Tag Archives: Chris Christie

Five days spent back “in my old life” were super-fun but exhausting. The worst ad placement on a page, ever. And my Final 4 picks: it’s all about Arizona

It’s pretty rare you get chance to revisit who you were in your life previously, and step back in at your current age and life stage, and get a peek at what things would’ve been like.

But I got to do that last week for five glorious days. Back in the late 1990s-early 2000s, I spent three years working at the Wilmington (N.C.) Star-News, and one of the awesome jobs I had there (slightly cooler than compiling the Fishing Report) was covering ACC basketball. For a few fantastic winters, about 10-15 times a year I got to jump on Highway I-40 and cover Duke, North Carolina, and N.C. State games up in the Triangle, and I loved it.

I also got to cover two ACC Tournaments at the beginning of March, and that too was tons of fun. Covering up-close the best basketball in America at that time was so, so cool.

I thought then that I’d be doing a lot more of that in my future, but nope, that’s not how it worked out.
When I heard a couple years ago that the ACC Tournament was coming to Brooklyn in 2017, I immediately knew I’d get tickets. What I didn’t know is that my awesome friend Andrew Jones, who I love despite him being wrong on everything politically (Love you buddy!,) would be running a UNC Rivals.com site and ask me to help him out at the tournament.

Turns out Andrew didn’t need that much help, but with the credential he got me I was able to snare four freelance assignments, meaning I was way busier than I thought I’d be.

So for the first time in 17 years, when I had a lot more hair and a lot fewer medical issues, I got to cover the ACC Tournament last week. The verdict? It was an incredible step back in time. And it was pretty freaking exhausting.

Some thoughts from my brain after a few days in a past life:

— Gotta start off with my non-basketball “celebrity encounter.” So one of the teams I was covering was Notre Dame, and after their win Thursday night I went into a mostly-empty locker room  and went to look for Matt Farrell, one of their top players.
I can’t see him right away where his locker is because a very large man in an enormous black and gold Notre Dame sweatsuit is blocking Farrell, laughing and talking with him and gesturing animatedly.

As I get closer and hear the voice, I know it instantly: It’s Chris Christie.

You remember Christie, the awful governor of New Jersey last seen being humilated by Donald Trump right after the election. As I waited about 30 seconds for Christie to stop, Farrell sees me standing behind good ole’ Mr. Bridgegate and points a finger toward me, trying to let Christie know I was waiting to interview Farrell. Christie got the hint and moved aside. (Now if I were truly brave or stupid, I should have loudly announced “Hey, there’s some traffic in here!” But I didn’t)

The next night, Christie was in the locker room again; turns out his daughter is a Notre Dame trainer or something.

— You get free food, actually quite good food, as a media member at big events like this. Several times a day there are complete meals served for us. And yet, without fail, it happened: One day a couple of photographers in the press room were talking and complaining about what was served that day. Are you freaking kidding me? We’re getting paid and getting free food!

— Another thing I noticed: None of the reporters covering the tournament walked around with notebooks and pens. Everyone just used their phones to record interviews, and while sitting on press row just typed whatever notes they wanted to make about the game into their laptops. It was weird but this is the new normal.

— Most often these days at basketball games reporters are seated somewhere high up in the mezzanine, off the floor. But last week I was lucky enough to be assigned to a courtside seat, right behind one of the baskets (so I got some TV time as background, always cool.)
Two things immediately jumped out at me, having not sat on the floor for a game in years: 1, The size and speed of the players seems to have gotten so much more noticeable. How fast every drive to the basket and block is, how quickly the action happens, it’s so much faster than on TV.
The other big thing? Refereeing is really, really hard. I saw a ton of missed calls (mostly offensive players driving and getting fouled) because it was happening so fast the officials either didn’t see it or didn’t think it was enough contact.
But honestly, every game I watched at least 5-6 blatant foul calls weren’t whistled.

–Had a couple of late starting times of games I was covering last week, including a 9:30 p.m. start between Florida State and Notre Dame, and oh yeah, I was covering the game for newspapers on both sides, which meant I was simultaneously writing two stories from separate points of view. While the game was going on.

Ah, deadline adrenaline, how I’ve missed you!

**Next up today, this picture that I saw on Twitter Tuesday made me laugh out loud, hard. Sometimes ad placements are really great on websites and newspaper pages, other times, well, this might be the most unfortunate/worst ad placement I’ve ever seen. Read the headline, then scroll down just a bit…

I mean… if you’re reading that story aren’t you going to freak out completely as you scroll down???

Poor ducks.

**Finally today, March Madness begins in just one day! My bracket is filled, submitted, and I’m expecting to win ESPN’s $1 million any day now.

Yeah, no. This was a very difficult bracket this year, at least for me. I didn’t love too many upsets (although Rhode Island is going to the Sweet 16, and I love UNCW and Fla. Gulf Coast), and I don’t even feel that great about my Final 4 picks. (There are some great first-round games, though, including Dayton-Wichita State (I think the winner will beat Kentucky), and Vandy-Northwestern.)

But alas, here they are: I like Villanova (in a classic Elite 8 over my Duke boys), Arizona, Louisville, and UCLA (even though they play no defense, I just don’t want to pick North Carolina).

And my national champ? Sean Miller and his Arizona Wildcats. They’re playing well at the end of the season, they’ve got size and strength and sometimes, it’s just your time. Miller has had a ton of great teams over the years and fallen just short of the Final Four (he’s been to the Elite 8 four times but never farther.)

It’s the Wildcats’ time. And if it isn’t, you never heard it from me.

 

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The worst kind of grief exploitation, fear-mongering and oh yeah, plagiarism at the RNC. And Jon Stewart makes a triumphant return to late night.

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So, so, so many thoughts to share after the first two nights of the KKK rally Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

I mean, just … wow. As awful as I thought it was going to be, it was worse. I swear to God, Ben Carson and Chris Christie on Tuesday were thisclose to saying Hillary Clinton should be dragged to Salem and burned at the stake as a witch.

Full disclosure: Tuesday night I was out at my annual Yankees game trip with my wife and father-in-law, so mostly I only followed it on Twitter (but I saw the Christie/Carson highlights and threw up in my mouth a bit.)

But that’s OK, Monday night I was tuned in, riveted and horrified for the whole three hours-plus spectacle.

— First of all, nothing was more disgusting and distasteful than the politicization of family grief. It was ALL over the stage Monday night, and the worst offender was Pat Smith, whose son tragically died in the Benghazi attack (maybe you’ve heard of it?). She stood up and blamed Hillary Clinton personally for her son’s death. As if the Democratic nominee had a hand in killing him. So we had, from the stage of the national convention of one of the two major political parties in America, accusations that the nominee of the other party was responsible for murder.

Going out on a limb here, but as we’ve said so many times during this campaign, that’s never happened before. It’s absolutely, positively disgusting and immoral, what Ms. Smith said, and as we know I’m far, far from a Hillary Clinton defender.

— What’s almost as amazing as what Smith said is that, while she was saying it, Donald Trump called in to Fox News for a live interview, stepping on his own convention coverage! The man’s pathological need to constantly be on TV is really quite something. I mean seriously, he should be studied in psychology textbooks for decades.

— Scott Baio and Antonio Sabato, Jr. were both tapped to give speeches, and I’ll never be able to watch “Charles in Charge” again without crying.

They were both horrendous (Sabato later said he was absolutely sure Obama is a Muslim, so I’m glad we cleared that up), but I honestly wondered where the hell was Kirk Cameron? He was a MUCH bigger star than Baio in the 1980s, he’s certifiably wing-nut crazy, and they had plenty of time to let him talk.

Mike Seaver got screwed, folks. I blame his sister.

— The plagiarism thing with Melania Trump’s speech became a huge deal Tuesday, and justifiably so. Lifting entire passages from Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech is hilarious, and sad, and I honestly have no idea whether Melania wrote the speech and thought no one would notice, a vengeful Trump campaign speechwriter inserted the passage as a mean shot at Melania (my wife’s theory), or this is just incredible negligence.

What I do know is my fellow Blue Hen and Twitter must-follow, Frankie the Goat (I’m guessing that’s not his real name) had the two best Tweets of the night on the controversy.

— Another highlight of Monday: GOP Congressman Steve King saying that white people have been the only group responsible for the progress of Western Civilization.

Said King: “I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out: Where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you’re talking about? Where did any other sub-group of people contribute more to civilization?”

I can’t make this shit up.

— Rudy Giuliani. My goodness, what a trainwreck. New Yorkers of my generation and older may remember that back in the early 1990s, Rudy was actually considered a moderate, almost a real Democrat. Now he’s so far out there I think Pat Buchanan was saying to himself last night “Man, that guy’s nuts.”

**Watched some of Paul Ryan’s speech, calling for civility and decency and coming together. Then saw Chris Christie give one of the most vicious and hateful speeches in convention history, followed by the completely nuts Ben Carson comparing Hillary Clinton to Lucifer. In prime time, on national TV.

I mean… what the fuck has happened to the Republican party?

— Facts have no bearing at this convention. None, whatsoever. Crime is lower than it has been in decades. The economy is humming along, unemployment is below five percent, but if you listened to the first two nights of speeches, you’d think we were on the verge of collapse as a society.

And we’ve got two (count ’em, TWO) more nights to go.

**Finally today, the best thing that happened Monday night wasn’t that Giuliani finally left the stage, or that wingnut GOP Senator Joni Ernst was bumped past 11 p.m. It was the wonderfully welcome return of Jon Stewart to late-night TV.

He was on a sketch with old buddy Stephen Colbert on “The Late Show” live episode after the convention, and it was great. It was only four minutes, but it made me miss Stewart all the more (shouldn’t he be doing some of those HBO shorts we heard about by now?)

The new Brian Wilson biopic is tremendous. Kimmel asks kids about gay marriage, hilariously. And Chris Christie (remember him?) savaged by one who knows him well

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There’s a moment toward the middle of the new movie about Beach Boy Brian Wilson’s life when Wilson, played by John Cusack, is begging his new girlfriend Melinda (Elizabeth Banks) to leave his house before “the people” who are now controlling his life get back and find out what’s going on.

“Please go, but don’t leave me,” Wilson pleads. “Please go, but don’t leave me,” he says again, and in his face is one of the most nakedly honest, frightened looks I’ve ever seen on a human. This man, at this point in his life, is desperate for companionship but also desperate not to get caught doing something wrong.

It’s a really powerful scene, and “Love & Mercy” is a really powerful movie. I saw it last weekend after hearing mixed reviews of it, with some people thinking the idea of having Wilson played by two actors (Paul Dano as young, high-flying 1960s tortured genius Brian, and Cusack as 1980s, dazed and confused Brian) was too strange.

And I have to admit, the constant cutting back and forth between the 1960s and Dano, and the 1980s and Cusack, was a little hard to get used to at first. Every time they’d switch to the other Brian, I’d be like “Nooo, stay with that one, I really want to see where this is going” before getting sucked into the next scene and being mad when it was cut away from.

But after a bit you get used to it, and the movie does an outstanding job showing just how innovative Wilson was, with his “Pet Sounds” album and creative struggles with Beach Boy Mike Love, and how difficult life was for him inside his own head.

The two leads are both terrific, and this is the best I’ve seen Elizabeth Banks be; her Melinda is strong and tender. Paul Giamatti is as always fabulous, though I wanted to see much more of his Dr. Eugene Landy character developed; how did he get such a hold on Wilson in the 1980s?

Really, really strong movie. 3 1/2 stars from me. Even if you don’t love the Beach Boys music (and they’re pretty hard to hate), it’s a terrific story about an American icon.

**Next up, Jimmy Kimmel did a really funny skit Monday night, wandering into the streets to find children and then asking them questions about gay marriage, in light of last week’s huge Supreme Court announcement.

All the kids are great, but the girl at 1:30 and the last boy are my favorites, especially his answer on why people shouldn’t get married.

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**Finally, remember Chris Christie? Governor of New Jersey, bit of a weight problem, huge problem of being a bully? Guy who was kind of universally declared by the political media in 2014 as the frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016?

Yeah, that guy. Hasn’t been much talk about him at all in recent months, as one scandal after another has engulfed Christie, while he continues to put his nasty, aggressive personality on display as much as possible.

Anyway, despite the same writers who adored him and pumped him up now saying he’s got very little chance (and this time they’re right, Christie’s way too abrasive and has pissed off way too many constituencies to be President, plus he’s much too moderate to survive the GOP “God, Guns, and every pregnancy must result in a baby” primaries), Christie declared on Tuesday that he’s running for President, bringing the total number of Republican candidates to, I believe, 432 (my math may be off.)

Perfectly timed to Christie’s announcement is this fantastic, biting column from an NJ.com writer Tom Moran, who’s been covering Christie for 14 years.

Moran pulls no punches, but instead of just a random hit job, he uses specific examples of Christie, lying through his teeth and showing no shame doing it.

Highly recommend this. Man, these GOP debates are going to be “get your popcorn” TV.

The Cowboys-Lions thriller saves a ho-hum NFL playoffs weekend. A street artist amazes, with nothing but fingers. And an absolutely disgusting example of the drug war gone wrong.

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Most NFL playoffs wild-card weekend games have been duds in recent years. Seems like we had a stretch of thrillers for a while a few years back, but last few seasons I remember being pretty boring.

And except for a few exciting minutes of the second half of Pittsburgh-Baltimore, when the Steelers briefly came to life, this weekend looked like it would be another snoozer.
Carolina cruised past Arizona and their third-string QB. The Joe Flacco-led Ravens (the pride of my alma mater, Delaware!) won another big playoff game on the road. And Andy Dalton came up tiny in the playoffs, yet again.

Then, out of the boredom came Dallas-Detroit. The Lions dominated early, took a 20-7 lead, and actually looked like they’d win a playoff game for the first time since the first Bush was President.
Then, predictably, the Cowboys rallied to make it close. Then they got a HUGE break on a picked-up flag for pass interference that would’ve hugely helped Detroit, and then the ‘Boys scored to take the lead, and we got Chris Christie hugging and squeezing Jerry Jones (above) which, I mean, I just can’t stop staring at that photo, and suddenly Dallas had its first playoff win in five years.

Hate the Cowboys. Hate seeing the Lions fans suffer yet again, when this was a game they absolutely had. Hate that Stafford and the Detroit offense came up small yet again.
Love the delicious matchups next week: Ravens going into Foxboro, where they’ve beaten New England in the playoffs twice before; Colts and Andrew Luck going into Denver where the legend Peyton Manning tries to beat his old team, and Dallas going into Green Bay, two iconic franchises with a rich playoff history squaring off.

And oh yeah, Seattle slaughtering Carolina by like 47 points.

**Next up today, my smart friend Christine posted this on Facebook the other day and it pretty much blew my mind. It’s a street artist outside of Malaga Cathedral in Spain who paints these gorgeous tiny landscapes using only his fingers.

His name is Fabian Gaete; you can find more about him here.

**And finally today, my feelings about the utter uselessness of America’s war on drugs should be well-known to you if you read me regularly; it’s an enormous waste of time and money, and there have been thousands of stories since it started of innocent people having their lives ruined because of overzealous policing.

But this story, pointed out to me by the great Twitter feed @spiderstumbled,  might take the cake for offensiveness. This occurred five months ago, but I never heard about it and I’m guessing 99 percent of you didn’t either.

Here’s the lede: “Officials in Habersham County, Ga.,  said Monday they do not plan to pay for the medical expenses of a toddler seriously burned during a police raid based on faulty intelligence.

Bounkham Phonesavah, affectionately known as “Baby Boo Boo,” spent weeks in a burn unit after a SWAT team’s flash-bang grenade exploded in his face. The toddler was just 19 months old when officers executed a no-knock warrant on his family’s home, tossing the “less-lethal” device into his crib, WSBTV reported.

Police said a confidential informant told them he had bought drugs at the home, but no drugs or suspects were found inside.

Habersham County officials initially said they would consider helping pay hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of medical bills for the toddler, but on Monday announced that they will not.”

I mean … are you FREAKING KIDDING ME? You throw a grenade near a toddler, into his crib for crying out loud, the child gets burned seriously, and then you don’t even have the decency to pay for the medical care?

And it turns out it was the wrong house the whole time?

What am I missing here? Just unconscionable behavior by the Habersham County police.

http://kdvr.com/2014/08/18/georgia-police-refuse-to-pay-medical-bills-after-swat-tosses-grenade-into-babys-crib/

Bruce and Fallon team up again, awesomely. Memory wizards revisited, on “60 Minutes.” And are you a psychopath? 1 question tells all

So Bruce Springsteen went on Jimmy Fallon’s show Tuesday night, and predictably, something awesome happened. The two teamed up for a fabulous duet a couple years back (Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair”) and it was fantastic, but this one from this week may be even better.

That’s right, “Born to Run” gets the Gov. Chris Christie scandal treatment. God I love both of these guys singing…

**So after CBS and “60 Minutes” finished shoveling dirt on Alex Rodriguez’s baseball career last Sunday (they did a fabulous, and necessary job, showing A-Rod to be the absolute liar, phony and fraud we all knew he was, but now backing it up with evidence), there was a much more interesting story told on the show.

A few years ago “60 Minutes” aired one of my favorite pieces ever, about a rare group of “memory wizards,” who can recall every single day of their lives in amazing detail, including what they wore, what they ate, and what day of the week it was.

Now there’s a new report, with even more “memory wizards” having been found, and the science behind why these people can do what they do is fascinating.

Check it out below… I can’t decide if I would want to have this ability, or wouldn’t. Love to hear your thoughts on it.

**Finally today, my father sent me this over email the other day, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

Read this question, come up with an answer and then scroll down to the
bottom for the result. This is not a trick question; It is as it reads.

“A woman, while at the funeral of her own mother, met a guy whom she did
not know. She thought this guy was amazing. She believed him to be her
dream guy so much, that she fell in love with him right there, but never
asked for his number and could not find him. A few days later she killed
her sister.
Question: What is her motive for killing her sister?”

Now, I was completely at a loss when I first saw this, and took at least three guesses before scrolling down for the answer.

Answer:

She was hoping the guy would appear at the funeral again. If you answered this correctly,  you think like a psychopath.
Apparently this was a test by a famous American psychologist used to test if one has the same mentality as a killer. Many arrested serial killers took part in the
test and answered the question correctly.

For the sake of you and your friends, I hope you didn’t get it right! (In case you’re curious, my guess was that she found out the sister was in love with him, too.)

Chris Christie’s a bully? Who knew? (everyone). A 2 vs. 55 Japanese soccer game. And the peanut butter and jelly crime of the year

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After about oh, two years of having an enormous man-crush on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, it seems our good friends “the media” are finally seeing him for what he’s always been: An enormous bully.

It’s made me sick over the past two months to see my fellow Democrats, and Republicans, swoon over this guy like he’s the second coming of Abe Lincoln or something.

“Christie in ’16!” “He’s a new kind of Republican!” “He’s a straight shooter, and people love that!”

Made me want to throw up.

Lately, finally, Christie’s shine is coming off, and Wednesday brought some fresh, damaging evidence about what a bully he is: In retaliation against a Democratic mayor in Fort Lee, N.J., a Christie aide ordered two lanes of the George Washington Bridge closed in September, making traffic unpassable in Fort Lee for four days.

“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Bridget Anne Kelly, a deputy chief of staff to Mr. Christie, emailed David Wildstein, a high school friend of the governor who worked at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the bridge.

Just disgusting. And so petty. I hope this makes people realize that a snake in any other clothing is still a snake.

**Say what you want about the Japanese, but they invent the most creative and bizarre contests and games of any country in the world. You’ve probably seen some insane clips in the past of Japanese game show hijinks, but I don’t know if anything is as weird as this: Two of the country’s best pro soccer players, Shinji Kagawa and Hiroshi Kiyotake, decided to play a traditional 2 vs. 55 soccer game recently.

Yep, it was two adults against 55 kids. On the same field.
Crazy. Watch this (above), it looks like a bunch of ants all attacking a dragon when one of the two pros has the ball. I also love that there were three goalies in net for the kids’ team.

Read more about this bizarre event at the site of my new freelance employer, ThriveSports.com (where next week I’ll be pimping my upcoming story about a Winter Olympian from my hometown).

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**And finally today, I just don’t get to write about crime involving peanut butter and jelly sandwiches very often, so when the chance arrives, I must jump on it.

Check out this story from the Des Moines Register in Iowa, and I’m just going to quote from the lede here:

“The victim told police that his brother, Jerome Davis, “made three peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and ate them in the living room. Within the next hour, the suspect made another three of these peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, bringing his total consumption of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to six. This angered the victim…”

“The victim confronted Davis about over-eating, which quickly escalated. “Both victim and suspect began yelling about the other being lazy and ‘eating again,’” police reported.

Davis then pulled out a folding knife and held it to the face of his brother, threatening to cut him, according to the report.”

Gentlemen, gentlemen, gentlemen. I’m sure there’s enough PB & J to go around for all of us! It’s a delicious sandwich that’s been enjoyed by schoolkids for decades, couldn’t these two brothers share a little? So Mr. Davis ate six sandwiches, whose to say that’s too much? (Though he really should consult that Shel Silverstein poem about the King and the peanut butter sandwich)

(Personal skeleton from my past: I used to eat PB &J so much that one day for a change I decided to try cream cheese and jelly. Mmmm, that’s almost as good. Try it if you don’t believe me.)

http://blogs.desmoinesregister.com/dmr/index.php/2014/01/04/brother-arrested-in-fight-over-peanut-butter-and-jelly-sandwiches/article

Chris Christie, bullying teachers as usual. Jon Stewart is brilliant again. And the cheerleader spirit in Texas is frowned upon

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Writing this Monday night as yet another gunman is terrorizing a public place, this time in New Jersey. Last week it was at an airport in Los Angeles, with a TSA agent killed. When will it ever end, and when will ANYONE get serious about our gun culture? Charlie Pierce is fed up. And so am I.

Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, is going to cruise to re-election today. He is as popular as ever in the state, he’s a rising star in the Republican Party (despite calling out Republicans whenever he feels like it), and even his embrace of President Obama after Hurricane Sandy has pretty much been forgiven by GOP stalwarts desperate to take back the White House.

But in case you had forgotten, he is still a despicable bully, a my-way-or-the-highway arrogant jerk.

For the latest piece of evidence, check this out. Christie was at a Rutgers University football game last Saturday, when a public school teacher in New Jersey named Melissa Tomlinson (pictured above) walked up to the governor and asked he repeatedly portrays New Jersey’s public schools as “failure factories?”

Christie responded by hectoring the woman loudly, according to onlookers, and screamed “You people!” and “Do your job!” at the Tomlinson.

That’s our Chris Christie, berating teachers. Maybe this story hit me hard Monday because I spent the day substitute teaching fourth-graders in Harlem, and I saw just how far behind some of those kids are. But if I hear one more politician bleating on about how the teachers aren’t working hard enough or aren’t doing their jobs, I might just throw up.

Chris Christie, you do your damn job, and stop hectoring teachers.

**Ah, the right wing news media continues to entertain. Somehow, the talking heads on Fox News and other places got in their heads that since “The Daily Show” and Jon Stewart made some jokes about the awful website rollout of the Affordable Care Act, that all Democrats everywhere have turned against it, and once President Obama “lost” Jon Stewart, well, it was all over.

So Jon Stewart decided to have some fun. I laughed really hard at this. (Warning: NSFW language toward the end).

**Finally today, I thought this was a gross overreaction by a school district in Texas. The cheerleaders at Wharton High put together “spirit bags” to give to the football team members before a Homecoming game.

In addition to the usual inspirational messages and candy, the ladies decided to put condoms in each player’s bag as well, as a joke.

Well, the Wharton Independent School District didn’t think it was so funny, and they suspended the cheerleaders for one day of school and didn’t let them perform at the game.

As one of the parents said, these were kids being kids, and it was just a joke.

Although maybe I’m the wrong guy to comment on this, since I think high schools should be giving out condoms to all teenagers, since they’re having sex anyway and why not prevent some teen pregnancies while we’re at it?

Good News Friday, all-Sandy edition: NY’ers come together. Cory Booker invites people into his home. And a Staten Island hotel owner chooses evacuees over runners

Pretty pooped again tonight after some more work today delivering supplies to folks in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, who are desperately in need of water, food, and shelter.

I know this blog has been very Sandy-heavy this week, but honestly, living in NYC it’s really hard to focus on anything else right now.

But it is Friday, so I found plenty of Good News to be talking about today.

First, this is a great column by Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal, which gets at the heart of New Yorkers like few others things I’ve read this week. Yes, New Yawkers have the well-earned reputation of being obnoxious know-it-alls who think we have it better than anyone, and that tourists and other NY’ers are often nuisances.

But in a crisis, well, it can be a beautiful city to be a part of.

**Next, here’s Newark, New Jersey mayor Cory Booker, doing a little something very few politicians have ever done: He’s inviting those rendered homeless by the storm to stay in his house.

It started innocently enough on Twitter Thursday, when a Newark resident told Booker that she lived near him and was without power, and could she come over?
He said yes, which led to a dozen more people coming to chill at Chez Booker.

Very, very cool. As I said to a friend Thursday night, the NJ governor’s race between Booker and everyone’s new favorite leader, Chris Christie, in two years, is going to one hell of a race.

**Finally, a big controversy Thursday continued to be the city’s lame-brained decision to keep the New York City marathon on schedule Sunday. I understand why they’re doing it (so many thousands flying in, sponsor money, the economic boom to the city it provides every year) but it’s really just a bad, bad move.

However, at least one hotel owner is standing up to the race. Richard Nicotra, who owns a hotel on storm-ravaged Staten Island, has refused to honor marathon runners’ previous room reservations while he allows storm refugees to stay for a few more days.

It’s something many with a conscience would do, but it’s still a nice sight to see someone with priorities higher than the bottom line.

A hurricane like we’ve never seen here in NY: thoughts from a safe haven. And a cool video on making a Coke

I feel extremely lucky tonight. I am safe, I have water, and power, and cable, and all the usual amenities that I would normally have.

Others are so much worse off. Friends of mine are flooded out of their house; their cars and furniture ruined by Hurricane Sandy.

Millions more can’t get anywhere in New York and New Jersey, with subways, buses and trains all closed. The number of deaths is rising, with sadly many more to be likely “discovered” as conditions start to improve.

I’ve never seen anything like this, and I lived through eight hurricanes in my life, in North Carolina and Florida. There’s no words to express the devastation; the images on the news have been speaking for themselves.

You see videos like this (bel0w) that scare the bejeezus out of you, and realize that it could be weeks and months before the full damage of this storm is known.

Some other thoughts on the storm from your humble blogger, who feels extremely fortunate tonight:
— Every report on the news seems to bring more tragedy, but I can’t stop watching. The areas of Brooklyn, and lower Manhattan, that have been totally flooded out, makes me wonder when those people will get their lives back.

— I don’t know if it’s more heroic or crazy, but the reporters who’ve been covering the storm have been doing an amazing job. The Weather Channel folks in particular are great (and I did get a perverse giggle out of one of the weather reporters with fluffy hair (I think it was on Channel 4) having his hair bounce up and down in the strong winds. High comedy.

–One of the more frightening things Monday was that NYU-Langone Medical Center had to be evacuated when its power went out and the backup generator failed. David Remnick of “The New Yorker” has a beautiful story up following one patient and her evacuation from the hospital. Heroes all around in this story.
— On a lighter note, it continues to amaze me how Mike Bloomberg can be mayor New York City for the past 11 years, and still have a Boston accent. Isn’t he around NY’ers like, all day long, every day?

— Chris Christie is getting kudos all over the Internet today for his leadership, his praising of President Obama’s help, and his “I don’t give a damn about Mitt Romney” answer to Fox News when they asked about the GOP nominee. Christie, like Rudy Giuliani before him, is great in a crisis, because he can be a bully and talk straight and take no b.s. It’s the rest of the time that they’re arrogant buffoons. Just a reminder.

— I have no idea how many kids in New York and Jersey will get to experience Halloween Wednesday. Sucks that all the planning and costumes from the little ones will go to waste.

**OK, I went looking for something non-Sandy related to make me smile Tuesday and found this: Some engineers figured out the best way to share a Coke.

They’re a little high-energy, but pretty entertaining.

A 12-year-old’s thoughts on donuts. An awesome and different marriage proposal at a game. And Trenton’s toilet-paper problem

The city of Trenton recently had a serious problem. No, not crime, failing schools, or unemployment, though all three of those things are big issues, too. (For a great look at what’s happened to Trenton under bullying, clueless governor Chris Christie, check out this story from a recent This American Life episode.)

No, Trenton’s problem was much more serious: The city government had run out of toilet paper. Seriously, they couldn’t find a two-ply anywhere in the joint. They couldn’t spare a square.
It happened because of a long-running dispute between the city and its distributor over the price of paper goods and coffee cups and all that good stuff.
There are so many jokes to be made here, ladies and gentlemen. New Jersey, a swamp, a sewer, running out of toilet paper, the smell of New Jersey… too many jokes to make, I can’t decide which one to write!

Thankfully, the dispute has been settled. And the good city employees of Trenton will no longer have to fight for their right to potty.

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**The idea of a marriage proposal at a sporting event is pretty played out. But this was a different twist, and it made it so much more special.  Alicia wanted to propose to her girlfriend, Christina. So before a recent Ottawa Senators game, Alicia decided to surprise Christina, on the ice, with a proposal.

So sweet and adorable. And big props to the NHL, the most progressive league when it comes to gay rights and battling homophobia, for putting this video on its website Monday.

**Finally, this has absolutely nothing to do with anything, except I saw it on the Internet Monday and it made me laugh. A 12-year-old was all fired up about plain donuts, and their general uselessness and unattractiveness.

So he/she wrote a school essay about plain donuts. Brilliant!