Tag Archives: Daniel Day-Lewis

One of the Florida shooting survivors powerfully speaks out; is this what it finally takes? Thinking about Abe Lincoln on President’s Day (movie clip). And The New York Open tennis tournament makes a so-so debut.

We have had so much experience, way too much practice, reacting to school shootings in the United States.

We have had dozens and dozens of opportunities to show our outrage, to express our grief, to shake our fists in anger at the inaction of our Congress that’s been bought and paid for (My mother, bless her heart, really, really wants me to share this list of who the largest recipients of NRA money in Congress are, and since I think you should usually do what your mother says, here it is. No surprise, enormous frauds like Marco Rubio are on the list.)

But we’re seeing something over the last few few days that I don’t believe we’ve seen, at least not to this scale: Students at the scene, students who survived but saw their friends murdered, speaking out angrily, forcefully, about what has just happened to them.

The students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., are speaking out, and they are angry, and they are fed up, as they should be.

They are making statements like this, and like this, and organizing a rally like this one coming up on March 24.

Watch the press conference from Saturday featuring Stoneman student Emma Gonzalez, who is as poised and mature as many adults would love to be, speaking with passion and conviction and pure, furious anger, about the need for change.

I have to be honest: This gives me hope. I’ve become so cynical that anything will change, no matter how many shootings have gone on. Our politicians are too bought and paid for by the NRA.

I mean, Jesus H. Christ, if the slaughter of elementary school children in 2012 in Newtown didn’t lead to massive change, what ever will????

But this might be something new. This isn’t the parents of victims speaking out, or political activists, or community members, or grandstanding members of Congress.

These are the ACTUAL victims, the students who were terrorized because one of their former classmates was able to legally buy a semi-automatic weapon and kill 17 people in their school. The school where they took biology tests, goofed off during recess, and practiced volleyball. A school, where some people think, insanely, that we should arm teachers with guns, like teachers aren’t overburdened enough, and given enough responsibility, that now we should have them be marksmen.

Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg and the rest are doing something we haven’t seen before. Maybe, just maybe, things could finally be different.

**Next up, it’s President’s Day, which has me thinking about some of our most legendary Oval Office-holders, and Abraham Lincoln.

And this speech, from the sensational movie “Lincoln” a few years ago, that is still so moving and beautiful.

**Finally today, a brand-new pro tennis tournament has come to my ‘hood, and I was super-excited for it.

After 40 years of holding a lower-tier tournament in Memphis, Tenn., the ATP Tour moved its early-February indoor men’s event to Long Island for this year, and it just wrapped up on Sunday at the new Nassau Coliseum (which is way, way, way, WAY nicer than the old Coliseum, a dump that saw some great hockey and lots of upset fans in the super-crowded hallways and dark upper seats).

I went to two sessions last week, and my review is mixed.

First, the good: The tennis was excellent; the new tournament attracted a pretty good field, with Top 20 players like Kevin Anderson, Kei Nishikori, Sam Querrey, and some up-and-coming Americans. The new Nassau Coliseum, with the top sections tarped off for tennis, felt like a small, intimate arena, and the fans there seemed to really get into the match.

Now the bad: There were very few fans at the matches all week; on Tuesday I swear the players heard the conversations my Dad and I were having during the points. Saturday’s semifinal day session was a little more crowded, but still, we’re talking a few hundred people at most.

New events are hard to get off the ground, mid-February is a tough time to get people out, both of those things are true. But the ticket prices were the biggest problem: They were way, way, way too high. Seventy bucks for a day-session ticket during the week, and $100 for good seats for the semis. No way most people, or casual tennis fans, are going to spend that much.

I know they’ve got to make enough money to cover the expenses, but man, those prices were nuts, even for NY.

I love having a tournament so close by, and of course as a freelance writer I love having opportunities to make a little dough in early February (I wrote two stories on the tournament). But for the New York Open to succeed, they’ve got to get more people in the building to see how great live pro tennis is.

And with these prices, that’s going to be very very hard to do.

A sea otter is a slam-dunking king. The incredible surfing dog. And the greatest cheerleader shot you’ll ever see

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A short blog today, filled with fun and bizarre stuff to take you into the weekend capped by the Oscars Sunday night. For the record, my quickie Oscar picks (this is who I think will win, not who I want to win:)
— 
Best Picture: “Lincoln” (in a nail-biter over “Argo”)
— Best Actor: Daniel-Day Lewis (no relation to me, if you were wondering). But Joaquin Phoenix was amazing in “The Master.”
— Best Actress: Jessica Chastain (I’m calling the upset here over Jennifer Lawrence)
— Best Supporting Actor: Toughest category to call, but I’m going with Tommy Lee Jones for “Lincoln”
— Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, Les Miz. She was awesome, if only in the movie for 30 minutes)
— Best Director: Mr. Spielberg.

We start today’s trio of amazing videos with something you may have seen this week; it’s a sea otter named Eddie who lives at the Oregon Zoo. And he’s like the LeBron James of otters, apparently; check out how good he is at dunking.

Of course, no one’s playing defense on Eddie; let’s see him do that shit when a dolphin is playing him man-to-man.

**Next up, we have Surfing Bulldog Tillman and his amazing talent. I think that’s all I need to say about this video, except look how good Tillman is in the snow, too! All-weather surfer.

**And finally, this happened Thursday night: A female cheerleader at William Carey College made this ridiculous shot at halftime. From halfcourt on the flip like that? Impossibly awesome.

“Lincoln” is a must-see movie. “Homeland” blows me away yet again (even if it’s improbable). And how not to win a half-time contest

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Very rarely does a movie live up to the hype.
But Steven Spielberg has created another masterpiece with “Lincoln.” If you haven’t seen it yet, get your tuchus to a movie theater, pronto, and enjoy a wonderful story, great acting from everyone, and beautiful cinematography.

Daniel Day-Lewis is predictably awesome as Abe, and the movie focuses on a very small slice of his life, the fight to pass the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery while the Civil War wages in its final months.
But everyone else in the cast is terrific, too; from Sally Field as the crazy but supportive Mary Todd Lincoln, David Straitharn as Secretary of State Henry Seward, and most of all, Tommy Lee Jones.
Never been a big fan of his, but he absolutely steals every scene he’s in as a progressive Congressman pushing his colleagues against their will to pass the amendment.
It’s a gorgeously shot, beautifully written film that will hopefully be an enduring film about one of our greatest Presidents. Don’t listen to any Negative Nates (like my father) who say the movie is too long and slow; it’s the best work Spielberg has done in a long, long time.

**Ladies and gentlemen, perhaps the most pathetic effort I’ve ever seen from a halftime “make a shot and win a prize” contestant of all time. Seriously, this guy doesn’t even try.

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**OK, now to “Homeland.” I’ve read and heard a few things in the last 24 hours about Sunday’s episode; about how the show “jumped the shark” with the incredible implausibility of what happened in the VP’s office, about Carrie’s crazy decision after escaping from Nazir’s lair to not even mention that the CIA might want to check on VP Walden, and about seven or eight other plot points that just took the improbability of the show to a whole ‘nother level.

And you know what? Many of the critics are right.
But I didn’t care. I LOVED Sunday’s episode. I was on the edge of the couch the whole time, and I was totally invested in the Carrie-Nazir discussion of the push-and-pull of terrorism and good vs. evil in the warehouse, and I loved the Saul scenes, and man oh man, I just can’t wait to see what happens in the last two episodes of the year.

I’m drinking the “Homeland” Kool-Aid, and am pretty much willing to let the writers take me whereever they want.

Once again, I have no idea where they’ll go next. Brody should absolutely die this season, and I think killing Walden puts a beautiful bow on the storyline they started last year.
But how can you kill off Damien Lewis when he and Claire Danes have such fantastic chemistry? Very tough call to make.

Only two more episodes. I’m already missing the show.