Tag Archives: David Carr

Good News Friday: A “Lost Boy of Sudan” pays America back with love. An autistic runner from Long Island amazes. And a grandson invents a device to help Alzheimers patients

It’s freezing outside and there’s more snow coming,  and it’s been a truly shitty week for those of us who love old-school, kick-ass news reporting and writing, as CBS legend Bob Simon, and NYT media writer/author David Carr, died within 48 hours of each other. Carr, especially, had an impact on me: The way he wrote was truly unique. (Check out this great clip of Carr slapping down editors at VICE magazine who insult the New York Times.)

So, yeah, I’m ready for some good news.

Like this story that just about made me cry. Peter Kuch is a 36-year-old sergeant in the U.S. Army stationed in Fort Bragg, N.C. By all accounts he’s a fantastic soldier, but that’s not what makes his story remarkable.

Kuch was one of the thousands of “Lost Boys of Sudan”, who 15 years ago, in the midst of an awful war in that country, was taken safely to a refugee camp and then “re-settled” in America.

This short piece from the always-great Steve Hartman on “CBS Sunday Morning” is 150 seconds of pure joy and gratefulness. Watch and see how much this country can mean to one man, and how a reunion with one special person came about.

So great.

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**Next up, a story near and dear to my heart since this wonderful young man is from Northport, N.Y., about 5 miles fro my Long Island hometown of Commack.

Mikey Brannigan is one of the top high school middle distance runners in America, and is the defending national champion in the outdoor 2-mile, (8:53.59).
He’s remarkable for more than just that, though. At 18 months old Mikey was diagnosed with autism, and doctors told his parents he could end up in a group home.

At age 7 he found running, and the rest is told in this beautiful story from Ali Fenwick of Sports Illustrated, after the magazine named Brannigan their athlete of the month.

Truly limitless, what human beings who find their passion can achieve.

**Finally today, as someone who has personal experience watching a grandparent suffer with Alzheimer’s, this story gave me a smile.

It was on Upworthy.com recently, and it’s about a 15-year-old boy named Kenneth Shinozuka, whose grandfather, Deming, was an Alzheimer’s patient who had the tendency to wander off and away from his caregiver without warning, and into potentially dangerous situations.

So Kenneth invented a sensor that attaches to a patient’s sock and alerts caregivers via a wireless signal when the patient has wandered off.

Brilliant. And possibly life-saving. You go, Kenneth.

“Zero Dark Thirty” is fabulous, and shows torture doesn’t really work. An awesome “South Park” correction. And an incredible high school basketball shot

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I saw “Zero Dark Thirty” on Sunday.

Never have I been in a quieter movie theater. Every single person watching it was pretty much silent throughout the 2 1/2 hour running time, and when it was over, most of us stood up slowly, still wrapped up in Katherine Bigelow’s extraordinary film.

You’ve probably heard a lot about this movie, and much of it from people who haven’t even seen it. So let me dispel a few myths you might have, before I urge to definitely see it:

— It’s not a documentary, and should not be viewed as one. Yes, it’s based on real events, and real scenes of interrogation and torture as the CIA spent eight years hunting for Osama bin Laden. But so many people have politicized it and searched for deeper meaning and a point of view. It’s a movie, people.
— Contrary to what you may have heard, it does not in any way endorse torture as the reason Osama was eventually found. Torture was shown to not work in this movie, clearly. This is NOT a pro-torture movie. Without giving too much away, I frankly cannot understand how so many reviewers seem to see “ZDT” as an endorsement of torture’s effectiveness.
— If you’re squeamish about seeing it because of the torture scenes, not to worry. They’re brief and contained to the first half-hour of the film, and while they’re disturbing, they are vital to the plot and the reality of what went on.
— The final 45 minutes, when the raid on bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan is shown, through the grainy color of green night-vision goggles, is as thrilling as any action scene you will watch. Just tremendous acting and directing.

I know a lot of people still don’t think America tortured possible terrorists, who think “waterboarding” and “enhanced interrogation” were necessary in the war on terror. I vehemently disagree with those people, and I defy them to watch “Zero Dark Thirty” and not be faced with the reality that the U.S. committed terrible war crimes, and that all that torture didn’t really accomplish much, except stain our reputation in the world.

See “Zero Dark Thirty.” It’s an important, gripping film that doesn’t shy away from scary truths about who we are.

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**I’m not a big “South Park” fan; watched a few episodes the first season, thought it was mildly funny, and even though a ton of smart people I know swear by the show, it’s just never been for me.

I am, however as you know, a huge fan of entertaining newspaper corrections, and this one, from a David Carr story in the New York Times, absolutely cracked me up.
Here goes:

“An earlier version of this column misstated a plot point in “South Park.” While the character Kenny was once killed in every episode, that is no longer the case. The earlier version also misstated the circumstances of his repeated deaths. While he has met his fate in a variety of ways over the years, he was not routinely “ritually sacrificed.”

Well, glad we cleared THAT up.

**Finally, check this out: Bracken Barga, a 5-foot-8 guard from Monroe Central (Ind.) High School, did something pretty amazing the other night in a high school basketball game. It doesn’t look possible, but it’s real and has been verified by people at the game.

Way to go, kid. And can you teach me how you did that?

A newspaper near-death in New Orleans. A fantastic wedding proposal video. And the Little League ump who goes too far

Sorry there was no blog on Monday, loyal readers. I figured most of you had the day off so I took it, too. Actually, was too busy to blog after being knee-deep in wedding-venue selection hoopla (post on that to come soon). Suffice to say, if I never hear the words “bridal attendant will be an extra charge” in my life, I’m good.


The hits keep on coming for those of us who love and worship newspapers. Every week, every month, every year, as the slow decline of print comes faster and faster, there are new reasons to mourn.
The reasons for the death of newspapers have been enumerated thousands of times, and you would think after so many job losses, budget cuts, and outright folding of papers we’d get immune to it.
But nope, it still hurts quite a bit. The latest blow cuts pretty deeply. Owners of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the only paper in the Big Easy and a Pulitzer-Prize winner in 2006 for its fantastic Katrina coverage, has announced it will only publish a paper three days a week starting this fall.
The rest of the operation will be online, though of course there will be a ton of job cuts as well.

“A great town deserves a great paper,” said David Carr of the New York Times. He’s right. But you can’t blame the locals; 75 percent of New Orleanians read the paper. It’s just there’s not enough of ’em anymore, not after Katrina devastated the town’s population.

Such a crying shame.

**Maybe it’s because I just proposed myself, but I find myself loving these unusual and unique wedding proposal ideas more and more these days. This one knocked my socks off (my friend Jen M. pointed it out to me on Facebook); it’s a guy named Isaac and his proposal to his girlfriend Amy involving a Bruno Mars song and 60 of the couple’s closest friends. And a moving car. Watch and enjoy and be amazed at how perfect the choreography is … (the good stuff starts at the :50 mark, everything before that is just lead-up).

**Finally, this Little League umpire may have the most excited “strike three” call in the whole world.
And frankly, I don’t think that’s a good thing. Someone needs to put less caffeine in this guy’s Gatorade between innings.