Paul McCartney does an emotional, amazing turn on “Carpool Karaoke.” My good friends at FOJ stand up for what’s right, on national TV. And “Insomnia Jeopardy” cracked me up

As much as I thoroughly enjoy them, most episodes of James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke” on his CBS late-night show are pretty fleeting. You watch them on a Tuesday, have a good time with it, and by Thursday you’ve forgotten all about it.

But Thursday night, I venture to say Corden and a certain former Beatle created an incredible, indelible piece of entertainment. In just more than 20 minutes of footage, driving around Paul McCartney’s hometown of Liverpool, the two Brits who worship music and all the emotions it brings up had one hell of a time.

They went to McCartney’s childhood home, brought Corden to tears singing “Let it Be,” and gave people in a local pub one hell of a surprise at the end.

This, truly, brought me so much joy to watch.  I hope you enjoy. It’s Monday and if it doesn’t lift your spirits, you may want to check your pulse for signs of life.

**Next up today, sometimes on this blog I just want to share something funny that I saw that made me laugh pretty hard.

I had some significant insomnia issues for a long time in my 20’s; not sure if I’ve talked about it here but I was up to two Ambien’s a night sometimes, and often saw the sun come up while trying to fall asleep.

Anyway, I eventually got better, but insomnia is no laughing matter. Still, my sister posted this old New Yorker magazine cartoon by Roz Chast the other day and it made me laugh. Hopefully you can look at it then fall right to sleep.

**Finally today, it’s pretty rare that you get to see good friends doing something righteous on national television, so Friday night was a pretty fabulous one for my wife and I.

I’ve written many times here about my love and support for the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, a non-profit that pairs kids with brain cancer up with high school and college sports teams across America.

Well a few months ago I got a crazy phone call from some hysterically excited friends, Erin Perkins and Alicia Greenstone, the two women who, along with co-founder Denis Murphy, are the heart and soul of FOJ. Truly, they are some of the most wonderful, warm-hearted people I’ve ever met.

Erin and Alicia told me they were just out having lunch at a local restaurant near their office in upstate New York, and a waitress was getting lectured to by customers at a nearby table.

It seems the diners had noticed her wedding ring and asked about her husband, and the waitress mentioned she’s actually married to a woman.

Well, the customers began loudly protesting, speaking nastily to the waitress and threatening to not leave a tip. Erin heard what was going on and immediately jumped to the defense of the waitress, as did Erin and Denis, and all hugged after talking for a few minutes.

A short time after the disrespectful couple left, the host of ABC TV’s “What Would You DO,” John Quinones, jumped out from behind the counter and told them they’d all been filmed for the new season of the show.

They were gobsmacked; of course they didn’t know they were being taped, and quite honestly, there’s no way they would’ve thought the rude customers were actors (there’s plenty of people with those views in America).

Well, I was so proud when I heard what they’d done, and last Friday night their episode finally aired. Check out their short segment (above).

Really, really cool.

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Good News Friday: An amazing gesture by TV star Gina Rodriguez. John Oliver hilariously mocks a stupid British law. And a 10-year-old girl makes sure a civil rights hero gets his just due.

Happy Friday, world! It’s summer, the sun is shining, I went to the pool Thursday and even though the water was freezing I’m still happy I got to go swimming, and Wimbledon is only 10 days away.

Despite the awfulness of this week from a national perspective, there is still plenty of good news going on. No matter how dark it gets, there will still always be light.

And there’ll always be people like Gina Rodriguez, the TV star of a hit show, “Jane the Virgin.” Rodriguez, who has won a Golden Globe for her performance on “Jane The Virgin,” decided to do a wonderful thing with the money she was given to help promote her show for the Emmy Awards.

Instead of spending the money on promoting her show, Rodriguez got her network, the WB, to commit to spending the cash to send an underprivileged Latina scholar to Princeton.

From this story in The Hollywood Reporter announcing the move, which Rodriguez partnered on with Big Brothers/Big Sisters:

“Rodriguez, 33, who won a 2015 Golden Globe for Jane, partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles to find the right applicant — a Princeton University-bound young woman who’ll now be able to complete all four years without financial burden.

And while Rodriguez says she’s been invigorated by her decision, she had mixed feelings about revealing it.

“It’s taboo to talk about the money being spent, but it’s the reality,” says Rodriguez. “I think sharing this might inspire other people to do something similar. You can desire recognition and, at the same time, decide to not play in the confines of the game as it’s set up.”

She’s exactly right. Another person will see someone like Rodriguez making a wonderful gesture like this, giving the gift of education and hope, and others will surely take notice and do something similar.

Wonderful job by Gina Rodriguez.

**Next up today, I’m a little late on this one as I fell behind on my “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” episodes during our recent move. But this segment was flat-out brilliant and hilarious.

A week before this show, Oliver had made fun of a member of Britain’s Parliament on his show. Well apparently there’s some sort of a law in the U.K. that says you’re not allowed to use video clips of Parliament on a satirical or comedy news show, so instead of that segment of Oliver’s show airing, they simply showed a black screen.

So a week later, Oliver and his brilliant team got creative, and well, just watch. So, so good.

**And finally today, loyal reader and friend of the blog Sanford tipped me off to this fabulous Steve Hartman story from “CBS Sunday Morning” I’d missed. Sarah Haycox is a 10-year-old from Shoreline, Wash., near Seattle, and about a year ago she stumbled upon a tiny stone honoring a man named Edwin T. Pratt.

Pratt died in 1969, after a tragically-short life as a civil rights leader in Seattle. And what Haycox did upon learning who he was … just wonderful.

This girl is 10 years old. The future is so, so bright thanks to kids like her.

 

Even for this White House, the child separation border policy is heartless and unspeakably cruel. A fantastic Spanish-language call of a World Cup goal. And the robot that will hug you anytime you want.

There is so much I could rage about, so much pure, unadulterated evil in this story that’s consumed so many of us for the past week, since more and more has come to light about the Trump administration’s despicable practice of separating babies, toddlers and other children from their parents at the U.S. border. About how asylum seekers, people trying for a better life and in many, many cases fleeing violence, persecution and drugs, are coming face to face with a horror that may even be worse.

I could point you to this story about a mother having the baby she was breastfeeding AT THE TIME get ripped away from her by ICE agents. Or this story, an audio recording obtained by ProPublica from inside a detention center, with the anguished cries of small children screaming after being taken away from their parents.

We could talk about the pure evil of Stephen Miller, and Donald Trump, and so, so many in the inner circle of this disgraceful excuse for a human being we call the President.

It is an unbelievable time in American history that we’re living through right now, and I mean that word “unbelievable”  in the sense of, I cannot believe there are people happily defending the idea of forcibly destroying the lives of innocent children.

I don’t have the words. I really don’t. And neither did Rachel Maddow on MSNBC Tuesday night, as she tried to read this breaking news story, about toddlers and babies being held in “tender age” shelters in Texas, crying and screaming all the while.

Rachel Maddow is no squeamish wallflower; she’s seen a lot, been through a lot, covered a lot. And this is how she reacted…

I am truly afraid of what will happen next. Of what the individuals running this White House, who will rot in hell right alongside the worst people who’ve lived, will do next.

God save us all.

**Next up today, from pure evil to pure joy. Telemundo, the Spanish TV network, never gets better ratings in America than when there’s a World Cup. And of course, there’s a World Cup going on now, and people get a tad excited. So do announcers.

So I give you the glorious Telemundo call of Mexico’s first goal on Sunday, giving it the lead against Germany (the game ended up tied).

Man, is this guy happy.

**Finally today, while I know many of you are probably interested in the World Cup (are you aware that 99.6 percent of Iceland’s population was watching their 1-1 tie vs. Argentina on Saturday? That’s amazing. And what the hell were the other 0.4 percent watching, ice fishing?), there is very important non-soccer news out of Germany.

Finally, a robot has is being invented that can perform a hug better than ever. That’s right people, even lovely human contact like hugging has been made better thanks to machines.

Check this out, from the website Digital Trends: At the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, Germany, researchers there have been developing a robot that is designed for giving you a hug. And, far from an amusing gimmick, they are convinced that it’s really important.

“A robot hugging a person is a good idea because people may crave the benefits that come from a hug at a time when they can’t get a hug from a person, due to factors such as distance, timing, and health,” Alexis Block, one of the lead researchers on the HuggieBot project, told Digital Trends. “We think a hugging robot could be beneficial in this case because a person can get the support they need without feeling self-conscious.”

The team’s HuggieBot is no diminutive robot beavering away, unnoticed, in the background like a Roomba vacuum cleaner (Editor’s note: Hey, I always noticed the Roomba when it was in “Breaking Bad!”).

Instead, it’s a modified PR2 robotthat stands as tall as an average human, which can be configured to be made extra soft using layers of foam, polyester, and other materials. Its hugs can be further modified according to the firmness of hug you desire (thanks to a pressure sensor) and even the option of having them heated.”

Wow. Who wouldn’t want a heated hug? This is fantastic. God bless science. Check out how the HuggieBot works, below.

 

 

On Father’s Day, honoring the best and worst (OK they’re all bad) Dad jokes with a hilarious PSA. A really funny Little League position breakdown. And thoughts on hard-working movers, living in suburbia, and the joy of space.

Sunday was a wonderful day in my world,  as the third Sunday in June always is for me since I became a Dad four years ago.

We had family over to our new house that we’ve lived in for all of 48 hours now (more on the “fun” of moving in a few hundred words), we met some new neighbors, and all in all, it was fabulous.

Most fabulous of all on Father’s Day, of course, is that in addition to all the love and hugs and cake-eating, my father and I got to tell some terrible Dad jokes. Dad jokes are, of course, corny and ridiculous (“what do you call a pig that knows karate? Pork chop!”) but I love them all the same.

Not sure if this is classified as a “Dad joke” but one of my favorites has always been: “Did you hear about the two antennae who got married? Yeah, the ceremony was OK, but the reception was excellent!”)

Yeah I know, you’re groaning. I laugh every time. Anyway, NPR did a story on Friday about bad Dad jokes on Father’s Day, which is how I got to see this amazing PSA from Australia from 2015, on “Dad Joke Survivors.”

The deadpan look on the faces of these kids is priceless. I salute all of you fellow Dads who tell Dad Jokes, and our poor kids who have to listen to them.

Hey, we’re doing our best.

**Next up today, this isn’t mind-blowing or anything of huge importance but I thought it was really funny. It came to me from the Twitter feed of Petros and Money Show, which I’ve never heard of. But it’s a graphic called “Little League Analytics” and it made me laugh hard.

I was most certainly a right fielder for most of my Little League career, by the way. You get a LOT of time to think out there in right field.

**Finally today, Friday was a traumatic and exciting day in our family, as we officially moved out of our two-bedroom Manhattan apartment and into an actual house with actual separate rooms and closets for all of us. It was thrilling; we’re now surrounded by unopened boxes and I’ve been tired for three straight days, but I know soon things will settle down.

Absolutely stoked about being a suburban father, and I really really hope I’m done moving for a long, long time. Figured out the other day that this was my 15th move since graduating high school in 1993, and that’s a hell of a lot. Still, some truisms were reminded to me Friday, and I also learned a lot.

Couple thoughts on our great migration

— So we ended up with 84 packed boxes by Friday morning. Eighty-freaking-four. Never would’ve guessed that many. But I got to discover, again, that the guy or girl who invented the tape gun should be on Mount Rushmore. Schoolkids should have his or her birthday off as a national holiday.

The tape gun is everything and amazing.

— We had four outstanding moving men, but there were a few times, when one of them had to direct the other slide the couch the other way, or back up so the dresser could fit through, when I thought of the classic old Jerry Seinfeld bit about moving furniture. He says as people are manuevering heavy stuff they say to each other “easy, easy,” when in really it’s really hard, and they should say “Difficult, difficult, very difficult.”

— So much more space in the new house. So fabulous to have more closets than we know what to do with. You live in Manhattan long enough, you accept that your closets will have BOTH toilet paper and winter coats in them.

–There is no sound quite like the sounds of your voice once all the furniture has been removed from your apartment, and suddenly your words are echoing around the room. Very eerie and quite bizarre.

— We waited to pack all the 3-year-old’s toys until he was at his Grammy and Papa’s apartment the night before the move. Saved a lot of tears and consoling that way.

— Finally, maybe the coolest thing about moving is the feeling of satisfaction as the truck drives away from your new place. Finally, everything you own is in one place, where it’ll stay forever.

Or until, you know, you find someplace better.

 

 

Good News Friday: The kid baseball pitcher who won the game but consoled his best buddy on the other team first. A teenage inventor has a way to make school shootings safer. And a doggie at a baseball game has a good time.

Happy Friday to you all! After celebrating the 24th anniversary of the Rangers winning the Stanley Cup on Thursday (I celebrated by packing everything I own into cardboard boxes during final preparations for our move), I’m in the mood today to salute two enterprising young people, and a pretty frisky doggie.

First up, this went viral this week for all the right reasons. In a Minnesota state high school sectional title game, Totino-Grace and Mounds View were playing for the right to go to the state tournament.

Mounds View pitcher Ty Koehn has protecting a lead in the final inning when he struck out Totino-Grace’s Jack Kocon, clinching the win for Mounds View.

But while Koehn’s teammates celebrated around him, the young pitcher did something wonderful: He walked directly to home plate to consol his friend Kocon.

We are very close friends,” Koehn told Bring Me the News. “I knew him from all the way back when we were 13. We were on the same little league team. It was tough when we went to separate schools but we kept in touch.”

That humanity is a beautiful, and all too rare thing to get highlighted in sports. Here’s what Koehn also said.

**Next up today, I absolutely hate that something like this is needed, but I’m amazed at the ingenuity of the child who invented it.
Meet Audrey Larson, a 14-year-old from Wallingford, Conn.
According to this story in the New Yorker, this weekend, Audrey will compete in the National Invention Convention & Entrepreneurship Expo, in Dearborn, Michigan, where she’ll début her latest idea: a wall-mounted shield designed to protect students from active shooters invading their classrooms.
She’s a kid inventor but with terrific ideas; she’s been inventing stuff since she was 7 (my favorite invention is her “glow jamas”, pajamas that light up when you turn them on for when you have to go to the bathroom at night).
She lives 40 minutes from Sandy Hook, so of course the school shooting there in 2012 impacted her.
Larson’s new invention is called Safekids, which, in her words, is “a foldable bulletproof panel designed to protect students and teachers from an active shooter.” The acronym stands for Kevlar-cellulose-nano-crystal-AR500-steel Instant Defense System.
“I wanted to look at the problem differently, in a non-political way. That’s when the idea really sprouted. I started doing drawings,” Larson said.
At school, people were discussing lockdown procedures, and how to improve them. “Normally, you hide in the corner away from windows and doors, where you’re least likely to be spotted,” she told me. “I didn’t think that was really effective. There had to be a better way.”

The floor-to-ceiling panels, which create a bulletproof space once unfurled, are folded against the wall when not in use. “It doesn’t take up any space, because most schools don’t have the biggest classrooms,” Audrey said.

Like I said, I absolutely hate that something like this has to be invented. It’s absolutely disgraceful how our politicians refuse to do anything useful to stop school shootings.

But kids like Larson are doing what they can to help, and I salute her impressive invention.

**Finally, a dog at a Tulsa (Okla.) Drillers minor league baseball game got to run around the field before the game with other dogs. And, well, infield practice was going on and you know how a dog gets when he sees a ball…

I just thought this would bring a smile. That doggie was determined!

And now, so many things I WILL miss about living in New York City. An amazing piano rendition of an 1980s classic. And a wild magician named Joshua Jay with a cool video.

Hi all. Couple quick things to hit before I get into my I ♥ NY post.

First off, I have absolutely no idea what to make of this Trump-North Korea 5-second summit that apparently led to an agreement; I have zero faith North Korea will follow through and disarm its nukes, and I feel oh so heartened when I read this quote from our Dear Leader, Mr. Trump:  

President Trump says he got North Korea to commit to destroying a major missile testing site but “we didn’t put it in the agreement because we didn’t have time.” 

Oh.

Next, wanted to give y’all a quick update on that idiot off-duty FBI agent who did a backflip on the dance floor, saw his gun fall out, and accidentally shot someone in the leg while he went to pick it up. Excellent news is that Chase Bishop has been charged with assault,   by the Denver District Attorney’s office. Throw the book at this guy.

OK, on with the show.

Three days left in my life as a New York City resident.

As I sit here surrounded by boxes and trying to throw out as much useless crap as possible before inflicting it upon another dwelling, (seriously, 20 percent of the things in our cupboard I never remember buying) I am trying to trim down this list of all the things I will miss about living here.

Monday I vented a little about what I won’t miss, but the truth is there are many, many more things I will. I’ve tried to keep this to a manageable list, but you know, New York City gets in your blood.

Here goes, some of the dozens of things I will miss come Saturday, when I no longer live in this wonderful, weird place.

— The friends. I’m not talking about my longtime friends who still live here, I’m talking about all the new ones we’ve made in the last six years, especially in the last four since we started making new humans. When I first started taking  Nate to the playground as a newborn and to activities and stuff when he was about four months old, I knew I’d meet other parents, maybe make some idle chit-chat to pass the time, that kind of thing.

I never expected to make as many wonderful new friends as we have, friends who started as just fellow parents but now I know will be in our lives forever. People like Kristen and Dave, and Dara and Russell, and Abel and Anu: You all came into our lives because our kids were around the same age, but we had so much more in common. Finding warm, generous, loving people who become your dear friends, when you’re all in your late 30s or 40s, is a rare and terrific thing. I  will always cherish it.

— The apartment. This apartment we’re leaving has a lot of firsts in it. First apartment my wife and I had both our names on the lease. First place we ever brought our sons to after leaving the hospital, following their birth. Their first cries, their first meals, their first laughs and hugs… all came while we were living here. It will always have a place in our hearts because of that.

Plus, it was a great freaking apartment. A balcony, great views of the city, terrific neighbors, we were able to see half the July 4th and New Year’s Eve fireworks (tall buildings obstructed our views of the other half), close to the subway and the 59th Street Bridge… I’m really gonna miss it. But it just got too small for our growing brood.

As I keep saying, it’ll be nice to finally have my toilet paper and winter coats in different closets.

— The random encounters of weirdness and of beauty in Manhattan. On the same journey on the subway, for a mere $2.75, you can find crazy people muttering to themselves and you about how aliens are invading our country, and moments later hear a gorgeous cello player playing Mozart for $1 bills. There is beauty and lunacy everywhere you look here.

— The bagels and the pizza. I’ve had some good bagels elsewhere, and occasionally you find a good slice in another part of America. But nowhere do you get consistently good, almost anywhere in the five boroughs, pizza and bagels. Even BAD New York City pizza is better than 95 percent of the pies anywhere else, and same goes for bagels.

Yes it’s because of our water that they taste so good. But I’d also like to believe it’s because of the demanding consumers who won’t pay for cardboard-tasting crap.

— And finally, the sheer vibrancy of this place. At any hour, at any day, there’s just so much life here. The pulse, the energy, just the fact that there’s so much to do and it’s all so close by, is such a gift that so man of my fellow NY’ers take for granted.

Take us out, Ole’ Blue Eyes…

**OK, next up today sometimes weird stuff just pops up on the page of a Facebook friend and I’m mesmerized. Remember the Toto song from the 1980s, “Africa?” Of course you do. It’s been played roughly 432,233 times on the radio and in bars in the past 40 years.
Well, a musician named Peter Bence put a new twist on the song, while playing the piano.
It’s an… um, unusual way to play a song. But very, very cool (And how DID Toto, exactly, stop the rains down in Africa? This was way before global warming so I really wanna know how they did it.)
**And finally today, a pretty amazing magician named Joshua Jay has come across my radar a couple of times lately. This is a quick little promo video he’s done, without editing, just incredible sleight of hand. This man is a master… (I can’t get it to embed properly so just click the link above)

As we prepare to move out of NYC, some things I definitely won’t miss. The Parkland kids with a beautiful, touching performance at the Tonys. And Rafa Nadal dominates and a cute kid steals the show at the French Open

So this is a pretty big week for the Lewis family, and for my wife in particular: We are leaving the noisy and crowded confines of Manhattan for the hopefully quieter but equally great suburbs, moving to our new house this Friday on Long Island.

For my beloved wife, this transition is going to be most jarring, as she’s lived in the city for 20 years and suddenly has to leave her beloved borough. For me, New York City has been my home for longer than anywhere else as an adult; my nomadic, journalist life has seen me move many times, so living in Manhattan the past six years has truly felt like home.

There have been many wonderful things about living in the crowdest, most alive city in America, and I’ll get to some of those in my next post, on Wednesday.

But since I’m a firm believer, much like Don Corleone in “The Godfather” of hearing bad news first before good news (my reasoning is I like to end on a happy note rather than a sad one), I want to write today about all the things I won’t miss about living in NYC. Don’t worry, my fellow New Yorkers reading this will nod along knowingly, while those of you who don’t live here will say “See? This is why I could never live there.”

— The honking. The goddamn, loud, incessant, annoying honking from car horns on the streets of Manhattan is the single biggest thing I hate about living in the world’s greatest city. It is around you always, and everywhere. It happens when you’re walking and suddenly someone decides the traffic up ahead is all the fault of this idiot in front of them, and leans on the horn for 10-15 seconds.

It happens when people are mad, or frustrated, or just impatient (I swear I was once honked while driving and the light hadn’t even finished switching from red to green yet).

I just cannot stand how frequent and loud the car horn honking is. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it.

— My biggest fear of Manhattan may surprise you: But next to every restaurant or bar is a hole/opening for a ladder or steps that go down to the basement of the place, where deliveries of beer or food or whatever goes. Walking past that steep downward hole I’m always terrified I’m going to fall down the opening and kill myself. And once our son could walk it scared me even more. Won’t miss those.

— Subway delays, which are inevitable, but the ones that happen while you’re waiting and waiting for a train and you feel it’ll never, ever, ever come.

— The pomposity and arrogance of so many young people who work in finance. You hear them in restaurants or on the street, talking so smugly like they own the world and they’re barely 25. Just once I’d like to smack one of them and tell them “Shut up, you can’t even legally rent a car yet, you don’t know anything!”

— The lack of available tennis courts. OK this one is only relevant to some of my fellow New Yorkers, but I’ve never lived anywhere where it was so hard to find a place to play. Such little land for courts, and court fees are enormous, and you’ve often got to make reservations and you only can wear certain kinds of shoes… and it’s just such a hassle. Thrilled to be moving back to normalcy, where you can just walk out onto a neighborhood court and play any time you want.

–And lastly, I won’t miss the exorbitant costs of living here. You live in Manhattan long enough, paying $18 for a burger, or $13.50 for a turkey sandwich, almost seems normal.

Because that’s what everyone is charging. It’s horrendous how so many businesses and apartment-dwellers have been driven out of the city by the high price of living here. Slowly NYC is losing its soul because it’s losing people who aren’t in the 1 percent.

But also because there has to be a point, somewhere, where people say “Enough! I will not pay $5.50 for that tiny bottle of water!”

**Next up, sometimes goosebump and tear-inducing video clips need no introduction, or explanation. So allow me to present, from Sunday night’s Tony Awards, the drama club from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., singing the iconic song from “Rent,” “Seasons of Love.”

**Finally today, a few words about the just-concluded French Open, the second tennis Grand Slam of the year and an event once again dominated on the men’s side by an unknown guy from Spain named Rafael Nadal.

  1. The guy won his 11th French Open title Sunday (cue William Miller in “Almost Famous” shouting “ELEVEN!” from the backseat), and as usual there was very little drama in victory. Nadal is the best player on any one surface, maybe that ever lived, and it’s incredible the way he and Roger Federer continue to dominate men’s tennis.

Think about this: Nadal and Federer, between them, have won the last SIX major titles. They last did that in 2006. It’s now 2018! That’s insane. Nadal looks healthy and primed for a great run at Wimbledon, where he could meet the rested and healthy Roger Federer, of course.

Wimbledon starts in three weeks. I. Can’t. Wait.

— Big props to Simona Halep, the women’s champion and world No.1, who finally won her first major. Good for her. And also big ups to 14-year-old American Coco Gauff, who won the French Open juniors title. I can’t remember if I wrote about her last year after seeing her at the U.S. Open juniors and reach the finals, but this kid is absolutely the future of women’s tennis. Already 5-9, powerful and able to move gracefully, she’s got all the tools to be a champion. Trust me, remember her name.

— Finally, this is about the most adorable thing ever: French player Nicolas Mahut won the men’s doubles title Sunday, and after the match his son Nathaniel ran on court to celebrate and dance with him. How cute is this?

Good News Friday: The NFL player who became a doctor, while still playing. A wonderful soldier/son reunion at a graduation. And a police officer stops traffic in the rain to protect a turtle

And a Happy Friday to you all out there on the Interwebs. It’s a very happy day in our nation’s capital, but no, not because Trump quit or was impeached. After 44 years of mostly heartache, the Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup Thursday night, beating their “longtime rivals” Vegas Golden Knights (and what a long Cup drought it’s been for the Knights, a whole nine months).

Since my Rangers and the Caps have had playoff battles my whole life I couldn’t quite root for Washington in this series, but I’m happy for Alex Ovechkin, coach Barry Trotz and the organization. There are great hockey fans in D.C. and I’m happy for them, since they’ve waited so long. Good job, Caps.

OK, on with the show. You might have heard the ridiculous kerfuffle coming from the Orange Man in the Oval Office this week, bashing NFL players on the Philadelphia Eagles for not being patriotic, and more nonsense. I thought for a minute about making this whole post about the great, patriotic things NFL players do, like Jermaine Gresham paying this woman’s $50 baggage fee so she doesn’t miss her flight, but it’s June and I thought we were all on a break from the monstrous machine that is the NFL.

But I did want to call out this tremendous accomplishment, first pointed out to me by my sister, of Kansas City Chiefs lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif. Last week Duvernay-Tardif completed his required coursework at medical school at McGill University in Montreal and graduated with his class.

That’s right, an active NFL player is now a doctor. Duvernay-Tardif was a 6th round pick in 2014, and each offseason he’s been working toward his medical degree.

He said in interviews after the ceremony he wants to add “M.D.” to the end of his name on his jersey, and it’d be awesome if he did (I’m sure the NFL would find some reason to not allow him to.)

What a wonderful accomplishment. Now you wonder why someone so smart would play a sport (and a position, offensive line) where you get in the head 50 times a game. But hey, I’m sure now that he’s a physician he’ll make sure the Chiefs now have great magazines in the locker room.

**Next up today, I love these surprise soldier ceremonies, and I had to share this one. The Marshfield (Mass.) High School graduation was going along normally enough when student Tyler Solomon stood up to get his diploma and handshake.

Then, in a surprise known to many others but not Tyler, his father, Damon Solomon, currently on his fifth deployment as a U.S. Army seargeant, showed up to greet Tyler.

The look on Tyler’s face at the :14 mark says it all. What a wonderful moment.

**And finally, one small act of kindness from a police officer to another creature. In a driving rainstorm recently in Maryland, officer Sharnese Hawkins-Graham noticed a small box turtle stuck in the middle of the road.

So Hawkins-Graham decided to protect the turtle and divert traffic. A motorist passing by got out and helped, while thanking the officer. The motorist, Carolyn B R Hammett, and her husband helped Officer Hawkins-Graham use shovels to safely move the turtle out of the road, while holding an umbrella over the officer’s head.

Just a nice, small gesture. And the smile on the officer’s face (in the pic at the link) was great, too.

The NBA player assault by police in Milwaukee story somehow gets worse. Isiah Thomas the original finally wins something again, a hilarious Kimmel segment. And why FBI agents carrying guns shouldn’t do crazy dances.

You may have heard in the last few weeks about the NBA player in Milwaukee getting assaulted by police there after parking in a handicapped spot one night in a local shopping center.

There’s video all over the Internet of Bucks guard Sterling Brown being absolutely pummeled by (of course, white police officers) and being treated like so, so many African-Americans are when confronted by police.

The original video is disturbing enough, believe me, with Brown getting tased and brutalized.

But this week an extended version of the video was released, and it’s even more atrocious.

We get to hear police officers intentionally step on Brown’s ankle for no particular reason; get excited about the overtime they’re going to pull on this case, and (oh crap) begin to realize that the man they’ve overpowered needlessly is an NBA player.

Just absolutely disgusting. And not at all atypical. How many more of these videos are we going to see? How many more people of color need to suffer before there’s serious criminal justice reform in this country?

Oh that’s right, everything’s cool. Our President said the other day “blacks have never had it so good.”

**Next up today, to lighten the mood a little I thought I’d present this hilarious Jimmy Kimmel segment from the other night. Occasionally Kimmel does a little game-show bit called “Generation Gap” where he matches two people from very different generations and asks them pop-culture questions about their opponent’s generation.

He had two versions of basketball Isiah Thomas’ this week, the 58-year-old legendary player turned legendarily awful NBA front office man, against the current NBA standout Isaiah Thomas, who’s only 29.

The whole thing is great, but the old Isiah’s reaction to seeing ‘The Twist” is the best.

**And finally today… yet another reason why guns don’t make anyone safer, and why guns in bars is SUCH a great idea. So this FBI agent named Chase Bishop was in Denver on Saturday night, off-duty, and decided to do some dancing. With a gun in his pants.

And ole’ Chase didn’t just dance like the rest of us, nope he had to show off and do some fancy flipping. And as you might expect, when Chase flipped, his gun fell out of his pants. And upon picking the gun up, it went off. And shot a man in the leg.

The victim, fortunately, suffered only a minor wound. But Bishop (also notice that he walks off the dance floor AWAY from where his gun went off) has been arrested, and the local district attorney is weighing whether to press charges.

Good God, the sheer stupidity. And yet, guns in bars is thought to be a good idea.

The lady who mailed back a letter President Trump wrote her. With corrections. A ballboy/player collision at the French Open shows great humanity. And a pretty fantastic graduation speech from Ira Glass on the future of journalism

Good morning, fellow humans (and hi to any bots that might be clicking on my blog and driving up traffic. Thanks, robots!). Your humble blogger is a little pooped today after going upstate for a fantastic wedding Sunday night. Great food, great DJ, great venue… it was all-around fabulous.

And so I’m in a great mood, so even on yet another weekend where the lies and outright abuse of power (and frightening assertions from the Orange Man’s lawyers) continued to pile up outside the White House, I want to start with what I thought was a pretty funny, small story I liked.

A woman named  Yvonne Mason taught English in Greenville, S.C. for 17 years in middle and high schools, and she’s a pretty big stickler for spelling and grammar (as am I, which is maybe why I liked this story so much.)

She writes letters to politicians quite frequently, letting them know her views, and recently she’d written a letter to President Trump after the massacre of children in the school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

Quite surprisingly, she received a hand-written letter in response, signed by Donald Trump himself.

And just like in his Tweets, there were misspellings, random capitalization, and other odd word choices.

Some people would be thrilled to get a letter from the U.S. President. They might frame or laminate it.

Not Mrs. Mason. She took out her purple pen, circled and corrected all the errors, then sent it back to the White House.

“If I had received this from one of my students,” she told The Washington Post, “I would have handed it back without a grade on it and said, ‘I hope you left the real one at home.’ ”

I have no idea if Trump wrote the letter. But why would a speechwriter or someone else purposely and intentionally misspell things?

God bless you, Yvonne Mason. English teachers are the best.

**Next up today, being a ballboy at a pro tennis tournament can be a tough job. Players barking at you to bring them towels (one day someone will explain to me why today’s players must towel off after EVERY point, when 20 years ago Agassi and Sampras would play 20-shot rallies and then somehow be fine), toss them a certain ball, or other menial task.

But what you don’t expect is to get accidentally clobbered by a player. But this young fellow at the French Open on Friday was trying to catch an errant show when he was clobbered by No. 26 ranked Damir Dzuhmur. Dzuhmur was a real nice guy about it afterwards, look how concerned he is. The kid turned out to be fine.

But ballboys: Be careful out there.

**Finally today, been meaning to write about this for a few days now. Ira Glass, who many of you know as the host of NPR’s wildly awesome and wildly successful show “This American Life,” gave a graduation speech to the class at Columbia Journalism School, and it was fantastic. It was hopeful, it was funny, it was realistic, and in this time of so much doom and gloom about journalism and the news, I found it delightfully refreshing.

I just want to quote two passages here, but I highly, highly recommend reading the whole thing here.

First, Ira’s opening was terrific:

Welcome to the next phase of your life. It’s gonna be amazing. There’s a war in this country over facts and truth – and it’s not clear how it’s gonna play out and congratulations – you’re heading to the front lines.

I know those are words every parent wants to hear.

Second, this part spoke to me, too:

I’m guessing some of you are focused and directed and you know exactly what you want to do. But I bet many of you are like I was all through my 20s, when I really struggled to figure out how to do work that was meaningful to me. The work I do now really came from that long experience of being lost and trying to invent something that made sense to me. And seemed special to me. Something I was actually good at.

So if in the coming months and years … you feel lost and you’re stuck in some job that isn’t what you want … I just wanna say to you and to your parents … that’s normal. You’re not crazy. Happens to lots of us. You just have to get in there and make stuff and try things and push yourself hard and that’s the only way to find your way.

This was great, too:

Don’t wait. Make the stuff you want to make now. No excuses. Don’t wait for the perfect job or whatever. Don’t wait. Don’t wait. Don’t wait. One of the advantages of being a journalist is you don’t need permission. You can go and run down the story now and then find a home for it. Pay someone you respect – pay a friend – a little money to be your editor and the person you talk to about your next steps. Don’t wait. You have everything you need. Don’t wait.

Really great stuff from Glass. Barack Obama used to talk about “the fierce urgency of now,” and I always loved that expression. Kids graduating college today are going to change the world, I just hope they start really soon.