective, shouldn’t you try to put a good product on the field that makes people want to see YOUR team, not others? You’re encouraging people with these lounges to not watch your own team, but watch others and wish you rooted for them!

I’m serious. Please explain this to me if you can.

**Jon Stewart and “The Daily Show” have been on fire since he got back from his three-month hiatus from the show.

And sadly, he’s not lacking for material when it comes to criticizing cable news. In the wake of the Washington Navy Yard shooting, CNN was once again abominably bad and irresponsible in its journalism. Watch Stewart pick them apart in the first 10 minutes of this; it’s hilarious but also sadly accurate.

**Finally, I’m a couple weeks late on this, but I just got around to seeing the new HBO documentary “Glickman,” on the life of legendary sportscaster and former Olympian Marty Glickman, and it’s superb.
If you’ve never heard of Glickman, he lived a remarkable life. Born and raised in New York, he was a standout track athlete who qualified for the 1936 Olympics in Munich, and was a teammate of the great Jesse Owens.

Glickman was scheduled to run as part of the U.S. 4×100 relay team, but in an unconscionable decision, the U.S. coaches removed him and another fellow Jewish runner, Sam Stoller, so as not to anger Adolf Hitler.

Despite this incredible mistreatment, Glickman went on to become maybe the most influential sportscaster of his era, which spanned about 50 years. He invented many of the common basketball terms we hear today (like “in the paint,” and “swish.”), and was a major force in popularizing pro football as well.

The documentary, airing all month on HBO, shows what a terrific individual Glickman was, always helping out young sportscasters (he mentored Marv Albert and Bob Costas, among many others), giving high school athletes recognition on TV, and amazingly, seeming to let go of the bitterness of that Olympics travesty.

There’s a scene toward the end of “Glickman” when he goes back, 50 years later, to the stadium in Germany where he was to have run, and the pure power of that moment is startling.

It’s a great, great film devoted to a man who sadly isn’t as well known outside New York as he should be. Check it out if you can, it’s definitely worth the time.

The social media Masters degree is a real thing. Want a ticket to a game? You have to date a man’s stepdaughter. And a pretty awesome new Chipotle ad

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I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by something like this in 2013, but I still was.
At the University of Florida this academic year, you’ve been able to get a Masters Degree in Social Media.

That’s right; not only can you waste hours and hours of your life on Twitter and Facebook (hell, I know that I do), but now you can actually get a bona fide Master degree in it. 

Among my many initial questions: Is your thesis only allowed to be 140 characters (and man, wouldn’t those be easy to grade?) Does the professor simply grade not with numbers or letters, but either a “like” or “dislike” on your exams? And if the professor really is enthusiastic about your work, can they choose to “follow” you in your other classes?

This seems ridiculous, but it’s legit. The website Buzzfeed.com heard about this program and interviewed a student in it, Bythe Duckworth, who explains a little bit more about the Masters degree she’s getting here.

**Next up, it seems to be a really great week for commercials. Yesterday I wrote about that fantastic new True commercial where a man is rewarded for all his good deeds.

Now, I’ve only been to Chipotle two or three times in my life (Mexican food and my stomach have had a war going on for decades), but a wonderful commercial like this makes me want to eat there immediately.
Just gorgeously shot, with great music, too.

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**Finally today, this story cracked me up and slightly disturbed me at the same time. A man named Gary Yates is a longtime University of Tennessee football fan who lives in Denver, and had bought four tickets to this week’s big UT-Florida game.
Yates and his wife Brenda were planning on going to the game with Yates’ 27-year-old stepdaughter Jessica and her boyfriend.
But the fella bailed at the last minute, and so instead of trying to sell the ticket the normal way, Yates put up an ad on Craigslist offering a free ticket to a nice gentleman who’d be a suitable date for Jessica.

Here’s some words from the ad (above):

 Free ticket for the Tennessee-Florida Football game this Saturday (cost to me, $150) on the 40 for the right gentleman. You must be an attractive, professional, single well educated gentleman, with a good sense of humor, 25-33. You also must not be threatened by an attractive, professional, single well educated lady, (as she is). If you do not qualify, please pass this ad to a friend.

The fine print: I lied! (Sorry…not totally free). Your cost will be a modest dinner, drinks and delightful conversation with her before or after the game.

P.S. (Being a Tennessee Vols fan is not required but is highly desirable)

Only those that respond with pictures and resume will be considered! Be creative!

I have a feeling Jessica is mortified yet intrigued at her stepfather’s ad. Still, you have to give him points for trying to help her meet a nice man.
And if some dude answers the ad, is accepted by Yates, and ends up marrying into the family, man, what a story they’ll have to tell the grandkids one day.

Another mass shooting proves nowhere is safe. A beautiful new commercial you must see. And hilarious FCC complaints about Miley Cyrus

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Monday morning, a man his friends and family described as reasonable and normal drove into his workplace and began firing bullets all over the place, targeting random people who just the other day he might have passed in the hall.
This man has killed 13 people so far, and himself, and it’s an absolutely horrible tragedy.
And yet, one of my first thoughts Monday might even have been the same as you: “It happened again. This is becoming routine, isn’t it?”

That’s one of the most amazing, awful things about living in the U.S. in 2013. There have been so many mass shootings in the last few years that we’ve come to accept them. We’re horrified, and heartbroken, yes, but sickeningly it has become a part of our national tableau: Football, hot dogs, and mass shootings.

Oh, this one was a little different in several ways: It happened in what was thought to be a secure location, the Washington Navy Yard.  It’s a military facility with armed guards at every gate.

But Aaron Alexis didn’t break any laws when entering the facility, with his weapon; he simply drove onto the complex flashing his ID badge, and there was nothing anyone could do to stop him.

Crimes like this show how toothless our gun laws really are, and also remind us that no one, and nowhere, is safe from this scourge on our society.

These mass shootings keep happening, with numbing regularity, and God help us all if we get to a point of shrugging them off and moving on to our next distraction.
Because that day could be coming.

**Next up, a commercial that just blew me away. It’s a three-minute ad for a Thailand communications company called True, and it tells the story of a man rewarded for a lifetime of good deeds in an unexpected way.

Watch. And maybe keep a few tissues nearby.

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**Finally today, this is good for a laugh. Whenever anything “shocking” or “indecent” occurs on national television, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is inundated with calls and complaints from viewers, who just can’t believe such conduct is tolerated in these here United Sates, and my goodness can’t the FCC do anything about it?

The most hilarious FCC complaints ever were after the Janet Jackson-Justin Timberlake Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction; man, those were fantastic (go ahead and Google ’em, I’ll wait).

But these fresh complaints from Miley Cyrus’ provocative and downright pornographic performance on the MTV VMA’s are pretty solid in their own right.
Here’s the SmokingGun.com dossier on the gripes, but below are a few of my favorites:

— “Cyrus “touched the genitals of an older man while performing music.”
—  Cyrus was acting like a devil flicking that tongue as deamons do.”
— * Cyrus engaged in “implied sexual acts with bears.  (Oh come on, who among us hasn’t?”)

And my personal favorite…

“Miley should be excommunicated from the music community!”