Tag Archives: Gilmore Girls

This Cubs-Indians World Series is going to be awesome. The new “Gilmore Girls” trailer is out and I’m super-excited. And a disgusting Texas policy: kicking special needs kids out of class to meet quotas

indians-cubs

There are lots of times in sports when scribes have to “invent” a storyline for a playoff series, when you’ve got to stretch and pull and inflate the smallest connections or controversies to generate interest. Trust me, I’ve done it plenty in my career.

But with the World Series that started Tuesday night, man, there are about 32 storylines that make me excited, which is why I’m hoping this becomes an epic World Series. (Game 1 was a 6-0 rout, but that won’t be the norm.)

You’ve got the two incredible droughts, with the Cubbies not having won for 108 years and the Indians “only” failing to win a title for 68. You’ve got the manager of the Indians, Terry Francona, going against the Cubs’ front-office mastermind Theo Epstein, who oh-by-the-way is the guy who, along with Francona, helped the Red Sox end THEIR 86-year drought (My million-dollar idea: Can we send Theo Epstein to California to help them? Because between the Red Sox and the Cubs, dude is really good at ending droughts. Thank you, I’ll be here all night.)

You’ve got the Cubs’ ace, Jon Lester, pitching against a manager (Francona) he won a Series with. You’ve got Cleveland, with 3/5th of their pitching rotation hurt, making an improbable run to the series. You’ve got the city of Cleveland, which didn’t win a title in any sport for 52 years, now possibly winning two just in 2016. You’ve got Cubs manager Joe Maddon, the coolest dude in the sport, trying to finally win a crown.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. One of these teams is going to end decades of futility in the next two weeks. They’re evenly matched, the crowds will be nuts, and I think it’ll go seven games.

Sometimes, baseball really deserves to take center stage again. This is one of those times.

**Next up today, I believe I’ve written about this before but I’m pretty darn excited about the “Gilmore Girls” reunion movies coming to Netflix on Nov. 25. The network has done a great job teasing out bits and pieces of the reunion stuff, but now finally we’ve gotten the full-scale trailer for it. If you’re a fan like me, you’re psyched, but also a little saddened at how old some of the characters look (Kirk, you haven’t aged well, but Miss Patty and Dean basically look the same.)

Man, I really, really hope these new episodes are good. So far, it looks very promising (though the Richard Gilmore painting is a little frightening).

**Finally today, a pretty horrifying story out of Texas. Fantastic reporting and investigating by the Houston Chronicle has discovered that schools across the state “have ousted children with disabilities from needed services in order to comply with a Texas Education Agency decree that no more than 8.5 percent of students should obtain specialized education. School districts seeking to meet the arbitrary benchmark have not only made services harder to get into but have resorted to removing hundreds and hundreds of kids.”

The story, part of an investigative series, talks about how educators were pressured to “weed out” students with certain forms of autism, dyslexia, and other disabilities.

We’re talking tens of thousands of students, not getting the help and extra attention they desperately need, because a stupid agency decides on an arbitrary, cost-saving idea. The weakest and most in need of help get shunted aside.

This is from Part 1 of the series:

“Over a decade ago, the officials arbitrarily decided what percentage of students should get special education services — 8.5 percent — and since then they have forced school districts to comply by strictly auditing those serving too many kids.

Their efforts, which started in 2004 but have never been publicly announced or explained, have saved the Texas Education Agency billions of dollars but denied vital supports to children with autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia, epilepsy, mental illnesses, speech impediments, traumatic brain injuries, even blindness and deafness, a Houston Chronicle investigation has found.”

What an incredibly important story, that sadly will get 1/100th of the attention whatever stupid thing a Kardashian or Trump said will get. The TEA leadership should be prosecuted for treating these students and families so shabbily. Check out the story here.

A trip back to UD to talk about college journalism leaves me inspired. Joe Biden, for the love of God, just decide already. And “Gilmore Girls” is coming back!

TheREview

I’ve said this before on here, but I’ll say it again: My experience at the University of Delaware’s student newspaper was the best experience of my life.

The three years I spent on the paper, staying up all night to make deadline, eating crap food, having wonderful memories with like-minded crazies like me who lived, ate and breathed journalism, still makes me smile every time I think of it.

It’s been almost 20 years now since my byline last appeared in The Review, but the darn thing still holds a grip on me. It’s where I first learned everything about how to be a reporter, how to write good stories, how to write bad stories, how to screw up so bad and then face the music the next day, and truly, how much bloody fun it is to be a journalist.

Anyway, back in June I wrote about how, but due to financial troubles, a bunch of UD alumni who worked at The Review were trying to raise money to help save it, and one of the things we’ve done is form an alumni association. Last Saturday I ventured down to UD for our first event, a workshop featuring current Review editors and us old geezer alumni.

We had a great turnout, with alums from places like the Philadelphia Daily News and Baltimore Sun coming back to lead sessions about writing, reporting and editing.

I led sessions on interviewing techniques and longform writing, and what I’ll remember most about the day was the passion of the current staff.

They told us stories about frustration with current administration, coaches who wouldn’t let them talk to players, and general, unbridled enthusiasm about their journalistic futures.

These people were me two decades ago, and despite the challenges facing journalism today, were full of passion and love for it. I felt fortunate to be passing along what wisdom I’ve gleaned to these 19 and 20-year-old kids, newbies in the field.

I loved talking to them and seeing their hope, and how much they still cared about my old student newspaper.

I hope their passion never fades.

(By the way, this is totally random, but when I did a Google search for photos of The Review,” that one above came up. And the guy on the right in the photo? Ray West. Kanye West’s father. How bizarre.)

biden.

**Next up today, Joe Biden made some remarks at George Washington University on Tuesday, and he made a few remarks that seemed to be digs at Hillary Clinton, and a few barbs that seemed to be digs at Bernie Sanders, and he looks like a Presidential candidate, smells like a Presidential candidate … but refuses to say he is one.

A quick open letter to Joe from Delaware: Seriously, with all due respect Mr. Vice President, I’m getting Mario Cuomo flashbacks here. Either you’re running or you’re not. Poop or get off the pot (trying to be respectful here, he is, after all, the VPOTUS).

It’s late-October, the debates have started, nearly all the Democratic millionaires and billionaires have chosen their candidate, and all this waffling is pretty unbecoming of someone of your stature.

You’ve run for President twice before, and failed badly. Apparently, though, instead of going out of public office on a high note, as a terrific vice-president to a two-term Democratic President, you want to run again, where you’ll likely lose.

There’s no clamor for you to run, no void for you to fill. I don’t think you can beat Hillary, but it seems against your own better judgement, you’re going to run (just watch that Colbert interview from a few weeks ago again, that’s not a man who wants to do this).

Anyway, whatever you do, just make up your mind already. Please. Thank you.

**Finally today, this really could wait until Good News Friday but news this exciting just can’t wait: “Gilmore Girls” is coming back! Yes, one of my all-time favorites, a show with more words per minute than anything this side of “The West Wing,” is coming back.

Sorta. Creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and Netflix have announced that the inhabitants of Stars Hollow are returning for four 90-minute episodes, or mini-movies, or whatever.

Apparently they’ve already got a large part of the cast returning, with Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, Scott Patterson (Luke) and Kelly Bishop (Emily) agreeing to come back.

I really hope they don’t ruin the show and make bad comeback episodes. I mean, they have to set it in the present day and not try to go back eight years to when the show ended, right?

Anyway, I’m thrilled. I loved “Gilmore Girls” for its wit, wisdom, heart, and downright quirkiness. The scene above is one of my all-time faves, but really, there were 50 I could’ve picked from.

We’ve missed you, Stars Hollow. If there’s any justice in the world, Kirk will be mayor by now.

The Emmy Awards make me (mostly) happy. An agonizingly awful Jets win. And gay marriage ballot amendments looking good

My favorite awards show of the year took place Sunday night; The Academy Awards are great but so many times I feel like I’m not familiar with the nominees; but with the Emmys, I feel like I very strongly about who should win and who should never get a sniff of an Emmy.

Overall I thought it was a pretty good show, and was thrilled to see one show in particular kick serious butt (it rhymes with “Shmomeland.”)
With the help of my trusty sidekick/fellow TV addict fiance, some things that struck us from the show:

— Thrill of the night for me was seeing “Homeland” do so well, winning both major drama acting categories AND shocking “Mad Men” to win best show. I will continue to say this until the cows come home: “Homeland” is the best show on TV. The new season starts Sunday night on Showtime, time to get watching.

— The comedy awards were really predictable, but we were both stunned Mayim Bialik from “Big Bang Theory” didn’t win best supporting in a comedy. She was awesome. Not that Julie Bowen isn’t, but she’s won a few times already.
— Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue was pretty funny, but the best bits of the night were the Julia Louis-Dreyfus/Amy Poehler speech switch gag, and the opening skit in the bathroom.
— Jon Cryer does not age. He still looks like Ducky.
— Jimmy Fallon looked 3 feet taller than Kathy Bates when they presented together. “Has he been stretched for the Emmys?” the fiance asked.
— There were no major fashion faux pas (I was told), but man were there some hideous dress colors. Julianne Moore, Claire Danes and Julie Bowen all wore awful colors. I thought Danes, Amy Poehler and Zooey Deschanel (above) looked the best, along with the chick who plays Brody’s wife on “Homeland.”

— Really tough call for the producers on who gets the final spot of the Death Montage: Dick Clark or Andy Griffith? They did a seperate tribute to Andy G. instead.
— Can’t believe Doyle from “Gilmore Girls” won an Emmy for writing! He was such a great “GG” character, happy to see him get some more fame.

— Finally, whose idea was the stupid “Andre Braugher coming up in 8 minutes” screen teaser? Like that’s going to keep me watching the Emmys?

**At the end of my life, when I’m old and bald and dying, I’ll wish I had four more hours back.

Those would be the four hours I spent watching Sunday’s truly wretched Jets-Dolphins football game. Calling it ugly and unsightly would be a massive understatement; truly it was a shame either team had to win.
As a Jets fan, I was disgusted by so much of their play that it was hard to feel elated when they won.
Among the many, many problems of my team:
— Mark Sanchez, in his 4th year in the NFL, and 4th year as a starter, is not getting any better. It’s amazing, but he’s STILL making awful decisions, not feeling the rush, and misfiring to wide-open receivers; there were three TD’s the Jets should’ve had Sunday but Sanchez overthrew his receivers.  He’s just not a good quarterback and may never be.

— That said, the man had VERY little help Sunday. Receivers dropped passes all over the place, his offensive line was just OK, and the running game was non-existent. Sanchez just doesn’t have a lot of talent around him.

— Looks like the best defensive back in football, Darrelle Revis, may have torn his ACL, which would mean he’s out for the season. Devastating blow to an already-not-great team.

Other NFL thoughts on yet another crazy day…
— At one point three games were in overtime at the same time (KC-New Orleans, Jets-Dolphins, and Titans-Lions). Not sure that’s ever happened before.

— How crazy was that 44-41 Titans win over the Lions? Detroit scored 14 points in the last eighteen seconds of regulation to tie it, including a Hail Mary. Then in OT, down three, Lions could’ve kicked a FG to tie it, but on 4th and 1, had a miscommunication with the sideline and went for it when they weren’t supposed to. And they didn’t get the yard, and lost the game.

— I know all NFL fans are bitching about the replacement refs and how awful they are… but they are truly horrendous.  Watched the last 5 minutes of Pats-Ravens after the Emmys, and while it was a thrilling finish (that Ravens kicker gave the entire state of Maryland a heart attack, making that FG by inches), the refs practically blew it both ways.

How long is the NFL going to let this complete blow to its credibility last? Sadly, I think it’ll be a while. The NFL’s popularity is impervious, and I just don’t think they give a crap what fans and media (and their own coaches and players!) are saying about the refs right now.

— Stunning to see the 49ers lose, the Jaguars win, and the Saints be 0-3. One more reason I don’t bet on the NFL.

** Finally, it’s too early to be overly excited about this, but it’s certainly promising.  There are four states that in November will have ballot initiatives that in one form or another will legalize same sex marriage, and in three of those states (Maryland, Maine and Washington) it looks very likely that gay marriage will be legalized; only in Minnesota is the polling not looking promising.

If the 3 states’ numbers hold up, this will be a huge, history-making deal, as no states previously have had ballot initiatives supporting gay marriage get passed.

Consider my fingers crossed.

 

The Oscar nominees bring some surprises. Obama’s State of the Union leaves me uninspired. And Federer-Nadal at the Aussie Open, set your DVR.

Tuesday was almost a national holiday for me, with two of my favorite topics (movies and politics) taking center stage.
First, the Oscar nominations came out. Was a little surprised “Bridesmaids” didn’t get a Best Picture nod. Was more than a little surprised the excellent Leo DiCaprio didn’t get a nomination for Best Actor for “J. Edgar.” He was phenomenal in that.
Happy to see “Midnight in Paris,” do well for Woody Allen, though I don’t see it winning anything. Would love to see Melissa McCarthy win just so someone from “Gilmore Girls” wins an Oscar. (I bet Michel is somewhere quietly fuming).

Overall, I think the Academy did a pretty good job. I’ve got some movies to see between now and Feb. 26. First up: “Moneyball.”

**Watched the State of the Union with great anticipation Tuesday night. I was ready for some fire and brimstone out of Mr. Barack Obama.
And what I got was … meh. A so-so speech, I thought, with enough tax credit proposals to choke a horse and very few of what I thought are “do-able” this year in Congress.
A couple things I didn’t like, followed by a couple things I liked:
— Really got rubbed the wrong way by all of Obama’s “America is awesome, yeah!” rhetoric. Reminded me WAY too much of the last guy we had in office, some fella named W. Why do our presidents have to treat us like we’re high school kids at a pep rally?
— A couple of Obama’s challenges really puzzled me. Requiring states to make kids stay in high school until they’re 18? I know I’m new in the education game but I can guarantee 99 percent of high school teachers out there would groan at that proposal. Because as I saw this fall while quasi-student teaching, there are quite a few 17-year-0ld freshmen out there with no interest in doing anything but being disruptive.
And Obama threatening colleges to keep tuition low? How, exactly, is he going to get them to do that?

— I did like his proposal to have AG Eric Holder investigate illegal lending and packaging of risky mortgages that helped get us into the housing crisis. Course, I’m still pissed he didn’t let Holder investigate John Yoo and Dick Cheney, among others, for war crimes a few years ago, but hey, I’m not one to hold a grudge.
— I’m glad Obama started and ended with bin Laden and how much he’s gotten accomplished overseas. He did end the war in Iraq, as promised.
— And I really liked Obama’s combative tone toward Republicans. Enough of this stalling and delaying bullshit, he seemed to say. I’m going to keep reminding Americans for the next nine months that’s it’s you guys who are stopping my bills and ideas that could help Americans get jobs and pay lower taxes.
My man Pearlman had the line of the night, I thought:  “John Boehner: Has any man who has done less for the rights of minorities done more to intentionally darken his own skin?”
Still, I wanted more from Obama. I’m sure a lot of my liberal friends (like my Mom, who loved the speech) will disagree with me. But it felt like a lot of Obama pandering to everyone he could in the speech, and that’s not the guy I voted for.

**Finally, the greatest individual rivalry in sports resumes in the wee hours of the morning tonight, about 3:30 a.m.
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer play in the semifinals of the Australian Open.I don’t expect you to stay up and watch, even a hardcore tennis lunatic like me is going to watch it on DVR.
Like a rare delicacy or a trip to your favorite city, every Federer-Nadal match should be treasured and warmly embraced, since we may not have many of them left. These two class acts, whose primes have almost overlapped, have battled through some of the most classic matches in tennis history.
I have no idea who’ll win this one. Federer is playing outstandingly well so far this tournament, and seems completely relaxed. Rafa has had to work hard in his last couple of matches and, as usual, is battling injuries.

I of course am pulling for my man Federer, but I hope it’s a five-set classic.  When Federer and Nadal meet, that’s not usually too much to ask for.

Irene slams N.C. and N.J., but leaves us New Yorkers pretty OK. The MLK speech turns 48. And “Curb” gives us a holy trinity of guest stars

And so Hurricane Irene has come and gone, leaving destruction in its wake from North Carolina all the way up the coast.
New Jersey is mostly flooded. Millions of people are without power in their homes.  And good luck driving in Vermont, where so much of the state is under water.
So don’t let anyone tell you this storm was overhyped. No, it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been. But it still was devastating.
Fortunately, my fellow NYC brethren and I got off reasonably OK. My neighborhood in Queens had some downed trees, and fortunately my basement apartment stayed un-flooded.
Some other scattered thoughts from my brain after 48 hours of all Irene, all the time:
— CNN showed some “geniuses” on their boats in Newport, R.I. before the storm, and one father was saying how safe it was on the boat, and that even though it was a mandatory evacuation area he was staying put. And his 11-year-old son was right there smiling and nodding, too.
That father should’ve been arrested for child abuse on the spot.
—  Can someone explain to me how Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York can still have a Boston accent after 10 years as the mayor here? He still sounds like Mikey from Worcester.
— Had never been woken up out of a deep sleep before Sunday morning. But damn at 3 a.m. it was howling outside.
— I know its easy to bash the TV networks for overhyping Irene, and sure I think its goofy that they make those reporters stand out there on the beach in 100 miles per hour wind. But honestly, no sarcasm intended, I thought TV did a really good job covering this storm.
— That’s a picture of Cape Hatteras, N.C. from Sunday. Tell those people the storm was overhyped.

**Sunday was the 48th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech, “I Have A Dream.”
One of the greatest oratories of all time. Enjoy:

**Finally, another pretty solid “Curb Your Enthusiasm” was on Sunday. Not nearly as good as some of the other ones this season (last week’s “juicing” episode was an all-time classic), but Sunday brought the most awesome guest starring trio ever.

It was: Tony Soprano’s sister (Aida Turturro),  Miles Silverberg from the late, great “Murphy Brown” (Grant Shaud), and the awesome Max Medina from “Gilmore Girls!”(Scott Cohen). For you Gilmore fans, here’s a link to the Max proposal (an awesome scene) and the Lorelai acceptance (also a great scene)
Three totally random but awesome actors in one tiny little Curb episode. Awesome. And now a classic scene I just found on Youtube featuring Aida Turturro and James Gandolfini; watch the slow burn on her face around the 2:10 mark.
God that was a great show.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce hates rape victims, a great new “Glee,” and stuff I learned in the bathroom today

With all the good and positive change going on in America since Barack Obama took over, there are still constant reminders of the disgusting activities that took place over the past eight years.

I’m not laying this one at the feet of the Bush administration, though. Still, it’s grotesque.

Let me tell you a little bit about Jamie Leigh Jones. In 2005, she was a 23-year-old employee of Halliburton/ KBR, a military contractor working in Iraq. While in Iraq, she says she was brutally gang-raped (is there any other kind than brutal? by seven U.S. contractors, and held in a shipping container by two guards. She was drugged, severed severe injuries, and was denied food and water.

She has been trying, for years now, to get some kind of justice for the pain and suffering she went through.

But thanks to the laws of these here United States, according to this ABC News story, Jones is still waiting for her day in court. Because the alleged rape happened overseas, she can’t press charges in a U.S. Court.

And apparently, when she signed on as an employee, she unknowingly agreed to waive any rights to a jury trial in any criminal proceeding, and was forced into having her claims decided through secret, binding arbitration.

Anyway, up to the present: A bipartisan group of Senators, led by Al Franken, has won an amendment to a defense appropriations bill, allowing private contractor employees overseas access to the U.S. Court. Specifically, Franken’s amendment would withhold defense contracts from Halliburton and the like if they restrict their employees from taking workplace sex assault, battery and discrimination cases to court.

To my utter amazement, thirty Republican Senators voted against this, and the Pentagon AND the U.S Chamber of Commerce argued against the amendment as well, saying in a letter that it could set a dangerous precedent.

Franken’s amendment may not survive the final vetting of the bill, which is disgusting.

Even after Bush and Chaney are gone, Halliburton and their buddies still get their way.

And rape victims like Jones have to wonder when they’ll ever see justice.

***Another excellent episode of “Glee” on Wednesday night. Loved the “Endless Love” duet, and the harrowing scene at Quinn Febray’s house (with the guy who played Logan’s dad on “Gilmore Girls” in it!) when she tells her parents she’s pregnant.

One big complaint with the show, though: No Sue Sylvester! I need my Sue’s Corner segment. I need her biting and caustic remarks! Looks like she’s back next week, and that Rachel Berry is turning into Sandy from “Grease.” Can’t wait.

**Finally, I leave you with some bathroom knowledge. Literally. So I’m in the Lakeland Center in Lakeland, Fla, Wednesday, covering the state volleyball tournament, and I go to the restroom.

While there, I discover this brand-new handle on the toilet, that tells me that, to save water, I should push the handle up if there’s a No. 1 issue, and down if there’s a No. 2 issue. I was totally unaware of this breakthrough in conservation and toilet technology. I think it’s brilliant, though I want to know exactly HOW they determine how much water is required to flush a No. 2.

Boy, first the no-touch automatic flushing, and now this. What will they think of next?