Tag Archives: Aziz Ansari

A Democratic billionaire enters the Presidential race, to pad his massive ego. Aziz Ansari’s new Netflix special looks fantastic. And a high school principal isn’t sure the Holocaust is a “fact”

Hi everyone. Repeating this from Monday’s post: Just wanted to let you know about something special/different I’m going to be doing in this space next week: July 11th will be the 10-year anniversary of my blog’s existence, so to celebrate, for five days next week I’m going to be re-running some of my most popular posts I’ve ever written at Wide World of Stuff, and some that meant the most to me personally.
If there was any post in particular that you enjoyed or would love to see again, drop me a line this week at sweeterlew@yahoo.com. Thanks!

There is so much about politics that often really IS about some greater good.

I am, of course, a cockeyed optimist, but I really do believe that many politicians get into public service because they want to help people make their lives better. Maybe it’s an issue that’s got the politician fired up, or a personal story that motivates them, but whatever it is, I honestly believe many (certainly not all) politicians have some degree of selflessness in their hearts, and that’s why they do it (it’s certainly not for the money).

But then there are the others, the ones who just live to see their name in headlines, on covers of magazines and splashed across TV screens. People who just constantly need to see the glorification of their massive ego happen every day, and always, always feel important.

These are the millionaires and billionaires who decide that, you know what, I’m gonna run for President! Because I can! One of these men, you may be aware, is currently President of the United States, frighteningly enough.

In the Democratic primary field right now, we have two dozen candidates. Candidates of all shapes and sizes, color and religion, gender and background. But you know what we didn’t have, and literally NO ONE was asking for?

A billionaire old white dude in the race.

Well my friends, that void has been filled! Tuesday Tom Steyer, who has more money than God and has been a huge supporter of liberal causes in the past, announced he’s running for President. And he’s prepared to spend $100 million of his own money to do it.

Now, Steyer has as much chance of winning the primary as I do of being a Chippendale’s dancer. But hey, he’s rich, he’s desperate to be more famous, so why not?

His issues are all being talked about, by people like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Jay Inslee and others. There is zero appetite in the Democratic voter base for a wealthy person who has no clue what the average citizen goes through economically, but here comes Tom Steyer, to run a million ads and be all over your TV.

Do I think he’ll hurt Warren or Sanders or any other candidates’ chances? No. But this “run” of his is so, so clearly about ego. And a man with his money, who has done much good in the past, could do a whole lot more good by supporting Democratic candidates (like Amy McGrath in Kentucky, who’s going to hopefully kick McConnell’s ass) then glorifying his own ego.

I hope you enjoy throwing your money down the drain, Mr. Steyer.

**Next up, I’m a big fan of comedian Aziz Ansari, especially since the first two seasons of his Netflix show “Master of None” were so mind-blowingly original and good. Ansari, who was sorta, kinda ensnared in the #MeToo movement when an anonymous woman wrote a web article claiming Ansari pressured her into sex, addresses that in his new standup special.

I haven’t seen a clip of that segment yet, but this trailer was on Twitter this week and it made me laugh pretty hard. “Really, what happened to that 12 percent?”

I will definitely be watching this.

**Finally today, let’s go down to Florida for yet another segment of “How in the world did this guy EVER get allowed to be a high school principal?”

Meet William Latson, the principal of Spanish River High School in Boca Raton. Seems Mr. Latson was asked by the parent of a student last year how the Holocaust was going to be taught in the school.

He wrote in an email exchange with the parent concerned over Holocaust education that he aims to stay “politically neutral” when it comes to the genocide of six million Jews. “I can’t say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event because I am not in a position to do so as a school district employee,” he wrote. “Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened.”

“I do allow information about the Holocaust to be presented and allow students and parents to make decisions about it accordingly. I do the same with information about slavery,” he continued.

I can’t say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event. Wow. I mean, wow, wow, wow. Also, that he compares it to how he treats slavery makes me immediately say, “Wait, he’s not sure SLAVERY was a factual, historical event? All that stuff about black people being forced to work for no pay for white masters, that’s just a theory? Huh. So glad we cleared that up, that changes my WHOLE outlook on life and history.

Mr. Latson has been fired. I mean, are you freaking kidding me, that he was in charge of a school in the first place???


“Fences” was fabulous, and hey, the Oscars aren’t so white this year! Aziz Ansari really brought it on “SNL.” And Roger Federer turning back the clock at Aussie Open


I love, love, love movies that are beautifully written, with monologues that go on for minutes, acted out by thespians who are at the top of their craft, with a cast that is as good as they are.

Sitting in a movie theater while a screen legend brings the fire, the pain, the heart, and the love, using words that were written by master craftsmen, just inspires me so much.

I felt that way when I sat mesmerized in a theater last week by “Fences,” the new movie Denzel Washington and Viola Davis burned through the screen in. Based on a Pulitzer-Prize winning play by August Wilson, “Fences” tells us a simple story of a married couple in 1950s Pittsburgh, with Denzel’s Troy character the hero of his own world as a garbageman still bitter about not getting the chance to play baseball in the major leagues. He’s a flawed man raging at slights, real and imagined, but he’s trying to do his best by his family and his son.

Denzel is phenomenal in this role, especially in the scenes where he’s just riffing to his buddies and his wife. Oh yeah, that wife is played by the fantastic Viola Davis, who more than holds her own as Rose, Troy’s long-suffering wife who indulges his crazy talk because she knows he’s, deep down, a good man.

Until we learn, maybe he isn’t. Davis lights up when she finally gets a chance at a few good monologues of her own, tearing into Troy as she asserts herself for the strong, independent woman she is.

The supporting cast is great, too, especially Mykelti Williamson as Troy’s brother, who suffered a serious head injury in World War II and has been radically altered in more ways than one.

“Fences” is terrific filmmaking, which is why I’m thrilled it got nominated for Best Picture on Tuesday, with Davis and Washington deservedly getting acting nods as well.

Oh yeah, the Oscars nominations came out Tuesday! And some non-white people got picked in the big categories, whoo-hoo! After two years of the Oscar picks being paler than a Trump rally, we got some welcome change.

All kinds of people of color are up this year, including Washington, Davis, Dev Patel for “Lion” and director Barry Jenkins for “Moonlight.”

We’ll see if any of these people actually win, but hey, at least you gotta give the Academy credit for finally realizing that non-white people occasionally do good stuff.

**Next up, I wrote here last year about my newfound appreciation for Aziz Ansari, who created and starred in the Netflix show “Masters of None,” which ought to be coming back for Season 2 soon.

Ansari is also a fabulous stand-up comic, and over the weekend he did a really strong opening monologue (apparently that’s the word of the day here at Wide World of Stuff) on “Saturday Night Live.”

Stay through to the end, that’s the best part.


**And finally today, it’s feeling an awful lot like 2006 at the Australian Open, and it’s so great.

Venus Williams, age 36, making one hell of a resurgent run and reaching the semifinals, where she’s one win away from probably playing her sister Serena in the finals (wouldn’t that be something?)

And my man Roger Federer, given up for dead in terms of him ever winning another major, just two wins away from Slam title No. 18 in his first major tournament since missing six months with a knee injury last year.

Federer is playing out-of-his-mind right now, hitting winners and moving about the court like a guy who’s 25, not 35. He has to play Stan Wawrinka in the semis, which will be no cakewalk, and then maybe, could it be… Rafa Nadal in the finals?

The tennis Gods have been so good to us the last 10 years or so. Is it too much to ask for one final Williams-Williams championship match, followed a day later by one more Federer-Nadal match? I mean, come ON tennis Gods, we’re stuck with President Trump, can’t we at least get this?

Jason Gay at the Wall Street Journal has a fabulous article up on the Federer resurgence, and what so many of us tennis fans are feeling right now.

The Jets with a stunning, thrilling win over the Patriots, as Belichick makes a rare stupid decision. “Master of None” a superb new Netflix show. And the rapist who made sure his victim got home safely.


Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow. It’s been several hours since the New York Jets pulled off an always-satisfying, and always-rare, win over the Patriots Sunday.

And I’m still jazzed. Damn, that feels good. I’ve said before that a victory over New England, since it’s so uncommon, feels like two wins instead of one. And this one certainly does.

Where to start? Well, for once Bill Belichick didn’t come off as such a genius. Coach Hoodie seemed to make major blunders throughout the game, starting with the end of the first half when he inexplicably decided not to try to score more points, with 1:50 left, 2 timeouts, and his team trailing by 7.

But Billy boy saved his best brain work for OT, when after winning the coin toss, he told his captain to say the Pats wanted to kick off. This meant, if the Jets scored a TD, New England wouldn’t get the ball at all and the game would be over.
Which is exactly what happened.
Because Ryan Fitzpatrick, God bless his journeyman soul, led the Jets downfield for a beautiful TD. I don’t know what the hell has gotten into Fitz this year, but this isn’t the QB I watched so many years in Buffalo and Houston. This guy is calm, poised, and after a shaky start, played a terrific game Sunday.

And Brandon Marshall… you complete me. I never saw Don Maynard because I wasn’t born yet, but Marshall’s the best Jets receiver of my lifetime. At least he’s having the best season of any Jets receiver of my life. He’s been so clutch, and so huge, in so many games.

The Jets defense also was fantastic, though to be fair, I think the Patriots were down to the kids from “Lucas” on the offensive line and at wideout by the end. Brady is just so fricken good, he almost pulled out a win anyway.

Ah, so much fun to beat the Pats. Now the Jets have set me up for the ultimate heartbreak: Having to beat Rex Ryan and Buffalo next week to get in. Bills, nothing to play for, Rex desperately wanting to beat his old team, Jets in a great spot… what could possibly go wrong?


**Next up, I’ve been reading and hearing over the last few weeks about how fantastic Aziz Ansari’s new Netflix comedy, “Master of None” was. I’ve seen it on a bunch of “Top 10 shows of the year” lists, my favorite TV critic Alan Sepinwall had raved about it, and word of mouth about it was great.

Still, I wasn’t a big fan of Ansari or “Parks and Rec,” his last show, so I didn’t immediately watch.

Big mistake. The wife and I have been binge-watching it this weekend and it’s absolutely terrific. We’ve seen eight episodes (of 10) and it’s getting better and better.

The show, ostensibly, is just about a single man (Ansari) in his 30’s, working as an actor, hanging out with his friends, and having adventures both in dating and professionally. But it’s much more than that.

The writing is sharp and real; the chemistry among the actors (none of whom besides Ansari are famous) is terrific, and the stories told are fascinating.

One episode has Ansari’s character, Dev, vying with another Indian actor for a role in a TV show, since “you’re only allowed one Indian per show.” Another hilarious episode has Dev and his Asian friend Kevin trying to repay their parents for giving them a great new life in America by learning about their journeys.
And maybe the best storyline so far involves Claire Danes and Noah Emmerich in guest-starring roles, playing comedy so well.

It’s the rare show that treats its audience as intelligent adults; the relationships seem real, the dialogue is really funny, and it’s just a great, great show.

Can’t wait to watch the last two episodes; this is definitely a show you should check out.

**Finally today, I’m a few weeks late on this but just got around to reading it this weekend, and it’s brave and powerful and fabulous so I wanted to share it. Alisson Wood wrote this in the New York Times Week in Review a few weeks ago, about the time she was a college student, working as a waitress in a diner, and was raped by her boss, a manager at the restaurant.

The headline “Get home safe,” my rapist said” doesn’t grab you, nothing will. After committing his sexual assault in his office, Alisson’s boss helped her into her car, then followed her home.

It took years for her to come to terms with what happened, and her essay brings forth all her emotions. It’s difficult, important writing, and it’s done very well.

Rapists come in all shapes, sizes and demeanors; the stereotypes are often very wrong.

It’s a terrific essay and I highly urge you to read it.