Monthly Archives: December 2013

The best media corrections of the year. And sending out 2013 with my favorite ad of the year

2013

Every year around this time I take great delight in bringing to you the best post of the year on regrettheerror.com, the great Craig Silverman’s year-end roundup of the best and most embarrassing newspaper/media mistakes of the year.

I laugh uproariously every year at these partly because I’m a news junkie, but also because as a former print journalist, I’ve had to write corrections on my own screw-ups sometimes, and it’s not fun.

But it’s vitally, vitally important to newspapers to print corrections when they make mistakes, because it’s a major part of keeping the public’s trust. Of course the correction is never displayed in the paper as prominently as the mistake was, but hey, we ink-stained scribes do our best.

So, here are a few of my favorite screw-ups of the year; the full column can be read here.

From the British newspaper The Sun:
In an article on Saturday headlined ‘Flying saucers over British Scientology HQ’, we stated “two flat silver discs” were seen “above the Church of Scientology HQ”. Following a letter from lawyers for the Church, we apologise to any alien lifeforms for linking them to Scientologists.

From the Wall Street Journal (and man, I’d love to see anyone who made the recipe before the correction):

A Bloody Mary recipe, which accompanied an Off Duty article in some editions on June 8 about the herb lovage, called for 12 ounces of vodka and 36 ounces of tomato juice. The recipe as printed incorrectly reversed the amounts, calling for 36 ounces of vodka and 12 ounces of tomato juice.

From the New York Times, with a nod to “South Park” fans:

The Media Equation column on Monday, about the animated comedy show “South Park” and its creators, misstated a plot point in the show. While the character Kenny was once killed in every episode, that is no longer the case. The column also misstated the circumstances of his repeated deaths. While Kenny met his fate in a variety of ways over the years, he was not routinely “ritually sacrificed.”

(Hey, I’m sure someone was praying to Kenny when he died each week!)

And finally, from the Tampa Bay Times, with a nod to “Star Wars:”

This story has been updated to reflect the following change: A Tampa Bay Times reporter not strong in the ways of the force (or Star Wars lore) quoted the event’s moderator, Croix Provence, as asking: “Are you ready to find love in all the wrong places?” What Provence actually said was: “Are you ready to find love in Alderaan places?” She was referring to Princess Leia Organa’s home world, which appeared briefly in the 1977 film. Regret the error, we do.

**Finally today, as the last item in my last post of 2013 (a pretty great year for me, even if for the rest of the world it might not have been so hot), a replay of my favorite ad of the year: It was a promo for a new book about relationships, and it features little kids having adult conversations. I don’t know why this makes me laugh so much, but it does, maybe because I can only imagine what kids hear when they listen to us adults talk.

Happy New Year. See you in 2014!

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Foxwoods Casino both a relic from the past and wave of the future. A wild final NFL Sunday, with the Jets showing life. And meet 3-year-old Trick Shot Titus

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When I was a little kid, my grandparents indoctrinated me into the love of casinos.

I know, I know, you’re ready to question their sanity. But trust me, it was all fun and games. My mother’s parents used to take me to Atlantic City once a year or so, let me run wild in the arcade and in the bowling alley (Showboat Hotel had great lanes, I bowled my first over-200 game there!), and then I’d stand behind the velvet ropes in the smoke-filled casino and watch my grandparents gamble.

I was seduced by the sights, the sounds, all of it. Since then, I try to get myself to a casino whenever I can, which in recent years has not been that often.

But the wife and I went to Foxwoods in Connecticut for a few days over Christmas, and it was a hell of a lot of fun, and not just because we won quite a bit more money than we lost (always a good thing).

Some thoughts on a few days on an Indian reservation-turned gambling mecca:

–First thing I noticed: All the people smoking indoors. I’ve gotten so used to being in smoke-free environments the last few years that it was almost shocking to have to breathe in the fumes. Nasty.

— Because I’m me and this is what I do, I tried to schmooze with the blackjack dealers between hands. Some, like Al and Barbara, were friendly and told me about their careers, how long they’ve been there, etc. Others refused to make eye contact, which of course led them to dealing me bad cards (kidding. It just seemed I did better with the nicer dealers.

— Not to say I’m superstitious or anything, but after a particularly good run at the tables, the dealer, Al, went to go work at another table. So I picked up my chips and followed him there.

— One or two stupid players can throw off a whole game. I knew this, and tried to steer clear of people who had no clue what they’re doing. One woman tried to hit on 17, the dealer checked with her to make sure she really wanted to do it, she nodded, and of course she busted.

— Finally, one fabulous and terrible thing about Foxwoods, where a bunch of hotels and restaurants are connected through indoor walkways: I didn’t breathe fresh outside air for two days. And I was fine with that.

**Next up, here’s a 3-year-old making ridiculous trick shots on the basketball court (well, into a basketball hoop, anyway).

This video has to be fake, right? But it looks pretty real to me… Can the kid suit up for my Nets right now, please?

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**Finally, the NFL regular season ended Sunday, and I’ll be damned if my New York Jets didn’t leave me feeling good going into the offseason.

Led by Geno Smith, who suddenly looks like he may have a future as a Jets QB, the Gang Green knocked the Miami Dolphins out of a possible playoff spot with a 20-7 win.
Then, owner Woody Johnson announced the Rex Ryan, despite three straight non-playoff seasons, was going to be kept as head coach.

I’m on record here and anywhere else someone has asked me as saying that Rex ought to be fired; he’s a great guy and a terrific motivator but just not a good head coach. The Jets take way too many penalties, they make head-scratching coaching decisions all the time, and Rex’s record of picking players has been spotty at best. I just don’t think the Jets are winning anything with him in charge.

But hey, maybe they get some decent wide receivers, a couple more tight ends, some better offensive linemen, and go to the playoffs next year. Crazier things have happened.

Other quickie-NFL thoughts:

— I think you have to feel good for the San Diego Chargers fans, who have had so many things go against them and so much bad luck over the past 15 years, but finally caught a few breaks and made the playoffs with a crazy 27-24 OT win over Kansas City. The Chiefs played their backups, the Chargers still tried to give it away, got a very fortunate call in overtime, and managed to win and make the playoffs. And you know what? They’ve got a shot at Cincy next week.

— Peyton Manning: 5,477 yards, 55 touchdowns this year. Yeah, he never should’ve come back from that neck injury. Amazing human being he is.

— Packers couldn’t have written the script any better. Aaron Rodgers comes back from injury and throws a fourth down, last-minute touchdown pass to beat their hated rival, the Bears? Just amazing.

— I have absolutely no clue what the Cleveland Browns are doing. Firing their coach after 1 season? Crazy.

— Really like the first-round playoff matchups: Cincy-San Diego could be fun, Packers-Niners will be exciting, Kansas City-Indy, should be competitive, and New Orleans/Philly ought to be high-scoring and wild.

— And finally, the Dallas Cowboys. Kyle Orton plays a great game at QB, they’ve got a chance to win it at the end, and he throws a pick. Oh, those Cowboys, they always find a way to entertain.

A beautiful Christmas wish, from a man’s deceased wife to his future wife. Kids protest their gay teacher’s firing. And a love story out of Boston Marathon tragedy

And happy Good News Friday to you! Back here at WWOS headquarters after a few really fun days at Foxwoods Resorts and Casino in Connecticut, where the wife and I spent our time this week. Really cool place, although a bit dizzying and overwhelming. Many thoughts on Foxwoods coming in Monday’s blog.

Meanwhile, I hope those of you who celebrate Christmas had a great one, filled with eggnog, family, and no ugly Christmas sweaters like these.

OK, you’re going to have to trust me that this qualifies as a “good news” story, but it does, you just have to watch the whole video.

Two years ago David Schmitz of Des Moines, Iowa lost his wife, Brenda, after a long battle with cancer. It’s been a rough couple of years for David and his children, but slowly things have started to get better; he met someone new who filled a little of the hole in his heart, and recently David got engaged.

Then he was called into a radio station in Des Moines that every year runs a “Christmas Wish” contest, where listeners write the station with their stories and the station grants some of the wishes.

David came into the station, Star 102.5 FM, clearly having no idea what was going on, but soon learned the amazing truth: While battling her illness, Brenda wrote a letter to David, gave it to a friend, and told the friend to send it to the radio station “only after David had met someone new.”

The letter is amazing, heartbreaking, beautiful and just so … moving. Watch as the letter is read to him, David’s reaction changes so much, and what Brenda wishes for him and his fiancee is truly priceless. That she could be so selfless in her darkest hour… I would hope for all of us to have that courage.

I am pretty sure if you watch this without reaching for the tissue box, you might not be human. Just great, great stuff.

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**Next up today, it’s hard to find anything good to go come out of a tragedy like the Boston Marathon bombing.

But I’ll take silver linings anywhere I can get them, and I thought this was really nice. A man named James Costello suffered serious injuries in the bombing, with burns so bad he needed skin grafts.

He met a nurse named Krista D’Agostino while recuperating, and after getting to know each other, the two fell in love.

Costello just popped the question while they were on vacation in France with other survivors on a “Boston Heroes” cruise paid for by a travel agency, and the two are now engaged.

“I now realized why I was involved in the tragedy, it was to meet my best friend, and the love of my life,” Costello wrote on Facebook.

Beautiful.

**And finally today, I love seeing young people dedicated to fighting intolerance.

Eastside Catholic High School, in Seattle, Wash., had a Vice Principal named Mark Zmuda, who by all accounts did his job very well, and was loved by students.

He was fired, or forced to resign, last week, because he married his same-sex partner. His students had a message to the Archbishop, courtesy of Macklemore.

This is them (above) singing in a protest outside the Archdiocese of Seattle, trying their best to show these ignorant homophobes that there’s no place in their school for that kind of “leadership” like the kind that forced Zmuda out.

The Jets perform a Christmas miracle (a win!). Great moments in history performed in LEGO. And an awesome wedding proposal idea.

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Two of my good friends are die-hard Jets masochists (I mean fans) like me, and back in August I asked them both how many games the Jets would win in 2013. I thought 3, maybe 4, if everything goes great, they win five.

Both David and Mark, though, were strangely optimistic. Each said they expected 7 or 8 wins. They said this with a straight face, thought at that point after what they predicted you probably had enough evidence to check them into the loony bin.

But in either a sign that the NFL is really crummy this year, the Jets have been incredibly lucky, or Rex Ryan is a much better coach than I think he is, these horrendous, no-talent Jets won their seventh game of the season Sunday.

And shockingly, they looked pretty good doing it. Geno Smith was solid, actually improving for the first time in two months (hey, he’s only thrown 1 INT in the last two weeks!), the defense was good, and the receivers made a few plays.
And now, suddenly, it looks like Rex Ryan may keep his job as coach. I still think he should go, for his disastrous job coaching the team the last two years, and this one, and that as much as I love him as a fun guy, he’s just not a good head coach. His team is still way too undisciplined, takes way too many penalties, and he’s just not that good a judge of talent (Bart Scott, and Vlad Ducasse, anyone?)

Still, the Jets winning was one of only 11 bizarre things that happened in the NFL Sunday. A few that caught my eye..

— As Tommy Tomlinson astutely Tweeted on Sunday night, “does the NFL have to have an NFC North?” A pathetic display by the Bears Sunday night. Equally woeful effort by the Lions. And the Packers somehow gave up 38 to a bad Steelers team Lambeau. Wow.

— Gotta love the Miami Dolphins, in total control of their own playoff destiny, getting shut out by the Buffalo Bills.  Made my day even sweeter.

— Peyton Manning. I mean, what’s left to say about him at this point? (I highly, highly recommend Lee Jenkins’ profile of Manning in the SI Sportsman of the Year issue, by the way. He takes a fascinating angle on the story (interviewing all the kids named Peyton in Tennessee) and then gets fabulous details about Manning’s kindness toward all). Peyton broke Drew Brees’ single-season TD record on Sunday, as the Broncos thrashed Houston, pulling away in the second half. What an incredible athlete, one of the top 5 QB’s of all time.

**Next up, I thought this was all kinds of awesome. I’ve written before in this space about my love of LEGOs, and the geniuses who have put together these “sports moments re-created in LEGO” over the years.

Well now the good people at Mentalfloss.com have compiled some of the best ones ever, including some new ones I’d never seen. The one above might be my favorite, as it’s Andy Murray winning Wimbledon in 2013 and becoming the first British man to do it in 77 years.

But all of these great, especially the Chris Webber calling timeout thing from the 1993 NCAA Final.

Truly, nothing isn’t made better when it’s done in LEGO, am I right?

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**Finally, I thought I’d seen and heard it all when it came to creative marriage proposals, but a computer programming whiz inventing an online game for his fiance to play, and then get to the end and have the proposal be PART of the game?

Yeah, that’s a new one on me. But 24-year-old Oregonian Robert Fink did just that to pop the question to his girlfriend Angel White, and you can see the awesome video of Fink’s handiwork below.

Very, very cool.

A youth swimmer in Fla. makes a beautiful sacrifice. I start an exciting new writing venture. And “O Holy Night,” sung beautifully

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Couple housekeeping notes before I get to Good News Friday: First, sorry about the late post today; we had the wife’s firm’s holiday party Thursday night, and, yeah, it went kind of late. Always a good time. Second, posting will be sporadic next week; we’re going on vacation for a few days so I won’t be posting between Tuesday-Thursday. OK, on with the show…

You know I love stories like this, and the fact that it comes from swimming doesn’t surprise me at all; of all the sports I covered when I was a journalist, swimming people always seemed the most genuine and interesting to talk to.

This story from Florida will warm your heart; a 9-year-old named Joshua Zuchowski is a member of the Jupiter Dragons club swim team, and on Dec. 7 he was competing at the Santa Claus & Holiday Spring Invitational in West Palm Beach (I know, that’s just about the worst name for a event, right?)

Anyway, Josh (that’s him, above) won first place at the meet, but he gave his trophy to his pal Reese Branzell, a rival swimmer who has been really sick with a bone infection and hasn’t been able to swim for a while.

“I talked about it with my parents, and they’re teaching me to be a good sport. So I’m just trying to do what they taught me,” Josh said.

Sounds like his parents are doing a hell of a good job raising him.

**Next up, I’m happy to announce that I’ve started writing for a cool new website that I think has a lot of potential. It’s called ThriveSports.com, and the idea behind it is to write about inspirational athletes from the amateur world of sports, be it Olympians, 6-year-old gymnasts, or anyone else who inspires and performs in a way that brings sports beyond just wins and losses.

My old roommate as a college intern at The Tennessean in Nashville, Sean Jensen, is the executive editor of the site (It’s been so long that I can’t remember if he was a good roommate and cleaned up after himself, but I do know he’s a darn good journalist), and my first story should be up on the site sometime today. It’s about an autistic high school basketball player in California named Emmanuel Bautista, who made the shot of his life in a recent game.

Please take a look around and let me know what you think.

**Finally today, obviously “O Holy Night” is not a song in my repertoire as  Jewish guy, but I certainly can appreciate beautiful singing. Check out the incredible pipes on 7-year-old Rhema Marvanne, who sings the classic tune beautifully.

The video is a few years old, but I just saw it this week (hat tip to Catherine Pearlman for pointing it to me on Twitter). Rhema is still singing and acting now, too; I have a feeling we’ll be hearing about her for a long time to come.

An incredible NYT series on a homeless girl in Brooklyn. A brilliant Mike and the Mad Dog parody. And thoughts on the Rock and Roll Hall.

NYT.invisiblechild

The problem of homelessness gets glossed over far too often here in the U.S. We see a “bum” on the street, or maybe watch a short story on the news about the issue, but that’s pretty much it.

But when you read an exhaustive, brilliantly-reported story where a reporter spends an entire year with an 11-year-old girl from Brooklyn and her family, it becomes impossible to ignore.

Andrea Elliott of the New York Times introduces us to Dasani, an 11-year-old Brooklyn girl who for three years has been living with her ex-drug addict parents, Chanel and Supreme (seriously, those are their names) in a disgustingly-maintained homeless shelter in Brooklyn.

The five-part series is long, really long. But so, so good. We see the ups and downs of Dasani’s life; the temporary high when the family gets a little money, the temporary low when it disappears. The way she tries her best to fit in at her new school, and how difficult that really is when you have as bleak an everyday existence as she does.

Elliott gives us the sights, sounds and smells of this world most of us never have to see, and it’s brutal, and harrowing, and full of emotion.

I urge to read at least Part 1; I don’t think you’ll be able to stop after that.

It’s a tragedy what we do to poor people in this country, it really is. It’s one thing to have no sympathy for Chanel and Supreme; they have brought a lot of their problems on themselves.

But for a kid like Dasani, who aches to do good and live a “regular” life, it’s so unfair.

What a fantastic series of stories, and the photos are fantastic, too. Please take a look.

**And now, for a little levity. I’ve written about the brilliant parody videos of Mike Francesa here before, and now the genius behind them has added a “Mad Dog” character to re-create their famous radio team.

This video will probably only be funny to those who’ve heard them together, but I loved it. Best line: “FDR? He was a compiler. He shouldn’t be on Mount Rushmore.”

Paul Stanley, Eric Singer, Gene Simmons, Tommy Thaye

**Finally, you may have read the other day that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced this year’s inductions. It’s a great class, with worthy entrants like Linda Ronstadt, KISS, and Hall & Oates, all outstanding musical acts.

But it got me to wondering: Now that we’re through most of the best bands of the 1970s, is the Hall of Fame going to get watered down soon? I mean, haven’t they inducted most of the biggies now?

I’d hate to see bands with a few little hits get thrown in there with Clapton and the Beatles, that’s all I’m saying.

Finally, a little pushback on NSA spying. Obama with brilliant choice to head Olympic delegation. And the year in photos is fabulous

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If it seems like the National Security Association has been doing whatever the hell it damn pleases since 9/11 without any pushback, well, they have.

But maybe, just maybe, there’s finally been a line drawn in the sand. On Monday a federal judge declared the NSA’s phone call data-mining system unconstitutional.

“I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval,” said Leon, an appointee of President George W. Bush. “Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the Founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment.”

Amen. Unfortunately, Leon’s ruling only applied to the case in front of him, but let’s hope it’s a precedent. It amazes me how many American citizens seem to be fine with the NSA doing whatever it wants “in the name of preventing terror.”

It is wrong, wrong, wrong to run roughshod over our civil liberties like the NSA does, and I have a feeling that thanks to Edward Snowden we’re going to be learning about even more heinous activities in the months and years to come.

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**Next up, haven’t linked to one of these in a while, but this is fantastic. The Big Picture, the photojournalism site of the Boston Globe, has put out their best photos of 2013, and there are so many amazing ones here.

Two of my favorites are at the top of this post and above (the little boy among the big boys made me laugh out loud).

Peep the whole gallery here.

**Finally today, I got a real good smile Tuesday night out of this story. We all know how incredibly anti-gay Vladimir Putin has made Russia in recent years, and a major story in the upcoming Winter Olympics will be that nation’s intolerance, and how gay athletes are treated in Sochi.

So with this such a hot button issue, who did Barack Obama appoint to lead the U.S. Delegation at the Olympics? Billie Jean King, legendary tennis player, and Caitlin Cahow, a female hockey player.

Both proudly, openly gay.

No idea if Obama was intentionally poking dictator Putin with this, but you’d have to think so, right?

A great honor for both women; thrilled to see BJK on a world stage like this, where she richly belongs.

Why I may be done with “Homeland.” Dogs love sledding; snowmen, not so much. And “Llewyn Davis” a typical Coen flick

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You know how some athletes have one incredible season in their careers, and spend the rest of their time trying to live up to that year, only to fall short?

That’s kind of how I feel about “Homeland,” which was once my favorite show on TV and in two short years has become a show whose season I was glad to see end on Sunday night.

I will continue to argue forever that Season 1 of “Homeland” was among the best seasons of any TV show, ever. The acting was brilliant, the plot exciting, the writing terrific, and the drama and tension of the last few episodes were amazing. I think I said on the blog then that “Homeland” had the potential to be one of the greatest shows of all time.

But like Brady Anderson of the Orioles chasing that 50-homer season, “Homeland” never maintained those heights. Season 2 was pretty good, but then its ludicrous plot twists that were SO far removed from any reality started to kill its buzz.

And then this season, it sank even further. Sadly it seems that with so many plot ideas to choose from, the writers decided that Brody and Carrie’s neverending love was the one to focus on (that, and Dana Brody’s adventures).

(SPOILER ALERT HERE, READ NO FURTHER IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN SUNDAY’S EPISODE) Things got so insanely out of control that to buy into the latest plot, that Saul and the CIA could have ex-Marine and ex-heroin junkie Brody infiltrate the Iran National Guard and kill the top general, you had to pretty much turn off your brain.

When it actually worked (sort of), and Brody just walked out of Akbari’s office Sunday and made it all the way to the front gates before anyone noticed that, um, the General was dead, I just laughed out loud and turned to my wife and said “Even for this show, that’s ridiculous.”

I will say that “Homeland” did finally do the right thing and kill off Brody, and they seem to be setting up for a fresh start next year with Saul out of the CIA, Carrie in Turkey with her new Brody baby love child, and who knows what else.

But I’m honestly not sure I’ll watch Season 4. The creators and writers have taken this show so far off the rails, and there’s so much great TV on right now (like “Masters of Sex,” plus at some point I’m legally required to start watching “Breaking Bad, right?) that I don’t know if “Homeland” is still worth my time.

Maybe I’ll feel differently in nine months or whenever it’s back. But right now, I’m like Saul: Happy to sail off into the sunset.

**And now, three minutes of dogs sledding through the snow. And treating snowmen like they treat fire hydrants (it gets really good around the 2:00 mark)

http://msn.foxsports.com/buzzer/big-buzz/jamaal-charles-goes-off-danielle-ruiz-is-fox-y-121613

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**Finally today, another short movie review from a flick I saw over the weekend. I’m a big Coen Brothers fan, as I’ve said on here before, even when they make inscrutably bad movies (I defy anyone to tell me “A Serious Man” was a good film), they’re always interesting.

“Inside Llewyn Davis” is not a bad movie; it’s pretty good, actually. Not one of their best, but definitely in the upper echelon.

It’s about the New York City folk scene in the early 1960s, before Bob Dylan and Joan Baez made folk music mainstream and popular. Llewyn Davis has nowhere near the talent of Dylan, and the movie basically follows him through a week of his life.

Davis is a pretty unlikable character, like many Coen creations, and he seems to treat everyone he meets badly, from former lover Jane (Carey Mulligan), his older friends the Garfeins (whose cat is basically a co-star of the movie), to Mr. Roland Turner (John Goodman), an old musician who steals the few scenes he’s in.

The movie is really dark, and Davis keeps running into obstacles that block his success, many of his own making.

Like in “O Brother Where Art Thou?” the music in “Llewyn Davis” is the best thing in it; Oscar Issac’s Davis has a beautiful voice, and a lot of the songs have deeper meanings connected to the plot.

So if you’re a Coen fan like me, you’ll like this. If not, eh, steer clear. It’s definitely as weird as their other flicks.

“American Hustle” gives you your money’s worth at the movies. The Cowboys continue to creatively lose. And Jon Stewart, brilliant again

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**FYI: I feel an epic “Homeland” rant coming on for Tuesday or Wednesday, whenever I have time to properly vent about the season finale Sunday night…

One of the many great things about living in New York City is that movies often open in a few theaters here a week or two before they land everywhere else in America.

So it was that I got to see “American Hustle” in a packed house in Manhattan Saturday, and I can happily report that it met almost all my expectations.

It’s a wild, unpredictable, sometimes hilarious, sometimes tragic film, that leaves you no doubt it’s a capital M Movie. You know how sometimes you spend 12 bucks to see a film in a theater and you’re like “Really, that’s all I got for my money?”
“American Hustle” is not at all like that. It’s got beautiful people, like Amy Adams (who should get an Oscar nom she was so good), Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence. It has action scenes, a cracklingly-good script, great performances from all, and enough plot twists to surprise.

The first 45 minutes were fantastic, as we learn how small-time hustler Irving (Bale) and his faux-English girlfriend Sydney (Adams) get wrapped up in a plot by an FBI agent named Richie (Cooper) to take down bad guys much higher on the food chain than Irving and Sydney.

Lawrence is Irving’s wife, and Jeremy Renner shows up one of the con men, and for a while the movie all gives them time to shine.
About halfway through, though, it sort of stalled, for about a half-hour, and that’s why I don’t think it’s a four-star, amazing movie. It gets back going thanks to a super-famous cameo and a crazy ending plot, but it sort of meanders for a while.

Still, this movie is beautifully shot, and the 1970s clothes, hair and attitude are brilliant and hilarious. (Quick aside: Has Amy Adams ever not been great in a movie?).

Go see it, whether you lived through the ’70s or not. You will definitely get your money’s worth.

**And now, Jon Stewart at his eviscerating best, taking down Megyn Kelly and the Fox News Blondes for their ridiculous complaining about Santa Claus, Christmas, and a bunch of other crap they were complaining about.

Stewart really is a national treasure, isn’t he?

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**You know it’s been a delightful Jets season when they lose by 10 and you’re happy they kept it close.
That’s kind of how I felt Sunday; even when my boys showed life against the mighty Carolina Panthers down in Charlotte, cutting their deficit to 16-13 in the third quarter, I knew something was bound to go wrong soon.
And it did, in the form of a blocked punt that quickly got turned into a TD. Geno Smith did some good things, but did many bad things, and I still think they need another QB in 2014.

Two more losses and I expect the Rex Ryan era, which started with such promise, to mercifully come to an end.

Around the NFL with some quick-hit thoughts…

— Ah, the Cowboys. Entertainment from them is more guaranteed than death and taxes. Somehow they blew a huge fourth-quarter lead at home to Matt Flynn (Matt Flynn!!!) and the Packers Sunday, and Tony Romo threw two INT’s in the final minutes, like he’s legally required to do. And here they saw Philly lay an egg earlier in the day and figured to gain control of the NFL Least. Don’t ever change, Cowboys.

— The Giants haven’t looked this bad on offense since Ray Handley was their coach (look him up, younger readers).

— Can’t decide which team was more pathetic Sunday: The Bengals, getting blown out early in Pittsburgh, or the Raiders, giving up 56 to Kansas City. Will Oakland ever be good again?

— Always nice to see Tom Brady so pissed in a post-game press conference that he curses on live TV.

— Jamaal Charles (above), I love ya, but scoring 5 TDs after my fantasy team with you on it already failed to make the playoffs doesn’t do squat for me.

— Keep forgetting to link this, but Peter King on themmqb.com did a great 3-part series on the life of NFL officials, going deeply behind-the-scenes with them for a week. I came away with a whole new sense of respect for their job, their lives, and their skill at making split-second decisions. Check it out when you can.

Good News Friday: An Atlanta children’s hospital creates a winter wonderland. A Pirates star proposes on “Ellen.” Andre Johnson does his annual Christmas shopping spree for kids.

Spare a thought this weekend for the 26 grieving families in Newtown, Conn., since it was one year ago Saturday that the massacre of innocent schoolchildren occurred. Can’t imagine what those families are going through…

And a Happy Friday to you; three great stories/videos to send you into the weekend.

First off,  Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, a Georgia hospital, knows that its patients don’t get to smile much, and especially this time of year, they know a lot of them are missing out on what so many kids across the country get to experience every holiday season: Snow.

So last week, in what was a big surprise to everyone except a few hospital employees, they decided to transform their campus into a winter wonderland.

Check out the looks on the faces of those kids in the video above; so great.

Next up, Pittsburgh Pirates star Andrew McCutcheon has had a pretty incredible year; he won the National League MVP award and the Pirates broke a 20-year losing season streak and reached the playoffs.

But McCutcheon’s previous accomplishments have nothing on this: he decided to surprise his girlfriend Diana on the “Ellen” show by proposing, through a wonderfully romantic video he put together.

Great stuff.

andre-johnson

**And finally, even though the Houston Texans have had a miserable season, their star wideout, Andre Johnson, continues to be a class act.

In what has become an annual tradition, Johnson took 12 kids chosen by Child Protective Services in Houston on a shopping spree at Toys R’ Us. The kids have 80 seconds, in honor of Johnson’s No. 80, to fill up carts with everything they can grab off the shelves. Every kid was guaranteed an entertainment system of their choice and two games in addition to anything else they grabbed.

Great video of the event is here;The final tab for this year’s event was $17,352.

I say this all the time here: Just a little bit of kindness from athletes goes such a long way. Johnson goes above and beyond to help kids who have seen much misery in their short lives.

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http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/12/11/andre-johnson-plays-santa-for-houston-kids-once-again/