Tag Archives: Joe Benigno

Thinking about death after a trip to the cemetery. The Giants and 49ers look awesome. And Alan Grayson, stirring it up again against Walmart

In between Thanksgiving meals, Thanksgiving leftovers, having my annual Thanksgiving weekend dinner with old friends and all that, I went to two cemeteries last week.

No one I knew died recently; I just went to visit my grandparents. Hadn’t been to their graves in a long time (they’ve all been dead for at least 10 years), but something made me want to visit.

Cemeteries are a strange, strange place. Very quiet, and very still, and especially when you’re there by yourself, you sometimes feel a little silly standing there talking to a piece of granite for a few minutes.

But I think it’s important to visit people who were once so important in your lives, even if they can’t really hear or see you anymore. So I talked to them, and told them about some of the milestones in my life they’d missed: the college I graduated from, the career I had as a journalist, my marriage that failed and the one that’s upcoming that I’m so excited about.

It felt good, almost like visiting an old friend. I wish Larry Lewis and Ruth Lewis and Don Kouvant were still here, to meet my fiance and one day meet some more grandkids.

I miss them very much, but cherish the time I had with them. As I was leaving, I promised them I’d come back and visit soon.

I hope I remember to honor my word.

**While still trying to swallow the bile from the Jets’ loss last Thursday (you know it’s bad when even Fireman Ed decides to quit, I took in some good football Sunday. My usual Monday ramblings…

— Now that looked like the Super Bowl champs on Sunday night. The Giants got their swagger back, Eli looked like Eli again, and they even looked like they could run the ball a little. I’m sure Giants fans will still find ways to complain about Eli, though; funniest thing I heard in a while was last week on WFAN, a caller started his point with “I’m not a big Eli fan, I know he won two Super Bowls … and the Jets fan-host, Joe Benigno, practically sputtered, “You know, I wish I could ever get to a point with my team where I say I’m not that big a fan of a guy who won me two Super Bowls!”

Don’t worry Joe, it won’t ever happen.

— I think Jim Harbaugh is crazy for yanking Alex Smith in the midst of a terrific winning season, but man, this Colin Kaepernick kid looks pretty good. Never thought I’d say this, but maybe the Jets can get Alex Smith for next year?

— I know a lot of obnoxious Steelers fans, so it was nice seeing Charlie Batch and friends screw up so royally Sunday.
— Only a Norv Turner-coached team can give up a 4th and 29 in the 4th quarter. I love me some Norv.

**If you follow politics fairly closely, you probably remember Alan Grayson. He’s a liberal Democrat from Florida who had a pretty eventful one-term in Congress a few years ago, standing up to Republicans, and the Iraq War, but got himself into a whole heap of trouble when he called his 2010 opponent “Taliban Dan” and ended up losing his seat.

Basically, Grayson is someone I admire for speaking his mind, but he goes a little too far sometimes. On Thanksgiving, though, I loved what Grayson did.

Just elected to the House again from a different district, Grayson spent his Turkey Day at a Florida Walmart, handing out turkey sandwiches and reminding Walmart employees how badly they’re treated by not being allowed to unionize. Most Walmart “associates” make around $10 an hour, by the way.

So Grayson gave each employee a paper bag that had three things in it: A turkey sandwich, a bag of chips, and a letter explaining their right to organize.

Much to my shock (yeah, right), Grayson was thrown out of the building.

OK, it was a stunt, but it certainly was worth a try. And the fact that one of the largest employers in America refuses to let its own employees bargain for rights, and get needed protection, is just one of the many, many reasons I am disgusted by Walmart.

A bizarre event of dog-humping. Happy 3rd blog-iversary to me. And WFAN turns 25: How it got here

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The wonderful website Grantland.com has a few words today (OK, more than a few) about WFAN Radio, which turned 25 last week. If you don’t know the FAN, it was the first all-sports radio station in America, debuting in New York City in July of 1987.
Not to overstate the case or anything, but it changed my life. It changed the lives of millions of people in the tri-state area.
Do you know how we got sports news before WFAN? In brief, 2-3 minute bursts every half hour on the news stations. Or on the weekly (I think it was weekly) Art Rust Jr. sports talk show on WABC.
Or by calling SportsPhone, which will sound hilarious to you young people out there. Yes, we actually used to dial a 976 number during the day to get updated sports news. I remember pleading with my father on many occasions, “Dad, can we please call SportsPhone tonight?”

So the idea in 1987 that suddenly, we would be able to listen to sports talk all day long, 24 hours a day, and call up the station and talk Jets, Knicks, Rangers, Yankees, etc. with knowledgeable hosts with strong opinions? It was beyond nirvana for sports junkies.
I remember how excited I was listening on the first day, as a 12-year-old. Over the years, as I moved away from New York, I loved returning home and catching up with old friends, which is what the hosts felt like.

I’d hear Mike Francesa, the man with the biggest ego in America, argue with “Mad Dog” Chris Russo about old baseball players. I’d listen to Steve Somers, schmoozing on the overnights with the insomniacs of New York.

And when living in North Carolina, it brought me faint relief late on Sunday nights during football season, when the FAN signal would come through and I’d hear the desperately passionate fan Joe Benigno would rail about our beloved Jets, making the same points I made to my fellow sufferers hours earlier.

Sports talk radio doesn’t seem so revolutionary now; every city has a station. But then, it was a godsend.
The Grantland article is an excellent oral history that covers the highs and lows of how history was made (the stuff about Don Imus, and Somers, are particularly awesome). I highly recommend it, even if it takes a few sittings to get through.

**Today’s my 3rd blog-iversary over here at Wide World of Stuff. Yep, on July 11, 2009, I gave the world just what it needed: another blog.

If you’ve been reading since Day 1 (I’ve written 985 posts since then, but here was my first one, or you just are discovering this site today, I want to thank you for taking the time to visit. I’ve had 316,698 visitors since I started, which sounds like a lot but really is pretty small. Still, I’m proud of my little corner of the Web.

I know there are a million websites you could be reading, and I’m truly honored you take the time to read mine.

So, thanks.

**And now, in keeping with one of my themes of bringing you the weirdness of our world, I present the 2012 Humpy Awards, honoring the best dog-humpers in all of the land.

God bless America.