Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

 

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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.

America, 2019: Bullet-proof backpacks the hot new back-to-school item. PK Subban narrates a dog eating race among his pups. And remembering Toni Morrison, a literary giant

If you’re still in a bit of despair over the horrible shootings in El Paso and Dayton over the weekend, I don’t expect this story I’m about to share will make you feel that much better.

But I think it’s an important snapshot of life in America, 2019, and a sad reality to boot.

According to this New York Times story, bulletproof backpacks are in demand for back-to-school shopping this year.

Every paragraph of this story is eye-opening, including this: “In the past, some stores have reportedly sold out of the backpacks, which typically cost $100 to $200. Months before the Parkland shooting, a private Christian school in Miami sold protective panels that could be inserted into backpacks, charging $120 for the bulletproof shields.

This year, ArmorMe, a personal-defense company run by a former Israeli commando, Gabi Siboni, started selling a bulletproof backpack that can unfold into a larger covering.”

Another company, Guard Dog Security, has been selling bulletproof backpacks since shortly after the Sandy Hook shooting. The products are available at Office Max, Office Depot and Kmart, and the company recently released a model that costs less than $100.

“It could be the difference between life and death,” said Yasir Sheikh, who runs Guard Dog.

“We’re asking children to stand up to gunmen because lawmakers are too afraid to stand up to the gun lobby,” said Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a grass-roots gun-control organization. “There isn’t a parent in this country that isn’t terrified. These companies are capitalizing on that.”

Bullet. Proof. Backpacks.

We are living in a war zone, and our politicians are whistling past the graveyards.

Just unbelievable.

**Next up, I don’t mean to run a P.K. Subban clip again but the guy just keeps making great content that I enjoy. Here, the NHL star narrates an eating contest between three of his dogs.

Cracked me up all 11 times I watched it.

**Finally, a few words about the massive life and legacy of Toni Morrison, who died Monday at age 88.

There are very few books in my life where I can remember exactly where I was when I read it, and how I felt while reading it, and the exhilaration I felt when it was done.

My junior year in college I read a book I knew was famous, “Beloved,” by Toni Morrison. I knew nothing of the story except that it won the Pulitzer Prize for literature eight years earlier, in 1987. I wasn’t assigned to read “Beloved,” but picked it from a list my professor had suggested for a term paper on a book by a female, minority writer.

I read some of the book in my off-campus apartment at the University of Delaware, but mostly I read it at the library, absorbing page after page and just being kind of astonished at how good it was. I spent several late nights reading it way past the time I should’ve left the library, because it was so good and so absorbing.

I remember finishing it one night and closing the book and just kind of sitting there for about five minutes, not really sure what to do. I was sad it was done, I was exhausted from reading it, and I felt, as millions of us did, that I had just read something extraordinary, that I’d never forget.

Morrison was a titanic figure in American literature, having written so many stories extolling the African-American experience, especially the African-American female experience, that had just never reached a mass audience.

There were so many great Morrison quotes were flying around the Internet Tuesday as word of her passing spread. This quote may be my favorite of hers.

“When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.”

What a powerful lesson. What a powerful life she led. For writing “Beloved” and so many other classic books, thank you, Toni.

Two more mass shootings in America, as once again hatred + guns +cowardly politicians is deadly. Champ Bailey makes a sensational Hall of Fame speech. And a hilarious slip of the tongue from an NFL rookie.

They were shopping in a popular store on a Saturday afternoon in El Paso, Texas, an American city like so many others along the borders of our nation that have become political lightning rods.

Or they were partying at a popular downtown spot in Dayton, Ohio, on a Saturday night, enjoying their lives and doing their best to live each day to the fullest.

And they were gunned down, with incredible speed by high-powered machine guns by men who had no trouble at all acquiring those guns. Guns that are SO available, everywhere in America.

In El Paso, Texas, in a city where 80 percent of the population is Hispanic, this happened.

There were 20 who died in El Paso, and nine in Dayton.

The Ohio victims were: Lois Oglesby, 27; Megan Betts, 22; Nicholas Cumer, 25; Logan Turner, 30; Thomas McNichols, 25; Derrick Fudge, 57; Monica Brickhouse, 39;Saeed Saleh, 38; Beatrice Warren-Curtis, 36.

The El Paso victims identified so far were: Jordan Anchondo, Andre Anchondo, Arturo Benavides, Ivan Manzano, Javier Rodriguez,  Sara Esther Regalado; Adolfo Cerros Hernández; Gloria Irma Márquez;  María Eugenia Legarreta Rothe; Elsa Mendoza de la Mora; Jorge Calvillo García.

Remember their names. And the ones in El Paso. Remember and honor them, because our cowardly political leaders in the Republican Party didn’t give a shit about them. Because they have done NOTHING to stop gun violence, and they helped elect and support a racist fomenter of violence as President

In El Paso, a 2,356-word diatribe, posted to an extremist online message board, shortly before the shooting began, outlined the killer’s so-called political and economic underpinning for a premeditated attack, including the weapon and ammunition the killer would use. The author railed against an “invasion” by immigrants to the United States and a political takeover of Texas.

THIS IS EXACTLY THE SAME LANGUAGE THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, AND HIS MOUTHPIECE, FOX NEWS, HAVE BEEN USING FOR THREE YEARS.

And here we have the House Minority Leader, Republican Kevin McCarthy, blaming video games for mass shootings;

Bruce Arthur, a journalist and sportswriter I follow on Twitter, said this:

“The blood on the NRA’s hands — every employee, every associate, every politician paid for — accumulates every day, a brimming red tide of death, and they should carry it and drown in it every night for the rest of their miserable lives.”

But nothing will change. Nothing ever, ever, will change. The slaughter of children in an elementary school didn’t change the gun laws in America. I don’t know what ever, possibly will.

Read those names again. Remember their names, the victims in El Paso and Dayton.

They are far from alone. But they deserve to be remembered. Twenty-nine more casualties in a war that never, ever ends.

**OK, let’s get to something better.Every year the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony seems to bring some amazing speeches, and some heartfelt moments. This year’s event was Saturday night, and as usual the honorees didn’t disappoint.

Here is Champ Bailey, one of the best defensive backs who ever lived, at the end of his speech, speaking about being a black man in America, and his message to white people. The transcript of this is here, and what Bailey says right before this clip begins is: “So on behalf of all the black men that I mentioned tonight, and many more out there, who’ve had most of the same experiences I’ve had in my lifetime, we say this to all our white friends.:”

Great, great stuff from an NFL legend.

**And finally, another NFL rookie learns about how to talk to the media, hilariously. New York Jets first-round pick Quinnen Williams is, by all accounts, a delightful kid with a great personality, and we’re starting to see that come out.

After practice the other day while speaking with reporters, Williams was asked about his ranking on the Madden ’20 video game, which NFL players are obsessed with (they all think they’re ranked too low.)

Here’s Williams talking about his ranking:

Too damn funny.

Good News Friday: An artist puts a seesaw for kids on the U.S./Mexico border. An MLB player uses “Baby Shark” for a walkup song and it’s hilarious. And a bunch old folks in Salt Lake City give advice, delightfully

Happy Friday and Happy August, y’all! I know this isn’t a popular opinion but August is my favorite month of the whole year. It’s the month of my birthday, the month of my wife’s birthday, and the start of the U.S. Open is in August, too! So I love, love love me some August.

Here are a few stories to hopefully make you smile at the start of this delightful (if super hot) month.

First up, we hear all kinds of horror stories about what’s going on at the U.S./Mexico border these days, and instead of me ranting for hundreds of words about the atrocities, I wanted to share this cool story I learned about on Upworthy.com.

“A set of bright pink teeter-totters extend into both the U.S. and Mexico through the barrier between the two countries. Children and adults on both sides of the border can play together, seesawing up and down, their view of one another partially obscured by the vertical steel slats that separate them.

Ronald Rael, professor of architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, and Virginia San Fratello, associate professor of design at San José State University, came up with the conceptual drawings for the “Teetertotter Wall” in 2009. With the help of others, the two professors created the scene this week near El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, and shared images and video of it on Instagram.”

Very, very cool and clever way to try to bring people together, don’t you think?

**Next up today, thankfully my 4-year-old has stopped demanding we hear “Baby Shark” every five minutes, as he’s moved on to better music I’ve exposed him to, like Jimi Hendrix and Van Halen. However, the youthful water creature song continues to be popular across all demographics, including, apparently, major league baseball players.

Check out how Washington Nationals player Gerardo Parra walked up to an at-bat during a game

**Finally today, this story made me smile. From the great Steve Hartman of CBS Sunday Morning, the tale of a bunch of old codgers from Salt Lake City, who’ve started a booth at the local farmer’s market that’s become wildly popular. It’s called “Old Coots Giving Advice.”

I love it.

Pampers invites a “smart diaper” and OMG I want one for my kid. A bird flies into a woman while riding a roller coaster, and she loved it.. And thoughts on the first night of the next Democratic Debates

After nearly five years of being a parent, there are few things I hate more than smelling a stinky diaper.

I loathe it with every fiber of my being. I understand it’s part of the job I signed on for, I get that eventually I’ll actually, allegedly, miss the days when I changed my two son’s green/brown/black/occasionally yellow refuse, but for now I just hate it. And I hate the smell of our little guy’s room after he’s pooped, I just never have gotten used to it.

But what I hate maybe the most in the process is the “not knowing.” It’s the leaning in to their tush and then WHOA, yep, there’s some toxic waste in there.

Well my friends, thanks to the fine folks at Pampers, that yucky surprise may be a thing of the past. They’re giving the world the Smart Diaper, called the Lumi, which contains sensors in the diaper that alert the parents’ phone when a No. 2 or a No.1 has been recorded.

It’s all part of a video monitoring package, this Lumi thing, according to this story:

“In a box delivered to parents’ doorsteps, they will find two activity sensors and a video monitor plus, according to CNN, a 10-day supply of diapers featuring an area at the front for the activity sensor to affix to.

The small sensor will automatically track baby’s sleep habits (which you can also enter manually, alongside feeding sessions and milestones) and tell parents, via the Lumi app, when their bundle of joy’s diaper is wet or dirty.

I want this. Like, now.

Is it wildly unnecessary and probably overpriced? Sure. But you can’t put a price on not having to smell your kid’s butt three or four times a day.

Bless you, Pampers. Bless you.

**Next up today, this woman in Australia was having a great time on a roller-coaster. Then a bird smacked her in the face, and she had an even BETTER time.

Seriously, this is awesome, especially the slo-mo.

And finally, Tuesday night was Night 1 of the second set of Democratic primary debates, and while it clearly dragged on too long (I don’t think we need three hours of these things), it was entertaining to political junkies like me. Some thoughts on the opening of Act 2:

— I for one was very excited to see Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren on the stage together, finally. The two most progressive candidates in the race had a chance to go toe-to-toe on their differences and policy ideas. As it turned out Tuesday night, they barely argued or confronted one another, which was disappointing.

–Elizabeth Warren was ON FIRE Tuesday night. I thought Mayor Pete was very strong, Beto was invisible, and Bernie did much better than in the first debate.

But Elizabeth made me swoon, many times. Such a hard choice I’m having between her, Booker and Harris right now. But when Elizabeth says this… how can I not love her?

“Democrats win when we figure out what is right, and we get out there and fight for it. I am not afraid.”

I’ll buy that T-shirt and a hundred more.

— This format was awful, as were the moderators.  The idea that John Delaney, a loony ex-Congressman, gets WAY more talking time than a serious, legit candidate like Amy Klobuchar is ridiculous. Who does Delaney have compromising photos of at CNN to get SO much talking time?

— And how about the constant interruptions by the moderators Jake Tapper and Dana Bash? Ezra Klein on Twitter said it best: “How will you address hospital pricing in America? Senator Warren, you have 6.5 seconds. Mayor Buttigieg, a 2.7 second rebuttal, please.”

— I thought Steve Bullock, the governor from Montana, did well. I’d like to hear more from him.

— Can someone explain to me why, with SO many big issues facing America, the moderators chose to spend 30-plus minutes of the debate just talking health care? Look, health care is very important, but there are so many other things worth discussing among potential Presidents.

— Finally, Marianne Williamson is nutty but quite entertaining. She’s going to end up giving a speech at the 2020 convention that will be must-see TV.

— Tonight we get Biden, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Julian Castro, among others, up on the stage. Let’s see if Biden does better this time, or if his lead continues to shrink in the polls.

Another year, another awesome Back 2 School Store event, helping underprivileged kids. P.K. Subban gets a Ric Flair robe and I’m super-jealous.. And the Baltimore Sun hits back, forcefully, after Trump attacks their city

Sunday was one of those delightfully fun yet incredibly exhausting days I am lucky enough to have every year.

For the fourth straight July, I volunteered for an amazing event that changes so many lives. The annual Back 2 School Store day here in Nassau County, sponsored by the non-profit National Council of Jewish Women.

This event, sponsored by the NCJW (an organization my late, beloved grandmother volunteered for), has a simple purpose:To provide free clothes, school supplies, books and other merchandise to underprivileged children in the Nassau County, N.Y. area.

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

This year we served more than 800 children, and it was, as usual, wonderful (Got my mom to volunteer this year for the first time, and as I totally expected, she loved it.)

As always, the children were super appreciative and excited, as they picked out brand-new clothes to wear at school, along with school supplies, stuffed animals and other stuff.

It always cracks me up how some kids walk toward the racks with such a purpose, like “I’m GETTING that blue hoodie, don’t show me anything else, I want a blue one!”
And then there are other kids, like this adorable 6-year-old I helped in the afternoon, who spent 10 minutes looking at each color sweatshirt intently, studying them like they contained secret texts, before finally deciding on the gray one.

There are so many of us who have so few, and to see the enormous smiles on the faces of these children, who for one day are empowered by themselves to choose anything they want, is so, so rewarding.

I hope the Back 2 School Store keeps growing and growing, as it has been, and reaches thousands of kids.

Although I really, really wish it wasn’t necessary at all. News 12 Long Island  did a little piece on Sunday’s event, check it out here.

**Next up today, my favorite non-Rangers hockey player got traded again in the offseason, to the hated New Jersey Devils.

But I can’t stop loving you, P.K. Subban, even if I have to root against you. And I have to say, this is a pretty fantastic move by Devils fans to welcome Subban to the team.

At his introductory press conference last week Subban was given a Ric Flair robe with his name on it by Devils supporters.

And the reaction by Subban shows how genuinely pumped he was to get it.

Whoooo!!!!

**Finally today, maybe you saw over the weekend that once again the Orange Con Man decided to baselessly, and racistly, attack parts of America he deems insufficiently loving to him. In a series of Tweets attacking U.S. Rep Elijah Cummings, (7th, Md.), Trump declared Cummings’ district a “rodent-infested mess” where “no human would want to live,” and oh-by-the-way did we mention Cummings is African-American, as is about half his district?

Probably just a total coincidence.

Not surprisingly, a ton of Maryland’s leaders hit back at our moron-in-chief after his Saturday Tweets, but nothing hit harder or better than The Baltimore Sun’s editorial, which I strongly urge you to read. In plain language even Trump could understand, the Sun roared back with a blistering response. Here’s just a snippet of it:

As heartening as it has been to witness public figures rise to Charm City’s defense on Saturday, from native daughter House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young, we would above all remind Mr. Trump that the 7th District, Baltimore included, is part of the United States that he is supposedly governing. The White House has far more power to effect change in this city, for good or ill, than any single member of Congress including Mr. Cummings. If there are problems here, rodents included, they are as much his responsibility as anyone’s, perhaps more because he holds the most powerful office in the land.

Finally, while we would not sink to name-calling in the Trumpian manner — or ruefully point out that he failed to spell the congressman’s name correctly (it’s Cummings, not Cumming) — we would tell the most dishonest man to ever occupy the Oval Office, the mocker of war heroes, the gleeful grabber of women’s private parts, the serial bankrupter of businesses, the useful idiot of Vladimir Putin and the guy who insisted there are “good people” among murderous neo-Nazis that he’s still not fooling most Americans into believing he’s even slightly competent in his current post. Or that he possesses a scintilla of integrity. Better to have some vermin living in your neighborhood than to be one.

Just pitch-perfect. There is no low to which this President will not stoop.

Good News Friday: The trailer for the Tom Hanks movie on Mister Rogers looks amazing. Two kids in the stands at a Phillies game make a heartwarming moment. And a 99-year-old Holocaust survivor gives a stirring, hopeful Ted talk.

And a Happy Friday to all of you out there in this great wide world. Hope your week has been stellar, and that you’re going to do something fun this weekend, like do a cannonball into a pool or, if you’re like us, finally get to take home a new car (one Honda lease ends, another begins, it’s the cycle of life as our cars keep getting bigger and bigger. Much like our children).

Three great videos to share this week in Good News Friday, starting with one involving America’s greatest dude, Mr. Tom Hanks, and his upcoming portrayal of Mr. Fred Rogers, TV legend.

Even though there have been several documentaries made about this icon of America in recent years (including last year’s outstanding “Won’t you Be My Neighbor?”) Hollywood is making a new Mr. Rogers movie, due out this Thanksgiving.

Starring Hanks, whose image is as pure as was that of Fred Rogers. The trailer for the new film was released this week, and it’s pretty freaking magical. Enjoy…

**Next up today, this happened in the stands last week at a Philadelphia Phillies baseball game, and it wouldn’t be so remarkable if we just didn’t see it very often.

A foul ball was hit into an area where nobody was sitting, and two young boys, who apparently didn’t know each other, both raced for the ball. Then, well, clearly these children are being raised right by their parents.

**And finally today, a heartwarming speech by a man who’s seen so much. Shout-out to my friend Jen M., a loyal blog reader, for posting this on her Facebook page.

Meet 99-year-old Eddie Jaku, a Holocaust survivor who calls himself “The Happiest Man on Earth.” He gave a Ted Talk in Australia this month and it’s fabulous.

His story is not just a tale of Holocaust horrors, but an uplifting message of hope and love. If you watch this 12-minute video and don’t feel better, check your pulse to make sure you’re still alive.

What a man Eddie is! So inspiring.