Monthly Archives: May 2015

I’ve found my 2016 Presidential candidate: Martin O’Malley. The boyfriend who swatted the bridal bouquet away from his girlfriend. And spare a thought for Joe Biden, who’s suffered another great tragedy.

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I know a few weeks ago I wrote a post about Bernie Sanders, and how I was thrilled he was in the 2016 Presidential race on the Democratic side, and how I really felt he would at least force Hillary Clinton to the left, at least a little bit.

But as much as I like Sanders (his love of guns aside), I don’t think he could actually topple the Clinton machine. His age (73) and some of his views are sadly a little too far left for most voters, even in the Democratic Party.

The guy I was really waiting for, the guy who I really think has a shot (albeit a small one) to beat Hillary and one who truly represents the kind of progressive politics I fervently believe in, officially jumped into the race on Saturday.

If you know Martin O’Malley’s name at all, you know he was the very successful mayor of Baltimore from 1999-2007, and then Governor of Maryland from 2007-2014.

He is truly, truly, much more liberal politically than Hillary Clinton, and he accomplished huge things in Baltimore and in Maryland. Cut the city’s highest-in-the-nation murder rate, put hundreds of millions into the city’s schools, raised wages for city and state workers, helped pass strict gun control laws and paved the way for marriage equality, and lots more things than I can list here.

The platform he started explaining at Saturday’s announcement hits all the progressive high notes: breaking up the big banks, prosecuting those responsible for the massive financial fraud

He is, as this Vox.com article perfectly states, the candidate for people who desperately wanted Elizabeth Warren to run and after she chose not to, want someone to support who believes what she believes.

I’ve been following O’Malley (who was the model for Tommy Carcetti in “The Wire,” by the way) since an amazing Esquire profile came out about him in 2002 (sadly it’s not online). He’s not perfect; he’s been getting criticized lately after the Freddie Gray incident brought Baltimore’s history of police misconduct into a national spotlight light, misconduct that was going on long, long before O’Malley came on the scene.

O’Malley’s ideas are better than Hillary’s, and he’s a fresh, dynamic leader who I’d love to see President. Look, I know he’s a longshot to beat her, an extreme longshot.
But if you’re at all interested in an alternative, a real, plausibly electable alternative to Hillary Clinton, you ought to check O’Malley out.

**Next up today, I thought this was hilarious and sad. Last month at a wedding in South Africa, a British man and his girlfriend were sitting quite close to where the bride was throwing the bridal bouquet.

But Daniel Bickerdike wanted absolutely no part of this ritual, whereupon he’d be tapped to soon marry his girlfriend, Angie Schultz. And so he sprung into action, hilariously.

The look on her face is just priceless.

**And finally today, you probably heard about yet another tragedy for Vice-President Joe Biden. Forty years ago he lost his wife and 13-month-old daughter in a horrible car accident, and now 46-year-old Beau Biden, his son, has died of brain cancer.

Beau, a budding politician who was formerly the Attorney General of Delaware and a military veteran, was battling brain cancer.

It is unspeakably awful to have your children pre-decease you, and for a man like Biden, who’d already been through so much, well, your heart goes out to him.

Here’s an excellent Washington Post story in which a 2012 speech by Joe Biden, discussing what loss feels like, is embedded. And above is Beau Biden’s beautiful intro to his father at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Really worth listening to…

 

 

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Good News Friday: 2 of the abducted Cleveland women get to “graduate” high school. The National Spelling Bee delivers, once again. And the couple who got married in a hospice room, for a great reason

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**So apparently there’s some sort of big hockey playoff game tonight? Gonna be a looonnggg wait until 8:15 p.m. Let’s Go Rangers. Let the Game 7 streak continue, and bring on the Stanley Cup Finals…

And a Happy Friday to all of you out on the InterWebs. Going to be a great weekend, I hope, here’s a few stories to get you in a good mood.

First, we all remember the horror story out of Cleveland two years ago, when three women were found alive, living as prisoners in a house after being abducted by a madman and held for 10 years against their will.

Well, those women are slowly putting their lives back together, but there are so many moments and life experienced they missed during all those years.

One of those life moments that the women missed was high school graduation. But last week, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus got to walk as honorary graduates of John Marshall High, where they would’ve graduated if they hadn’t been abducted.

John Marshall principal Tiffany Jones introduced them. “Neither one of these young ladies were allowed the opportunity to complete their high school journey,” she said. “Although their journey may have been interrupted, it’s never too late to finish the race.”

A wonderful message, and a wonderful moment for two women who deserve nothing but happiness for the rest of their lives, after the misery they endured. Here’s a great video of the women graduating.

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**Next up, I know I wax poetic about the National Spelling Bee every year in this space, about how hilarious it is that ESPN goes to such great lengths to try to make these kids seem “cool” with the vignettes, about how the pressure, the drama, the excitement gets me every time. The Spelling Bee, as I’ve said before, never fails to deliver the goods.

But even for me, a devoted Spelling Bee fan, Thursday night’s telecast was sensational. There were some good early moments, an entertaining kid who sadly got eliminated early in the finals (Dev, we hardly knew ye, but we enjoyed you), and then when we got to the championship round, it became incredible.

For more than a half hour, Vanya Shivashankar of Kansas and Gokul Venkatachalam of Missouri went mano-a-mano, each knocking down these impossible words like they were nothing. They didn’t even come close to using the full two minutes allotted, they just spelled every word like they’d seen it before (which they probably had).

It was Ali-Frazier, Bird vs. Magic kind of stuff, but for smart kids. As I said to my family watching with me Thursday night (they think I’m nuts for being so into it, of course), the Bee is awesome because for one night, really smart kids, not athletes or entertainers, get a little glory on national TV.

I truly think Vanya and Gokul could’ve spelled 1,000 more words correctly, but finally they were declared co-champions.

Both had been to the finals before but hadn’t won, but amazingly, Vanya’s sister won in 2009, so their Dad was pretty proud (how fantastic is this shirt he wore?)

It was wonderful, riveting stuff. Good for Vanya and Gokul, they both seem like humble, terrific kids too.

**Finally today, this is one of those Good News Friday stories that I run occasionally that make some readers go “How is this ‘good news’?” And I’ll admit, part of this isn’t. But part of it is really great.

Jeff Trussell was preparing to marry his fiancee Jennifer in 2013, but as wonderful as that was, he was also dealing with his mother, Deneen Fendig, dying of breast cancer.

As Deneen’s condition worsened and she entered into a hospice care facility, and Jeff and Jennifer made a decision: They would move the wedding up and hold it in Deneen’s hospice room, so she could see her son on his happiest day, before she died.

They bought wedding clothes from a mall, and their friends decorated the hospice room with wedding flowers, candles, and all the usual stuff.

Deneen died 11 days after the wedding. But thanks to the wonderful gesture by her son, she got to experience a life moment she definitely didn’t want to miss.

Check out this wonderful video Jeff shot.

 

“Pitch Perfect 2” almost as awesome as the first one. An amazing hockey goal that you never see. And the bus driver who told a kid she was going to hell.

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Game 6: Rangers 7, Lightning 3. Five 3rd period goals. Yeah, we all saw that coming. Game 7, Friday night, at MSG. I may not sleep till then …

For our 2nd wedding anniversary on Monday, my wife and I did what all couples do on their anniversary:
Dropped the baby off at the grandparents on Long Island, went to a Jewish deli for some delicious meats, and then watched the sequel to an awesome movie about college a capella singers.

Yep, it’s no longer a dirty little secret: I loved “Pitch Perfect,” the original.

I didn’t love it nearly as much as my wife, because it’s become maybe her favorite movie ever, one we’ve seen at least 10-15 times. But I loved it a lot, because it had Anna Kendrick singing and dancing (she’s a major celebrity crush of mine, ever since “Up in the Air”), it had Rebel Wilson being hilarious, it was funny, it had a ton of ’80s music, and it was just so damn fun. I loved Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins as the a capella competition broadcasters the best (“The Menstrual Cycles, John”), and was thrilled to hear Banks was directing this one.

So how was the sequel? Pretty darn good. Not as good as the original, but few sequels are. This one had a pretty silly storyline (thanks to a wardrobe malfunction by “Fat Amy,” the Barden Bellas are banned from defending their national title, and threatened with being disbanded unless they win the World Championship), but the movie worked on a lot of levels.

First, Kendrick continues to be awesome, in real life (did you see her sing-off with James Corden on his new CBS show?) and in movies. Wilson is a brilliant physical comedian, and she has the best scene in the movie, which involves a canoe and a Pat Benetar song.

The Bellas’ rivals, a German supergroup called Das Sound Machine (below) are over the top goofy and cartoonish villains, but it works because the writing is so sharp. Seriously, there were a bunch of one-liners so funny that half the theater laughed out loud.

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The big new addition to the cast, Hailee Steinfeld from “True Grit,” didn’t do much for me, but she does seem to have a good voice. The Riff-Off this time is beyond bizarre, so bizarre that I don’t want to describe it in case you have plans to see the flick.

And the ending, well, the ending you can see coming from a mile away. And yet we still left the theater happy.

Is “Pitch Perfect 2” an all-time classic? No. But it’s great fun if you like singing, dancing, and comedy.

It’s already made a ton of money at the box office, so you can be sure there’ll be a “Pitch Perfect 3.”

Which is fine by me.

**Next up today, it’s not often you see a hockey goal from an angle like this. Monday night, the Chicago Blackhawks staged an improbable rally from two goals down with two minutes left, thanks to Jonathan Toews, who’s basically the Derek Jeter of the NHL. Captain Clutch’s first goal was a rocket shot from in front, no shame in that getting by the goalie.

But the second goal? Insane angle. Check it out, starting about :30 in.

**Finally today, here’s a feel-good story for you (read that in sarcasm font): A bus driver in Missouri was fired last week after an 11-year-old girl reported that the driver told her she was gay and would burn in hell.

Yep, 11-year-old Maurissa Rushing said that she was playing a game on the bus with a friend of hers that saw the girls touching each others arms a few times.

Apparently this was unacceptable to the bus driver, who has not been named, because after dropping off the other students, she allegedly told Maurissa and her friends that they were gay and “gonna burn in hell real bad,” Maurissa told a Kansas City TV station. “I didn’t expect it to happen.”

The driver has been fired, and the family is considering a lawsuit.

Used to be you had to be worried about being bullied by other kids on the school bus. Now, I guess it’s the drivers who are the real bullies. What an awful thing to say to a little kid.

 

 

A depressing way to spend an evening, or my night at Rangers-Lightning Game 5. ESPN’s Ernie Johnson story is remarkable. And a beautiful Memorial Day tribute from a stranger.

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Well that stunk.

As I write this I have just returned from Madison Square Garden, where 18,000 people walked in to the building around 7:30 p.m. excited, pumped up, and ready to make some noise and support the New  York Rangers.

A little more than three hours later, we walked out quietly, heads in our heads, spilled beer at our feet, muttering about getting pucks to the net.

Man, what a rough night to go to a Rangers game. My boys played just a lifeless-offense-free game against Tampa in Game 5, generating maybe four good scoring chances the whole night, while Tampa, who hardly did anything either, scored on two of theirs.

From my seat in Section 318, it looked like Tampa played exactly the kind of playoff game the Rangers usually play: Block a lot of shots, clog the middle, slow the pace down, and capitalize on the few chances you get.

The crowd got more and more frustrated as the night went on, of course, and the poor kid sitting next to me in the Ryan McDonagh jersey said it was his first-ever live game. I had to tell him that usually the home team scores.

Hockey’s such a nutty game: Rangers score 5 goals in each of the last 2 games, then can’t even get one tonight.

Ugh. I’d feel more depressed about the Rangers’ chances if they hadn’t escaped this kind of situation many times before in the last few years. They must win Game 6, and then come home and win Game 7, which they’ve done plenty the last few years.

But still, how many times can you pull the same rabbit out of a hat? Sunday was a golden opportunity, and they blew it.

Only fun part of my night was coming home and seeing LeBron will his Cavaliers to another win. Man oh man, is it time to start putting that dude on the same level as MJ? Not yet, but he’s getting real, real close.

130502-N-MG658-011 ARLINGTON, Va. (May 2, 2013)  An Sailor plays

**Next up today, it is of course Memorial Day, a day we honor all the brave men and women who sacrificed and died protecting our liberty.

I thought this tribute essay, to the men and women who served and are now buried at Arlington National Cemetery, was achingly beautiful. It’s written by Breanna Garren Mueller, and here’s an excerpt (the whole thing can be read here:)

Arlington National Cemetery. I didn’t know any of them. There were thousands. Hundreds of thousands.
John. Robert. Charles. William. Unknown… Not one did I know personally.
I had never seen them. Never met them… 

But as I stood there — silent tears filling eyes that scanned rows and rows of white marble cold upon warm, vibrant grass — it occurred to me that they had known me. All of them. Oh so well. And they knew you too.

They had thought of me often, and they thought of you. From the very first moment they considered the armed forces they thought of me. They knew I would want to walk freely outside, taking deep breaths of freshly clipped grass giving the sweet fragrance of spring, face turned toward the warmth of the sun. They knew I would value leisurely picnics and rides on playground swings; that I would need work opportunities and that my children would need college; and that someone would have to ensure that I was given those chances.

So they enlisted…

**Finally today, ESPN, for all its faults, still does some remarkable broadcast journalism, much of it on their signature shows like “Outside the Lines” and “E: 60.”

There have been a ton of wonderful stories brought to life by ESPN’s storytellers over the years, but this piece from last week might be the best thing the network has ever done.
It’s on TNT sportscaster Ernie Johnson, who while seeming to have it all on the air, has had quite the life off it. The piece is long, but hopefully you have the day off and can watch it. What Johnson has done, for his adopted son, his family, and everyone else in his life, is truly wonderful.

Good News Friday: David Letterman gets sent out in style. Two adopted sisters meet for the first time, in a college class. And the Boy Scouts finally come to their senses about gay leaders

And a Happy Friday to you, wishing you and yours a wonderful Memorial Day weekend; it’ll always be special to me for all the normal reasons, but also Monday is my 2-year wedding anniversary, celebrating the best day of my life, when I made the best decision I ever made: Marrying the most beautiful and sweet girl in the world.

Want to start today’s Good News Friday with the retirement of a TV legend. David Letterman took the mantle from Johnny Carson and became the best, and funniest, late-night TV host ever. I loved Dave for the reasons everyone else loved Dave: He was smart, he was acerbic, he was a great interviewer when he wanted to be, and he was just plain zany. I never stayed up until 12:30 a.m. for his old NBC show because, you know, I was too young and had school the next day.

But seeing some of those classic bits over the years, you saw the genius at work. He took guys like Chris Elliot and Larry “Bud” Melman and made them comedy heroes, while taking everyday folks like Rupert Gee from the deli around the corner from the Ed Sullivan Theater and making them “stars.”

Dave was one of a kind, and I will miss him. His final show Wednesday night was a beautiful tribute, and he seemed at times genuinely overcome with emotion. The final montage, over a live performance by Foo Fighters, was dizzying and wonderful.

So long Dave, we’re going to miss you. I leave you with this: There were a ton of great tributes written about Letterman the past few weeks, but this one, by longtime writer/booker Daniel Kellison on Grantland.com, was by far my favorite. The “insider” stories he tells about some of the most famous Letterman moments (the Drew Barrymore flash, the night Madonna wouldn’t leave) are really entertaining.

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**Next up today, this story sort of blew my mind: Two sisters, both adopted by separate families when they were babies, met for the first time two years ago. In a classroom at Columbia University,

Katy Olson, 34, and Lizzie Valverde, 35, were adopted and raised by separate families three decades ago — Olson in Florida and Iowa, and Valverde in New Jersey.

According to this story (and the video is great, too), two years ago, they wound up sitting in the same writing class at Columbia. On the first day, as students shared some stories about growing up, they realized their connection.

“It hit me, all the pieces just collided — kind of like a big aha kind of moment,” said Olson, who had been looking for her sister for years. “I was like, ‘Whoa!'”

 Another crazy part is that Valverde never knew she had a biological sister, while Olson did.

And now, Valverde is graduating. What a great story. Can you imagine meeting a sibling for the first time in your 30s? Crazy.

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**Finally today, I’ve ripped this organization many times over the years in this space, so when they actually show signs of intelligent life, I feel I must give credit where it’s due.
Even if their actions are long, long, LONG overdue.
Yes kids, the Boy Scouts of America, long completely intolerant of gay scouts and leaders, is finally joining the 20th century. Just a few years after finally allowing openly gay scouts to stay in the organization, now the Boy Scouts president, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, said the scouts should end their ban on gay adult leaders.

Gates said that “any other alternative will be the end of us as a national movement.”

Well hallelujah and pass the Merit Badges. Better late than never. That this incredibly intolerant organization has been allowed to “get away with” this kind of discrimination for decades is deplorable. The idea that a gay scout leader is somehow deficient in helping lead young boys is offensive on many levels.

Better late than never, Boy Scouts.

My thoughts on an almost-great “Mad Men” finale. The guy who sneezed out a dart in his nose, 44 years later. And a first-year Little League coach writes beautifully of his experience

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I remember watching the very first episode of “Mad Men,” back in 2007, and thinking “Hmmm, this doesn’t look like any TV show I’ve seen before.”

In an era of gloriously good television, basically from when “The Sopranos” started until now,” the best shows have all felt different from anything that came before it. “Breaking Bad” certainly did; so did “The Wire.”

And “Mad Men” was totally that way too; from the look, the dialogue, the period pieces from the 1960s they got exactly right… it really was a hell of a show. even if Pete Campbell drove me nuts just looking at him (I’m trying to think of a TV character I’ve hated more than Pete Campbell.

Which is why I was so disappointed with this final half-season, when I felt like it was mostly running in circles. Still, I had high hopes for the finale, and for the most part, I wasn’t let down.

(SPOILER ALERT. I’M ABOUT TO DISCUSS THE SERIES FINALE. IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED IT YET, SKIP DOWN TO THE PHOTO. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED)

I loved how the series ended Joan’s arc; her standing up for herself with yet another jerk (Richard, I thought you were the one!), and then starting her own production company? Joan’s come such a long way. Loved, loved, loved Peggy and Stan finally getting together; that relationship has been on simmer for years, and it was about damn time they became a couple.

I enjoyed Roger Sterling’s final moments, even felt a little good for Pete, that sonofabitch, seeming happy at the end.

But the way “Mad Men” dealt with Don Draper… ugh. I didn’t like Don Draper since the middle of season 1, when we got to see what a cad he was. The man, for 10 years in show-time, did not change at all. Behavior still awful, toward women, toward his kids, all of it.

And then in the final episode, when it looks like Don is completely broken, mentally, spiritually, and all that, and seems to finally find some catharsis and peace … “Mad Men” just uses his brief moment of Zen as inspiration for another ad campaign. Don Draper returns to McCann and writes the iconic Coca-Cola commercial.

I’ve seen some people interpret the ending differently, but to me, it’s crystal clear: Don can’t change, he is what he is, and his descent into a terrible life spiral these last few episodes has a happy ending for a guy who doesn’t deserve one.

Still, I left “Mad Men” on a happy note. It was a sensational show, one few others have matched.
And hey, at least we got to see Sally Draper survive without major psychological damage!

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**So this is one of those stories that instantly raised my “bullshit” detector, for it can’t possibly be true. But apparently it is.

Maybe you heard about this last week; A 51-year-old Englishman named Steve Easton (maybe related to 80s pop diva Sheena Easton?) sneezed out a toy part that had been stuck in his nose for the past 44 years, causing him decades of congested breathing.

Apparently when Easton was 7 the rubber tip of a toy dart had gotten stuck up his nose, and it was beyond the reach of doctors.

Two weeks ago Easton was sitting at home and overcome by a sneezing fit, and one sneeze dislodged the dart.

“I thought, where the hell has this come from?” Easton told The Guardian newspaper.

OK, let me stop right there, because I’m brimming with questions. First of all, the child gets a dart stuck up his nose, and the parents just leave it there when the doctor says he can’t get it? Who does that? My parents would’ve taken me to 11 specialists, all over the East Coast, to get that thing out. (Then again, we’re Jewish, so, you know, we might be a little crazier in parenting than you.)

Second, do they tell young Steve he’s got a dart up his nose, or leave him oblivious? Wouldn’t you think after sneezing and being uncomfortable for all these years, he might’ve said “Hey Mum and Dad, anything ever happen to my  nose when I was a kid?”

Third, what doctors tell parents “Yeah, there’s a toy stuck up you kid’s nose, but we can’t get it out?” I mean, do they teach you that in medical school?

Poor Steve Easton. At least his long national nightmare is over.

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**Finally today, this blog post by my buddy Pearlman really spoke to me, maybe because I absolutely can see myself in his position a few years from now, prowling the dugouts for my son’s team.

Jeff just finished his first year as a Little League coach, for his 8-year-old son’s team in Southern California, and as you might expect, it was equal parts frustrating and exhilarating.

He writes of the joys, mostly, though, and it’s a really sweet look at coaching young boys, and the bonds he feels with these kids forever.

 

Larry David’s “Fish in the Dark” is funny, but pretty much a “Curb” episode. A wrenching tale from an Amtrak train survivor. And Southwest Airlines does really wrong by a passenger

FISH IN THE DARK - 2015 PRESS ART - Larry David and Ben Shenkman - Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

FISH IN THE DARK – 2015 PRESS ART – Larry David and Ben Shenkman – Photo Credit: Joan Marcus 

So as a fellow Jewish New Yorker myself, it’s not really a big surprise that I’m a huge Larry David fan.

Loved “Seinfeld,” and loved “Curb Your Enthusiasm” even more. So four months ago, when tickets went on sale for David’s new Broadway show, “Fish In the Dark,” I snapped up a few for myself, my Dad and my stepmom (my wife is one of the very few people I know who doesn’t like “Seinfeld.” Oddly enough, my ex-wife disliked it, too. Do I somehow attract anti-Costanzas? A question for another day.)

Because it was such a hot ticket here in N.Y., I didn’t get to actually see the show until Saturday. And it was terrific, no doubt about it. Really funny, with a few “I missed the next line because I was laughing so hard at the last one” moments.

But honestly? It felt like a two-hour episode of “Curb,” with lots of the same Larry ticks and verbal miscues we’ve come to know and love.

The plot of “Fish in the Dark” is this: The dysfunction of the Drexel family is on full display after the patriarch, played by Jerry Adler, dies in an early scene. David’s character, Norman, has a loving but frustrated wife (Rita Wilson), an arrogant lawyer brother (Ben Shenkman, who was terrific), a housekeeper with a family secret she finally spills (Rosie Perez, also great), and a host of other aunts, uncles and relatives.

It’s really well-written, Shenkman and the supporting cast were all great, and I enjoyed myself. But I couldn’t help thinking me and the rest of the audience got tricked into spending over a hundred bucks to see a two-hour “Curb” movie.

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**Next up today, an extraordinary piece of writing from a woman named Seyward  Darby, who was a passenger on Amtrak train 188 that crashed and killed eight people last week near Philadelphia.

Darby writes in this Washington Post piece about her lifelong debilitating worry that those she loves are about to die, and how having a near-death experience herself made her see her worries in a whole new light.

Really, this is a sensational, wrenching piece that deserves to be read. Truly great work.

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**Finally today, I have long been a big fan of Southwest Airlines. For the 5-plus years I lived in Daytona Beach, I was on the Orlando-Long Island flight at least 6-7 times per year, and always found Southwest to be on time, with friendly (and often really funny) pilots and flight attendants, and reasonably priced. I recommended Southwest to all.

But after the story I just read about this weekend, man, I don’t know if I can feel good about this company anymore. Did you hear about this?

A Wisconsin woman named Karen Momsen-Evers was onboard a flight about to take off from New Orleans back to Milwaukee on April 3 when she got a text from her husband:

“Karen, please forgive me for what I am about to do, I am going to kill myself…,” Andy Evers’ text read.

Naturally panicked, she immediately tried to call Andy and had her phone slapped out of her hand by a flight attendant, who told her to put the phone away.
When Karen explained what was going on, the flight attendant cited FAA regulations, even as Karen told her the whole story. She said she then begged the flight attendant to have the pilor or someone in the cockpit radio the authorities in Milwaukee, to do something to help Andy Evers.

Even after the flight reached cruising altitude, Evers was prevented from making a call, and a different flight attendant said she couldn’t disturb the pilot with this information.

When Karen landed, she called the police, who then found Andy Evers dead at the family home.

I mean … come ON! The woman gets a text from her husband threatening suicide, and the Southwest personnel can’t even do one thing to help this poor woman?
Just deplorable. Southwest’s statement in response to this is as tone-deaf as it gets: “our hearts go out to the Evers family during this difficult time. Flight attendants are trained to notify the Captain if there is an emergency that poses a hazard to the aircraft or to the passengers onboard. In this situation, the pilots were not notified.”

Just awful. There ought to be some serious discipline handed out to those flight attendants, and as this story gets more and more traction in the media, Southwest should rightfully get more and more scrutiny.

 

Some new thoughts from the stay-at-home Daddy Chronicles, featuring a new cage (I mean playpen) for the little guy. Students honoring teachers in a great video. And a father’s beautiful speech to his daughter’s husband

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And a Happy Friday to you and yours, I’m still on Cloud 11 after the Rangers’ thrilling win Wednesday night; that was not good for my heart, but great for my soul.

Wanted to start today with another installment of the Daddy Chronicles, my occasional series on my life as a stay-at-home Dad. Been a couple months since I wrote one of these, but lots of changes have been going on in his little 8-month-old life…

— First of all, as you can see by the above photo, we’ve boxed the little fella in. Yep, we put him in a cage. A prison. An isolation chamber. Whatever you want to call it. Why? Because I always wanted to hear a baby chant “Attica, Attica!“)

No, we did it because he’s crawling all over the place now, has been for a few weeks, and I can’t literally watch him every single second, and he was starting to crawl near wine bottles (he always went for the good stuff, a sign of intelligence, I believe) and my home computer with its oh-so-appealing wires. So we went on Amazon, bought this colorful barrier, and so far so good. He doesn’t seem to mind being confined, has plenty of toys to keep him busy, and now I can shower or do an interview and not worry so much.
Plus, all those colors do brighten up the apartment.

— Solid foods are a big hit so far; the little guy has enjoyed everything except for winter squash (his look of disgust while eating it sent the grandparents into hysterics) and the new Stage 2 green beans/peas/corn mix, which is odd because he liked each of those things individually.

On the downside… yeah, the smells have gotten exponentially worse coming out of his rear end. Everyone told me this would happen, and still, until it does your nose is never quite prepared. Wow.

— Since he turned six months old I’ve started a couple of structured activities with him; we take swim class once a week and music class once a week. I’m not expecting him to turn into Mozart or Ryan Lochte here, but so far so good. After an initial fear of going underwater (he came up the first time wildly looking around like “What the hell was that, Daddy??”) he seems to really like the pool, and is getting more and more used to it.

Music class is mostly for my benefit so far (getting him out of the apartment for a couple hours), but he’s getting exposure to live instruments being played and loves touching the shiny things in the room. Plus, it’s socializing him a little bit; with no day-care for him he doesn’t get a lot of exposure to other babies, so this helps. Big surprise; he smiles at all the pretty Moms and nannies. My boy is a flirt of the highest order.

— Finally, this hit me the other day: In a few more weeks he’ll have been “on the outside” as long as he was in my wife’s stomach. Blows. My. Mind. Time’s not just flying, it’s going 88 in a DeLorean.

**Next up today, any video that pays tribute to America’s hard-working and seriously under-appreciated teachers is bound to catch my attention. The group Soul Pancake put out this video which is actually two years old, but still perfect: It’s former students paying tribute to the teacher who inspired them.

I love it… amazing what an impact a great teacher can have on a life.

http://www.upworthy.com/they-asked-some-people-on-the-street-to-talk-about-their-favorite-teachers-the-answers-are-perfect?c=upw1&u=cb6160b8f3ce7ca42584510beb833d0f1618179f

**Finally today, this is pretty fantastic, and deserves to go viral. It’s a video of a father doing a rare thing at a wedding: Giving a speech to the groom while they’re up at the altar during the service, not at the reception.

This dad, whose name isn’t on the video, gives his future son-in-law Phillip a little talking-to, in a loving, oh-so-sweet tribute to the woman Philip’s about to marry. It’s about love and Jesus and how much the father loves his daughter… yeah, I cried at the end (and I’m Jewish, that’s how good it is 🙂

 

 

Game 7 tonight, the best words in sports. Jimmy Fallon and U2 have a surprise concert in the subway station. And a drunk man chases a bear through the woods.

Game 7.
If you’re a sports nut like me, I don’t have to say anymore. I’ll watch a Game 7 of anything; badminton, tiddlywinks, hockey, basketball … it’s right up there among the biggest thrills in sports, watching two teams who’ve battled for two weeks playing one final deciding game.

And tonight, my favorite sports team of all plays in yet another Game 7. Rangers-Capitals, Stanley Cup Playoffs, at MSG. Winner goes on, loser goes home.

It’s so random when you think about the idea of a Game 7; somewhere along the line, many moons ago, somebody in sports decided a best-of-seven format was the best way to decide a playoff series.
Not too short as to allow for flukes (like best-of-3 and best-of-5’s often do), but not interminable like a best of nine or 11. I don’t know if seven just feels like a good number because that’s what we’ve all been conditioned to accept, or if it actually is the perfect length.

Anyway, Game 7. Tonight. Rangers-Capitals. I’ll be pacing, sweating, cursing and shouting for most of three hours (thank God my little baby’s a good sleeper). I saw this awesome graphic Tuesday of a Rangers fan charting his heart rate during Game 6; I’m glad I won’t be doing that, or my wife would call an ambulance during what’s sure to be a nail-biting 3rd period (can you get wifi in an NYC ambulance these days? Asking for a friend.)

For a guy who’s team was less than two minutes from elimination and playing golf for the summer last Friday, I’m quite confident. Henrik Lundqvist is money in 7th games, winning his last five. The Caps have blown a 3-1 series lead four times before, this Rangers team always seems to find a way,  and Alex Ovechkin hasn’t scored since Game 2.

Let’s Go Rangers. I’ll be nervous all day until 7:30. I love it.

Next up, this is another awesome Jimmy Fallon sketch. Several years ago, the talented Washington Post writer Gene Weingarten won a Pulitzer Prize for a story in which he got a world-famous violinist, Joshua Bell, to play inside a D.C. metro station, and showed how absolutely no one paid attention. It was an incredible story (check it out here), basically proving the point that people often miss real beauty in their hustle and bustle to get where they’re going.

The Fallon sketch is similar; he got Bono and the rest of U2 to come to a NYC subway station and play their own world-famous music while in disguise.

It’s hilarious to see people walk right by Bono singing “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and not know it.

DavyCrockett.bearhunt

**Finally, my good friend Will sends me “News of the Weird” stories all the time, and I always enjoy them but often forget to blog about them.
This one, thought, I had to share.

Allow me to just re-copy the headline from this CBS News story from Albany, N.Y.: “Police: Drunk man taken into custody after chasing bear with hatchet.”

I mean come on, is there ANY way you’re not reading the rest of that story?

Apparently in North Adams, Mass., a citizen named Bradley Carpenter, concerned about bears (and really, aren’t we all concerned?) actually went after a bear with a hatchet, but sadly did not catch it.

“We certainly don’t need anyone going all Davy Crockett chasing it through the woods drunk with a dull hatchet,” the police said after the man was apprehended. “We are still trying to figure out what his end game was.”

His end game? Clearly, he was on a bear hunt and he wanted him some bear meat!
What I wouldn’t pay for video of this…

 

Bernie Sanders, not such a liberal darling after all on guns. Tina Fey hilariously strips down on Letterman. And the 5-Hour Energy people, not so charitable

Henrik.CapsGame6

Barely breathed from 9-10 p.m. Sunday night, as my beloved New York Rangers nearly gave me a heart attack but hung on and held off a furious Capitals rally to win Game 6, 4-3, and even their Stanley Cup playoff series at 3.
Amazing. Rangers were down 3-1 in the series, and now they get Game 7 at MSG on Wednesday night.  Henrik Lundqvist is the best money goalie in the world.
Man, hockey playoffs are the best… but not so good for my health.
On with the show…

For the past two weeks, since he announced he was running for President as, so far, the only challenger to Hillary Clinton, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has been riding a wave of positive publicity in the media, getting liberals like me excited that Mrs. C (shout out to Marion Ross!) will get at least a little test, and becoming more of a national name, a trend that will surely continue for awhile.

But late last week came a story that stopped me short, and lots of other liberals I know, short. Slate.com published a pretty scathing, but accurate, story showing Sanders’ very un-liberal voting record when it comes to guns.

Bernie’s not only pro-gun, he’s extremely pro-gun, vetoing background-check legislation and uttering some very NRA-approved comments after the Sandy Hook shooting. (“If you passed the strongest gun control legislation tomorrow, I don’t think it will have a profound effect on the tragedies we have seen.”)

Bernie doesn’t talk about guns much; he’s much better prepared and strongly on the left when it comes to economic inequality, our reckless foreign wars, and spending cuts.

This gun defense is going to really hurt him, and I’m sure it’s already lost him some votes.

I’m not ready to give up on him yet, because there is no “perfect” candidate. But I very much would like to hear his response to those who rightly see him as a big NRA supporter. I know Vermont is a very pro-gun state, and I know he’s elected to serve the wishes of his constituents. Still, his votes are very much at odds with most Democrats.

Will be interesting to see how he responds.
Meanwhile, is there anyone in the Republican party NOT running for President? So happy we’ll get all these wingnuts together on a debate stage soon…

**Next up, I’ll probably be posting of a lot of these “David Letterman farewell” moments until he signs off on May 20, because so many celebrities want to pay tribute to Dave, who I love.
Some of them will surely be touching and emotional; others, more like this hilarioius Tina Fey stunt.

Seems Tina doesn’t like having to always get dressed up when she does Dave’s show, so she decided to dress down.

**Finally today, my boy Jeff Pearlman is one of my best friends, and he’s done me lots of favors over the years, so when he’s fired up about something and asks me to share his outrage, I do my best to summon it. He wrote this post on his excellent blog last Friday, about the odious “charitable” endeavors of the 5-Hour Energy company, who make a pretty nauseating product (I tried it once and hated the taste).

It seems the company is running these heartwarming commercials saying that with every bottle of their yucky liquid sold, they’re making a donation to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, a charity that helps children of deceased military members receive a 100-percent paid-for college education.

Except, if you look closer (as Jeff did), 5-Hour Energy is only kicking in ONE NICKEL for every can sold.

The ad is emotional manipulation at its finest, and pretty despicable that the company is painting themselves as huge supporters of this foundation.

Read Jeff’s much-better rant here.