Tag Archives: Dave Barry

Dave Barry’s Year in Review is, as always, a must-read. “The Greatest Showman” was pretty good for what it was. And the New York Knick who crashes bar mitzvahs

Hello and Happy New Year, everyone! I really meant to write a blog post for Monday but the day got away from me, we were doing family things and then I had some champagne on New Year’s Eve and, well, you know. Hope you had a great holiday, and that you saw some of that sensational Georgia-Oklahoma college football game Monday night (the great Tommy Tomlinson, a Georgia fan, penned this great, emotional column).

Lots to get to at the start of 2018, but as always I can’t fully put a bow around 2017 without reading the great Dave Barry’s Year in Review. For those of you somehow unaware of this true genius, Dave Barry is a wildly successful author and humorist who has been a longtime Miami Herald columnist. Honestly, I think he’s one of the five funniest people in America. As always, his 2017 Year in Review contains a ton of laughs, including…

In February, The entertainment highlight of the month comes during the Academy Awards, when PricewaterhouseCoopers (motto: “The Fidget Spinner of Consulting Firms”) comes up with a brilliant gambit to enliven the 14-hour broadcast by handing Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway the wrong envelope for Best Picture. Hilarity ensues, and PricewaterhouseCoopers is immediately hired by congressional Republican leadership to develop a strategy for repealing Obamacare.

In April, In aviation news, United Airlines (“The Fidget Spinner of Airlines”) breaks new customer-service ground when it decides that a 69-year-old passenger who has already boarded his flight must be “re-accommodated” via a technique similar to the one the Mexican army used to re-accommodate the Texans at the Alamo, leaving him with a concussion, broken teeth and a broken nose. At first United’s CEO defends the airline’s actions on the grounds that, quote, “We have the collective IQ of a starfish.” But after a firestorm of public outrage he apologizes and promises that in the future United will employ a “more humane” re-accommodation policy based on “respect for our customers and, when needed, tranquilizer darts.

Dave Barry’s the best. Read his whole, hilarious story here.

**Next up, as I think I mentioned a few weeks ago the wife and I were about to go on a movie-watching binge over the holidays, and I actually got to see three quality flicks in the past week. Not to going to review them all today because you and I don’t have that kind of time, but wanted to start by writing about “The Greatest Showman,” which I knew would be a musical but still had way more music than I was expecting.

Couple good things: 1, Hugh Jackman, who played P.T. Barnum, is a superstar. Guy is really, really good at everything he’s in, and he was really good here. 2, The cinematography and visuals of this movie were spectacular. It was gorgeous to look at, definitely a flick I’m glad I saw on the big screen. 3. Michelle Williams, who plays Barnum’s wife, is terrific with what little material she had to work with. Michelle Williams has turned out to be a sensational actor. Who ever would’ve thought that the “other” chick from “Dawson’s Creek” would be the best actor of all of them?

Couple bad things: 1, Zac Efron, one of the big stars of the movie, is no Al Pacino. He’s fine at singing but at acting? Meh. 2, A lot of the storyline presents Barnum was this wonderful, gregarious, big-hearted guy, giving opportunities to those who society has shunned, like a Bearded Lady and a midget. The reality is so, so, so different (though I was about to get mad at the movie for not including Barnum’s famous “There’s a sucker born every minute” quote until I got home and read he never actually said it.).

Would’ve been nice to see some of Barnum’s darker side. 3, And this bothered my wife way more than me: Barnum has two daughters in the film. The film takes place over a period of at least eight years. His daughters never age in the movie. What, they didn’t want to pay two sets of actors to play his kids? It’s just weird.

Anyway, overall I’d say liked “The Greatest Showman.” It’s not great, but if you like musicals and a feel-good story, check it out.

**Finally today, I’m stunned I missed this story from last December, but I’m glad I stumbled upon it over the weekend. Meet Kyle O’Quinn, a backup forward for the New York Knicks. Like most pro basketball players, he’s tall, he’s African-American, and he never had his own bar mitzvah.

But he’s been to a bunch of them now, because Kyle O’Quinn has been going to a ton of them. What started as an invite to his agent’s daughter’s party has turned into a regular side gig.

Says Mr. O’Quinn: “A lot of times, I go and I stay longer than I’m supposed to because it’s so much fun,” O’Quinn said. “The food’s always good. The only thing that gets a little overwhelming is the kids; sometimes they don’t listen to the structure of the party and it just gets loose.

“And the [parents] kind of leave it like, ‘Kyle, you deal with it.’ And it’s kids saying, ‘Selfie, selfie, selfie, snapchat, what’s your snapchat?’ But once you get that out of the way, it’s fun.”

I bet he does a mean hora dance, you know?

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“The Big Short” was way more entertaining than I expected, and still left me enraged. The best photos of the year. And Dave Barry’s Year in Review, brilliant as always.

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I went to see “The Big Short” last week not just because it’s based on a book I wrote (OK, OK, it was the “other” Michael Lewis who wrote it, must we be sticklers for details?), but because it got superb reviews and I was curious how the director, Adam McKay, could possibly make sub-prime mortgages and collateralized debt obligations into an exciting movie.

But damned if “The Big Short” isn’t pretty exciting. The cast is stellar, with Christian Bale and Steve Carell shining, but the script and the inventive way McKay uses to explain a lot of the boring technical jargon (a naked Margot Robbie in a bubble bath talking about finance certainly got me to sit up straight in my seat) was really what made the movie stand out.

The film doesn’t talk down to its audience, and actually makes the half-dozen or so main characters, who saw the housing bubble collapsing, and taking the world economy down with it, long before others did, seem like characters in a thriller.

To be clear, there are no “good guys” here, just some money men who figured out what was going to happen and made millions doing it.
Even as I was enjoying the movie, though, I got enraged, which is what I suppose is the point. This entire financial collapse we experience in 2008 could’ve been prevented, and it was caused by reckless greed and illegal behavior, combined with so many regulators looking the other way.

By the end of the movie, you feel angry that so few have gone to jail over causing so much pain and suffering. But you also feel this was an important story to tell that most Americans really should watch (kind of the same way I feel about “Concussion,” another flick I just saw, but more on that next week in this space.)

Go see “The Big Short.” It’s much better than you think it’ll be. And you’ll even learn something while having a good time.

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**Next up, two of my favorite year-end annual events. First, the New York Times’ collection of the Pictures of the Year, from news events around the world. So many haunting and beautiful images here, I’ve put two on the page here (above and below) but really, look at all of them.

Just amazing photography.

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**Finally today, one of my favorite annual things to read this time of year is Dave Barry’s hilarious take on the momentous events of the last 12 months. Barry is, without a doubt, the funniest newspaper writer who ever lived, and though he doesn’t write as much anymore, these year-end recaps still slay me. Some excerpts below; read the whole column here:

JanuaryOn DeflateGate: “The most fascinating theory is put forth by Patriot Head Coach Bill Belichick, a man who, at his happiest, looks like irate ferrets are gnawing their way out of his colon.”

March, on Putin: Abroad, Russian President Vladimir Putin mysteriously vanishes from public view for 10 days. It is later revealed that he was training customer-service representatives for Comcast.

August, on climate change: The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that July was the hottest month globally ever recorded. With a renewed sense of urgency, the world’s industrialized nations vow to continue sending large delegations via jumbo jets to distant conferences on climate change until this darned thing has been licked.

November, on Presidential debates: In presidential politics, Ben Carson reacts angrily to CNN reports suggesting that he never tried to stab anybody or hit his mother with a hammer. Really. Donald Trump continues his two-pronged campaign of saying reprehensible things and then clarifying his statements by saying he didn’t really say them so STOP HATING YOU PATHETIC LOSERS, a strategy that continues to cost him vital support among knowledgeable Washington insiders. Jeb Bush seeks to revive his flagging campaign by unleashing an awesome new slogan —“Jeb Can Fix It!” — and immediately surges ahead in the coveted 3-year-old-boy voter demographic.

A few words about the departing Rex Ryan, who I loved then hated. Jib Jab brings the funny of 2014. And Dave Barry brilliantly dissects 2014.

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On this morning after another miserable New York Jets season has ended, permit me a few words about the sure-to-be fired Rex Ryan, a coach unlike any I’ve ever seen stroll the sidelines for the Green and White.

Ah, Rex. You came in breathing fire back in 2009, talking about meeting the new President one day (as in, we’ll win the Super Bowl and be invited to the White House) and charming the press. Then, incredibly, thanks to a series of lucky breaks and other teams losing, you led the Jets to the playoffs, before staging two fantastic wins to get to the AFC Championship game.

Then the next year, you did it again. The Jets whipped the Pats in the playoffs and came oh-so-close to beating the Steelers to go to the Super Bowl, and now the team I bleed for had made 2 straight title games and had a coach ready to become a legend.

Then … it all went to shit, pardon the expression. The quarterback regressed, the defense got old, the offensive line collapsed, the star receiver became an even bigger diva, and the coach, well, it turns out he was awesome at motivation, awesome at designing defensive schemes, and so awesome at anything else.

The man was a terrible, terrible game-coach. Truly awful. For six years Rex Ryan ran a disorganized sideline; no one wasted more timeouts, or was called for too many men on the field penalties, than the Jets.
And nobody talks about this, but Rex for most of his career as Jets coach had a major say in the draft, and he didn’t excel at picking players, at all. He fell in love with Sanchez, who wasn’t all that great, and 1st-round defensive picks like Kyle Wilson and Quinton Coples have been busts.

The man deserved to be fired two years ago, and wasn’t because the owner loves him. He deserved to be fired last year, and wasn’t. And he most certainly deserves to be fired this year, and finally, mercifully, will.

I have heard over the past few weeks many broadcasters and media members say Rex deserves to stay, he’s a great coach, etc. And I wonder: Have these people been watching the Jets? Because if they were, they’d see a coach long past his expiration date.

I feel bad it didn’t work out because I’m a fan and Rex is great fun in press conferences. But after those first two magical years, he’s been awful. And he’s stayed far too long.

Now, to paraphrase his greatest-ever quote, I’m going to go eat a goddamn snack.

**Next up, the good folks at Jib Jab have put together their as-usual awesome video parodying the year that was.

Here’s 2014 in a two-minute nutshell; I laughed out loud at least twice.

**And finally, the legendary newspaper comedian Dave Barry has come out with his “review” of 2014, and it’s the funniest thing I’ve read all year. A few excerpts of his brilliance in this piece:

— On a happier note, Colorado announces that it has already collected marijuana sales taxes totaling $2million, which the state plans to spend on “a subwoofer the size of Delaware.”

— In an aviation miracle, a 15-year-old boy sneaks into the landing-gear compartment of a Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 767 and somehow survives a five-hour flight from San Jose to Maui. Hours later major U.S. airlines jointly announce that they are offering “an exciting new seating option for budget-minder flyers who enjoy fresh air.”

— In government news, the troubled Secret Service once again comes under withering criticism when an intruder is able to jump the White House fence, enter the White House through the front door, overpower a Secret Service agent, run through the Central Hall, enter the East Room, deliver a nationwide radio address and appoint four federal judges before being overpowered. In a congressional hearing probing the incident, the Secret Service director promises to improve White House security but suggests that in the meantime the First Family should “consider adopting a larger dog.”

Dave Barry’s the best.

Good News Friday: An amazing women’s hockey game won by Canada. A wonderful essay on stay-at-home Moms. And Dave Barry, always funny

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Probably going to spend Friday in a bad mood after Duke blew that game against the Tar Heels Thursday night. Made me mad. But hey, lots of other good stuff happening… like this awesome billboard. What if neither country was the Beebs?

I’ve watched tens of thousands of sporting events in my life, and probably hundreds of games contested by women at all levels.

Never seen a better women’s sporting event than Canada-USA women’s hockey, for the gold medal, at the Olympics Thursday.

Any idiot who thinks women’s sports can’t be as compelling as men’s should be forced, “Clockwork Orange”-style, to watch that magnificent game.

My heart was in my throat for the whole third period, when it looked like the American team would win, and was up 2-0.

Then Canada came back on a fluky goal, and it was 2-1, with 3:30 left. And the clock. Would. Not. Move. It looked like it was frozen.

So many reasons to root for Team USA in this one; Canada has won the last three gold medals in women’s ice hockey, and Team USA hadn’t won one since 1998.

Every time it looks like America is finally the equal of our neighbors to the north, Canada comes back and wins.

But this time, this time was different… especially when Canada pulled their goalie down a goal and the U.S. shot toward the empty net for a game-clinching score… and it went off the post.

So of course Canada ties it up in the final minute, and wins in overtime.

So heartbreaking. Loved the intensity of this game, the hitting (I thought there was no checking in women’s hockey?) the skill of players like Amanda Kessel, Julie Chu, Marie-Philip Poulin, Hayley Wickenheiser, etc.

Two very cool videos I want to share about this one. One, below, is the reaction of two Canada radio hosts, Tim and Sid, who were watching the game while on the air, then exploded with joy when it was over. Hilarious to watch Canadians trash-talk:

And then there’s this video of Team Canada singing their national anthem after getting their medals. Very, very cool.

And today, the men’s teams play each other. Time for some revenge

**Next up, a terrific story written by a man, Matt Walsh, who’s sick and tired of people thinking less of his wife because she’s a stay-at-home Mom. Walsh has been hearing all kinds of comments like the ridiculous “What does she do all day?” (His response:  “My wife never stops working. Meanwhile, it’s the middle of the afternoon and we’re both at a coffee shop. I’m sure my wife would love to have time to sit down and drink a coffee. It’s nice to get a break, isn’t it?”) and he’s tired of it.

His essay is eloquent, heartfelt, and one that everyone should read. Taking care of kids is a full-time job; ask anyone who’s ever tried it.

You go, Matt Walsh.

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**Finally today, I rarely link to Dave Barry’s pieces, but every time I read one I think, “Why don’t I read him more?”

Barry, formerly of the Miami Herald, just might be the funniest man in America, and if you’ve ever read any of his books (mostly collections of columns), you know how side-splitting he can be.

Here’s Barry’s column from today’s Wall Street Journal, an excerpt from his forthcoming book. It’s brilliant, as usual. Here’s an excerpt:

Today everything is convenient. You cook your meals by pushing a microwave button. Your car shifts itself, and your GPS tells you where to go. If you go to a men’s public restroom, you don’t even have to flush the urinal! This tedious chore is a thing of the past because the urinal now has a small electronic “eye” connected to the Central Restroom Command Post, located deep underground somewhere near Omaha, Neb., where highly trained workers watch you on high-definition TV screens and make the flush decision for you. (“I say we push the button.” “Wait, not yet!”)