Tag Archives: Jason Gay

Good News Friday, all-Sandy edition: NY’ers come together. Cory Booker invites people into his home. And a Staten Island hotel owner chooses evacuees over runners

Pretty pooped again tonight after some more work today delivering supplies to folks in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, who are desperately in need of water, food, and shelter.

I know this blog has been very Sandy-heavy this week, but honestly, living in NYC it’s really hard to focus on anything else right now.

But it is Friday, so I found plenty of Good News to be talking about today.

First, this is a great column by Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal, which gets at the heart of New Yorkers like few others things I’ve read this week. Yes, New Yawkers have the well-earned reputation of being obnoxious know-it-alls who think we have it better than anyone, and that tourists and other NY’ers are often nuisances.

But in a crisis, well, it can be a beautiful city to be a part of.

**Next, here’s Newark, New Jersey mayor Cory Booker, doing a little something very few politicians have ever done: He’s inviting those rendered homeless by the storm to stay in his house.

It started innocently enough on Twitter Thursday, when a Newark resident told Booker that she lived near him and was without power, and could she come over?
He said yes, which led to a dozen more people coming to chill at Chez Booker.

Very, very cool. As I said to a friend Thursday night, the NJ governor’s race between Booker and everyone’s new favorite leader, Chris Christie, in two years, is going to one hell of a race.

**Finally, a big controversy Thursday continued to be the city’s lame-brained decision to keep the New York City marathon on schedule Sunday. I understand why they’re doing it (so many thousands flying in, sponsor money, the economic boom to the city it provides every year) but it’s really just a bad, bad move.

However, at least one hotel owner is standing up to the race. Richard Nicotra, who owns a hotel on storm-ravaged Staten Island, has refused to honor marathon runners’ previous room reservations while he allows storm refugees to stay for a few more days.

It’s something many with a conscience would do, but it’s still a nice sight to see someone with priorities higher than the bottom line.

Why casino gambling should be legal, in every state. “The Wire” acted out in LEGOs, brilliantly. And the end of Linsanity makes NY sad

So I was watching TV the other day and two news stories came on, one right after another, seemingly coincidentally.
The first story was about state budget deficits, and how thanks to the economic downturn more and more states are cutting services.
The second story was about New York State continuing to face opposition to Gov. Cuomo’s plan to legalize casino gambling in the state, even after states like New Jersey continue to make it easier for people to place bets.

Now, full disclosure: I like to gamble. Casinos to me are exciting, bright and sparkling houses of fun. I say this as an adult who has lost money at them, and as an adult who has won money at them. If I were wealthy, I might gamble a lot more.
Yes, I know gambling can be addicting, and I know it’s very, very easy already to place wagers on the Internet at sites like this.

But so many states are laying off teachers, cutting crucial government services, etc., that alternative revenue sources have to be found. Casino gambling is, and could be, a huge source of income for desperate states.
Frankly, I feel like the positives outweigh the negatives here.

**As I’ve said on here too many times to count, “The Wire” was the greatest show ever on TV. So anything “Wire” related that comes across my radar, I try to pass along.
This will only be hilarious to people who’ve seen the show (Jason Garber and Clay Pandorf, you in particular will like this), but it’s “The Wire” acted out in LEGOs. Brilliant…

**So it became official late Tuesday night: Jeremy Lin is no longer a New York Knick. It’s hard to remember an athlete coming from total obscurity, rising to an insane level of fame and popularity, then being gone from the place that gave him that fame and popularity as fast as Lin.

He was like a meteor soaring above Madison Square Garden in February, and now he’s gone, off to Houston because once again, Knicks owner James Dolan is too stupid and too cheap to know a good thing when he has it (What, suddenly a man who gave untold millions to Howard Eisley and Maurice Taylor is suddenly thrifty? I’m not even a Knicks fan and I think the guy is a disgrace).

So Lin goes off to the Rockets, where he’ll probably play great. Most of my Knicks fans friends are pissed, because after watching 15 years of bad basketball, they finally had something to be excited about last season.

Here’s a great column on Lin and the cluelessness of Dolan from the N.Y. Times’ Harvey Araton, and a humorous look at Lin “returning” to the Knicks in 2030 by Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal.

The NBA star who fought a fire extinguisher (and lost). A perfect cartoon about anti gay-marriage zealots. And building the perfect dorm room


With some stories, the jokes just write themselves.
Monday night, a genius New York Knicks star named A’Mare Stoudemire was frustrated after his team lost again to the Miami Heat. So on his way to the locker room, Mr. Stoudemire decided to take his frustration out.

By punching the glass case surrounding a fire extinguisher.
Not surprisingly, the glass case/fire extinguisher combo remained undefeated in fights, all-time. Stoudemire has lacerations in his hand, and will likely miss the rest of the playoff series. It’s a tough blow for the Knicks, but hey, it wasn’t like they were beating the Heat anyway.
Fortunately for the rest of us non-Knicks fans, Amare’s punch has led to some high comedy. I love the T-shirt above, produced by a company called Crosstown NY, and my e-migo Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal has a fabulously funny “oral history” of the fight between Amare and the extinguisher, as told by the people who were there (the Snack Machine, the Water Fountain, etc.)

(E-migo, by the way, is a term coined by the great Joe Posnanski to describe someone you’ve never met but are friends with through e-mail and other Internet forms.)

**Moving on, yet another state is going to the polls to determine what constitutes a marriage. It’s so ridiculous that we keep having this debate, but it is nice to see the anti-gay bigots who cling to religion are getting satirized more and more. And that the tide continues to turn toward tolerance and acceptance in this country.
In advance of North Carolina’s Amendment 1 ballot initiative, which says that marriage between a man and a woman is the “only domestic legal union” that would be valid or recognized in the state once it passes, the Charlotte Observer ran the above cartoon, by Kevin Siers. Brilliant.

Right now it looks like the vote could go either way on May 8.

**Finally today, more proof that college kids today are WAY smarter than we were. This kid at UC-Berkeley decided to trick out his freshman dorm room by creating BRAD (Berkeley Ridiculously Automated Dorm), which is about the coolest thing I’ve seen. The video above starts slow, but give it a few minutes and watch what a smart kid with today’s technology can do to make his life easier.

Great letters from Presidents past. The great Mariano Rivera begins his curtain call. And a Charles Dickens theme park, seriously?

You want to make history come alive for today’s kids? This is one great way to do it.
This is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a while. The fabulous website Mentalfloss.com has highlighted 10 of the best letters from U.S. Presidents in history, as compiled by the organization Letters of Note. This compilation, which has the original letters as well as an easier-to-read transcription, has some beauties in here.
John F. Kennedy’s childhood letter to his father, asking for a bigger allowance so he can buy “cholcalote marshmellow sunday with vanilla ice cream. (OK, so young JFK wasn’t the best speller.) Bill Clinton’s letter to Chris Webber after the ex-Michigan star made a huge mistake in the 1993 NCAA championship game. A brilliantly scathing, short note from Harry Truman to a critic who ripped Truman ‘s daughter’s performance on stage. An Abraham Lincoln letter to some schoolchildren who wanted all slaves to be freed.

And in what may be the first time I ever say anything nice about Ronald Reagan, a touching and warm love letter he wrote to Nancy on their 20th anniversary (above. The transcription is wonderful if you can’t read Ronnie’s handwriting).

These are living, breathing documents that give us insight into how some of these great minds work. It’s truly a wonderful way to spend a few minutes.

**Well, we Yankees fans knew this day would come at some point. But it’s still going to be rough.
The great Mariano Rivera, the finest relief pitcher of all time and a man whose ticket to Cooperstown has already been bought and paid for, hinted when he got to spring training this week that the 2012 season may be his last.

Rivera, who has been throwing the same pitch for 16 years and still getting batters out with it, is the epitome of class and grace. Even Yankees haters can’t find anything bad to say about him. Baseball, and Yankee Stadium, will be a poorer place when No. 42 hangs it up. Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal has a nice column up about Rivera here.

**And finally today, an idea I can’t believe made it all the way through to fruition. Some geniuses in England decided that the best way to keep the memory of Charles Dickens and his books alive was to create Dickens World, a theme park dedicated to the author of books mostly about bleakness, and despair.

There are actual rides like the Great Expectations Flume Ride, which drops you off into a sewer, and the operators of the park have even created authentic smells, like the ones found at the lovely orphanage in “Oliver’s Twist.”

I would love to know exactly who the demographic is for this place. And I also want to know how bored you have to be before saying on a European vacation “Mom, Dad, let’s go splash into a sewer!”

The South African government gets really mad at weather forecasters. A hilarious spoof of what New Yorkers say. And a 6-hour Aussie Open final goes to Djokovic.

You think you get upset when your local weather forecaster says it’ll be sunny and then you get drenched on your way into work? You’ve got nothing on the government of South Africa. They’re wayyy more annoyed than you.

A new law in South Africa would punish “anyone who makes a prediction about severe weather or air pollution with heavy fines or jail time if they did not first receive written permission from the government-funded South African Weather Service (SAWS).”

OK, so it’s not exactly going to be a crime if the Johannesburg version of Storm Field (remember him?) or Al Roker gets the forecast wrong. But still, people are gonna be pretty angry…

**Native New Yorkers, this one is especially for you. I laughed and laughed at least 10 times during this. Definitely NSFW; cursing aplenty in this video, so if you’re watching at work, I recommend headphones.

**Finally, a few words about one of the greatest tennis matches of all time. It was started in the wee hours of Sunday morning, then just kept going, and going, and going.
Rafael Nadal, one of the Top 10 players of all time, played Novak Djokovic, the best in the world today. They played for seven minutes short of SIX hours. Six hours! It was a breathtakingly wonderful match, filled with great shotmaking, unbelievable energy and spirit, and some of the best defense you’ll see this side of a Catholic schoolgirl on a date. (here’s 1 of the best points of the match, just to give you an idea.)

Djokovic, who two years ago was mocked for his lack of stamina and fight, outlasted the toughest fighter in the sport. Again. For the 7th time in a row that these two have hooked up, Djokovic was just a little better. He won 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5, in a truly splendid advertisement for the sport.

I’ve said it before, and my man Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal says it here more eloquently: We are in the Golden Age of men’s tennis. Three of the all-time greats are beating each other up at every Grand Slam event, and raising each other’s game to ridiculous heights. (Diane Pucin of the L.A. Times also nailed it with her column here.

So lucky to be a tennis fan right now. The storylines, the quality of the players, just so fabulous.If you want to see the highlights of the match, click here.

The silver anniversary of the Buckner game. More proof life in 2011 is awesome. And another disgraceful newspaper exec

There was a great World Series game Monday. Texas beat St. Louis 4-2, and I have to admit I was captivated during the final innings, partly because I so enjoy watching Tony La Russa overmanage and ruin his team’s chances on a regular basis (I hate La Russa. Probably irrationally so. But I just think he’s a pompous ass who’s nowhere near as smart as he thinks he is. Also anyone notice that all-world superstar Albert Pujols has only gotten a hit in ONE of the five games played so far?)

But today I want to talk about a different World Series game. One that happened 25 years ago today.
Game 6. 1986. Mets. Red Sox. Bill Buckner.
I don’t think I have to say anymore. Even though I’ve always been a Yankees fan, I remember where I was that night. I was watching the game with my Dad in my parents bedroom (I was 11), and when the Sox took the lead 5-3, my Dad gave up on the game and went to sleep, while I stayed in the room to watch (my parents’ room had the good TV back then).

As the Mets started to come back, I woke him. When the Mets tied the game, I think all of New York was awake and screaming. And then poor Bill Buckner let the ball go through his legs, and became a totally unjustified goat all these years (Why don’t Sox fans blame Calvin Schiraldi and Bob Stanley just as much for the loss?).

It was one of the greatest moments in New York sports history.  You’ve all seen the Buckner clip 1,000 times, so I put the next best thing up above: An RBI Baseball re-creation of the inning, synced perfectly to Vin Scully’s wonderful play by play.
And Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal wrote this excellent piece on memories from 25 years ago.

And of course, since Keith Hernandez is involved, how can I not show this? Maybe the funniest “Seinfeld” scene ever.

(And while we’re talking about Bill Buckner, a chance for me to plug books by my boy Jeff Pearlman (who’s on the NY Times bestseller list this week for his Walter Payton bio, whoo-hoo!), who wrote this fabulous tome on the 1986 Mets a few years ago. If you know a Mets fan or are one, check it out if only for the story about Rafael Santana peeing on a teammate’s head while passed out drunk on a bus. Truly epic.)

**So my sister calls me Monday night. She just got Verizon Fios cable TV service, which I’ve had for a few months.
“Did you know you can order from Cherry Valley (an awesome local deli where we live) through the TV?”
“No way” I shouted.
I then checked it out and within five minutes I was able to order a pastrami on rye (if I was hungry, which I wasn’t).
You can order food through your TV remote control and have it delivered to your door. Screw the iPhone, this is better!

Can’t wait until mid-December when it’s -12 degrees out and I order food through my TV.

**You know, I thought once I was out of the newspaper business full-time, stories like this would cease to anger me so. But nope. There are a lot of reasons my beloved journalism industry is dying, but sheer corporate greed is often overlooked.

Yet check out how the ex-CEO of Gannett made out upon retirement. This is a man, Craig Dubow, who fired thousands of employees and single-handedly helped ruin some wonderful newspapers.

Just despicable.

Cameron Crowe and Pearl Jam team up for an awesome movie. And Bills and Lions and Packers, oh my: another loony NFL day

Love Cameron Crowe movies. Just about all of ’em.
Really like Pearl Jam, though have never been a hard-core fan.
So I was reasonably certain that I was going to really like “Pearl Jam Twenty”, the new documentary Crowe made to commemorate 20 years of the band.
I saw the flick Friday night in New York City (its only playing in selected cities, but will be out on DVD soon and is airing on PBS stations on Oct. 21) and really, really came away impressed.
Crowe didn’t really come off as a “fan-boy” director making a movie about his heroes. I thought the interviews with Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament and of course Eddie Vedder were really interesting (who knew that the hit song “Daughter” was originally called “Brother?” That’s the kind of stuff you find out in this flick).

Vedder, in particular, seems like a fascinating guy. He seemed as a young man not to care about success, but then admitted how excited he was to finally meet Pete Townsend, an idol of his.
Crowe got some fantastic footage from the 20 years of the band’s history; two favorites of mine were the montage of clips of Vedder, repeatedly, leaping off 20-foot-high scaffolding into the crowd (it’s a miracle he didn’t kill himself), and the band backstage doing an impromptu version of The Who’s “Baba O’Riley.”
I came away from the movie truly impressed with the dedication and musical talent of Pearl Jam. Are they an iconic band of this generation? Absolutely.
If you get a chance to see the movie, I definitely recommend it. Especially for the Kurt Cobain interview outtakes, which I won’t spoil but were awesome.

Here’s the trailer for the movie; it ought to get you hooked…

**As always on autumn Mondays here at WWOS, I have some Jets thoughts and some NFL thoughts.
— The less said about my Gang Green’s sad performance at Oakland in a 34-24 loss, the better. The Jets’ defense was atrocious. I know Darren McFadden is good and everything, but the tackling from the Jets was terrible. The pass coverage was spotty, and once again there was no pass rush. Two out of three games this year, the defense has stunk. Color me officially worried.
— Offensively Mark Sanchez made his usual “one or two horrible throws a game”, but he wasn’t the problem Sunday. The O-line collapsed in the second half, and Antonio Cromartie, well, he couldn’t have possibly played worse. His fumble on the kickoff, after the Raiders scored to take a 24-17 lead, was an absolute crusher of a mistake. So glad Cro is getting $8 million a year.
My boys are 2-1, with road games at Baltimore and at New England the next 2 weeks. Two and three looks likely. Oy.

–I think I’m going to make Buffalo Bills games must-see TV. They played yet another thriller Sunday, beating the Pats (thank you, Buffalo, from all Jets fans) after rallying from 21-0 down. And their quarterback went to Harvard! Love this Bills team.
— And of course the Detroit Lions are 3-0 now, coming back from 20-0 down to beat the Vikings and their walking corpse of a quarterback, Donovan McNabb. All who had Detroit and Buffalo both 3-0 at this point, raise your hands. (Very nice column by the Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay on Bills and Lions here)
— I ain’t seeing a Super Bowl hangover from the Packers. Damn they are good.
— Drew Brees is looking like the guy from two years ago. Which is scary for everyone else.
— Finally, got a give a shout-out to the Giants. Big-time win at Philly. Eli Manning is such a maddening player to watch; he can play terrible for months at a time, then play as well as he did Sunday.

A glorious 10-hour day at the U.S. Open. And Bill Nye, Science Guy defends science on Fox

Very few places in the world make me as happy as when I’m at the U.S. Open.
The Grand Canyon. Anywhere surrounded by family and friends. And maybe a few other places.
But it’s a short list. So as I write this, just getting home after 10 wonderful hours at the Open on Wednesday, I’m still kind of floating on a high. I’m a little redder than I was this morning (hey, I used sunscreen, but still, some rays penetrate), and pooped from walking around the grounds, but indelibly happy.
Not going to bore you with too many tennis details since I know not all of you are tennis fans (which puzzles me; it’s the greatest sport there is! But that’s a conversion conversation for another day.)
Instead, some scattered shots from my brain from a day of people (and tennis) watching in Flushing Meadows.
— This kills me. So many people I sat near today had absolutely no interest in the match they were theoretically watching; instead they were playing on their cell phones. Texting, emailing, surfing the Internet, all of it.
People, you are AT a live sporting event! Presumably you paid money to be there. There are 19 courts of live, professional tennis being played in the vicinity! You are mere feet away from some of the best athletes in the world!
And you’d rather text or play Angry Birds or whatever?
I mean seriously, some of these people never once looked at the match. I know because I watched some of them for five minutes at a time, astonished.
— Maybe I’m getting older and wiser or something, but the food prices at the Open, which used to offend me greatly, don’t seem so horribly high anymore.
— Totally underrated feature of the Open: Every time you move from one court to the next, you make a new friend. Meet a couple from Greece Wednesday, two ladies who live like 2 minutes from where I used to in Saratoga Springs, a retired guy from Michigan at his first Open, and two teenagers who kept looking around for a security guard that might throw them out of their primo seats.
— Still cracks me up how many fans wear “tennis gear” to the Open. Boys and girls, you’re not playing, you’re just watching.
— Jack Sock. Remember that name (that’s him, above). I know, his name sounds like a comic book character. But he’s an 18-year-old American playing the Open for only the second time, and he’s got all the goods to be a star. I watched 2 sets of him Wednesday and was highly, highly impressed. Also 2 young U.S. women impressed: Christina McHale and Madison Keys. Not anointing them the “saviors of American tennis” yet, but they were awfully good.

**For another perspective on the Open, here’s Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal, with a beautiful piece on taking his father, a 38-year tennis coach at a high school in Mass., to the U.S. Open for the first time.

**This clip really depressed me for a few reasons. Bill Nye, the TV celebrity/genius known as Bill Nye Science Guy, went on a Fox News subsidiary (Fox Business Channel) and had to argue with a nincompoop anchor about science, climate change, and if it really exists. Then at the end, Charles Payne (the host) claimed Nye “confused their viewers.”
What a farce. Every single anchor I’ve seen on Fox is a smug, self-righteous fool, and for Nye to go on this show and dignify it with his presence, only to be denigrated, just saddened me.

Judge for yourself.