Tag Archives: Billy Crystal

My latest “Daddy Chronicles,” starring an almost-3 year old who’s soon to get a baby brother!

And a Happy Friday to you all out there in Internet-land! It’s been a few months since I’ve written a “Daddy Chronicles,” and with my little guy changing so much over the past several weeks, I thought it was time.

First of all and by far the most important announcement: Nate is getting a sibling! Yep, my wife and I decided there just weren’t enough people in the world, so we made another one. And this time, we decided to find out the gender, and once again we have created a boy.

With a due date of October 30, little Federer Jeter Mattingly Messier Lewis (what, you don’t think my wife will go for that name?) will make our beautiful family of three into a table for four.

Obviously this will mean big changes for us, although if the little guy is born on Halloween, we have one fewer costume to shop for this year (Nate 2.0 will certainly be dressed as a newborn for Halloween, all he needs is a blue blanket and the ability to cry.)

In all seriousness, I’m overcome with joy. So far my beautiful wife is 26 weeks pregnant, and all indications so far are that the baby and mommy are healthy and coming along great.

A few thoughts that hit me upon learning the news that  I now have TWO chances for a male Wimbledon champion:
— My poor wife will have to live with three boys now. There’s going to be a lot of toilet seats left up in her future.
— I’ll be 42 years old when the baby is born, which means I’ll be 60 (Sixty!) when the young fella gets his basketball scholarship to Duke University. Can’t wait to be the old creepy dude who the other freshman on campus thinks is the grandpa of a student.

— We are, of course, super excited to go through the process again, and so far Nate seems thrilled that he’s getting a sibling who’ll live in his room and be a future playmate. When I ask him in front of friends what he’s getting in October, he exclaims with a smile “A baby brother!”

Of course, right now it’s easy for him to accept a new family member; come November, when he yells for Mommy or Daddy’s attention and we aren’t able to snap to it because we’re busy with his brother, methinks his love and excitement may wane a bit. He is, fortunately, really great with his toddler friends’ little siblings, always being super gentle with them. So, we’ll see.

— One of the major developments in the past two months has been us finally getting Nate a big boy bed. We kept him in the crib as long as we could, but with him turning 3 in September, it was time.

He got to help pick it out, including his Elmo bedspread and pillow, but for the first few weeks he refused to sleep in it most nights, wanting to sleep on the floor instead. Then once he started sleeping in it, he fell out of it like a drunk staggering home from a night on the town. Good thing we barricaded him in with pillows.

Now, he’s gotten used to it. He gets out of bed on his own in the morning, takes the crackers and water and Cheerios I’ve left out for him, and goes and plays in the living room. So we have no idea he’s awake until, around 7 a.m. he yells “Mommy!” because he wants us to turn on the TV, or his diaper is so wet he wants to be changed.

So much better than having him in the crib. (We also turned his car seat around to face forward, and that has revolutionized his travel life. He loves asking questions now like “Are we on the bridge? Are we off the bridge?” and, delightfully, I now have a second navigation system in the car. Moments after the GPS says “in half-mile, make a left turn,” I hear the voice from the back “Make a left turn, Daddy!”)

He’s also fond of yelling out everything we’re passing, just like the hilarious scene in “Forget Paris” where Billy Crystal is driving his father-in-law around.

— His verbal skills and the phrases he picks up from hearing us continue to amaze; he only has one friend who talks as much as he does ((his BFF Keira, an adorable 3.5 year old girl).

A few weeks ago both my wife and I, in separate rooms, yelled to him to do different tasks. His response? “I can only do one thing at a time!”

Yeah, he might have gotten that from me.

— It’s been fascinating and strange watching Nate picking up habits that we have no idea where they came from. A few weeks ago he decided that every time we go into a restaurant or anywhere indoors, we immediately have to remove our hats. He gets really mad if I don’t.

— One of my favorite things about my son at this age is how excited and curious he is about everything. Every night he asks his mother and I “Where am I going when I wake up?” Then in the morning if he doesn’t remember he’ll ask again “Where am I going today?”  He’s just ready to go, whatever it is.

— And finally, the highlight of his life so far may have been our trip to Washington, D.C. No, he wasn’t thrilled and amazed at the monuments or the museums (he’s still only 2.). The highlight by far was riding the D.C. Metro around for three days. He shouted with delight whenever we stopped at one station, the doors opened, and then we went to another station. He loved every single second of it.

Seriously, as a D.C. friend of mine said, nobody has ever been happier than Nate on a D.C. Metro.

Not sure if I should be happy or sad about that 🙂

The Orlando nightclub shooting and the Tony Awards: Love will always beat hate. The Penguins win the Cup, and Gordie Howe, remembered. And Billy Crystal beautifully eulogizes Muhammad Ali

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I woke up Sunday morning around 7:30, and within minutes I was filled with rage.

Rage at once again, a mass shooting on American soil, by a person using weapons only military should be allowed to possess. A man raging against the world, against gay people, against our values, and mowing down more than 100 people, killing 50.

Last time there was a mass shooting I wrote in this space that I was numb to it, and trying to remain hopeful. Two mass shootings ago I was angry and pissed off, and that’s where I was Sunday. I don’t care if the perpetrator of this heinous act did what he did at Pulse nightclub because he hates gay people, or because he sympathized with ISIS

And my rage barely subsided all day when I thought about the horrible tragedy, and how incredibly frightening it must have been to be in that club. And my rage reached new levels when I read “our thoughts and prayers are with the victims” statements from men like Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee, who absolutely demonize and spew hatred at lesbian and gay people constantly, yet now more than four dozen of them are dead and suddenly they give a fuck.

So I was mad, and feeling helpless, and knowing that once again, absolutely nothing will change in America even after the worst mass shooting in our nation’s history.

Then at 8 p.m., the Tony Awards started. And host James Corden did a fabulous opening number talking about inclusion, and how diversity is a good thing, and for the next few hours a theater community that welcomes and becomes a safe refuge for so many gay, lesbian and transgender people was a cornucopia of joy, and good feelings.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the genius behind “Hamilton,”  gave a fantastic acceptance speech that ended like this:

“We lived through times when hate and fear seemed stronger,
we rise and fall and light from dying embers, remembrances that
hope and love last longer.

And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love…
It cannot be killed or swept aside.”

And awards were handed out and heartfelt speeches made, and tributes to the Orlando victims were offered, and I smiled through much of it.

On such a tragic day, a day that usually leads to feeling such helplessness, it was wonderful to be reminded, by brilliant actors and actresses on the Beacon Theatre stage, that love ALWAYS wins over hate.

Every damn time.

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**Next up, there was a hell of a Stanley Cup finals hockey game played Sunday night, which I watched during Tonys commercials and then saw the whole third period.

The Sharks and Penguins played the whole game like their hair was on fire, and if only the choppy ice had cooperated (it’s June in San Jose, can’t really expect good ice) the score could easily have been 6-5. Pittsburgh is the new Stanley Cup champion, and man it

Couple quick thoughts on the Penguins’ Stanley Cup win:

— Sidney Crosby, hated by so many hockey fans (including me), is just a sensational player. His puckhandling, his vision, he’s been so good for so long that you take him for granted. But this guy almost had his career ended by concussions a few years ago, so to see him playing at this level again is something else.

— Mike Emrick. I mean, what more can you say about the best play-by-play announcer in any sport? He was just so much fun to listen to Sunday night.

— The Sharks have just about put to bed their reputation as playoff chokers, right? What a fantastic playoff run they had. Absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

— Gordie Howe, maybe the second-greatest hockey player ever (some blonde dude named Gretzky was better), died on Friday. So many great stories were told by the hockey writers who knew him; I loved this Michael Farber essay on Howe on SI.com, and Canadian hockey legend Roy MacGregor also had a great story and video here as well. In McDonald’s piece, we hear a wonderful anecdote about Howe once picking an opponent up off the ice by his nostrils. And oh yeah, Gordie was still playing pro hockey at age 51. Fifty-one!

Rest in Peace to a legendary player.

**Finally today, wanted to end on an uplifting note. Friday was Muhammad Ali’s funeral, and as you expect, so many luminaries were in attendance.

Billy Crystal gave one of the eulogies, and he was just pitch-perfect. His humor, emotion and words were outstanding. Watch this and again, appreciate how much love and goodness there is in the world.

Billy’s the best.

Good News Friday: Cary Elwes writes a fabulous history of “The Princess Bride.” Sled hockey players get a wonderful surprise. And married people really are happier (survey says)

Happy Friday everyone. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: There are two kinds of people in this world: People who worship “The Princess Bride” and people who don’t have a heart.
Maybe that’s a little harsh … nah. “The Princess Bride” is a litmus test for me; if you don’t love it, we can’t be friends. I literally don’t know anyone who doesn’t smile when it comes up in conversation.

Funny, smart, sweet, and loaded with quotable lines, it’s just the greatest movie, one that I’ve watched dozens of times and enjoy more each time.

Cary Elwes, the actor who played Westley, loves “The Princess Bride,” too, since it’s easily his most famous role. He’s written a new book (with Joe Layden) called “As You Wish,” a behind-the-scenes tale of the making of the movie.

My awesome wife got it for me for Hanukkah, and I just finished it. Big surprise: I loved it.
It’s really an entertaining book, filled not just with Elwes’ recollections but those of director Rob Reiner, co-stars Chris Sarandon, Robin Wright, Christoper Guest and Billy Crystal.
Some of the many, many fabulous details I never knew:
— Elwes broke his big toe during filming while horsing around on Andre the Giant’s specially-sized ATV (yes, that sentence is just as weird when you read it a second time.)
— Wallace Shawn (aka Vizzini) was riddled with anxiety the entire shoot because he felt certain he’d be fired and be replaced in the movie by Danny DeVito.
— Andre the Giant … well, actually I won’t spoil any of the stuff about him. Needless to say, the Andre stories are worth the book’s price itself.
— The famous swordfight between Westley and Inigo was 100 percent all done by the actors; no stuntmen at all.

It’s really a joy to read this book if you love “The Princess Bride.” Happily, Elwes and the rest of the cast seem to truly appreciate how lucky they were to be a part of it, and how much it means to the film’s legion of fans.

“No more rhymes now, I mean it!”
“Anybody want a peanut?”

**Next up, I thought this was so cool: Sled hockey is a variation of the sport for people with disabilities, like an amputation. Gatorade told a bunch of sled hockey players they wanted to film them for a possible documentary, then a few minutes in a whole bunch of NHL stars showed up to play with them.
Their faces at :48 are just pure joy.

**And finally today, good news if you’re one of thse lucky folks like me who are married (and if you’re not, here’s more good reasons why you should): A new study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research has concluded that being married makes people happier and more satisfied with their lives than those who remain single – particularly during the most stressful periods, like midlife crises.

From this N.Y. Times story: “Those whose lives are most difficult could benefit most from marriage, according to the economists who wrote the new paper, John Helliwell of the Vancouver School of Economics and Shawn Grover of the Canadian Department of Finance. “Marriage may be most important when there is that stress in life and when things are going wrong,” Mr. Grover said.

They analyzed data about well-being from two national surveys in the United Kingdom and the Gallup World Poll. In all but a few parts of the world, even when controlling for people’s life satisfaction before marriage, being married made them happier. This conclusion, however, did not hold true in Latin America, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

So there you go: Don’t believe what TV sitcoms have told you for decades: Get married, life is better.

Your humble blogger, who used to wear mismatched clothes, eat frozen Tombstone pizzas on a regular basis, and only clean the apartment when the dirt jumped off the carpet and landed on my face, absolutely agrees.

So this is 39? Yeah, I’m good with that. And Ferguson explodes in tear gas again

Billy Crystal and Jack Palance in "City Slickers." Photo by Bruce McBroom

So I turned 39 on Sunday, and it was fabulous.
Birthdays used to depress me. I’d look at my receding hairline, my occasionally stalled sportswriting career, and realize time was slipping away in that great hourglass of life (now having written that, I’m thinking of the “Days of Our Lives” opening, a soap opera I once loved. Go ahead, judge me.).

But now birthdays do the opposite for me: I’m generally excited when they arrive, as I feel lucky I’ve made it through another year. Sure, this year’s birthday lead-up was a little stressful, with the last-minute preparations to our apartment for our impending baby going on, and me realizing last week while flipping through the channels and finding “City Slickers” on that I’m now the exact same age as Billy Crystal’s character when he starts his mid-life crisis and goes to the cattle drive. (What a freaking great movie that still is; I still laugh out loud when Daniel Stern yells to his wife, “I hate you more! If hate were people, I’d be China!”)

But I just had a fantastic birthday weekend, filled with all kinds of life events: Saturday we went to a family friend’s house on Long Island to celebrate the baby naming ceremony of their daughter’s triplets. Triplets, my God, I can’t even imagine. All three babies were super-well behaved for being only seven months old, though one of the boys fell asleep during his baby-naming ceremony (hey, he was entitled, it was hot out).
Then we had a surprise 70th birthday party for my stepmother, who put new meaning into the word “surprise.” Seriously, she was as shocked as I’ve ever seen someone at a surprise party. My father deserves major kudos for keeping it such a secret, and the food was outstanding.

Sunday my wife and I used our joint birthday presents to each other (her born-on date was last Sunday) and got massages, hers a pre-natal one, of course.
Never, ever a bad idea to get a massage. My new favorite person Gina de-stressed my back and shoulders completely, and made me laugh when I asked her if new fathers come in a lot.
“Yeah,” she replied, “and they usually fall asleep within the first five minutes.”

Spent the rest of Sunday relaxing, doing one of my annual birthday traditions, corny though it is (I re-read “Life’s Little Instruction Book,” every year, and love it every time. My favorite maxim is No. 68: “Be Brave. Even if you’re not, pretend t be. No one can tell the difference.”), and we had a super dinner out at Atlantic Grill, one of my favorite NYC restaurants.

So yeah, 39 is pretty good so far. It’s going to be a year different than all the others, filled with sleep deprivation, diaper changes galore, and a new “roommate” who will require constant attention and be completely dependent on us.

Can’t wait!

 

 

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**Just when it looked like things were finally calming down in Ferguson, Mo. Just when it looked like the police had stopped using tear gas indiscriminately, arresting journalists for no apparent reason, and the town was no longer a tinder box of violence as thousands peacefully protested the shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old African-American named Michael Brown.

But no, Sunday night, hell broke loose again. A full three hours before the town-mandated curfew, police fired a shitload of tear-gas on protesters. Journalists like Robert Klemko of SI.com were arrested. There were reports of gunshots, and Molotov cocktails being fired at the police as tear gas rained down (the police said that, at least).

Absolutely like nothing I’ve seen in America since the Rodney King riots in L.A. back in 1992.

Just horrifying. How can this continue? Do the police feel like they just have free rein to do whatever the hell they want? If there are protesters being violent and threatening police, then they should be arrested.
But from the video and pictures I’ve seen, it just looks like massive, overwhelming police force against citizens.

The world is watching. And this is how an American police force reacts.

Awful, awful, awful.

 

I’m off to Mexico for a week of sun and fun. The best pictures of 2012. And “Who’s On First?” starring Fallon, Crystal and Seinfeld

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For the first time since I started this here blog 3 1/2 years ago, I’m taking a full week off from it.

Yep, taking a break for a good reason: My soon-to-be-bride and I are travelling with her family to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, for a week of fun in the sun. When I first heard about the trip opportunity, my initial reaction (being a child of the 1980s) was “Didn’t “The Love Boat” stop there? And wasn’t Puerto Vallarta the trip they always gave away on game shows like “The Joker’s Wild” and “Tic-Tac-Dough?” (Man I love me some Wink Martindale.)

But alas, it’s still around and kicking, so I hope to enjoy some snorkeling, parasailing, and laying around the beach for seven glorious days.

I’ll be back blogging again, probably on New Year’s Day or so. In the meantime, have a wonderful New Year to one and all, and please oh please let them end the NHL lockout while I’m gone.

**Couple more things to leave you with before I go. This was on Jimmy Fallon the other night; the old “Who’s On First” routine that still cracks me up, with some modifications, starring Billy Crystal and Jerry Seinfeld. Funny stuff…

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**Finally, can’t leave without sharing some of the great photos on “The Big Picture” gallery of the best of 2012. I’ve linked to their incredible galleries before, and this one doesn’t disappoint.(besides the one above, No. 11, 32, and 35 are my favorites).

Some amazing photographs showing all kinds of human emotion, each one tells a great story.

Good News Friday: The “12-12-12” concert mostly rocked. A gift idea for your favorite drinker. And Andre Johnson takes kids to Toys R’ Us

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Good News comes from all walks of life today, but it starts with one of the most epic concerts I’ve ever seen.

The concert for Sandy Relief, or the “12-12-12” show at Madison Square Garden Wednesday night, was fantastic, if a little over-packed with old, white dudes who kicked ass through the 70s, 80s, 90s, and the Aughts, and are still rocking in the ’10s (can we call this decade the ’10s? Good).
It went on for about 43 hours (OK, about six), and was filled with highlights and a few lowlights, and raised $30 million from ticket sales and corporate donations so far (they haven’t tallied all the Internet and phone pledges yet).

A few quick-hit thoughts after watching the show:

— Best performances were Bruce Springsteen (never lets a crowd down), Alicia Keys, the Stones, and, much to my surprise, Chris Martin of Coldplay. He did a great duet with Michael Stipe (who looked awful but sounded great), had some funny jokes, and truly seemed honored to be there.

— Worst performances? Adam Sandler blaspheming by doing a version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallejulah” was terrible. I thought the skit with Seth Meyers was awful. And, I expect to get hit by lightning after writing this, but I wasn’t thrilled by Paul McCartney’s performance. He did two “Wings” songs, for God’s sake. “Live and Let Die” was good, as was “Blackbird,” but I dunno, I just didn’t love Sir Paul on this night.

— Wow, was Roger Daltrey’s chest waxed. But he looked and sounded great. Keith Richards, well, I’ve seen corpses that looked better.

— Maybe I’m sensitive as a native New Yorker, but it pissed me off how many celebs claim to be “New Yorkers.” Chelsea Clinton (from Arkansas) and Sandler (from New Hampshire) both claimed to be natives on the show. Just wrong.

Kanye West’s leather skirt. Ummm, yeah. Great fashion choice. As someone on Twitter said, “Leave him alone. He came straight to the concert from his field hockey game.”

— Crazy that Keys was the only female on the entire show (which someone joked was “a five-hour Cialis commercial.). They couldn’t have gotten Pink, or Sheryl Crow, or Gwen Stefani?

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**Next, I have the perfect gift for you if you or someone you love loves beer, and loves keeping their hands warm.

Heard about these on the radio, and then had to see them for myself: An Icelandic company makes beer mittens, so you can hold your Budweiser and keep your digits warm all at the same time.

Bloody brilliant. I don’t even drink beer and I want a pair.

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**Finally, one of the good guys of the NFL is Andre Johnson, the world-class wide receiver for the Houston Texans. Every year, Johnson takes a group of at-risk Houston kids and gives them a shopping spree at Toys R’ Us. They have 80 seconds to each grab as much as they can and shove it into a shopping cart.

This year’s spree came to $19,521, which means those kids knew exactly where the big ticket items were. Bravo, Andre. (That’s him with the receipt, above)

A terrific Oscars with Billy C back in charge. And Mormons baptizing Anne Frank posthumously? Very weird

Billy Crystal brought the funny.
Jennifer Lopez brought the wow.
And Meryl Streep brought the love from everyone.
One year after a pretty miserable Oscars hosted by two people who had no idea what they were doing, Billy Crystal and Hollywood kicked some serious butt last night at the Academy Awards.
As always, yours truly was taking notes and gathering comments from the peanut gallery.
— Sunday was the first time I ever attended an Oscars party, and it was super fun. Some friends of my girlfriend host a gala every year at their gorgeous NYC apartment, and it was super fun. There was a pool, some theme food (I particularly liked the Eggstremely Loud and Incredibly Toast) and good mocking all around.

— I thought Billy Crystal was terrific, though oddly he laughed at his own jokes a few times. His opener was hilarious, most of his jokes were spot-on (his political joke was funny, as was most of his banter with the stars in the crowd), and he kept the show moving. He sounded a little under the weather, which was unfortunate. Still, I thought he was great.

–Those Cirque de Soleil people were fantastic. Many at our party went “wow” at the contortions they were doing. Gotta see that show live one of these days.
— Jennifer Lopez. Wow. It seems like only at awards shows do I remember how beautiful she is. Thought Clooney’s girlfriend Stacy Kiebler, and Tina Fey looked particularly fetching, too. As did Viola Davis.
— So happy Meryl Streep won her third Oscar (her speech is at this link), and first in 29 years. Yeah, maybe Viola Davis deserved it, too, but Meryl has been so good for so long that I’m glad she got another moment in the sun. She’s the finest actor, male or female, in America. And a genuinely nice person from Jersey, too.
— Line of the night from one of the guys in our party: “Nick Nolte could walk right from the red carpet into the Death Montage.” Man, Nick looked bad.

— Very sweet speech by the guy who won for “A Separation,” from Iran. Thought it was interesting that as he was speaking, the cameras flashed right to Steven Spielberg, one of the most famous Jews in Hollywood.
— I thought Emma Stone was trying way too hard. But the “Bridesmaids” ladies were very funny.
— Chris Rock killed in his two minutes on stage. I wish they’d let him host again.

— Finally, though Streep’s win was one of the only “upsets” of the night, I actually liked the pacing of the show this year. Some of the interludes were interesting and I’m glad they didn’t subject us to 9 Best Picture vignettes. Good stuff all around.

**I don’t quite know what to say about this story, except to just present it and let you try to figure it out. For at least the 10th time, the Mormon Church has decided to posthumously baptize Anne Frank into the church. Yes, that Anne Frank, the famous Holocaust child who hid in the attic, then died in a concentration camp, has been baptized into the Mormon church.

Offensive and bizarre on so many levels. To try to use Anne Frank as a prop to proselytize about your religion is just ridiculous and wrong.
Would love to hear Mitt Romney weigh in on this one.

 

Billy Crystal’s back at the Oscars, whoo-hoo! On 11/11, it was about Spinal Tap. And Jon Stewart slays ’em again.

Billy Crystal is back hosting the Oscars.
This is wildly exciting for me. For my money, Billy C has been the best host of any awards show, ever. From his skits at the beginning of each Oscar telecast he’s hosted, to the hilarious jokes during the show (the Jack Palance telecast was a highlight), Billy just gets it. He knows how to tweak celebrities and keep the show moving.

During last year’s telecast, I briefly became Nostradamus. As Anne Hathaway and James Franco were tanking, I put out a missive on Facebook saying this show desperately needed Billy. Not 10 minutes later, he came out to do a hilarious five minutes.
Can’t wait for this year’s show.

The People of Facebook (I love that that sounds like a country, as in: “The People of Facebook decided to elect a new leader today…”) decided that there was no one better to honor on 11/11/11 than Nigel Tufnel, the character Christopher Guest played in the classic movie “This is Spinal Tap.”

He is honored, of course, because he uttered the famous line “These go to 11” when talking about his fancy new amplifier. (And that scene above, stick with it through the Stonehenge prop comes down, just kills me every time).
And so the fine people at the Washington Post put together a “Top 11” Nigel Tufnel quotes. Enjoy.

**Jon Stewart, taking on this week’s GOP debate with his typical hilarity. I laughed many, many times, especially at the Friendly’s reference. Truly astounding at how bad the Republican field is this time around.

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Paul Krugman nails the media, accurately. A strange story of a woman who disappeared in her own home. And Lochte slays Phelps in the pool.

This is one of my biggest complaints about the national media in the past 15 years: They are constantly putting forth this “false equivalency.” What I mean is, even if one side of the story is SO clearly making more sense, and more truthful, than the other side, the Wolf Blitzers and Brian Williamses of the world present both sides as if they’re exactly the same.
And it drives me up a freaking wall (as it does Bill Maher, who frequently rails about it on his show). It’s happening now with this debt ceiling crisis, as Barack Obama has bent over backwards and then back again trying to get a deal done, offering everything but naming Sasha Obama’s first-born child John.
Meanwhile, the Republicans, who have once again successfully moved the middle of the debate so far to the right that it only looks like the middle because they’ve taken such an extreme position (you followed all that, right?), refuse to budge on anything.
And yet, the media continues to portray this as a civil disagreement between two sides.
Paul Krugman, the brilliant New York Times columnist, put up a blog post Tuesday that sums this up perfectly. Check it out please; he makes the point far more eloquently than I could.

**And now, for no particular reason except that I stumbled upon it on YouTube Tuesday night, is Billy Crystal, as Sammy Davis Jr., from the 1980s. People forget how utterly brilliant Billy was:

The best stories are the ones you can get lost in.
They may not have the most profound meaning or carry the most important news of the day, but they suck you in and make you think about how things happen.

Michael Kruse, a very talented writer for the St. Petersburg Times (who is leaving the paper soon for a new gig, I hear) wrote this heartbreaking story about a woman in Brevard County, Fla. named Kathryn Norris, who died in her house and wasn’t discovered for 16 months.
She literally, as Kruse writes, “went missing inside her own home.” It’s a really good story that’s worth your time today.

**Finally, my man Ryan Lochte, a six-time Olympic medalist in swimming who I covered (fairly obsessively) for four years at the Daytona Beach News-Journal, scored another huge win over Michael Phelps Tuesday. At the FINA World Championships he beat Phelps in the 200 freestyle final, the third time he’s beaten the greatest swimmer ever in the last year.
Lochte is ascending, while Phelps is finally coming down from the mountain. It’s been so cool to watch this rivalry develop the last few years, as Lochte got closer and closer to Phelps’ heels. For the moment, he’s definitely caught him.
My last story for my old newspaper (sniff, sniff) ran last Sunday, a profile of Lochte previewing this week’s worlds. If you’re a swimming fan, check it out here, and here’s video of the race:

Billy Crystal, everywhere all of a sudden. And the 55-hour tennis match finally ends

Billy Crystal has always been one of my favorite comedians, and not just because we’re both short, balding Jewish guys from Long Island.
He was hilarious on “Saturday Night Live,” and to this day I can quote some of his legendary “Frankie and Willie” skits with Christopher Guest (“Man, I hate when that happens,” I know what you mean.” 
He also, of course, has starred in the funniest movies ever, including two on my Top 10 favorite comedies, “When Harry Met Sally (“Baby Fish Mouth!”) and “City Slickers” (“Hey Curly, kill anyone today?” “Day ain’t over yet.”)
Anyway, I love me some Billy Crystal, and all of a sudden he seems to be everywhere again. He was on “The Daily Show” last night promoting his new Funny or Die Video, which is pretty damn hilarious. Check it out here:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

**Here’s something I’ll remember the next time I’m complaining about being tired during a two-hour tennis match.
Two teenagers named Sam Angel and Katie Martens, who live in Missoula, Montana, played the longest match in recorded history last week, competing against each other for 55 hours, 55 minutes and 55 seconds in an attempt to set a new Guinness Book of Records mark (they got it.)
My favorite part of the story, and really I loved all of it, is this sentence:  “Ray Angel, Sam’s father, noticed that his son was making no sense verbally and wasn’t responding well physically around dinnertime Sunday.”
This story was so amazing to me, that I called the reporter who wrote it Wednesday, a guy named Jamie Kelly, and he filled me in on even more wacky details.
He said the duo never stopped playing to eat, but that their parents and friends would bring them food out on the court while they continued to play (making a two-handed backhand kinda difficult). Kelly told me that according to Guinesss rules, they were entitled to five-minute breaks every hour, but if they didn’t take them, they could save them up and use 15-minutes all at once, for example.
Kelly also said that nurses were on hand to check Sam and Katie’s vital signs, and during breaks they soaked their feet in crushed ice.
“I tried to interview Sam during one of the breaks,” Kelly told me, “but he couldn’t really respond too well.”
Both Katie and Sam are recovering nicely and didn’t suffer any long-term damage from this insane record.
Me? All I kept thinking about when I first read the story was this “Brady Bunch” episode when Bobby and Cindy set the teeter-totter record. A classic episode, if you ask me: