Monthly Archives: August 2019

Good News Friday: A heartwarming story about NHL star Sidney Crosby. A 3-year-old boy who’s housebound gets thrilling surprises every day. And a 4th-grader with a new device to help parents and babies

And a Happy Friday to you all out there! Hope you’re having half as much fun, at least, as I’ve been having this week, at the wonderful circus known as the U.S. Open. Have been writing a ton of stories (here’s one on Coco Gauff’s great first-round win on Tuesday, and one on Reilly Opelka’s upset win over Fabio Fognini on Monday, and one on Caty McNally’s first-round win)and watching more tennis than any one person should be allowed.

Sleep? Who needs sleep?

Lots of good stuff to share on this Good News Friday, and I want to start with a good story about an athlete who on the playing surface, I really hate: Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby. On the ice, he’s one of the top 5 players in National Hockey League, with skill and strength unmatched. He’s also a big whiner and crybaby who exaggerates injuries to the nth degree.

But off the ice, the dude just gets it. Always doing classy stuff. This little story about Crosby visiting a veteran’s hospital with the Stanley Cup, and what he did for a patient there, is just really beautiful.

I wanna hate you, Crosby! Stop being so nice!

**Next up today, get the tissues. A lot of them.
Three-year-old Quinn Waters of Weymouth, Mass. has been confined to his house for several months, thanks to a compromised immune system due to treatments for his brain cancer.

Quinn isn’t allowed to go outside at all, having to just stare out the window at all that’s going on around him.

But his friends, family and people in town have teamed up to give Quinn quite a show. This is just so wonderful.

**And finally today, one of the great tragedies of life is a parent forgetting an infant is in the backseat of the car, leaving the vehicle for a few hours on a very hot day, and the child dying in the backseat.

It is an awful, awful, awful accident that happens far too often.(51 kids in the U.S. died from this in 2018).

To possibly help this problem, fourth-grader Sophie Rapson came up with this idea for a school project: It’s a stretchy cord-like device that attaches to a car seat and a steering wheel, connecting parent and baby, literally.

Genius. Genius!

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50 scenes of Christopher Walken dancing will make you smile. George Clooney tries to rid the world of “dumbasses.” And a writer goes looking for the baseball umpire of his youth, trying to forget some awful behavior

Who doesn’t love Christopher Walken?

I mean, this is technically a rhetorical question. But if there is actually someone out there in the whole wide world who doesn’t love the actor that’s been in four hundred movies, I would like to meet them.

Anyway, Walken is an acting legend, and you never walk away from seeing him and thinking he didn’t give his all.

So given that, and how much fun he always seems to have in movies, I thought this clip was great. Someone on the Interwebs decided to cut a montage of 50 Christopher Walken dance scenes, and it’s fabulous.

Enjoy.

**Next up today, George Clooney is many things, including a terrific humanitarian, supporting many causes that are important in the world.

He’s even good at Public Service Announcements (PSA’s), trying to help his fellow man. Here, in service of climate change awareness, is George Clooney, trying to rid the world of… dumbasses.

Pretty damn funny.

**And finally today, I thought this was an excellently done column, by a man who clearly had regrets for a few moments of childhood idiocy.

Steve Politi, an outstanding journalist for the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger, was in a big Little League game when he was 12, and strode to the plate with runners on base and the game on the line.

A minute later, after things didn’t go his way, he flipped off the home plate umpire with a “double bird.”

Thirty-five years later, Politi went looking for that umpire to apologize, and explain.

An excerpt:
The umpire tried to explain this to me when I arrived at home plate and met my cruel fate. It didn’t matter. The Gantner’s manager tried to offer words of encouragement, that next time he walked me, “we’ll have to throw the ball in the dirt!” That didn’t help, either. Next time? Is this going to be a THING, Gantner’s?!

The disappointment boiled over into rage. I can still see the back of the ump walking away as the middle digit on both of my hands rose and pointed in his direction. I’m sure there were gasps. I don’t remember that. I do remember the voice of my best friend’s mom breaking the silence.

“Steven! Noooooooooo!”

Really, really beautiful writing here.

The U.S. Open is here! I’m in heaven as always. Some superstitious cows amuse me.. And a shocking retirement announcement from an NFL star

 

It feels like the night before Christmas, y’all.

I know, I know, I’m Jewish. But the U.S. Open tennis tournament starts in, oh, about 13 hours from the time I’m typing this, and as always, I am super-duper excited.

I am so damn lucky for many reasons in life, but one is that for the past eight years I’ve lived less than 45 minutes away from the greatest spectacle in tennis, and for the past six I’ve been lucky enough to have an up-close seat as a writer covering the tournament.

Every year I say this to myself when I look around the Bud Collins Media Center, and see some scribes or broadcasters muttering or complaining about something: Are you freaking kidding me? You people have the best job ever, getting to come to the U.S. Open, FOR FREE, and someone else is paying you to be there, and you get free food! And great seats to the matches!

The Open is amazing, and I’m expecting another great tournament. Since this is my blog I ought to first let you know a few of my U.S. Open preview stories have already been published; first, in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle newspaper in Rochester, N.Y., I profiled Jessica Pegula, a super-nice woman who I’ve known and covered for years, who has made a huge breakthrough in the rankings this season.
And then for my new “regular” tennis writing gig at Tennis.One, I did a quick-hitting Open preview for the men and the women, with first-round matches to watch, three players who may win the whole shebang, and other fun stuff.

OK, on to a few other scattered thoughts as this two-week extravaganza gets underway.

— Can’t remember the last time I had this little clue who’d win the Open on the women’s side. You can make a case to me for nine different players, at least, and I’d buy in. Naomi Osaka, the defending champ? Maybe, but her year hasn’t been great since Australia. Ash Barty, the French Open champ? Maybe, but she too isn’t playing great. Serena? Sure, why not, but there are so many psychological, emotional and physical factors she has to deal with this year here at Flushing Meadows.
I’ll pick Wimbledon champ Simona Halep, but really I have no clue (aren’t you glad some people are paying me to cover this?)

— As for the men, well, that’s much easier. Bet almost everything you own on Novak Djokovic, who is by far the best hardcourt player on the ATP Tour. Bet the rest on Rafael Nadal. And say a little prayer for Roger Federer, who will need everything to go right to win.

— Coco-mania is in full swing here. I’m speaking of course of 15-year-old Coco Gauff, playing her first Open and drawing huge crowds last week at practice wherever she went. I attended one of her sessions for a story I’m working on for the Palm Beach Post, and it was pretty raucous when she signed autographs. Gauff is a great, great kid off the court, definitely someone to root for. She starts on Tuesday.

The Open is here! Happy times are here again.

**And now, just because this made me laugh hard, a video of cows all thinking they have to jump over the white lines on the road, and doing it beautifully.

Hilarious. It’s like they’re superstitious baseball players or something.

**And finally today, it’s pretty rare when an NFL superstar retires in his prime, two weeks before the season starts, but that’s happened Saturday night.

Shockingly, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, age 29, announced his retirement. Luck has been battling injuries for several years, and hasn’t played at all this preseason due to a calf injury.

After a constant cycle of injury and rehab, the mental and physical toll finally got to be too much for Luck.

I say good for him. Let him get out while he can still enjoy his life. The NFL chews these men up and spits them out, leaving them broken.

And it was despicable that when news broke Saturday night at a Colts preseason game, and Luck trotted off the field at halftime, some Indy fans booed him.

How dare he try to protect his future health and life, right??? Awful.

My man Pearlman has a great column up on Luck, the booing, and how he made the right decision.

Good News Friday: A struggling Orioles slugger gets an amazing lift from a 9-year-old Red Sox fan. An Indiana girl makes pillows for cancer patients. And Yasiel Puig flies to upstate N.Y. to cheer up kids with cancer

Oh baby, is your blogger in a great mood on this Friday! I’ve been out at the U.S. Open qualifying tournament the last few days, and as always I’ve been having a blast.
Next week will mark my sixth straight year covering the best event in sports as a freelancer, and I am so, so pumped, as I always am. Great tennis, the weather is supposed to be MUCH more mild than last year’s sauna-like temps, and I’m a happy fella. (Now if we could just get our 21-month old to sleep past 6:15. Ah, dreams.)

I so love every one of these Good News Friday items this week. But this first one… man, get the Kleenex out right now. This absolutely made my heart sing.

So Chris Davis is a player for the Baltimore Orioles. Once, Davis was a superstar. Now, he’s probably one of the 10 worst players in the majors, and earlier this season he underwent a horrific 0-for-54 batting slump.

In the middle of that awful slump, Davis got a letter from a 9-year-old boy. And then, just watch what happened.

I was deeply, deeply moved by the compassion here. Such a great young man!

**Next up today, meet an Indiana third grader named Abbi Zamani. Her mom is suffering from cancer, and Abbi decided she wanted to try to do something to lift the spirits of people who are fighting this terrible disease.

From this story on MSN.com: “So together with her grandmother, the third-grader hand-sews colorful pillows for patients at Hux Cancer Center in Terre Haute, Indiana, WTHI reported.

“I just like all the pillows because it reminds me that everyone needs to be comfortable,” Abbi told WTHI. “I like to let people know that I love them and that they can fight cancer.”

Abbi drops the pillows off at the hospital herself, and patients can choose one on their way into the infusion room, where they undergo chemotherapy.

So far, Abbi and her grandma have sewn 50 pillows, but their goal is to double that number.

Amanda Mouck, a registered nurse at the hospital, said patients now bring their pillows in with them to each treatment.

“It melts your heart,” Mouck told WTHI. “Especially someone so young who has so much kindness and empathy and compassion in their heart, and wanting to take her time to make these for the patients.”

Way to go, Abbi. So much compassion, and so much heart, from a little girl.

**And finally today, with so much controversy and turmoil surrounding America, Jews, and our idiotic President, I thought this was a nice antidote story.

Yasiel Puig, a standout for the Cincinnati Reds, had a unique off-day recently in New York. He decided to take a helicopter ride to upstate New York, to visit  Camp Simcha, a Jewish camp for kids with cancer and other blood disorders.

Puig called it “one of the best days of my life.”

According to this story, Puig spent about four hours touring the camp, signing autographs, dancing, playing baseball and posing for photos with campers. When he first arrived, Puig said he was energized by the children and staff there.

“It was so much fun,” Puig said. “There was a lot of energy and happiness. A lot of kids were smiling and dancing for four hours. It was one of the most amazing moments in my life. To go to that camp and see so many kids happy, that made me excited and that is how I want to spend my life.”

Phenomenal. He made a new fan in me. L’Chaim, Yasiel!

Enough with overexposing 12-year-olds on the Little League World Series, ESPN! A bizarre, kind of hilarious new peanut butter commercial. And Bill Walton in a baseball broadcast booth is pure heaven

I’m guessing a good 95 percent of you reading this have no idea who Phil Mushnick is, and that’s fine.

Mushnick is the sports media/TV critic for the New York Post, and has been doing the job since Milton Berle was first coming up. Phil is the ultimate, ultimate “get off my lawn” man, hating anything and everything, believing everything today about sports and broadcasting is horrible, terrible, and just so much worse than they used to be.

I read Phil for perverse delight, because I find great humor in his grumpy ramblings. But it occasionally frightens me when I end up agreeing with one of his myriad rants. Which is the case today. For many years Phil has been railing against this issue, and a few times here on this blog I’ve railed about it, too.

This week is the beginning of the Little League World Series. It’s a lovely little event, as a bunch of 12-year-olds from across America and the world compete for a chance to play for a title in the little town of Williamsport, Pa.

It’s sports at its purest, just kids having fun over the summer with their buddies, trying to bring glory to themselves and their hometown. For decades, the tournament to get to Williamsport, and then the actual World Series, were hardly recognized on TV until the title game, when ABC would show it on a Saturday afternoon.

But then of course ESPN got involved, and realized people like to watch the drama of adolescent kids dealing with success and failure and all that.

And slowly, more and more games got televised. And then more, and more, and more. And this year, ESPN breathlessly announced in July, it would be showing 90 regional tournament Little League games on national television, across its various platforms.

Let me say that again; Ninety baseball games involving 11 and 12-year-old children would be broadcast on national television. That’s before the 32 games of the World Series itself, meaning 122 total Little League baseball games.

Children that age do not need to be on television that much. NOBODY needs to watch that many kids on national TV. Putting that kind of spotlight and pressure on these tiny children is just awful, and shameful.

One hundred and twenty-two games. Good Lord. Let the freaking kids be kids.

**So next today, it’s been a long time since I’ve written about a non-Super Bowl commercial in this space, but I saw this Jif peanut butter commercial Tuesday and thought it was strangely subversive and kind of fabulous.

Check this apocalyptic one-minute ad out. I’m a Skippy man, myself, but this commercial almost makes me want to switch.

**Finally, my love for the broadcasting ramblings and diatribes of Bill Walton knows no bounds. The ex-NBA legend has so much fun and creates so much confusion with his bizarre, unfiltered thoughts doing basketball games, I can’t help but want to listen to him more.

Well, the Chicago White Sox, in an inspired bit of promotion, invited the World’s Tallest Deadhead into their booth last Saturday night, to call a baseball game as a color commentator.

It, of course, went spectacularly. Thanks to Jimmy Traina’s always-fabulous SI.com column, here are a few Walton wonders.

First, his completely misreading a harmless fly ball out:

And then, his astonishment at a bunt single:

Bill Walton is a national treasure. Oh, and on another play with men on first and third and one out, when play by play man Jason Beninati said the Sox were looking for a double play, Walton asked “why not a triple play?”

I love that man.

 

A plant in Pa. pays workers to attend a Trump speech, penalizes those who don’t. John Travolta and Jimmy Fallon play JT’s famous characters. And my annual tribute to the late, great Jim Murray, my favorite sportswriter ever

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but my good friend Jeff often asks me how I can stay sane during the Trump administration, and not get so damn angry over every terrible, horrible, no-good very bad thing the Orange Grifter and his merry band of fools do.

And I tell him that it’s usually the seemingly little things that get me the most pissed, like the destruction of climate change rules, piece by piece.

Or stuff like this. Maybe you heard about it, but likely not. From NPR, under the headline ” Pa. Workers Forced To Choose Between Watching Trump, No Pay Or Using Paid Time Off.”

Workers at a petrochemical plant in western Pennsylvania were given a choice ahead of President Trump’s visit to the site on Tuesday: attend the president’s speech, stay home without pay or use up part of their paid time off …

Shell spokesman Curtis Smith said the company did not write the notice to workers. Broadbent said it was devised by a construction site contractor, which did not reply to a request for comment.

Missing a day of work could amount to $700 in pay, benefits and a per diem payment that out-of-town workers receive, a union leader told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.”

Just disgusting. You have a company telling its employees it either shows up to watch an egomaniac roar, or use up vacation time, or stay home and not get paid for the day.

Shit like this makes my blood boil. We are getting way too close for comfort to becoming an authoritarian kind of state, where the public is “compelled” to show up and support the Dear Leader.

And it makes me really mad.

**Next up, John Travolta has had a wide range of great roles in his career, and a wide range of terrible ones (“Perfect” with Jamie Lee Curtis, anyone?) He was on Jimmy Fallon the other night and he and the host played a “Travolt-off”, where they took turns impersonating Travolta’s movie roles.

I liked this a lot, though I really wish Vincent Vega had come up on the wheel; for my money that was the Scientologist’s best role.

**Finally, I’m a couple days late on this but I did not want to forget my annual tribute in this space to the late, great sportswriter Jim Murray, who died Aug. 16, 1998.

As I say every year here, Murray was the greatest, my absolute favorite writer ever. His typewriter dripped with brilliant prose, he had more great one-liners than anyone else (one favorite has always been “Elgin Baylor is as unstoppable as a woman’s tears.”)

He wrote for the Los Angeles Times for decades, despite having only one good eye. As always, I want to excerpt two of my favorite Murray columns here. First, a touching tribute to his first wife Gerry who had just died, in 1984. Here’s an excerpt:

She never grew old and now, she never will. She wouldn’t have anyway. She had four children, this rogue husband, a loving family and this great wisdom and great heart, but I always saw her as this little girl running across a field with a swimming suit on her arm, on a summer day on the way to the gravel pit for an afternoon of swimming and laughing. Life just bubbled out of Gerry. We cry for ourselves. Wherever she is today, they can’t believe their good luck.

I don’t mean to inflict my grief on you, but she deserves to be known by anyone who knows me. She has a right to this space more than any athlete who ever lived. I would not be here if it weren’t for her. I feel like half a person without Gerry. For once, I don’t exaggerate. No hyperbole. If there was a Hall of Fame for people, she would be No. 1. She was a champion at living.

And second, Murray’s elegy for his left eye, which finally gave out on him in 1979, rendering him mostly blind. The last four paragraphs are just perfect, but here’s another excerpt:

I lost an old friend the other day. He was blue-eyed, impish, he cried a lot with me, saw a great many things with me. I don’t know why he left me. Boredom, perhaps.

We read a lot of books together, we did a lot of crossword puzzles together, we saw films together. He had a pretty exciting life. He saw Babe Ruth hit a home run when we were both 12 years old. He saw Willie Mays steal second base, he saw Maury Wills steal his 104th base. He saw Rocky Marciano get up. I thought he led a pretty good life.

 One night a long time ago he saw this pretty girl who laughed a lot, played the piano and he couldn’t look away from her. Later he looked on as I married this pretty lady.

He saw her through 34 years. He loved to see her laugh, he loved to see her happy …  He recorded the happy moments, the miracle of children, the beauty of a Pacific sunset, snow-capped mountains, faces on Christmas morning. He allowed me to hit fly balls to young sons in uniforms two sizes too large, to see a pretty daughter march in halftime parades. He allowed me to see most of the major sports events of our time.

I suppose I should be grateful that he didn’t drift away when I was 12 or 15 or 29 but stuck around over 50 years until we had a vault of memories. 

Man, he was the best.

Good News Friday: A special adoption between a teacher and a former student. A 6-year-old boy sings to his baby sister, adorably. And NBA star James Harden helps a family in the Bahamas

Happy Friday, y’all! Yours truly is thrilled the weekend is here, been a long, hot week in New York and oh yeah, Saturday is my birthday! Go me. I’m officially going to be Reggie Jackson years old (44), and yes I feel old but on the other hand, I still feel young sometimes (Not while playing tennis, but other times).

Lots of goodness to get to today, but let’s start in Texas. Check out this heartwarming story:

“Chris Barrington, who functions at the level of a 6-year-old, was found wandering the streets alone two months ago. Officials say he had been wandering around the area for two days.

Barrington’s father was so sick with leukemia that he couldn’t move.

Barrington had no known immediate family, but he did remember the name of his junior high school teacher, Michelle Girard. (We all remember our best teachers)

Girard taught Barrington for four years at Gatesville Junior High School, but hadn’t interacted with him in years. However, she was more than willing to take Barrington in. “He deserves a good life. He’s had a hard life,” Girard told KWTX.

The teacher is now applying for guardianship over Barrington after his father passed away on Aug. 1.”

Such wonderful heart showed by this educator; watch the video above to see the love in her eyes for a former student.

**Next up today, here’s a video of a brother singing to his baby sister that made me smile. Hat tip to my smart and funny friend Rachel S. for pointing this to me on Twitter; here’s a version of Beyonce’s “Brown Skin Girl,” as interpreted by a 6-year-old.
The baby’s face just makes me melt every time…

**And finally today, it’s nice to see an NBA star doing something nice during the offseason. I say this a lot but there are SO MANY athletes who do more good than bad, but sadly we only hear about the 5 percent of them who get arrested for beating women or doing drugs, or whatever.

James Harden, the bearded legend of the Houston Rockets, was in the Bahamas recently with some buddies when he saw a family literally fishing for food near a local underpass.

Harden and his friends stopped and gave the family $10,000, right on the spot. Sure I might be wondering why someone is walking around with that kind of cash, but hey, it’s awesome that Harden decided to help a family in need. The gratitude in the woman’s face here in this video is terrific.

 

A guy hoverboards over the English Channel, and “The Jetsons” has arrived. A man takes a Delta flight as the only passenger. And the basketball star who tried to use his girlfriend’s urine at a drug test gets a huge surprise

There are things that have to be seen to be believed. This is one of them.

A Frenchman named Franky Zapata (who totally sounds like he should be a character name in a Tarantino movie) has just completed a remarkable feat: He soared over the English Channel on a hoverboard.

Yes, a hoverboard, one of those surfboard looking, futuristic devices that is as close to a flying car as we’ve ever seen.

Seriously, check this dude out. We are so into “The Jetsons” territory with this stuff.
The details of how he did it: His hoverboard is powered by kerosene which he carries in a backpack. He took off from Sangatte near Calais and reached Dover in just over 20 minutes – but he had to stop for fuel.

But still… flying on a hoverboard over a huge body of water. Pretty badass.

**Next up, this story seems completely unrealistic but it actually did happen. A passenger on a Delta flight last week from Aspen, Colo., to Salt Lake City, Utah noticed something when he got this boarding gate: He was the only one there.

And then he boarded the plane… and there was no one else on it.

Vincent Peone decided to chronicle this bizarre experience in video form, and it’s fabulous. The flight attendant makes the announcements and uses his first name. He gets to meet the flight crew, and hey, no waiting when it’s time to get off the plane!

I love this, and given how overcrowded flights are these days, I am so very, very jealous.

**And finally today, spare a thought for a pro basketball player named Donell Cooper. Or better yet, can you spare some brain cells? Because he could surely use them.

Cooper, who has been playing in Europe for several years, was banned in 2018 for two years by the International Basketball Federation for a drug testing violation. The reason for his banishment was just revealed last week.

What did Mr. Cooper do? Well, he didn’t test positive for drugs. He tested positive for… being pregnant.

Cooper took some of his girlfriend’s urine and tried to pass it off as his own. And it came back to the lab showing that he was carrying a child.

The test on the urine that Cooper provided revealed the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG, which is a hormone made by the placenta during pregnancy.

That urine, per the report, actually belonged to his girlfriend—who likely didn’t know she was pregnant at the time.

And of course, THIS is how Cooper found out he was about to be a father, too.

Some people are just too stupid for words. But hey, since this happened in 2018, you’re probably a father now, so Mazel Tov!

Tonight I’m meeting a Presidential candidate, who I hope is on the ballot next November. Simone Biles continues to do amazing gymnastic things. And cocaine, or bird poop? You decide!

So in what may be the most obvious statement I’ve ever made on this blog, I tell you this:
I’m really, really into politics. And I really like seeing how the sausage is made, getting up close and personal to candidates and trying to learn as much about them, and the people close to them, as possible.

Sometimes, seeing them up close validates what you previously thought: I’ll never forget standing on line for hours at Bethune-Cookman University in Sept., 2008 waiting to see Barack Obama. And then getting into the auditorium and feeling the special vibe and enthusiasm he brought to millions.

On the other side, I’ve written here before about being a recovering John Edwards supporter. I spent hundreds of hours in 2004, and in 2007, volunteering to support a man who I thought embodied everything I wanted in a President. Only to find out later he was a lying, conniving fraud who was wildly unworthy of all my effort.

Anyway, my point is I love to get personally involved in candidates, and campaigns, and so far in this 2020 cycle I’m eager to support two Democrats above all others: Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, and Senator Kamala Harris of California. (Elizabeth Warren, I love deeply and truly, I’m just not quite ready to pledge my support to. Not that she needs it, she’s doing awesome right now.)

I’ll talk more about why I am on Harris’ bandwagon in another post.

I’ve been following Booker’s career for 15 years, and have been a fan of his since first learning about his passion, commitment and humility in turning around one of America’s worst cities, Newark, N.J. I’ve watched Booker rise and overcome quite a few obstacles, some of his own making, to become a respected Senator and a powerful voice on the left.

He’s always had Presidential ambitions, that much was clear, and I’ve been waiting for him to make this run for a long time.

Now I am not a blind supporter; I know he has his faults. Booker had some trouble with the ACLU over Newark’s policing, he’s a little too close to Big Pharma, and his school improvement deal with Mark Zuckerberg didn’t work out too well.

But overall I’m impressed with Booker’s progressive ideas on issues like criminal justice and marijuana, and on many other topics. He’s a very smart man with the charisma a leader needs.

And tonight, I finally will get to meet him, I hope.
I’m headed into Manhattan this evening for a small fund-raising event for Booker, at which I hope to truly size him up. You can’t ever truly get to know a politician, I know, but in small settings you get to see how they are up close, when the cameras are off.

I don’t expect to gain any huge insights, but maybe a collection of small ones. I hope to find out, in essence, if Booker is more Barack Obama than John Edwards.

**Next up, every once in a while Simone Biles, the greatest American gymnast of all time, shows up to remind us how amazing she is. She continues to push the sport forward, and this weekend at the U.S. Gymnastics championships she did all kinds of amazing things.

In the clip above, Biles becomes the first-ever woman to land a triple-double to open her routine.
I’m not entirely sure what that means, but she is so badass.

**Finally today, this story cracked me up because of its ridiculousness. Meet Georgia Southern University quarterback Shai Werts.

Last Friday night, young Mr. Werts was arrested during a traffic stop. It seemed the police found a white substance on the hood of his car was tested, and the test came up positive for cocaine. So Werts has hauled off and charged with misdemeanor drug possession.

In the police body-cam footage released, Werts and the officer discuss the substance found.

“If anything, there’d be a one in 1,000 chance that these things are faulty, but I don’t think they just turn pink,” the officer said.

“I swear to God that’s bird poop,” Werts said.

Guess what? Werts was right. It WAS bird shit, further tests showed. And so Werts was released after spending a night in jail.

I mean… how in the world could bird poop and cocaine contain the same properties? Someone get Bill Nye the Science Guy on this, pronto.

In the meantime, little flying creatures who soar above our heads? Please lay off the white powder, it’s a bad, bad habit you’ll never kick.

 

Good News Friday: A hero of the El Paso shooting saved lives.”Field of Dreams” site to host an MLB game, and that’s awesome. And a tennis star plays ping-pong with kids for an hour

And a Happy Friday, my fellow Earthlings (isn’t that what Mork used to call people on “Mork and Mindy?” Yes, I’m old.)

Hope you all are having a delightful August Friday, we are a mere two weeks away from the start of the U.S. Open, so I’m incredibly excited.

Lots of good stuff to tell you about this week, first a story from the horrific El Paso mass shooting tragedy. Even in such horrible scenes, there are moments of positivity and kindness, and this is one of them.

Meet Pfc. Glendon Oakley Jr., an off-duty soldier who was in the Walmart in El Paso where a gunman slaughtered 22 innocent people.

According to reports at the scene, Oakley scooped up children inside the store and carried them to safety.
Oakley sprang into action after a child ran up to him and said there was someone shooting at the Walmart next to the mall where he was shopping.

“I walked to Foot Locker and heard two gunshots and a whole bunch of people running around, screaming,” he said.

That’s when Oakley bolted outside to the parking lot.
“I see a whole bunch of kids … running around without their parents. The only thing I can think of is to pick up as many kids as I can,” he said. “I was just focused on the kids. I wasn’t worried about myself.”

The 22-year-old private first class had returned recently from a deployment in Kuwait,

“What I did was what I was supposed to do, and I understand it was heroic and I’m looked at as a hero for it, but that wasn’t the reason for me …” Oakley Jr. told reporters Sunday as he broke into tears. “I’m just focused on the kids that I could not get and the families that were lost.”

True courage, in the face of a gunman.

***Next up, this was such a fabulous, happy surprise for me on Thursday: As I’ve stated on this site many times, “Field of Dreams” is my all-time favorite film. And my pilgrimage, with my Dad, to Dyersville, Iowa to see the actual site on which the movie was filmed was one of the highlights of my life.

Thursday, Major League Baseball announced that next Aug. 13, the White Sox and Yankees will play an actual MLB game at the “Field of Dreams” field.

A temporary, 8,000-seat ballpark will be constructed, right next to the legendary field.

This is incredibly exciting and cool. Now having been there, I have many logistical questions, including, how in the world is that one tiny road that leads to the field going to handle the traffic?

But who cares, that’s a question for another day. Right now, the idea that a real, live MLB game will be played there? So, so cool.

And it gives me another excuse to run the James Earl Jones speech from the movie. Chills, every time…

**And finally today, tennis star Nick Kyrgios is the most polarizing player in the sport. Many fans hate him, because he tanks (loses on purpose) sets and often fails to even try, and because his on-court behavior is often atrocious and rude. Other fans love him, because he’s highly entertaining on and off the court, a breath of fresh air, and he attracts non-tennis fans to watch.

Me? I love him and hate him often at the same time. He’s very difficult to stay mad at when he does stuff like this, though: While in Washington D.C. last week for a tournament, he spent an hour playing ping-pong with local kids, having the time of his life.

He Tweeted it was “the best part about tournaments,” getting to interact with kids.
Well done, Nick. Oh, and the table tennis prep must’ve helped, Kyrgios went on to win the whole tennis tournament in D.C.