Category Archives: Uncategorized

“El Camino,” the “Breaking Bad” movie, was fantastic. A truly satisfying end for Jesse Pinkman. Simone Biles continues to be amazing; we should continue to watch. And the J-E-T-S finally win a game! Super Bowl here we come!

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

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Good News Friday: A homeless L.A. woman with an incredible voice is filmed singing, and now she’s famous. A little boy saying his affirmation on way to school is beautiful. And Rome with a great new program to boost recycling.

Happy Friday to my wonderful readers! Hope you all have had a good week, I’ve watched some exciting playoff baseball (Dodgers fans, I feel your pain), learned all kinds of new words thanks to our almost 2-year-old’s attempt at pronouncing real words, and boy oh boy am I counting down the hours until tonight, when after the kids are asleep my wife and I will watch the long-awaited “Breaking Bad” movie, El Camino, which I completely expect to be awesome.

Look, most times when you try to extend a franchise beyond its original greatness, it fails miserably (“Gilmore Girls” movie, I’m talking to you). But Vince Gilligan is such a brilliant creator and writer of TV, that I have complete faith he made El Camino terrificNeedless to say, you’ll be reading my review on Monday 🙂

OK, on with the show. We start Good News Friday with an incredible tale of a homeless singer in Los Angeles who just made her opera debut.

A 52-year-old woman named Emily Zamourka was living on the streets of Southern California, singing only for herself, when an LAPD officer named Alex Frazier stumbled upon her at a subway station and recorded her performance of an opera called “O mio babbino caro.” on Sept. 26.

He uploaded it to Twitter, it went incredibly viral (is that an oxymoron? Maybe. OK, how about it went “super viral?”), and she suddenly got worldwide attention.

Zamourka, within two weeks, has reportedly been offered a recording contract, and this week she sang on stage for the first time, at a local Los Angeles city ceremony.

Zamourka, who said she used to play her violin on the street before it was stolen, is overwhelmed by the attention, and she had a tearful meeting with Frazier last week.

“I am so grateful, but I also wish that the kindness I am experiencing now I might have felt when no one knew of my singing,” Zamourka, who said she emigrated from Moldova nearly three decades ago and has been homeless in L.A. for around three years, tells USA TODAY.

What a great story. She’s really quite amazing. Just reminds you, once again, that everyone, no matter who they are or what their circumstances are, has something great to offer the world.

It’s sad that it took a police officer happening to be in the right place at the right time to discover Emily. But the world will be enriched and made more beautiful because he did.

**Next up today, I have no idea who this child is,, except that is name is Ayaan, or where he lives, or anything else. But it absolutely put a smile on my face, a small boy walking to school and repeating his daily affirmation about his worth.

So, so sweet.

**Finally today, a major world city is doing something awesome that I would love to see other cities doing.

In Rome, a new program allows riders of their metro (subway) service to redeem plastic bottles for money toward a train ticket.

The way it works is this: for every 30 plastic bottles recycled at one of Rome’s metro stations, riders get one free ride card.

Perfect. Especially in cities like New York, Chicago, London, where there are millions of people who use public transportation every day, this system would be incredibly useful.

I hope it’s copied many times over.

Mitt Romney is going to help us get rid of Trump? Color me skeptical. Ellen DeGeneres explains her hangout with George W. Bush. And a 9-year-old wins a 10K race he wasn’t even running in.

So if you’re like me, most of the news coming out of Washington these days just comes in waves and waves, and you drown trying to keep up with all of it.

Honestly, I just can’t follow and keep track of all the ways this President and his administration have broken the law and committed impeachable offense, all the ways he’s refusing to comply with the law when it comes to the impeachment investigation, and all the ways he’s proving himself to be an incredible moron (just Tuesday, a day after his Syria troops decision pissed off nearly everyone in both parties, I read about him saying that if Turkey doesn’t do what the U.S. wants, he’ll destroy its economy, and him insulting military veterans by insinuating those who suffer from PTSD aren’t tough enough.  I wish I was making any of this up.)

I’m trying not to get so crazy with the minute-by-minute stuff, and focus on the big picture. That big picture is that what once seemed absolutely, positively unthinkable (the Senate convicting Donald Trump and removing him from office) is now just unlikely, and not crazy to consider.

It’s not going to happen, I don’t think, but every day this guy does more and more stupid things and angers more and more of his Republicans, and his behavior becomes more and more indefensible, that I no longer think it’s a pie in the sky pipe dream. Unlikely, but not impossible.

And if it does happen, many people these days seem to think Willard “Mitt” Romney is going to be the brave Republican Senator who leads the way.

Yep, in story after story like this excellent piece in Vanity Fair, Mitt, who’s never been a fan of Donald Trump (and the feeling seems mutual) is reaching out to other moderate GOP Senators who also hate Trump, like Cory Gardner, Susan Collins and Ben Sasse, and quietly laying the groundwork for them to support impeachment.

The thinking goes that Romney, a man of principle and a “real” Republican, has finally had enough of Trump, and has the backbone to lead the party against him.

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Color me highly skeptical. I haven’t ever thought much of Romney, who always struck me as an empty suit willing to say anything and everything to please people. His 2012 run for President was a disaster, as he proved time and again to have  no charisma, no intelligent ideas or policies. He was a moderate Republican governor in Massachussetts, then suddenly became a far-right Presidential candidate, before trying to have it both ways in the general.

So the idea that Mitt is going to make a principled stand for all that is right and good about America and its values, and inspire others to come forward and defend America against this raging madman who was elected President… I would be highly, highly surprised.

But maybe I’m wrong. My smart friend Dave thinks Romney is no more or less insincere or phony than most politicians, and that after he has spent his entire life avoiding major decisions and stands on issues, he may finally have matured and is now ready to be a leader of the resistance on the right against Trump.

I’d love to see it. Romney’s Senate seat in Utah was just won in 2018, so it’s not like he’d be primaried for a long time.

Maybe, finally, it’s Mitt’s time to step into the light.

**Next up today, I’m honestly not sure how I feel about this little video, in which Ellen DeGeneres stars. DeGeneres, who I adore for many reasons, not to mention her bravery in coming out in Hollywood in the 1990s when it absolutely hurt her career, caused a bit of a kerfuffle on the InterWebs on Sunday and Monday.

DeGeneres was invited to go to a Dallas Cowboys game by Charlotte Jones, daughter of owner Jerry Jones. So DeGeneres and wife Portia went to the game and as you might expect, sat in the owner’s suite where many other famous and rich people sat.

Including the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush.  And video emerged during the game of Bush and DeGeneres sharing a laugh.

So this set off some mild outrage (is that an oxymoron? Discuss) because W. and his administration, in addition to committing war crimes during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq regarding torture, were notoriously unfriendly to LGBTQ people and their rights.

Anyway, DeGeneres used her daily “Ellen” TV show Tuesday to discuss the controversy, and I thought it was interesting. While I agree that she’s right that of course you can share friendships with people of different views, Bush was a pretty powerful person who did some very bad things.

Like I said, I’m not sure how I feel about what DeGeneres did, but it’s interesting.

**Finally today, this story cracked me up, as it’s alternately bizarre and sweet. A 9-year-old boy in Minnesota named Kade Lovell was scheduled to run a 5K race two weeks ago, the St. Francis Fanny Flyer 5K.

During the race, though, Kade took a wrong turn, and accidentally veered onto the course for the 10K race, also being run at the time.
Kade then WON the 10K race, beating the second-place finisher, a 40-year-old, by almost a minute.

His Mom, Heather, spoke to Runner’s World magazine about when she realized something was wrong, as she waited for Kade to finish the 5K.

“I ran to the finish line (of the 5K race) and found the coordinators and said someone needs to find him,” Heather said. “I’m freaking out, I’m crying, I’m flustered, and no one really knows what to do. A fireman is getting ready to search the course when I get a call my brother-in-law, who tells me there is a cute little kid in a red shirt running the 10K.”

Hilarious. Sometimes a wrong turn can be a good thing!

 

An upstate N.Y. man pays his misdemeanor court fees… in counterfeit money. A new study says crying helps you lose weight. And the worst team in the NFL might be my Jets. But the Falcons stink, too

It’s been awhile since I’ve enjoyed a “Stupid Criminal” story as much as this one. From my good friend Will S. comes this tale from my old newspaper in Glens Falls, N.Y., the Post-Star, and the tale stars Michael R. Zakrzewski, 42, of Watervliet.

Mr. Zakrewski, a three-time felon (hey, if you’re good at something, might as well keep doing it) went to court recently to pay a court fine on a misdemeanor conviction.

For most people, this would just be a simple matter of showing up to the courthouse, giving the clerk a check or cash, and be on your way.

But no, see, Mr. Zakrewski, definitely a Rhodes Scholar, thought he would outthink the courthouse on this one.

He decided to pay the fine in fake $100 bills and figured no one would find out.

But somehow, the crack masterminds at the Fort Edward courthouse determined Zakrewski’s money was counterfeit, and now the New York man is charged with four new felonies.

His excuse is classic: He said he got the $100 bills from a gas station nearby, when the clerk said she needed smaller bills so he helped her out by giving her some $20’s.

A likely story! That happens to all of us.

He’s facing up to 15 years in prison on the new charges. Personally, if it were me, I’d have thrown in Boardwalk and Park Place to give the courthouse, too.

**Clip from “Beaches” to illustrate crying.

Next up today, this is one of the strangest scientific studies I’ve seen in a long time. From the great NPR show “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me,” I heard about this new research that suggests crying all the time can help you lose weight.
Stay with me for a sec:

“According to a study conducted by Dr. Aaron Neufeld of the Los Altos Optometric Group and published in AsiaOne, crying between 7 to 10 p.m. every day can help you achieve your weight loss goals.

The study states that emotional crying helps weight loss because it is linked to hormones that heighten the cortisol level, which is induced when you have bottled up emotions.

It also highlights the three types of tears — the basal tears, which keep our eyes moist; reflex tears which are caused by the environment stressors such as smoke; and psychic tears which are associated with emotions.”

The study cites that only psychic tears can help you lose weight because releasing those type of tears prompts an excretory process that removes toxic substances from the body that build up during times of emotional stress.

Thus, in response to this particular excretory process, the body reportedly can’t store more fat since your body released the stressful hormones through crying.

So that’s right, folks. Forget the fad diets or the hour spent on the treadmill every day. Just get out your old copy of “Terms of Endearment,” grab a tear-jerking novel, or better yet, go watch the clip I posted above of the all-time crying-inducing movie, “Beaches” (I love that movie, not that any of you would be surprised I’m a sap who does).

Hey, whatever helps. Schedule some violent, heaving sobs like you’re Sally Field in “Steel Magnolias”and watch the pounds melt off.

**Finally today, some thoughts from another wild week in the NFL, well, wild unless you happen to be watching the New York Jets, whose games are so predictable they might as just print the headlines in Monday’s NYC tabloids on Sunday morning…

— OK, so the Jets are horrendous, and I could spend 1,000 words about the idiocy of having a 3rd-stringer who has no business ever playing in the NFL making yet another start when you had TWO WEEKS to find someone better if Sam Darnold was still unable to play, but I won’t. Because they’re not worth it. Let’s just say they’re 0-4, Adam Gase has shown me exactly zero ability to coach a football team, and the offensive line couldn’t block Deltona High School’s JV.

— The Steelers and Ravens always, always play outstanding games. Another one Sunday, with the Ravens and Lamar Jackson recovering from a terrible start to win in OT. Man those games are always fun to watch (but brutal to play.)

— Patrick Mahomes is just… ridiculous. Every week he does something crazy as QB for the Chiefs. Check out this play that defies explanation on how he can do it:

— Deshaun Watson is such an easy guy to root for so I’m always happy when he does well. He had a phenomenal game Sunday over the woeful Atlanta Falcons,  who are 1-4 and probably should be firing coach Dan Quinn any day now. Watson threw for four TD’s.

— Finally, there’s A LOT of candidates for the worst team in the NFL. My Jets, the Redskins (who mercifully fired their coach, Jay Gruden, Monday morning), the Bengals, the Dolphins… it’s a race to the bottom for that No.1 overall draft pick.

All I know is, the Buffalo Bills are 4-1 and nothing makes sense.

Good News Friday: The ultimate St. Louis Blues fan gets a great surprise. A gay Homecoming Court member gets great acceptance in Memphis. And a fantastic story of a hero doctor in a huge rural area in Texas

And a Happy Friday, y’all. It’s October, which means at some point the weather will get cool (it was 90 degrees here on Wednesday and 55 on Thursday so Ma Nature is having one hell of a fun time with us all), the Oakland A’s will blow a playoff game (thanks for visiting, A’s!) and I’ll be happier than a 3-year-old in a LEGO factory because hockey is back!

Yes hockey, that sport I love so much that despite what the NHL officials try to do, I keep on loving. My Rangers are off to a 1-0 start, but I want to start Good News Friday with a little bit of a bow being placed on a most amazing present and story from last season.

You might remember my writing about Laila Anderson last spring while the St. Louis Blues were on their improbable run to the Stanley Cup championship, the first in franchise history. From a blog post last June., from a story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Laila is a Missouri kid who suffers from a rare disease called HLH, a systemic inflammatory syndrome that can be fatal. Last Halloween, Laila attended a trick-or-treat event with the Blues and Children’s Hospital. She met Colton Parayko, one of her favorite players on her favorite team.

“He was 100-percent committed to her, took her around trick-or-treating,” Heather Parayko, Laila’s Mom, said. “I said, ‘It’s OK,’ and he said, ‘I’ve got her – I’m going to hold her bag, I’m going to hold her drink, I’m going to do everything.’ He’s all in with her – they just have this bond. Ever since then, he’s come to visit her in the hospital. Stayed a ridiculously long time. They actually communicate once or twice a week. He just checks on her. It’s a genuine friendship.”

Laila and the Blues’ bond was incredible, and the team flew her to Boston for Game 7 of the Cup Finals, and when they won she got to kiss the Stanley Cup.

But if you thought that was the end of an incredibly sweet story, well… there was one more amazing chapter.

This week, the Blues were due to receive their Stanley Cup rings. Two players made a special delivery to give one ring to their No. 1 fan. Watch and enjoy…

**Next up today, something that should not cause a stir at all anymore, the sexual orientation of a human being, sometimes still does, so it’s nice to see when an area known for intolerance shows quite a lot of it.

A gay high school senior in Memphis, Tenn. was crowned as part of the Homecoming Court last week during the football game, while wearing a dress.

From NBC News: “White Station High School in Memphis, Tennessee, posted a photo Friday congratulating Brandon Allen, 17, on his victory.

The image, which has been liked and shared thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter, showed Allen covering his mouth in shock and wearing a gold sequin off-the-shoulder gown, diamante tiara and holding a floral bouquet awarded to members of the royal court, a gender neutral title that the school introduced this year in place of the traditional Homecoming King and Queen titles.

“Thank you to everyone who has contributed to me becoming queen,” Allen, who identifies as gay, wrote on his Instagram profile. “You guys truly looked stunningly beautiful and I am so honored to have been able to walk with you guys!!”

Junior Emmett Campbell, 16, who shot the photo and identifies as transgender, told NBC News: “It was such an incredible thing to witness. It was a moment of acceptance and validation for the LGBT+ community from our entire school.”

Very nicely done. Individuality, especially in a peer-pressure packed place like high school, should be celebrated as much as possible.

**Finally today, this is one of those stories where I debated using it in “Good News Friday” because it’s about a serious problem in our country: the almost-complete lack of medical care in large swaths of America, as there are so few doctors in rural communities serving so many.

But I decided it was worth including for two reasons: One, it’s written by the Washington Post’s Eli Saslow, who for my money is the best newspaper feature writer in America right now, and two, it features a truly heroic doctor. A man named Ed Garner is the only physician in a 100-mile radius in the remote town of Van Horn, Texas, and Saslow follows him through his daily work and finds a man doing Herculean things to try to help people.

A brief snippet of this fantastic tale by Saslow. God bless Ed Garner.

He lit a cigarette and rolled down the window as he drove by the dusty ranches and dry lakebeds of West Texas. He’d started smoking to cope with the stress of medical school, but now he’d been practicing rural family medicine for 41 years as the stresses continued to mount. He was the only working doctor left to care for three remote counties east of El Paso, an area similar in size to the entire state of Maryland, home to far-flung oil encampments, a desolate stretch of interstate, communities of drifters living off the electric grid, and highway towns made up of truck stops and budget motels. “A wild place of last resort,” was how Garner described parts of his territory, and for every person in every kind of medical trouble, the true last resort was him.

Now his phone rang and he answered. “How bad is it?” he asked, and a nurse told him the ambulance was on its way back to the hospital with a truck driver who had collapsed at a gas station and couldn’t move his legs.

“Just give me a minute,” Garner said. “I’ll be there as quick as I can.”

 

A family weekend cruise to the Bahamas yielded fun for all, and a big surprise at the Orlando airport. Maya Rudolph kills it as Kamala Harris on “SNL.” And Deshaun Watson educates a reporter very thoroughly

Until last week, I had taken exactly one cruise in my life, back in 2010 with my ex-wife, a five-day excursion to the Bahamas. It was fun, but not all that memorable.

Last Friday morning I stepped aboard a Royal Caribbean ship and once again sailed on the high seas. This was very different in most ways, except, remarkably, I just checked our itinerary from 2010 and it was almost exactly the same.

A big difference, of course, is that I have two little humans I helped create who came with me and my wife Shelley, and that made the cruise challenging and fun.

A few thoughts from our excursion at sea…

— The Royal Caribbean was, of course, enormous, bigger than anything our kids had ever been on. A majority of their fun on the cruise was just running up and down the long passageways on each deck, since you can run forever and not hit anything. The 5-year-old also really loved that we were sleeping and moving at the same time, and that he got to ride the elevators and push floor buttons a billion times (he doesn’t get to do that much since we moved out of the city and to the suburbs).

— Quality of the service was excellent; everywhere you turned around there was an employee offering to get you something or help you with something. What was interesting to me was that they didn’t put out all the food items they had; a couple of times we asked for things like bananas which weren’t among the 100 food items at the buffet, and then suddenly it appeared when we asked for it.

— The temperature of the ocean water in the Bahamas made our 5-year-old be kinda amazed. He’s used to the freezing-cold ocean temps in New York, so when we stuck our feet into the Atlantic one day in Nassau, Bahamas and it was as warm as bathwater, he was like “Whoa!” It was awesome.

— Excellent food and entertainment throughout the three day cruise; On the last night several waiters in one of the ship’s dining rooms performed a rousing song and dance medley for the hundreds of customers, finishing with a slightly-risque version of “Gangham Style” that they put their heart and soul into. It was … something.

— Under the category of perhaps TMI for you, dear readers, I suffered a first in my many years of traveling the country and the world as an adult on this trip: I actually forgot to pack underwear.
Don’t worry, I didn’t go commando for the whole trip (that might not have gone over well). Happily, there was a Ross for Less store a mile from our hotel in Orlando where we stayed the night before the cruise, and I happily overpaid for some boxer briefs.
Underwear is always the first thing I pack. Not sure how I forgot that one. Anyway, one to grow on.

–Finally, this had nothing to do with the cruise but is one thing from the whole journey I’ll remember for a while: Monday morning in the Orlando airport, I was looking to buy a pack of gum, as I always chew a piece when I’m on a plane that’s taking off or landing, to help with the ear-popping thing.

Couldn’t find any at the first store, nor the second. My wife then asked an employee of the store why we couldn’t find gum, and she said that it’s against the rules to sell gum at the Orlando airport. Something about cleanliness, and having problems with people leaving gum everywhere.

Literally, you cannot buy gum at the airport in Orlando. Mind-boggling. And really annoying. Any other airports have this crazy rule?

**Next up today, “Saturday Night Live” had its season premiere last Saturday night, and as much as I’m not usually a fan of hers, Maya Rudolph absolutely killed it as California Senator Kamala Harris.

In a guest cast that included Larry David as Bernie Sanders and Woody Harrelson as Joe Biden (come on SNL, you can do better than Woody as Biden), Rudolph was fantastic, especially in this clip above.

I’m still hoping Kamala can get her poll numbers up after a very poor summer that’s making me rethink her chances, and hopefully if she does, we get more Maya Rudolph playing her. This is almost as good as Tina Fey doing Palin back in 2008.

**And finally, this is a great example of a reporter asking a “seemingly dumb” question that actually gets a great response.

In a postgame session after the Houston Texans lost to the Carolina Panthers Sunday, a reporter asked star quarterback Deshaun Watson why he didn’t take more shots downfield.

And Watson, after at first seeming bemused by the question, calmly explained exactly what the Panthers defense was doing Sunday.

A major lesson to reporters out there, one I learned early in my career: Don’t be afraid to ask simple questions.

Good News Friday: A bookstore, an old lady, and a college student provide an amazing act of kindness. Elizabeth Warren and a little girl share a beautiful moment. And a dog (not Rowlf from the Muppets) plays the piano wonderfully

And a Happy Friday to you all! Another surreal day Thursday in Washington, D.C., I know it shouldn’t surprise me anymore, anything this President does, but I have to say I kind of marvel with awe and amazement at one thing: Every other politician in history that I’ve ever heard of has tried to deflect, obfuscate, or ignore a scandal when it comes his or her way. They talk about other things they’ve done, or want to do, and try to downplay the scandal as much as possible.

Not this guy! He RUNS to scandal, he can’t WAIT to talk about it, and talk about it some more, and then talk about it some more. He relishes talking about his scandals!

It’s truly quite something.

Also, a personal note to let you know there will be no new blog post in this space on Monday; the family and I are taking a short vacation with much of our other family on a little three-day cruise. Should be fun and provide lots of blog material 🙂

OK, on with the show.

Want to start Good News Friday this week with a fantastic story I saw on my friend Catherine’s Facebook page the other day. It’s about a bookstore clerk, an elderly customer, and a college student on line to buy textbooks.

This is the beginning, but I highly, highly recommend reading the whole thing, the kindness and generosity in it blew me away:

I work in a decent sized, local, indie bookstore. It’s a great job 99% of the time and a lot of our customers are pretty neat people. Anywho, middle of the day this little old lady comes up. She’s lovably kooky. She effuses how much she loves the store and how she wishes she could spend more time in it but her husband is waiting in the car ‘OH! I BETTER BUY HIM SOME CHOCOLATE!’ She piles a bunch of art supplies on the counter and then stops and tells me how my bangs are beautiful and remind her of the ocean (‘Wooooosh’ she says, making a wave gesture with her hand.
Ok. I think to myself. Awesomely happy, weird little old ladies are my favourite kind of customer. They’re thrilled about everything and they’re comfortably bananas. I can have a good time with this one. So we chat and it’s nice.

Then this kid, who’s been up my counter a few times to gather his school textbooks, comes up in line behind her (we’re connected to a major university in the city so we have a lot of harried students pass through). She turns around to him and, out of nowhere, demands that he put his textbooks on the counter. He’s confused but she explains that she’s going to buy his textbooks.
He goes sheetrock white. He refuses and adamantly insists that she can’t do that. It’s like, $400 worth of textbooks. She, this tiny old woman, boldly takes them out of his hands, throws them on the counter and turns to me with an intense stare and tells me to put them on her bill. The kid at this point is practically in tears. He’s confused and shocked and grateful. Then she turns to him and says ‘you need chocolate.’ She starts grabbing handfuls of chocolates and putting them in her pile.

It gets better from there. I have no idea if this story is recent, or a few years old. Doesn’t matter. The sentiment is beautiful.

**Next up, I’m not trying to influence you on who to support in the Democratic primary, but I think we can all agree this is a super-sweet moment on the campaign trail between Elizabeth Warren and a little girl named Viola.

Just a minute or two of pure, unadulterated innocence and joy. Really, really sweet.

**And finally today, just because after the last few days of political madness we all need some mindless joy, may I present a dog playing the piano, and a baby dancing along with it.

If only these two were running our country right now… (insert your own joke here).

Finally, impeachment proceedings are going to start. It’s about damn time. A powerful new video from the Sandy Hook Promise folks. And why do chess players need to be in great physical shape? An eye-opening story explains why

A brief look behind the curtain of my brain as it operates in relation to this here blog…
So for about a week now I’d been planning to write a long post today about an issue in our political landscape that continues to perplex me: Just what Republican Senators and Congressmen are so afraid of when it comes to pushing back even the slightest at the lawlessness of this President.

Are they so, so afraid of pushback in their states, and their districts, from Trump supporters that they’re incapable of finding any fault in the lawlessness, corruption, and overall asshole-ery of the current Commander-in-Chief?

I mean, I’m not stupid or naive: I understand a lot of these elected GOP officials are afraid of being primaried, of having the Trump MAGA crew find a halfway-sane candidate to run against a Ben Sasse in Nebraska or a Cory Gardner in Colorado or whoever and possibly even beat them. And I also understand that for many of them, like Mitch McConnell, Trump can shoot someone on Fifth Avenue in New York City and they’ll be fine with it, such is their lust for power and passing legislation (and installing judges) who agree with their worldview.

But come on, NONE of these people have any sense of country, of decency, of morality?

Anyway, that was going to be my post. I consulted some friends whose opinions I trust to sound them out, got some feedback, and it was going to a nice long Wednesday rant.

And then… Tuesday happened, and shit finally got real for Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the Democratic party in the House and a woman with whom millions of us have been pleading, begging, cajoling and calling on to please, please, pretty please with a sugar on top, start impeachment proceedings against the most deceitful, lawbreaking, corrupt President we’ve ever had (and Richard Nixon was once President!).

It took years, it took dozens of Trump administration crimes, but by golly, it took one more giant one (Dear Leader threatening/witholding foreign aid to Ukraine unless they investigate Joe Biden’s son’s business dealings) for Pelosi to finally, praise the Lord, agree that impeachment proceedings are in order. Here’s a great little overview of 40 of the many, many things Trump has done in his Presidency to deserve to be impeached/brought up on charges.

Nancy! Bubeleh, we’ve been waiting for you! You’re the last Democrat in America to reach this conclusion, but we’re just so happy you finally got there! It’s like you’re the final kid in school to find out you’re allowed to ditch school on Senior Cut Day!

In all seriousness, Pelosi did give a great speech announcing her decision, and people like Congressman Adam Schiff of California echoed her in quoting Thomas Paine, the great 18th century writer and Founding Father.

“The times have found us,” Schiff told his colleagues during the Democratic caucus meeting. “And in light of the damning allegations the president has admitted to, the time is now.”

The time is now. It’s been now for a good while. I hold out no grand illusion that Trump will be impeached by the Senate. But the more digging that goes on, the more sunlight proves to be a disinfectant, who the hell knows what the House impeachment investigation will find. Maybe it will be so much overwhelming evidence of awfulness that a few Republican Senators actually…

Hey, a guy can dream.

***Next up today, I like to run these powerful ads from the Sandy Hook Promise group, formed from the ashes of the devastating Sandy Hook school massacre in 2012, because they’re incredibly well-done, they are attention-getting, and even though I am still incredibly pessimistic about anything ever getting done to curb gun violence in schools in our country, I still have to try.

And so does Sandy Hook Promise. To coincide with students across the country returning to school this month, they’ve released this ad called “Back to School Essentials.” Please watch to the end, for as always the message is in the juxtaposition from the beginning of the ad, to the end.

Fantastic, devastating. ad.

**Finally today, this was one of those stories that would’ve been totally off my radar if a few people I follow on Twitter hadn’t pointed it out, and I’m so glad they did.

On ESPN.com, a writer named Aishwarya Kumar has written a fascinating piece on why chess players must train, physically, so hard and put on weight and muscle mass before big tournaments.

On the surface, it sounds ridiculous: They spent hours, and days at a time sitting on their butts in a chair, making moves, getting up only to go to the bathroom.

And yet…

“The 1984 World Chess Championship was called off after five months and 48 games because defending champion Anatoly Karpov had lost 22 pounds. “He looked like death,” grandmaster and commentator Maurice Ashley recalls.

In 2004, winner Rustam Kasimdzhanov walked away from the six-game world championship having lost 17 pounds. In October 2018, Polar, a U.S.-based company that tracks heart rates, monitored chess players during a tournament and found that 21-year-old Russian grandmaster Mikhail Antipov had burned 560 calories in two hours of sitting and playing chess — or roughly what Roger Federer would burn in an hour of singles tennis.

Robert Sapolsky, who studies stress in primates at Stanford University, says a chess player can burn up to 6,000 calories a day while playing in a tournament, three times what an average person consumes in a day.”

There’s lots more great stuff in the story about this. Really, really well done, and well worth your time. I learned a whole lot.

 

The Emmy Awards were just fine without a host, and had some shocking winners. And a couple of quick NFL thoughts, including a new star born in N.Y.

Sunday night was the Emmy Awards, always my favorite awards show because I watch more TV than I do movies (certainly true since co-creating two new humans in the last five years), and despite not having seen a lot of the winning shows (I always make really good lists of shows we “Must start watching!” the night of the Emmys), I was as usual entertained by the telecast.

There were a few shocking winners, a few winners I expected, and lots of laughs.

Some thoughts from a night TV got together and paid tribute to its past as much as its present:

— There was no host, but the opening bits worked great, with Bryan Cranston coming on as “savior” and a really funny gag with Ben Stiller putting the still-alive Bob Newhart standing in a line of wax figures of dead comedians.

Man, when Bob Newhart finally does pass away, the Emmy tribute to him will go on for hours. As it should.

— Shocker of the night: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, trying to go 7-for-7 in the Best lead comedy actress category for “Veep”, was beaten by Phoebe Waller-Bridge of “Fleabag,” which I’m told I gotta start watching. I literally said “Wow!” when this award was announced.

— How Kate McKinnon continues to be amazing and yet NOT win Emmy Awards is a tragedy. She gets passed over way too often.

— Great that Tony Shalhoub won for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” for best supporting actor. He’s terrific in everything. But I really, really wanted Anthony Corrigan from “Barry” to triumph, because his NoHo Hank character is freaking fantastic.

— Thrilled that Bill Hader won for “Barry,” and also very happy to see Maisel’s Alex Bornstein win; both are fantastic and also Bornstein gave a very funny acceptance speech.

— The canned pre-planned comedy bits were mostly, as usual, lame. But Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel’s mock-anger over the show not having a host was pretty hilarious.

— Simply outstanding speech by Michelle Williams, who won for “Fosse/Verdon” talking about opportunities given her, and how women, and especially women of color, should be paid more and certainly equally to men.

“When a woman, especially a woman of color … tells you what she needs to do her job, listen to her… so that she can succeed because of her environment and not in spite of it.”

Tremendous speech that you should watch here. Michelle Williams has come a looong way from “Dawson’s Creek.”

— Best-dressed and worst-dressed of the night, as always in this space provided by my wife:
Best: Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Catherine O’Hara. (I’d like to add that Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Laura Linney looked amazing).  Also, in the boys “I wouldn’t kick him out of bed,” category she liked Jason Bateman, Peter Krause, and Sterling K. Brown of “This is Us.” He’s crazy handsome, I agree.

Worst: Nobody truly terrible, but Taraji P. Henson’s dress wasn’t great, and what in the hell died on top of Billy Porter’s head? Also, Halsey, singing the death montage, seemed to be missing the bottom of her skirt.

**Finally, a couple quick NFL Week 3 thoughts, when a new star was born in New York, a paranoid coach made me laugh in New England, and this QB in Kansas City continues to amaze:

— Well that was one hell of a debut for the New York Giants new QB. Eli Manning was finally benched this week, years after he should’ve been, and the rookie Daniel Jones stepped in and was amazingly good. Scored two touchdowns running, threw for two more, and led the Giants to their first win of the year.
All those Giants fans screaming bloody murder after the Draft about taking Jones so high at No. 6? I don’t think they’re complaining today.
Oh and the Giants tried really hard to lose the game despite Jones’ heroics, but there’s a rule somewhere

— So there was nothing really surprising about the Patriots’ 30-14 beatdown of the Jets, except maybe that the Jets actually scored two touchdowns (they were on special teams and on defense, but still, it’s two more TD’s than I thought they’d get!), but I had to laugh out loud at Bill Belichick’s comical paranoia in the fourth quarter. So there’s only about six minutes left, it’s 30-7, and the Pats have pulled Tom Brady for backup QB Jarrett Stidham.
Stidham promptly throws a pick-six, returned for a TD by Jamal Adams.

So now it’s 30-14, and the game is totally over, there’s no way the Jets are scoring two more touchdowns… and yet Coach Hoodie puts Brady back into the game.
Totally cracked me up. He’s so freaking paranoid.

— So Patrick Mahomes is just ridiculously good. I saw a good bit of Ravens-Chiefs (which was wildly fun; Lamar Jackson is going to be a WAY better NFL quarterback than I thought he was) and what struck me again about Mahomes is how effortless he makes playing quarterback seem. The guy is just so fluid, so smooth, and just makes plays. The Chiefs will go 14-2, because even though their defense isn’t great, Mahomes is.

— The 49ers are 3-0 So are the Bills. The Steelers are 0-3. You never know what’s going to happen in this sport.

Good News Friday: A Pittsburgh man does nothing but good deeds. A teacher makes her student’s day with an awesome gesture. And a college football fan’s goofy sign for TV leads to thousands for a great cause

Happy Friday, my fellow Earthlings. As we anxiously await just what fresh hell our current President will get us into today (war with Iran? Making secret deals over the phone with foreign leaders? Everything’s on the table this season on “America: Who the hell knows?”), I want to as always focus on the positives in life on this day.

So much good stuff this week that I’m cramming a fourth item kinda into another item I’m writing about.

So you may remember a few months back I wrote about my smart, amazing, and oh so kind friend Catherine Pearlman, who donated a kidney to a complete stranger she learned about from a flyer at a Los Angeles-area Starbucks.

Well, Catherine’s story, and that of the recipient of her incredible kindness, Eli Valdez, were recently profiled on the “Today” show, and I urge you to watch this short story about them here. So, so proud.

But that’s not the main kidney-related story I’m leading with today, no sir or ma’am! Check out this wonderful piece from the always-uplifting Steve Hartman of CBS News, about a Pittsburgh man named Jon Potter, who is “addicted” to doing nice things for people.

His latest gesture? It involved a kidney that he no longer has. He gave it to another person. Jon Potter, you are my new hero.

**Next up today, I love this story, sent to me by my friend Rhonda, who spotted it. So a football fan in Iowa was trying to get on camera at ESPN’s wildly popular college football pregame show last week when the TV crew was in Ames, Iowa.

A 24-year-old kid named Carter King thought it’d be funny to hold up a sign asking for “Busch Light Supply Needs Replenished,” and listing his Venmo address for donations.

Well, the joke was on King once money started pouring in, and once he’d raised a few hundred bucks, he decided to actually do something much more worthy with the money (and really dude, Busch Light? that’s an awful beer).

King decided to donate any and all funds given to him to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, a place he’d raised some money for before.

As word spread, the money really started pouring in, and both Venmo and Busch Light’s corporate headquarters vowed to match the donations from the public.

As of this writing, Carson says that he’s raised more than $67,000 for the hospital, bringing the matching total to more than $200,000.

Fantastic, fantastic job. Who knew that a plea for some cheap beer could result in something so valuable?

**Finally today, another terrific story of an educator going above and beyond for their students (hat tip to my sister Deb for this story).

Willonda Caffie is a third-grade teacher in Alabama, and a few weeks ago she did something kinda fantastic. Her student Christopher McCarley earned a grade of 100 on his first reading test of the year, and to show how proud she was, Caffie stopped by the McCarley house and planted a yard sign.

It read “Mrs. Caffie is so proud of me!”

Ashly McCarley, Christopher’s mom, took to social media on August 18 after receiving a surprise visit from her son Christopher’s teacher. The post has since gone viral with over 19,000 likes and nearly 10,000 shares.

According to this story, when the little scholar saw his teacher with the sign, his mother says he ran out of the house and jumped into her arms.

“I feel like Mrs. Caffie gives my son a fire to want to do his very best,” she said.

“Other students have also gotten signs for their accomplishments also! I am not really sure what made his teacher decide to give signs other than trying to reward them in a special way that would also motivate them and others to do their very best,” McCarley told FOX 26.

McCarley says she had many emotions when Mrs. Caffie showed up to her doorstep.

“I was so proud, and I was also overflowing with joy to see how happy my son was, because his teacher made a special trip to our home on a Sunday,” McCarley said.

What a wonderful gesture by an educator who is surely paid far too little, but whose impact is so, so great.