A pretty incredible new Burger King ad on bullying. The greatest volleyball dig you’ll ever see. And a short video on white privilege should open some eyes

I don’t think I’ve set foot in a Burger King restaurant in at least 10 years, for the obvious reasons (I can afford better food and most BK’s I’ve ever been to are quite, um, gross), but I’m sitting here with great admiration today for the company, because of this ad they’ve just put out.

Bullying, in all forms, is talked about so much more than it used to be, which is a very good thing. Every school seems to have some sort of anti-bullying program, which was sadly not in evidence 30 years ago when I was in school. But while awareness is so much higher, there are so many MORE ways for kids to get bullied these days, online but also in public.

Bullying in public often leads to a decision for adults who are watching it: Interfere, or MYOB? The premise of the ad is clever, and the execution is brilliant. Many of these are real people in real situations. Really, really great stuff.

**And now, let me introduce you to Autumn Finney, Decatur (Tex.) High School volleyball player, with the greatest save/dig I’ve ever seen. watch the lower part of the screen around the :10 mark, and be amazed.

This has gone viral, being featured on ESPN “Sportscenter” and other places. This girl is incredible; I have watched it so often and still can’t believe she did it

*And finally today, an organization called Woke Folks tackles an issue that was pretty prevalent during the 2016 Presidential campaign, and into 2017 too. So many “disaffected” white Americans have been belly-aching about people of color “taking everything,” and getting all the advantages now, which is hilarious considering just being born white in the U.S. gives you huge, huge breaks over anyone else.

Watch this little video/parable about a $100 race; I think it’ll make you double over in laughter when you hear white people complain about their hardships these days.

In the words of the great Chris Rock, “There’s not one white person in this room who’d change places with me. And I’m rich!”

 

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Two stories show the real danger of Trump being in charge: The people he appoints are dangerous. One last Aaron Judge highlight as Yanks go quiet for winter. And a wild NFL Sunday features my Jets blowing a big lead

There is so much badness coming at you, every day, from Donald Trump. So many idiotic, hurtful comments, so many stupid Tweets, so much bad, so much arrogance, that it’s so easy to just get swallowed up by it, and not realize that what this egomaniac asshole says and does isn’t the real danger of his Presidency.

No, as I’ve been saying to people ever since he got elected, and I’m sure I’ve said it on here a few times too, is that Trump actually being in the Oval Office, while repulsive and a permanent stain on our country, isn’t the worst thing about him beating Hillary Clinton last November.

No, the worst and most pernicious result of Trump’s election is all of the horrible, unqualified and purely corrupt-minded people who he’s put in charge of very important departments of government. I’m talking about letting Rick Perry run the Dept. of Energy, Scott Pruitt at the EPA, and so, so many others.

Trump’s not actually going to blow up the world, and I truly believe he’s going to be an afterthought of American history one day. But the people who are doing things on behalf of his government… ramifications will be felt for decades.

Two stories over the weekend really pissed me off and brought this feeling back to me again, and amazingly, none of them involve stolen Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch.

First, Betsy DeVos, who is trying to do to public education what what a 1-year-old does to a diaper, after previously arguing that accused campus rapists aren’t getting enough support and love, now decided to rescind 72 guidelines outlining the rights of disabled students in public schools.

And then there’s this story from the New York Times Sunday, about a former executive at the American Chemistry Council named Nancy  Beck (that’s a trade lobbying group) who, and isn’t this a coincidence, now heads a key department at the EPA and is trying to stop the EPA from tracking the harm done from a truly horrendous chemical called PFOA.

Hey, just because it’s been linked to cancer and birth defects doesn’t mean we shouldn’t let major corporations still use it and put it in products!

This stuff burns me up. Burns. Me. Up. So many f’ing corrupt, morally-compromised people (and aren’t those the only kind who would work for Trump?) damaging our world, now and in the future (I haven’t even mentioned what’s going on with climate change.)

This is why I’m still pissed about the election. It’s not Trump himself, it’s all the awful-ness going on while we’re paying attention to his latest idiotic controversy.

 

**Next up today, Saturday night was a sad one for us Yankees fans, as their bats were feeble again (what, they can’t get hits in Texas?) and the Houston Astros moved on to the World Series with a thrilling Game 7 win.

But it was an amazing season for the Bombers, mainly because of a 6-foot-7 mega-human named Aaron James Judge. Even non-baseball fans like my wife are amazed at what this dude can do, and as a parting gift in the Yanks’ season finale, he made this incredible catch above.

**OK, so looking at this on the glass is half-empty side of the coin: Sure, my New York Jets have blown 14-point leads in both of their last two games, and lost both of them.
But hey, two months ago, me and the rest of the long-suffering diehards never thought they’d be in position to blow leads that big, because we never thought they’d ever be up by 14 points.

Happy to say I spent a delightful Sunday with my wife and sun at the New York Hall of Science in Queens, an absolutely fabulous place we’ve been to 5-6 times already, and missed seeing the Jets implode. But following it online, I did say to my wife when the Jets knocked Dolphins QB Jay Cutler out of the game with injury, “That may be the worst thing the Jets could’ve done.” Because as we all know, Cutler stinks, and his backup, Matt Moore, promptly led the ‘Fins to a comeback win.

Jets QB Josh McCown played great… until a horrible interception in the final minute gave Miami an easy field goal for the win. Ah, Josh McCown, you 38-year-old tease, you.
Ah well. Jets are now 3-4, and squarely in the middle of a mediocre season. Which is more than we expected.

Couple other quick-hit NFL thoughts:

— Is HBO’s “Hard Knocks” show a jinx? Man, every year the team they feature seems to have a miserable season. Tampa Bay has gotten off to a terrible 2-4 start after seeming like they’d be a great squad following last year. Maybe next year “Hard Knocks” can just do the Browns and then we won’t be surprised when they stink.

— So much for that Super Bowl rematch Sunday night. The Falcons looked like they still haven’t recovered from the Super Bowl debacle when they blew a 28-3 lead. Patriots beat them every which way on Sunday.

— The hell has gotten into the San Diego (sorry, L.A.) Chargers? Despite having no fans at their games rooting for them, they’ve won 3 in a row and look legit now. Shutting out the Broncos is damn impressive.

— Finally,  why can’t I have been born a Pittsburgh Steelers fan? Every year I think this will be the year they stink and fall off and then every year you look up and they’re 5-2 and in first place. They are truly the model NFL franchise (and don’t seem to cheat like the Patriots do.)

Good News Friday: Some kids in a Baltimore choir make beautiful music. A school in Mississippi changes its name from Lee to Obama. And a brilliant anti-hate marketing ploy from a beer company in Florida.

And a Happy Friday to all of you. We here at Wide World of Stuff are on 24-hour a day Baby Watch right now, as we stare at my wife’s stomach and say to our soon-to-be born second son, “Anytime  you’re ready, pal! Come on out, come on out!”

Clearly the little fellow is nice and comfy in there. Or maybe he’s waiting for the Yankees to clinch a highly-improbable trip to the World Series tonight.  Onward…

Sometimes all you need to start off Good News Friday is some really adorable kids singing beautifully. The boys and girls at Cardinal Shehan School went viral last week with a fantastic rendition of Audra Day’s “Rise Up,” and it is inspiring and very cool. These kids rule!

Here’s how the kids feel about going viral.

**Next up today, I feel since I made fun of the state of Mississippi in my blog post Monday about “To Kill A Mockingbird” getting taken off a school reading list, I must also give props to Mississippi for this, which made my heart happy.

Of course you all know about the Confederate flag and statue controversies that have been discussed for the past few months, and there still doesn’t seem to be any consensus on what should be done. So small steps toward a kinder, gentler nation are to be applauded.

Jefferson Davis Elementary School in Jackson, Miss. is almost all black,  yet it’s named for the president of the Confederacy.
Starting next year, it’ll be called Barack Obama Elementary. Seems a bunch of students at the school learned who Jeff Davis was, and along with the PTA and their parents helped petition the school board to change the name. And the board listened.

Fantastic.

 

**And finally today, the noted white supremicist Richard Spencer spoke at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Thursday night. And in what I think is a pretty cool and unique way to “welcome” Mr. Spencer, the Alligator Brewing Co. put out this offer to the residents of Gainesville. Pretty damn funny and brilliant. An excerpt…

“Tickets for the event are free and available to the general public beginning Saturday at noon. So starting then, and all weekend long, for every two tickets you bring in, we’ll trade  you for a free Alligator Brewing Draft beer. Those tickets and reserved spots will be disposed of, leaving two more empty seats in the Philips Center. We unfortunately can’t stop him from bringing his hate to Gainesville, but we can empty the room so his disgusting message goes unheard.”

Brilliant.

“Battle of the Sexes” a good but not quite great flick. A very cool new Nike ad with LeBron. And Gregg Popovich calls Trump a “soulless coward” and other correct things

Finally got a chance to see the new “Battle of the Sexes” movie, which even though I’d heard it was terrific, I was a little afraid to see.

First of all, it’s about tennis, my No. 1 sports obsession, and there have been zero good mainstream movies about the sport I love. (I guess The Royal Tenenbaums is the closest we’ve ever gotten to a good tennis flick.)

Second, it’s about the life of Billie Jean King, a woman who’s on the short list of people I admire most. Billie Jean is an icon, a legend, someone who has done more for equal rights of women athletes (and women in general) than just about anyone else. I was fortunate enough to meet and interview her a few times and she is an absolute class act, through and through.

So even though I’d heard it was a really good movie, I was still a little nervous going in that it would be exploitative and bad in its depiction of a 1973 tennis exhibition match that still has ramifications today.

Happily, everyone was right: It was a really good movie. Not great, not classic, but very good. Emma Stone as Billie Jean was fantastic; really channeled her look, her voice, and her mannerisms.

Steve Carell as Bobby Riggs was a little cartoonishly over-the-top, but apparently that’s what Riggs was, so it worked. Elisabeth Shue is always great (she played Riggs heiress wife who was tired of his gambling, hustling ways), and Bill Pullman as Jack Kramer was excellent as the archetype of the chauvinistic, old-guard tennis administrator who thought men should get paid more because “their matches are more exciting.”

In real life, King was very reluctant to take part in the circus sideshow the “Battle of the Sexes,” became, but as in the movie she slowly realized, after the 55-year-old Riggs had crushed top player Margaret Court, she had to play him, and beat him.

The movie moves along very nicely, and shows that even Riggs knew the match would be a sideshow; he wasn’t really a chauvinist pig, he just played one to grab the spotlight and sell tickets. He was a hustler performing a hustle.

The only things that kept the movie from being great? There was very little discussion/analysis of what looked like a major plot point, that Riggs’ new-age doctor was giving him all kinds of pills/vitamins/medicine leading up to the match. They showed him swallowing these things by the shovel-full, then basically never delved into whether it was the reason he was sluggish in the match.

And they spent way, way, too much time on Billie Jean’s secret lesbian love interest/hairdresser Marilyn. I understand it’s a movie and you’ve got to give people the drama, but I think on-screen time could’ve been much better served delving into how difficult and historic King and the other women’s attempts to form their own pro tennis league was.

Anyway, overall it was a good film, one worthy of standing the test of time to show future generations how amazing and critical Billie Jean King was to the women’s rights movement.

**Next up today, a pretty cool new ad of LeBron James, from Nike, at the start of the NBA season. Voiceover by Idris Elba, who can narrate anything and I’ll listen/watch.

Apparently the ladies find him handsome, too.

** Finally today, a few words from San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. Popovich, in addition to being one of the best NBA coaches of all time and a cantankerous SOB in interviews, was one of the first persons from the world of sport to speak out against the horror that is Donald Trump, way back in 2015 when he was first making noise.

More than any other public sports figure, I think Popovich has harped on, and hit the nail on the head about, Trump’s pure selfish and cowardly comments and decisions, and how self-aggrandizing they are. Here is Pop, eloquently, after Trump’s most recent disgrace when he accused past Presidents of not always making calls to families of fallen soldiers (edit: I can’t even say most recent anymore even though it happened Monday, because on Tuesday he allegedly told a pregnant widow of one of the dead soldiers in the Niger attack that her husband, “knew what was signing up for, but I guess it hurts anyway.”

Trump really is one of the worst people alive.)

Said Pop: I’ve been amazed and disappointed by so much of what this president had said, and his approach to running this country, which seems to be one of just a never ending divisiveness. But his comments today about those who have lost loved ones in times of war and his lies that previous presidents Obama and Bush never contacted their families are so beyond the pale, I almost don’t have the words.”

This man in the Oval Office is a soulless coward who thinks that he can only become large by belittling others. This has of course been a common practice of his, but to do it in this manner—and to lie about how previous presidents responded to the deaths of soldiers—is as low as it gets. We have a pathological liar in the White House, unfit intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically to hold this office, and the whole world knows it, especially those around him every day. The people who work with this president should be ashamed, because they know better than anyone just how unfit he is, and yet they choose to do nothing about it. This is their shame most of all.”

Popovich in 2020.

Censorship of books again, really? “To Kill A Mockingbird” in the crosshairs. “Jeopardy” star Austin Rogers does a turn on Fallon, and it’s great. And the Jets get screwed by the refs, but probably would’ve lost to Pats anyway

Every few years or so, it seems we have to go through this. And every few years, I feel like it’s so important.

Thousands of fantastic works of literature are found objectionable by school-board bureaucrats in small (or large) towns across the country, and students in these districts are denied the opportunity to be challenged, to learn, to question, and most of all, to expand their minds.

This weekend I heard about censorship happening to maybe my favorite novel of all time, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Yes, boys and girls, the people of Biloxi, Miss. decided to remove this amazing novel by Harper Lee from the 8th grade reading list at the local middle school.

Why, you might ask, is “TKAM” no longer suitable? According to the vice president of the Biloxi School Board, Kenny Holloway, “There were complaints about it. There is some language in the book that makes people uncomfortable, and we can teach the same lesson with other books.”

Language that makes people uncomfortable. Of course we all know what he’s talking about; racially charged words and deeds in the book have been discussed for years.

But removing books because of “language that makes people uncomfortable?” That’s the whole point of reading, especially when you’re young! I read all kinds of books that made me uncomfortable. Ellie Wiesel’s “Night” made me uncomfortable. Parts of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” made me uncomfortable. So, so many other fantastic works I’ve been exposed to have made me unsettled, or angry, or questioning.

That’s the whole point of books! Ugh. Biloxi, Miss. won’t be the last school district to make this kind of idiotic decision.

**Next, I don’t know about you, but in my house we’ve been kinda obsessed for the past few weeks over “Jeopardy!” champion and ultimate strange dude Austin Rogers. A bartender from New York City (OK so that was the first reason I liked him), Austin won more than $400,000 in 12 games and was unlike any other contestant I’d ever seen. He dressed loudly, made strange pantomine gestures every time he was introduced, and generally acted like the crazy uncle you see at Thanksgiving every year who knows everything.

Anyway, I loved this dude. I’m sure in real life he’d drive you nuts, but for a few minutes on “Jeopardy!” each night, he was fabulous. Anyway, Austin’s run ended last week and he went on Jimmy Fallon to talk about it, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

**And finally today, I’d love to tell you that I didn’t get my hopes up for a Jets win over the Patriots Sunday, but after the boys in green and white took a shocking 14-0 lead in the first half, I kinda did.

And what was surprising was not that the Jets lost, because that’s what I usually expect when they play the Patriots. But the way they lost, and the absolutely egregious, horrendous, pathetic replay overrule that cost them a touchdown, well, that was new.

Go ahead and watch this clip of Austin Sefarian-Jenkins scoring a touchdown, have it be called a touchdown, then overruled inexplicably, and tell me this is the correct call. Absolutely ridiculous. Somehow, this was ruled as a fumble out of the end zone.

— So I guess Adrian Peterson has something left in the tank still, huh? Wow. What a game in his first one as an Arizona Cardinal.

— The Giants finally won, the Chiefs finally lost, and there are no really great teams in the NFL this year. So much mediocrity, that I think 10-12 teams could legitimately win the Super Bowl.

— On “Sunday Night Football” Al Michaels said the Giants “are coming off a worse week than Harvey Weinstein.” Oh, Al. What a horrible, stupid and cruel joke.

— Aaron Rodgers is probably out for the season with a broken collarbone, destroying Packers hopes (and the hopes of my fantasy team, for which he starred). If only there was a QB out there they could call, a free agent who had a terrific season last year but is being blackballed by the NFL for daring to speak out. Name is Colin, something or other.

An 11-year-old girl finds out she’s getting adopted, and is overjoyed. A couple born on exact same day, in same hospital, gets married. And cute pandas frolicking around, just for fun.

It’s Friday, it’s Friday the 13th, it’s suddenly autumn in N.Y. after never-ending 80 degree days, and I’m actually looking forward to a Jets-Patriots game on Sunday, which never happens.

Lots of good stuff to get to you this week, but I have to start with this deservedly-viral video from, of all places, an administration office of a middle school.

Meet 11-year-old Tannah Butterfield, a kid in Utah who has been desperately hoping she’d be adopted by the foster parents she’s come to know and love.

In this beautiful video above, shot on Oct. 2 at American Heritage School of South Jordan, Utah, Tannah is told by her friend “Miss Jackie,” Jackie Alexander, a school administrator, that her wish has come true.

“Have you heard the news? You’re getting your forever family,” Jackie says she told Tannah.

Tannah’s reaction is priceless. Watch the background of the story here.

**Next up today, this story I heard about on People.com was kind of crazy but great: A couple of 27-year-olds in Massachusetts named Jessica Gomes and Aaron Bairos met in 2007, set up by a couple of friends. They’d grown up in the same area, went to rival high schools, and became serious about each other.

As they got to know each other, they discovered they had the same exact birthdate, April 28, 1990.

Then, they learned they’d both been born at the same hospital, Morton Hospital in Taunton, Mass. And this is my favorite part: According to a local newspaper saved by Jessica’s grandma, Aaron and Jessica were the ONLY two babies born at that hospital that day. (Grandmas save everything, don’t they?)

Jessica and Aaron got married on Sept. 9, and if there’s cosmic justice in the world, any future children they have will be born on April 28.

**Finally today, I leave you with adorable pandas, being clumsy, set to fantastic classical music. If this doesn’t make you smile, check to make sure your face still works…

The app that talks to your teens about sex, so you don’t have to. A brutal but necessary PSA about cyber-bullying. And the married couple whose drunken bet on a game led to third-degree burns

My son is only 3 and the new baby is on the way any day/week now (if the blog has no new content for a few days at the end of October, bear with me, I’m likely getting used to having a new little guy around the house and probably will be severely sleep-deprived), but it’s never too early to think about how you’re going to deal with your kid as a teenager.

And one thing I’m absolutely dreading as a Dad is the birds and the bees talk. I honestly don’t ever recall getting it from my father; my older sister Debbie tells me that my dad tried to give me the talk once, and she sat outside the door giggling really hard and he gave up (I have no memory of any of this.)

Anyway, it’s a horrible and awkward experience for all of us. But thankfully, technology has come to the rescue. Introducing a new app called “We’ll Talk,” which answers your inquisitive adolescent’s questions about self-gratification, what to do if you like a boy or girl, and uses lots of fun emojis and that your kids will understand and you won’t.

You can ask the app about sexually transmitted diseases, rashes, all kinds of fun stuff!

Just imagine the stimulating conversations you can have: “Daddy, what does this emoji mean, it has a little boy’s pee pee turning a different color?”

**Next up today, I thought this was a really powerful PSA about cyber-bullying. So many times in this era when we talk to each other through the computer or phone instead of actually talking, we say horribly mean things that we’d never say to anyone’s face.

Cyber-bullying, trolling, or just being a jerk is so much easier when you dehumanize the person at the other end of the message; somehow we feel a disconnect because we don’t have to actually face the person we’re insulting.

But this PSA, from a group called “In Real Life,” shows us the jarring results when you actually say these despicable comments to someone’s face, making ti seem much more real.

A little hard to watch, but very very effective.

**And finally today, in case you’re having a rough day and feeling like you’re one of the dumbest people alive, no need to fret, I’ve found two people much stupider than you.

Meet Timothy Silyers and his wife, Brianna Hook, who live in Vero Beach, Fla. Seems Timothy and Brianna are fans of different football teams; Ol’ Tim roots for the Cowboys, while his beloved cheers for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.

Tim and Brianna made a bet on last Sunday’s game between the rivals, that the losing team’s jersey would be set on fire after the game.

Well, Rodgers and the Pack made a thrilling comeback and won in the final seconds, so the Cowboys jersey was to be set in flames.

But, and this is the part where I’ll need to remind you that the couple had been drinking heavily during the game, when it came time to set the jersey on fire, Tim brilliantly decided to keep the jersey on his body while his wife set it on fire.

Shockingly, things went badly. Tim was rushed to the hospital and treated for third-degree burns on his hands and arm, and second-degree burns to this back.

Sadly, local authorities say they wont press charges against any consensual bet between two adults.

“I don’t believe we’ve ever had a case where someone set another person’s jersey on fire as a result of a sporting bet,” Lt. Tom Raulen said

Come on, Vero Beach police! At least arrest them and charge them with being monumentally stupid, that’s totally a crime!

Nothing says true love like being doused with water when you’re body is in flames while drunk. I think I’ll make a Hallmark card that says that.

A rare sports trifecta of joy for me Sunday: Rangers, Jets AND Yankees all win. And the VP Mike Pence walkout stunt was disgraceful on many levels

Sunday was a weird and wonderful day. The weird started early, with me and my 3-year-old going outside on Oct. 8 (the 29th anniversary of my bar mitzvah, if you’re scoring at home) in T-shirts and shorts. Seriously, the weather on the East Coast right now is nuts; it’s supposed to be in the 70s and 80s all week and pumpkins are appearing everywhere and it’s just weird.

Anyway, Sunday was also weird because three of my four favorite sports teams were playing on the same day. I’m sure it’s happened before, but it’s pretty rare that the Jets, Rangers and Yankees are all competing in the same 12-hour time period, but here we were.

And so the day began with me half-watching the Jets-Browns game, and I’m here to tell you that the first two quarters of that game would have had most humans pulling their eyes out of their sockets, because it was so pitiful and painful to watch. The Jets stink, but the Browns’ stench is worse than the odor of Billy Batts in Henry Hill’s car in Goodfellas. And so by being slightly less bad, the Jets won and are, improbably, tied for first place in the AFC East. Crazy.

Then I went to the Rangers game, as a dad-buddy of mine hooked me up with excellent seats at MSG to Rangers-Canadiens. And the Blueshirts, despite playing terrible the first two games, played very well and won, 2-0, and my day was on its way to sports perfection (By the way, and I have said this a thousand times but will say it again: There is nothing, nothing like live hockey. By far the best sport to see in person, to appreciate the skill, speed and size of these players.)

And finally, I got home in time Sunday night to see the last two innings of the Yankees, facing elimination from the playoffs, finish off a nail-biting 1-0 win over Cleveland.

Three teams I root for, three wins. It was a very good day (Oh and also, we started getting the baby crib back together since, you know, new baby is due in about three weeks!)

Couple other NFL thoughts, and these will just be on the games since I’ll have quite a bit to say on VP Mike Pence’s unbelievably stupid and deceitful stunt at the Colts game:

— Brandon Weeden and E.J. Manuel are both on NFL rosters. Colin Kaepernick is not. And the NFL owners claim they’re not black-balling him. Pretty funny.

— The Giants are 0-5 (hee hee, as a Jets fan I’m allowed to enjoy that a tiny bit), and no one but me is admitting the real reason their season has been such a disaster: They signed Geno Smith in the offseason. Geno, a complete bust as a Jet, thought he was going to a first-class, winning organization when he left in the offseason. Now, the Jets are tied for first-place and his new team stinks.  Clearly Geno brought some bad Jets karma with him.

— Can the Packers and Cowboys play every week? Seems like every time they play the game is awesome.

— Poor J.J. Watt. Dude just cannot stay healthy, suffering another gruesome injury Sunday night, and probably out for the year.

— Major kudos to Cam Newton for his heartfelt apology after making a sexist remark to a Charlotte Observer reporter this week. This is how you apologize. Then he goes out and wins another game. Good job, Cam.

**OK, so if you haven’t heard about this Mike Pence/walkout thing, let me give you a quick recap: Sunday in Indianapolis, Pence, the former governor of the state and a huge Colts fan, attends the Colts-49ers game at Lucas Oil Stadium. It’s a pretty huge weekend in town, because Indy is honoring their legend, Peyton Manning, with a statue and ceremony and jersey retirement and all that good stuff.

Pence flies from Las Vegas, where he was Saturday, all the way to Indiana to go to the game. The Secret Service are there, and of course all the fans were delayed getting into the stadium because of heightened security procedures whenever Secret Service are at a game, guarding a President or VP. As he arrives at the stadium, the press following Pence is told, by Pence’s own staff, not to get off the press bus, that Pence won’t be staying at the game long.

Then, as the national anthem starts, Pence sees 20 or 30 49ers players kneeling during the anthem, as 49ers players have done every season.

Then, Pence tweets out that as Donald Trump told him to do, he’s leaving because “I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our flag or our National Anthem.”

And then this paragon of virtue, this man of such high moral principles, gets on Air Force 2 and flies all the way back to California. Where he had a previously scheduled fundraiser set for 6:30 p.m.

Such an unbelievable, colossal sham. Pence 100 percent knew that Niners players would protest. He also knew he would walk out and completely overshadow the day his “beloved” Peyton Manning was being honored, just so he could make a ridiculous show of leaving. THEN he flies all the way to California for a fundraiser.

In all, it’s estimated that Pence cost the American taxpayers $242,000 with this idiotic attempt at making a point. So proud.

 

 

Good News Friday: Could you buy everything in that Barenaked Ladies song for a million dollars, for real? Barack Obama with a 25th anniversary tribute to his wife. And the 4-foot-8 high school football player rules. And she’s a girl.

It has been a rough week, filled with tears, anger and sadness. So I want to start off Good News Friday with something completely silly and also awesome.

Luke Martin is an e-migo of mine; we’ll probably never meet in person but we get along great on Twitter because he’s hilarious and smart (I linked to one of his posts a while back, on the death of his dog, which was really movingly written.

Anyway, Luke decided, because, why not, to look at the Barenaked Ladies classic song “If I had a million dollars” literally. He examined the lyrics and the things BNL said they’d buy, and figured out how much of today’s 2017 dollars it would cost to get them all.

Luke told me he spent about six hours doing this article, which I find hilarious and awesome. He discovered that John Merrick’s remains (he’s more famously known as The Elephant Man) are actually NOT for sale, what a K-Car actually is, what the going price for a llama or an emu is, and how hard it is to find fancy ketchup.

If you are looking to completely take your mind off the world and get lost in something really fun and mostly meaningless, I highly recommend reading this.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I plan to spend all weekend trying to find out how much 99 Luftballoons cost these days.

**Next up today, Wednesday was Barack and Michelle Obama’s 25th wedding anniversary. Anyone being married for 25 years is impressive and worthy of celebration in my eyes, but being in the public eye for the last 13 years of their marriage must make it harder.

Michelle was in the middle of a conference of women in Pennsylvania, on stage with Shonda Rimes, when a video tribute from Barack suddenly surprised her.

This is really, really beautiful; we should all hope our spouses talk this way about us after 25 years.

**And finally, Felicia Perez is a 4-foot-8 student at Brandywine High School in Wilmington, Del. She’s also a linebacker on the football team.

And she plays a lot. And she’s pretty courageous, and the boys on her team swear by her.

Steve Hartman of CBS News with another great human interest piece. I love this girl.

Another mass shooting, and we should all be disgusted and angry at our government. Chance the Rapper with a pretty incredible new performance. And remembering Tom Petty, whose music made my life happier

It’s happened again. Because, of COURSE it happened again.
Every. Single. Goddamn. Time. Every time there’s a mass shooting in America, the same, tired, ridiculous arguments get trotted out. Congressmen and women who are bought, sold and paid for by the gun lobby offer “thoughts and prayers.”
What they actually are saying, and doing by their votes, is making it EASIER for mass shootings to happen. Because they pass laws making it simpler for people with mental illnesses to get guns. And they make sure suspected terrorists on the U.S. “no-fly list” can still get guns.

And the same, tired, ridiculous arguments get trotted out by the NRA, who continue to be the single most powerful force in American politics.

Nothing ever changes. Ever. It is the issue I feel strongest about that will take the longest to change, because we have weak, spineless leaders (in BOTH parties) who refuse to stop the massacring of fellow Americans.

Nothing happened, no laws were changed to protect Americans after CHILDREN WERE MURDERED in an elementary school in Connecticut in 2012. You think 59 adults (and counting) and hundreds of injured at a music concert in Las Vegas is going to change things?

Not a chance. I’m tired of being disgusted, tired of being outraged, tired of living in the type of country where our political leaders don’t seem to give one damn about protecting its citizens from fellow citizens wielding enormously dangerous weapons.

The Onion runs the same headline after every mass shooting that it first ran years ago: “No Way to Prevent This, Says only Nation where this Regularly Happens.”

I’m nauseous, once again, from yet another preventable and unspeakable tragedy.

Three pieces of media I want to share on the Las Vegas shooting. One, Jimmy Kimmel, who is becoming quite the eloquent statesman lately, with an emotional discussion of the massacre in his hometown.

— Two, an unbelievable piece of writing and reporting from the Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery, on two strangers, Kody Robertson and Michelle Vo (pictured above), who became fast friends at the music festival in Las Vegas, and the dedication of one to the other after the tragedy. One of the most heartbreaking and beautiful stories you’ll ever read.

— And three, Trevor Noah of “The Daily Show,” bringing it home and speaking the truth. Again, this doesn’t have to happen. Except it keeps happening.

**Next up, a message of hope, or at least something uplifting. Chance the Rapper is someone who seems to keep cropping up everywhere these days; the Chicago native has become a major voice speaking out against the awful violence and murders that plague the Windy City. He’s a wildly talented writer and musician, and honestly seems like he’s trying hard to be positive, and uplifting.

Chance was on Stephen Colbert last week performing a new song he’d just written, but I just saw this the other day and thought it was outstanding. I hope you find it uplifting, too. (The song is called “First World Problems.”)

**And finally today, a few words about Tom Petty, a musician who I’d say ranks in my all-time Top 10 in terms of “number of times I’ve listened to his songs and instantly felt happy.”

I “discovered” this amazing musician in 1989, when his album “Full Moon Fever” came out and I first heard the song “Free Fallin'” on MTV. Within a few months I was going down to our local record and cassette store and trying to find as much as possible by Petty, this Floridian with the scratchy voice and the kick-ass guitar sound.

Soon I discovered classic songs like “American Girl,” “Refugee,” and “Don’t Come Around Here No More.”

One of the best concerts I ever saw live was in 1996 at the Spectrum in Philadelphia, when my best friend (and fellow Petty lover) Clay and I saw Petty and the Heartbreakers. We sang along, we danced, we may have inhaled a substance that rhymes with “farajuana,” and we just enjoyed watching a master musician at his craft.

Petty died way too young, on Monday, at age 66. But his musical legacy will live on.

Here, listen to “American Girl” and try not to sing along. It’s darn near impossible.