Monthly Archives: June 2014

My old stomping grounds of Glens Falls has been radically transformed. Jason Kidd, a complete village idiot. And the craziest hula-hoop skills you’ve ever seen

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I think I have mentioned this here before, but from 2002-2005, I lived in a sleepy little upstate New York town called Glens Falls.

It’s a small burg about 45 miles past Albany on the New York State Thruway, and its famous natives include wrestler “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and recent college basketball sensation Jimmer Fredette (now in the NBA).

I enjoyed my time there immensely, loved the newspaper I worked out, and made great friends, some of whom I saw this weekend on the wife and I’s annual summer trip up to Saratoga Springs (we usually go during horse racing season in mid-August, but as she’ll be 8 1/2 months pregnant then, seemed wise to move it up a bit).

Glens Falls, though, was always pretty run-down when I lived there. The population base had shrunk drastically since the 1980s, most of the downtown stores were either empty or dilapidated, and there really wasn’t much to do if you were a 20-something looking for fun (which I was).
In short, the town was pretty much dead, and figured to remain that way for the foreseeable future.

Only … it has come dramatically back to life. I was literally walking around with my mouth open this weekend, seeing the incredible turnaround. The public library (above) used to be a tiny afterthought of a building; now it holds its own with any university library I’ve seen.
Instead of the dark and depressing empty storefronts downtown, there are new restaurants, clubs and businesses, signs of a thriving city.

It was amazing. It was unrecognizable from what it was eight years ago. And it gave me a little bit of hope that with some strong local leadership, incentives for businesses, and local ingenuity, plenty of other struggling small towns can do the same.

You think you know a place… I kept thinking this weekend that I almost wish I lived there now, and where was all this when I was looking for love?

Jason-Kidd

**So let me make sure I have this Jason Kidd situation straight, before I proclaim him the biggest horse’s ass in New York coaching circles since Mike Keenan:
He finished a Hall of Fame NBA career with the Knicks in 2013, and despite having zero coaching experience, he schmoozes Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and GM Billy King to hire him as head coach of a loaded Nets team.

He then gets off to a hideous 10-21 start, looks more lost than a virgin in a whorehouse, and somehow avoids getting fired, rights the ship and guides his team to a second-round playoff loss, barely meeting preseason expectations.
Then, when any sane person would be trying to get better as a coach and thanking their lucky stars they have an owner who loves him, he goes to that owner, DEMANDS to be placed completely in charge of basketball operations, and knowing that he’ll get turned down (firmly), secretly starts negotiating with Milwaukee, and any day now will be named their GM/coach/major domo?

Yep, that’s apparently about right. What an utter and complete jackass, and disgrace, Kidd is.
I will always be grateful to him for getting my long-suffering Nets to the NBA Finals in 2002 and ’03, but that was a long time ago. This drunk-driving, ego-tripping fool should be put on the No. 4 train out of Brooklyn and on the first flight to Milwaukee.

Enjoy the winters in Wisconsin, Jason. And it’ll be a cold day in hell before Nets fans ever stop cursing your name.

**Finally today, this is Rachael Lust. She does some insane things with a hula hoop. I know, I know, you can’t always trust what you see on YouTube. But fast forward to the 1-minute mark and tell me you’re not impressed.

She should definitely be hired for birthday parties and bar mitzvahs.

Good News Friday: A daughter gets her dad a day off at Google. A Mom’s very funny advice to new parents. And the NBA with a very classy draft night move

The U.S.A. men’s soccer team lost at the World Cup on Thursday! But we advanced to the next round anyway! Crazy tournament, this World Cup.  We won even though we lost.

How did this happen? Only Gloria from “White Men Can’t Jump” can truly explain it.
“Sometimes when you win, you really lose. And sometimes when you lose, you really win. And sometimes when you win or lose, you actually tie.  And sometimes when you tie, you actually win or lose. Winning or losing is all one organic mechanism, from which one extracts what one needs.”

Thanks for clearing that up, Gloria. Now on with the show…

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We start this Good News Friday off with a cool father-daughter story. Some people love Google, some people don’t love them so much (I personally think they’re mostly on the side of good), but in this story, I think we can agree that there’s at least one boss there with a good heart.

A little girl named Katie wrote a letter to her Dad’s boss at Google, requesting that he be given a day off since it was his birthday.

The letter (above) reads:

“Dear google worker, “Can you please make sure when daddy goes to work, he gets one day off like he can get get a day off Wendsday. Because Daddy ONLY gets a day off on Saturday.” She signed the missive “From, Katie.”
Below that she put an emphatic postscript: “PS. It is daddy’s BIRTHDAY!”
And just in case that wasn’t enough, Katie added: “P.P.S. It is summer, you know!”

And you know what? It worked. Google gave him a whole week off (of vacation time).
Read Google’s response here on the “Today” show website, which ran the story.
Very cool.

**Next up, Thursday night was the NBA Draft, and for the most part it was a pretty boring, routine event like most drafts are.
Until this happened. Isaiah Austin was a star at Baylor University and was projected to be selected in the draft this year.

But a few weeks ago Austin, who is legally blind in one eye, discovered he had Marfan Syndrome, a genetic disorder that would end his career before it even got started.

Still, a dream of hearing his name called in the NBA Draft was made possible thanks to this beautiful gesture by Commissioner Adam Silver. This was so great…

**And finally, another “tales from parenting” story that yes, I seem to be running more and more of in this space as my impending fatherhood gets closer.
A hilarious writer named Lauren Laverne wrote this in the English newspaper The Observer last week, and my friend Amanda (a new Mom herself) sent it to me to prove to me that, like Laverne says, parenting will simplify your life.

Here’s an excerpt, but I strongly recommend reading the whole thing:

“We’re constantly being told to pare down, to be in the moment, to identify and pursue our goals. Lifestyle experts make wads of cash claiming they can help us: coaches, organisers, motivational speakers, declutterers, assertiveness trainers… A baby is all of these experts, rolled into a snuggly package of hope and meconium that you really quite inconveniently have to push out of your vagina or have removed with knives (these options: WTF). Your baby will be your life coach. Here’s how.

It will tell you what to do, all the goddamn time. Dealing with the entry and exit points of its food will take up 96% of your day. You will spend the remaining 4% figuring out how to make money to pay for food and nappies. At work you will become more motivated, assertive and efficient via a mixture of desperation, exhaustion and a distorted perspective on what you can achieve.

You made a human!

This fact will explode the boundaries of what you believed possible. Perhaps you can fly. Have you checked?”

Sounds great to me.

 

Laser helmets that cure baldness (maybe). Sending smells via text message (It’s real). And the Sacramento Kings crowd-source their draft pick

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It’s been a while since I’ve written about science breakthroughs on the ole’ blog, but now that I’m knee-deep into “Breaking Bad” Season 5 and am inspired by Walter White and Jesse Pinkman’s chemistry brilliance, I’ve been trying to learn more about a subject I was terrible at in school.

OK, that’s a lie. Today’s blog has nothing to do with being inspired by “Breaking Bad.” But I did hear these two new breakthroughs in science on the radio this week, and I think they’re awesome.

First, something that could help me and any other follicly-challenged readers immediately! A California company has come up with what it claims to be the solution – a helmet that fires cool lasers at the wearers scalp to stimulate hair growth.

The Theradome headgear is said to be the only wearable, clinical-strength laser treatment that people can use at home, but it will set buyers back almost $800.

First of all, I would TOTALLY pay $800 for this if it worked, since I throw away $50 every three months on Rogaine which really doesn’t work for me.

Second, I totally wish I could believe that these lasers would target my hair follicles and grow hair, but I’ve been fooled many times before (Although the fact that a NASA scientist is behind Theradome is encouraging, right?)
And third, can you imagine the looks at the store I would get if I was walking around wearing that thing?
Still, I’m intrigued. As is Larry David, Patrick Stewart and many of the rest in my “hair-loss” crew.

 **Next up, something not nearly as useful but equally revolutionary. A Harvard professor named David Edwards has invented a device that will allow cell phone users to send smells via mobile messaging.

This is a real thing: The “oPhone” by Vapor Communications will allow users to mix and match different scents to create more than 300,000 unique aromas to send via mobile message.

The device is designed to sit on a table or desk, and uses small cartridges called oChips (“o” for olfactory) to send 32 “primitive aromas” through the device’s two receivers. These oChips are good for hundreds of uses, and can be replaced, like printer cartriges, when the aroma gets used up.

So let’s say you’re chatting with a pal in London and you want to tell them how good your chocolate chip cookies smell. Voila, you send them a text and boom, it’s like they’re in the kitchen with you.

I love stuff like this that gets invented that absolutely no one, anywhere was clamoring for.
Watch Edwards explain the “oPhone” above, and then wonder if maybe not all Harvard professors are, you know, sane.

**Finally today, I thought this was a very interesting idea. The Sacramento Kings, owned by a very out-of-the-box owner in Ranek Vanadive, decided to do something quite different when it came to this year’s NBA Draft, being held tonight in New York: They asked amateurs (fans, basically) who are very into basketball analytics to come up with ideas and suggestions on who they should choose with the No. 8 pick.
Filmmaker Jonathan Hock has been recording the teams’ front office meeting with these wannabe-GM’s, and it’s nine minutes of really interesting video, I think.
Can’t wait, after watching this, to see what the Kings do with the pick.

Me and Meryl Streep, hanging out on a Tuesday night. A park ranger fired for dancing. Seriously? And a singing Mom belts her heart out while her sons fight

"The Eye Of The Storm" New York Premiere

Had a very cool “Only in New York” kind of moment Tuesday night: My wife and I went to a Shakespeare in the Park performance of “Much Ado About Nothing” (if you’re not familiar with Shakespeare in the Park, it’s an awesome free summer series in NY featuring two of the Bard’s plays every year, the only catch being you’ve got to wait on line for tickets for 3-4 hours the morning of the performance you want to see.).
Anyway, so our seats are right near one of the entrances to the theater, and all of a sudden my wife looks over my shoulder and whispers “Look, it’s Meryl Streep!”

And it was. I quickly shouted “We love you Meryl!” to her, because I’m just cool like that. She turned around and smiled at me, then went on  her merry way to her primo seat in the center of the theater.

After a long career as a sportswriter, I never get star-struck around athletes anymore. Politicians? Nah. But when the greatest female actor in American history walks by me on a random Tuesday night? Yeah, I was pretty pumped.

I love living here.

**Next up, a story so ridiculous it sounds like it came from The Onion. But sadly, it’s real.
A park ranger in Tennessee was fired last week after a mother visiting the park was offended by his dancing in the parking lot.
That’s pretty much it. Watch this video and you’ll see this dude was hardly “Madonna during her ‘Sex” book era.
Ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. Hope you’re proud of yourself, Melissa Parsons. You put a man named Darrell Nelson just trying to have a little fun out of a job.

**And finally, this was made a year ago but a Facebook friend just posted it Tuesday, and I think it’s fabulous. While Katie Crank’s four sons rough-house with each other on the family couch, she belts out a pretty song and annotates it with what life is like trying to tame four crazy boys.

Really, really funny. Four boys all under 10? That woman be crazy.

Our “friend” Egypt disgustingly imprisons 3 innocent journalists. The 6-year-old drumming sensation. And an apartheid-era police chief seeks penance in a unique way

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Next time you find yourself feeling too good, or too smug, about America and how morally righteous we are, think about this story.

Last week our secretary of state, John Kerry, went to Egypt and sung the praises of the new government (what’ve there been, four since the Arab Spring three years ago?), tossing around words like “freedom” and “democracy” like so many coins in a fountain.

Then this happened: Three journalists, all accused of helping a Muslim Brotherhood protest rally, sentenced to seven to 10 years in prison, on the most bullshit charges you can ever imagine.

Read this story in the N.Y. Times, about the disgusting treatment of these three professionals who did nothing wrong, and then go ahead and see how much Egypt gives a damn about democracy and freedom. Mohamed Fahmy, a Canadian citizen of Egyptian descent, is one of the reporters sentenced. Peter Greste, an Australian, previously worked for the BBC and had spent only a few days in Egypt at the time of his arrest; and Baher Mohamed, an Egyptian, who previously worked for a Japanese news organization, The Asahi Shimbun, are the others.

None of them did a thing wrong. This story pissed me off so much, yes, probably because I’m a former journalist who loves and admires reporters so much.
I’m glad to see there’s some international outrage about it; there ought to be a hell of a lot more.

**Next up, saw this on a friend’s Facebook page this week and was wildly impressed: A then 6-year-old kid named Avery Molek gives us a kick-ass rendition of “Welcome to the Jungle” on the drums. You go, future Axl Rose impersanator! Here’s the child prodigy’s website if you want to hear more bad-assery. article_inset_fairbanks2 **Finally today, I don’t think I’ve ever had two South Africa-related posts in the same year on my blog, but here ya go. After yesterday’s post on Rodriguez, the star of “Searching for Sugar Man,” who is a huge hero in South Africa, comes this story I read Monday that floored me. It’s about a much darker side of South Africa’s past: apartheid.

From Eve Fairbanks of newrepublic.com, it’s the story of a 68-year-old man named Adriaan Vlok (left, above), who was a vicious police chief during the apartheid era, and how he’s now trying to make up for some of his crimes: By washing the feet of the black men he wronged.

So much about South Africa’s last 20 years, since the end of apartheid, has been agonizing, as the present tries to reconcile its past, and this desperate longing of one man to save his soul, as it were, is fascinating.

One of the most interesting stories I’ve read this year, and the ending just stunned me. Definitely worth the 15 minutes of your time.

“Searching for Sugar Man” and when fame doesn’t change a man. Team USA excruciatingly ties at World Cup. And “The Karate Kid” turns 30

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So I mentioned briefly last week that I finally got around to watching the Academy Award-winning documentary “Searching for Sugar Man,” the story of a mysterious early 1970’s rock singer from Detroit named Rodriguez, who never found success in America but developed an enormous following in South Africa, where more than 500,000 of his records have been sold in the last 40 years.

The film, released in 2012, is astonishingly good, and at less than 90 minutes, packs a lot of story and fabulous music into an incredible story.
I don’t want to give away too much of the plot (The movie is playing on the Starz cable channel all month, and is on Netflix), because the story is so incredible, about how Rodriguez was living his life in Detroit as a construction worker, toiling in anonymity for decades, before being “found” and told what a sensation he was in South Africa.

But for days now I’ve been thinking about this theme of fame and success. Sixto Rodriguez made a few records in the early ’70s, and never became famous. And he seems pretty fine with that. When he was “discovered” by two enterprising and dogged South Africans, he was stunned, and happy to discover his music found a huge audience.

But it didn’t change him, this “accidental” discovery. So many times in America we’ve seen people go from anonymity to instant fame and it completely changes who they are, and what they believe.
Very rarely does fame not change a person. What I found fascinating about Rodriguez is he was living his anonymous life, suddenly became famous, then went back to his mostly-anonymous life for years afterward, until “Searching for Sugar Man” brought him back into the spotlight.

He’s still the same guy, living in the same house. And I think that’s beautiful and rare. In his mind, he’s always been a success, because he’s doing what he loved, and had everything he needed.

Not sure if I’m making the point I’m trying to make here. I guess what I’m trying to say is the true character of a person comes out when they suddenly get “famous,” and in Rodriguez’s case, it was wonderful to see.

Now go see the movie.

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**Man, that USA-Portugal soccer game Sunday night was intense. Has a tie ever felt more like a loss in our lives?
I’ve really gotten into this World Cup, and from what my soccer friends tell me, this has been the best tournament in decades. But Sunday night brought forth all the emotions: Despair when Portugal got the early goal, encouragement when we tied it, elation when Clint Dempsey and a 20-year-old kid named DeAndre Yedlin team up to give America an improbable 2-1 lead, and then utter shock when with 30 seconds left Portugal ties it.

Crazy. Now the U.S. has to beat or tie Germany, or hope Portugal squeaks by Ghana by only a goal or so, to advance.
You know what else is crazy? That soccer’s “extra time” period is a joke; only the referee knows how much beyond 90 minutes the team’s will play, and even that seems to be an estimate.
Is there some intelligent reason why the referee can’t stop and start the clock whenever there’s an injury or sub? I mean, every other sport seems to be able to do it, but not soccer.
Just seems ridiculous to me.
Still, even with giving up the late tying goal and all U.S. fans feeling deflated, it was a hell of a game, and a hell of a performance, from the Americans. Now a tie or win against Germany and our boys advance to the knockout round, something very, very few people thought possible two weeks ago.

 

**A teenage soccer player named Daniel LaRusso moved from New Jersey to California, fell in with an old Japanese guy who was the handyman at his new apartment complex, met and fell in love with a beautiful blonde girl named Ali (with an “i”), learned karate, got bullied by some mean boys, then got the girl and some revenge at the end.

Sounds like the plot of a classic movie to me! “The Karate Kid” was somehow released 30 years ago last week, and Mental Floss has once again come through with some awesome facts (30 in all) about a movie that I, and everyone else in Generation X, considers a classic.

A few of my favorite nuggets from this piece:

— Daniel’s original last name was “Webber,” and even more horrifying, Johnny Lawrence was gonna be “Donald Rice.” Sorry, Donald Rice could be your attorney, not a blond karate killing machine.

— One of the greatest song/movie montages ever (above), Joe Esposito’s “You’re The Best,” was originally written for “Rocky III” but was replaced by “Eye of The Tiger.”

–That was NOT Mr. Miyagi actually doing the crane kick in the famous beach scene, it was a body double.
Well, you might as well tell me there’s no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny either, man.

Good News Friday: The joy of the Colombia soccer team, dancing at the World Cup. Parenting rules to live by (ha!). And Bob Costas narrates a great story on “Field of Dreams” at 25

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I have to admit that I’m enjoying this World Cup quite a bit more than I expected to.
I’m loving the drama of a tie game, in the 80th minute, when one team gets a great chance and the crowd rises up and the shot goes just wide and everyone collapses in disappointment, because they know that could’ve been it.

I’m loving the athleticism of the goalkeepers, who sit idle for 15 minutes at a time, then have to have the laser-like focus to make a great save at a moment’s notice.

I’m finding the flopping hilarious, as usual; Luis Suarez of Uraguay, you take your place in the flopping pantheon beside Dominik Hasek of the NHL and Vlade Divac of the NBA, my friend. Suarez went down so often Thursday it was as if he was a wind-up toy.

But most of all, I am LOVING the Colombian soccer team’s goal celebrations. They score, they dance, and they just do it all with so much joy. Check out their Shakira-inspired celebrations from Thursday below;  I mean, isn’t this what sports are all about, this kind of sheer joy? I love it.

**Next, it’s no secret to anyone who reads me that I’m becoming a father soon (1o more weeks!). So of course people have been sending articles from the Web all the time, about parenting do’s and don’ts, what you have to do, what you better not do, etc.
But this article from Bunmi Laditan in The Huffington Post had me nearly crying in laughter. Titled “How to Prepare for Parenthood in 11 Easy Steps, it is side-splittingly funny. I especially enjoyed No. 5, No. 7 and No. 11.

There really is no way to prepare, right people?

**And finally, it’s the 25th anniversary of “Field of Dreams,” release, so The “Today” Show sent Bob Costas to Dyersville, Iowa for an interview with Kevin Costner and other co-stars, and as you might expect, it’s beautifully done.

You can tell how much making this film affected the lives of those in it, and that’s about the highest praise a movie can get.

If you’re curious, I wrote about the trek my father and I made to the famous Field of Dreams site a few years ago on my blog here. Greatest trip I ever took.

 

The five best TV dramas of all time (according to me)

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You may remember a few weeks ago when I put together a list of what I thought were the five best TV sitcoms of all time.

A few of you were mad I omitted “Taxi,” and “Mad About You,” and M-A-S-H,” and on the first two I see your argument, but I just never got the appeal of Alan Alda and crew working to save lives during the Korean War. I mean, I get why people loved it, but it just never did it for me.

Now, since dramas deserve equal time, I present my five favorite one-hour shows of all time.

5. L.A. Law: The greatest show of my childhood, and one I used to beg to be allowed to stay up late for. Sleazy but lovable Arnie Becker. Straight-laced legal wizard Michael Kuzak. Tough-as-nails prosecutor Grace Van Owen. Crotchety old Douglas Brackman. Tax attorney Stuart Markowitz and his bride, Ann Kelsey.
These were the brilliant legal minds of Mackenzie Brackman, and they brought the funny, the serious and the heart-tugging emotions every week. Thursday nights at 10, I felt like I was getting a glimpse into “grown-up world” television. “L.A. Law” never patronized its viewers, always brought interesting cases, and was the forerunner of so many of today’s legal dramas.
It’s entirely possible that my friends Marc, Andrew and I were the only 12-year-olds in America debating Arnie’s sex life and Abby looking for her kidnapped son, but man did we love that show.

I miss it still.

4. Friday Night Lights: One of three shows on my list that I didn’t discover until very late in its original run, or after it was over, the tribulations, joys and heartache of the Dillon Panthers, and everyone around the east Texas football team, was simply sensational. I’ve never seen a show beloved by such a cross-section of people as this one; Kyle MacLachlan as Eric Taylor, and Connie Britton as Tammy (aka Mrs. Coach) led an incredible cast, the writing was sensational, and it pulled on your emotions like few others.

The scene that hooked me for good was early in the first season, in the third episode, when Taylor had his team run up and down a hill in the rain while screaming at them.
Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.
If you’ve never seen it, the whole run of the series is on Netflix. So good.

3. Breaking Bad: I’m cheating a little here because my wife and I aren’t finished with all five seasons of this glorious show (right now we’re three episodes away from the end of season 4), but it’s been so incredible, living up to all the hype so many people in my life have promised, that it’s already No. 3 on my list, and quite possibly moving up.
A high school chemistry teacher stricken with cancer, his troubled but good-hearted (mostly) protege, and an indelible cast of drug dealers, lawyers and family members have made this probably the best piece of television made in the past decade.
Just as everyone told me, Season 1 was really good, Season 2 was better, Season 3 was even better, and Season 4 blows them all away (yep, it’s incredible).
There isn’t a single flaw in this show, and it’s so beautifully constructed that most of the time when the episodes end my wife and I are both open-mouthed, jaws dropping, uttering “Wow.”

2. The West Wing: I’ve always told myself that this and my No. 1 choice were dead even in every way, but if I absolutely had to choose, the Jed Bartlet administration comes in second. Loved this show from the minute I first started watching, at the start of season 2, and its first four seasons were so incredible I could (and have) watched them on reruns dozens of times.

The casting was perfect, especially Leo McGarry (John Spencer), Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford), and Martin Sheen as President Jed Bartlet. Aaron Sorkin’s writing was cracklingly brilliant, the storylines were fascinating, and the humor and drama blended beautifully.
The last two seasons weren’t quite as magical, but as a whole “The West Wing” was still better than any other network drama ever.

1. The Wire: Nothing I can say here except that “The Wire” is the greatest piece of pop culture entertainment I’ve ever experienced. I’ve proselytized about this show to so many of my friends and family that many have watched it just to shut me up, I think.

David Simon, over five seasons on HBO, created a masterpiece, weaving the lives of drug dealers and police officers in inner-city Baltimore into a coherent narrative that stands up to anything else that’s ever been on TV.
“The Wire” treated you as an adult, forced you to pay attention, and rewarded you for watching all the way through.
I bow down to you, David Simon, and me and millions of others are grateful that you created such a fantastic show.

 

June 17, 1994 was a hell of a day. New York’s mayor pays off a Stanley Cup bet. And a funny “commercial actor” dating ad

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Just got done watching “Searching for Sugar Man.” What a fantastic, fantastic movie. Been wanting to see it for months, finally got around to it Tuesday night. I definitely see a blog post about it in my near future, on the bizarre nature of fame, what it means to be appreciated half a world away, and how that story of Rodriguez could’ve possibly happened. The movie is playing on the Starz cable channel all month, FYI. See it now.

So yeah, it’s been a lot like 1994 on the blog the last few days, what with the New York Rangers playing in the Stanley Cup Finals again after a 20-year absence, celebrating “Pulp Fiction”‘s 2oth birthday, and all that.
But without sparking up The Spin Doctors and breaking out my Sony DiscMan, I wanted to dip back into that crazy year one more time today, because Tuesday was June 17, and in 1994 that was the most insane day of the year, maybe of the last 30 years.

As chronicled in the excellent documentary “June 17,1994“, part of ESPN’s 30 for 30 series (you can watch the full one-hour movie at that link), it was the day the Rangers had a Stanley Cup parade in Manhattan, Arnold Palmer played his last round at a U.S. Open, the Knicks and Rockets played Game 5 of the NBA Finals… and O.J. Simpson rode for hours in a white Ford Bronco, with a gun to his head and A.C. Cowlings driving, with the LAPD in pursuit.

It was a hell of a day. I wrote extensively about what that day meant to people of my generation, and really, anyone who was alive, on this post a year ago, so I won’t re-hash all my thoughts.
But a few weeks ago at a high school I was subbing. at O.J. Simpson’s name came up and I tried to explain to this 15-year-old what “the O.J. chase” was like while we watched it on TV.
I tried to use a few analogies to his world (the killing of Bin Laden? our invasion of Iraq?) but nothing seemed to really click with him. It just was one of those moments you had to have lived through, I guess.

Anyway, here’s a fantastic clip that I referenced in last year’s post, of LAPD Detective Tom Lange talking to O.J. during the chase, trying to convince Simpson to throw the gun away and that he had a lot to live for. Unbelievably riveting stuff.

**As always happens during major sporting events, the mayors of Los Angeles and New York made a bet on the Stanley Cup Finals between the Kings and the Rangers.
Of course you know by now who won, and one of the terms of the wager was that the losing city’s mayor had to go on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and sing a tribute song to the other town.

So here’s a pretty funny video of Bill de Blasio belting out “I Love L.A.” with some adorable New York kids:

**Finally, this strikes me as pretty clever: How do actors who act in dating website commercials find the right someone? It’s pretty difficult. Now, finally, these thespians have a way to find love themselves…

Samuel L. Jackson, nailing the “Pulp Fiction” speech 20 years later. John Oliver demolishes the Redskins. And U-S-A, U-S-A! A soccer upset that thrilled

Nineteen-ninety-four was a hell of a year for pop culture.
We had “Forrest Gump.” We had the O.J. Bronco chase. And we had one of the greatest movies of all time entering our world, “Pulp Fiction.”

Samuel L. Jackson basically went from famous to world-famous by playing Jules in this movie, and it’s great to see that 20 years and dozens of films later, he still remembers what got him here.

Specifically, he remembers the great “Ezekiel, 25.17” speech he got to deliver twice in the movie.
Check out this clip from “The Graham Norton Show” as he recites it all over again.

So great.

**Every week, “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” has been hitting out of the park with at least one hilarious segment. This week’s show had two (the one on immigration is sadly not online yet), but this one on the silliness of the Washington Redskins continuing to keep their name when it’s offensive to Native Americans was pretty classic too.
Man, I hope this show is getting a big audience, because it’s the best thing HBO’s put on since “Big Love.”

**And finally today, I watched my first full soccer game in years Monday, like I’m sure millions of Americans non-soccer fans did.

And it was awesome. A big underdog to Ghana, the U.S. stunned everyone by scoring 29 seconds into the match, as Clint Dempsey made a beautiful move to get free.

Then, Ghana pretty much dominated the next 75 minutes or so, with the U.S. kinda looking like Rocky  Balboa in the first “Rocky” movie, hanging on, hanging on, and hoping for the bell to sound ending the fight.

But with about 10 minutes left, Ghana, after coming close numerous times, finally tied it. So that looked like it would be it, America grabs a tie despite being outplayed and seeing star forward Jozy Altidore go out with injury early in the game.

Then, something totally unexpected happened: The U.S. got a corner kick in the 86th minute and a no-name sub named John Brooks smacked a perfect header into the net for the game-winning goal.

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Wow. All of a sudden, the USA is alive in this World Cup, with a decent shot at making it to the next round.

Two fabulous reaction videos to share: First, a great roundup of U.S. soccer fans reacting to Brooks’ goal at bars around America, and second, this hilarious video of a Portland TV anchor being live on-air when the goal is scored, and his reaction is priceless (fast forward to about 1:45 for the good stuff.)