There are certain things I expected I would love getting to experience through my child’s eyes one day. His first sporting event; his first steps, his first time realizing the traffic in New York City never, ever gets better. You know, the fun stuff.
But watching my boy’s first time experiencing Christmas lights was never something I thought of as being a “life moment.” For one thing, we’re, you know, Jewish. For another, we live in the city, where you get beautiful Christmas trees and some holiday lights on buildings, but not the full effect of a family putting up 43,000 lights on their property and paying off their electric bill for the next 11 months.
But Saturday night during a wonderful Hanukkah/Christmas Eve convergence, we went out to Long Island to my in-laws, and during the day we looked up where some of the best Christmas lights houses were in our area, and then drove over there.
And I have to say, Nate absolutely loved it. For most of the neighborhood he watched from his rear-facing car seat, and as we’d drive past there’d be a three-second delay and then he’d exclaim “Whoa!” after a really beautiful display.
A few times we got out and walked around, and his wide-eyed wonder and big smile as we got up-close to giant inflatable Santa, glowing reindeer, and even one light-up Elmo, made me realize just how new the world still is to him.
It was really a pretty special sight.
**Next up today, 2016 has been a shitty year on so many fronts, but I gotta believe it’s the worst year for celebrities dying way too young that I can remember. With just five days left till we mercifully turn the page, Sunday brought news of George Michael’s death.
Only 53, he was a pretty fabulous musical talent, first with Wham! and then on his own. I about wore out my cassette copy of his huge album “Faith,” and for a while he was the biggest sex symbol in music.
Then his star faded, and we all heard about his drug use and his odd behavior in bathrooms, including an arrest at an airport in Los Angeles, and his sexuality was always kind of ambiguous.
George Michael’s music was big in millions of lives for a long time, and at only 53 it’s a tragedy he’s gone so soon.
**Finally today, some thoughts on the penultimate week of the NFL regular season, as I contemplate the brilliant performance by those gutty New York Jets, who only lost to New England by 38 on Saturday. Way to go, Gang Green! Can’t wait till next week!
— This is around the time of year where a few teams who’ve kind of muddled through the season get hot and go on a run to the Super Bowl. I’m awful at predicting who will play in the big ole’ Roman Numeral-fest, but right now the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers would scare me if I faced them.
The boys from Pa. scored a rip-roaring comeback win over the Ravens Sunday night (somewhere, Ed Reed and Ray Lewis wept at that last game-winning Steelers drive), and the Packers dismantled the rival Minnesota Vikings (hey how’s that Sam Bradford trade working out, Vikes?) on Saturday.
The Patriots look unbeatable and the NFC has excellent teams in the Lions, Cowboys and Falcons. But I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if we see Pittsburgh-Green Bay (and monster ratings) on the first Sunday in February.
— One team who won’t be in the Super Bowl but celebrated like they’d just won it Sunday is the Cleveland Browns. They won! No, really, the won an actual NFL football game, that counted! I was in a bar Saturday and watched the fourth quarter, and man was it painful rooting for Cleveland. The Browns tried every way possible to blow that game to the Chargers, but somehow San Diego wouldn’t take it.
Hey, I’m glad the Browns won, nobody deserves to go a whole season without a win. I just feel bad we missed the awesome juxtaposition that would’ve been the city of Cleveland winning an NBA title, getting within one run of winning a World Series, and then having an 0-16 NFL team.
— I still have no idea how the Arizona Cardinals could be this bad. Seriously, what the hell happened to that team? And how did kicker Chandler Catanzaro keep his job all season?
— Finally, gotta feel bad for Oakland Raiders fans. Finally reaching the playoffs after 14 years, then with one game left they lose MVP quarterback Derek Carr, and their season is probably toast. What an awful, awful break.
But hey Raiders fans, it could be worse: You could be Jets fans like me.