Tag Archives: Alicia Keys

Good News Friday: A gay rugby player proposes in a very cool way. A 9-year-old girl does Alicia Keys awesome on “America’s Got Talent.” And a police officer give a blind woman a magical moment

First of all, thanks to my friend Jeff Pearlman and his large social media following, Wednesday’s post was by far the most-read ever in my eight years writing this little site. So to any of my new readers, welcome aboard! And please stay, at least for a few days. Although not all of my posts will be about beloved pieces of my childhood fading away, like Sports Illustrated.) I post here three times per week, and Fridays are always dedicated to good news stories.

We start Good News Friday today with a pretty wonderful moment from the world of rugby. I remember a few years ago how courageous it was when the first out gay professional athlete turned out to be a rugby star named Gareth Thomas in 2010, and of course since then we’ve had Michael Sam, Jason Collins, etc.

Anyway, at the recent London Gay Pride parade, a rugby player named Fernando Ferreira of Kings Cross Steelers RFC decided he wanted to propose to his boyfriend. And, well, he got his whole team to help him. Very, very cool.

**Next up today, I don’t watch “America’s Got Talent” but once in a while a performance is so great that I see it all over people’s social media feeds and I check it out.

That was the case with 9=year-old Angelica Hale, who just blew the judges (and everyone in the audience) away with this incredible rendition of Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire.”

How a huge voice like this can come out of such a tiny body is beyond me. But man, does this kid have pipes!

**Finally today, a very small moment that made me smile. Officer Kristian Johnson of Utah’s Logan City Police Department was called to help Shirley Hardman with a microwave that wouldn’t stop beeping after she warmed a muffin. (I can relate, Shirley, a beeping microwave that won’t stop is enough to send me into a silent rage.)  Hardman recently experienced a kitchen fire, and because she is blind, she was nervous about a fire occurring again. She called the operator for help, who connected her with the police. A short time later, Officer Johnson was on his way.

After clearing the microwave’s error code, Johnson asked Hardman if there was anything left he could do for her.

She asked him to sing. He tried to beg off at first, but then did a perfectly-passable “You are My Sunshine.”

“See, you CAN sing!” Shirley exclaimed.

In an interview with Fox13, Johnson said the experience wasn’t just meaningful to Hardman. “It was obvious it meant something to her, and for me it made my day: it made my week,” he said.

Just one nice person helping another nice person. One of the simply joys of life.

Officer Johnson’s no Angelica Hale, but hey, he did his best.




The Kansas hero of the Indian shootings speaks out. Alicia Keys awesomely channels Stefani and Adele. And 3 amazing buzzer-beaters you must see because it’s March


And a Happy Friday to you! As I continue to await the day when we find someone in the Trump administration who didn’t chat with Russia during the 2016 campaign, I give you three things this week that should put a smile on your face.

First of all, you would think there’s absolutely nothing positive to come out of this horrible story in Kansas, when a Caucasian man decided he didn’t want two men of Indian descent to breathe even one more minute. This “human being” who doesn’t deserve to be named walked into a restaurant in Olathe, Kan. on Feb. 23 and shot both Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani. Kuchibhotla died, while Madsani was seriously injured.

Ian Grillot, at the bar to watch basketball with his friends, saw what was going on and charged the gunman, getting shot himself in the process.

He has been rightly hailed as a hero; read this story and watch the above video to realize we have way more good people than bad in this country, despite what you hear.

This is my favorite part:

But despite the harrowing circumstances, Grillot told the newspaper he was thrilled to see Madasani standing in his doorway at the hospital.

“It just put the biggest smile on my face,” Grillot said in the video. “I’m just very grateful that one of the gentlemen is fine and alive. It’s terrible what happened to his friend. But I think he was watching over us last night.”

He said he considered the Indian his new “best friend”. A GoFundMe page created for him raised more than $87,000.

“I was just doing what anyone should have done,” Grillot told the newspaper. “It’s not about where he’s from, or ethnicity. We’re all humans.”

**Next up, Alicia Keys is pretty amazing, we can all agree on that, right? The marvelous and soulful singer proved it once again this week, going on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” and killing it on his game of “Wheel of Musical Impressions.”

Basically Alicia had to imitate a famous singer crooning a children’s song, and she was so good. If you only have time to watch one of these, fast forward to the 3:20 mark, and hear her do an absolutely beautiful version of the “Alphabet Song” in the style of Adele.

So beautiful.

**Finally today, look, I’m not going to lie to you: this blog is, as usual, going to have A LOT of college basketball content this month, because there’s just so much awesomeness going on and I’m an addict and I must feed that addiction.

We’re still two weeks away from the NCAA Tournament, but this week there were three amazing buzzer-beaters I feel you must see. Two are actually from high school, the Indiana state high school basketball tournament (“No. School this Small. Has EVER been in a state championship!” Sorry, I was channeling Dennis Hopper in “Hoosiers” there.

First up, though, above, is Northwestern’s Nathan Taphorn, making an incredible, Grant Hill-esque (and maybe it was better than Grant’s famous pass?) to Dererk Pardon for a game-winning basket for the Wildcats over Michigan Wednesday night. This basically clinches Northwestern’s first NCAA Tournament bid ever, which is amazing.

But two other shots were equally incredible this week, from the aforementioned state tournament in Indiana. First, this was incredible: Joshua Clanton and his Central Christian Academy team were down 62-61 with less than a second left, when this happened:

I mean, what are the odds of that going in, one in a million? The story behind it is pretty great, too.

One night earlier, this pretty amazing shot happened as well, from Noblesville High School. The old famous Valpo play made famous by Bryce Drew in the NCAA Tournament, executed perfectly here!

Incredible stuff.

A truly bizarre and wonderful Super Bowl ends with Ravens on top. And the ridiculous product of the new year: The WaxVac!


Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow.
That was one hell of a Super Bowl. We are so spoiled right now; just about every Super Bowl in the last 10 years has been great, and this one … man, I don’t even know where to start.

The Ravens dominate, go up 28-6. Then the power, inexplicably, goes out at the SuperDome in New Orleans. Thirty-five minute delay. Then the 49ers roar back into the game, and the Baltimore D looks totally gassed, and Niners QB Colin Kaepernick looks like he’s writing the greatest comeback story in Super Bowl history.

Then the Ravens hang on with a fantastic goal-line stand at the end (and no, it wasn’t a hold on 4th down; a good no call by the refs, methinks) and finally after four hours the millions watching on TV exhale.

This is why the NFL can’t be killed. No matter how many concussions are doled out, how many lawsuits are brought by old players who are in unspeakable pain and agony playing the sport they loved… this is why the NFL endures. Because it gives us drama like this.

Some quick-hit thoughts on the game, the commercials, and the announcers who talked about it all:

— The blackout in the third quarter was bizarre. Did someone from the 49ers pull the plug to stop the bleeding on the field? Pretty embarrassing for the NFL, no matter how it happened. Just a totally different game when play resumed. (Best Tweet about it? From @NealPollack: “This time, it’s the rich people trapped in the Superdome.”

— Joe Flacco, the pride of the University of Delaware! I’m a very proud alum today, after our most famous recent athlete put on a dazzling show in the Super Bowl. Three first-half touchdowns, one prettier than the next. Man he has such a great arm. Representing Blue Hens on the world stage; way to go Joe. (Fun fact: in the last 5 years my little school has had a vice-president, a Nobel Prize winner, and a Super Bowl winning QB.)

— Kaepernick is just sensational. As bad as he played in the first half, he showed why he’s going to be so special in the 2nd half. Can’t believe on that last drive the Niners didn’t call a play for him to run it in.

— I thought the Sandy Hook Elementary School choir singing “America The Beautiful” with Jennifer Hudson before the game was just beautiful.

— Beyonce at halftime: I mean, wow. She looked phenomenal (someone Tweeted that all of America was rooting for a wardrobe malfunction; count me in on that), and sounded phenomenal. The computerized graphics were fabulous, and the woman just brought so much energy and flash to her performance. For my money, one of the best Super Bowl halftime productions ever.

— On the commercials, several really good ones stood out for me and the crew watching the game: The Taco Bell ad, with the old people partying and “We Are Young” in Spanish playing in the background, was awesome.

We also loved the Audi commercial with the kid who kisses the dream girl at the prom, then drives home happily with a black eye, and the Doritos ad with the fathers all playing dress-up in princess costumes was cute, too.

And the Oprah Jeep commercial tribute to our soldiers was pretty terrific and tear-inducting

But the top commercials, to me, were the Tide “Joe Montana Stain” commercial (above); hilarious…

and the Budweiser Clydesdale Farmer ad, which was moving and beautiful and made up for the two earlier crappy Bud commercials…

— Commercials we didn’t like: The GoDaddy.com ad was tame (for them) and the Budweiser “Black Label” ads seemed lame; the Psy “Pistachios” ad was incredibly stupid (your 15 minutes are up, pal).

— On the broadcast side, I thought Phil Simms and Jim Nantz did OK; although they seemed to have no idea how or why that 2nd-quarter brawl broke out between the teams, then they barely showed a replay of it. And they both talked way too much.

— Here’s something I thought of a few times during the game: Seven years ago, the Louisiana Superdome was just about destroyed in Hurricane Katrina. All the experts said the building was done hosting football, hosting anything. It was a shelter for thousands of people whose lives had been destroyed.

And now, it’s once again a shining sports cathedral. Made me happy to see the SuperDome shine again.

**Finally today, two things I love most combined again last week: Joe Posnanski writing comedy, and him writing comedy about a ridiculous infomercial. Never fails to crack me up. This time, he takes on the WaxVac (above), a needless product designed to vacuum-suck wax out of your ears.

The reaction of the guy who screams “Oww!” is just priceless.

“Stickfly” a spectacular Broadway show. The most famous phone number in music history lives on. And “Shameless” back for more fun.

I don’t go to Broadway shows much (not living in New York for the past decade kinda hindered that), but now that I’m back I hope to go a lot. I love a good play. Musicals? Eh, they’re OK, I like some of them, but I’ve been dreadfully bored at others (Is there a man alive who didn’t sleep through “Cats” back in the day?).

When my girlfriend and I heard about this new play “Stickfly,” produced by Alicia Keys and starring Dule Hill (Charlie from “The West Wing”) and Mekhi Phifer (he’s been in a ton of movies), we immediately figured it’d be good, and gobbled up tickets.

Saw it Sunday night, and sakes alive, it was fabulous. It’s a comedy/drama about two African-American siblings, Spoon and Flip (played by Hill and Phifer) who bring home their girlfriends/fiancees home to the family compound on Martha’s Vineyard to meet the family. One of the girlfriends is white, but that’s almost beside the point (this is definitely not “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.”)

Hilarity ensued. So did sharp, Mamet-esque writing, terrific acting (especially from Condola Rashad, Ahmad and Phylicia Rashad’s daughter) and some fantastic plot points that kept you on your toes. The play hits on themes that are usually not talked about anywhere in the media, like the below-the-radar racism that still exists, family dynamics that can spark after years of dormancy, and other juicy topics.

I love live theater for many reasons, but mostly because you really feel like you’re a part of the action, an active observer of what’s going on a few feet away from you.

For a couple of hours, I was totally lost in this fabulous play. If you live in the NYC area, it’s playing at least through the end of February, and tickets are reasonable (we sat in the sixth row and paid only $35.)

Go see it. It’s way better than spending $14 to see some crappy movie.

**It seems to happen every few years, and always makes me laugh out loud. I’m listening to the radio Monday and hear an ad for some company called Metro Franchising, out of New Jersey. And I’m not really paying attention at all until the broadcaster gives the phone number: 201-867-5309.
And I suddenly snapped to attention: 8-6-7 5-3-0-9. Take it away, Tommy Tutone (and it took all of my willpower as a 36-year-old adult male to not immediately call the number and start singing, just so you know.)

**Finally, the fantastic Showtime show “Shameless” is back for a second season, and I couldn’t be happier.
I love me some “Shameless.”
Last year when it debuted I thought it was fabulous; a supremely-dark comedy about 21-year-old Fiona Gallagher (the beautiful and talented Emmy Rossum), her alcoholic father Frank (William H. Macy), and the six siblings Fiona is basically raising on her own.
After seeing some promos for season 2 I was a little dubious about where the show was headed, but after Sunday night’s season premiere I feel a little bit better. Looks like they’re upping the stakes when it comes to Frank’s self-destruction, giving Ian a more sizable role, and getting Kevin and Veronica, the crazy next-door neighbors, more to do.

The show is really, really funny and well-acted. If you’ve got Showtime, I highly recommend it.