Tag Archives: CBS Sunday Morning

Ted Koppel calmly eviscerates Hannity, and it’s beautiful. An awesome commercial for “Los Pollos Hermanos.” And a couple of fantastic games Sunday leave us with a wild Final Four.

Longtime readers of my blog (both of you) know I’m a big fan of “CBS Sunday Morning.”
I love the stories they do, I love the humor, the human interest pieces that Steve Hartman does, I love the “Moment of Nature” at the end of each episode (hey, I live in the concrete jungle of New York City, I don’t get that much “real” nature on a regular basis), I love all of it.

But as usual right now, I’m a few weeks behind in my viewing. So there’s a very good chance I would have had no idea about the beautiful piece of television that aired Sunday morning, if it hadn’t kind of blown up on the Internet.

Ted Koppel, a broadcast journalist of the highest integrity and credibility, did a story on the “divide” between America right now, politically. It didn’t cover all that much new territory except for provoking some really good, frank talk between Koppel and human-sewage-dressed-in-an-Armani-suit Sean Hannity, the Fox News host who is Donald Trump’s No.1 fan and maybe Trump’s only rival in the lying department.

Anyway, I very much enjoyed the above clip, whereas Hannity asks Koppel, after some back and forth, “Do you think I’m bad for America?” and Koppel replies, “Yeah.”

I highly recommend watching the whole story here. Hannity comes off at his smarmy worst, while Koppel gently tries to explain why he feels the way he does.

As a man on Twitter named Nick Jack Pappas said, “Sean Hannity debating Ted Koppel about real journalism is like a 5-year-old debating his dad about the rules of the house.”

**Next up today, I worship “Breaking Bad” and think that after two seasons, “Better Call Saul” is on its way to becoming almost as good.

With Season 3 coming up soon, and the introduction of Gus Fring to this new/old world, AMC and “Better Call Saul” have come up with this awesome promo/commercial for the famous “Los Pollos Hermanos” restaurant Gus ran.
This cracked me up pretty hard, knowing what we know about what “Pollos” really was about.

**Finally today, I don’t think anyone in their right minds could’ve predicted this NCAA Tournament’s Final Four. (Well, OK, 657 people on ESPN.com’s bracket challenge did, but come on, nobody ACTUALLY thought South Carolina was going to make it, they were just picking the Gamecocks to be different).
We’ve got a one of a kind Final Four, it feels like to me, because half the field has never been here before, one hasn’t been here since before Pearl Harbor was attacked, and the other is basketball royalty.
Gonzaga, Oregon, South Carolina and North Carolina have made it, and it’s unlike any other Final Four I remember.  After a couple of snoozer games on Saturday, we got two absolute beauties on Sunday.
Some thoughts from my brain, which is still a little scrambled from actually rooting for hated Duke rival UNC to win on Sunday (yeah, I hate John “Satan” Calipari that much):

— The Gamecocks are really a wonderful story, even if I’m still a little mad they beat Duke last weekend. This team hadn’t won an NCAA Tournament game since 1973, and now thanks to a suffocating defense and Sindarius Thornwell (above, and what a great moniker he’s got, like a cross between a Harry Potter character and a 19th-century U.S. Senator) they’re going to the Final Four. OK, their head coach (Frank Martin) is a raving lunatic, but this is a terrific team that’s gelled at the right time. Good for them. Also, Martin gets major kudos for how he dealt with a SI for Kids reporter the other night:

— Gotta be happy for Gonzaga, too, after so many years of being really good but not good enough to make the Final 4, that they’ve finally done it. OK, OK, so they didn’t have the toughest path to make it; that’s not their fault. A clean program that’s built themselves from nothing into a legit power.

— That UNC-UK game Sunday night was sensational, even if I loathe both teams and programs. The last minute was just superb, between Kentucky’s Malik Monk sinking two remarkable 3-pointers, to Carolina’s Luke Maye (a former walk-on!) making two fantastic plays (the long pass to Justin Jackson for a layup, and then of course his game-winning shot) and you know what the best part of the last minute was? Each team’s coach just let the players play, and didn’t strangle the game with timeout after timeout.

And yes, I was having a hard time being happy that the Tar Heels, who me and everyone else keeps saying is being damaged by this academic fraud scandal, have now made two Final Fours in a row. But Kentucky and slick Satan Calipari, who gets SO much talent every year, and is so arrogant about it every year (as are UK’s fans), has now won just one national title in eight seasons there.

Shouldn’t those demanding Wildcats fans expect more?

— Oh and by the way, someone wrote this this weekend but I can’t for the life of me remember where I read it: How come CBS cameras never show Kentucky superfan Ashley Judd in the crowd anymore? We used to get inundated by shots of the actress, screaming, cheering, yelling, all that good stuff, and now we never see her. Is she no longer at the games? Have all basketball cameramen everywhere made some sort of pact never to show her again? I’m brimming with questions.

— Seeing billionaire Phil Knight cut down the nets as Oregon advanced to the Final Four just gives you all the feels, doesn’t it?

Why I’m starting to get mad at “This Is Us,” which could be a great show. The University of Rochester is fed up with your shower habits. And the Portland pub that donates profits to charity

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This is huge. Potentially the biggest political scandal in American history. So much still to be known, but man oh man, you could easily see how this leads to impeachment.

So glad the FBI decided not to tell America that it was investigating Trump/Russia ties, but we had to learn that Anthony Weiner had some Hillary emails on his computer…

OK, so I wrote a few months ago that “This is Us” was my favorite new show, and that it had the potential to be great, but it also could go down the tubes with a few wrong turns.

Well, call up Mapquest (look it up, kids!), but I fear the big hit on NBC has made a few too many lefts and not enough rights. Or something like that.

I haven’t seen last night’s episode yet (so there are no spoilers here), but I have a few big problems with the show, that I’m sure many of you share:

— First of all, Kate. Kate, Kate, Kate. I’ve heard of making a character one-dimensional, but this is ridiculous. Every single storyline involving Kate deals with her weight. It’s always, always about Kate’s struggle with her size. They’ve made this the entire story of her character, as if she has nothing else. It’s insulting that they’ve made her this unlikable person who has no other dimension to her. And now they’re putting her into this ridiculous love triangle with the douchebag at the weight-loss camp, and her fiance Toby (who I actually like)? Ugh.

— Then there’s Kevin, who is also completely unlikable. He’s cute and charming and a sort-of TV star, but the writers have given us no reason to root for him or like him. He’s as shallow as puddle of water, and he treats people badly. I’m kind of glad he keeps getting dumped by girls on the show.

— The best part of “This Is Us,” by far, is Randall and his family, and biological dad William. The acting is tremendous, the storylines interesting, and we have reason to care about and like these characters. I’d watch an entire show just about them.

— I also think Mandy Moore, and I can’t believe I’m typing this, is one hell of an actress. Her scenes are gorgeous, she has great chemistry with Milo Ventimiglia, and she shows the strength and fragility of Rebecca in every scene. I know she’s not going to win an Emmy or anything, but I’m stunned at how good she is.

— Finally, OK, maybe this is a little thing, but did you see last week’s episode with Kevin trying to win back his ex-wife Sophie? The scenes in the New York City subway (above) were the most unrealistic I’ve ever seen on a non-sci-fi show, ever.

Has anyone involved with the show ever been on a NYC subway? They don’t have carpeting, there’s always a few people standing,, and most of all, when a derailment delay happens and then finally after 20 minutes the subway starts moving again, people do NOT stand up and cheer wildly like they did on this episode!!! Man that pissed me off.

OK I think I’m done ranting. Seriously, “This Is Us” has so much potential; it’s warm, emotional and beautifully shot. But please, for the love of God, do something with Kate and Kevin’s characters.

**Alrighty, next up, the University of Rochester is a little fed up with the behavior of some of its male students in the dorm room showers. So they posted this stern note which I think we can all agree with:

rochester-masturbationwarningThat’s classic. My favorite part is at the end, the “Thank you for your cooperation.” Really classes it up a little, doesn’t it?

(Update: Smart reader Mark M. has pointed me to this, showing that the sign is actually a fake, and that lots of these have popped up around colleges. Ah, well. It’s still funny.)

**Finally today, I love this story and not just because I visited Portland last summer and found it to be awesome.

The Oregon Public House bar in Portland is maybe the first non-profit pub in America. Customers walk in to the place, order their drink, order their food, then pick a charity they’d like the profits from their meal to go to.

The owners swap out charities every month, and so far have given away more than $100,000 to worthy causes.

Pretty freaking awesome.

 

A beautiful mentor/protege relationship on the violin, across the miles. Teachers tell their students why they love them. And Bob Dylan wins a Nobel Prize for literature

And a happy Friday to all. It’s pumpkin-spice season and Halloween’s coming up and the baseball playoffs are getting seriously good (come on, after the horrible year 2016 has been, we deserve a Cubs-Indians World Series) and the Rangers won on opening night against the Islanders Thursday and Michelle Obama gave one hell of an amazing speech Thursday  and life is good.

We start Good News Friday with the great Steve Hartman of “CBS Sunday Morning,” once again giving me, as the kids say, all the feels. This story, about a famous Philadelphia Orchestra member named David Bilger mentoring a 17-year-old Afghani student in the violin, is just a beautiful tale of one human reaching out to help another.

If the hug at the end doesn’t get you … check your heartbeat to make sure you’re still alive.

**Next up today, this is one of the best ideas I’ve ever heard. A teacher named Jamie McSparin at Oak Park High School in Kansas City, Mo. came up with the idea of teachers in her school telling one of their favorite students that they are what makes coming to school every day worthwhile, and how the student inspires them.

To see the looks on these students’ faces (the girl at 1:13 is my favorite, but the one at 2:58 is great too!)

The future is very, very bright.

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**Finally today, I was very happy to learn that Bob Dylan, a musical genius and pioneer in every sense, was given the Nobel Prize for Literature on Friday. Some on the Internet are already saying he doesn’t deserve it, his songs aren’t really “literature,” and casting other aspersions on the honor.

Hogwash. Dylan has been incredibly influential and incredibly talented for more than six decades. His lyrics spoke to generations of fans, from 1960s radicals who wanted to change the world (and did), to even Gen X’ers and Millenials, who still download the 75-year-old’s music.

I fell in love with Dylan’s music as a teenager, when I first encountered the gorgeous “Times they Are A-Changin,” “Like a Rolling Stone,” and “Blowin’ In the Wind.” The gravelly voice, the beautiful guitar-playing… all of it spoke to me.

Here’s a great appreciation of Dylan by Ty Burr of the Boston Globe.

A well-deserving honor to a legend. Take us out, Robert Zimmerman…

“A View From the Bridge” an incredible Broadway experience. The stranger who donated a liver to a woman he then married. And a bachelor detective in Pittsburgh adopts 2 kids, gains a family

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And a Happy Friday to all of you out there in Internet-land. Hope where you are is warmer than it’s been in NYC this week. While I watch some playoff football this weekend and get mad once again that the Jets blew that freaking game last Sunday and therefore aren’t playing, I give you a Broadway review and two great video stories for Good News Friday.

First, the review. Since high school, I’ve been a big Arthur Miller fan, probably once I read “Death of the Salesman” and several of his other “greatest hits.” The Dustin Hoffman movie of “Death” is incredible, and I’ve seen a few other Miller plays staged over the years.

But nothing prepared me for the sheer power and awesomeness that was the “A View from the Bridge” production my wife and I saw last weekend on Broadway. Imported directly, cast and all, from the London show, it’s the story of Eddie Carbone, a 1950s-era Brooklyn longshoreman, his wife, their 17-year-old niece, and two Italian immigrant cousins who come to live in their apartment, illegally.

The acting was amazing; Mark Strong as Eddie (above, middle) put one of the most powerful performances I’ve ever seen. For two hours (with no intermission, so pee before or hold it for us audience members), he commanded the small stage and showed you how a man could become obsessed, unhealthily, with his niece, and form a rage against the cousin who falls in love with her (or is just using her to stay in America legally).

I have to say, there was a lot of this play that resonated in 2016 with me, as far as immigrants coming to America and searching for a better life, and the desperation they felt.

The script was superb, the direction was great, and it was the quietest theater I’ve ever been in; all 500 of us in the crowd were hushed pretty much the whole time.

When it ended, I literally said “Wow!” If you’re in New York, or visiting anytime soon, I highly, highly recommend “A View from the Bridge.”

It reminded me how incredible live theater can be, when it’s done to perfection. I hope it wins a boatload of Tony Awards.

Next up today, these kinds of stories always amaze me. A woman named Heather Krueger in Frankfort, Ill. needed a life-saving liver transplant. A total stranger, and former Marine named Chris Dempsey was moved by her plight and decided to donate 55 percent of his own healthy liver.

The two got to know each other during their hospital stay and recuperation, and fell in love. Then they got married.

Watch the video above, and tell me fate doesn’t exist.

Finally today, yet another gem from Steve Hartman and “CBS Sunday Morning.” This one involves a tough police detective from Pittsburgh, two boys being raised in a terrible situation, and how opening his heart and home to them led to so much more.

Great stuff.

Some really smart prison inmates beat Harvard’s debate team (for real). 3 on 3 hockey OT is gonna be great. And the 101-year-old woman who still owns a candy store and loves it.

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And a Happy Friday to you! Should be a really fun weekend for yours truly, with activities both meaningful and fun (my son’s going to his first fall harvest festival! For him, it’s getting to go on a hay ride and get his face painted. For me it’s just an excuse to go eat some cider donuts.)

Three stories this week on Good News Friday that hopefully will make you smile.

First, this story makes me smile, big-time. Study after study, anecdote after anecdote, illustrates the immense potential of prison inmates to rehabilitate themselves, get a real education, and become useful members of society if and when they get out.

And yet even though great strides have been made since Andy Dufresne built a prison library at Shawshank, funding for prisoner education programs lags far, far behind what it should be.

But look at a story like this, and tell me how you could possibly disagree that there’s so much potential in so many inmates.

Last weekend the Harvard debate team, the current national collegiate champs, traveled to the Eastern N.Y. Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison upstate.

Inmates there have formed a debate club and get courses taught by professors at Bard College, located nearby.

The inmates at Eastern have gotten quite good at debates, beating the University of Vermont and the cadets at West Point.

But Harvard’s the national champs, so … yeah, the inmates won.

Read the details here.

“Students in the prison are held to the exact same standards, levels of rigor and expectation as students on Bard’s main campus,” said Max Kenner, executive director of the Bard Prison Initiative, which operates in six New York prisons. “Those students are serious. They are not condescended to by their faculty.”

According to this story, Harvard’s debaters posted a comment on their Facebook page after the loss.

“There are few teams we are prouder of having lost a debate to than the phenomenally intelligent and articulate team we faced this weekend,” they wrote. “And we are incredibly thankful to Bard and the Eastern New York Correctional Facility for the work they do and for organizing this event.”

Look what can happen. Education is the silver bullet for so many things, and can lead to so much. A bunch of prisoners just out-smarted kids from Harvard.

How wonderful.

**Next up, once again Steve Hartman and “CBS Sunday Morning” put out a story so sweet it forces me to include it here. Ethel Weiss is 101 years old and lives in Brookline, Mass.

For the past 76 years, she has owned Irving’s Candy and Toy Store, right around the corner from a school. And long after most people her age have retired, Ethel is still going strong, running the store by herself.

Her best customers are the kids in the neighborhood, who are fiercely loyal to Ethel. Just look at how sweet these kids are when they talk about her.

“Nothing can compare to her and that candy shop,” one boy says.

Really sweet.

**And finally, it’s hockey season, which is enough to get me excited normally. But this year the NHL is experimenting with something new and radical and awesome: They’re going to play overtime with just three skaters aside.

Which should lead to fantastic scoring chances, beautiful displays of skill, and utter chaos all over the ice. How will the players change lines? Are we going to see lots of breakaways? Will goalies stand a chance?

No one knows. Whatever happens, it’ll be exciting if you love the sport like I do, and it should be thrilling for everyone in the arena.

Thursday night we had the first regular season 3-on-3 OT, and this happened (above).

3-on-3 OT will make the best sport in the world even better. And that’s good news.

Good News Friday: A couple married 81 years shares their secret. Wisconsin football shaves heads for pediatric cancer kids. And the 109-year-old man who knits sweaters for penguins

Still buzzing and the heart rate is just getting back to normal after that amazing Duke-Carolina game Wednesday night. Man, if that doesn’t make you love college basketball, nothing will. Also wanted to point you to a story I read Thursday that does the impossible: Makes you feel sympathy for Alex Rodriguez. The great J.R. Moehringer spent six months in A-Rod’s inner circle, and the result is this incredible story for ESPN The Magazine. I urge you to read it.

I’ve been married twice, for a combined total so far of five years. My parents were married for 21 years before divorcing, and my grandparents were both married for more than 50 years each, which blows my mind every time I think about it.

Fifty years? With the same person, every day? Sounds like a miracle. But Dale and Alice Rockey, of Missouri, have the longest marriage I’ve ever heard of, and the longest current one in the United States.

These two lovebirds have been together for 81 years. EIGHTY-ONE! Lee Cowen of “CBS Sunday Morning” had this beautiful short feature on the Rockey’s last week, and it made me smile numerous times, especially when Dale … well, just watch it, I don’t want to give it away. But I about teared up near the end…

Eighty-one years. Amazing.

Badgers

**Next up on Good News Friday,  I love stories like this, stories of athletes doing a simple thing to make kids happy. Nine members of the University of Wisconsin football team have, for the second year in a row, voluntarily shaved their heads to raise money and show support for pediatric cancer patients at American Family Children’s Hospital in the state.

The cancer patients also got a free pizza party and a tour of Camp Randall Stadium (look how cool that photo above is, how much fun is that kid having?)

Very cool. Good job, Badgers.

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**Finally today, loyal reader Sanford sent this to me last week, and I just think it’s pretty adorable.

A 109-year-old Australian man named Alfie Date has been knitting clothes for penguins on Phillip Island to help prevent them from swallowing oil while cleaning themselves (there was recently a big oil spill there). If these little penguins swallowed oil, they could die.

Alfie’s been knitting in his aged-care facility since he arrived, and he and hundreds of others are knitting jumpers to help save the penguins.

Morgan Freeman would be so proud.

Alfie is the oldest man in Australia, in case you were wondering.

 

Good News Friday: Kansas City police give out $100 bills thanks to Secret Santa. A waitress gets the “best shift ever.” And Toys ‘R’ Us customers get their remaining bill wiped out

So much going in the world these days that’s bad, it’s nice to stop and acknowledge good things today.

Like the final episode of the Serial podcast, which was awesome (no spoilers). Like the fact that finally, after decades of a failed policy, the U.S. is letting Cuba back into the world. Like this great story I read Thursday by The MMQB’s Emily Kaplan, about a man named Danny Watkins who quit the NFL because he really wanted to be a firefighter.

And these three pieces of media, which delighted me this week. Happy Holidays to one and all…

First up, I write about this wonderful humanitarian every year at this time, because CBS Sunday Morning does a story on him each year. An anonymous millionaire in the Midwest goes around the country every December handing out $100 bills to random strangers, people who look to be in need.

This year, he did things a little differently. He enlisted members of the Kansas City, Mo. police department to be his elves, and had them pull over cars that looked to be damaged or in need of repair.
Then, after pulling them over, they gave the unsuspecting strangers the $100. Their reactions are priceless…

**Next up, this made me really happy, because I know how crappy restaurant waiters and waitresses get treated. The people at Break.com decided to give a very deserving server named Chelsea the “Best Shift Ever,” with a $1,000 tip, a new car, and so much more.

Watch and feel the love…

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**And finally, more examples of the holiday spirit making people do nice things: Last week a woman walked into a Toys ‘R’ Us store in Bellingham, Mass., and told the manager she wanted to pay off every layaway account the store had, anonymously.

It cost the benefactor $20,000, but it sure made a whole of people have a much happier holiday season.
Beautiful.

 

When love is an instinct: a beautiful love story 60 years in the making. Mila Kunis hilariously spoofs soon-to-be Dads. And 32 photos of people doing good

Two quick sports thoughts before we get to Good News Friday: 1, It is so, so beautiful to watch the San Antonio Spurs play basketball. Unselfishness, teamwork, no egos… that’s a very rare thing in sports today. And 2, Let’s Go Rangers! Saturday is the 20th anniversary of this. Tonight is Game 5 in L.A. If my Blueshirts somehow find a way to win this one, well then … I can start to dream about a miracle happening.

One of my favorite TV shows, as I’ve said repeatedly, is “CBS Sunday Morning,” because every once in a while they completely knock me out with a simple, beautiful story like this one. Melvin Amyrine and his wife, Doris, have been married for 60 years. Melvin’s suffering from Alzheimer’s, but of course that’s not why this story is part of Good News Friday. Watch the very short story above to see what Melvin did, to show that his heart very much remembers what his mind isn’t always able to. Just beautiful. Get the Kleenex ready. **Next up, this cracked me up. Several years ago I had a friend who was expecting a child with his wife, and he’d always say things like “We’re 28 weeks now,” or “We’re pregnant.” Used to drive me nuts, as I’m sure it drives some women nuts, and I’ve been really, really careful to not say that for the past seven months while my wife’s been carrying our child. Men are NOT pregnant. We are expecting to be parents, yes. But we don’t grow humans inside of us. Mila Kunis is pregnant, and she put together this pretty funny song about the unfortunate trend of men saying “we’re pregnant.” metermaid.buzzfeed **And finally today, some wonderful pictures of human kindness to take you into the weekend. Buzzfeed, which takes a lot of criticism from the mainstream media and deserves much of it, also does some great stuff too. Here, 32 pictures of human beings acting kindly, toward each other, toward animals, or toward the planet. The one above is just one of my favorites, but truly, they’re all worth a look. People are basically good. A lot of people have told me, my whole life, that I’m wrong. But I’m still going to believe it anyway.

Two stories of warm-hearted Grandmas. And a 5-year-old leukemia patient gets his Batman wish

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And a happy Good News Friday to you all; I’m happy because I’m going to my first Rangers game at the “new” Madison Square Garden on Sunday, where I’m sure I’ll be depressed after what I suspect will be the Jets letting me down Sunday afternoon.

But that’s two days away, let’s focus on the good. And on two great stories involving Grandmas, who really never get the credit they’re due.

First, once again “CBS Sunday Morning” comes through with a heartwarming story. An 81-year-old grandmother named SuEllen Fried of Prairie Village, Kan.,who for the past three decades has been leading a support group and lending plenty of support herself, to prisoners at Lansing Correctional Facility.

Fried runs a program called “Reaching Out from Within,” helping prisoners learn to be kinder toward one another, and trying to change their outlook on life.

You may think it’s a hopeless task, but this stat from the story blew me away: While the normal prisoner recidivism rate is 50 percent, inmates who go through Sue’s program only return to prison 10 percent of the time.

It’s a beautiful story and yet more evidence that the neanderthal notion of “locking them up and throwing away the key,” without offering supports and a way out, is just so, so wrong.

You go, Grandma.

**The second Grandma story involves Florida Marlins rookie pitching sensation Jose Fernandez and his grandma (I actually saw Fernandez pitch in high school in Florida, and he was a man among boys).

Fernandez is from Cuba, and he hadn’t been able to see his grandmother for the past five years, since he left the country for Florida.

Well, with the help of Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria (who rarely gets any praise, nor deserves any), Fernandez got to see his Grandma recently. Check out the video here; it gets really good around the 2:45 mark, but the whole thing is terrific.

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**Finally today, this story is wonderful on a few different levels. A 5-year-old boy with leukemia named Miles loves Batman, and his Make-A-Wish Foundation wish was to become BatKid.

And now the entire city of San Francisco today is helping Miles’ wish come true. Check out these awesome details from this story:

“(Today) a breaking news story will appear on TV in San Francisco. The police chief will be asking if anyone knows where Batkid is because he needs his help to solve a crime and “bringing the bad guys to justice,” Make-a-Wish said in a statement.

“Miles’ day will then include rescuing a damsel in distress tied up across the Hyde Street cable car line and capturing the Puzzler in the act of robbing a downtown vault. As Batkid eats his lunch at Burger Bar, he’ll get a special message from the chief telling him to go to the window where he’ll look out over Union Square and see a huge group of volunteers jumping up and down and asking for his help.

A villain will be kidnapping a famous San Francisco mascot and Batkid will rush to the rescue. His last stop will be City Hall, where the mayor and police chief will thank him and present him with a key to the city and a crowd will be cheering him on.”

I mean, can you believe the lengths this city is going to? Thousands of people are coming out to help make one sick little boy’s dreams come true.

How could you not be an optimist about our world after reading that?

Good News Friday: A debt collector makes people happy. A beautifully-written tale about a Waffle House’s last day. And a special Division III runner brings joy

Hope everyone had a good Halloween. We got a good bit of trick-or-treating action at our new apartment, although I have to say I didn’t see a lot of interesting or unique costumes this year. One kid was dressed as a Tootsie Roll, which I enjoyed.

If you haven’t visited it yet, the fairly new site upworthy.com is where some of my best material for Good News Friday is coming from these days; they post inspirational stories, happy videos, and basically the best stuff on the Web that tugs at your emotions.

This one is typical of their stellar efforts, though I first saw it on the awesome “CBS Sunday Morning” TV show. It’s about a debt collector named Bill Bartmann who started a very different kind of business, a woman in major financial trouble, and what can happen when compassion gets shown.

Beautiful.

**Next up, a fabulous story from the terrific sportswriter Chuck Culpepper, one of those stories you normally never hear about. A senior at small Elms College named John Southworth has Down’s Syndrome, and last week he ran the longest race of his life at a Division III cross-country meet, an 8K.

The NCAA allowed a volunteer coach to run alongside Southworth (see? The NCAA has a heart sometimes!), and the way his teammates embrace and adore Southworth, well, it’s just very sweet.

Said John’s father: “It all goes back to the emotions you have when you have a child born with Down’s Syndrome. First, it dashes all your normal hopes and dreams for the kid. You think, ‘I guess I won’t have the fun of seeing him play little-league sports and high school sports.’ So it’s one of life’s ironic surprises that he was on a high school team and now is here on a college team.”

Added freshman teammate Joey Sirois: “He’s probably the only kid I’ve ever seen finish a race with a big smile on his face.”

It’s a terrific story told well by Culpepper. To the people in this story, this was the biggest story of the year.

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**Finally today, another story I never would’ve seen if not for Twitter. SI’s Richard Deitsch pointed me and his followers to this fantastic story written by an Indiana University journalism student named Jessica Contrera, and it’s about the final day of life for a Waffle House restaurant in Bloomington.

Just about every newspaper reporter has written one of these stories in their life; I did one in college at U. of Delaware, when Scott’s Ice Cream on Main Street decided to close. They’re fun and a little sad and really challenging, because you want to capture everything you can all at once.

Contrera does an amazing job of painting the scene and giving us vivid detail. Seriously, this is one of the best stories I’ve read this year. Take a few minutes and dive into the lives of these customers, and of 46 years of memories inside one little restaurant.