Monthly Archives: April 2020

A baseball player husband takes his softball player wife deep. Then she gets ultimate revenge. An NFL draftee reveals the prescient letter he wrote in 3rd grade. And an actress amazingly channels a classic Jerry Lewis routine

It’s Wednesday, so let’s start today with a joke (all credit to Twitter user @caitfitzsimmons for telling this joke on Tuesday, making me snort with laughter:)

A sobbing Mrs Murphy approaches Father O’Grady after mass.

Mrs Murphy: Oh, Father, I’ve awful news. My husband passed away last night. Father O’Grady: Oh, Mary, that’s terrible. Did he have any last requests?
Mrs Murphy: He did, Father. He said, “Please, Mary, put down that damn gun”.

And away we go…

OK, so first up today, I always enjoy when a husband and wife athlete team get involved in competition, the man acts like a bit of a jerk, and the woman completely shows him up.

That’s what this first story is about.

Meet Noah Vaughan, a former minor league baseball prospect in the Oakland A’s system. He and his wife, Riley Sartain-Vaughan, a former infielder at Texas A & M,  have been, like millions of athletes worldwide, trying to stay sane and in shape during the pandemic. They like to play games in their driveway, where he pitches to her and she pitches to him, with a very-hard-to-hit-far softball.

The other day Noah crushed a rise ball delivered by Riley. As he watched the ball soar into the Fort Worth, Texas, sky, Vaughan punctuated his shot with an outrageous bat flip. (Turns out he wasn’t rounding the bases after hitting it, he was running to go get the ball, which landed in a neighbor’s yard.)

Typical male behavior, showing off and being obnoxious after an athletic feat.

But a few minutes later, Noah was pitching overhand and Riley got him back, big-time.
The “oh God” from him is just fantastic, and is still funny on the 20th viewing.

Love it when women damage the frail male sports ego.

**Next up, I saw this in Peter King’s always outstanding “Football Morning in America” column Monday and I loved it so much.

A college football player from the University of Utah named Julian Blackmon was picked in the NFL Draft on Saturday by the Indianapolis Colts. It was the culmination of a lifetime dream, of course, but also something he “predicted” back in elementary school.

Check out this letter Blackmon wrote in fourth grade for a school assignment. I love everything about it, especially the importance of getting good grades. And the ending is fabulous.

How could you NOT root for this kid after reading that letter?

And finally today, an actress/comedian named Hannah Alligood did a wonderful tribute/update video this week, on the classic old Jerry Lewis comedy bit called “The Invisible Typewriter,” from an old 1963 Lewis film, “Who’s Minding the Store?”

I’d never heard of Alligood before this, but this is so perfect I feel like watching other things she’s done.

So, so good.

I write about the NFL Draft because I’m that desperate to write about sports again. Brad Pitt as Dr. Fauci on “SNL” was fantastic. And a restaurant owner beautifully writes about closing her business

I usually make fun of the pomp and circumstance of the NFL Draft, and all the breathless media hype that surrounds it.

Because let’s face it, it’s boring as hell. It’s men sitting around a table, giving the name of a college football player to the commissioner, who then walks to a podium, announces the name, then br0-hugs the new millionaire.

This is good television? This is worth watching? I’ll always remember the story Chris Berman used to tell in any ESPN anniversary tribute video things, when he said people at ESPN approached NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle in the early 1980s and said they wanted to televise the draft. He was dumbfounded that anyone would ever want to watch that.

But you know what, this year, with no March Madness, hockey playoffs, or baseball to watch, I was fired up to watch the NFL Draft! Bring on the Zoom cameras of coaches in their living rooms! Show me Bill Belichick’s dog! Tell me about how amazing this receiver’s 40 time is or that this offensive lineman once ate 43 pancakes in one sitting, I’m here for it, baby!

Yes, I’m desperate to write about sports these days, so you’re damn right I’m about to lay a few hundred words on you about the weekend’s extravaganza. Some assorted thoughts from my brain on players and teams who may not play real football again for a long time:

— First of all, I’m kind of amazed the whole thing went off without a major glitch. With 32 teams, all with their own Zoom hookups and doing this for the first time, I’m stunned there wasn’t a major gaffe. As the great Tommy Tomlinson said on Twitter, he was going to watch the Draft “at least partly because I hope some 14-year-old hacker makes the Giants pick Amanda Hugginkiss.”

But nope, all went smoothly. Stunning.

— As for the teams that did well, everyone seems to think the Cowboys and Ravens did great, but nobody really knows. Baltimore got a stud running back from Ohio State, J.K. Dobbins, and some more defensive behemoths, but I think the Bengals did well because they got the best quarterback. I’m dubious that Tua is the ultimate answer for Miami, because two serious injuries in college would worry me.

It looks like the Redskins got a lot better, and the Las Vegas Raiders (yeah that’s going to take some getting used to ) drafted, like, 12 receivers so a few of them probably will be good.

But again, these “experts” who tell you who won and lost a draft a few days after it ends are just as clueless as the rest of us. Nobody knows how a draft class worked out for at least 2-3 seasons.

— As for my Jets, well, I’m pretty happy. They grabbed just a mammoth human being in Louisville tackle Mekhi Becton, who is 6-7, 360 pounds and I think can block any defensive lineman and, also, the sun. They also picked a wide receiver, Denzel Mims, who seems really good, and maybe stole a DB in the fifth round. So, you know, it’s the first draft for new GM Joe Douglas and he gets the benefit of the doubt from us Jets fans.

— Finally on the Draft, I’m always interested in Mr. Irrelevant, the guy who is the last pick in the last round and gets a parade and stuff for being Mr. Irrelevant. This year it was Tae Crowder, a linebacker from Georgia, taken by the Giants. Congratulations, Tae!

**Next up today, “Saturday Night Live” got a huge star to do the cold open this week. Brad Pitt, as Dr. Anthony Fauci, was low-key fabulous.

Enjoy.

 

**Finally today, I read a pretty remarkable essay over the weekend by a woman named Gabrielle Sullivan, who like thousands of other Americans in the past two months has had to do something very painful: Close her restaurant and lay off all her employees.

Sullivan owned a small bistro in Manhattan that was doing pretty well until Covid-19, but she made the crushing choice to close right when things started getting bad. The lede to this fabulous essay grabs you right away:

On the night before I laid off all 30 of my employees, I dreamed that my two children had perished, buried alive in dirt, while I dug in the wrong place, just five feet away from where they were actually smothered. I turned and spotted the royal blue heel of my youngest’s socked foot poking out of the black soil only after it was too late.

The whole essay is terrific, as Sullivan grapples with the new realities of running a restaurant, as well as how difficult it’s been for her the last few weeks for her and other restaurant owners. This is really sensational writing. 

Good News Friday: A teacher from my son’s school runs 30 miles for a great cause. Patients released from the hospital get to dance, and it’s fabulous. And a little girl practices a fire drill in her yard and it’s adorable.

https://abc7ny.com/video/embed/?pid=6120634

Happy Friday, people of Earth! Hope you are doing well, don’t mind me, I’m just out here buying as much disinfectant as I can and gonna drop it off at all the local hospitals here in New York. And tell them I’ve got the cure for Covid-19! And it’s name is Lysol!

Christ on a cracker, our President is a moron.

Anyway, it’s Friday, which means I don’t have to come up with a school schedule for my son for a few days (yay!), and it also means that a long-awaited school parade/caravan thing from my oldest’s elementary school is finally happening! We’re super-excited to see his principal and his kindergarten teacher roll past our house, it’s really going to make Nate’s week.

And since I’ve got the fabulous Daly Elementary on the brain, wanted to lead Good News Friday with a terrific feel-good tale from my town.

A fourth-grade teacher named Alex Eisen decided to do something special for his 30th birthday this week: He wanted to run 30 miles to raise money for health-care workers at NYU Langone hospitals.

He’s run 11 marathons so far in his life, and Tuesday is his 30th birthday — so he wanted to mark the occasion.

“I said, ‘You know what? Let me put my running to good use,'” Eisen told WABC-7 TV. “It’s something that I love to do. It’s brought me so much joy and comfort.”

So Eisen, cheered on by family, friends, faculty and students, ran from Port Washington to Mineola and back, and raised $10,000 for a great cause.

Way to go, Mr. Eisen! I hope my son gets to be your student in a few years,

**Next up today, this is fantastic. According to this story in the N.Y. Times, when patients at NYU Winthrop Hospital on Long Island are discharged after recovering from Covid-19, doctors and nurses are having a little “dancing ceremony” in the halls when the patient is ready to go home.

Some people have chosen the “Rocky” theme, or “Every Breath You Take,” two solid choices.

This woman above made a great move, too, picking the classic Kool and the Gang tune “Celebration.”

Very cool idea to to turn this moment into a celebration.

**And finally, check out the adorable-ness overload here. A firefighter in Great Britain filmed his young daughter running a practice fire-drill in their backyard, and it’s as cute as you’d expect.

OK I lied, one more video. I miss tennis so much that I’ve watched this a few dozen times. It’s of former doubles star Cara Black, as a teenager, doing an incredible volley against the wall drill. I’m mesmerized every time I watch this.

 

An incredible “British Got Talent” performance blows me away. A devastatingly effective Joe Biden ad that should run every week. And an Olympic athlete at-home workout that dropped my jaw

 

Every once in a while, I see something perfect.
Something that hits me exactly where I want to be hit, at exactly the right moment, and makes me smile from ear to ear for hours.

This video above was that thing a few days ago. My friend, the wonderful human Catherine Pearlman, shared this on her Facebook page and I was blown away.

It’s a man named Jon Courtenay, from England, appearing on “Britain’s Got Talent,” the Simon Cowell-led show that’s a spinoff from “America’s Got Talent.”

Courtenay has spent his life performing in pubs and dive bars, he’s got a wife and two kids, and he knows this is his shot: An audition in front of four judges and millions of people watching at home on TV, and if he does well, who knows what can happen?

One of my favorite quotes from my all-time favorite movie, “Field of Dreams,” came from Burt Lancaster’s character, Moonlight Graham. “You know,” he tells Ray Kinsella, “we just don’t recognize the most significant moments of our lives while they’re happening. Back then I thought, well, there’ll be other days. I didn’t realize that that was the only day.”

I think Moonlight was wrong on this one; I think Jon Courtenay knew this was one of the most significant moments of his life, and man did he knock it out of the park.

Just an absolutely perfect, heart-tugging performance, and if this doesn’t pull you out of any quarantine-related depression you’re in, man, nothing non-pharmaceutical will.

I’ve watched it 10 times at least. Just so marvelous. I hope he wins the whole show, now.

 

**Next up, it seems like nobody’s talking about Joe Biden these days, because we’re in a very strange place in the world and the 2020 election has, incredibly, been put on the back burner for now.

But this ad he released a few days ago is absolutely fantastic, and I hope it runs a million times between now and November. Watch it, and share it, and remind people of the awfulness of Donald Trump. Joe Biden is nobody’s idea of a dream candidate, certainly not mine. But he must, must, MUST win this election.

More ads like this please, Joe.

And finally today, check out what Olympic athletes do while they’re stuck at home. This is Russian swimmer Julia Evimova, and I’m kind of amazed anyone can actually do this and not get hurt.

Wow.

 

While you’re home and bored, a couple of zoo pandas finally did it! A great night of music from Global Citizen concert; here are my 2 favorite songs. And the craziest, best “tennis at home” video yet

You know, it can’t be easy being a panda at a zoo.

Oh, I know there are worse things to be in the world. But you know, think about your life as a zoo panda: You look adorable so everyone stares at you all the time, you’re constantly having your picture taken with those humans again telling you what to do or trying to get you to move this way or that.

And when it’s time for mating, you know, you have a little trouble getting in the mood. Nobody (well, maybe porn stars) want to make love when there’s a bunch of folks around and watching. I mean, maybe if one of those humans had brought some Marvin Gaye music and a little white wine, OK. But tourists never do that.

So you could really hardly blame Ying Ying and Le Le, two adorable black and white creatures at the Hong Kong Zoo, for having trouble getting it on over the past 10 years.

Zookeepers have tried in vain to get the two to procreate, but nothing seemed to get them in the mood.

But under the category of “unexpectedly great things to happen during coronavirus,” let us add: The pandas finally had sex!

Yep, according to the zoo, Le Le and Ying Ying were actually able to get with each other about 10 days ago, and some new baby panda cubs should be on the way. Seems that the zoo closing due to the pandemic, and the lack of people around, allowed Le Le and Ying Ying to get the romantic mood just right.

“The successful natural mating process today is extremely exciting for all of us, as the chance of pregnancy via natural mating is higher than by artificial insemination,” Michael Boos, executive director of the zoo, said in a statement online.

Also, check this out. Talk about pressure!

“Female giant pandas are reportedly only fertile during a single, 24- to 72-hour period each year. It is also believed that the male and female have to be attracted to each other before they can mate.”

Three days a year to be fertile! Man, what pressure on both the male AND the female!

Female panda: “Honey, let’s go, it’s time!”
Male: “Not now sweetheart, I’m watching this great show on Animal Planet.”
Female: “Excuse me, if you don’t get over here now, we’re not having sex again until next year.”
Male: “Be right there!”

Congrats, Ying Ying and Le Le. We’re all proud of you.

**Next up today, Saturday night was the Global Citizen concert for Covid-19 relief, and while my wife and I didn’t watch the whole thing, what we did see was pretty sensational. (Never thought I’d enjoy hearing Jennifer Lopez cover Barbra Streisand, but I did.)

There were two performances that really stood out to me, and reminded me the power and awesome reach of music.

First, Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” is probably an all-time Top 10 song for me, and I’ve cringed many times hearing it covered badly.

But this… is just sensational. John Legend and Sam Smith doing a simple, powerful version from their own homes. So, so good.

And then these four guys from England who’ve been around a while, the Rolling something or other 🙂
I’m not saying they’re as good as they ever was, but they’re still pretty great. Here, in four separate homes of course, is their classic “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

I particularly loved the air drums by Charlie, and how in the world can Keith Richards still be alive?

Really great stuff.

**Finally today, some of my fellow tennis fanatics have been posting these “tennis at home” videos from around the world, and I have to say this one is far and away my favorite. Check out these two women in Liguria, Italy playing an incredible version of “rooftop tennis.”

I miss this sport so much, I actually watched it a few times and started critiquing their form.

Come back, tennis, come back!

Good News Friday: John Krasinski strikes again, with an awesome Fenway Park gift. An animal shelter rejoices as all pets get adopted. And a 6-year-old gets a new heart transplant, and dances

Happy Friday, y’all! I know it hardly feels like Friday; every day kinda feels the same, which is why I find this little running joke on a morning show on Fox8 in Cleveland (above) so hilarious.

It does seem like we’re all living in Groundhog Day and Ned Ryerson is waiting for us across the street, but here at Wide World of Stuff we’re thrilled it’s actually Friday because I get to share only good news stories with you.

First up today, it’s rare I feature the same program twice in the same span of a few weeks with you but that’s how good John Krasinski’s new Web series, “Only Good News” has been.

Last week I showed you Krasinski making a girl’s dreams come true when he got much of the original “Hamilton” cast to sing to her, after she lost her chance to come see the play on Broadway, thanks to this awful Coronavirus.

Well, Krasinski may have outdone himself this week, as he took the indefatigable Covid-19 hospital staff from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston to Fenway Park, for a very special tour featuring some very special guests.

Look, I’m a Yankees fan and this made me tear up. Because Fenway is awesome, a classic piece of Americana, and these workers deserve some joy in the misery of what they’re seeing every day.

Eight minutes of goodness, right here.

**Next up today, one of the major themes I keep seeing in the news, below the radar of all the virus awfulness, is the push from animal shelters to get people to adopt pets at this time.

It makes sense to me; people are home, many people are lonely, and pets can truly help with depression and solitude.

Well, one Florida kennel got to have an amazing experience this week, as for the first time in the kennel’s history, every single dog in their location was adopted.

Watch as the volunteers there celebrate, and share their joy that these pups found a home.

**And finally today, figured we could all use some positive medical news these days, so here’s a great story from “Inside Edition” TV show about a 6-year-old boy named Carlos Rolon from Massachusetts, who this week got the desperately-needed heart transplant he’d been waiting for, and celebrated by busting a move.

What a great kid, it seems!

Oh, and since you’ve read this far, 30 seconds of Jack Black dancing without his shirt on. Have a great weekend.

Cleveland Marathon lets runners send in their own times. Sting and The Roots perform the song for our times. And “60 Minutes” has the receipts and destroys a Trump adviser

These strange times we live in has led to the cancellation of just about every major sporting event over the past month, as well as just about every sporting event scheduled through July, now.

But some events are getting a little creative, and I’m not sure if this idea is brilliant or crazy silly.

The Cleveland Marathon is an annual Ohio race that attracts 18,000 runners and brings in $15 million each year to the city.

It was scheduled to be run in May; of course now it can’t. But the organizers came up with an alternate plan: Run your own marathon, send us your times, and we’ll see who did the best.

Medals and shirts will be mailed, organizers say.

The honor system! You ran around your neighborhood 50 times, and the distance is 26. 2 miles? Write down your time, ask your wife or husband if it sounds believable, and then send that baby in!

Or, you know, if running that far seems like too much of a chore, just go ahead and make up a time that sounds about right, and send it in. Who will really know that you didn’t even brush the Cheetos dust off your shirt before “running” a 4:05 marathon?

I’m highly entertained by this. I know the vast majority of runners are honest and probably will actually put in the miles and record their time accurately. But I can’t help think that at least a few “entrants” will completely lie and write down whatever time they think is reasonable.

And I think more sporting events should be like this. The French Open tennis tournament? We’ll do a draw, then each set of two players will decide who THEY think would’ve won the match, and they get to advance. The Masters golf event? Ah, Tiger and Rory and all you guys, just go out to your local club, play four rounds, write down your score, and we’ll give the green jacket to the person with the lowest total.

The honor system for all sports right now, that’s what I say!

**Next up today, Sting and the Roots and Jimmy Fallon teamed up to nsing the anthem for our times on The Tonight Show last week: The classic Police song “Don’t Stand So Close to Me.”

As my music guru/friend Bill Werde pointed out when he first saw this, it’s just about close to perfect, except for the fact that Fallon seems to think, as always, he should be singing lead instead of like, you know, STING! Fallon, bless his heart, has a long history of singing over major stars who are on his show, and I guess that’s just the cost of doing business.

This whole thing is great even if you only watch Qwestlove playing with scissors.

**And finally today, I love it when blowhard “experts” say something so confidently about something else, and have it blow up in their face when they’re proven spectacularly wrong.

Peter Navarro, one of the many, many unqualified Trump administration folks trying to handle our response to the coronavirus, went on “60 Minutes” on Sunday to try to defend the federal government.

During his interview with Bill Whitaker, Navarro confidently said that “60 Minutes” was second-guessing now, no one could’ve seen this pandemic coming, and show me the stories “60 Minutes” did on the possibility of a global virus destroying the world, and if you can show me that, well, you can’t.

To which Whitaker smiled and said “I guarantee we did,” then proceeded to run clips of three stories the venerable news program has done on the subject.

Peter, bubuleh, don’t let your mouth write checks your ass can’t cash, you know what I mean?

So delicious to see this. So delicious.

“Better Call Saul” has been amazing this season, now close to living up to its original. “SNL” returns, kinda sorta, with Kate McKinnon being awesome again. And the NY Times with a devastating account of all the ways the federal gov’t dithered on coronavirus

Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler, Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill – Better Call Saul _ Season 5, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Warrick Page/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

There have been very, very few television shows in the history of the medium that have seen spinoffs come anywhere close to the greatness of the original.

“Frasier” is one, although I’ll argue that as brilliant as it was, “Cheers” is still better.
“Maude” was great, coming from the womb of “All in the Family,” and “The Andy Griffith Show” was technically a spinoff, too.

But 95 percent of the time, spinoffs stink. It’s just so difficult to replicate the greatness of a show with a few of its characters; there are so many variables that go into making a show great, it’s quite impossible to replicate that greatness.

Well, I’m about to make a bold statement: Nearly five seasons in, despite the predictions of just about everyone in the world, “Better Call Saul” is thisclose to being as good as one of the greatest shows in the history of the small screen.

I will probably never, ever admit ANY show is better than “Breaking Bad,” because that incredible program is, along with “The Wire,” the best show I’ve ever watched.

But “Better Call Saul,” thanks to the fantastic cast, great writing, and remarkable cinematography, has gotten pretty damn close to being as good. Just like its predecessor, “BCS” started off slowly, then got better each season, and the current season of Saul has been nothing short of extraordinary.

The last three episodes especially, as we’ve watched the full, final transformation of Jimmy McGill into the Saul Goodman we knew and loved from “Breaking Bad” have been some of the best television I’ve ever seen.

Give Bob Odenkirk ALL the Emmys, please. And Rhee Seehorn, as his now-wife Kim Wexler, she should get some awards as well. Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantrout, Giancarlo Esposito as Gus, they’re all fabulous.

Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould have made a second masterpiece, and I can’t say enough good things about this show.

If you’re not already watching, and you’re stuck at home and are looking for a great show to start, the first four seasons of “BCS” are on Netflix. Just a phenomenal, phenomenal show.

**Next up today, “Saturday Night Live” tried to do what all the late night shows are doing these days: Make comedy from home, and try to have it be funny.

In a truly inspired or crazy experiment, “SNL” put on a show Saturday night with host Tom Hanks and all the usual cast doing one-person sketches from their homes, and editors smushed it all together.

I watched a few of the sketches; most fell flat. But of course, the epic and amazing Kate McKinnon was awesome. Here she is as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, doing a home workout, and I laughed out loud at least five times.

McKinnon is a national treasure. And so is RBG.

 

**And finally today, I am trying  hard to be optimistic and positive about all this pandemic stuff, I really am. And I don’t want to depress or enrage you too much. But I really, really urge you to watch the above video of New York Times columnist Nick Kristof going inside two Bronx hospitals this week, to see exactly how things are going in this war on coronavirus.

And I also urge you to read this exhaustive, comprehensive story in Sunday’s Times about all the different warning signs and alerts that the Trump administration missed or ignored about this virus until it was too late, and how many thousands of lives could’ve possibly been saved.

It is a permanent stain on this country, how blatantly, criminally unprepared our federal government was, but what’s even more offensive is how once they were shown how bad things were getting, the delays in acting on that information.

This is absolutely imperative journalism by the Times. Really great reporting.

Good News Friday: Lin-Manuel and friends make a girl’s “Hamilton” dream come true. A story of a small kindness re-told 30 years later, with an amazing postscript. And musicians cover a classic 60s song beautifully.

Happy Friday, y’all! How’s everybody doing with the self-isolation thing? We here in New York are four weeks in and well, we’re doing fine. We’ve gotten into a rhythm and routine and as long as the weather is decent, we get outside all the time.

There’s been a glimmer of positive COVID-19 news this week, thank God, as things may be improving slightly.

So on that note, let’s swing into Good News Friday. I’ve got two awesome musical stories this week, sandwiched around a truly incredible tale of a man who remembered a kindness from 30 years ago, mentioned it on Twitter, and well… I’m getting ahead of myself.

First up, TV star John Krasinski has started a TV show during the quarantine called “Some Good News,” and last week on his show he made a young girl’s dreams come true.

A kid named Aubrey is a huge “Hamilton” fan, and was supposed to go see the show in New York a few weeks ago. Of course, given the state of the world now, she couldn’t go.

Her Mom posted about it on Twitter, Krasinski saw it, and he arranged this magical sing-a-long with Lin-Manuel Miranda and much of the original cast.

Just perfect. A moment Aubrey will never forget.

**Next up, I’ve written about the awesome writer Chris Jones in this space before, someone I admire for his honesty, creativity, and humor.

Well, the other night something magical happened, something that made me put up with all the negativity and nastiness that pervades Twitter sometimes.

Jones began to tell a story, just because, and this is it in full. When he gets to the end, an amazing surprise happened:

A story about one of the greatest acts of kindness I experienced in my life. When I was 17, my little country high school, down to 60 kids, was closed by the board. I was bussed to a huge high school in town for my last year. It sucked.

I made a few friends, but I was quiet, bookish, and awkward; Pearl Jam’s “Ten” was still a year from saving me. I was so forgettable that, after, in that giant photographic collage of graduates that schools make, I did not appear.

One day I had a terrible cold. Bus ride to school was eternal. Blowing my nose constantly. I get to school. There was this preppie kid, Sean, who always made fun of my clothes. He once made fun of me for an entire chem class because I missed a belt loop with my belt. That kid.

I walk into class. He looks at me and goes, “What the fuck is that?” Points at my chest. Where, to my horror, I have deposited a giant snot rocket. I have missed the tissue and blown a booger the size of a corn flake onto my shirt.

” Is that fucking SNOT?” Sean yells, loud enough, of course, for the whole class to hear it. Readers, I want to tell you, I was immediately the temperature of the sun. Other kids gather around and laugh and point. High-school nightmare.

One kid, Pete Simon, comes over. Pete was always a good guy—not super cool, but popular because of his energy. Just one of those happy dudes. He joins the crowd and his first instinct, quite naturally, is to be like: Dude, that’s gross!

But then he looks at me, and he can see in my face, I guess, that I’m dying. Pete goes, “Guys, guys, that’s a piece of banana. Did you have a banana for breakfast, Chris?” And I’m like, “Uh, yeah! Yeah, I did!” Pete looks at Sean and goes, “It’s banana, idiot.”

Crowd disperses, I clean up my shirt, class begins. What could have been a defining incident in the worst way—I could have been Booger Boy forever—never comes up again. Until today, nearly thirty years later.

I graduate, almost grateful for the invisibility. Then “Ten” comes out, and because I can do a reasonable impression of Eddie Vedder, and the flannel shirts that country kids wore suddenly became cool, I find my feet. I get the chance to figure out who I am.

And in some weird way, it’s thanks to the kindness of Pete Simon, teenage hero of my life. I’ll never forget the look he gave me later, during class: “I got you.” I could cry, remembering it. Pete Simon. What a fucking champ.”

OK, so, great story, right? Only it gets better. A woman named Krista Ferrier sees the story and replies: “What high school? My husband is a Pete Simon and this sounds just like something he would do?”

And yeah, it turns out Krista’s husband is THE Pete Simon in Jones’ story. And Krista showed him the story, and Pete couldn’t believe Jones remembered that all these years later, and life is amazing sometimes.

**And finally today, some of the unsung heroes of this pandemic, as far as giving us amazing entertainment, are the video editors who splice together these incredible music recordings from dozens of singers doing tunes from different locations.

This is the best I’ve seen in a long time; the classic 1960s anthem “The Weight,” originally done by Robbie Robertson, with a whole lot of talented musicians, led by Neale Erickson.

Just so beautifully done. Have a great weekend.

A great PBS story about parent teachers at home. The dog who can play volleyball like a person. And Jimmy Kimmel hosts his own kids on a quiz show

One of the parts of this social distancing/home isolation thing that all of us are going through, for weeks, even months now (my friend in Seattle said they’ve been quarantined for EIGHT weeks already) that has been the toughest is the lack of school for our kids.

Whether you’re a household that normally has two parents who work away from home, or one parent working from home, this entire change from kids being in school 6-7 hours a day, to being home all the time, has been a major adjustment.

I know I have it worse than some but not as bad as others; only one of our two kids is school-aged so far, but I still have to keep the little man occupied while trying to do schoolwork with the kindergartener.

It’s a situation that leads to so many questions: How much school do they need to stay sharp? Am I being too lenient with screen time? Am I being too tough on them? How high can a 5-year-old bounce off the sidewalk? (Your questions may vary).

PBS NewsHour did a really good piece the other day on how parents are struggling with the school aspect of coronavirus, and I wanted to share it here.

Parents from across the country talk about what it’s been like, and if you’re like me, you’re nodding vigorously while watching this.

We’re all doing the best we can. Hang in there, my fellow parents.

**Next up, meet Kiara the volleyball dog, the loyal companion of Norwegian volleyball star (there’s a phrase I’ve never typed before) Mathias Bernsten.

Kiara is world-famous for her volleyball skills, and after watching this video, I can see why. Seriously, these sets she does are perfect! Can we get doggie volleyball on ESPN like, right now, since there’s no other live sports to watch?

Thank you.

**And finally today, our nation’s late-night talk show hosts continue to be doing skeleton shows from their homes, which means we get to meet their families on adorable segments.

This was my favorite recent one, as ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel, soon to host a celebrity version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” tried out the new show on his tykes, Jane and Billy.

I’m proud to say I knew none of the answers on the dinosaur questions, but definitely knew the “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” one.

Also, Billy sits WAY too still for a 2-year-old. I’m convinced off-camera someone was waving his favorite toy at him or something.