Monthly Archives: November 2016

The “Gilmore Girls” reunion movies: Lots of hits, lots of big misses. An NFL kicker sings an amazing “Ave Maria.” And a weekend at a hotel pool reminds me of how far we’ve come

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With the hindsight of about two hours, I’ll admit it:

There’s no way the “Gilmore Girls” reunion movies could’ve lived up to my full expectations. I’d loved this remarkable television series so much, and had been so excited when I heard creators Amy and Dan Palladino were making four 1.5 hour “episodes” to wrap the series up, that I knew when it finally arrived I’d probably be a little disappointed.

Lots, and lots of thoughts to share: Overall, I thought it was a little better than OK. Part 1 “Winter” and Part 4 “Fall” were very strong, and really delved deep into the old “Gilmore Girls” world. The middle two parts … horrible. Blech. Just bad in so many ways.

And now, a disclaimer so no one yells at me…

WARNING: I’M ABOUT TO TALK ABOUT SPECIFICS OF THE GILMORE GIRLS MOVIES. IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT YET AND DON’T WANT TO KNOW ANYTHING, SKIP TO THE VIDEO BELOW.

Everybody still with me? Good. Here goes…

Things I loved about the reunion movies: Any time Emily and Lorelai were on screen together; they have such amazing chemistry. Particularly, the scenes where Emily was in jeans and getting rid of everything in her house, and the emotional power of Lorelai’s phone call to her mother during her “Wild” hike that wasn’t that talked about a day when she was 13, was amazing.

— Paris Gellar. Just fantastic. Every scene Liza Weil was in, reprising her role as Paris, was incredible. Paris as a fertility clinic matchmaker but still being a total mess emotionally? Gold. Her fights with ex-husband Doyle? Absolutely wonderful. I could not get enough Paris, I just wish she were in all four movies.

— The Life and Death Brigade: Yeah, I know Colin and Finn get annoying after a while, but I felt like their 15 minutes in the “Fall” episode was terrific. Just enough of them to remember how great they were.

— Kirk. Oh, how I love me some Kirk. The “Oober” storyline cracked me up, as did his playing soccer with Emily’s housekeeper’s kids. And the Kirk movie… Oscar-worthy.

— The Mae Whitman (Amber from “Parenthood” cameo). Yeah, I know it had no point except to show us both of Lauren Graham’s TV daughters at the same time. But I laughed and loved it. A great touch.

— Sutton Foster at the end of the musical: I hated just about everything else about the “Stars Hollow: The Musical” episode, the whole thing felt like it went on for 11 hours. But the Sutton Foster song at the end was terrific.

Things I hated about the reunion movies: Just about every single Rory storyline. Man, did the Palladinos blow this. They took a smart, career-motivated, intelligent young woman who left Yale ready to conquer the world and turned her into an indecisive, flailing quasi-pathetic woman who at age 32 is totally lost. Just impossible to root for or like, Rory turned into something unrecognizable.

— The musical numbers: Horrendous. Stupid. Not funny in the least. Just a complete waste of time.

— The “Summer” episode: By far the worst one. Who knew Stars Hollow even had a pool?

— The “Sandee Says” website storyline: OK so let me get this straight: This gossipy celebrity website chases Rory for a year, desperately wants to hire her, finally she agrees, and then the snotty boss basically acts like she has no idea who Rory is and doesn’t hire her? Completely stupid and unrealistic.

— The Rory “boyfriend” everyone forgets about: This also made no sense. We’re supposed to believe this guy “Paul” has been dating Rory for two years, except he’s never around and no one remembers anything about him? Lazy, silly writing.

And finally …

— The ending, and the “final four words” that the Palladinos had been guarding like a national security secret all these years? They were pretty shocking. But they make sense in a full circle kind of way. Series began with Lorelai having a daughter unexpectedly 16 years earlier, and now Rory apparently has gotten pregnant by Logan.
I really don’t know if I liked this or didn’t like it yet. Would love to hear any of your thoughts…

**And now, for something completely different. The Baltimore Ravens seem to have a knack for having players who have amazing talents outside of football. One of their offensive lineman, John Urschel, is a math genius from MIT. And their placekicker, maybe the best kicker in the game right now, can sing opera.

Seriously. This is Justin Tucker, NFL star, belting out one hell of an “Ave Maria.”

Amazing.

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**Finally today, a little riff on progress. The family and I went to Baltimore last week for Thanksgiving, and last Friday we took our 2-year-old downstairs to the hotel pool.

I swam with him for a bit, we splashed around, he laughed and had a great time. At one point, though, I looked around and noticed something. There were a few African-American kids in the pool, along with a handful of white children.

Several of them were playing together, some made-up game, and it struck me all at once: Fifty years ago, in many places, this scene would’ve been illegal.

Black children in a pool with white children? In Maryland, which is technically the South? Unheard of. Just five decades earlier, a scene like this would caused outrage and alarm.

And yet, such a short period of time later, it was the most normal thing in the world.
No big overarching point here, just a reminder to myself that we complain about how slow racial progress is in so many areas.

But in small ways, we’ve come so far from such a dark, segregationist past.

After a great Thanksgiving weekend, thoughts on three notable deaths: Castro, Henderson, and Branca

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I’m still pretty full from a four-day weekend of orgy-like eating and drinking, but man was it fun. So much seems to have happened since my last blog on Wednesday; want to share thoughts about the long-awaited “Gilmore Girls” reunion movie and a deep thought I had watching children of many races swimming together at our hotel pool in Baltimore.

But that will have to wait until Wednesday’s post.

Today, while trying hard to be surprised by the Jets losing to the Patriots again on Sunday (what? this Tom Brady fellow is decent at 4th-quarter comebacks?) I wanted to write about the trio of celebrity deaths last week that each deserve thinking about.

The first and by far the most consequential to the world was Fidel Castro. So much has been written since he died on Friday, so much of it outstanding, but reading this NYT obit really struck me. There was a thing I read about years ago, I can’t remember where, about assessing each person’s life by asking what their “between the commas” moment would be.

As in, when you’re reading someone’s obit, what’s the major event or accomplishment that would be in-between the commas in the first paragraph of their death story. You know, like “Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin, died at 68.” Or “Harry Truman, who as U.S. President dropped nuclear bombs on Japan, died at …”

You get the idea. It’s your signature you’ve left on the world. Well, I’ve been reading obits for more than 30 years, and I’ve never quite read a “between the commas” like this one for Fidel: “Fidel Castro, the fiery apostle of revolution who brought the Cold War to the Western Hemisphere in 1959 and then defied the United States for nearly half a century as Cuba’s maximum leader, bedeviling 11 American presidents and briefly pushing the world to the brink of nuclear war, died on Friday. He was 90.”

I mean… damn. That’s one hell of legacy. Castro was a dictator, a showman, an absolutely brutal human being who somehow charmed and frightened five decades’ worth of rival world leaders.

He survived something like 600 assassination attempts, a total matched only by Batman and James Bond. He nearly, of course, brought the world to an end (or at least, to the brink of a nuclear war) in 1962, and somehow held on to power for nearly five decades, despite starving his people and isolating Cuba from the world.

Castro was a medical marvel, and there’s also the famous story that in the 1950s he had a baseball tryout with the Washington Senators. Can you imagine how the world would have changed if he’d made the team?

There has, frighteningly, been a lot of praise for Castro since his passing, including a wildly tone-deaf statement from Canadian PM Justin Trudeau. But this man should be remembered for being evil, for fomenting hatred wherever he went, and for the pain and suffering he caused millions and millions of Cubans.

I hope one of those cigars he loved are currently roasting him in the afterlife.

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**Florence Henderson was, and always will be, remembered as Carol Brady. If you’re like me, one of the millions of people who loved “The Brady Bunch” through reruns, she has lived on all these years later as a loving and gentle mother to six sometimes-unruly children.

Of course we made fun of “The Brady Bunch” for its preachiness, it’s wholesomeness, and its complete detachment from reality. But dammit, Mrs. Brady’s warm smile could melt any cynicism.

Henderson later went on to be the famous Wesson Oil spokesperson and more recently, she founded a company that helped older people learn to use electronic devices like DVD players, iPhones and DVR.

She was an iconic American actress, and she will be missed. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go play ball in the house, even though Mom always said not to.

**Finally, a few words about someone you might not be as familiar with. For every great sports moment in history, there’s someone or some team on the other end of it, whose failure made it happen. Ralph Branca was a very good pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1950s, but like Bill Buckner after him and Fred Merkle before him, all most people remember about Branca is that he gave up one of the most famous homers in baseball history, to Bobby Thomson on Oct. 3, 1951 that won the pennant for the Giants and lost it for Brooklyn.

But Branca was so much more than that one moment. I got to interview him several times over the years and found him to be unfailingly polite, charming and always willing to talk about the one awful pitch he threw that made him famous.

Branca was incredibly accepting of Jackie Robinson when he came to the Dodgers, and had a reputation of being all class.

I hope he’s remembered for more than just one pitch.

A Good News Thanksgiving post: The 55-year-old first-time college football player amazes. My annual tribute to “Cheers” Thanksgiving food fight. And the greatest knitting Grandpa ever

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With Thanksgiving coming up this week, your humble blogger and family are down in the great state of Maryland, visiting loved ones and meeting two new babies that were born in our family in the past year! Not going to have a blog post on Friday, so I’m posting a Good News Thanksgiving post today.

I have so much to be thankful for this year, as I hope most of you do. Sure, we’re about to have a sociopath leading the free world, but hey, comedy writers and late-night comedians will have plenty of material.

Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving. On with the show …

First up today, I love stories like this, of perseverance and of people getting to do something love, no matter how late in life it comes.

Joe Thomas, Sr., is 55 years old. He’s a college football running back for South Carolina State. You might say he’s a little bit older than his teammates; hell, he could be the father of all of his teammates.

He’s been practicing with S.C. State for a few years now; it seems Joe was a star football player in high school 40 years ago, but he wasn’t given the opportunity to play college ball (he was partially deaf as well). When his son, Joe Thomas Jr. (now in the NFL) enrolled at South Carolina State, Joe Sr. decided he wanted to give college a shot, and finally, last week, he was given a chance to play running back, carrying the ball once.

“It’s the happiest day of my life,” Thomas said.

How did he get here? SI.com did a great story on Thomas here.

**Next up today, I try to run this video every year around Thanksgiving, because it always makes me smile as one of the funniest TV scenes ever.

You’ve seen it before, but watch it again. “Cheers,” Carla’s house, Norm’s turkey won’t cook … and the best food fight ever.

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**And finally today, this is just wonderful. An 86-year-old man in Atlanta named Ed Moseley learned to knit recently, so he could make thousands of little baby hats for preemies at a local hospital. (And as Toby on “The West Wing” learned years ago, babies come with hats!)

“I prevailed on my daughter to get a kit, and it comes with the right size loom and the right tools to help you knit one,” Moseley told ABC News. “I just followed the instructions. It was easy. Somehow I had never knitted, and I always associated knitting with a bunch of needles but this looked pretty doable for me. I went through two or three before I came out with a good finished product.”

“To have a gift left at the bedside, or a nurse put the hat on the little baby’s head, makes it all seem less like a hospital,” Linda Kelly, clinical manager of the special care nursery, said. “It’s important for families to see their baby as a baby and not as a patient. This will help to get the families to that spot.”

Those little premies are very lucky.

 

The Trump cabinet is as scary as we feared. SNL does a great skit, but it’s soon not going to be funny. And the Detroit Lions are in first place! And other NFL thoughts

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So it’s been almost two weeks and I’m still not quite believing that a 70-year-0ld vulgar, talking yam who is the most unqualified man ever to become United States President, actually is going to be President in a couple months.

For a few days after the election, there was some laughable talk that Mr. Trump would actually try to be calmer, more sober, and not hire as many radical nutjobs as he had working for him on the campaign.

But nope. So far Trump’s major appointments have included a white nationalist sympathizer (Steve Bannon), a completely-lost-his-marbles general (Michael Flynn), and a Senator from Alabama who was deemed to racist to be a federal judge 30 years ago (Jeff Sessions).

Also, Trump has refused to talk to the press or to the public, he got all mad that his VP got booed at “Hamilton” (gee, hard to see how the most anti-gay VP ever would get heckled on Broadway, though I do give props for Pence’s quote that the boos “sounded like freedom of speech.” He took it better than his boss.) and oh yeah, his chief of stuff, Reince Priebus, said that we may well have a “Muslim Registry” of all Muslims who live in America.

I’m sorry, was Joe McCarthy brought back to life or am I imagining things?

This is how bad it’s been: I hear Mitt Romney might be Secretary of State and I’m like “whew, a grownup!”

It’s all just still so dizzying, that so many unserious, offensive people will be having a major role in our government. And that Trump is having meetings and phone calls with world leaders on unsecured phones in Trump Tower. And that he’s still Tweeting about “SNL” and that his business interests already seem so intertwined with his Presidency.

(That letter above, by the way, was from a Dad to his son Jack, about how to live under Trump’s rule. I love it, and think we all should heed its advice.)

I guess as soon as I start accepting this is real, the better off I’ll feel. I have been saying to people that I really don’t think Trump will last four years as President: He’ll either get bored and quit, or become so wildly, spectacularly a failure that he’ll be forced to resign by Congress.

Either one is fine with me.

**Next up, Alec Baldwin continues to do excellent work on “Saturday Night Live,” as Trump, though the man himself Tweeted how unfunny and unfair it was. (The great Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal  Tweeted back “Dude, you watch more TV than a latch-key kid.”

The Mitt Romney handshake at the 4-minute mark slayed me.

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**And finally today, the Detroit Lions are in first place! Let me say that again: The Detroit Lions are in first place. No, really, the Detroit Lions are in first place.

This is a statement that’s said as often as “Mmmmm, asparagus!” by 7-year-olds, or “You know what we need? More snow!” by New Englanders in February. The Lions have stunk for about 60 years, pretty consistently. But somehow this year they’re less stinky than usual.

Sure it takes last-minute heroics for them to win (I’m afraid my friend Abel, a die-hard Lions fan, might have a heart attack by the end of the season, and he has two kids and is a great friend, I can’t have that happen!), but hey, they’re now 6-4 and tied for first and it seems nuts. Their best player, Calvin Johnson, retired after last season, they seem to always fall behind, but somehow have been finding ways to win.

Detroit Lions, first place. Sounds about as crazy as President Donald Trump, doesn’t it?

Some more NFL thoughts on a cold Monday…

— So Kirk Cousins is pretty good now, right Washington fans? You hate him, you love him. I get it. Today you love him. He torched Green Bay and suddenly 3 NFC East teams could make the playoffs. Hate seeing world-class jerk Daniel Snyder accidentally have a winning team, though.

— So much for my declaration last week that the Kansas City Chiefs were really good, huh? Ah, everyone gets a mulligan.

— I don’t understand how the Arizona Cardinals are this mediocre. Much the same team from last year, a great coach in Bruce Arians, and they’re losing way too often. Not going to make the playoffs at this rate, and I really thought they could be a Super Bowl team.

— Finally, spare a thought for the Cleveland Browns. Zero and 11 is no way to spend Thanksgiving.

 

Good News Friday: Shaq does the hora at a Jewish wedding, and it’s awesome. A World Series pitcher helps a girl on Twitter with her homework. And a baby polar bear dreaming is adorable.

And a Happy Friday to you out there in Internet-land. Thanksgiving is coming, the leaves have turned, the New York Rangers are the best team in hockey (well OK maybe not the best but I’m still pretty damn excited at their 13-4 start!), and we still have 64 more days of a sane human being President of the United States. (Check out this amazing article by the New Yorker’s David Remnick on Obama, pre and post-election thoughts.) So sure, I’m in a good mood.

We start Good News Friday with Shaquille O’Neal, who knows how to have a good time and poke fun at himself as much as any athlete I’ve ever seen. Shaq is a giant teddy bear, he’s got a great personality, and he does goofy stuff like this (My favorite Shaq quote may be the time he coached a friend’s kid’s youth hockey game and told them pregame, “Fellas, I don’t know much about hockey, but the fourth quarter is ours!”)

My latest favorite Shaq moment was this: One of Shaq’s business partners invited him to his son’s Jewish wedding last week, and of course at every Jewish wedding there’s a hora dance, and so of course Shaq joined in.

If you’re not smiling watching this, your jaw may be wired shut. Look at how happy all the tiny, white people are dancing with this mammoth human!

**Next up, the Columbus Zoo released a video of a baby polar bar sleeping and having vivid dreams and I think it’s kind of adorable. So here you go…

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**Finally today, I thought this was kind of cool. Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer, who a few weeks after injuring his finger while cleaning his drone (who among us hasn’t done that once or twice?) pitched in the World Series, was on Twitter recently and got a Tweet from a girl needing help with her math homework.

Bauer was eager to help, even with the girl, Maddie Martin, having to get back to him about the specifics of the question.

Bauer takes Maddie, a big Indians fan, through her problem, and then even says he’s “glad he could help.!” when she says she now understands.

This is great. But I’m damn envious. Where the hell was Don Mattingly in 1989 when I couldn’t understand Mr. Gallo’s algebra homework??? Where was my hero then, huh???

 

I’m raising money for a good cause again, a NYC soup kitchen. Jon Hamm is hilarious in “Billy on the Street.” And a town in Colorado finds the answer to potholes: Toilet paper!

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It’s that time of year again, when Thanksgiving creeps up on us and many of us think about which charities or organizations to support. And along with the usual causes this year, those that will oppose and try to at least mitigate the damage our new President seems destined to do also ought to be in your mind.

I try not to ask my loyal readers for financial donations for causes, but for the fourth year in a row I’m breaking that rule, because my wife and I are once again raising money for the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen here in Manhattan.

I’ve been volunteering there for about five years, and it’s truly a wonderful place.  Located on 28th St. and 9th Avenue here in Manhattan and open for 31 years (it’s pictured above), the soup kitchen serves more than 1,000 meals daily, making it the second-biggest such facility in America (apparently there’s a bigger soup kitchen in San Francisco).

It’s a terrific and huge enterprise, staffed by about 50-60 volunteers per day. Some of us serve the food, others clear the tables, hand out drinks, cut up vegetables in the kitchen, etc. (lucky for me I still have all 10 of my fingers after once being asked to chop and slice. Let’s just say, Anthony Bourdain, I’m not)

Truthfully though, it’s more than a soup kitchen; Holy Apostles also helps the homeless in so many other ways, with free counseling services, free haircuts and toiletries, and often blankets and other clothes, along with free legal services, too.

Funding, as you might expect, is always a problem for the soup kitchen; food donations do come in, but I’ve been told that 80 percent of the food and supplies is purchased by Holy Apostles (in case you were wondering, there is no religious affiliation with the soup kitchen, it’s simply housed in a church.)

Once again the kitchen is having its annual Fast-A-Thon, where on Thursday volunteers like me will eat only one meal a day to “walk in the shoes” of our patrons, and we’re raising money to help support the great work the kitchen does.

My wife and I have raised a little more than $1,000 so far but are trying to raise at least $1,500. I know the holidays are coming up and budgets are tight, but if you get any enjoyment from this blog each day, I’d ask you to please consider a small donation to to our fundraising page.

Thanks so much.

**Next up today, the cult TV show “Billy on The Street” is back, where once again host Billy Eichner enlists huge celebs to make fools of themselves hilariously on the streets of NYC.

To start the new season he’s got Jon Hamm, who does comedy way better than you would think, asking people if they’d have a threesome with he and Eichner. Definitely be careful watching this one with little kids around, but it’s pretty freaking great. Especially the final minute…

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**And finally today, a little bit of potty humor showing that sometimes, the best solution really is KrazyGlue, or Windex, or … toilet paper??

The city of Littleton, Colo., is using Cottonelle, Charmin and whatever other brands they’ve got to try to seal the cracks on the roads in the city. So far 120 streets have been used to fill the cracks (and please, by all means, make every joke you can think of about TP and filling cracks.)

According to this story, the Littleton city government says that the TP, applied with a paint roller, absorbs the oil from freshly laid tar as it dries, keeping it from sticking to people’s shoes or car and bike tires. With the paper’s protective abilities, asphalt isn’t tracked all over the city or splattered on wheel wells. And the biodegradable paper breaks down and disappears in a matter of days.

Sounds good to me. Of course, this leads to all kinds of questions: 1-ply or 2-ply? And is there a chance one of the TP companies can start using this in their commercials: “Soft on your tush, but tough on your potholes! Try new Charmin ultra-asphalt!”

 

Kate McKinnon belts out an unforgettable “SNL” opener. The Redskins and Chiefs look like they’re for real, while my Jets continue to stink. And Gregg Popovich speaks some truth

Kate McKinnon is a talented actress and comedian. She may go on to do many incredible things in her career, win awards, make lots of money, and entertain millions.

But I’m 99 percent certain that when she dies, this performance will be a part of her legacy, her eulogy, a mark of her time on Earth.

“Saturday Night Live” had a very tricky job this weekend; they could’ve trotted out Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump and mocked the pain millions of Americans were feeling. They could’ve had McKinnon as Hillary try to go for laughs upon losing an un-lose-able election.

Instead, using the death of legendary songwriter Leonard Cohen as inspiration, “SNL” sent out McKinnon dressed as Hillary Clinton, sitting down at a piano all by herself, and belting out an emotional version of “Hallelujah,” with some lyrics changed at the end to suit the situation.

I don’t know about you, but I watched with my jaw on the ground. Amazing, powerful, beautiful performance.

Host Dave Chapelle’s opening monologue was pretty terrific as well, if you don’t have time to watch the whole thing, the last three minutes are pretty great.

Bravo, SNL. Pitch-perfect job at giving  your audience what it needed.

Oh, and in case you had forgotten what the next four years could be like, read this.

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**So it’s been a pretty crappy season of NFL football, I think most of us could agree. But Sunday finally gave us a day where we had great finishes, outstanding plays by superstars to win games, and a little bit of separation between the best teams and the not-so-bests. (Yeah I know that’s not really a word. I’m going with it).

Of course I have to mention just briefly the beginning of the Bryce Petty era for my Jets. Umm, yeah, didn’t go so well. They scored six points against a bad Rams team and the Jets are 3-7 so, yeah, go ahead and play Petty the rest of the season please, see if the kid has a future.

In more interesting games…

— Wow, that fourth quarter of Steelers-Cowboys was fantastic. Four lead changes, a hell of a drive by Ben Roethlisberger to put Pittsburgh ahead, and then Dak Prescott, who looks more and more like the next huge NFL star, comes down and leads the ‘Boys to the win. Cowboys are 8-1, and Jerry Jones is happy, and I don’t like it when that happens.

— Ever see the winning points of a game scored on a blocked extra point returned for two points? Me, either. But Denver did it and beat New Orleans. I love how players are totally timing jumping over the center to block kicks now, incredible athleticism.

— Anyone notice Kansas City was 7-2? I sure as heck haven’t. Another impressive win that few will pay attention to. I know everyone in Philly was sick and tired of Andy Reid, but guy seems to always have winning teams.

— Redskins seem to be good again, which is always fun because then I get fewer screaming calls from my buddy Tony that being with, ‘MIKE, THIS TEAM IS KILLING ME!!!” followed by me reminding him for 10 minutes to calm down and it could be worse, khe could be a Jets fan.

— The hell has happened to the Packers? No, seriously, they gave up 47 points to a mediocre Tennessee team on Sunday. That’s un-good.

— My mid-season Super Bowl prediction is Seattle vs. New England. Because even though they’re 8-1, not sure Dallas is a sure thing. Also, I want to see 500 more replays of Seattle throwing at the end of their last Super Bowl against the Patriots, because that was fun.

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**Finally today, check out this amazing photo, taken by Dutch photographer Tomas van der Weijden of the Kamchtaka Peninsula in Russia (you know, our new best friend, Russia!). It’s a volcano, it’s a meteor, it’s pretty amazing. If you’re a photo fan and want to know how he created it, check this out here.

And then, I thought this was some pretty remarkable stuff from San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, on last week’s election. Unlike most jocks and coaches, Popovich has always been a thoughtful, intelligent speaker of truths of what he sees around him.

And in this interview, he makes a whole lot of sense, in his angry, thoughtful tones, about what America chose last Tuesday.

As the fog begins to lift, a few semi-coherent thoughts on the Election shocker of a lifetime. And a couple of videos to make you smile

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I must begin today with a trio of apologies. No. 1, I’m sorry there was no blog on Wednesday like there always is. I fully expected to be up late writing about the history-making night, but as it turned out, I was nauseous for most of the evening and just couldn’t bring myself to write anything on Wednesday morning.

No. 2, I apologize that most of this isn’t a Good News Friday post; I just have to get a lot of stuff out that’s been in my head the last 48 hours. I think it’s semi-coherent but if it’s not, well, I’m trying. And I threw in some videos to make you smile at the end.

And apology No. 3 is to all of you who read this blog, and all my friends and family who over the past year told me how scared you were of this vulgar, talking yam, this madman with an enormous ego who hates foreigners, African-Americans, and anyone he deems unimportant. I dismissed and reassured all of you, swearing up and down that never, ever, ever could such a person be elected President.

I was wrong. Most wrong I’ve ever been in my damn life.

Some thoughts after 48 hours of trying to absorb Tuesday night’s result:

–I don’t know about you, but for me the last few days have been awful. I have had a wonderful 41 years on this Earth, so I can say that Wednesday truly felt like one of the worst days of my life. If not for my beautiful 2-year-old son crying out “Daddy!” at 6:30 a.m., and then needing to be changed and fed and all that, I’m not sure I would’ve gotten out of bed Wednesday.

The last two days have been so odd; loved ones have been calling, emailing and texting me to check on me as if a close friend or relative had died: “Are you OK? How are you feeling?” I was doing the same with them, and to others who I knew were in as much pain as I was.

Of course, I’ll be fine. I’m a white male in a society that values them more than any other, and I’m fortunate enough not to be poor and dependent on government help. My heart worries now, and will for a while, for people of color, for immigrants, for lesbians and gays, and for so many others whose lives will be trampled by a Donald Trump administration.

— I thought I was doing better, but then Thursday morning while riding in a car the driver had a news station on and I heard the words “President-Elect Trump” and I felt a shiver down my spine. I don’t know if that will ever go away.

— Along with being depressed and shocked, I have a lot of anger about this election, and I’m sorry, but a lot of it is directed toward Hillary Clinton. She was given a dream opponent, a man with no qualifications or experience, who said 12 stupid, hateful things per day. She is a former Secretary of State, a woman who has been a part of campaigns for three decades, who is maybe the most qualified person ever to run for President.
She had SO many things going for her. And she freaking blew it. She lost to HIM. Somehow, someway, she let Michigan and Wisconsin and  Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania!) slip away, and her constant drip, drip, drip of controversy, even if most of it was bullshit, just nibbled away at the public’s trust. And because she seems untrustworthy to so many, because she’s not a good campaigner, we get him.

How could she do this to us? Yeah I know it’s not rational for me to think that. But that’s how I feel. I’m pissed she blew this.

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— Hilarious that some of my Republican friends, and pundits, are saying we Democrats should “get over it” and accept Trump as President. Because, you know, for the last eight years, Republicans always accepted Barack Obama as legit. Give me a break.

— Oh by the way, Hillary won the popular vote. She’s going to end up winning it by several hundred thousand votes. Can you imagine, can you imagine, if Trump got more votes but Hillary won the Electoral College? He and his followers would be screaming bloody murder for years.

— Bernie Sanders? I don’t know if he beats Trump. It would’ve been damn entertaining to watch, though.

— This election was so close, and while I will always remain astounded at how that can be, some of the numbers that have come out the last few days have contributed to my anger.

Like, for example, the fact that Hillary lost Wisconsin by 27,000 votes, while 300,000 state residents were unable to vote due to the Scott Walker-led GOP law requiring strict voter ID.

Or that in Michigan, Clinton lost by 13,225 votes. Yet 110,133 Michiganders cast a ballot without voting for President.

Or the number that really haunts me: Trump got two million fewer votes than Mitt Romney. Hillary got seven million fewer votes than Obama in 2012. Now I firmly believe a lot of that is due to voter suppression and intimidation, especially in North Carolina (the state GOP sent out a press release BRAGGING about it!) but certainly not all of it.

— I read so much about the election the last few days, but three pieces especially I really want to share. First, the great New Yorker editor David Remnick with a beautiful piece about what an enormous blight Trump’s election is on America; He calls it a sickening event in the history of the United States. I urge you to read that.

Another great piece that will scare the hell out of you, and might be a tad hysterical, is this by Andrew Sullivan in New York magazine. Warning: Don’t read it near any open windows, you may want to jump out. God help us if all he predicts comes true.

And finally, the great Southern writer Tommy Tomlinson, with a small but powerful piece about what this result showed him, in his small corner of the world.

“You might feel lost right now. There is always a map. There is always a way.”

He’s right. But right now I’m fumbling completely in the dark.

**OK, I needed a pick-me-up after writing all that, and hell, it is Good News Friday and all. So here are two videos I found when I thought for a minute about some of the happiest things you could ever see.

First, these make me happy every time: A compilation of videos of kids hearing their parents voices for the first time, after getting cochlear implants (warning, the video’s volume comes on loud).

**And next, some cute animals frolicking in the snow. Don’t they just look so darn happy? Have a great weekend.

 

Finally, mercifully, the election is here. And Marathon Sunday in NYC once again is awesome

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National Public Radio did a regular segment on one of their shows a few years back called “This I Believe,” where ordinary Americans did a 60-second speech about what their core beliefs are. It was quick-hitting, often sad or funny but always interesting.

We’re now one day away from, no joke, the most important Presidential election of my lifetime. It is that not because of events currently going on in the world, but because of the sheer terror and horror that would be caused on a global scale should a vulgar, talking yam who’s a bigoted, narcissistic egomaniac actually win.

Twenty-four hours out from Election Day 2016, a day millions of us are thrilled is finally here, let me tell you a few things I believe about tomorrow:

— I believe, as I have for the past year, that Hillary Rodham Clinton will be elected President. It will be an historic, important day. She will clear 310 electoral votes, win the popular vote by 3-5 percent, and go on to become a good President.

— I believe the Democrats will take back the Senate, 52-48, and by golly we’ll actually get the Supreme Court back to nine members, move forward on closing Guantanamo Bay and fixing this nation’s crumbling infrastructure, and keep moving forward on so many other issues. I believe the Democrats will gain about 15 seats in the House but not gain the majority.

— I believe there will be violence on Election Day, between Trump supporters and Hillary voters, and I believe there’s a high likelihood of someone being killed at a polling station. I’m fairly certain there will be bloodshed.

— I believe we will be hearing for weeks and months about voter suppression of minorities and people of color, and these stories will disgust me completely and surprise me not a whit.

— I believe that picture (above) of Hillary and LeBron James will make me laugh for weeks.

— I believe we all need 38 seconds of an adorable-ness interlude: When the President met Kid Superman at a Halloween party last week:

— I believe on Nov. 9 Donald Trump will go back to his real estate empire and his television shows, and secretly breathe a sigh of relief he doesn’t have to be leader of the free world. And I believe he will smile for decades at the con he pulled on so many, making them think he’s one of them. I believe we will hear more and more stories about what a disgusting human being he is, and he will still continue to be a TV star and not give one fuck about what damage he’s done to America.

–Finally, I believe the damage he has done to America, “normalizing” racism, hatred and pure willful refusal to acknowledge any truth that isn’t what they agree with, will last a long time and be hard to eradicate.

I want to leave you today by first linking to this scathing, hilarious article by Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone, about being on the road at some Trump rallies in late October.
But more importantly,  I want to share  two stories that illustrate what our country could be, pending the election results.

The first story is a deeply troubling tale of young children having Trump’s message of hatred and intolerance seep into their lives, with the headline “All the black and brown people have to go.”

And then there’s this story from the Washington Post, of a 10-year-old girl seeing a new student from a foreign country who doesn’t speak English sitting alone at lunch, using Google Translate to write a note to him in Spanish, and then becoming best buds with him.

Your choice, America. What kind of country would you like to live in?

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**OK, enough depressing election talk. Sunday was one of my favorite days of the year, that I look forward to for weeks: It was New York City Marathon Sunday, which for those of us who live along the route makes it incredibly cool.

For the first time in the four years we’ve lived along 1st Avenue, the weather Sunday was just perfect. High 50s, sunshine, only a little wind. It’s hard to describe how overwhelming it is, seeing thousands and thousands of runners, many of whom have trained for this day for years, just coming down the street at you in wave after wave.
Like I do every year, I screamed hundreds of runners’ names, then relished their surprised reaction when someone knew them (Hey, you put your name on your shirt, you’re going to get your name called!). I got a great spot this year right along the railing at 62nd and 1st, and must have high-fived two dozen runners.

I saw some pretty creative signs, most done with friends and family’s names, but this one really made me laugh out loud.

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There were great costumes as always; I counted a bunch of Spidermans, Batmans, a few Elsa’s from “Frozen,” and even a dude dressed in a tank top and an American flag Speedo.

I once again marveled at the wide range of ages, ethnicities and body types. I was happy to high-five both a 71-year-old man and a teenage girl, each happily running to their own beat.

The New York City Marathon is the best. There’s such joy, agony and pure exhaustion on each runner’s face, and getting to soak it all in up close is one of the great joys of the year for me.

I still dream of one day running this race; I got up to doing a 10K a few years ago and then kinda stopped training.

If and when I do it, I hope I remember to enjoy it as much as I saw so many enjoying their once in a lifetime moment on Sunday.

Good News Friday: So many great stories about the end of the Cubs’ 108-year drought. The 85-year-old man who was a flower girl at his granddaughter’s wedding. And a state senate contender from Calif. makes best political ad of year

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I’m not sure about you, but I’m still kind of exhausted from Wednesday night.

It had to be epic, right? If you’re going to break a 108-year curse, a curse that has survived world wars, the invention of television and air conditioning, and a New York Yankees dynasty that has yielded 27 titles before you got another one, then of course it had to be epic.

You think the Cubs were just going to win a nice, boring, 5-2 Game 7 in Cleveland? Of course not.  It had to drain everyone watching and playing completely, and come down to the very last out with the highest of drama.

Man. That was some freaking baseball game. I don’t know, if you were watching, you could ask for anything more. Huge home runs. Great pitching. Incredible comebacks. A rain delay (because God decided, at 6-6 in the 9th, that neither the Cubs nor Indians were quite ready to win a World Series).

And in the end, a third baseman named Kris Bryant scooping up a slow dribbler, smiling the whole way, and tossing it to first base. And there, the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo squeezing the ball in his mitt, then immediately placing the ball in his back pocket for safekeeping, an incredible example of poise and smarts under pressure (seriously, you know how much that thing is now worth?)

I felt happy for so many people when the Cubs won; this was so different from 2004, when the hated Red Sox broke their curse. I was happy for people like Bill Murray and Jeff Garlin, celebrity Cubbies fans, but also for the millions of average Chicagoans who’ve waited their whole lives to see their team win.

As you’d expect, there were a ton of good stories written about the Cubs’ win Thursday, and the Indians’ heartbreaking defeat (is the sting of this loss eased at all by the Cavs’ winning a few months earlier? I think probably not).

Loved this Tom Verducci piece on SI.com, but the story that blew me away was from Wright Thompson, the immensely gifted writer for ESPN.com. He tracked a few Cubs fans on some emotional journeys in the 24 hours before, during and after the game, and his writing is just emotional and beautiful.

Go, Cubs, Go. Sports, man. Sports.

**Next up today, if you’re as sick and tired of all the horrible, negative, nasty political ads and stories, consider this something completely different this election season.

It’s a hilarious and brilliant commercial from a California state senator named Scott Wiener, starring Jaleel White (“Urkel”) , Joe Montana and MC Hammer, among others.

It also features the Huey Lewis song “Hip to Be Square” and a pair of gay dads. Don’t ask, just watch…

If you’re not smiling at the end of this one… your face might be frozen shut. So clever.

**Finally today, a sweet story about a very unusual flower girl at a wedding. Georgia bride Jennifer Briskin knew she wanted her grandpa, Stanley, to be involved in the ceremony somehow. As a joke, she thought maybe he could be the flower girl.

Then it started to sounds like a great idea. Stanley agreed, and except for the part where he threw flower petals at the guests and not on the ground, it all went swimmingly.

“I really didn’t think she was serious for a while,” Stanley tells PEOPLE. “I did hesitate for a while – who has ever heard of something so ridiculous! But Jen was so excited about it. And I’m glad I did it!”

Really sweet stuff.