Tag Archives: Cheers Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! My annual tribute to the holiday, starring “Cheers” and “The West Wing.” Another horrifying Trump story from the N.Y. Times on his abuse of power. And a soccer ref forgets the coin for the coin toss and improvises hilariously.

It’s Thanksgiving Eve, the night before my favorite holiday of the year, made extra-special in 2018 because for the first time ever we’re hosting the holiday in my home (don’t worry, I’m not cooking the turkey. Good chance our guests will live).

A couple of things I always like to highlight during Thanksgiving week, most especially my favorite TV Thanksgiving episode ever, the iconic “Cheers’ episode which leads to the foodfight at Carla’s house.

This never, ever fails to get me to crack up, and every time I watch it something else triggers me. Tonight it was at 2:23, Frasier’s face when the yams hit him. Just the shock and then indignation.

So, so good.

And then of course, maybe the funniest scene in “The West Wing” history, when President Bartlet calls the Butterball hotline for advice on cooking a turkey. “I think you made the second bacteria up” cracks me up every time.

**Next up today, another in a long, long line of frightening stories coming out about our current President. I don’t know why this one struck me as so, so bad, maybe because I read it a few hours after President Moron tied himself into knots trying to defend Saudi Arabia’s brutal killing of Jamal Khashoggi, and Trump’s buddy the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. Horrifying, lying and completely without disregard for the life of a journalist.

But not to be outdone by Trump’s disgraceful defense of this murder, comes this New York Times story saying that Trump wanted to order the Justice Department (sorry, “His” Justice Dept.) to investigate James Comey and Hillary Clinton, and was only stopped by White House Counsel Don McGahn, who told him if he did it he could be impeached.

So Trump didn’t order the investigation. But he wanted to. McGahn, oh by the way, no longer works at the White House.

I’m grateful that, like that anonymous op-ed writer said months ago (and hey, how did no one ever figure out who it was?) there are at least a few grownups in the White House to tell this lunatic “no.”

But I fear there are fewer and fewer of them, and after the midterm humiliation, Trump will get more and more vengeful and paranoid and evil. Pray for us all.

**And finally today, I’ve been meaning to write about this story for a week and have kept forgetting, so today I’m finally putting it out there because I think it’s fabulous.

So a soccer referee in England named David McNamara went out to officiate the coin toss before a Women’s Super League match a few weeks ago. Except when he got to midfield, he realized he’d forgotten to bring the coin from the locker room.

So he improvised: He told the two captains to play rock, paper, scissors to determine who got the ball first. They were stunned but of course followed orders, and it should have just been a funny little thing that a referee did, a bit of clever humor.

But no, it’s England and they take their football SO seriously there, so a torrent of criticism of McNamara from BBC Sport ensued, leading to McNamara being suspended for three weeks by the Football Association.

Absolutely ridiculous, considering everyone loves rock, paper, scissors, and the guy was just trying to get the game going.

Happily, hundreds of refs across the world have backed McNamara, and in informal grassroots games have used rock, paper, scissors to start games lately.

The suspension is asinine. Good for other refs calling the FA out on it. And besides, everyone knows you throw rock when you get the chance, your opponent will never throw paper.

 

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Can we still admire the work of a person accused of sexual assault? Pink gives a fantastic performance at AMA’s. And my annual tribute to “Cheers” Thanksgiving episode

When I was first starting out in journalism, and I was trying to learn to become a better interviewer, I watched Charlie Rose a lot.

He was on late at night (which fit my nocturnal sportswriter hours), and I remember admiring how well he would frame questions to his subjects, how he would draw out revealing answers, and how his interviews always felt more like conversations than interviews.

I remember ordering a VHS copy of his 1999 interview with Dustin Hoffman right after the Columbine school massacre. The show was one of the most sensational things I’ve ever seen (and thank God for  YouTube, that interview is right here)   and actually watching it and studying it for how Rose elicited such an emotional response from the actor. I followed and watched Rose for years, and greatly admired his skills as a TV personality.

All of this is to say that clearly I looked up to Rose, and now like millions of others I’m horrified to find out what a lecherous, inappropriate man he has been to many, many women over the years. And what I’m wrestling with, and what I’m sure many others are wrestling with, is a question that really has no easy answer: Can we still admire the work of individuals who in “real life” have proven to be so loathsome and disgusting?”

Call it the “Woody Allen” problem: If the person who made the art is despicable, can we still enjoy it? Can’t I still laugh at “Annie Hall” or “The Cosby Show” or a Jeffrey Tambor show like “Transparent” even if I know that a huge part of the show is a terrible person when the cameras are off?

I don’t pretend to know the answer, but for me, it’s yes. The art is different from the person who made it.

Sports fans have dealt with this problem for decades. Baltimore Ravens fans cheered Ray Lewis, who was involved in a double murder, to sack the quarterback. San Francisco Giants fans roared for Barry Bonds, steroid cheat. The list could go on and on.

And I think the same holds for entertainment. “Annie Hall” is no less a work of genius because Woody Allen is a severely flawed, possibly criminal, person. Bill Cosby will hopefully rot in hell, but “The Cosby Show” entertained millions and is still pretty damn funny.

Charlie Rose did horrible things, and damaged women. I hope he pays a huge price for his behavior (and it seems he has, as he’s been fired from both his PBS and CBS shows).

But I am still grateful that I learned to become a better journalist thanks to watching him. And I don’t think any of us who still enjoy the work of these disgraced men need to apologize for it.

***Next up today, you all know how much I worship and adore the amazing singer Pink, who is fierce and fabulous and puts on a hell of a show (we’ve seen her live twice already and are seeing her again next April on her next tour). She was at the American Music Awards on Sunday and sang a beautiful, haunting duet of R.E.M’s classic “Everybody Hurts” with Kelly Clarkson. But her even better performance was of her new song, “Beautiful Trauma,” while hanging off the side of a hotel in Vegas. Watch this, the woman is just incredible.

**Finally today, I don’t have too many traditions on this here little piece of the Internet, but one I’m happy to continue each year is to share the “Cheers” Thanksgiving episode, one of the finest pieces of comedy ever recorded. It makes me laugh every time, and often at a different part: Today I took so much joy out of Ted Danson’s face after he’s shut down Diane’s little speech.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you out there, and I’m as always grateful you take the time to read Wide World of Stuff.

A Good News Thanksgiving post: The 55-year-old first-time college football player amazes. My annual tribute to “Cheers” Thanksgiving food fight. And the greatest knitting Grandpa ever

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With Thanksgiving coming up this week, your humble blogger and family are down in the great state of Maryland, visiting loved ones and meeting two new babies that were born in our family in the past year! Not going to have a blog post on Friday, so I’m posting a Good News Thanksgiving post today.

I have so much to be thankful for this year, as I hope most of you do. Sure, we’re about to have a sociopath leading the free world, but hey, comedy writers and late-night comedians will have plenty of material.

Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving. On with the show …

First up today, I love stories like this, of perseverance and of people getting to do something love, no matter how late in life it comes.

Joe Thomas, Sr., is 55 years old. He’s a college football running back for South Carolina State. You might say he’s a little bit older than his teammates; hell, he could be the father of all of his teammates.

He’s been practicing with S.C. State for a few years now; it seems Joe was a star football player in high school 40 years ago, but he wasn’t given the opportunity to play college ball (he was partially deaf as well). When his son, Joe Thomas Jr. (now in the NFL) enrolled at South Carolina State, Joe Sr. decided he wanted to give college a shot, and finally, last week, he was given a chance to play running back, carrying the ball once.

“It’s the happiest day of my life,” Thomas said.

How did he get here? SI.com did a great story on Thomas here.

**Next up today, I try to run this video every year around Thanksgiving, because it always makes me smile as one of the funniest TV scenes ever.

You’ve seen it before, but watch it again. “Cheers,” Carla’s house, Norm’s turkey won’t cook … and the best food fight ever.

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**And finally today, this is just wonderful. An 86-year-old man in Atlanta named Ed Moseley learned to knit recently, so he could make thousands of little baby hats for preemies at a local hospital. (And as Toby on “The West Wing” learned years ago, babies come with hats!)

“I prevailed on my daughter to get a kit, and it comes with the right size loom and the right tools to help you knit one,” Moseley told ABC News. “I just followed the instructions. It was easy. Somehow I had never knitted, and I always associated knitting with a bunch of needles but this looked pretty doable for me. I went through two or three before I came out with a good finished product.”

“To have a gift left at the bedside, or a nurse put the hat on the little baby’s head, makes it all seem less like a hospital,” Linda Kelly, clinical manager of the special care nursery, said. “It’s important for families to see their baby as a baby and not as a patient. This will help to get the families to that spot.”

Those little premies are very lucky.

 

A few thoughts on the depressing, but not surprising, Ferguson verdict. My favorite Thanksgiving clip ever. And the state of Texas, rewriting history for America’s youth

Ferguson

So the Darren Wilson non-indictment came down Monday night and it’s still totally OK for a white guy to shoot an unarmed black guy in America, which has to be reassuring to millions of mouth-breathers out there.

For the rest of us, it’s just another moment in a long, long, long line of racial injstices being perpetrated against African-Americans, a list of moments that’s too depressing to even list here (go Google the name Amadou Diallo if you want to get angry.)

I don’t have anything particularly brilliant or trenchant to say about the Ferguson grand jury’s decision, although there have been many terrific articles written that basically say that Darren Wilson’s testimony about what happened is nearly impossible to believe (not saying he’s a liar, but check out Ezra Klein on Vox.com going through Wilson’s words and trying to figure out exactly how his story gibes with reality.)

I will say that I do agree with my smart friend Will, who said on Facebook that as much anger and outrage and nonsense that is being spouted on TV and the Interwebs, none of us were there on the grand jury, none of us saw and heard everything, and that we shouldn’t be so quick to call them “idiots” or “morons” for not indicting Wilson.

It’s just that this was so predictable, that once again, a dead African-American kid elicits no justice. I think so much of the rage and anger seen Monday night, in Ferguson and elsewhere, is because so many are so damn tired of the same story being re-written, over and over again.
The names change, the faces change, but it’s the same old story, with the same people getting the short end of the stick again.

And it continues to be wholly depressing.

**And now for something happier: Thanksgiving! As I say every year here, it’s my favorite holiday ever. Food, family, football (good games this year, too), it’s all wonderful.
By far my favorite TV Thanksgiving moment is one I watch every year at this time (above). Still the best food-fight ever filmed….

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**Finally today, this is almost as big a “surprise” as a dead African-American kid shot by a white police officer not suffering any penalty: The state of Texas, the biggest by far supplier of textbooks to American schools, has decided once again to rewrite history using the Bible as a model.

The State Board of Education, controlled by Republicans just approved new textbooks that will teach that our Founding Fathers based our Constitution on the Bible, and that the American system of democracy was inspired by Moses.

Aside from the obvious jokes I can make (“Parting the Red Sea? That was nothing! This guy came up with three branches of government and checks and balances, baby!”), it’s just so freaking sad. Right-wing nutjobs hijacked the process, wouldn’t let any “normal” textbooks teaching actual, you know, history be taught, and now 50 million textbooks bought by the state of Texas will have this crap, along with fiction about climate change, the Civil War (did you know slavery was barely  a factor?) and so much else.

Here’s a background story from The Atlantic about how this was went down in Texas. Just freaking depressing. This is how a new generation of Tea Partiers gets born.