Tag Archives: Grammys

A Friday night I’ll never forget: Me and Mark Messier hang out for a bit. Kate McKinnon continues to be awesome on “SNL.” And my annual “old fogey watches the Grammys” thoughts

I don’t think I do a lot of complaining about my life here on the blog, but if I ever do, remind of the night of Feb. 8, 2019 and tell me to shut up.

Friday night… man, was it magical.

They say you should never meet your childhood heroes in real life, because they’re bound to disappoint you. I don’t know about that, because a few of my heroes that I’ve been lucky enough to meet (Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Bob Costas) have all turned out to be pretty cool.

But one hero I never, ever expected to meet is one of the greatest hockey players who ever lived. Guy by the name of Messier. First name Mark.

Played for the Edmonton Oilers, won five Stanley Cups, then came to New York and gave the single greatest sports memory I will ever have on June 14, 1994, when he and the Rangers won the Stanley Cup for the first time in 54 years.

And Friday night, the Captain and I spent about 30 glorious minutes together, on an evening that was incredible and memorable before I ever shook his hand.

A little background on how a night I’ll never forget came to be: So my wonderful wife has a work contact whose firm has a suite at Madison Square Garden, and around twice a year we are fortunate enough to spend a night at a Rangers game in the suite, with great food, a private bathroom (that’s huge at a hockey game!) and cool people.

Several months ago my wife told me our two games for this year, and at the time I had no idea that Feb. 8 vs. Carolina was going to be the 25th anniversary celebration of the 1994 Stanley Cup. When I found that out, I went from my normal level of excitement to a 10.

Seeing my favorite sports team of all time all dressed up and being honored was going to be awesome.
Then, I get to the suite about two hours before the game, and like usual I start introducing myself to the other people in the suite. Normally these are just other lawyers or bankers or whatever.

“Hi,” the first guy said. “I’m Paul Messier.”
“Hi,” the second guy said. “I’m Doug Messier.”

Wait, what? Mark Messier’s brother, and father, are sitting in this box with me? My excitement level went up seven or eight notches.

Then I found out that a few Rangers legends would be stopping by our suite during the game, including that “other” Messier guy.
I couldn’t call my wife and my father fast enough (she hadn’t arrived yet) to tell them that I might get to meet one of my all-time idols. This is a man whose name is part of some of my email passwords, a man who stood for everything (courage, tenacity, being clutch, being a good guy off the ice) that I believe in and worship in an athlete.

The pregame ceremony gave me chills. Then the game started. I half paid attention to the game, because I kept watching the door of the suite waiting for No. 11 to come in.

By the end of the second period, even though I’d had lots of fun chatting about hockey with Messier’s brother (and the poor guy, you just know that’s how everyone refers to him), I was getting worried. Maybe Mark wouldn’t show. Maybe he had too many other obligations on this special night.

Then, early in the third, he walked in. And of course for the rest of us in the box, time kind of stood still.

I bided my time. I waited a whole two minutes before walking over to where the great Mark Messier stood. I shook his hand, told him that I’m sure I’m the 48 millionth person to tell him this, but thank you for the 1994 Cup.

And he was great. We took some more pics with my wife and her co-workers, and then for about 10 glorious minutes, I sat one row in front of the greatest captain in hockey history and exchanged a few barbs. I made him laugh with one joke about how bad the current Rangers were playing, and a few minutes later we talked briefly about Sergei Zubov and how it’s a travesty he’s not in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Then way too quickly, the game ended and it was time to leave. We thanked Mess again on our way out, and I walked into the night a few moments later wondering if all that all really happened.

They say you shouldn’t meet your heroes. I met one Friday night. And it was so freaking awesome.

And just because we’re talking about Messier, here’s this, the greatest clutch performance a Rangers player has ever had.

**Next up today, a big story at the end of last week was Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos and his stunningly honest and transparent letter accusing the National Enquirer of trying to extort him to not cover the Enquirer/Trump love-in, by threatening to release penis pics of Bezos.

Yes, this is America in 2019. Thankfully, we have “Saturday Night Live” to sort this all out. And as always, Kate McKinnon is gold.

**Finally today, Sunday night was the Grammys, and as usual this 43-year-old suburban white father of two didn’t know a lot of the musical acts that took the stage, or won awards (actual pre-Grammys conversation in our house: Post Malone, is that a boy, or a girl, or a group? And is there an alternative group called Pre-Malone?”)

But hey, as usual I enjoyed lots of the show, anyway. Some thoughts from my still stuck in the 1980s musically brain:

— The Dolly Parton tribute was fabulous. And I say this every time I hear her sing, but Miley Cyrus has an amazing voice. Truly an all-time great set of pipes. If I could just get past her crazy, I’d probably be a big fan of hers.

— I don’t usually like Lady Gaga’s outfits at all, but that shiny silver dress she wore at the beginning? Fantastic. And the glittery catsuit thingy she had on when singing her awesome song “Shallow?” Pretty fabulous too.

— That opening speaking segment with Michelle Obama, Gaga, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Lopez, and Jada Pinkett-Smith was pretty spectacular as well.

— Alicia Keys rules. She was a killer host, a great singer, and I loved her little montage. But this will still be the best thing she ever did.

— I want whatever anti-aging cream John Mayer uses. Dude still looks like he’s 16!

— Best performance by someone I’d never heard of until the Grammys: H-E-R. Very strong. But I swear I don’t get the appeal of half these artists. I’m old.

 

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A sorority in Michigan puts out a horrific anti-Semitic V-day card. “SNL” and Melissa McCarthy score again. And thoughts on a politically-charged Grammys dominated by Adele

There is so much going on in America right now, politically and socially, that sometimes I feel like we can’t process at all.

There’s so much wrong, and so many lies and such deep hatred emanating from the White House and those who support it, that sometimes I feel like things slide and don’t get the attention it deserves.

So in my tiny corner of the Internet today, I wanted to say how absolutely revolted I am by this story, and how it’s just a mere pebble to a larger boulder of a trend: Anti-Semitism is getting worse and worse in America.

The Central Michigan University College Republicans hosted a Valentine’s Day party last Wednesday night; at the party, they distributed gift bags to all attendees.

In those gift bags was a Valentine’s Day card so hideous, so horrendous… Just look at it.

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Words fail me. That is 14,000 kinds of wrong.

Of course the College Republicans of CMU apologized profusely, claimed that it was some “unauthorized” person who unbeknownst to them put those cards i people’s bags, yada yada yada. Maybe they’re telling the truth, but it smells like bullshit to me.

Anti-Semitism has always been around, you don’t have to tell any Jewish person that. But over the past year, ever since a certain bigoted a-hole began running for President and doing stuff like running ads with pictures of Hillary Clinton and talking about money and putting a Jewish star on the ad (real subtle, Donald), things seem to be getting worse.

There were many, many stories around Hanukkah time of menorahs being destroyed, synagogues being vandalized, and blatant anti-Semitism in many forms. You going to tell me it’s just a coincidence that all this is getting worse since a man who actually became President has a white supremicist and anti-Semite running his campaign and now, his White House?

It is disgusting, it is scary, and it needs to be called out every single time it happens.

Shame on the Central Michigan College Republicans, and shame on the millions of Americans who excused the anti-Semitism of the current administration.

Sadly, this shit doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon.

**And now, on a lighter note… “Saturday Night Live” did a pretty sexist and awful KellyAnne Conway sketch this week (I’m not going to link to it and give it more clicks, you can find it if you want to), but they absolutely hit a home run again with Melissa McCarthy as White House press secretary Sean Spicer. “The People’s Court” bit is hilarious, and the last 30 seconds are my favorite part, but her saying the word “Orlan-ta.” had me burst out laughing.

Melissa McCarthy may have to become a permanent cast member, she’s too damn good in this role…

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**Finally today, every year I spend 364 or so days ignoring popular music of all genres, stuck in the 1980s and ’90s that I am, then spend one night watching the Grammys and catching up and asking my much-cooler, hipper wife to explain stuff to me (Hey, it works for us.)

Some thoughts from what was a pretty powerful and politically-charged, but sometimes boring, Grammys:

— So Adele won everything and she was absolutely charming as always, whether it was when she stopped her tribute performance to George Michael to start it over because there was a screwup (and then she cursed on live TV which is always fun), or when she basically bowed down to Beyonce and apologized for winning Record and Album of the Year. As I’ve said, I know nothing about current music but it seems the Internet lost its mind that Adele beat Beyonce.

— Beyonce was pretty stunning in her visual and artistic performance; pregnant with twins, she still put on an amazing show.
Seriously, I know she’s called Queen Bey and all that, but can we actually elect her Queen of America?

— The political protests from the stage were expected, because music has always been such an important way to spread messages of resistance. A Tribe Called Quest was pretty on point, calling the President “President Agent Orange” and then parading to the stage a variety of regular people from all different faiths and nationalities. Katy Perry, who I’m not usually a fan of, dropped a fantastic performance as well, and Jennifer Lopez quoting Toni Morrison? Didn’t see that one coming.

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— The Prince tribute was the highlight of the whole show for me, which I knew it would be. Bruno Mars doing “Let’s Go Crazy?” Well done, sir.

— Speaking of J-Lo, she looked great but she’s coming dangerously close to John Boehner’s skin color. There is such a thing as TOO much bronzing and tanning.

— Literally nothing can get me to change the channel faster than “An All-Star Tribute to the Bee Gees!”

— For old fogies like me, seeing the James Corden “Carpool Karaoke” bit with so many artists singing “Sweet Caroline” along with Neil Diamond was pretty fun.

— Also, I had no idea who they were before Sunday night, but Twenty One Pilots coming up to accept their Grammy award with no pants on was pretty fabulous.

— Finally, Lady Gaga and Metallica was a glorious train wreck. As my wife astutely put it, “Gaga looked like she was a Metallica groupie.”

 

 

Thoughts from a typically wacky Grammy Awards. The 1st-grader who gave the whole school the day off. And I hit a new running milestone that gets me excited

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The music, the clothes, and the incredible amount of sparkle: The Grammy always have it all.
As I’ve said many times, I know very little about current music, but I enjoy the Grammys because there’s always a few groups that I like, plus the costumes and behavior are always entertaining.
Here are some thoughts from a typically weird night at the Grammys:

— Thought Taylor Swift’s opening was a nice tribute to “Alice in Wonderland” (that’s what it was, right?) but she was still singing that awful song that I’ll now have stuck in my head for three days. And speaking of She Who Cannot Keep Boyfriends, why did CBS feel the need to show us a second of her dancing in the aisles to every single other performance?
— I love Adele’s music but her awards show speeches are even better. She just comes out, says a few things, and walks off. And she’s almost always funny.
— Outright robbery that Mumford & Sons lost to The Black Keys in Best Rock Performance. But the Mumford boys did get Album of the Year, which is highly deserved. So it all evened out.
— However, my fiance has declared that The Black Keys are “the coolest white boys in rock.” Or at least, “since Dave Grohl,” she added.

— Lena Dunham is dating a guy from Fun. Was this known by everyone else but me?
— Love that Sting came on and played with Bruno Mars. I want to be Sting for just one day. He’s just the coolest. Or maybe Prince is the coolest, I can never tell.

— Kelly Clarkson, we know you love everyone. But do you need to say hello to every single person in the audience before coming on stage to get your award?

 Oh, how I enjoyed all of the “Finally, someone has beaten Chris Brown” jokes on Twitter. What a scumbag.

— Finally, nice to see LL Cool J with a sweet tribute at the beginning of the show, to the power of dreams, and at the end with his Beastie Boys tribute. Who ever thought LL would one day be, like, an elder statesman of rap?

**Who says 6-year-olds don’t have any power in this world? For one day, Blake Harper was awfully powerful.
And popular.

At the Mater Dei School in Bethesda, Md., the principal offered to make a deal with his students on the Friday before the Super Bowl: If any one of three students can make a shot from a certain spot on the basketball court, everyone would get the Monday after the Super Bowl off.
After two older kids missed 3-pointers, young Blake Harper stepped up to the free throw line. If he made it, delirium and a three-day weekend. If he missed, well, everyone had to get up Monday morning.
Check out how Blake did. I love it.

**Finally, I have written periodically here about my (possibly-crazy) quest to run a half-marathon, probably next fall.
Slowly but surely, I’m making progress. I’m now running about five miles per day, three days a week, and this weekend I hit a new milestone: I did my first under-10 minute mile on the treadmill at they gym.
Considering when I started running/training about five months ago I was running 15-minute miles (which I believe was basically fast-walking, I was so slow), I was excited.
Now that I’m under 10 minutes, I want to start running longer distances, 6, 7, 8 miles per outing. But for today, I just want to savor that “9:50” time that showed on the treadmill for the last few minutes.
Long way to go, but I’m getting there.