Monthly Archives: April 2018

The Jets (maybe? Finally?) draft their QB savior, and some other NFL Draft thoughts. The worst person you’ll hear about today, a New Jersey woman who berated cops. And the Waffle House shooting hero continues to be amazing, and under-publicized.

There have been so many who’ve tried and failed. I could make a list, but it’s too depressing, and too long.

The New York Jets have been trying for the past 40 years to find a franchise quarterback, somebody who can lead them to the Super Bowl and render this mostly laughingstock of an organization into one that others aspire to be like (Hey, it can happen with a great QB: The Patriots used to be a laughingstock, too.)

They were so sure they had one with Mark Sanchez about a decade ago. That didn’t work out so well.

But you know what, ya gotta keep trying, so Thursday night this tortured franchise that has caused me way too many bad moods and heartache took another swing at finally finding an Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees.

His name is Sam Darnold, he played at USC for two years, and I have no Earthly idea if he’ll be the next Favre or the next Browning Nagle. He looks good in highlights, he’s got a problem with fumbling and throwing interceptions, but he smiles nice and is saying all the right things so far. (Also, his grandfather, Dick Hammer, was the Marlboro Man in TV commercials. That’s kind of awesome.)

Can Sam Darnold lead my tortured team to the promised land? Who the hell knows. It’s only April. But I’m sure by September I’ll have myself convinced Darnold will be the man.

Couple other quick-hit thoughts on the three-day extravaganza that is the NFL Draft:

— There is no more overhyped event in sports, every year, than this draft. It is beyond ridiculous how many “mock drafts” and endless hours are spent speculating about which college tight end is the best, or if that NFL team can find a good safety. Months pass from the Super Bowl to this process of picking new players, and it’s interminable if you follow football. Anyone wondering if football is still king in America should look at the incredible amount of stories written about the Draft.

No question it’s still king.

— Best story of the draft: One-handed phenom Shaqueem Griffin of Central Florida getting chosen by the Seattle Seahawks, then having this wonderful reaction with his family.

— The Cleveland Browns will always be the Cleveland Browns. Maybe Baker Mayfield will be a great quarterback, and their other top 5 pick, Denzel Ward, maybe he’ll be a great defensive back. But the fact that almost nobody thought the Browns did well with those two picks should be alarming to Browns fans. Then again, they’re Browns fans, they live in a state of alarm and unhappiness.

— Loved this story from former NFL front-office executive Andrew Brandt:

“And my favorite story of my career came when signing an undrafted player: I once told a player we would sign him for a $500 bonus. His response: “I only have about $100 now, but I can get you the rest next week.” “No,” I answered, “We pay you.”

That cracked me up. 

**Next up today, James Shaw Jr., the hero of the Tennessee Waffle House shooting last week, continues to do great things. Self-effacing and humble, Shaw has reached out to the victim’s families and helped raise $205,000 to help pay for the three funerals of those who died.

This is a quiet, honorable man, who isn’t getting near the attention of the idiotic White House Correspondents Dinner, or the latest ramblings from President Moron, or whatever Kanye or other attention-starved celebrities have been getting.

But Shaw is a nice reminder that being thrust into an awful situation, totally not of your own doing, can reveal loads about character and the kind of person you are.

**Finally today, let me introduce you to a truly awful human being. The anti-James Shaw, if you will. Meet Caren Z. Turner, a residence of Tenafly, N.J. and a former commissioner of the Port Authority (that’s the agency that runs the trains and buses in New York and New Jersey).

She’s a “former” commissioner because of this odious behavior she displayed recently after her daughter and some friends were pulled over during a traffic stop. Watch how she berates and tries to “big time” these two police officers, who maintained an amazing level of patience during this. (Why Turner refuses to just ask her daughter and the driver what happened completely baffles me.)

This woman is exactly why people hate those who have privilege and power and try to use it to their advantage, thinking they can just throw their “weight” around. Watch how abusive she gets toward the end, how insulting she is to these two men simply doing their jobs. I noticed that her daughter and friends do nothing to try to stop Turner; maybe they’re just used to their parents getting them out of stuff like this, or maybe they’re too embarrassed by her behavior to interfere.

Either way, it’s an object lesson in how NOT to behave. Good riddance.

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Good News Friday: Dwayne Johnson can’t make a Minnesota girl’s prom, but does something even better. Truck drivers combine forces to prevent a suicide. And a beautiful gesture from Indiana U. students to an employee in need

And a Happy Friday to you! As I contemplate buying a Sam Darnold Jets jersey, and wonder how the Browns will somehow have screwed up having two picks in the top four, I say hi and how you be on this fine April Friday.

Lots of good stuff to choose from today but I gotta start with one of my favorite gestures by a celebrity in a long, long while. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is known as an all-around good dude, an actor who gets it and uses his celebrity for the power of good.

Recently a high school student in Stillwater, Minn. named Katie Kelzenberg made a short video asking her idol, Johnson, to the prom. It was a cute video, one high school kids make all the time in this age of social media, and I’m sure Katie figured she’d maybe get a quick Tweet from Johnson, maybe a tiny bit of a thrill as he politely says no, something like that.

But oh no. The Rock doesn’t do anything “small,” and this gesture was massive. He “hijacked” Stillwater Area High School’s P.A. system, and sent this incredible message to Katie and her shell-shocked friends, renting out an entire theater for her to see his new movie “Rampage” with her friends.

The expressions on their faces while Johnson is on the PA are priceless. Very, very cool.

**Next up today, a very unusual story from Oak Park, Mich. (I seem to be featuring a lot of Michigan stories lately, right? Maybe I miss my awesome friends Anu and Abel who just moved back there.)

Around 1 a.m. on Monday night/Tuesday morning, semi-truck drivers in Oak Park got a distress call from area police: A man was standing on the edge of a local bridge, looking like he was ready to commit suicide by jumping onto the freeway below.

Thirteen truck drivers responded with a pretty fabulous move: They lined up their trucks under the bridge where the man was, providing a safe landing space in case he decided to jump.

The man didn’t.


This was not a random act of kindness by the truckers; the local police department told the Detroit News that the police and truckers have trained for this kind of a scenario, but they didn’t expect so many to show up.

Very interesting. And glad to see so many truckers show compassion for another person. The near-jumper is now receiving medical treatment.

http://www.upworthy.com/13-truck-drivers-parked-side-by-side-in-the-middle-of-the-night-to-save-a-life?c=upw1

**And finally today, one more small tale in one pocket of the world that makes the world a little better.

A student at Indiana University tweeted the below message a few days ago. It seems that a beloved IU employee named Oscar Arreaza, who works as a convenience store clerk on campus, had a financial need. His adult daughter Mariana, still living in Venezuela where the family is from, has been suffering from internal bleeding and needs a surgery soon. A surgery she and the family couldn’t afford.

A freshman named Becca Richter, who has befriended Oscar, agreed to help him raise a little money. Well, a “little money” has grown to $8,000, and the other day the students at IU presented their funds to Oscar. Watch the video below, and realize there’s SO much more good than bad in the world. Just look at this man’s face, and the joy and shock he feels at others’ generosity.

Beautiful.

 

A very cool NYC story about a man selling newspapers in the same spot, for 36 years. An emotional, fantastic national anthem in Toronto after tragedy. And a college class where you get extra credit for dating.

So I’ve mentioned here that me and the family are moving out of Manhattan to Long Island in about two months, and there’s a ton of things I’ll miss:
The pure pace and speed of the city. How you could walk 20 feet in any direction and get a fantastic slice of pizza, a great bagel, or a place to enjoy terrific Chinese food.

So many little things I’ll miss, including finding out about what I’ll call “unsung legends” of the city. Those are the people who get very little attention or credit, but are a huge part of the fabric of this place, which has eight million people but still can feel like a small town.

I was reading on a bus Tuesday and stumbled upon this wonderful story from Sunday’s New York Times about a man named Ram Badan Singh. He’s 81 years old, he emigrated from India in the early 1980s, and for the past 36 years he’s stood every morning at the corner of West 86th Street and Central Park West, selling newspapers.

He’s there in the rain, the snow, the hurricanes and the freezing Nor’easters. He has his regular customers who support him, he battles with the nearby building about use of their foyer to escape the cold and heat, and he’s a true New Yorker through and through.

He doesn’t have a newsstand, just a man out on the corner, selling newspapers. And never missing a day because a man wakes up and goes to work and knows he’s being counted on.

An excerpt from Patrick Farrell’s superb, touching story:

But there are two good reasons Mr. Singh has prevailed so long at this Upper West Side corner: his iron devotion to the job, and his customers’ devotion to him.

One by one over the years, they have each made the silent decision to continue buying from him, paying full newsstand prices and often walking blocks out of their way, past other vendors, rather than reading the news online or getting home delivery.

They fetch his takeout meals and draw him into conversation. They buy him warm coats and scarves and sneakers. Some trade emails about his health, which has been remarkably robust despite an occasional scare. (“He didn’t get to the corner until 5:30 instead of his usual 3,” a neighbor messaged to another on a morning in 2014. “He said he has to down cough syrup twice in the night now, and this time it knocked him out.”)

A physician in the White House arranged for a free chest X-ray. The superintendent at another building lets Mr. Singh into the basement for bathroom breaks. Customers stand guard over his papers until he returns.

His own home is a rent-controlled apartment in an S.R.O. hotel 20 blocks north, where he lives alone. He has no family in the United States. For Mr. Singh, it’s all about the corner.

“If I am not there for my neighbors, then I feel bad,” he said. “I like my customers. I do my duty.”

I’m gonna miss living in this city.

**Next up today, by now I’m sure you’ve heard and read about the horrific murders in Toronto when a man drove his van through the street and killed 10 people. It’s a horrible, horrible situation that could’ve been much worse.

The Maple Leafs hockey team played a home game Monday night, hours after this happened. They say sports are a great unifier, and a great healer. I don’t know about all that, but I do know this was one sensational rendition of “O Canada” from the Toronto fans Monday night.

Chills.

**And finally today, one of the more bizarre but fun stories out of academia I’ve heard in a while: A professor at Boston College gives her students extra credit for dating.

Karen Cronin, a philosophy professor at the school, decided 12 years ago that hookups and one-night stands were becoming so prevalent, her students weren’t learning the basic social skills of dating.

So after some kids complained about the required “dating” part of the course (she said the dates had to involve staying sober, and no physical contact), Cronin made it extra credit.

“Even students’ parents are telling them: ‘Don’t get caught up in a relationship now; you need to get your career set and on track before you even really start thinking about that,’ ” Cronin says. She adds that our “hypersexualized” culture focuses more on getting laid than on “the foibles and the hard work and the joys and the despair of just casual dating.”

I actually think this is a fabulous idea. And that if this were around at the University of Delaware in the 1990s, I never would’ve gotten extra credit and might have flunked out.

In defense of Facebook, which brings me more joy than sorrow. A gorgeous time-lapse video of falls you’ve never seen. And could LeBron lose in the first round? And other NBA and NHL playoff thoughts

So this is something that’s been percolating in my brain for a week. Ginia Bellafante is a columnist for the Metro Section of the New York Times, and I find her to be usually thought-provoking. She has a strong bias against Mayor Bill de Blasio (it’s a very strong bias that comes through in everything she writes about NYC), but generally she’s fair, informative, and a talented writer.

But she wrote something in last Sunday’s paper that really bothered me, and that I disagreed with strongly.

It’s about Facebook, and not anything about the recent controversy involving data theft, and political hacking and news-feed manipulation, that led Mark Zuckerberg to testify before Congress last week.

No, Bellafante’s column point was this: Facebook brings people down, or makes them green with envy, or fills them with depressing news about people. Here’s one passage from the column:

But apart from envy, Facebook, in my experience, primarily energizes profound feelings of dread, perhaps especially for those in middle age, because it serves to remind us over and over how many ways life can go horribly and dramatically wrong. Just this week, someone I do not know posted that she had just lost her best friend. I continued reading to discover that her friend, who lived in Grosse Pointe, Mich., was killed in a car accident in Colorado along with her husband and two children. The accident appeared to involve black ice (the terrifying subject the writer John Seabrook had recently published an article about in The New Yorker).

She goes on to talk about research studies that show Facebook makes us envious of our friends, and that it’s a net negative for our lives, brings us down, etc.

I could not disagree more. Of course there are negative updates from people on Facebook; this colleague had cancer surgery, that one just broke up with her boyfriend, this one got laid off from work.

But in my experience, there is so, so much more good. I log on and am often deluged with happy news: An engagement, or a job promotion, or someone sharing something hysterically funny.

Facebook updates from friends more often than not uplift me; it gives me a smile to see someone’s 3-year-old going trick-or-treating for the first time; it makes me feel good to see people I know and love having good things happen to them. (My favorite Facebook thing these days is my awesome friend Diana’s weekly post on Friday morning, simply asking her friends “What made you happy this week?” I don’t know 95 percent of the respondents, but I still get a small joy out of their joys.)

Maybe Ginia Bellefante and her friends are just Debbie Downers, I don’t know. But the idea that Facebook just makes us envious and sad about our mortality? Absolutely not. I probably spend a little too much time on the site, and I know it’s far from perfect.

But every day, there’s something uplifting from one of my friends or colleagues that gives me a smile. And there’s real value in that, always.

**Next up today, just a small piece of beauty to get you smiling on a Monday. From Dustin Dilworth of D3 Imagery, a beautiful time-lapse video of Tahquamenon Falls, Mich., a place I’ve never been but now surely somewhere I want to go.

Nature, man. It’s wild.

**And finally today, I’ve yet to weigh on the NBA and Stanley Cup playoffs, and there’s just been so much surprising and great stuff going on that I’ve got to get at least some of it out of my brain and into yours.

Let’s start with the hockey, because of course that’s where my passion lies.

— The Washington Capitals, man oh man, I thought it was rough being a New York Jets fan. But the Caps just destroy their fans every year. They lose the first two at home, then come back and win two at Columbus (hey John Tortorella, glad to see you’ve mellowed. Not.) and then grab an overtime victory in Game 5. Now they’re a win away from playing the Pittsburgh Penguins, who will, as they always do, beat the Caps and make their fans wonder why they even bothered.

Ah, to be a Caps fan.

— Can Toront0 and Boston play in the Stanley Cup playoffs every year, please? That series has been phenomenally entertaining to watch. I hope the Leafs win tonight and it goes 7. Because I always root for Game 7’s.

— A Twitter feed I enjoy tabulates the number of days it’s been since the Philadelphia Flyers last won the Stanley Cup. Sunday’s total: 15,670 days. As a Rangers fan that makes me happy.

— We are one round away from my dream Western Conference final: Nashville vs. Las Vegas. What a phenomenal series that would be, of course, on the ice, but the idea of those two cities playing hockey for a spot in the Cup Finals, where guys like Rocket Richard and Ken Dryden and Bobby Orr played fills me with glee. Nashville has become an amazing hockey town (they call it “Smashville”) and Vegas has totally embraced its new Golden Knights franchise, but still, it’s hilarious to think of Nashville vs. Las Vegas in hockey, right? Can we get Garth Brooks and Wayne Newton to drop the puck for Game 1?

— On to the NBA, where I have no idea what’s going to happen. LeBron James is carrying the Cleveland Cavaliers, and even though he’s the greatest player of all time, his team might still lose in the first round. Even after gutting out a Game 4 win Sunday night, Cleveland is just tied 2-2 with the Pacers. Man this Cavaliers team is underachieving, or maybe just not that great.

If James gets THIS team to the Finals? Would be his greatest feat yet.

— Toronto is supposed to be the best team in the East and they’re tied 2-2 with the Wizards. Oklahoma City has Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony (three superstars) and is down 2-1 to Utah. New Orleans, who no one expected to win against Portland, just swept the Blazers in four straight. The Houston Rockets, who were the best team in the West all year, are struggling too.

Tell me again why people bet on sports?

Good News Friday: The total unknown who came in 2nd in the Boston Marathon. The Pulitzer Prizes show great, local journalism is still awesome and thriving. And a fabulous oldie but goodie: Two little kids and their first kiss.

And a Happy Friday to all of you out there on the Web that is apparently, World Wide. While still waiting for the freaking temperature to get above 60 in late April here in New York City (hey Ma Nature, my winter coat is crying “uncle,” and my windbreaker is all like “what, I don’t matter anymore?”), a plethora of good news to choose from this week.

I want to start with this week’s Boston Marathon, one of the most prestigious and challenging races in the marathon world. So of course each year only the top and most accomplished, well-known runners finish in the top 5, right?

Except this year, a woman few had ever heard of, a full-time nurse who is only 26 years old, somehow finished second.

In her second-ever marathon. That’s insane!

Sarah Sellers was so shocked at her amazing performance that after she finished, in a time of 2:44.05, she asked what place she came in. When told “second,” she asked, second in what division. No no, she was explained, second in the entire women’s race.

“She was in disbelief,” her husband said.
Sellers works in anesthesiology at Banner Health Center in Arizona, her husband, Blake Sellers, told the Boston Globe in an interview on Monday. She ran one previous marathon, in Utah, and won it. But never expected to do anything close to this in Boston. She wakes up at 4 a.m. to do training runs, then goes to her job.

Sellers won $75,000 for finishing second.

“Best case scenario going in, I thought I would maybe win enough money to cover the trip out here,” she said to the Boston Globe. “I had no anticipations of winning $75,000.”

So how does she plan to spend the money?

“I don’t even have any plans yet. I had no idea that was even a possibility,” she said. “My husband and I both just finished graduate school, so hopefully we’ll be able to put a dent in our student loans.”

What a great story.

**Next up, this is an oldie but goodie, but I thought of it this week when I heard the name “Bowie” on TV.

It’s a very sweet, short video of a boy and a girl, adorably having a kiss and a chat and speaks to so much of what innocence and pure joy feels like.

I love, love, love this video so much. Elliott’s face, at :53… that incredible sense of “Look how boss I am!” on his mug… so precious.

**And finally today, allow me to burst with pride about my former profession: Newspapers.

The Pulitzer Prizes were handed out this week, and as usual, the major newspapers cleaned up. The New York Times won for their Harvey Weinstein expose and many others in that vein, and deservedly so. Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey did amazing work and changed the world of Hollywood with their stories. The Washington Post was a major winner, too, for its investigations into our current President and his many, many ties with Russia, as well as exposing Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.

But what always gets me, every year, about the Pulitzers is how local, smaller newspapers still do amazing work. I never worked full-time for the biggies, always plying my trade for newspapers with circulations under 200,000. But so many of them do such great work, with diminished resources. (That photo, above, won a Pulitzer for photography for Ryan Kelly of the Daily Progress in Charlottesville, taken during the alt-right protests last summer there.)

The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat in California won for its incredible wildfire coverage. The Cincinnati Enquirer did amazing work and won a Pulitzer for a series on the city’s awful heroin epidemic. And John Archibald, a columnist from Birmingham, Ala., writing beautiful, incisive columns about his state and the world.

Newspapers, we’re always told, are dying. Their staffs get cut, resources destroyed, and vision narrowed. So many of my former colleagues and friends have had to leave the business, and so many billionaires and corporations buy newspapers and slash and burn through them, then throw them away after the profits weren’t quite big enough.

But still, so many hard-working, good, honest reporters and editors do amazing work. Check out some of it here. I’m still, and will always be, so proud to identify as a journalist.

http://www.pulitzer.org/winners/new-york-times-reporting-led-jodi-kantor-and-megan-twohey-and-new-yorker-reporting-ronan

Is this finally the beginning of the end for Trump? Rare footage of NYC from 1911 is awesome. And “The Americans” steaming toward a big finish

I know, I know, we’ve thought it before.
A major Trump scandal happens, we think “This the End! No way he survives this? How could anyone?” And then the temperature cools down (or more accurately, another crazy scandal happens) and the roach in the White House survives, and we get more nonsensical Tweets, and the rest of us Americans just shake our heads and wonder how he survives.

But these last few days, since the raid on his “lawyer” Michael Cohen’s office, feels different. Cohen knows ALL of Trump’s dirt, since he’s basically a glorified Fix-It man (like Mike on “Breaking Bad” but without the charm) who pays off all of Trump’s women and mistakes.

I couldn’t quite put my finger on WHY this feels different, but Adam Davidson wrote this fabulous piece  for The New Yorker yesterday that really spoke to me. He used our original thinking on the Iraq War, and the financial crisis, to illustrate how Trump will come to the end.

An excerpt:

In this way of thinking, any new information about his corrupt past has no political salience. Those who hate Trump already think he’s a crook; those who love him don’t care.

I believe this assessment is wrong. Sure, many people have a vague sense of Trump’s shadiness, but once the full details are better known and digested, a fundamentally different narrative about Trump will become commonplace. Remember: we knew a lot about problems in Iraq in May, 2003. Americans saw TV footage of looting and heard reports of U.S. forces struggling to gain control of the entire country. We had plenty of reporting, throughout 2007, about various minor financial problems. Somehow, though, these specific details failed to impress upon most Americans the over-all picture. It took a long time for the nation to accept that these were not minor aberrations but, rather, signs of fundamental crisis. Sadly, things had to get much worse before Americans came to see that our occupation of Iraq was disastrous and, a few years later, that our financial system was in tatters.

And then there was this…

Cohen was the key intermediary between the Trump family and its partners around the world; he was chief consigliere and dealmaker throughout its period of expansion into global partnerships with sketchy oligarchs. He wasn’t a slick politico who showed up for a few months. He knows everything, he recorded much of it, and now prosecutors will know it, too. It seems inevitable that much will be made public. We don’t know when. We don’t know the precise path the next few months will take. There will be resistance and denial and counterattacks. But it seems likely that, when we look back on this week, we will see it as a turning point. We are now in the end stages of the Trump Presidency.

Dear God, let’s hope so.

**Next up today, this is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a long time: Rare footage of New York City in 1911. Originally filmed back then by a Swedish company called SF Studios, it was restored and uploaded by YouTuber and historian Guy Jones.   According to this story, “the print has survived in mint condition. Slowed down footage to a natural rate and added in sound for ambiance. This film was taken by the Swedish company Svenska Biografteatern on a trip to America. The sound isn’t original but adds a pleasant ambiance and realism to the City scenes.”

So many things stand out to me in this video. I love how slowly people are strolling down the sidewalk, that pace is unfathomable in NYC today. The clothes are fantastic, as are the horses. (I really wish we could wear hats like that again.)

The guy at the 3:20 mark nearly getting run over by a trolley car and not being the least bit ruffled? Very cool. James Bond cool.

Just a marvelous piece of American history in seven minutes.

**Finally, my favorite current TV show for many years now has been the spectacular FX show “The Americans,” and it saddens me greatly that every episode in this final season brings us one step closer to the end of the series. It is so beautifully acted, and plotted, and stories so wonderfully intricate, that it’s been a true joy to watch and try to decipher.

We’re three episodes into a 10-episode finale, and it’s been fantastic. We finally have what’s been teased for years, Phillip Jennings (in 1987) living the life of a normal American, while wife Elizabeth carries on her duties as a Russian spy, even as the Soviet Union begins to undergo massive change. And bringing daughter Paige in as a spy understudy has caused massive disruption for Elizabeth.

The body count this year has been high for Elizabeth (are they really going to have her kill someone every episode?). She seems miserable. Philip seems miserable. And we’ve got some incredible, strange new partnerships brewing, like Oleg and Philip.

This show is so damn good. I can’t wait to see how it’ll end, but I really don’t want it to.

An outrageous anti-teacher comment from the governor of Kentucky. Truly, you gotta hear what he said. A very cool hockey player persists to give a fan a puck. And a Starbucks in Philly arrests two guys, basically, for being black.

You would think, about 16 months into the still-unfathomable Donald Trump presidency, that we Americans would have lost the capacity to be stunned.

That there has been so many outrageous things said or done, so much impossible-to-believe coming from the White House and its’ man-babies Twitter account, so much corruption, incompetence and sheer … meanness from this administration and modern-day Republicans, that nothing would stun anymore.

And yet, let me introduce you to Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin. Elected in a Tea-Party-fueled race three years ago, Bevin had until-now been a mostly-under-the-national radar politician, doing his Tea Party best to end ObamaCare in his state, cutting spending, cutting vital social services, the usual playbook.

Then came Friday, when teachers across the state protested their working conditions, and the fact that Kentucky teachers earn an average of $33,955 per year, 26 percent below the national average. And here came Matt Bevin, angry that teachers walked out and protested on Friday, and he was going to be very clear how much he hated that.

Just please, watch the first 30 seconds of this, and see if your head explodes.

Let me write that out, maybe it won’t sound as shocking.
“I guarantee you somewhere in Kentucky a child was sexually assaulted that was left at home because there was nobody there to watch them,” Bevin said. “I guarantee you somewhere today a child was physically harmed, or ingested poison, because they were home alone. Because a single parent didn’t have money to take care of them.”

Nope, it’s just as stunning reading it. I mean… is he FREAKING KIDDING ME???

Children were sexually assaulted because teachers wanted a better wage. Children ingested POISON because selfish, greedy educators weren’t there to teach them.

As many, many people pointed out, does this mean Bevin is cancelling vacations, summer break, and the like? Because wouldn’t parents need child care then, too?

Bevin’s comments created an uproar, and he tried to “apologize” in that way spineless people apologize these days, not actually saying “I’m sorry,” or “I was wrong,” but this bullshit of  I’m sorry “for those who have been hurt by the things that I said.”

Not at all an apology.

I just can’t even believe a human being would be that stupid to say something like this.

**Next up, a little palate-cleanser before I get to the other story this weekend that outraged me.

Hockey players are the best, Part 4,323: Before the Washington Capitals-Columbus Blue Jackets game Sunday night, an adorable little Caps fan banged on the glass during pregame to ask for a puck. Washington player Brett Connolly tried to flip her a puck, and some other people took it.

Tried again, and well, just watch. That little girl’s face when she didn’t get the puck the first time… just tragic.

Good job, Brett Connolly.

**And finally today, “Driving while Black” has been a thing in our culture for decades, the idea that people of color, especially African-Americans, get pulled over, harassed and arrested way more than do white people.

But “Starbucks while Black?” That’s a new one. The other night at a Starbucks in Philadelphia, two African-American men were standing inside waiting to meet a friend. They hadn’t ordered anything yet, but they were peacefully, quietly standing there.

This happens at every Starbucks, every day, all across America. Nothing happens.
Except somehow, after they attempted to use the bathroom without having bought anything, a Starbucks employee at the store called the police, claimed the two men (who have not been identified) were “loitering” and soon after they were arrested. Released eight hours later, but put in handcuffs, and taken away.

Watch the video as the man they were there to meet, real estate developer Andrew Yaffe, tries to ask the police what the men did. And how white people stand around at Starbucks for hours, doing the exact same thing.

Shit like this is what I tell my friends on the other side of the political aisle when they laughably claim racism isn’t that big a problem in America anymore, and that “white people are losing everything,” and minorities have just as much chance at social, and criminal justice equality, and all that nonsense.

Try being black in America for five minutes. See how “equal” your treatment is.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson apologized, called the incident “reprehensible.” Which is good. But man, we still have SO far to go on race relations in this country. So, so far to go.

 

Good News Friday: After 10 years in the NBA’s minor leagues, an “old rookie” finally gets his shot. Will Smith and Jimmy Fallon honor TV theme songs. And two great human-interest stories about baseball’s newest superstar

And a Happy Friday to all of my readers, and sincere apologies for there not being a new post on Wednesday.

I totally had one in mind and ready to be written, but life got extremely busy Monday and Tuesday and I just ran out of hours (quick aside on that phrase; I once had a co-worker in the sports department at one of my newspaper stops who wasn’t exactly known for his work ethic. One Saturday night, after a particularly busy week, he literally walked away from the desk where he was laying out the section and declared “I’m out of hours!” and left the building, got in his car, and drove home with a couple of pages unfinished. Ah, good times.)

Anyway, lots of good stuff in the world this week, including the return of Stanley Cup playoff hockey, and so many beautiful tributes to the tragic Humboldt Broncos junior team bus crash that killed 16 (this short video got me teared up. Hockey people are the best.)

We start this week in the NBA, where a fantastic story of perseverance and hunger paid off. Andre Ingram played collegiately at American University, and was known as a terrific 3-point shooter but not quite good enough for the NBA. For 10 long years, he has played in the NBA Developmental League, now called the G League, trying so hard to get his shot. He worked as a math tutor in the offseason to help feed his family, too (pretty sure no other NBA player is also a math tutor.)

Finally, this week the L.A. Lakers called him up, and Ingram was sensational. Scored 19 points in his debut and got showered with “M-V-P” chants from the crowd, played very well in a second game, and served as an inspiration to so many.

“If it’s your dream man, I just feel like you stick it out and you just see what the end is going to be…if it’s the dream it’s worth keeping at it,” he said.

You go, Andre Ingram.

**Next up today, been a while since I’ve enjoyed a Jimmy Fallon sketch as much as I did this one. He and Will Smith decided to do a mash-up medley of 1970s, 1980s and ’90s TV theme songs, and it was, as expected, fantastic. My favorite starts at the 2:01 mark.

When our first son was a baby we used to sing TV theme songs to him in the bathtub. Not sure how that’s going to help him in life, but if he ever has to name the lyrics to the “Cheers” song to win a bet, he should be good.

**And finally today, a little more proof that the world is a nice place. Two pieces of proof, actually, both involving the same person.

First, there’s a new baseball superstar named Shohei Ohtani, who’s both an outstanding hitter and outstanding pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels. He’s young, he’s from Japan, and he’s awesome.

The first story involves Ohtani, a 6-year-old boy who wanted a bat, and a small act of kindness. Read the story here.

The second story is this: Ohtani hit his first major league home run on April 4, and the ball was caught by a Cleveland fan named Chris Incorvaia. Incorvaia saw 9-year-old Matthew Gutierrez, a big Angels fan, sitting behind him. So the Indians fan gave the Angels fan the ball.

“I knew he would appreciate it more,” Incorvaia said. Gutierrez wanted to return the historic souvenir to Ohtani, so he then handed the ball to a stadium staffer who’ll give the ball to Ohtani. Matthew and Chris got to meet Ohtani after the game, with Ohtani giving autographs to both.

Just a very cool little moment.

Pink rocks MSG, and me, with a show that entertains in many ways. “SNL” does a hilarious “Black Jeopardy” sketch. And glory and tragedy in hockey over the weekend

I had an answer all ready when quite a few of my friends asked me why I was going to a Pink concert last Thursday night at Madison Square Garden, the third time my wife and I have seen her live:

“Because I want to be her when I grow up.”

OK, OK, so it’s unlikely that’ll happen. But if I could somehow get to walk in the awesome shoes of the superstar for five minutes, my life on Earth would be made.

The concert Thursday night was even better than the first two times we saw her; this is a woman who is fierce, powerful and gives her diverse audience exactly what they’ve come for: A damn good time. (Seriously, there were all kinds of people at the show, old, young, white, black, boys, girls. Pink’s fans are a cross-section of humanity. Watch that video above of her flying above the crowd and tell me you don’t want to do that!)

And as I was listening to Pink belt out her hits in one fabulous, kick-ass costume or another, whether it was her beautiful ballad “Who Knew” or when she delivered a stunningly good cover of Nirvana’s classic “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (and don’t even get me started with how old I felt looking around at the crowd and seeing like, maybe 20 percent of them knowing the song), I started thinking of the numerous reasons I admire and like her so much.

For one, she doesn’t fake it. No lip-syncing at these live shows, no doing everything possible to play it safe. This woman flies around a stage doing acrobatic moves and singing at the same time, which is extremely difficult.

She also comes off as a very real human being. She’s not perfect, she’s made mistakes, she used to talk all the time about trying not to curse on stage anymore because she has so many young fans, and then would let an F-bomb go five minutes later. She’s not better or worse than anyone, and seems to have little rock star ego.

She also realizes she’s a role model, most of all to her young daughter, who in a mid-concert video she’s played throughout this current tour, explains how she’s instructed her daughter to ignore ignorant comments like “You look like a boy” and be proud of your true self.

Pink might not be the greatest singer ever, or the greatest dancer ever. But she is one hell of an entertainer, who relates to her fans, speaks to them on their level, and absolutely gives everyone who pays money to watch her perform a show they won’t soon forget.

A bunch of people my wife and I know were at their first Pink show Thursday. All said it won’t be their last.

I’ve never seen the same musical artist or group three times. But with Pink, I know I’ll be seeing her many, many more times to come.

I may not ever grow up to be her. But I can still admire the hell out of what she does, and who she is.

**Next up today, this “SNL” sketch from Saturday night was so fantastic. Chadwick Boseman, star of the mega-hit movie “Black Panther” guest-hosted, and appeared in the sketch as his movie altar ego, “T’Challa.”

If you watch nothing else of it, go to the 5:08 mark and watch T’Challa finally get the hang of the game. Totally brilliant.

**Finally today, two quick hockey stories as we get ready for the Stanley Cup playoffs (weird not having my Rangers in it, first time in eight years they’ve missed it. And no Blackhawks or Blues either? But a team from Las Vegas? Gonna be a strange, wonderful ride.)

The first story is a tragedy from Canada: A bus carrying a junior hockey team called the Humboldt Broncos from Western Canada, in Saskatchewan, crashed into a semi on the highway on the way to a game. Fifteen people, including the team’s head coach, players and broadcasters, died. What a brutal, awful tragedy. These were teenaged boys, trying to live out their dream of playing the sport they loved. Spare a thought for them and their families today.

The second story is a sweet one: For 17 years twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin have been stars for the Vancouver Canucks, doing everything except winning a Stanley Cup. They announced recently that this will be their last season, and in their final home game Friday night, the twins teamed up for the game-winning goal in overtime.

Very rarely do you get storybook moments like this. Very, very cool.

Good News Friday: Teachers all across the country are speaking out and walking out, and it’s wonderful. A suspicious email from Liberia leads to an awesome act of kindness. And a college student gives CPR to a dying squirrel, thanks to an episode of “The Office.”

Sometimes, people have just had enough. Enough with cost-cutting, enough with a lack of respect from others, enough having to constantly be told, by how they’re treated and by what they’re paid, that despite lip service, they’re not really valued all that much.

That’s what’s been happening to public school teachers for decades, and over the past few weeks something remarkable has happened: Thousands of teachers have said enough.

You might not think the mass teacher walkouts that have gone on in places like West Virginia, Arizona and Oklahoma should be highlighted in my “Good News Friday” post, because it’s certainly not good news the way so many of these hard-working educators have been treated.

But I think, seeing the response in so many states, supporting these teachers, that it IS good news. Teachers have long been under-appreciated and underpaid, and now that they’re all going to be getting gun training (I’m kidding, I hope), they are even more important.

Watch that video above from an Arizona public school educator, and hear the pain in her voice, and tell me that it’s OK that teachers get treated badly in so many places.

Or read the quotes from this story from Oklahoma, where teachers walked 100 miles to the state capitol to protest their wages and education funding.

“We are willing to walk 100 miles for our students,” Patti Ferguson-Palmer, president of the Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association, told the Tulsa World. “What is the Oklahoma Legislature willing to do? We are not all young and fit.”

Good for these teachers, standing up and demanding to legislators that they, and their students, get prioritized more than they have been.

Let’s hope this all leads to progress.

https://www.cbsnews.com/video/man-answers-email-from-questionable-source-and-never-imagined-what-would-follow/

**Next up today, this story is just … I don’t know. But I love it. Just read the headline and tell me you won’t keep reading:

“CMU Soccer Player Rescues Drowning Squirrel, Revives it with CPR thanks in Part to “The Office.”

OK so here goes: A college student at Central Michigan University named Natalie Belsito was looking out her window on March 27 when she saw a squirrel flailing about in the water outside.

“Belsito told student newspaper Central Michigan Life that she was looking out her dorm room window when she spotted the squirrel flailing in a pond. She tried to scoop it out with a hockey stick, but that wasn’t successful. A guy walking by pulled it out of the water, sort of.”

The squirrel was no longer in the water but still wasn’t breathing, so Belsito performed CPR to the beat of the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive.” Yes, just like that scene in The Office.

Belsito, who said she doesn’t “really know CPR,” tried performing it with the hockey stick, but soon discovered the tactic wouldn’t work. Zimmerman returned to her dorm room to grab towels, allowing Belsito to perform CPR by hand.

“Honestly, when I was doing it, I was thinking of the episode of “The Office” when they do CPR,” she said. “I was literally singing that song as I tried to do it.”

And they say you can’t learn anything from television!The squirrel was wrapped in towels and blow-dried while it recovered in the soccer player’s bathroom. The animal was eventually healthy enough to be released back in the wild.

What a wild story. But hey, a squirrel was saved!

**And finally today, a beautiful story from my man Steve Hartman at “CBS Sunday Morning,” where a suspicious email to an American man from a Liberian man leads to some amazing, life-changing results.

So much good in the world. So much.