Tag Archives: Jimmy Fallon

Jimmy Fallon channels Bob Dylan in an amazing performance. RIP, John Mahoney, a marvelous character actor. And an incredibly scary-accurate prediction that happened at the Super Bowl

Everybody discovers Bob Dylan in their own way, in their own time.

For me, it was when I was 14 years old, and I think it was an episode of “The Wonder Years” that played “The Times They Are A-Changin,’ the Dylan 1960s classic that was so good.

I listened to that song over and over again on cassette that year, as my life changed in many ways (my parents got divorced when I was 14) and I realized how amazing it must’ve been to be alive back in the 1960s, when the world changed so much.

I’ve heard the song dozens more times over the years, of course, and my passion for Dylan has faded a bit. But every once in a while, something will happen that brings it all back.

Jimmy Fallon, a man who has an incredible talent for mimicking and channeling legendary singers like Neil Young, was in Minneapolis for the Super Bowl Sunday night, and performing at the Orpheum Theater, he truly channeled Bob Dylan.

With a wig, a harmonica, and some updated lyrics that perfectly encapsulate issues we’re facing today, Fallon absolutely brought the house down. His lines about the New York Times, and his stanza about the NFL football protests, are spot-on.

Here are the lyrics; watch the performance above and see if you get chills like I did.

Come gather ‘round people wherever you roam
And admit that our country don’t feel like our home
And that silence speaks louder than those who condone
If a tweet to you is worth favin’
Then lift up your voices and put down your phones
For the times they are a-changin’

Come women and men who hashtag #MeToo
And believe me when I say that we believe you
For weak is the man who calls truth “fake news”
Time’s up, our silence we’re breaking
And even though Mel Gibson was in Daddy’s Home 2
Well, the times they are a-changin’

Come athletes with platforms throughout the land
Who by taking a knee are taking a stand
And before you shout out that they should be banned
Listen to what they are saying
Perhaps they’d stand up if you reached out your hand
Well, the times they are a-changin’

Come journalists, writers who report the facts
And brandish your pen to fend off his attacks
Look past what he says and look at how he acts
The Fire and Fury is raging
For his words can hurt, but your words can fight back
New York Times, they aren’t a-failin’

Come leaders who bully like Internet trolls
We’ll curse you with four-letter words “love” and “hope”
For we will go high even when you go low
The order is re-arranging
For you have the power, but we have the vote
The times they are a-changin’

**Next up today, a few words about the brilliant character actor John Mahoney, who was in so many great movies and TV shows, but specifically for me, two of my all-time favorites, “Say Anything,” and Frasier.

Playing Frasier Crane’s dad is what Mahoney will probably most be remembered for, and I think most of us are fine with that. To be able to play off two comic geniuses like Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce, and to take that exquisite writing that sitcom had, and deliver such winning lines week after week… John Mahoney was fantastic.

I scoured YouTube for the “ultimate” Martin Crane clip, and couldn’t find the one I wanted. But this one, not as comic as many, but a true testament to a gifted actor.

RIP, John.

**And finally today, this is definitely the weirdest thing that’s come out after the great Super Bowl on Sunday, including the Philly fan who willingly ate horse manure, and Rob Gronkowski calling 911 himself after his house got robbed.

There’s a writer who covers the Eagles named Sheil Kapadia, and a few days before the big game he did a podcast in which he predicted, exactly to the second, the major turning point defensive play, naming the players on Philadelphia who would be involved. This is some next-level Nostradamus kind of stuff. Hey Sheil, there’s a PowerBall drawing tonight…

Check it out below…

 

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Jimmy Fallon channels James Taylor to mock Trump. New Zealanders get creative to get around drinking laws. And “SNL” brings the funny with Mika/Joe and Bill Murray

The first thing I ever really liked Jimmy Fallon for were his song parodies on his late-night show. He channeled Neil Young, and Bruce Springsteen, and he did them so well, that me and millions of others figured, maybe he’s funny in late-night after all, and he shot to the top of the ratings.

Then, he cratered. He stopped being as funny, his skits seemed tired, and he didn’t do nearly as strong with his musical tributes.

I don’t know how long it’s been since Fallon made me laugh out loud like I did watching this, but it’s been a while. However this, as James Taylor doing “Fire and Rain” about the new Trump book, is perfection.

“I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen fury.

I’ve seen White House staff who will have to face a jury.

I’ve seen him drink a cup of water with tiny hands,

While he’s lyin’ in bed watching Fox and Friends.”

Enjoy…

**Next up today, I’ve got Australia on the brain this week because the first Grand Slam tournament of 2018, the Australian Open has started (and wow have there been a bunch of upsets, and wow are the American players doing terribly. I think this is karma for last year’s tournament being so amazing.

Anyway, I love Australian people for many reasons, but their creativity when it comes to drinking has always impressed me. Apparently New Zealanders are equally as brilliant at finding ways around drinking laws.

Check this out: In the village of Coromandel, New Zealand, a town ordinance bans liquor over the New Year’s period, which means no alcohol in public places.

But a bunch of friends decided they wanted to find a way to drink. So they spent the early afternoon building a sandcastle in the middle of the Tairua estuary (body of water), a holidaymaker, who asked not to be named, said.

Upon building their sandy fort, members of the group were reported to have said the liquor ban didn’t apply to them as they were “in international waters”.

Once the crew’s creation was complete, they installed a wooden picnic table and chilly bin.

This is my favorite part: Waikato eastern area commander Inspector John Kelly said police weren’t aware of the novel attempt to circumvent the liquor ban.

“That’s creative thinking – if I had known that I probably would have joined them.”

I love Kiwis.

**Finally today, I missed this on “Saturday Night Live” but am so glad I got a chance to see the cold open. With cameos by Bill Murray and Leslie Jones, the fabulous Kate McKinnon gives us Mika and Joe from MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” talking about the new Trump book and flirting, hilariously.

A side note: If McKinnon doesn’t become a huge star, soon, I’ll be shocked. She is absolutely fantastic.

 

Alligator-themed kids birthday parties are a thing in Germany. A beautiful moment as Taylor Swift helps Fallon deal with his Mom’s death. And “Curb” a major disappointment so far this season

Not surprising to anyone who has small children, but I’ve been going to a lot of kids’ birthday parties lately. And I’ve learned that with small adjustments, they all pretty much follow the same format: Kids run around and play, grownups call them to the table for pizza and singing “Happy Birthday” to the birthday boy or girl, and then cake is had, maybe some more running around, and bam, everyone goes home.

However, if you live in Hesse, Germany until last week, you had the chance to experience an awesome and terrifying birthday party way different than the boring ones we have here in the States.

Check this out: The Freidberg zoo let adults and children, even at birthday parties, swim with crocodiles and alligators without a cage or any other barrier between man and reptile, as long as a guide was present.

It’s part of their goal to show people that crocs really aren’t that dangerous, and for 15 years the zoo has been letting kids and adults swim with a guide for fun.

How awesome would swimming with crocs be at a  7-year-old’s birthday party? Incredibly awesome, I say. Way cooler than a bowling party or a shindig at a little gymnasium.

“Hey Mom, guess what happened at Timmy’s party today?
“Did you meet nice kids? Get a cool goody bag?”
“No, but a crocodile almost chewed off my left leg!”

But alas, grownups spoil all the fun: A court ruled last week that kids could no longer be allowed to swim with the crocs and gators. Adults, though, still can.

Can you say “bachelor party in Germany?”

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article183714711.html

**Next up today, there was a pretty magical performance on Jimmy Fallon Monday night, one I just learned about Tuesday. Jimmy’s beloved Mom, Gloria, died on Nov. 4, and quite understandably he didn’t host “The Tonight Show” last week.
He came back on the air Monday, and got choked up talking about his Mom at the start of the show, and how she used to squeeze his hand three times as a kid and say “I love you.”

Well, unscheduled, Taylor Swift came on the show a little later and debuted a new song called “New Year’s Day,” and, well, there’s a line in there about squeezing your hand … just watch this, and then if you’re able, call your mother and tell her you love her.

Man. It got dusty in here watching that. What a beautiful moment at the end from Swift and Fallon. Just wonderful, emotional stuff.

**Finally today, I’ve really really tried to give the new season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” the benefit of the doubt. It was gone for so long (six years), and I love it so much, that I wasn’t too worried when only one of the first three episodes was good. I figured that maybe it was like in sports, when teams or players take a little while to get going early in the season.

But no more excuses: “Curb” has had maybe 2.5 good episodes out of seven, and I’m supremely disappointed. There are funny moments here and there, and actually this week’s episode was one of the better ones (Larry and Leon talking about 92 degree rooms was fabulous). But man, every episode has, like 11 storylines going at once and none of them really connect.

There have been some episodes that make almost no sense (the prostitute that Larry befriends getting hooked up with Marty Funkhauser’s baseball-loving nephew?), and a lot of the jokes go on way, way too long even if they were at first, funny.

Makes me sad because I’m such a huge Larry David and “Curb” fan. But this season has just been … blah. Maybe the last few episodes will save it for me. In the meantime, a classic moment from the show’s past made me smile. (Definitely NSFW if you’re listening without headphones)

Fallon on Charlottesville is his best moment as “Tonight Show” host. The tennis player who serves both lefty and righty. And remembering the great Jim Murray, as always, on Aug. 16

There was, as always, so much going on in the news on Tuesday. I don’t want to spend 1,000 words venting about our President’s remarkable ability to continually compound his own mistakes and make them worse. So I won’t. Instead, a few words about Jimmy Fallon, who took a lot of criticism for having Donald Trump on his show last year and basically “normalizing” him, giving him the softest of softball questions and goofing around with Trump like he was some reality TV star (oh wait, he was.)

I think Fallon deserved a little bit of the scorn but he got piled on quite a bit. He’s always struck me as an earnest, decent guy who does want to please everybody. Monday night he took to the airwaves at the start of “The Tonight Show” and gave this heartfelt opening. Very well done.

**Next up today, it’s mid-August which means you’re probably going to be reading way more tennis posts on here than usual because, well, the U.S. Open starts in a week and I’m going to be covering it every day and it consumes my life for three weeks.

Anyway, in a tennis mood today once I saw this, which I’ve never seen before. A Korean player named Kim Cheong-eui is on the minor-league Challenger circuit, and he does something I’ve never seen a pro do. He serves righthanded serves in the deuce court, and then left-handed serves into the ad court. He also hits forehands with both hands, on both sides.

This is incredible that he’s able to do this, and do it well. Check it out…

**And finally today, August 16 always makes me thing of a few things: One, it’s my Dad’s birthday (Happy birthday, Pops!) Two, my birthday is tomorrow (turning 42 and not too thrilled about it, but being associated with Jackie Robinson and Mariano Rivera for a year, I guess isn’t too bad) and three, I think of Jim Murray.

Every year on this blog on or around Aug. 16 I write about Murray, the greatest sportswriter who ever lived, who sadly left this Earth way too soon, in 1998. I love running excerpts of his columns because they remind me of how brilliant he was, how beautiful his writing was, and how much of a heart this man had.

As always, here’s some Jim Murray, to give you some beauty on a Wednesday…

Here are my two favorite columns of his: First, a touching tribute to his first wife Gerry who had just died. Here’s an excerpt:

She never grew old and now, she never will. She wouldn’t have anyway. She had four children, this rogue husband, a loving family and this great wisdom and great heart, but I always saw her as this little girl running across a field with a swimming suit on her arm, on a summer day on the way to the gravel pit for an afternoon of swimming and laughing. Life just bubbled out of Gerry. We cry for ourselves. Wherever she is today, they can’t believe their good luck.

And second, Murray’s elegy for his left eye, which finally gave out on him in 1979, rendering him mostly blind. The last four paragraphs are just perfect, but here’s another excerpt:

I lost an old friend the other day. He was blue-eyed, impish, he cried a lot with me, saw a great many things with me. I don’t know why he left me. Boredom, perhaps.

We read a lot of books together, we did a lot of crossword puzzles together, we saw films together. He had a pretty exciting life. He saw Babe Ruth hit a home run when we were both 12 years old. He saw Willie Mays steal second base, he saw Maury Wills steal his 104th base. He saw Rocky Marciano get up. I thought he led a pretty good life.

 One night a long time ago he saw this pretty girl who laughed a lot, played the piano and he couldn’t look away from her. Later he looked on as I married this pretty lady.

He saw her through 34 years. He loved to see her laugh, he loved to see her happy …  He recorded the happy moments, the miracle of children, the beauty of a Pacific sunset, snow-capped mountains, faces on Christmas morning. He allowed me to hit fly balls to young sons in uniforms two sizes too large, to see a pretty daughter march in halftime parades. He allowed me to see most of the major sports events of our time. I suppose I should be grateful that he didn’t drift away when I was 12 or 15 or 29 but stuck around over 50 years until we had a vault of memories. 

God, I miss that guy.

Jimmy Fallon and Miley Cyrus sing in disguise at a NYC subway stop. Aaron Judge is making me watch baseball highlights again. And the man who wants to take down Paul Ryan has a fantastic opening commercial

So there’s a little bit of depression among my die-hard Democratic political friends today, because after spending an insane amount of money trying to win a mostly-unwinnable race in a special election for a Georgia Congressional seat, the Democratic candidate lost. Jon Ossoff is barely 30 years old, and was running in a very wealthy, very white district in a very red state. And he lost by five points in a district Republicans have owned for 25 years.

Still, many of my political peeps are depressed. They see every small GOP win as a validation of the moron-in-chief, and despair that it doesn’t matter at all what he does or says, people are still with him (he’s got a 36 percent approval rating, so it’s not like A LOT of people are with him).

But I’m a realist: No election that happens in 2017 is as important as what will happen in 2018. So if you’re a bummed Democrat this morning, let me give you a reason to get excited. There’s a man in Wisconsin named Randy Bryce, and he’s trying to unseat one of the biggest phonies in American political history, Mr. Paul Ryan.

Bryce, a proud union ironworker, has just come out with an absolutely gobsmackingly-good ad introducing himself to voters. Seriously, watch this and tell me you’re not ready to vote for this guy. THIS is the kind of candidate Democrats need all over the country, to appeal to voters who by 2018 will loathe Trump in record numbers.

Randy Bryce, take it away…

**Next up today, I love it when Jimmy Fallon does this, because I see so many subway singers here in New York City who are great, and never get attention paid to them.

Fallon and Miley Cyrus decided to perform in disguise at the Rockefeller Center subway station in Manhattan recently, to see if anyone would stop and listen. Quite a few did. Very cool, and proof that for all her stupid antics and stunts, Cyrus can really perform and sing.

**Finally today, I’ve said many times here that I barely watch baseball anymore, but there’s a rookie for the New York Yankees who suddenly is making me check baseball highlights in the morning, a guy who is humble, gracious and incredibly skilled at hitting a baseball far, far away from home plate.

Aaron Judge is having a seriously amazing year. He is 6-foot-8, he hits baseballs to the moon, and he seems to be having so much fun doing it. The Yankees were supposed to stink this year, but instead they’re in first place.

Check out this 500-foot blast he hit two weeks ago; I’ve never seen a ball hit that far in new Yankee Stadium.

The kid plays the game with verve and joy, and is so much fun to watch. It’s great to see, and it’s become a part of my daily routine to see what “the Judge” did the night before.

Very cool story developing, as right now Judge is still in the embryonic stage of fame, and he approaches the game and that fame with innocence.

Bret Stephens column:

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/06/16/opinion/only-mass-deportation-can-save-america.html?mi_u=68234351&referer=ddd

 

David Letterman’s fabulous tribute to Pearl Jam. Fallon comes back to “SNL” and kills it. And final thoughts from a wonderful California vacation

And a Happy Monday to you all, we got back from our fun family vacation to Los Angeles and San Diego Sunday and while we’re all exhausted, it was an incredibly fun time (more thoughts at the end of this post).

Wanted to catch up on a few things I missed, and I’d heard this was amazing and so wanted to share after just watching it.

David Letterman seems to be slowly emerging from his shell after being out of the public eye following the end of his TV show. Last week, when Neil Young fell ill, it was Dave who got the honor of inducting Pearl Jam into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in a ceremony in New York.

The speech was beautiful, touching, funny and wonderful; whether you love him or Pearl Jam or both or neither, I think it’s terrific. An excerpt:

On being hypnotized by Pearl Jam’s classic “Black”:

You know the song “Black.” There was a period in my life when I couldn’t stop doing this [mimics the refrain]. Great. Now we owe them a lot of money. Honest to God that’s all I could hear running through my head. I kept wondering how many times does this refrain occur in the song. I finally had to go to my hypnotist to get it to stop [mimics the refrain again]. One night on the show I’m doing it and the stage door bursts open, in walks Eddie Vedder. He sings the song with Paul [Shaffer] and the band. Then he comes over to me and looks me right in the eye and he says, “Stop doing that.” And I was cured, ladies and gentlemen.

The whole speech is terrific, I highly recommend watching it.

**Next up, I never liked Jimmy Fallon all that much on “Saturday Night Live,” guy cracked himself up way too much and ruined some really good sketches by doing it.

But hey, Fallon has been a huge success as a talk-show host, and so returned to “SNL” over the weekend to host. This cold open they did with Alec Baldwin and Fallon and others was really funny…

**Finally today, a few more thoughts on our trip, which proved once and forever that we all really ought to move to San Diego:

— The highlight of the whole trip for our little guy was definitely Sea World; the excitement and joy he got out of seeing the dolphins, sea otters and sharks was indescribable; he squealed and laughed and said “Whoa!” so many times I lost track. They had a terrific “Pet Show Live” performance, too, with dogs and cats and other creatures.

I know, I know, the movie “Blackfish” talked about how horrible some of the animals are treated at Sea World. But we loved it and would definitely go back.

— I learned that if ever flying to Southern California, go through the Long Beach airport. It totally rocks. Small, easy to maneuver, rental car agencies right on site, just enough food options to satisfy, tons of outlets to plug into … just an all-around great airport. Highly recommend it.

— One thing my wife and I thought about on the way home are the casual lies we tell our children; a few times on the trip we told our little guy that a certain museum or park was “closed,” but really it was just that we didn’t have time to go there like we said we would. We went somewhere else, he was happy, and never knew the difference.

Casual lies, who do they hurt?

— JFK airport at 5:30 a.m. on Easter Sunday morning was way, way more crowded than I ever would’ve guessed. We took the red-eye from Long Beach to JFK late Saturday night and when we landed, man, it was like rush-hour on a Friday in there. Who knew so many people fly so early?

— Best meal in San Diego was breakfast on our final day. Richard Walker’s Pancake House, with pancakes the size of Lake Tahoe. Just delicious and enormous.

—  Finally, a shout-out to the JetBlue flight attendant who, after we landed Sunday, lifted up the car seat that contained our sleeping toddler, carried it 30 feet down the aisle to the gate without waking him. You, sir, deserve a raise. (Also enjoyed hearing the flight attendants on both flights make sly jokes about United and their recent disaster; they were also thrilled it wasn’t them who got embarrassed.)

The Golden Globes were more blah than usual, but saved by the amazing Meryl Streep. And a dull NFL wild-card weekend hopefully leads to better games next week

 

This image released by NBC shows Viola Davis presenting the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017. (Paul Drinkwater/NBC via AP)

This image released by NBC shows Viola Davis presenting the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017. (Paul Drinkwater/NBC via AP)

The Golden Globes are usually the best awards show of the season, because they’re unpredictable and fun and have winners who never win the other big awards.

But Sunday night, I don’t know if it was just that the host was bad (sorry Jimmy Fallon, but this isn’t your best role, can’t Tina Fey and Amy Poehler host this show every year? They’re beyond awesome), or that the crop of movies was blah, or I just wasn’t in the mood, but for the first two hours the Golden Globes were boring as all get out.

Then, it was time for Meryl Streep’s lifetime achievement award, and man, did business pick up. Nobody in Hollywood is more admired than the amazing Ms. Streep, for her grace, for her unparalleled talent, and for her kindness toward others.

Viola Davis gave Meryl a wonderful tribute, some clips from her many phenomenal performances were shown, and then the greatest actress of our lifetime spoke.

And she spoke about the man who in less than two weeks will actually be our President.

Surgically, beautifully, she called him out for what he is: A mean, thoughtless, ignorant jerk who conned millions through his use of insults and fear-mongering.

This short speech was phenomenal, and needs to be watched. “When the powerful use their position to bully, we all lose,” she said. Here is a woman speaking from the heart, about what so many have felt. By far the best thing at Sunday night’s ceremony. (If the speech isn’t embedded below, click here to watch it)

Some other highlights and lowlights from the show (as always, most of the fashion comments come from my beautiful and talented wife):

— The best thing on the show besides Streep, I thought, was Kristin Wiig and Steve Carell’s hilarious bit about the first animated movie they’d seen. Such great deadpan and timing!

— Viola Davis was stunningly beautiful in her dress; Emma Stone looked “airbrushed,” and Mandy Moore looked amazing. Nicole Kidman, I believe, will still look gorgeous at age 113.

— “The Americans” stars were robbed once again, but I was thrilled to see Sarah Paulson win for her Marcia Clark portrayal in “The People vs. O.J. Simpson,” and Tracee Ellis Ross gave a heartfelt and winning speech after her win for “Blackish.”

— Really lame, stupid and borderline offensive of the writers to make lame Sofia Vergara accent jokes (come on, her saying “anal” instead of “annual?” That’s Howard Stern-level humor), and portray Goldie Hawn as a ditzy old lady not able to read a TelePrompter. Just bad.

— Do awards shows really need a DJ? Apparently. Qwestlove didn’t get to do much but he’s always fun.

–Didn’t see “La La Land” and don’t plan to, but “Moonlight” sure as heck looks amazing. And I can’t wait to see “Fences” as soon as I can.

— Seriously, bring back Amy and Tina next year. And every year from now on.

packers-giants

**Finally today, that was one shitty NFL wild-card weekend, eh? Four games, and not really a great game among ’em. Hell, there wasn’t even a good game among them, although Giants-Packers was at least compelling for 2.5 quarters.

This happens fairly frequently on wild-card weekend; sometimes the matchups just aren’t good. Still, we should have at least two good games next weekend. Couple thoughts on the slop that took place Saturday and Sunday…

— The Dallas Cowboys are the happiest team in the world this morning, since the Giants, the only team that’s beaten Jerry Jones’ boys all year when they were playing all their regulars, are not coming to Texas next weekend to try to beat Dallas a third time. The boys from New Jersey played a miserable game Sunday, although part of that was because Aaron Rodgers played superhuman quarterback for the final three quarters.

I still don’t think the Cowboys are making the Super Bowl with a rookie QB and a rookie running back, but their road got a lot easier with the Giants losing.

— I feel really badly for the Raiders, of all teams. They were having a sensational, dream-like season for 14 games, going 11-3 and looking like a real title threat.

Then their star quarterback, Derek Carr gets hurt, and they don’t win again and they’re forced to play a kid making his first-ever NFL start (Connor Cook) in a road playoff game. No way that goes well.

— I think the chances of Donald Trump coming out of the closet as a gay man on Jan. 20 are greater than the chances of the Houston Texans going into New England next week and beating the Patriots. I’m just sayin.’

— The two “good” games I see next week are the NFC contests: I guess the Steelers could upset Kansas City, but I just don’t think Pittsburgh’s D is all that great this year. But I think the road teams are very frisky next week in the NFC. Seattle looked very solid and have all kinds of playoff experience, and the Matt Ryan-led Falcons certainly have a choking history in the playoffs.

And the Packers, winners of seven in a row, with a QB playing out of his mind, absolutely could steal that game in Dallas. Rodgers is on a different plane right now, just totally locked in.

And really, who doesn’t want to see Jerry Jones unhappy?

An incredible, unusual walk down the aisle for a heart transplant and his donor’s daughter. Fallon plays Wii Tennis with U.S. Open champ. And the truly tasteless ad a mattress company made about 9/11

organdonorwedding-2

One of my most rewarding subjects I’ve gotten to write about during my journalism career is the importance of organ donation.

I’ve done, I think, three stories about how organ donors either saved the life of someone else, or helped multiple people live better lives. Organ donation is such a simple thing to sign up for, and it can do so much good.

So it’s a pet cause of mine, and I love stories that highlight how organ donors have made a difference. Gotta say, though, this story that I somehow missed from a few weeks ago might be my favorite yet.

Jeni Stepien’s father, Michael, was shot and killed by a teenager during an attempted robbery in 2006 in Pennsylvania.

Michael was an organ donor, and his heart would go to Tom Thomas, who for years had suffered from congestive heart failure.

Over the next decade, Jeni and Michael exchanged phone calls and letters but had never met. Michael would send Jeni’s mom fresh flowers on holidays.

They might never have met, until a few months ago Jeni’s fiance, Paul, suggested that at their wedding, Jeni ask Michael if he’d walk her down the aisle. That way there’d be a little piece of her Dad at the wedding.

“I thought he would be the perfect person because he has a piece of my father living within him,” she said in this great Washington Post story.

Jeni wrote Michael a letter. “She said, ‘Is there any chance you’d consider walking me down the aisle?’ ” Thomas told The Post. “I said, ‘Oh, there’s a big chance.’

And so in on early August day a few weeks ago, Jeni Stepien was given away at her wedding by a man who literally had her father’s heart, and the gift of life that it gave him.

What a beautiful, beautiful story. Click through just to watch the video, and then grab some tissues.

“If I helped just one person change their mind to become an organ donor, my wish in sharing my story has come true,” Jeni said.

If you’re not already an organ donor, you can learn how to become one here.

**Next up today, I love when Jimmy Fallon and “The Tonight Show” do stuff like this. Stan Wawrinka, newly-minted U.S. Open champion, was on Monday night and was challenged by Jimmy to a tennis match.

A Wii tennis match. Let’s just say it’s clear Stan hasn’t spent much time playing Nintendo Wii in his life.

**And finally today, oh you know I love a good “horrible promotional idea” story, but this one was truly beyond the pale.

A mattress store called Miracle Mattress in Texas decided to run a commercial invoking 9/11 in their “Twin Towers” mattress sale. It is so tasteless and bad, it’s almost comical.

I’m sure it won’t shock you to learn that it sparked so much outrage, the store said it’s going out of business.

Too bad. I can’t wait to see what they would’ve done for a big Holocaust remembrance sale.

 

Good News Friday: Carolina Panthers star Luke Kuechly takes a huge fan on a 21st birthday date. Tom Hanks and Jimmy Fallon do “Kid Theater.” And a man’s 100 love note tribute to his late wife

luke-kuechly

And a Happy Friday to you out there in Internet-land. We’re in the middle of Hanukkah, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is up, and Donald Trump is on his way to Mecca to pray with his favorite people as we speak (ha.)

Lots of good stories and videos this week that came my way. First up, if you’re a football fan you probably know the Carolina Panthers are having an amazing season, as the last undefeated NFL team right now. They’re 12-0, have a really good chance to go 16-0, and are one of the feel-good stories of sports these days.

One more reason to root for them: The huge heart of star linebacker Luke Kuechly. The hard-hitting ‘backer took a local girl suffering from cerebral palsy on a surprise birthday date.

As seen in this story, Jessica Hayes has cerebral palsy, autism, and is half blind. And she had one wish for her 21st birthday: “to meet Carolina Panthers player Luke Kuechly and give him one of my famous hugs.”

Kuechly surprised Jessica with flowers and a limo, and whisked her off to a great night.

See the video here at the bottom; it’s fantastic.

**Next up today, Jimmy Fallon continues to do great, creative work on “The Tonight Show.” This clip is from October but my friend Christine just pointed me to it this week; it’s from a recurring Fallon sketch called “Kid Theater,” where Jimmy and a famous actor read scenes from the actor’s recent movie, with the twist being that elementary school children write scenes for the film just knowing the title.

Tom Hanks and “Bridge of Spies” got the little-kid treatment here; I laughed really hard, especially at the second one.

100lovenotes.upworthy

**Finally today, another example of one man doing one simple thing, that explodes into something wonderful all over the world. This is Hyong Yi, of Charlotte, N.C., pictured with his wife Catherine and their two children.

Catherine died of cancer a year ago, and instead of mourning her death and feeling awful on the anniversary in November, Hyong did something awesome.

He took 100 love notes that he and Catherine had written to each other, and passed them out to strangers on the streets of Charlotte.

He then encouraged each person to pass on the notes to loved ones in their lives, and gave them blank notes to write their own personalized messages.

The hashtag #100LoveNotes has gone viral, and Hyong has heard from people in Scotland, New Zealand, and Canada, among other places.

People have made videos and put them on Twitter, and many of them are in this article here.

“What I wouldn’t give to have one more minute, even a minute, to talk, hold hands with Catherine,” Hyong says. “I want people to take a minute and reflect on that and take time to acknowledge those important in your life.”

Really beautiful stuff here.

Game 7 tonight, the best words in sports. Jimmy Fallon and U2 have a surprise concert in the subway station. And a drunk man chases a bear through the woods.

Game 7.
If you’re a sports nut like me, I don’t have to say anymore. I’ll watch a Game 7 of anything; badminton, tiddlywinks, hockey, basketball … it’s right up there among the biggest thrills in sports, watching two teams who’ve battled for two weeks playing one final deciding game.

And tonight, my favorite sports team of all plays in yet another Game 7. Rangers-Capitals, Stanley Cup Playoffs, at MSG. Winner goes on, loser goes home.

It’s so random when you think about the idea of a Game 7; somewhere along the line, many moons ago, somebody in sports decided a best-of-seven format was the best way to decide a playoff series.
Not too short as to allow for flukes (like best-of-3 and best-of-5’s often do), but not interminable like a best of nine or 11. I don’t know if seven just feels like a good number because that’s what we’ve all been conditioned to accept, or if it actually is the perfect length.

Anyway, Game 7. Tonight. Rangers-Capitals. I’ll be pacing, sweating, cursing and shouting for most of three hours (thank God my little baby’s a good sleeper). I saw this awesome graphic Tuesday of a Rangers fan charting his heart rate during Game 6; I’m glad I won’t be doing that, or my wife would call an ambulance during what’s sure to be a nail-biting 3rd period (can you get wifi in an NYC ambulance these days? Asking for a friend.)

For a guy who’s team was less than two minutes from elimination and playing golf for the summer last Friday, I’m quite confident. Henrik Lundqvist is money in 7th games, winning his last five. The Caps have blown a 3-1 series lead four times before, this Rangers team always seems to find a way,  and Alex Ovechkin hasn’t scored since Game 2.

Let’s Go Rangers. I’ll be nervous all day until 7:30. I love it.

Next up, this is another awesome Jimmy Fallon sketch. Several years ago, the talented Washington Post writer Gene Weingarten won a Pulitzer Prize for a story in which he got a world-famous violinist, Joshua Bell, to play inside a D.C. metro station, and showed how absolutely no one paid attention. It was an incredible story (check it out here), basically proving the point that people often miss real beauty in their hustle and bustle to get where they’re going.

The Fallon sketch is similar; he got Bono and the rest of U2 to come to a NYC subway station and play their own world-famous music while in disguise.

It’s hilarious to see people walk right by Bono singing “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and not know it.

DavyCrockett.bearhunt

**Finally, my good friend Will sends me “News of the Weird” stories all the time, and I always enjoy them but often forget to blog about them.
This one, thought, I had to share.

Allow me to just re-copy the headline from this CBS News story from Albany, N.Y.: “Police: Drunk man taken into custody after chasing bear with hatchet.”

I mean come on, is there ANY way you’re not reading the rest of that story?

Apparently in North Adams, Mass., a citizen named Bradley Carpenter, concerned about bears (and really, aren’t we all concerned?) actually went after a bear with a hatchet, but sadly did not catch it.

“We certainly don’t need anyone going all Davy Crockett chasing it through the woods drunk with a dull hatchet,” the police said after the man was apprehended. “We are still trying to figure out what his end game was.”

His end game? Clearly, he was on a bear hunt and he wanted him some bear meat!
What I wouldn’t pay for video of this…