Tag Archives: Andrew McCutcheon

Good News Friday: A kindergarten teacher’s “Glue Stick Pledge” is hilarious and necessary. The most amazing blood donor ever gives his last pint. And a very cool welcome back for a Pittsburgh Pirates star.

And a Happy Friday, y’all. It’s mid-May, our new house is finally starting to look like our house as we approach moving day (and hey, I’ve met the mailman twice already so we’re off to a good start in a crucial lifelong relationship), and my toddler has finally learned to wipe himself after going No. 2. (Any toddler parent will tell you how much they miss wiping poop.)

So, you know, life is good.

Life is also good if you’re a kindergarten teacher trying to teach your kids not to eat their glue sticks, or otherwise use them for purposes other than gluing.

Meet Emerald Amethyst, aka Miss Barton, a kindergarten teacher extraordinaire who runs a blog called The Kindergarten Chronicles. A few weeks ago she wanted her students to learn to treat their new glue sticks with respect. So she had them take The Glue Stick Pledge, which made me laugh out loud, many times. (My favorite part is the “circular motions” explanation)/

Here it is, and I’m sure many, many elementary school teachers could relate (Update: Barton said in the week after the pledge, only one glue stick died. Good job kids!)

**Next up, the story from the New York Times’ new “Good News” website page, as they’re clearly stealing my ideas.

So, I like giving blood. Makes me feel good, costs me less than an hour of time, and maybe it helps someone in need. I’ve probably given blood, oh, maybe 100 times. I’ve got nothing on a man in Australia named James Harrison.

He says he doesn’t like needles. But according to this excellent Times story, “He’s given blood every few weeks for 60 years, for a total of 1,173 times.

When he was younger Harrison’s blood was found to contain a rare antibody necessary for a pioneering medication that could help prevent fatal diseases in children. Medical officials say his blood has helped save more than two million babies from a potentially fatal disease.

Despite his distaste for needles, Mr. Harrison has donated in locations across Australia. Last Friday, he made his final donation in Sydney. Medical officials decided that it was time for Mr. Harrison to protect his own health.

Mr. Harrison’s selflessness has been widely praised. He has received the Medal of the Order of Australia for his longtime support of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service. Now, researchers are working on a “James in a Jar project,” with the goal of synthetically creating antibodies that match what Mr. Harrison produces naturally.

Harrison wanted to keep going. What an amazing, selfless human being. And what I keep thinking? Do you know how many tiny bottles of apple juice and crappy crackers this man has eaten, at the recovery station after each donation?

**Finally today, professional athletes move from one team and city to another so frequently, it’s easy to forget how many of these men and women make indelible marks on their towns. Especially when they’re a star player who stayed a long time, and happens to be a hell of a human being.

Andrew McCutcheon was a star on some really bad Pirates teams, then helped finally make them better and reach the playoffs. They never won the World Series, but McCutcheon was a huge reason they are no longer an embarrassment. After nine years, an MVP season and many other great moments, McCutcheon was traded to San Francisco in the offseason. But he came back to the Steel City for the first time as a member of an opposing team last week, and this is what happened when he walked to the plate.

A beautiful tribute to an all-around good guy. You could see how moved he was. Great, great moment.

Good News Friday: An Atlanta children’s hospital creates a winter wonderland. A Pirates star proposes on “Ellen.” Andre Johnson does his annual Christmas shopping spree for kids.

Spare a thought this weekend for the 26 grieving families in Newtown, Conn., since it was one year ago Saturday that the massacre of innocent schoolchildren occurred. Can’t imagine what those families are going through…

And a Happy Friday to you; three great stories/videos to send you into the weekend.

First off,  Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, a Georgia hospital, knows that its patients don’t get to smile much, and especially this time of year, they know a lot of them are missing out on what so many kids across the country get to experience every holiday season: Snow.

So last week, in what was a big surprise to everyone except a few hospital employees, they decided to transform their campus into a winter wonderland.

Check out the looks on the faces of those kids in the video above; so great.

Next up, Pittsburgh Pirates star Andrew McCutcheon has had a pretty incredible year; he won the National League MVP award and the Pirates broke a 20-year losing season streak and reached the playoffs.

But McCutcheon’s previous accomplishments have nothing on this: he decided to surprise his girlfriend Diana on the “Ellen” show by proposing, through a wonderfully romantic video he put together.

Great stuff.


**And finally, even though the Houston Texans have had a miserable season, their star wideout, Andre Johnson, continues to be a class act.

In what has become an annual tradition, Johnson took 12 kids chosen by Child Protective Services in Houston on a shopping spree at Toys R’ Us. The kids have 80 seconds, in honor of Johnson’s No. 80, to fill up carts with everything they can grab off the shelves. Every kid was guaranteed an entertainment system of their choice and two games in addition to anything else they grabbed.

Great video of the event is here;The final tab for this year’s event was $17,352.

I say this all the time here: Just a little bit of kindness from athletes goes such a long way. Johnson goes above and beyond to help kids who have seen much misery in their short lives.



The most depressing team in sports, and Lochte sets another record


So I’m home in New York this week on vacation, and while  I was at a Brooklyn Cyclones game minor league baseball game Thursday night (great time, by the way) I got to thinking about the most depressing team in sports.

I’m talking about the team that, year after year, absolutely pulverizes its fans hopes and dreams, the team that you constantly ask yourself why you bother rooting for. The team that doesn’t even seem to care about you at all, and cares about getting better even less.

For a long time, there were a lot of contenders. You had the Tampa Bay Bucs, who were horrendous for 20 years, but then they got better. You had the L.A. Clippers, who were run by the stupidest executives in sports, but managed to make the playoffs a few times at least.

You had the Arizona Cardinals, who draped themselves in fuility but managed to get to the Super Bowl last season, pleasing its sun-baked fans in Phoenix.

But I think it’s fair to say now, without equivocation, that there’s only one true deserving choice as, by far, the most depressing team in pro sports:

Ladies and gentlemen, step right up and meet your Pittsburgh Pirates! Seriously, meet them. Because I’m pretty damn sure you couldn’t pick them out of a lineup.

I’m not a Pirates fan, and never really followed them that closely. But I have to believe that to be a Pirates die-hard, circa 2009, has to be a soul-crushing experience. Your team is currently undergoing its 17th consecutive losing season. Seventeen! That, my friends, would be a record for consecutive crappiness in any major team sport.

The Pirates built a beautiful new ballpark in 2001, but decided to buck the trend started by the Orioles and Indians, and continue to stink right on from the old park to the new one.

If you’re a Pirates fan, there’s no sense getting attached to any good players on your team, because by the team they’re decent, they’ll be traded before they can make any real money. Nate McLouth, Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez are this year’s examples, but look into the past and you can find plenty of ex-Pirates stars (Jason Bay, Jason Kendall) who were dealt as they were in their prime.

Their drafting and scouting would have to improve to be called putrid. Do you realize this franchise has had a Top 12 pick in the MLB draft for the past 10 years, and has NO solid major league players in that mix to show for it? Let me know when you see Andrew McCutcheon, Paul Maholm, or Bryan Bullington tearing it up in the majors.

They can’t attract any quality free agents because, really, who the hell would want to play there? And they’ve got a cheapskate owner who is making a profit but won’t invest in the team.

Add it up, and I have to think rooting for Pittsbugh is like hoping Commack High School could beat the Yankees. Maybe Barry Bonds cursed them when he left as a free agent. Maybe the success of the Steelers (2 Super Bowls this decade) and Penguins (three Stanley Cups in the last 18 years) has forced the sports gods to at least give Pittsburgh one terrible team.

Whatever it is, I can’t imagine how sad it is to be a Pirates fan. My heart goes out to you poor souls. And the next time I bitch about my pathetic New York Jets, I’ll try to remember: It could be worse.


**On a much more uplifting note, my man Ryan Lochte had a fantastic performance and set a new world record Thursday in the 200 intermediate medley, swimming it in 1:54.10. Lochte, the pride of Port Orange, Fla., didn’t get to beat Michael Phelps in the race at the FINA World Championships in Rome, but he did avoid the upset plague this week: both Phelps and Aaron Peirsol, who NEVER lose, got beat in their races Tuesday and Wednesday. (Totally off the subject, everytime I write “FINA” I think of the world soccer organization FIFA, and I start giggling when I remember that their chief has the single worst name I’ve ever heard: Sepp Blatter. Seriously, that’s worse than Stubby Clapp.)

Lochte broke out his diamond-encrusted grill for the post-race press conference; he wore a similar one a few years ago at the Worlds. Guy’s just different, but he loves to have fun.

Anyway, Lochte’s got two events Friday, including the 200 meter backstroke, which might see he or Peirsol break another world record.

With Lochte, I’m thinking if he sets another world mark, he’ll break out the M.C. Hammer pants and a Carrot Top wig.