And a happy 2017 to all of you out there in Internet-land. I hope you rang in the new year safely and happily, we did our usual “movie and champagne at home” thing, where we enjoyed “Oceans 11” (my first time seeing the whole thing, it was very entertaining but I kept marveling at the sheer impossibility of that caper) and then watched Kathy Griffin do her annual humiliating of Anderson Cooper on CNN (truly that network’s best programming of the year).
But before all that the wife and I took our 2-year-old to the New York Botanical Gardens for a wonderful day. First we saw a Thomas the Tank Engine show for the toddler set; my boy hasn’t watched Thomas yet on TV but we have a few books and he’s becoming a big train fan. He sat still for the whole 30-minute show and got his picture taken with Thomas on stage, so he was very happy.
Then the real highlight: The NYBG does a Holiday Train Show every year, and it was nothing short of astonishing. They spend months and months building replicas of New York landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the N.Y. Public Library, and Yankee Stadium, out of plants, branches and resin. And they have a whole slew of model trains going around the landmarks and winding through an entire area of the Garden. (that’s one of the models, above).
It was really pretty special to see, the craftsmanship and beauty of the landmarks, the gorgeous trains, and how many little kids and big kids alike (me) couldn’t stop smiling.
If you’re in the New York area and/or are visiting between now and Jan. 22, I highly, highly recommend it. It was the perfect happy day to end a miserable year. Here’s the NYBG website with details of the train show.
So I have no particular dislike of Mariah Carey, except for the fact that she used to seem like a nice person when she was younger and fresh-faced and grew up like 30 minutes from where I did, and then in the past 10-12 years she seems to have turned into a not-so-nice diva who thinks her poop doesn’t stink. Anyway, I like her music just fine, she’s obviously a great talent, yada yada yada.
But man, did she have a miserable New Year’s Eve. Performing live at Times Square on ABC’s show (the one Dick Clark made famous and Ryan Seacrest is now desecrating), she lip-synched badly, got mad at the technical mistakes, then basically left. Not a good look when people start calling you Mariah Milli Vanilli Carey.
Watch for yourself…
**Finally today, the NFL regular season ended Sunday and it was a merciful end for Jets fans like me; I think I watched one or two plays, tops of their “huge” win over the Buffalo Bills. Hey, 5-11 is better than 4-12! The Jets are a mess, the Bills are an even bigger one; if you want more proof, check out how the Jets scored their final touchdown. I mean, maybe that’s happened before in the NFL, but wow. How do you not know the rules about a kickoff?
Happily, Jets owner Woody Johnson decided not to do the knee-jerk thing and fire the coach and GM; you’ve got to give them more than two years when one year was terrific and the second one was terrible.
Also, Darrelle Revis? Thanks for the memories. Don’t let the door hit you on your big, fat wallet on the way out.
— OK, on to teams that matter now in January. I always love it when new teams make it into the playoffs, ones that haven’t been there for a while. This year we’ve got the Raiders but their stay will be short since their star QB, Derek Carr, is hurt; the Lions who are never a playoff regular, and the New England Patriots, who finally had a good season (ha ha).
I have no idea who’ll win the Super Bowl, but a few weeks ago I thought the Steelers and Packers were playing the best. I don’t believe in the Cowboys in the playoffs yet, so let’s go with Coach Hoodie in the AFC and Seattle in the NFC, just because they’ve been there before. My “backup” picks would be the Giants and the Chiefs, because they’re both playing terrific right now.
— 49ers fired Chip Kelly. Guy inherited a terrible team, and they give him one season and then fire him. Hard to believe this is the same franchise that everyone used to look up to.
— Kirk Cousins, I really, really wanted to believe in you. But you make it tough. You’re in a must-win game, against a team (the Giants) who didn’t need the game at all, and you come up very, very small.
— Finally, this isn’t directly related to football, but was so outrageous that I must point it out. A Philadelphia Inquirer reporter named Jeff McLane was ejected from the press box of Sunday’s Eagles-Cowboys game, for apparently talking too loud and briefly arguing with a media relations staffer. An Eagles VP then threatened to eject the rest of the sportswriters there who were objecting. McLane has been a beat writer for eight years, so of course he’s written some negative stories about the team. But come on, how amateurish is this?
Seriously, this actually happened. Pathetic.