Monthly Archives: January 2014

An awesome group helps inner-city people get into the corporate world. A “Seinfeld” mini-reunion is coming (maybe)!. And 4-foot-11 dribbling wizard.

Happy Super Bowl Friday to you! For the record, my prediction is Denver 31, Seattle 28, in what ought to be a heck of a game.

But first, some Good News Friday stories to get you in the mood going into the weekend. First up, I saw this fantastic segment on “60 Minutes” this week and felt like I wanted to share it.

It’s about an organization called Year Up, which offers training programs and internship opportunities to get into the corporate world for inner-city disadvantaged youth.

The program has a strict entry requirement, but once inside men and women are given intense training, then placed in Fortune 500 companies for six-month paid internships, and many of the new employees go on to get full-time jobs with companies like American Express and J.P. Morgan.

Just look at the faces of the successful trainees in this piece, and you’ll see why it’s so vital that chances are offered to people who never get them. There’s so much undiscovered talent in America, but too often it’s overlooked because of how someone looks, or their background.

This Year Up program is awesome; I wish there were 100 more programs like it.

**Next, something potentially awesome for the millions of us who loved “Seinfeld.” On a New York radio show Thursday, Jerry Seinfeld said he and Jason Alexander, along with Larry David, had recently filmed “something” that will air at some point.

Seinfeld is very evasive and the radio guys had to drag details out of him, but hell, I’ll take it. Any “Seinfeld” reunion would be awesome; we had a mini-reunion on “Curb Your Enthusiasm” a couple years ago and it was terrific.

Whatever it is, I can’t wait to see it.

**And finally today, meet Chase Adams. He’s 4-foot-11, in 7th grade, and has mad skills on the basketball court (Yeah, I said “mad skills.” I’m cool like that.)

Someone sent me this video this week and I was amazed. I see a college scholarship in Chase’s future. (The play at :33 was my favorite).

Amazon.com scares me with their newest breakthrough. The amazing Meryl Streep can do anything (here’s proof). And David Stern hits Letterman on farewell tour

amazon
I’m not exactly sure what the line is when it comes to companies knowing way too much about us on the Internet; the line seems to move all the time. Amazon.com, especially, keeps pushing that line further and further away, and we all kind of shrug. (Drones delivering packages to our house? Sure!)

But this thing I heard about this week might be going a bit too far. OK, way too far. Amazon needs to chill out with this.

Apparently the newest development at the company is what they’re calling “pre-shipment”, where, get this, Amazon will start shipping things you might want to buy soon to fulfillment centers near where you live.

Seriously, they’ve now patented some kind of fancy mathematical formula that will look at what you’ve purchased before, along with what you’ve put on your “wish list” and what you’ve clicked on, and then shipping that item in your general direction before you’ve even bought it. That way, when you DO buy it, Amazon.com can get it to you quicker.

My head hurts just thinking about this. How do they know whether I’m really going to buy the item, and isn’t it a waste of time and money if I don’t end up buying it? Maybe I fall out of love with a certain author, or an appliance I thought I needed I no longer to.

So on behalf of the world, let me say this:

Dear Amazon.com,

We love you, really. You’ve made our lives better in many ways. But enough. You’re getting a little too clingy and too into us. Please stop trying to predict our every move and action. It creeps us out. Thanks.

Hugs and Kisses,

The World.

**So I don’t know if there’s a human being alive who doesn’t love Meryl Streep, probably the greatest American actress of all time. She’s been nominated for 18 Oscars, won three of them, and seems to be a hell of a nice person off screen as well (I say “seems to be” because, you know, you never know. We all thought O.J. was a nice guy until June, 1994).

Streep is famous for being able to do any kind of accent or persona, so recently on “Ellen” the host asked her to do some crazy scenarios that would test even Meryl’s range.

She of course came through perfectly, and hilariously. I really laughed at the last impression here….

**Finally today, sports fans may know that NBA commissioner David Stern, just about the most powerful guy in sports the last 30 years, is retiring next week. I’m not going to launch into a whole “legacy of David Stern” thing here, because it’s pretty obvious how brilliantly he helped steer the NBA of Larry and Magic, through the Michael Jordan era, right through LeBron. Stern is a marketing genius, a power-broker extraordinaire, and he took a sport that was highly regionalized and to a specific audience and exploded it into the world’s consciousness.

Anyway, Stern is retiring next week, and stopped by David Letterman Wednesday night to read a Top 10 list

A very cool cause to fight lung disease. Seahawks fans paid to stay quiet during a game. And the State of the Union depresses me

I get lots of emails asking me to promote this cause or charity on my little blog, and most of them I ignore or glance over.

But this one stopped me short, and I thought it was cool enough to share and encourage you to check out when you can this week.

A reader named Cameron Von St. James sent me the following note recently:

“Eight years ago, my wife Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma; a rare cancer that kills most people within two years of diagnosis.  She had just given birth to our daughter Lily, and was only given 15 months to live.  After a life saving surgery that included the removal of her left lung, LungLeavin’ Day was born.  This will be the 8th year that we celebrate (on Feb. 2)!

The purpose of LungLeavin’ Day is to encourage others to face their fears!  Each year, we gather around a fire in our backyard with our friends and family, write our biggest fears on a plate and smash them into the fire. (My note: How cool is that? Totally want to see video of that)  We celebrate for those who are no longer with us, for those who continue to fight, for those who are currently going through a tough time in their life, and most importantly, we celebrate life!

Very cool idea, and very cool cause. Please check out LungLeavin;Day’s page when you can.

Check out this great MSN video – Seattle’s 12th Man Room of Silence.

**So it’s Super Bowl week, and it’s still very strange to me that all this is happening in New York and New Jersey, where I live. There are signs in the streets all over here in Manhattan, they’re closing down half of Broadway for the rest of the week so we can have ‘Super Bowl Boulevard” (I have to say, it does look pretty cool and your humble blogger may go check it out on Thursday).

But it’s just weird to be living in a Super Bowl city; I haven’t noticed too many Denver or Seattle fans yet, but I’m sure they’ll be a ‘comin’.

The Seahawks, of course, are known for their loud fans, called the 12th Man, so I thought this Fox Sports video was pretty hilarious: The network offered to pay a bunch of hardcore fans $5,000 if they stayed quiet for the entire game.

The results are awesome (watch above):

US-POLITICS-STATE OF THE UNION-OBAMA

**And finally today, Tuesday night was the State of the Union. I used to get fired up about these things, and I still love hearing Barack Obama give a rousing speech, but with each successive do-nothing Congress, I get less and less hopeful about changes the President suggests and calls for actually being enacted. I wish I could believe Obama when he talks about getting gun control done “with or without Congress,” but I absolutely do not.

I thought Tuesday’s speech was fine; hopeful, with specific details about the minimum wage, the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, and other topics liberals like me love.

A couple highlights from this mostly-paying-attention viewer:

— Obama was channeling his inner Jesse Pinkman (Yes, I’m watching “Breaking Bad” now, and yes, it is freaking fantastic through the 1st 2 seasons I’ve seen) a little bit, basically shouting “Yay, science!” when talking about climate change. I cannot believe he still has to remind people that this phenomenon is real.

— Also can’t believe that equal pay for equal work for women and men is in any way shape or form controversial. It’s 2014, why in the hell shouldn’t women get paid the same as men for doing the same work! How is this still something that’s debated?

— Loved the line about “helping your mother through the health care forms, plus she’ll be glad to hear from you.” Really funny.

— So many good Tweets about the speech, but one of my favorites was from @XMastimeblog, who said: “Going l-r, Biden/Obama/Boehner looks like a spray-tan chart, right?”

— Finally, this reality check from NPR host Scott Simon, which I loved: “If you think America never changes, remember seeing an African-American president kiss Jewish women on the Supreme Court.”

A few more thoughts on love, gay marriage, and the Grammys. A 7-year-old charms Ellen. And a hidden museum gem in NYC

So I was thinking some more on Monday about that incredible scene at the Grammys Sunday night, as couples of both genders and both sexual preferences were married on national television, while two of the biggest pop stars of the year sang their hit song on stage, a song about acceptance and love of everyone, regardless of who you love.

And yes, there have been so many big moments for equality over the past decade, and we as a society in America have come so far from the 1980s, when gay men who might possibly have a deadly disease were shunned as outcasts in this country.

Every moment has built on the one before, and while Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ wonderful song and message isn’t anywhere near as important as defeating DOMA and legalizing gay marriage, it still spoke to me symbolically as something millions never could’ve seen coming.

Know hope, as Andrew Sullivan always says. Just look at the faces of those couples getting married. How can anyone rationally deny that the love of two people of the same sex isn’t “worthy” of being recognized as the love between opposite sex members?

The walls of intolerance keep crumbling more every day. Sunday night at the Grammys was the latest piece of rubble to fall.

**Ellen DeGeneres, who’s hosting the Oscars in a few weeks, always seems to have awesome kids on her show.

This 7-year-old named Elias may take the cake, though. He’s a little manic and maybe a little crazy but shoot, he’s 7 and meeting his hero and is on national TV, so I think the cuteness factor overcomes all.

MuseumofNewYork

**Finally today, if you’re visiting New York City anytime soon, or you live here and need something off the beaten path to do on a weekend, let me highly recommend an experience the wife and I had last Saturday.

For years I’d heard that one of the best-kept cultural secrets in Manhattan is the Museum of the City of New York, located at 103rd and 5th Avenue, but I’d never checked it out.

So glad I did. This tidy little place, occupying three floors, had a ton of cool exhibits. There was one on Norman Bel Geddes, a 20th century “futurist” who revolutionized design in New York and elsewhere, and was so far ahead of his time (his idea for cars in highway traffic being safely controlled by radio signals was really quite amazing).

There’s an exhibit with the history of activism by New York City residents, where I learned how shockingly many New Yorkers were pro-slavery in the 1850s and ’60s. There’s a very-current exhibit on Hurricane Sandy and photos of its devastation, a top-notch cafe inside, and the whole thing costs $10.

Seriously, avoid the crowds (especially this week, you may have heard there’s a Super Bowl here), and check out the Museum of the City of New York.

Hockey at Yankee Stadium looked awesome. The Grammys were awesome this year. And Nadal is stunned at the Aussie Open

YankeeStadiumhockey.

Pretty terrific Sunday, headlined by the New York Rangers kicking the tushies of the New Jersey Devils before a crowd of 50,000 at Yankee Stadium in the first-ever outdoor NHL game in New York.

Was asked a bunch of times leading up to Sunday if, as a die-hard Rangers fan, I was going to see this live. Each time I replied “Are you crazy? Sit in 20-degree weather, 500 yards from the ice, and pay hundreds of bucks to do it?”

Nah, I had a pretty great seat in front of my TV in my warm apartment. The visuals on TV were, of course, stunning, especially when it started snowing midway through the game.

Big win for the Rangers, and very cool that they knocked out Devils “starting pitcher” Brodeur after scoring six goals on him.

I really hope the NHL keeps these outdoor games to one or two a year, because each one this year has been special.

**Next up,  I say this every year when I blog about the Grammys: I know almost nothing about current popular music, and I’m OK with that. My wife has vastly broadened my knowledge, but still, I’m in no way qualified to comment on the music that does or doesn’t win Grammys.

I can however, happily comment on other aspects of the show, such as:

–Wow. That Macklemore/Ryan Lewis/Queen Latifah/Madonna/Mary Lambert performance near the end of the show, with the awesome “Same Love” song playing and 34 couples getting married live in the Grammy audience? Best thing I’ve seen on an awards show in many, many years. Just a chill-bump-inducing moment, about how far we’ve come in America. I may need a whole separate blog post tomorrow to talk more about this. Two quick thoughts:
A, If Archie Bunker were alive today, his head would’ve exploded at that, and 2, why did Madonna feel the need to dress up like Dolly Parton in “9 to 5?”

— Also, I’m not the only one who thought Macklemore looked a little too much like Vanilla Ice, am I? And has it ever been established which one is Ryan Lewis and which one is Macklemore?

— My mother was quite upset at the “stupid song” Mrs. Carter and her husband sang to open the show. “How can they sing about something that bad?” she hissed at me. (On the other hand, my father-in-law’s response: “Beyonce looked fabulous, who cares what she sings?” Ah, ‘Merica.)

— Must echo what so many else said on Twitter when it happened: Robin Thicke performing with Chicago may have been the whitest moment in pop music history.

— Taylor Swift really is a pretty fantastic singer, and a great talent. I just feel like she tries too hard at awards shows to seem earnest. And she looks totally ridiculous when she dances.

— I have no idea who Kendrick Lamar is, but that performance was super-intense.

— That said, Pink kicks her, and everyone else’s, ass. Another awesome performance from a woman I got to see live twice last year.

— Do you think LL Cool J wears that outfit every Saturday night, or just for the Grammys?

Wawrinka.aussieopen

**And finally, the Australian Open men’s final threw me and every other tennis fan for a loop Sunday morning. Rafael Nadal, who looked so indomitable at the Open this year, and destroyed Roger Federer Friday, surely was going to beat Stan Wawrinka, a Swiss player now in the Top 10 but not nearly in Rafa’s class.

And yet… amazing things happen in sports sometimes. Like Wawrinka dominating the first set, and going up a break in the second. And then Nadal hurting his back on a serve, and being unable to move, and being down two sets.

And then Rafa, an unbelievable fighter and competitor, somehow hanging in and getting a set, and even at 2-2 in the fourth. But he just couldn’t move much at all, and Wawrinka pulled it together to win a most-unlikely Aussie Open.

Shocking, that someone other than the Big 4 in men’s tennis won a Slam. Shocking, too, that it was Wawrinka, who never before seemed to have the stones to win 7 matches at a major.

This was great for tennis to see someone else break through the Big 4 monopoly. Sure, Nadal’s practically a lock for the French, but who knows?

Good News Friday: An Olympian trades her spot in Sochi to her sister. A man dances across the world, joyously. And the Seahawks’ deaf player inspires more

barnesphotos

I am trying to accomplish a near-impossible sports fan feat today: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal played in the Australian Open semifinals in the wee hours of Friday morning. Because I’m teaching today, I’m DVR’ing the match, and trying to avoid all sports-related sites and news until I get home at 3:30 to watch the match. I’ve tried things like this before and they never, ever work; I always accidentally hear who won or someone tells me. Wish me luck.

OK, you may have already heard this story by now; it’s already become my favorite story of the Winter Olympics, and I doubt it’ll be surpassed.

Twin 32-year-old sisters Tracy and Lanny Barnes are both former U.S. Olympic biathlon competitors, with both making the 2006 team and Lanny also qualifying in 2010.

Both were competing for spots in this year’s games at the last qualifying meet about 10 days ago, but Lanny became very ill during the competition and didn’t qualify to go to Sochi.

Tracy did qualify, and she seemed set to go to her second Olympics. But shortly after the meet, Tracy took a walk with Lanny and told her something amazing: Tracy was relinquishing her spot on the team, and wanted Lanny to take her place. (Lanny had finished just behind Tracy in qualifying).

In an email to the AP, Tracy Barnes said the decision wasn’t difficult because she believed in her heart that her sister deserved a spot on the team and that desire outweighed her own wish to join the Olympic team.

“If you care enough about a person you will make any sacrifice for them. Even if it means giving up your dreams so that they can realize theirs,” Tracy said.

Love that quote. What a beautiful gesture from sister to sister. Tracy had to know that her chances of making another Olympics will be difficult, and she absolutely deserved to go compete herself.

But she sacrificed so her sister could live her dream one more time.

“I can’t even begin to describe what it means to me that Tracy made such a huge sacrifice for me,” Lanny Barnes said. “We have been training together every day for the past 15 years and I know how hard she has worked to make this team.”

A beautiful story of sisterly love. Really hope Lanny wins a medal in Sochi.

**Next up, let me introduce you to Jake Gaba, who over the course of 100 days last year decided to dance his way across China, almost literally.

With the soundtrack to Bruno Mars’ “Treasure” playing, Jake enlists all locals he encounters in a joyous celebration of life and music.

Sure, maybe he’s crazy. But crazy in a good way, I think.

hearingaids.coleman

**And finally today, remember last week when I told you about that awesome commercial for Duracell starring Seattle Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman?

Well, lots of folks have been inspired by Coleman, including Riley and Erin Kovalcik, identical 9-year-old twin sisters from New Jersey, who are also hearing impaired. The wrote Coleman a letter (above) expressing sympathy for him, in a delightfully cute way.

Wait, it gets better:  Coleman got the letter and wrote them back, equally beautifully, thanking them for their support.

So awesome. Derrick Coleman is the anti-Richard Sherman. Go Seahawks.

A harrowing story of Dave Meggett, NFL star and serial rapist. Another campus gun tragedy goes unnoticed. And a hockey team channels Don Cherry’s jackets

Broncocastration

This has nothing to do with the first blog item today, but I thought it was hilarious and wanted to share it. This is a marquee up at a vet clinic in Seattle, obviously referencing the upcoming Super Bowl:

If you’re a football fan over the age of 35, you probably remember Dave Meggett. He was a 5-foot-7 speedy punt returner and running back who helped the New York Giants win a pair of Super Bowls. He was almost impossible to tackle in the open field (a 1980s version of Darren Sproles), and was beloved by his teammates.

He also was a serial rapist, treating women like garbage and forcing him on them at least a half-dozen times over the past 15 years.

Over at SBNation.com, quickly becoming an outstanding longform journalism site, Greg Hanlon has traced the path of Meggett the football star, to Meggett the pathetic excuse for a human being. Hanlon does the dirty work here, meticulously documenting Meggett’s M.O. for his sexual assaults (he picks on young white women who have emotional or alcohol/drug issues, mostly) and interviewing the victims in excruciating detail.

One victim in particular will just break your heart, but what got me boiling mad is how long Meggett got away with his crimes, and how many more women he was allowed to victimize.

This is a long story, and not an easy one to read, but it’s sparkling journalism, and I highly recommend it.

purdueshooting

**Maybe you missed it, because it happened on a national holiday. Or maybe you’re just getting so numb to school shootings that they don’t register in your brain for more than a second or two anymore.

But Monday, a human being was killed at Purdue University, for no good reason. His name was Andrew Boldt, and he was 21, and a student at Purdue.

Boldt was a senior in electrical engineering who lived on campus, and was recently trying to organize a reunion for his high school friends back in Wisconsin.

“I’ve learned a lot about Andrew Boldt in the last 24 hours, and he was a remarkable young man. It’s a terrible loss, what he could have been. It’s very, very sad,” Mitch Daniels, Purdue’s President, said.

We focus so much on the killers in these cases, and ask all the usual questions about why they did it.

Andrew Boldt deserves to be remembered a hell of a lot more than the bastard who shot him, don’t you think?

 

doncherrynight

**Finally today, I love this story. Don Cherry, if you don’t know who he is, is a bombastic blowhard idiot who is a legend in Canada thanks to his commentary on “Hockey Night in Canada” broadcasts. Cherry hates every player who isn’t a North American, hates anyone who won’t fight, and believes hockey was better with just six teams.

But he does have a magnificently outlandish wardrobe, constantly wearing getups like this (below).

doncherryhnic20110615-roneyes A minor league hockey team called the Lloydminster Bobcats (they play in Alberta) will be honoring Cherry’s sartorial style in a game this Saturday, wearing the uniforms above. I have no idea if they’ll be comfortable, but there definitely will be no doubt fans won’t be able to take their eyes off the Bobcats.

“Her” a dazzling and unique movie. Me and snow: no longer friends. And sexism alive and well at Australian Open

her-movie

When you go see a Spike Jonze movie, you have to buy in from the start.
You have to accept the ludicrous, fantastical, out-of-the-norm premise of his films, and just go with it, and let the movie take you inside his crazy brain for a few hours.

Otherwise, you probably won’t like his films.

I let that happen for “Being John Malkovich,” one of the most twisted and hilarious films I’ve ever seen, and for “Adaptation,” another wacky Jonze flick that I loved.

So when I went into “Her,” the Oscar-nominated film about a lonely guy (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls in love with the beautiful voice on his new operating system (Scarlett Johannson), named Samantha, and went where the movie took me.

And man oh man, what an amazing ride it was. “Her” is beautifully written, exquisitely acted by Phoenix and ScarJo (who could really have gotten an Oscar nomination herself just with her voice), and scored musically to perfection.

Take the leap of faith, and you’ll see it’s really a love story, about a lonely man finding that special connection with another, and desperate to make it real, and keep it going.

I don’t want to give too many details of the movie, because it deserves to be explored upon viewing. But in a year of fantastic movies, this one might be one of the two best I’ve seen (“12 Years A Slave” is the other).

Go see “Her” if you believe in love, and incredible movie-making.

**So, for 5 1/2 years before moving back to New York, I lived in Florida. Florida is wonderful in a lot of ways, but what it always lacks is snow. I love snow most of the time, and when you don’t have it for a while, you really do miss it.

So when I first moved back to NY in the summer of 2011, I couldn’t wait for the first snow. I love how pretty the flakes fall onto the ground, love seeing the giant snow piles on the sides of the street, and love walking in soft snow.

Yeah, I’m over that now. Been back long enough to get sick of it, and Tuesday we here in NYC got snow starting at 8 a.m. and it hasn’t stopped as I write this at 10;30 p.m.

I walked 16 blocks in it today, without my snowboots (yes, I’m a fool for not wearing them to school today), with the snow blowing sideways and coming down as hard as rain ever does.

Snow stinks. I’m with Lorelai Gilmore in the above clip from “Gilmore Girls.” Bring me spring and 65 degrees please.

Soon.

**Finally today, haven’t blogged about it too much yet but this Australian Open has been fantastic. Tennis’ first major has seen Serena and Sharapova lose stunningly, Novak Djokovic, as sure a bet as there is at the Aussie Open, lose his nerve and fall 9-7 in the fifth in the quarterfinals, and the door wide open for some fresh faces to break through and win a Slam.

One of those fresh faces is a delightful 19-year-old Canadian woman, Eugenie Bouchard. She’s reached the semifinals, has a great personality and a ferocious game to match.

And yet, after her win Monday night she was treated to the same old sexist, condescending questions that young female tennis players have been forced to endure for ages.

During the post-match interview, the Australian TV host asked Bouchard who she’d most like to go on a date with.

I guarantee you Rafael Nadal, Bjorn Borg or John McEnroe were never asked this question, but somehow it’s OK for female athletes to still be treated like this.

Just pathetic and sad that in 2014, women athletes still get questions like this.

Attending my first “big fat Greek wedding” was lots of fun. A joint Israel/Palestine project offers hope. And a way-cool 1-string guitar

Greekwedding

I’m just about the biggest fan of weddings as you can find; I’ll go to any wedding, anytime, anywhere. What’s not to love about weddings? It’s dancing and great food and drinking and hugging.

But I’d never been to a Greek wedding until last weekend, when my wife and I went to New Jersey for the nuptials of a co-worker of hers and his lovely bride.

It was wildly different from a Jewish wedding, that I can tell you, and pretty different from most other kinds of weddings I’ve attended. First, the ceremony was pretty long, well over an hour.

And the first thing that struck me was that through the entire service, the bride and groom didn’t speak. There were a few times when the priest had them put crowns on each other’s heads, and I think they did put rings on each other’s fingers (we were in the back so I couldn’t see that well), but they literally did not talk to each other.

No “I Do’s”, no vows, nothing. It seemed odd to me, but hey, like I said, it was all new in my world.

The reception was equally eye-opening. The band played a ton of Greek music, of course, but the dancing fascinated me. In the beginning there was what my wife called “a Greek hora,” where the family all held hands and pranced around the dance floor together, for well over a half-hour (Impressive stamina from the older relatives!).

There was also the very-cool zembekiko, where several different men joined the groom in the center of the dance floor,  and each one took turns doing a solo dance, coordinating their feet and hands, for a few minutes each.

The really interesting part came when several women who were watching came up and threw dollar bills at them. This is about when I had flashbacks to some strip clubs I’d been to (back in my, ahem, younger days), but I was told by the groom’s relatives that this was tradition, and the money was really tips for the band for playing the music. (If you’re curious, here’s what one looks like)

Some of the groom’s relatives were clearly getting into it, relishing their time in the spotlight.

The food was, of course, fabulous, and the strangers we met were kind and gracious.

It was confusing and strange, but life’s all about new experiences, and this was a really fun one. Hope to go to another Greek wedding again soon.

**Next up today, it’s fairly clear to me that there never will be true peace in the Middle East, and that the best we can hope for is that the Israelis and Palistinians stop killing each other in mass numbers, at some point in the world’s history.

But projects like this give me a little hope; in 2011 a project called “Blood Relations” started the extraordinary effort of bringing together bereaved Israeli and Palestinian families to donate blood which could then be shared to save lives on the opposite side. An Israeli blood bank and an Islamic hospital agreed to accept both the Israeli and Palestinian blood donations.

The project started in 2011, and is now an annual event. It’s a wonderful idea that I hope continues.

**And finally, a little musical interlude. This is an artist called Brushy One String, playing a song called “Chicken in the Corn.”

Amazing what you can do with just one string…

The Super Bowl is set, and it should be a beauty: Broncos vs. Seahawks. And a great obit of a very strange life

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks

Came home from a wedding weekend (more on that in Tuesday’s blog) expecting to see two great football games in the AFC and NFC championships on Sunday.

Got one great game.  Got two most deserving winners. Got one extremely intelligent Seattle Seahawk making an ass of himself on national TV during the postgame.

Thoughts, so many thoughts…

— First off, you’d have to be pretty heartless to not feel good for Peyton Manning today. Guy had a brilliant career cut short due to a serious neck injury three years ago, and it looked like he might never play again. For Peyton Manning, not playing football is like torture. So he rehabs, he comes back against the odds, and leads the Broncos to the Super Bowl, where he’ll try to equal brother Eli’s Super Bowl trophies, by playing for it in Eli’s home stadium. Fabulous symmetry there.

— The Patriots just were running on fumes Sunday, and didn’t have enough left in the tank to give the Broncos a real tough game. But you’re crazy if you don’t think I was scared of yet another big Brady-led comeback when it got to 26-16 and New England was lining up for a 2-point conversion. Like Freddy Krueger, the Patriots are never dead until they’re dead.

— Man, that Seahawks-Niners game was brutal. Every other play someone was going out hurt, and FOX, did we really need to see San Francisco’s NaVarro Bowman get his leg crushed on 11 replays? These two teams just hated each other, and every play was filled with rage. Which is why we watch, of course.

— Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman saved the game for his team with his deflection in the end zone in the final seconds. I get that he’s excited, that he’s amped up, that he’s being asked to be on live TV just a minute after the game ended (below)

But what a classless interview he did with Erin Andrews. Dude, your team just made the Super Bowl, something you’ve dreamed about your whole life! And you choose to be all macho and play the “nobody disses me” card? Sherman writes a column for SI.com, and I’ve seen him be smart and eloquent on interviews. But this was just stupid and showed no respect for the achievement.

On the plus side, people on Twitter just about lost their damn minds over it, so that was entertaining.

— Russell Wilson’s going to have to play a lot better than he’s been playing to keep up with Peyton and the Broncos.

— Allow me to be the 423,324th person to point out that the Super Bowl will be played between teams from the only 2 states that have legalized marijuana. The Ganja Bowl, the Smoke-A-Bowl, whatever you want to call this big game, it fits.

See, America, legalizing pot can put your team in the Super Bowl?

— This should be a fantastic matchup in two weeks. Denver’s high-powered offense vs. Seattle’s terrific defense. Too bad they’ll be playing in 12-degree weather with 30 mile per hour winds. I must repeat again how stupid it is to play the Super Bowl in February in New Jersey.

onoda-4-master675-v3

**Finally, there was an old expression I heard growing up; it was more of an analogy, I think, when someone was threatened to be caught fighting for a cause that everyone else had given up on.

“You don’t want to be the last soldier standing on the roof in Vietnam,” the saying went, or something like that.

Well, there was a real-life situation like that that in the life of Hiroo Onoda, a former Japanese army officer who died last week at 91.

Onoda, while fighting in World War II, got word in August, 1945 that the Japan had surrendered, and that he should leave his post on Lubang Island, near Manila, Philippines.

But he refused to believe the war was over, and stayed on the island for 29 more years. Hard to imagine doing anything like that, but he believed his cause was just and that an officer never gives up, and when he finally came back to Japan in 1974, he was greeted as a hero.

Really a fascinating life he lived; read the whole obit here.