Monthly Archives: July 2017

A wonderful day spent helping underprivileged kids get much-needed back to school clothes. “Key and Peele” on texting confusion is still hilarious. And the Ohio State fan who, in a coma, still hated Michigan

It has quickly become one of the highlights of my summer, every summer.

There is so much we take for granted in our lives, especially those of us fortunate to never have had to worry about having new clothes for school, or new notebooks, or even toothbrushes. But of course millions of American kids don’t have those things, don’t have the kinds of basic items that can mean so much in terms of self-esteem, educational opportunities, and simply being able to succeed.

For the fifth year in a row on Long Island, Sunday was Back 2 School Store day in Woodmere, the small community where my wonderful in-laws live. This event, sponsored by the National Council of Jewish Women (an organization my late, beloved grandmother volunteered for), has a simple purpose:To provide free clothes, school supplies, books and other merchandise to underprivileged children in the Nassau County, N.Y. area.

Thanks to grants and donations, more than 500 kids each year (mostly aged 5-13) get to go on a shopping spree (this year held inside a middle school gymnasium) where they pick out new pants, shirts, sneakers, winter coats, backpacks full of school supplies, and so many other goodies that they otherwise might never see.

I volunteer for this wonderful event every year, and Sunday brought so many smiles. This year I got to do a variety of jobs, including shoe fitter (I channeled my inner Al Bundy on that one), pajamas assistant (I learned pretty quickly to size up what size each child needed, and I also gained a new appreciation for retail salesmen and women who have to re-arrange all the clothes once the customers leave them all over the place) and most excitingly to me, personal shopper.

The personal shopper gets matched up with one child and then spends the next 20 minutes walking them around and letting them pick one type of every item. Seeing one of the little girls I helped’s face when she found the perfect pink coat, and then pants to match, was so rewarding.

The best story I heard Sunday came not from me, but from a friend of my mother-in-law. The woman was told by this pre-teen boy’s parents at the start that shopping for him “will take hours,” because he suffers from ADD, has trouble making decisions, is never happy with anything, etc.

Twenty minutes later, the personal shopper emerged from the gym with this boy smiling ear to ear. He had loved making decisions on everything he wanted, was incredibly appreciative, saying “thank you” every time he put an item into his bag, and had the time of his life.

His beaming parents told the personal shopper, “He came out of that room a different kid from the one who walked in.”

That’s the kind of small difference just one program, on one day of the year, can make.

The NCJW holds Back 2 School Store events in many cities across the country; for more info, check out

**Next up today, I’m sure most of you have had this experience: You’re texting with someone you know, they write something you think means one thing, but thanks to their being no way to tell “tone” with texting, you take it to mean something completely different. I had that experience with a friend last week, and then coincidentally saw this clip in an online column I read. It’s from the often-hilarious “Key and Peele” show, and it’s fantastic. Enjoy…

**Finally today, this from the intersection of medical miracles and sports passion. A huge Ohio State fan, from Dublin, Ohio named Zach Lawrence was in a serious car accident in April, and was in a coma for quite some time. His doctors at the  Dodd Hall Rehabilitation Center at Ohio State University gave him a series of tests to try to gauge his responsiveness and alertness, even while in the coma.

He was unresponsive to many questions where he was asked to push one button for yes, and another for no.

Finally, “Do you like Michigan?” was asked.

Lawrence immediately pushed the “no” button. And then — just to make sure everyone had heard him the first time — he pushed it again.

Man, that’s some rivalry. Even in a coma the dude manages to convey hatred for all things maize and blue. Best news of all, is that he’s recovering slowly but surely.

If UM football coach Jim Harbaugh reads about Lawrence, I’m thinking he should send a whole treasure trove of Wolverines gear to the rehab center. Can you imagine how many times he’d press the “no” button then?


My latest “Daddy Chronicles,” starring an almost-3 year old who’s soon to get a baby brother!

And a Happy Friday to you all out there in Internet-land! It’s been a few months since I’ve written a “Daddy Chronicles,” and with my little guy changing so much over the past several weeks, I thought it was time.

First of all and by far the most important announcement: Nate is getting a sibling! Yep, my wife and I decided there just weren’t enough people in the world, so we made another one. And this time, we decided to find out the gender, and once again we have created a boy.

With a due date of October 30, little Federer Jeter Mattingly Messier Lewis (what, you don’t think my wife will go for that name?) will make our beautiful family of three into a table for four.

Obviously this will mean big changes for us, although if the little guy is born on Halloween, we have one fewer costume to shop for this year (Nate 2.0 will certainly be dressed as a newborn for Halloween, all he needs is a blue blanket and the ability to cry.)

In all seriousness, I’m overcome with joy. So far my beautiful wife is 26 weeks pregnant, and all indications so far are that the baby and mommy are healthy and coming along great.

A few thoughts that hit me upon learning the news that  I now have TWO chances for a male Wimbledon champion:
— My poor wife will have to live with three boys now. There’s going to be a lot of toilet seats left up in her future.
— I’ll be 42 years old when the baby is born, which means I’ll be 60 (Sixty!) when the young fella gets his basketball scholarship to Duke University. Can’t wait to be the old creepy dude who the other freshman on campus thinks is the grandpa of a student.

— We are, of course, super excited to go through the process again, and so far Nate seems thrilled that he’s getting a sibling who’ll live in his room and be a future playmate. When I ask him in front of friends what he’s getting in October, he exclaims with a smile “A baby brother!”

Of course, right now it’s easy for him to accept a new family member; come November, when he yells for Mommy or Daddy’s attention and we aren’t able to snap to it because we’re busy with his brother, methinks his love and excitement may wane a bit. He is, fortunately, really great with his toddler friends’ little siblings, always being super gentle with them. So, we’ll see.

— One of the major developments in the past two months has been us finally getting Nate a big boy bed. We kept him in the crib as long as we could, but with him turning 3 in September, it was time.

He got to help pick it out, including his Elmo bedspread and pillow, but for the first few weeks he refused to sleep in it most nights, wanting to sleep on the floor instead. Then once he started sleeping in it, he fell out of it like a drunk staggering home from a night on the town. Good thing we barricaded him in with pillows.

Now, he’s gotten used to it. He gets out of bed on his own in the morning, takes the crackers and water and Cheerios I’ve left out for him, and goes and plays in the living room. So we have no idea he’s awake until, around 7 a.m. he yells “Mommy!” because he wants us to turn on the TV, or his diaper is so wet he wants to be changed.

So much better than having him in the crib. (We also turned his car seat around to face forward, and that has revolutionized his travel life. He loves asking questions now like “Are we on the bridge? Are we off the bridge?” and, delightfully, I now have a second navigation system in the car. Moments after the GPS says “in half-mile, make a left turn,” I hear the voice from the back “Make a left turn, Daddy!”)

He’s also fond of yelling out everything we’re passing, just like the hilarious scene in “Forget Paris” where Billy Crystal is driving his father-in-law around.

— His verbal skills and the phrases he picks up from hearing us continue to amaze; he only has one friend who talks as much as he does ((his BFF Keira, an adorable 3.5 year old girl).

A few weeks ago both my wife and I, in separate rooms, yelled to him to do different tasks. His response? “I can only do one thing at a time!”

Yeah, he might have gotten that from me.

— It’s been fascinating and strange watching Nate picking up habits that we have no idea where they came from. A few weeks ago he decided that every time we go into a restaurant or anywhere indoors, we immediately have to remove our hats. He gets really mad if I don’t.

— One of my favorite things about my son at this age is how excited and curious he is about everything. Every night he asks his mother and I “Where am I going when I wake up?” Then in the morning if he doesn’t remember he’ll ask again “Where am I going today?”  He’s just ready to go, whatever it is.

— And finally, the highlight of his life so far may have been our trip to Washington, D.C. No, he wasn’t thrilled and amazed at the monuments or the museums (he’s still only 2.). The highlight by far was riding the D.C. Metro around for three days. He shouted with delight whenever we stopped at one station, the doors opened, and then we went to another station. He loved every single second of it.

Seriously, as a D.C. friend of mine said, nobody has ever been happier than Nate on a D.C. Metro.

Not sure if I should be happy or sad about that 🙂

An art gallery in San Francisco will text you their paintings. I rant about a really stupid chair invention. And yet more devastating proof the NFL is eventually doomed

If you’re like me, and you’ve ever been to an art gallery or museum, sometimes you wonder: Where are all the rest of the paintings?

On the walls, you see only a small fraction of what large museums actually have; they rotate their pieces periodically, so thousands of fantastic or interesting paintings sit in storage, collecting dust.

So that’s why I thought this initiative, from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, was so cool. With 32,000 of their 34,000 works in storage at any one time, SFMOMA has begun texting some of their art to anyone who asks.

According to this NPR story, if you text an emoji, or describe your current mood, to SFMOMA, they’ll text you back a picture of artwork that fits your mood.

In the first five days of the program, SFMOMA has sent two million texts of artwork.

From the story: Texters have started contacting the museum to learn more about the art they received on their phones — that “blows my mind,” says  Keir Winesmith, head of SFMOMA’s Web and digital platforms.  He suspects this diversion may be particularly popular right now because it gives people chance to cleanse their mental palate.

“A lot of what I read from the news media is pretty negative, and sometimes a little depressing,” he says. “We’re able to create something that is not that, is a balance. Not quite an antidote, but certainly a balance to what’s happening out there in the news media world.”

I think this is a very cool idea, bringing art to the masses. You can text 572-51 with the phrase “send me” and then a word or emoji. SFMOMA will send back an image.

Very cool.

**OK, next up today, I need to rant about a totally stupid and useless invention. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you “The Chairless Chair.” My thoughts after the video…

OK, first of all, does this “chair” look in any way, shape or form comfortable? Is this supposed to really give me the feeling I get when I sit down?

Secondly, how bulky and awkward is this thing to lug around? It looks like something kids with polio back in the 1920s and ’30s had to wear, not something you’d actually want to have on.

Third, my favorite part of this video is at :31, where it says “It releases in a second if the wearer has to move.”  Great, so every time I want to get up while wearing this chair, I’ve got to unlock it and carry the apparatus with me?

People of the world, no one asked for this, no one needs this, and I am certain it will sell huge.

**Finally today, the NFL’s popularity and reign as America’s No. 1 sport has been unchallenged for at least 15 years. The NFL is so mammoth, and so powerful, that it’d be easy to believe that it will stay this way forever.

But Tuesday brought yet another reminder that football in its current form will not go on forever. From Boston University’s CTE Center:

“A new study suggests that chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive, degenerative brain disease found in people with a history of repeated head trauma, may be more common among football players than previously thought. The study, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), found CTE in 99 percent of brains obtained from National Football League (NFL) players, as well at 91 percent of college football players and 21 percent of high school football players.”

Ninety-nine percent of the NFL players’ brains examined (110 of 111) and 91 percent of college football players (48 of 53) showed symptoms of degenerative brain disease.

Those statistics are staggering. Already numbers are down across youth football leagues, and parents everywhere are concerned about the long-term effects of football on the brain.

This ship is not turning around. Fewer and fewer kids playing the sport mean fewer great athletes going into football, fewer good college players, and fewer good NFL players. Slowly but surely, the talent will dry up, people will realize permanent head injury isn’t worth it, and the NFL will cease to be dominant.

Oh, it’s going to take a few more decades for the NFL to fully crash and burn. But it will happen.

And as big a football fan as I am, it’ll be a welcome development. Healthy brains over entertainment should not be a tough choice.

An unbelievably horrible bi-partisan bill shows just the power of the Israel lobby. A sensational “Bohemian Rhapsody” singalong by 65,000 people. And a translator story that made me laugh

It’s pretty rare for my blood to boil on a Sunday night, especially in the summer after yet another terrific weekend spent with friends and family.

But then again, it should be pretty rare for a piece of legislation this stupid, this mind-numbingly awful, to get bipartisan support. And hardly anyone has been paying attention to it.

Let me direct your attention today to a new proposed law called S.720, the Israel Anti- Boycott Act.

This law, sponsored by Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland and Republican Rob Portman of Ohio, would actually impose civil and criminal penalties on American citizens for backing or joining any international boycott of Israel because of its settlement activities.

Let me say that again: You could legally be arrested, and charged with crimes, for supporting any international boycott of Israel. So let’s say I’m sitting here in my apartment in New York City, and I decide to sign a petition, or give a speech, or donate money, to a cause or group abroad that believes Israel should be boycotted.

Now I’ve broken the law. It would be a FELONY!

Get this, too: There are even penalties for simply inquiring about such a boycott. And they’re not messing around. The minimum civil penalty would be $250,000 and the maximum criminal penalty $1 million and 20 years in prison. Up to 20 years in prison for opposing the policies of a foreign government and doing something about it!

Forty-three Senators have already signed on as co-sponsors, including alleged free speech enthusiasts like Democrats Chuck Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand, and Ron Wyden of Oregon. And on the other side, Mr. Popularity, Ted Cruz is a co-sponsor, as is Marco Rubio.

At first I thought this was something from The Onion. The idea that an American citizen could be arrested, and would be breaking the law, by daring to express support for an Israeli boycott, is absolutely despicable.

Free speech, anyone? First Amendment ring a bell there, Chuckie Schumer? Can you even imagine a law like this passing in our Congress in regards to any other nation in the world? Let’s say a lobbying group representing India, or Germany, or (heaven forbid) our “friends” in Saudi Arabia tried to get a bill like this passed. It would be D.O.A.

But destroying civil liberties is possible thanks to AIPAC, the incredibly-powerful Israel lobbying group in Washington, D.C. AIPAC has so many politicians in its pocket, I’d venture to say they’re the 2nd-most powerful organization in Washington, behind the NRA.

The ACLU has, thankfully, written a strong letter to Congress letting them now exactly what this bill would do, and how dangerous it is.

Read this from The Intercept about it; it’s especially chilling how many co-sponsors have no idea what they’ve signed on for, expressing that they’ll read it right away, and “look into it.”

What AIPAC wants, AIPAC gets.

This bill is an abomination. I know there are so many abominations going on in Congress these days, but don’t let this one slip by you. Call your Senator and your Congressman and tell them we still live in a free society, dammit.

**Next up today, this was so cool. At a punk rock festival in London on July 1, 65,000 fans eagerly awaited for headliner Green Day to show up. While waiting, the organizers played Queen’s classic “Bohemian Rhapsody” for the crowd.

And 65,000 people then belted it out, perfectly, even humming the guitar solo. So freaking amazing.

**So I don’t know if you will find this as funny as I did, but here goes. With the revelation last week that Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump had a secret meeting that was previously undisclosed (shocking! The Trump administration has been so transparent to this point!), and the added fact that only a Russian translator listened in, with no American ears present, made me remember a great old story my Dad re-told me this weekend.

My father was a teacher in the South Bronx in New York City in the 1960s and ’70s, not an easy time nor place to be a public school educator. One day, after months of dealing with a very disruptive and problematic 6th-grade Hispanic boy, and trying unsuccessfully to get his mother to come in for a conference, the school was finally able to get her to show up.

The mom spoke only Spanish, and for the first 2/3 of the meeting with the principal, my Dad, and other administrators, the only other Spanish-speaker in the room was the misbehaving student.

As my father and the others told the mom about all her son’s acting out in class, vandalizing school property, terrible attitude, etc., the mom sat there smiling and grinning, looking at her son admiringly. The faculty was puzzled.

Finally, a Spanish-speaking teacher arrived and suddenly solved the mystery. Instead of translating for his mother what was actually being said, the student said only that the teachers were so proud of her boy, he’s such an excellent student, we couldn’t be happier and more thrilled with him here!

In short order, the Spanish-speaking teacher set the mom straight.

Hey, you gotta give the kid credit for trying!

Good News Friday: A gay rugby player proposes in a very cool way. A 9-year-old girl does Alicia Keys awesome on “America’s Got Talent.” And a police officer give a blind woman a magical moment

First of all, thanks to my friend Jeff Pearlman and his large social media following, Wednesday’s post was by far the most-read ever in my eight years writing this little site. So to any of my new readers, welcome aboard! And please stay, at least for a few days. Although not all of my posts will be about beloved pieces of my childhood fading away, like Sports Illustrated.) I post here three times per week, and Fridays are always dedicated to good news stories.

We start Good News Friday today with a pretty wonderful moment from the world of rugby. I remember a few years ago how courageous it was when the first out gay professional athlete turned out to be a rugby star named Gareth Thomas in 2010, and of course since then we’ve had Michael Sam, Jason Collins, etc.

Anyway, at the recent London Gay Pride parade, a rugby player named Fernando Ferreira of Kings Cross Steelers RFC decided he wanted to propose to his boyfriend. And, well, he got his whole team to help him. Very, very cool.

**Next up today, I don’t watch “America’s Got Talent” but once in a while a performance is so great that I see it all over people’s social media feeds and I check it out.

That was the case with 9=year-old Angelica Hale, who just blew the judges (and everyone in the audience) away with this incredible rendition of Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire.”

How a huge voice like this can come out of such a tiny body is beyond me. But man, does this kid have pipes!

**Finally today, a very small moment that made me smile. Officer Kristian Johnson of Utah’s Logan City Police Department was called to help Shirley Hardman with a microwave that wouldn’t stop beeping after she warmed a muffin. (I can relate, Shirley, a beeping microwave that won’t stop is enough to send me into a silent rage.)  Hardman recently experienced a kitchen fire, and because she is blind, she was nervous about a fire occurring again. She called the operator for help, who connected her with the police. A short time later, Officer Johnson was on his way.

After clearing the microwave’s error code, Johnson asked Hardman if there was anything left he could do for her.

She asked him to sing. He tried to beg off at first, but then did a perfectly-passable “You are My Sunshine.”

“See, you CAN sing!” Shirley exclaimed.

In an interview with Fox13, Johnson said the experience wasn’t just meaningful to Hardman. “It was obvious it meant something to her, and for me it made my day: it made my week,” he said.

Just one nice person helping another nice person. One of the simply joys of life.

Officer Johnson’s no Angelica Hale, but hey, he did his best.



A post I hate writing: The sad, slow decline of Sports Illustrated. A powerful new ad about texting and driving. And a Red Sox outfielder makes the catch of the year.

Most of the posts I write on here, I think about for a day or two, then write them. If it’s a political rant, sometimes there’s not as much thought that goes into it because I’m mad about something. But rarely do I let a post marinate in my head for weeks at a time like this one.

I’ve really, really not wanted to write about the decline of my favorite magazine of all time, Sports Illustrated. I’ve been in complete denial about it for years, but thanks to a few recent events which I’ll get to in a minute, I have to stop lying to myself.
SI is dying. It was dying slowly, and now it seems to be happening more quickly. And it makes me so, so sad. If you’ll indulge me, a short love story to one of my first-ever loves.

The first issue of Sports Illustrated I ever received was the Dec. 24-31, 1984 Sportsman of the Year issue, with Mary Lou Retton and Edwin Moses on the cover. I turned 9 in 1984, and my grandpa Don, knowing how much I loved sports, got me a gift subscription.

I’ve been a subscriber ever since. For 33 years now. When my grandfather died in 1995, I took over paying for the subscription, and never once have I let it lapse. I grew up worshiping, studying, memorizing SI. I saved every issue for years, can still recite some stories from the 1987 “One Day in Baseball” issue, and a 1996 profile of troubled basketball star Richie Parker by Gary Smith is still the best magazine piece I’ve ever read.

I looked up and tried to pattern myself after so many SI writers; people like Rick Reilly, Smith, Leigh Montville, Steve Rushin, Jack McCallum… these men were my idols. Once I wrote a letter to the editor and it got published; I didn’t stop smiling for days. One day early in my journalism career I submitted a “They Said It” for the Scorecard section, it got published, and I got a check for $75. No payment I’ve ever received has meant more to me.

So, yeah… I was obsessed with Sports Illustrated. My dream, always, was to work there one day, but I never was quite able to summit that personal Everest.
Still, even though I didn’t make it there, I still enjoyed and devoured every issue. It was the Bible for this Jewish kid from New York.

In recent years, though, the magazine has fallen. First, they made tons of layoffs, getting rid of super-talented writers. Then, the quality began to drop; major articles weren’t written by established, seasoned scribes, but by young writers not quite as good. There was, and still is, some tremendous talent at SI; writers like Lee Jenkins and Chris Ballard are as good as any writers SI has ever had.

But the issues are fewer every year, the magazine gets thinner and thinner, and they’re clearly searching for the magic again. I’m writing this post now, finally, because of three things:

This article says that after publishing only 38 issues in 2017, it’s possible there’ll be a reduction to 24 issues in 2018. SI used to publish 52 issues a year.

— Lately the magazine has been getting into bed with a lot of corporate sponsors, doing “branded content” and partnering with sponsors. This led to this week’s cover (above), which was completely done for Gatorade, as SI put Gatorade’s High School Athletes of the Year on the cover.

I absolutely understand it’s an economic reality forced upon Sports Illustrated by other market forces. I do. But this bastion of journalistic integrity, a home of independent journalism for 60 years, now takes money from sponsors, and in return, puts two high school kids on the cover. It makes me sad.

— And finally, most painful of all, the errors in stories, once almost impossible to find, now show up in every issue. Not trying to embarrass anyone, but in the most recent issue, a coach whose last name is “Harwood” is called “Hammond.” Twice.

That never, never used to happen. It’s happening now because SI has far fewer copy-editors and fact checkers looking at what goes into the magazine. There are legendary stories of bleary-eyed young SI reporters having to call football coaches to verify that they drove a 1987 blue Chevy Nova, not a brown one.

Now, not so much.

I know SI will limp along for a few more years, and I still read many of their writers on its website. But seeing SI struggle this much, and change, is like losing a little beloved piece of my life.

I know it’ll never go back to its glory days. But it’s a damn shame what my Bible has become.

**Next up today, every once in a while you see an ad so powerful that it leaves your mouth agape. Almost all of us are guilty of texting while driving, or walking. I try very hard not to do it anymore, but occasionally at a red light, I’m guilty.

Watch this short ad, produced by South Africa’s Western Cape government, all the way until the end, and you’ll think twice before reaching for the phone when behind the wheel.

**And finally today, posting a positive highlight of a Boston Red Sox player goes against everything I believe in, normally, but sometimes, greatness must be acknowledged.

Check out this ridiculous catch by Boston’s Jackie Bradley Jr., robbing the Yankees’ Aaron Judge on Sunday. Bradley knew he had it like five steps before making the leap. Pretty amazing.

Still, for my money, this is the greatest catch I’ve ever seen. Ken Griffey Jr., man, was he amazing.

The greatest of all time wins Wimbledon title No. 8. A Jewish kid in Pa. dedicates his bar mitzvah to Jimmy Kimmel, and Jon Stewart’s not happy. And even Fox News is tired of being lied to

Between 2013-2016, you would hear the stories on TV, or read them in newspapers or on the web.

At first they were whispers, as there was still so much respect for the person they were talking about. But then they got louder, and louder, and louder.

What’s wrong with Roger Federer? Why isn’t he winning anymore? Is he too old? Maybe he should just … retire.

Yep, looks like all those experts were right. That four-year-gap between Grand Slam wins for Roger Federer was the end. Guy could barely play anymore, he should’ve just shuffled off to Switzerland’s version of Del Boca Vista, Phase 2 and called it a career.

Not quite. Roger Federer, the greatest athlete I’ve had the privilege of seeing in my 41 years of life, is writing a story in 2017 that’s never been seen before. He’s doing things no 35-almost-36 year old tennis player has ever done, hell, no professional athlete has done at this age and stage of his career.

Let me hit you with a few quick facts on this incredible champion’s run in 2017:

— He’s won 2 of the 3 Grand Slam events. He’s only played two of them.
— He just won Wimbledon for a record eighth time. And did it without dropping a set. That’s insane.
— He’s 25-0, that’s 25 wins and no losses, in the four biggest tournaments he’s played this year.
— He’s got an excellent chance to become No. 1 in the world again, at the end of this year.

It is all so miraculous to watch for those of us who are hard-core Federer fans like me. We saw the struggles of the last few years, the shocking losses to people like Tommy Robredo and Sergei Stakhovsky at majors, and winced. Nobody wanted to see Federer go out like this.

Then, he got hurt twice in 2016, and took the rest of the season off. Nobody, and I mean, nobody, not even Federer, thought he’d win two Slams this year, and play so flawlessly.

His movement, his serve, his backhand… all of it, back or even better than it was 10 years ago, when he dominated his sport like few others ever had. It’s incredible to see, and Sunday, when he beat a clearly-injured Marin Cilic in straight sets, you could tell how much Federer was enjoying this career renaissance.

Oh, I know, he didn’t have to beat Nadal, Murray or Djokovic to win this title, his 19th Slam overall. But that’s not his fault; two of them were injured and the other (Nadal, having a terrific year himself) lost an epic five-setter.

It’s truly a remarkable story, Federer doing this at his age, doing it so well.

And before I move on, a few words about Venus Williams. She’s 37, she’s overcome so many injuries and illness the past few years, and yet she’s still a Top 10 player. She made a fantastic run to the Wimbledon finals before falling short to Garbine Muguruza, but she’s an inspiration. Venus has always been a class act, and I hope she does get one more Slam title before she’s done.

Great Wimbledon. U.S. Open only seven weeks away!

**Next up, this made me laugh really hard. Seems there’s a 13-year-old in Media, Pa. named Will Rubin who is a huge fan of Jimmy Kimmel and his late-night show. Such a huge fan that he invited Kimmel to come to his bar mitzvah. Understandably, Kimmel couldn’t attend, but he did send a video message along, and Will ended up having a “Jimmy Kimmel Live” theme at his celebration of becoming a man.

Well, a certain Jewish comedian named Jon Stewart wasn’t too pleased he was passed over;and he “stormed” Kimmel’s set last Thursday night to argue/appeal to the boy. “Will, wouldn’t you rather idolize a talk-show host who’s also circumcised?”

This is great.

**Finally today, my head hurts trying to keep up with all the lies coming out the White House these days. Honestly, it’s exhausting trying to keep track, between them lying about the Russia meetings, what’s in the health care bill (and as brilliant Tweeter John Fugelsang pointed out Sunday, after learning that there’ll be no health care vote this week “Mitch McConnell has to delay taking healthcare from American taxpayers until after John McCain has surgery, paid for by American taxpayers.”

It is now beyond clear, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Fredo Trump (Don Jr.) and Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner lied, repeatedly, about meeting with representative of the Russian government bent on helping Trump win. But still, 35 percent of Americans will support this President no matter what he does or says.

But every once in a while, some sunlight comes in, even to Fox News. Check out Chris Wallace and Shep Smith the other day, talking about this scandal and the incredible number of lies, lies, lies coming out of the White House.

“The deception is mind-boggling,” Smith says, and he’s right.

Good News Friday: 80 people form a human chain to save a family from drowning. A farmer in Iowa builds a Wimbledon Centre Court replica, and it’s awesome. And a moving tribute to Eunice Kennedy Shriver, from Michelle Obama

And a Happy Friday to all of you out there in Internet-land. So much I want to say about L’Affair Trump Jr., but it’s Good News Friday and we’re keeping it positive as always here today.

OK, first up, we’re nearing the end of Wimbledon, with the men’s semis today starring my man Roger Federer, and the women’s final, featuring ageless 37-year-old Venus Williams (what an amazing story she is) coming up on Saturday.

Well, from the great Steve Hartman of “CBS Sunday Morning,” this is a story so far up my alley, I’m kind of amazed I didn’t know about it until now.

You remember “Field of Dreams,” of course, the movie about a man who hears a voice from above telling him to build a baseball diamond in the middle of Iowa cornfields.

Well, this story takes that one step further, and it’s all real. A man named Mark Kuhn heard a tennis match on his grandfather’s old transistor radio as a boy, and the BBC call of Wimbledon had the young child transfixed.

Kuhn’s obsession with the greatest tennis tournament in the world led to him building, in his Iowa cornfield, a replica of Wimbledon’s famed Centre Court back in 2002.z

Seriously, he built it in his cornfield. And children of all ages now come to hit serves and backhands on his exquisitely beautiful court. That’s right, he’s got the All Iowa Lawn Tennis Club, and all you need to play is a love of tennis and a court reservation.

Mark, you’re my hero. And next time I’m anywhere NEAR Iowa, I’m coming over to play a set.

**Next up today, this story went viral this week for very good reason. Approximately 80 beachgoers in Panama City, Fla. noticed Roberta Ursrey and her family in major trouble in the ocean last Sunday, as a very strong rip current prevented nine people from swimming back to safety.

So slowly but surely, more than six dozen strangers began forming a human chain from the sand out to the Ursrey family, and managed to rescue each one of them.

Complete strangers, bonded together in a moment of crisis, became heroic. So, so wonderful.

“It’s so cool to see how we have our own lives and we’re constantly at a fast pace, but when somebody needs help, everybody drops everything and helps,” said Jessica Simmons, who was one of the first people to try to rescue the swimmers. “That was really inspiring to see that we still have that.

“With everything going on in the world, we still have humanity,” she added.

And may we always have that, please.

**Finally today, this was an incredibly moving and uplifting story from this week’s ESPY Awards. Eunice Kennedy Shriver was one of the greatest Americans of the 20th century. She was JFK’s sister, but more importantly, she was a driving force behind the creation of the Special Olympics, an incredibly vibrant and important organization that has helped millions of special needs boys and girls have one place where they can shine and stand out.

Michelle Obama, who I miss having on the national stage terribly, narrated this fabulous look at Shriver’s life, and accomplishments. This is so worth it, just to hear the boys and girls whose lives have been changed by Special Olympics talk about what it’s meant to them.

What an amazing woman she was.

Sleepaway camps for kids: Are they a cult, or an awesome maturing experience? A new pro wrestling character is genius. And “Curb Your Enthusiasm” back in October, whoo-hoo!

A few weeks ago my wife excitedly came to me with news: Her old sleepaway camp in Monroe, N.Y., was having an alumni reunion. And we should go!

My wife is an enthusiastic, wonderful person, and she has many passions. One of those passions that I learned about VERY early on in our relationship was her worship of sleepaway summer camp, particularly, her sleepaway summer camp, Camp Monroe.

If you’re not from the Northeast, or maybe it’s the whole East Coast, you might not be familiar with the sleepaway camp phenomenon. Basically, instead of the more traditional day camps that I and maybe many of you attended, sleepaway camp is like college for 9-year-olds.

You sleep in bunks with other kids, you do activities, you have freedom from your parents, and most importantly, for four or six or eight weeks every summer, you’re hundreds of miles away from your parents.

Thousands of kids, every year, take leave of their home and happily go to sleepaway camp; I only did one two-week stint at tennis camp and loved it, except six hours of tennis a day were too much for me.

Anyway, growing up I thought this was a totally normal option, sleepaway camp, but when a few friends of mine from other parts of the country have heard about it, they’re horrified.

“You’re sending your kids away for 6 weeks, or 8 weeks, all by themselves, with strangers???”” they would shout. “That’s so mean! Aren’t you going to miss them? What kind of parents would do that?”

Seriously, that’s what they’ve said. And I guess they have a point; it does seem like a radical concept if you’re not familiar with it, and of course some kids go to sleepaway camp and hate it (my sister went once and said “never again.”)

But the vast majority of parents and kids who do it love it. It teaches the kids independence, life skills, shows them again how to make new friends and get along with people, and gives everyone in the family a chance to experience new things. Heck, I know lots of kids who look at school as the 10 months a year thing you have to endure just to get back to the fun of sleepaway camp.

I have very little doubt that when Nate and future Lewis children are old enough, we’ll ask if they want to go have fun in the woods, meet new friends, and learn to make S’Mores.
And if they say yes, then one day they’ll drag their kids to an alumni reunion. And if it’s as fun as ours was on Sunday, their children will be thrilled.

**Next up today, I used to be a big pro wrestling fan as a kid; totally into Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair and Rowdy Roddy Piper and all that (still mad that I left a beautiful, black WWF satin jacket on a bus in 8th grade. Man, I loved that jacket). I don’t follow the “sport” anymore unless something truly genius or strange catches my eye, and this is genius. In a minor-league wrestling promotion in Kentucky, there’s a new “bad guy” character called  The Progressive Liberal, a Democrat who wears Hillary and Bernie Sanders T-shirts, spouts off about backwoods people, and gets fans all riled up. He also says stuff like “I want to help you people get jobs in clean energy!” and “Use some ObamaCare and get a hearing aid, you moron!”

Above is a video of him in action, and here’s an MSNBC report on the guy, named Daniel Edwards. This is perfect; I really hope the WWE scoops him up soon.

At first I was thinking they ought to also have a conservative bad guy, a cartoonishly awful figure saying stupid and crazy things, too, but then I remembered: Sean Hannity already exists, and plays the part so, so well.

**And finally today, I’m a huge (yuge) fan of the HBO show “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” so I was thrilled when it was finally announced this week that Season 9 will begin on October 1, and released this trailer to go with it.

Cannot wait!

The last place in America that insanely still shuts down commerce on Sundays. An Australian TV commentator perfectly nails America’s current role. And this 17-year-old Canadian basketball stud looks awesome

I realize that sometimes I write about things on this blog that many of you already know about but that I’ve just discovered.

But hey, I write about what I see, hear and read in the everyday world, and Sunday I saw something that absolutely left me gobsmacked.

The Lewis trio drove to quasi-upstate New York Sunday to attend an alumni reunion day at my bride’s beloved former sleepaway camp (more on that in Wednesday’s blog, it was such a cool day) in a little town called Monroe.

And on our way there, we drove through Bergen County, N.J., which I heretofore only knew as a pretty wealthy Jersey suburb.

“Oh, we’re in Bergen, you won’t see any stores open at all today, it’s Sunday, Blue Laws” my wife said.

“That’s only for alcohol,” I confidently replied. (I was stymied by Blue Laws a few times when I lived in the South.)

“Um, no, it’s pretty much for everything except food, I think,” she replied, and once again I soon learned that my wife is much smarter than me.

I didn’t believe her, so we looked it up. And actually, I was wrong twice: Alcohol and food are practically the ONLY things you’re allowed to buy in Bergen County on Sundays. I kid you not. Are you aware in the year of our Lord two thousand and seventeen, you can’t buy clothes, a new printer for your computer, or a toaster? Want to purchase a sofa, some cutlery, or an electric fan? Sorry, you’re S.O.L.

But hey, if you want a sandwich, some gasoline or some plumbing supplies, go right ahead. (Seriously, look at this list of what is and isn’t approved and try to explain why something is on one list and not the other.)

I’m not making this up. I wish I were. This is the last place in the U.S. to have “Blue Laws” like this, and I cannot for the life of me fathom why Bergen still does it.

I’ve read lots of explanations on the Internet about it, from lawmakers and residents wanting to preserve Sunday as “a holy day” or a day of rest and quiet, to just stubborn tradition.

And twice in the past 40 years the law has come up for repeal and been voted down by the county’s residents. But I can’t for the life of me understand why this law is on the books. (Here’s a good look at the history of how this happened in Bergen.)

Aren’t business owners getting majorly hurt in the wallet, not being open on a day when most people are off from work and have time and $ to shop? Aren’t residents getting screwed, with so many using the weekend as a time to go shopping with their kids for big-ticket items? Aren’t restaurants mad that fewer people will come in to eat on Sunday because they’re not out running around and doing stuff?

I’m baffled. Truly baffled. If any of my wonderful readers live in Bergen County or can give me a good explanation, I would be thrilled to hear it.

**Next up today, it was yet another depressing, embarrassing, humiliating couple of days for those of us still holding out any hope that our current President isn’t a complete liar and moron. From his ridiculous statements that he and our “real” President Vladimir Putin are going to form a “Cyber Security Unit” together (because who better than Vlad to help with that? While we’re at it, let’s get the Big Bad Wolf to teach us about home construction!) to little Donnie’s amazing admission Sunday that he met with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer who said she had dirt on Hillary Clinton, it just continues to get worse and worse.

But beyond all of the day-to-day stuff about Trump, the bigger picture needs to keep being seen. And last week at the G20 summit, with 19 other world leaders, it was obvious to most foreign media that the U.S. is suddenly no longer a leader. ABC Australia journalist Chris Uhlmann summarizes our new role in the world perfectly, and while it’s depressing to see how fast we’ve fallen in the world’s eyes, it’s instructive to constantly move beyond the daily headlines and see how all of this looks to the rest of the world.


**And finally, it’s pretty rare to see jaw-dropping basketball highlights anymore; it seems like we’ve seen it all.

But check out 17-year-old RJ Barrett, absolutely destroying Team USA at the Under-19 World Championships this weekend. Kid scored 38 points, and grabbed 13 rebounds in leading our wonderful northern neighbors to a victory.

Methinks he’ll be in the NBA very, very soon.