Tag Archives: Jets

Thoughts from a 13-year-old’s bat mitzvah: I felt very old and very young. And a crazy NFL Sunday where it’s again proven that God hates Philly fans. And the Browns. And football in snow, rules.

As a 42-year-old balding husband and father to two young sons, I don’t go to a whole lot of bar and bat mitzvahs these days.

Shocking, right? In 1988 and ’89 that was ALL I did on weekends, and hey, looking like I did then (check out the photo at the bottom left of this page), who wouldn’t have wanted me to party with them?

Anyway, while my “Coke and Pepsi game” playing at fancy Jewish rites of passage are mostly over, I’m now old enough to see the new generation get to have a great bash. Saturday night the daughter of my first cousin, a terrific, smart and kind girl named Ava, got bat mitzvahed, and I was thrilled to be a part of it (that’s the happy family up above). As always, lots of thoughts scattered into and out of my brain, that I know feel obligated to share with you.

— OK, let’s get the fuddy-duddy stuff out of the way first: Man, I could NOT believe how my cousin’s female friends dressed. I mean, these girls had dresses that barely covered their tuchus, and had more bling on than a Pitbull or Meek Mill. I was horrified, and then quickly pleased that as much as I wanted to have a daughter one day, I’m a little relieved that I’ve got two boys and I’ll never have to shout “You are NOT wearing THAT out of this house, young lady!”

— OK the rest is all positive. It really was a terrific and fun evening, planned by Ava’s parents, my super fantastic cousin Robin and her husband Guy. The restaurant where it was held was great, the DJ company was among the best I’ve ever heard (I’m old school in that I always prefer bands at big events, but this company, ESP Productions, was sensational), and the food was terrific. And hey, being seated at a table with people I knew (my sister and first cousins) and meeting others I hadn’t seen in years is always a good time.

–So one of the things that always killed me about bar and bat mitzvahs was how awkward the boy-girl interactions are. You’re 13, you’re all dressed up in fancy clothes, you really like that girl over there in the red dress but she never talks to you at school but hey this is different now and you’ve had three Shirley Temples and dammit, you’re gonna go talk to her! (OK maybe that was just me).

But I have to say, it really seemed like all the kids at this party were just having fun, and totally relaxed, and there wasn’t that strangeness I remembered.  Good to see.

— So of course I had no clue what most of the music was, nor who sang it, but I have to hand it to ESP for a stroke of genius: Around 10:40 p.m. or so, the party seemed to be winding down, the kids were all tired or off doing something else, and that’s when the DJ’s decided to kick it old-school for us “old folks.” They invited everyone up to the dance floor and hit us with some Bon Jovi, AC/DC, and Cyndi Lauper. For 20 minutes or so, it was mostly us 40 and over fogies going nuts to the songs we loved. That may have been me up on a stage doing my best Angus Young guitar solo.

And I was awfully proud to see a bunch of Ava’s friends belting out “Livin’ On a Prayer.” Good parenting, those kids are getting!

— Yes, I must admit, I did spend a few seconds looking at all my cousin’s friends and thinking, “They are all 13 year old girls. And that scumbag Roy Moore in Alabama had a sexual encounter with a girl just one year older than them. When he was 32. Absolutely disgusting.

— Finally, my cousins happily obeyed the No.1, iron-clad rule of a good cocktail hour: Pigs in blankets passed around as hors d’ouerves. Absolutely never fails to get people happy.

**So while I’m not alone in thinking much of this NFL season has been underwhelming, filled with injuries to star players and mind-numbingly boring games, Sunday’s action was pretty sensational. Unless you’re a Jets fan like me (hey, feeling good was nice while it lasted), or a Browns fan (they had a 21-7 lead and somehow still lost because, you know, they’re the Browns).

— And then there are Eagles fans, who are in their own special Hell this morning. In the midst of an amazing, glorious, spectacular season, and during a thrilling win over the L.A. Rams Sunday, saw their star quarterback Carson Wentz get seriously hurt. He’s likely out for the year, they’re probably not going to make the Super Bowl, and life sucks sometimes when your favorite team’s season gets short-circuited so fast.

— Antonio Brown is really, really good at football. The Steelers won another thrilled Sunday night, Brown had more than 200 yards receiving again, and the dude really seems unstoppable. Hey opposing defenses, just a thought: Maybe put two defenders on him?

— How wild was that scene in Buffalo? Huge snowstorm hit this weekend, and the Bills and Colts sorta played a football game Sunday in many, many feet of snow. The pic above was my favorite, but you gotta see these amazing shots from the Buffalo News. Just wild.

I love that we get at least one fantastic snow game a year in the NFL. How those fans could sit there for hours in those conditions… some people are just nuts.

Wrapping up a fabulous and weird U.S. Open, where Stephens and Rafa shone and I peed next to a Hall of Famer. Remembering 9/11 on this day, always. And Week 1 in the NFL, when both NY teams stunk

So much to get to you today, I hope this blog doesn’t go 2,000 words or something. Of course I, like most of you, have loved ones living in Florida in the path of this hellacious Hurricane Irma, and I’ve been worried about them most of the weekend. Thank God so far my friends in Tampa, Miami and Orlando seem to be doing OK. But the videos and photos from the weekend were just awful. The ocean receding in Tampa? Roofs being blown off in Miami? Godspeed to all down there.

Want to write more today about the terror of hurricanes, and about my son’s 3-year-old birthday party Saturday and why it eerily felt like my wedding.

But I’ll get to that Wednesday. Today, I want to start with the U.S. Open, which was wacky, wild and wonderful. So many top players were missing this year (Serena, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka) that you knew some different names would show up in the late rounds. But Sloane Stephens? Kevin Anderson? If you had both of them playing after Labor Day, you were in the distinct minority.

Stephens was once a rising phenom in the tennis world, beating Serena at the Aussie Open three years ago and seemingly destined for the Top 5. And then… not so much. Her dedication to tennis was questioned. Stories about how she just wanted to be famous, and her attitude, were abundant. Then her results suffered, she was injured and didn’t play for nearly a year, from summer 2016 to this summer, and her ranking fell to 957.

And today she is the U.S. Open women’s champion. She was flawless on Saturday in the women’s final, pummeling Madison Keys all over the court, smiling and consoling and acting stunned at the amount of the winner’s check she earned (hey, $3.7 million IS a lot of money.)

I have no idea if this will propel Stephens into being a consistent force at Slams, or if Keys will learn from this experience of being overwhelmed on the big stage after playing so brilliantly in the semis. But I do know that both Stephens and Keys are worthy of praise and admiration today.

— I’ve seen a lot of beautiful displays of sportsmanship after a match is over, because tennis players almost always comport themselves as sportsmen (or women.) But this one, this one I’ll never forget, and will pretty hard to top. Sloane Stephens, the champion, moments after winning a Grand Slam, stands at the net consoling her sobbing good friend, Madison Keys, on the loss. Really sweet moment.

— And on the men’s side, to quote my friend Jon Wertheim, how about on Jan. 1, 2017 I told you Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal would combine to win all four Slams this year? You’d have laughed so hard and then recommended a good psychiatrist.
But it happened. Sunday Nadal put on a clinic in the final against Anderson, a 31-year-old South African who’d never gotten this far. As disappointed as I was that Federer and Nadal didn’t finally play in New York this year, in the semis, the Federer fan in me is glad they didn’t. Because Roger was shaky the whole tournament before losing, and Nadal was playing extraordinarily well, I think Rafa would’ve beaten Fed easily.

As it was, Nadal had the easiest road to a Slam, maybe ever, not having to beat even one Top 25 player. But that doesn’t matter; he was on his game and is such a worthy champ.

— So as I’ve mentioned a few times in the past few weeks I was once again fortunate enough to be credentialed as a reporter during the U.S. Open, and it was once again the best gig ever. I wrote 14 stories, for seven different newspapers, covering men’s, women’s and juniors players.
The USTA and tournament organizers make it ridiculously easy for us journalists, giving everything we could want, and you will never ever hear me complain about getting into the U.S. Open for free, receiving a meal per diem that actually goes pretty far, and getting sweet seats on every court (for a few non-marquee matches on Ashe Stadium I actually was sitting ninth row, baseline, where all the fancy people usually sit.

A couple of behind-the-scenes memories from my third straight year covering the Open:

— I peed next to NBA legend David Robinson. Not something that happens every day. I wandered into the closest bathroom near the afore-mentioned sweet Ashe Stadium seats last Tuesday, and a second after I approached the urinal I heard large footsteps, and a very large African-American male peeing to my left. He finished before me (hey, he was a Navy officer, I’m guessing he does everything fast) and as he turned away from the urinal I caught a glimpse of his face. Me and David Robinson, emptying our bladders together. Good times. (No I didn’t ask to shake his hand).

— Definite journalistic highlight was getting to ask Roger Federer a question in his pre-U.S. Open press conference. I really, really don’t get excited about talking to athletes anymore, I’m way too jaded/experienced for that. But this was Roger freaking Federer, maybe my favorite athlete of all time. So it was pretty cool.

— Got to see wheelchair tennis up close for the first time. Truly extraordinary watching what these athletes can do. Except for being allowed two bounces to return the ball, the rules are almost all the same. Watching these players spin and push themselves all around the court was inspiring.

— Finally, when I was 9 years old I watched Boris Becker win Wimbledon at 17 and I went outside my house right after the match and started hitting tennis balls against a brick wall on the side of our house. To say Becker inspired my love of this sport is an understatement.

I saw him several times walking around the Open this year, and spoke to him for 20 seconds about a match we were both watching on a TV monitor. The little kid in me was very excited about that.

**Next up, today is of course September 11, which means we should all stop and take a few minutes to think about the events of that horrible day in 2001. It’s been 16 years now, and it doesn’t seem any more real.

I watch this video (above) and a few others like it every year, and as I type this thousands and thousands of motorcycles are roaring into Manhattan as they do every year for the 9/11 ceremony, and this anniversary will never, ever be forgotten.

Sixteen years. Wow.

**Finally today, because I’ve rambled long enough in this space, I’m going to cover Week 1 of the NFL very very quickly, and briefly. Here goes:

— The Jets stink, as we expected. Fifteen more losses to go, and we get the No. 1 pick in the draft!
— The Giants might stink, which is unexpected.
— The Houston Texans hosting a home game two weeks after the worst storm in the history of the city seems crazy to me. Although this story makes me think maybe it was a necessary distraction for the city.
— Tom Brady lost at home. Always noteworthy and always puts a smile on my face.
— I can’t remember an NFL season where I was less excited for opening day. Lot of possible reasons why, but I was really just not into it.
— There are a lot of shitty, shitty quarterbacks in the NFL. Methinks Colin Kaepernick won’t be unemployed all season.

A child is born, and miraculously, I’m his father.


Sorry I’ve been away from the blog for a few days. Sorta small little life event happened last Wednesday night, at 11:47 p.m.:

I became a father.

It has been the craziest, most glorious, exhausting, roller-coaster-y six days of my life since last Tuesday, when my wife and I were told by her OB/GYN to report to the hospital ASAP to be induced for labor.
All of a sudden, this little person who’s been growing inside of her for 40 weeks would be on the outside, a living, breathing, huggable, kissable, crying person who would be totally dependent on us for everything.
After five final minutes of panic, the excitement set in.
I won’t bore you with the details of the 32 hours of pre-labor, transition and active labor, but suffice to say, our little boy was in no rush to come out. When it got to be 6 p.m on September 10th and my wife was still far from ready for delivery, we began to really worry that our first child would have a September 11 birthday, which just seems like a terrible way to start life.

But thanks to my wife’s awesomeness, some incredibly dedicated nurses, and a doctor who yelled “PUSH!” as aggressively as I’ve ever heard anyone yell anything, our bundle of joy arrived 13 minutes before midnight, sparing him the indignity of celebrating every year on a day when so many mourn and remember tragedy.

It’s funny; I tried to so hard to stay in the moment when he was born; to be in touch with all my feelings and commit them to memory forever like a “good father” would.
But honestly, all I remember was feeling excited when the nurses said “I can see hair on the head” and then squeezing my wife’s hands and reminding her to breathe and then in one miraculous moment, whoosh, the doctor pulled my 7-pound, 5-ounce son out and held him aloft like a sports trophy.

I believe I then uttered the word “holy” followed by a common swear word. Truly, I was stunned that all of a sudden this new person was immediately in the room, a bloody, crying, beautiful person who I will now love forever. The poor analogy I kept making to friends and family who asked what the moment was like? I said it was like watching a magic show and out of nowhere the magician pulls a rabbit out of a hat and you’re kinda amazed.

Since getting to take my boy home from the hospital on Saturday, there’ve been new experiences all over the place: I’ve changed my first diaper, become at least semi-proficient at swaddling, and learned there’s no greater joy than having your child fall asleep in your arms, as he did Sunday while we watched football.

I’ve learned some stuff about him, too: So far he’s not a big fan of burping, taking forever to release gas after eating. I’ve learned he’s really not a fan of being changed, but he’s quite happy being held by anybody and just can’t get enough of his Boppy pillow.

I must admit I don’t yet feel the bond with my son that my wife does; after all, they were together for 10 months, and he and I have just been pals for five days.

But man, I sure do look forward to all the days ahead. Fatherhood, so far, is all that everyone told me it would be, and I’ve loved every minute of it.

Two quick final notes: One, I swear on the life of Inigo Montoya that this blog will not become a one-note song of me reporting every little thing my little guy has done, and I also don’t know how often I’ll be blogging over the next few weeks, as we try to settle into a routine with this new resident of our apartment, and hey, with my sleep deprivation this blog might turn 38 percent stranger than it already is!

But I appreciate your patience and I promise to be back at you with football rants (Don’t get me started on that awful Jets loss to the Packers), political musings and stories of the weird and wonderful in our world.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go stare at my boy sleeping for a while. It’s way better than any TV show or movie I’ve ever seen.


Senate may make long-overdue change in military rape cases. The Jets continue their schizophrenic pattern. And dogs doing funny stuff.


For the last several years, as I read more and more horrifying stories of what happens to female soldiers in all branches of our military, I’ve been more and more disgusted.

As we’ve seen in scandal after scandal, thousands of women have been sexually assaulted while serving our country, and rarely if ever are their attackers brought to justice (hell, sometimes they even get promoted).

The fantastic documentary movie “The Invisible War”, which I wrote about here, talked about how much the deck is stacked against women like Kori Cioca and others who have been violated.

One of the biggest obstacles is getting a fair shake judicially when a victim’s complaint is handled in the military chain of command, where sometimes the person handling the rape charge IS the person who did the assaulting. And even when the defendant is not the judge, it’s incredibly difficult for women’s complaints to be taken seriously.

In the Senate right now a cross-section of Democratic and Republican senators are taking up a proposal to remove the power to decide whether to try sexual assault cases from the military chain of command and put it in the hands of an independent military prosecutor.

This would be a vital step toward at least helping these victims get a fair shake. Why only 46 of 100 Senators are signing on to this so far is beyond me, but hey, it’s a start.

Read more about the proposal here, and check out “The Invisible War” on Netflix here.


**Well, can’t say I didn’t see that one coming.
Everything for the past two weeks that’s been said about the New York Jets ws positive. They’ve finally turned the corner, they’re 5-4, they’re in playoff contention, then they sign veteran safety and future Hall of Famer Ed Reed, they’re playing Buffalo Sunday who the Jets always beat … so of course, being a Jets fan, with all that positivity, I was frightened of Sunday’s game.

And I had reason to be. After three decades of being a fan, I’ve learned to see these things coming. Geno Smith was awful, as bad as he’s been all year, losing fumbles, throwing interceptions (including a Sanchez-ian Pick 6 in the third quarter).
The offensive line couldn’t block a mosquito. The secondary was awful, as it has been much of the year. And so the Jets became the first team in NFL history (whoo-hoo!) to alternate wins and losses for the first 10 games of the year.
Always nice to make history.

Couple more quick-hit NFL thoughts:

— Everyone who had the Eagles in first place in the NFC East a month ago, please raise your hand. What a wacky NFL season.

–So much for that Cleveland Browns resurgence, eh?

— I say it every time they wear them, but those Pittsburgh Steelers throwback uniforms (above) are the ugliest unis I’ve ever seen. I mean, did they all just break out of prison?

**And finally, for a little Monday pick-me-up, four minutes of puppies and big dogs escaping from situations they weren’t too thrilled to be in. The dog at :37 is my favorite, sign him up for the NBA!

Watching the NYC Marathon live an awesome experience. A freaky Criss Angel trick that made me scream. And the Jets keep shocking everyone


I would like to one day run the New York City Marathon.

For now, though, I’m only running five miles at a time, so I settled for the next-best thing: Watching the marathon live, from about 500 yards outside my front door.

Always wanted to see the Marathon live, and Sunday I got to cross it off my bucket list: Since my wife and I moved to First Avenue, a major viewing area for the awesome race, I knew I would finally get my chance.

And it was… extraordinary. Such a wonderful, wonderful time. So many senses came at me I was overloaded; it was cold, it was loud, it was joyful, it was crowded, and mostly… it was fantastic.

Some thoughts from 90 minutes spent leaning against a metal police railing at mile 16 (that’s my wife’s picture from where we were standing, above):

— My favorite part of the day was yelling out random stranger’s names and screaming for them like we were old friends. For many of the runners, we just yelled out the logo on their shirt (like “France” or “Fred’s Team”), but with a ton of runners putting their names on their shirts, we got plenty of practice screaming “Go Susie!” or “You can do it, Greg!” A lot of the runners played to the crowd, but to see their faces light up when five or six random strangers screamed their name and cheered for them was so great. At first, a lot of them looked at us like “Do I know you?” But then they just gave a thumbs-up, or a wave.


— The coolest sight was the uniforms of the runners. So many colors, so many different sock and sneaker looks, and so many costumes. We saw three Spidermans, a couple of Supermans, people with giant blue and yellow wigs, and my favorite, a dude running in a Hulk Hogan “Hulkamania” shirt (and yes, he did the hand to the ear move Hulk was famous for).

Truly, it was like watching a rainbow blur by you every 10-15 seconds.

— There were a lot of creative shirts, but my favorite was definitely the woman who’s orange T-shirt said on the back “You just got passed by a pregnant lady!”

Hey, the kid will come out of the womb in running shape, right?

— Each runner’s bib has a tracking device, so it was cool seeing people we were standing near know when their loved one would be coming by.

— For so many of these runners, it was a once in a lifetime experience. And so many of them were running with cameras and filming the crowd. Which means I can guarantee you that my little group I was standing with will be on about 15 home movies forever.

Which, if you think about it, is a nice way to be in someone’s life for a few seconds.

**OK, so my mother-in-law sent me this video of a Criss Angel illusion that he’s been doing for years, but was just on a recent episode of his TV show.

I watched it a bunch of times and it freaked me out every time, even after I did some Internet research (check the comments section). I know it’s not “real” but still pretty amazing. The good parts begin at 1:20…


**It’s pretty easy to wager on the 2013 New York Jets.
On odd-numbered weeks, they win.
On even numbered weeks, they lose.

Fortunately, they play “bye” next week, so I think they’ll be able to win that one.
Yep, the crazy, wacky season of the Jets continued on Sunday, as they once again won a game they had absolutely no business winning, when you looked at on paper.
They ran the ball for 200 yards, they got a huge pass rush in the second half, and they “held” Drew Brees to 380 passing yards (trust me, they did a good job on him when it mattered.)

Chris Ivory ran hard. Geno Smith played smart and didn’t turn the ball over. And the D-line continues to look ferocious; finally, after years of searching, the Jets have a pass rush, thanks to Muhammad Wilkerson, Quinton Coples, and Sheldon Richardson (all great draft picks. Stephen Hill, meanwhile… not so much.)

I have no idea if this Jets team can actually make the playoffs, which would be the most surprising season in my lifetime as a Jets fan. But they sure have made this season a lot more fun to watch than I would’ve thought.

They’re 5-4, when I never thought they’d get five wins all year. Crazy.

“Homeland” totally redeems itself with an awesome finale. NBA players sing the dreidel song. And the Jets’ misery continues

Episode 212

“Homeland,” “Homeland,” “Homeland.”

Home-freaking-land. All is forgiven. After a few episodes where I finally cracked, and started to admit what others had been saying, that the show was veering wildly off-course and slipping away, it totally redeemed itself Sunday night.

Everything felt pitch-perfect: Brody didn’t die (I thought for sure they would kill him, but Quinn’s reasons for not doing it made perfect sense). Broday may or may not still be a terrorist (I’m thinking not). Carrie decided to run off with Brody, choosing his love over her career.  Then a bomb exploded under his car, everyone from the CIA is dead, and Carrie and old man Saul are the only ones left.

Then an old video when Brody really was a terrorist gets released, and suddenly Carrie realized she can’t possibly go off with Brody.

And now the show is completely re-set for Season 3. We’ve got Brody, on the run in Canada, ironic that he’s actually innocent of this attack, but everyone thinks he’s done it. We’ve got Brody’s family, hopefully out of the show now. And we’ve got Carrie and Saul, looking for a new terrorist threat and piecing their world back together, while rogue CIA assassin Quinn lurks somewhere.

I was on the edge of my seat on the couch all hour. What a fantastic way to end the season.
Gotta wait nine more months for another new “Homeland,” and that’s just way too long.

Again, if you haven’t watched this show yet, you’re missing one of the best TV shows of all time.

**Well this is pretty entertaining. I know Hanukkah ended, but I saw this the other day and laughed, and then forgot about it. And with Jeremy Lin returning to MSG and kicking the Knicks’ butt Monday night (the Nets fan in me enjoyed that, and I’m headed to my first Nets game in Brooklyn tonight, report to follow in Wednesday’s blog), figured I could still post this.

It’s the decidedly non-Jewish Houston Rockets singing the “Dreidel” song…


**And finally, because I wasted three perfectly good hours of my life watching Monday’s train-wreck of a Jets-Titans game, a few thoughts on my disastrous boys in green and white:

— This Jets team might be the most boring they’ve had since the 1-15 team. And even that team was exciting because you never knew what horribly new way to lose they’d invent next.
— I can’t watch Mark Sanchez play another game at quarterback. I just can’t. Four years in and he’s still as bad as he was as a rookie. For the love of God, they MUST have a new QB next year.

— The lack of speed and skill on the offense is pretty amazing. This is a terrible Tennessee team, with the worst defense in the league, and the Jets couldn’t do bubkis with them.
— Jon Gruden is an affront to the ears. Not just mine; all ears, everywhere in the sound of his voice.

— Shocking to see the Jets actually give Tim Tebow a whole series at QB. Of course, when he didn’t immediately lead them to a TD, he was banished.

— I’m very happy that because I’ll be on vacation and out of the country for the last two Jets games this season, that Monday night was my last day of misery with them for a while. Such a nice way to end the season.

A Happy Thanksgiving to all. The guy who was arrested twice at the exact same time. And Larry David’s family Thanksgiving

Today is my favorite day of the year, just about every year.
I love everything about Thanksgiving: the great food, the good football, the family and friends all being together, no matter what the religion. And of course, one of the funniest movies of all time, “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” being on TV somewhere (Seriously, if you don’t like PTA, I don’t think we can be friends. Every scene in that movie is perfect, including the one above).
Most of all, I love that it reminds us to count our blessings, and be grateful for all that we have.
I know that’ s hard for a lot of people in my neck of the woods this year, in New York, where Hurricane Sandy devastated so many lives.
Still, I hope everyone has plenty to be thankful for this year. For me, this Thanksgiving will be a first, location-wise, as I’m at my wonderful soon-to-be-in laws for my first Turkey Day. As I write this, the aromas coming from the kitchen Wednesday night are enough to tempt any human, but alas, I must wait until tomorrow.

When it will be Thanksgiving.  Wishing all of you a wonderful day, and wishing the Jets a win over the Patriots (yeah, like that will happen. But a man can dream.)

**Been meaning to post about this story for a week and I keep forgetting. I’d say it’s probably never happened before.
So on Nov. 5, the night we all turned our clocks back an hour for Daylight Savings Time, 22-year-old Ohio man Niles Gammons was arrested for driving under the influence. Gammon was going the wrong way up a one-way alley and was stopped at 1:08 a.m., and when he failed the Breathalyzer test, he was arrested and brought to the police station.
The officer gave him a citation, suspended his drivers license, and then released him into the custody of another adult.

Exactly one hour after the first stop, when the clocks had turned back and it was again 1:08 a.m., Gammons got behind the wheel again and nearly rammed into a police cruiser. He was again cited for a DUI and his arrest time read 1:08 a.m.

I mean, what are the odds? DUI is a serious charge and I’m not at all trying to make light of it, but seriously, what are the odds of being arrested twice at the exact same time?

That’s some cosmic time-machine stuff right there.

**Speaking of Thanksgiving, let’s leave it to one of the funniest TV people alive, Larry David, to tell us what it was like at his house on Turkey Day growing up.

Good-news Friday: The man who made 1 million free throws for charity. My 1 good news thought from Jets debacle. And saving the world from Nickelback

It’s time for another Good News Friday, and I’m going to start with a very dedicated man.

Two years ago Dave Cummings decided he wanted to do something special to help pay tribute to and raise money for American soldiers. So he vowed to make 1 million free throws over the next two years.  He raised nearly $70,000, made about 1,300 free throws a day, every day, for the last two years (think about how much of a time commitment that is, especially if you have a full-time job like Cummings did).

But the New Hampshire man did it, and on Veterans Day at the Basketball Hall of Fame, he sank foul shot No. 1,000,000.

A beautiful tribute to the troops. Check out the great NPR “Only A Game” radio show’s story on Cummings here.

**And on the Veterans theme, I continue to be touched by these awesome “surprise reunion” soldier videos …

Vodpod videos no longer available.

**It would be absolutely impossible for me to keep this “good news” thing going today and talk about last night’s disgusting Jets loss to Denver. The only good news for me out of this loss is I no longer think I’ll be watching the rest of the Jets season.

And now, back to the good news: How cute is this? A puppy giving a massage to a  cat. 

**Finally, this is good news to all who like good music. The horrid band Nickelback was scheduled to play the halftime show of the Detroit Lions Thanksgiving Day game against the Green Bay Packers next week.
Correctly horrified, a Lions fan started an online petition asking the NFL and the team to book a better act. He got 50,000 signatures in a week!

Good music taste should win out. But alas, Nickelback will play anyway. Still, nice to see we can still mobilize large numbers of people around something really important: Not inflicting horrible music on America while we’re eating turkey.

The Jets season continues to spiral downward. The sensational 49ers. And the best surprise kid’s video, ever

This is how a season blows up.
Players talking badly about coaches behind their back. Neither offense nor defense playing well at the same time in the same game. The players after yet another loss spouting things like “we’re getting there,” and “this was better.”
This is what my New York Jets have come to, five weeks into a season that was supposed to be so much better.
My boys lost again Sunday, to New England, in depressingly familiar fashion: They fell behind by double-digits early, mounted a comeback late, but once again when the chips were down, the defense couldn’t make a stop to give the offense one more chance.
So frustrating, and not just because they lost to the Evil Empire, Coach Hoodie, and the Golden Boy quarterback Tom Brady.
Couple quick thoughts on the game:
— Why, for the love of Emerson Boozer, must the Jets start every game in the middle of the second quarter? For a year and a half now they give away the opening 15 minutes. Sunday they didn’t get a first down until their fifth offensive drive. I’m sorry, but when you start the game badly every week, that’s coaching.
— I liked that the Jets finally got a pass rush going. Too bad Brady still carved them up when he needed to. Damn he’s good.
— Shonn Greene, welcome to the 2011 NFL season. That was his first good rushing game.
— I don’t want to hear another word about how good the Jets defense thinks it is. Once again Sunday, for at least the 7th or 8th time in the last 3 years under Rex Ryan, the Jets D had a chance to make a fourth-quarter stop, to give the offense the ball back with a chance to win the game.
And once again, the D melted like butter at a picnic in August. Brady led the Pats down for a game-clinching field goal, and that was that. Awful.

Some other NFL thoughts on another interesting Sunday…

— Nice to see the Raiders rally in honor of the great Al Davis, who died Saturday. Course, Matt Schaub of the Texans threw a horrendous interception at the end of the game by the goal line to help, but hey, a win’s a win.
— What a hell of a statement by the 49ers Sunday. Winning 48-3 in the NFL, against a 3-1 Tampa team? Wow. That was pretty shocking.
— The Panthers and Cam Newton don’t win much, but they sure are fun to watch.
— Awful loss for the Giants. Eli Manning, you gotta be better than that. Giants can’t be losing to Seattle at home.

**This is fantastic. Watch as a little girl finds out that she’s going to Disney World for her birthday. The look on her face when her Mom tells her is just so priceless.

A pretty darn good Super Bowl. And a few pretty awesome commercials

Given that it’s a near-certainty that Sunday’s game as the last real NFL football I’d be seeing for at least a year and a half, I’m glad it was a pretty entertaining game.
With the owners getting set to lock out the players (billionaires fighting millionaires, as it were), Sunday’s Super Bowl was all we’re getting probably until 2012.
So I’m happy it was a hell of a game. All the classic elements of a great contest were there; one team gets out to a big lead, the other comes all the way back, and we’ve got an exciting finish.
Lots of topics to hit on from this game, and all the FOX-related hoopla throughout the day:
— Aaron Rodgers will play in, and win more Super Bowls than that guy he replaced, Brett something or other. And who in the world could’ve ever predicted that? It never happens in sports that a legendary QB follows another legendary QB. It happened in San Francisco with Montana and Young, but off the top of my head that’s the only time it happened in my lifetime.
— We went a few years there in the post-Ed McCaffrey/Wayne Chrebet time without a stud, fast white wide receiver in the NFL. Glad to see Jordy Nelson is stepping in to fill the void.
— I didn’t look this up, but I thought that was the fewest penalties I’d ever seen called in a Super Bowl. Good to see.
— That camera shot of Cameron Diaz feeding Alex Rodriguez popcorn? Priceless.
— The halftime show was, umm, interesting. I thought the Black Eyed were mostly OK, though Fergie’s mic kept cutting out, it looked like. LOVED that Slash got some SB halftime love, with “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” one of my favorite-ever songs, though it didn’t sound great.

— Did you hear about the ticket fiasco before the game? 1,250 people had tickets for seats that didn’t exist or weren’t deemed safe, and had to be moved. 400 people never got a place to sit, having to stand and watch the game on monitors. Disgraceful. Check out the details here.

— How good is Clay Matthews Jr., the Packers’ stud linebacker? Amazingly good.
— I thought Troy Aikman had a bad game announcing for FOX. He misspoke a bunch of times and didn’t really add anything to the broadcast.
— I tweeted this last night: Look at how many injuries there were in the Super Bowl. And the NFL owners want to add two games to the schedule. Insanity.
— Still annoyed the Jets weren’t in this game Sunday. Arrghh. So close.

**As for the commercials, well, I thought most of them were blah. But here were my three favorites. Above, we have the NFL paying tribute to its fans through classic TV, digitally enhancing everyone with football paraphernalia. Brilliant.

**Then, a truly moving commercial from Chrysler, starring Eminem. I don’t buy for a minute that Detroit is going to reclaim its title as car capital of the world, but it’s a hell of a good ad:

**And this one might’ve been my favorite, the Volkswagen Darth Vader commercial. So good. And the expression on the father’s face when he presses the remote button? Fabulous.

Which did you think were the best commercials?