Tag Archives: Jon Stewart

The greatest of all time wins Wimbledon title No. 8. A Jewish kid in Pa. dedicates his bar mitzvah to Jimmy Kimmel, and Jon Stewart’s not happy. And even Fox News is tired of being lied to

Between 2013-2016, you would hear the stories on TV, or read them in newspapers or on the web.

At first they were whispers, as there was still so much respect for the person they were talking about. But then they got louder, and louder, and louder.

What’s wrong with Roger Federer? Why isn’t he winning anymore? Is he too old? Maybe he should just … retire.

Yep, looks like all those experts were right. That four-year-gap between Grand Slam wins for Roger Federer was the end. Guy could barely play anymore, he should’ve just shuffled off to Switzerland’s version of Del Boca Vista, Phase 2 and called it a career.

Not quite. Roger Federer, the greatest athlete I’ve had the privilege of seeing in my 41 years of life, is writing a story in 2017 that’s never been seen before. He’s doing things no 35-almost-36 year old tennis player has ever done, hell, no professional athlete has done at this age and stage of his career.

Let me hit you with a few quick facts on this incredible champion’s run in 2017:

— He’s won 2 of the 3 Grand Slam events. He’s only played two of them.
— He just won Wimbledon for a record eighth time. And did it without dropping a set. That’s insane.
— He’s 25-0, that’s 25 wins and no losses, in the four biggest tournaments he’s played this year.
— He’s got an excellent chance to become No. 1 in the world again, at the end of this year.

It is all so miraculous to watch for those of us who are hard-core Federer fans like me. We saw the struggles of the last few years, the shocking losses to people like Tommy Robredo and Sergei Stakhovsky at majors, and winced. Nobody wanted to see Federer go out like this.

Then, he got hurt twice in 2016, and took the rest of the season off. Nobody, and I mean, nobody, not even Federer, thought he’d win two Slams this year, and play so flawlessly.

His movement, his serve, his backhand… all of it, back or even better than it was 10 years ago, when he dominated his sport like few others ever had. It’s incredible to see, and Sunday, when he beat a clearly-injured Marin Cilic in straight sets, you could tell how much Federer was enjoying this career renaissance.

Oh, I know, he didn’t have to beat Nadal, Murray or Djokovic to win this title, his 19th Slam overall. But that’s not his fault; two of them were injured and the other (Nadal, having a terrific year himself) lost an epic five-setter.

It’s truly a remarkable story, Federer doing this at his age, doing it so well.

And before I move on, a few words about Venus Williams. She’s 37, she’s overcome so many injuries and illness the past few years, and yet she’s still a Top 10 player. She made a fantastic run to the Wimbledon finals before falling short to Garbine Muguruza, but she’s an inspiration. Venus has always been a class act, and I hope she does get one more Slam title before she’s done.

Great Wimbledon. U.S. Open only seven weeks away!

**Next up, this made me laugh really hard. Seems there’s a 13-year-old in Media, Pa. named Will Rubin who is a huge fan of Jimmy Kimmel and his late-night show. Such a huge fan that he invited Kimmel to come to his bar mitzvah. Understandably, Kimmel couldn’t attend, but he did send a video message along, and Will ended up having a “Jimmy Kimmel Live” theme at his celebration of becoming a man.

Well, a certain Jewish comedian named Jon Stewart wasn’t too pleased he was passed over;and he “stormed” Kimmel’s set last Thursday night to argue/appeal to the boy. “Will, wouldn’t you rather idolize a talk-show host who’s also circumcised?”

This is great.

**Finally today, my head hurts trying to keep up with all the lies coming out the White House these days. Honestly, it’s exhausting trying to keep track, between them lying about the Russia meetings, what’s in the health care bill (and as brilliant Tweeter John Fugelsang pointed out Sunday, after learning that there’ll be no health care vote this week “Mitch McConnell has to delay taking healthcare from American taxpayers until after John McCain has surgery, paid for by American taxpayers.”

It is now beyond clear, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Fredo Trump (Don Jr.) and Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner lied, repeatedly, about meeting with representative of the Russian government bent on helping Trump win. But still, 35 percent of Americans will support this President no matter what he does or says.

But every once in a while, some sunlight comes in, even to Fox News. Check out Chris Wallace and Shep Smith the other day, talking about this scandal and the incredible number of lies, lies, lies coming out of the White House.

“The deception is mind-boggling,” Smith says, and he’s right.

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A college kid wins $38,000 on a half-court shot, only idiotic company won’t let him have it. Jon Stewart returns briefly to late night with some words of wisdom. And Betsy DeVos, showing chutzpah beyond belief when talking about HBCU’s

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Happy March, everyone! No, I won’t be commenting on the Orange Man’s State of the Union last night, which I happily missed most of, although I heard he lied through his teeth about so much (really Donald, there are 94 million unemployed people in America? Come on, even Barron Trump knows that’s bullshit) and changed his mind on a few things, and even had the freaking chutzpah to scold Democrats and tell them “the time for trivial fights is over.”  This from a guy who spent YEARS alleging Barack Obama was born in Kenya.

Anyway, like I said, it’s March, the happiest month of the year for college basketball fans like me. So we start today with a basketball story, though what should’ve been a happy one isn’t really.

A Kentucky resident named Jackson Logsdon competed in one of those goofy halftime contests at a recent University of Louisville women’s basketball game. Logsdon had to hit a layup, a free throw, a 3-pointer, and a half-court shot in 30 seconds, and he’d win $38,000.

Well, as you can see here, Logsdon improbably did all that. So whoo-hoo, right? Local boy makes good, and man will that money come in handy with so many college loans to pay?

But nope, Logsdon gets none of it. Because the company that sponsored the contest, Million Dollar Media, had some fine print in the contract that said he wasn’t eligible if he’d played high school ball in the past six years.

Dude was a bench-warmer in high school six years ago! And so Logsdon got screwed.

This is ridiculous. And even though it wasn’t the university that promised Logsdon the money, they really ought to make good here. For one thing, Louisville pays its coaches enormous sums of money, and they happen to employ two major head coaches (Bobby Petrino and Rick Pitino) who are either complete scumbags (Petrino) or run dirty programs (Pitino). They get crap, rightfully so, for employing Petrino, and that hookers/basketball players scandal didn’t really look too good either.

So Louisville, do what’s right: Take $38,000 you would’ve spent on a basketball recruit’s prostitute bill, or a private jet flight for a trustee, and give a college kid what he earned. It’s the right thing to do.

**Next up today, any dose of Jon Stewart is beyond welcome these days. While the former “Daily Show” host is gearing up to do stuff for HBO (when is he exactly starting to work for them, anyway? Seems like it’s been awhile), he showed up on Stephen Colbert’s CBS late-night show Tuesday night and sent out a hilarious and true missive to the media.

Watch and enjoy and realize how much Stewart is missed.

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**Finally today, I really don’t want to continually bash Betsy DeVos, but she just keeps saying such stupid shit that I can’t help myself.

She screws up things and steps into verbal landmines that a 5-year-old wouldn’t do. Let’s look at what she said this week. DeVos met with some presidents of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) during Black History Month.

It should have been such a simple statement about the meeting. She could have said something like “These Presidents are doing a great job helping minorities and other people of color get a good education, they’re vital to our future as a nation,” yada yada yada.

Instead (face palm), DeVos said this:

“HBCU’s have done this since their founding. They started from the fact that there were too many students in America who did not have equal access to education. They saw the system wasn’t working, that there was an absence of opportunity, so they took it upon themselves to provide the solution. HBCU’s are real pioneers when it comes to school choice. They are living proof that when more options are provided to students, they are afforded greater access and greater equality.”

Are you freaking kidding me??? In 2017, the leader of the Dept. of Education in the U.S. is celebrating how freaking legal segregation gave black students “options????” Like African-American students in the 1950s were sitting around going “Hmmm, let’s see, should I go to Ole Miss, the University of Georgia, or, I don’t know, Grambling State.”

Saying that African-American students chose the “option” of HBCU’s is like saying black South African’s under apartheid “chose” to go to shitty schools and have no rights.

And then, as if DeVos hadn’t made a big enough pile of crap, she brings school choice, her pet subject, into it and compares HBCU’s to charter schools.

This woman … my God, she’s not qualified to be an after-school day care assistant, much less Secretary of Education.

What an offensive, awful thing for her to say.

Her whole “statement” is below.

https://t.co/wDxFqCOEJp

 

The worst kind of grief exploitation, fear-mongering and oh yeah, plagiarism at the RNC. And Jon Stewart makes a triumphant return to late night.

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So, so, so many thoughts to share after the first two nights of the KKK rally Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

I mean, just … wow. As awful as I thought it was going to be, it was worse. I swear to God, Ben Carson and Chris Christie on Tuesday were thisclose to saying Hillary Clinton should be dragged to Salem and burned at the stake as a witch.

Full disclosure: Tuesday night I was out at my annual Yankees game trip with my wife and father-in-law, so mostly I only followed it on Twitter (but I saw the Christie/Carson highlights and threw up in my mouth a bit.)

But that’s OK, Monday night I was tuned in, riveted and horrified for the whole three hours-plus spectacle.

— First of all, nothing was more disgusting and distasteful than the politicization of family grief. It was ALL over the stage Monday night, and the worst offender was Pat Smith, whose son tragically died in the Benghazi attack (maybe you’ve heard of it?). She stood up and blamed Hillary Clinton personally for her son’s death. As if the Democratic nominee had a hand in killing him. So we had, from the stage of the national convention of one of the two major political parties in America, accusations that the nominee of the other party was responsible for murder.

Going out on a limb here, but as we’ve said so many times during this campaign, that’s never happened before. It’s absolutely, positively disgusting and immoral, what Ms. Smith said, and as we know I’m far, far from a Hillary Clinton defender.

— What’s almost as amazing as what Smith said is that, while she was saying it, Donald Trump called in to Fox News for a live interview, stepping on his own convention coverage! The man’s pathological need to constantly be on TV is really quite something. I mean seriously, he should be studied in psychology textbooks for decades.

— Scott Baio and Antonio Sabato, Jr. were both tapped to give speeches, and I’ll never be able to watch “Charles in Charge” again without crying.

They were both horrendous (Sabato later said he was absolutely sure Obama is a Muslim, so I’m glad we cleared that up), but I honestly wondered where the hell was Kirk Cameron? He was a MUCH bigger star than Baio in the 1980s, he’s certifiably wing-nut crazy, and they had plenty of time to let him talk.

Mike Seaver got screwed, folks. I blame his sister.

— The plagiarism thing with Melania Trump’s speech became a huge deal Tuesday, and justifiably so. Lifting entire passages from Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech is hilarious, and sad, and I honestly have no idea whether Melania wrote the speech and thought no one would notice, a vengeful Trump campaign speechwriter inserted the passage as a mean shot at Melania (my wife’s theory), or this is just incredible negligence.

What I do know is my fellow Blue Hen and Twitter must-follow, Frankie the Goat (I’m guessing that’s not his real name) had the two best Tweets of the night on the controversy.

— Another highlight of Monday: GOP Congressman Steve King saying that white people have been the only group responsible for the progress of Western Civilization.

Said King: “I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out: Where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you’re talking about? Where did any other sub-group of people contribute more to civilization?”

I can’t make this shit up.

— Rudy Giuliani. My goodness, what a trainwreck. New Yorkers of my generation and older may remember that back in the early 1990s, Rudy was actually considered a moderate, almost a real Democrat. Now he’s so far out there I think Pat Buchanan was saying to himself last night “Man, that guy’s nuts.”

**Watched some of Paul Ryan’s speech, calling for civility and decency and coming together. Then saw Chris Christie give one of the most vicious and hateful speeches in convention history, followed by the completely nuts Ben Carson comparing Hillary Clinton to Lucifer. In prime time, on national TV.

I mean… what the fuck has happened to the Republican party?

— Facts have no bearing at this convention. None, whatsoever. Crime is lower than it has been in decades. The economy is humming along, unemployment is below five percent, but if you listened to the first two nights of speeches, you’d think we were on the verge of collapse as a society.

And we’ve got two (count ’em, TWO) more nights to go.

**Finally today, the best thing that happened Monday night wasn’t that Giuliani finally left the stage, or that wingnut GOP Senator Joni Ernst was bumped past 11 p.m. It was the wonderfully welcome return of Jon Stewart to late-night TV.

He was on a sketch with old buddy Stephen Colbert on “The Late Show” live episode after the convention, and it was great. It was only four minutes, but it made me miss Stewart all the more (shouldn’t he be doing some of those HBO shorts we heard about by now?)

A tribute to Jon Stewart, as he exits the stage. Coach Eric Taylor is back! (sorta) in a new PSA. And ESPN continues to try to ruin Little Leaguer’s lives

Tomorrow is a day many of us hoped would never arrive.

A day we knew could happen, a day that really ought not to make us so sad. But it’s a day that smacks of finality in late-night television.

I was bummed in May when David Letterman signed off, but if you threw Wonder Woman’s lasso around me and forced me to tell the truth, Dave stopped being a late-night newsmaker and having an impact on our culture years ago.

No, tomorrow night is truly an end of an era: The great, immense talent that is Jon Stewart will be taping his last episode of “The Daily Show.”

And after 16 years, he’ll sign off having changed television, and the coverage of politics, forever.

I started watching my fellow Member of the Tribe’s show (his real name is Jon Leibowitz) in 2000, when Bush-Gore was getting good, and then of course we had the recount madness and the stolen election and man, did Stewart ever go to town on that.

His sense of timing was impeccable, his outrage was always entertaining; for liberals like me, one of the things that got us through the eight long, destructive years of Bush-Cheney were Stewart’s hilarious “High atop Bullshit Mountain” segments, where he called out the lies coming from the White House.

Stewart was a comedian at heart, but he also could be poignant, like during his recent show after the Charleston black church massacre.

He was a terrific interviewer, and was just as capable of chatting with Channing Tatum about some recent movie as he was with Madeline Albright or David McCullough about world affairs.

Stewart called it like he saw it, drilling Bill Clinton and Barack Obama alike, and anyone who called him a liberal shill wasn’t watching the last six years when he called Obama out on so many things.

There’s an entire generation of people, including some from my Gen X group, that got their news entirely from “The Daily Show.” And night after night, week after week, Stewart delivered it.

He was truly an outstanding TV host, and the tributes leading up to this final show have been numerous (The best I’ve read comes, not surprisingly, from David Remnick of The New Yorker).

Stewart was a truth-teller and bullshit-detector for our time, and I will miss him very, very much.

L’chaim, and Godspeed, Mr. Leibowitz.

**Next up, this was utterly fantastic, and will appeal to all of my fellow “Friday Night Lights” devotees out there. A small movie chain in Texas called Alamo Drafthouse got Kyle Chandler to reprise his role as Coach Taylor and film a public service announcement telling people not to talk or text during movies.

So funny… Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!

**Finally today, a brief rant about a news item I saw on Twitter today, from all-time Twitter jerk Darren Rovell, an ESPN sports business reporter:

“ESPN will broadcast a record 135 Little League World Series games this year from Aug. 4 through Aug. 30.”

One hundred and thirty-five nationally televised games from the Little League World Series tournament, including all the regional semifinals and finals.

I mean, the mind just boggles. You are taking 11 and 12-year-old kids, who are still playing a pure game they love for the sheer love of it, and putting them under a nationally televised spotlight, where every mistake, every miss, every disappointment, will be available to be seen by millions.

It’s so freaking wrong, to glorify kids’ sports to this degree, and to put this kind of pressure on these kids.

ESPN has done nothing but steamroll past any moral or ethical implications of what they do for years now in a lot of areas, but by force-feeding the Little League World Series and treating these kids like major-leaguers, they’re committing, in my mind, borderline child abuse.

Absolutely, positively disgusting.

A student driver accident that amazingly really happened. Jon Stewart on the McKinney pool mess. And an awesome headline screw-up, maybe the best of the year

DriversEd.Tank

If you’re like me, you remember driver’s ed class with a mix of terror and joyful memories.

The joy came from finally being allowed to steer an automobile, getting on the open roads and hoping the teacher in the passenger seat with his own brakes didn’t have to jam on them too often.

The terror came from, you know, driving for the first time and being petrified you’d kill someone, or more accurately, yourself.

My driver’s ed teacher was named Mr. DiGiorgio, and he was swell. Sure, one time I started making a left turn into oncoming traffic, but hey, he didn’t even yell at me too much. (My friend Andrew, sitting in the backseat that day, can recall that moment 25 years later, I am certain.)

Heck, even when one girl in our car once asked as we were pulling away “The one on the left is the brakes, right?” good ole’ Mr. D. just calmly fixed her confusion.

Anyway, I bring this up because all kinds of crazy things can happen when you’re a student driver, but I’m pretty certain no one ever prepares for what happened to this poor girl in Germany last week.

An 18-year-old woman in a Toyota hatchback accidentally turned into a column of British tanks that were travelling through the small town of Augustdorf, Germany.

The British soldier at the controls of the tank behind her had no time to stop, but managed to turn so that he crushed the engine of the car, just avoiding the driver.

The 18-year-old woman, who has not been named under German privacy laws, escaped unharmed.

I don’t know how exactly one “accidentally” turns into a column of British tanks. And maybe I’m a bad person but that photo above made me crack up. Thank God no one was hurt, but I mean come on, the street it happened on was called Tank Ring Road!

Ah, student drivers. God bless them.

**Next up today, you’ve probably heard about the incident over the weekend in McKinney, Texas, when white police officers appeared to use over-aggressive force in trying to apprehend a bunch of African-American kids who were at a pool party. The facts of the case are not quite clear (some witnesses said the kids had been cursing and harassing people at the pool, others say that absolutely did not happen), but what’s very clear from the video is that once again, white police officers went way over the line (pointing a gun at a teenage girl in a bikini?)

Jon Stewart and “The Daily Show”, as always, had the best take on the matter. Watch the above clip with Jessica Williams, so funny it hurts…

**Finally today, this headline made me laugh out loud. Last week a Major League Baseball first occurred, as Pat Venditte of the Oakland Athletics pitched with both his right and left arm to get batters out.

Yes that’s right, Venditte is ambidextrous, and has been for a long time. He’s been toiling in his minors after leaving Vanderbilt and finally got his chance last week.

So naturally, newspapers across the country were eager to trumpet Venditte’s accomplishment, including the East Oregonian newspaper in Pendleton, Ore.:

amphibious.headline

He’s amphibious! If only he could pitch all his games in the water, he’d be the best pitcher ever!

Jon Stewart is leaving “The Daily Show,” a huge loss but it’s for the best. John Oliver’s back, and hilarious again. And the amazing Venezuela tourist ad featuring an imprisoned American

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Just about everyone on television stays too long at the party.  Popular sitcoms that were once fabulous go on years past their expiration date (I’m looking at you, “Mad About You” and “Seinfeld,”) broadcasters hang around until they’re a parody of themselves (I’m looking at you, Chris Berman and Dan Rather), and basically the majority of people on TV have to be dragged kicking and screaming away from the red light.

Which is why I was at first sad, but then happy to hear Tuesday night that the great Jon Stewart, who for 15 years has been the funniest, most incisive commentator on television, announced he’d be leaving “The Daily Show” sometime in 2015.

There has been no more consistent source of humor in the 21st century than Stewart. Whether he’s mocking politicians, other celebrities, or most hilariously, CNN and Fox News, he’s always been brilliantly clever, cutting-edge funny, and just plain joyous to watch.I went back through my blog archives tonight to find the quintessential Stewart clip I’ve shared on here the last 5 1/2 years, and each time I watched a few seconds of one I remembered how great it was, and truly, I could’ve spent hours watching his old bits.

I picked the one I’m linking here because it’s one near and dear to my heart (about education), and because it illustrates just how smart and funny Stewart and his team are. But honestly, there have been hundreds of brilliant clips over the years.

“The Daily Show” has been about more than just laughs; it’s had a legitimate impact on our culture.

It was “The Daily Show” that kept Congress’ feet to the fire on the issue of giving 9/11 responders compensation for their illnesses, and Stewart’s rage against CNBC, Jim Cramer and the yahoos who helped cause the economic meltdown of 2008 educated millions of Americans who didn’t understand the complex financial jargon.

It has, of course, also given us Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, Steve Carell, and a million laughs. And it’s still going strong; his stuff on Ferguson last summer was as good as anyone else covered the tragedy.

Which is why I’m glad Stewart is leaving now, while he’s still got his fastball. He can do so many other things with his career, and he’s smart enough to leave before he gets stale.

I’ll certainly watch whatever he does next.

**Speaking of John Oliver, the brilliant HBO show he stars in “Last Week Tonight” is back from a three-month break, and he kicked some serious butt in the premiere Sunday night.

His bit on the scam of Big Pharma being in bed with doctors was great, but I loved this salute to the soon-to-be-toe-tagged Radio Shack even better.

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**And finally, this story is fantastic in oh so many ways. The tourism department for the government of Venezuela has been running a new ad campaign to boost the nation’s morale. One of the ads they’ve run features a Caucasian man hugging someone lovingly, with a big smile on his face.

The tagline reads: “We love Venezuela … for receiving foreigners like one of our own.”

Except there’s just one problem. The photo they used is of American reporter Jim Wyss, who in the photo has just been released after being wrongfully detained for two days in a Venezuelan prison.

Yes, that’s right folks: To highlight how friendly Venezuela is to foreigners, they showed us a man who they illegally threw in jail!

Too damn funny. I can’t wait until Russia’s tourism ad with Edward Snowden.

Jon Stewart on the GOP 2016 field: It’s like shooting fish in a barrel, but still funny. The real-life Doogie Howser who fooled a Florida hospital. And whale testicle-flavored beer? Sure, why not

So even though it’s still Jan. 2015, a whole bunch of Republicans are already running for President.

Which is sad for the good people of Iowa, who, a year from the caucus, are probably already sick of seeing old white men promising them the moon on their televisions.

But it’s wonderful for people like the great Jon Stewart, who really was shooting fish in a barrel this week, as he commented on the “Iowa Freedom Summit,” which is a ridiculous name for a gathering of a bunch of Presidential hopefuls put together by far, far, far right wingnut Rep. Steve King.

Of all the ridiculousness on display, though, none of the candidates touched Sarah Palin for sheer inanity.

Stewart saves her for last, but really the whole thing is pretty damn funny (If the clip above disappears, click here to watch it.)

**Next up, it’s been awhile since I’ve given you a crazy news story from the state of Florida. Not because there hasn’t been weird news from Florida, I’ve just not blogged about it.

But this one, pointed out to me by loyal friend and reader Mike T., is too good to ignore. A 17-year-old kid in West Palm Beach pretended to be a doctor at a clinic for a whole month before anyone noticed or realized he wasn’t a physician.

Yep, the youngish-looking dude with a white coat and stethescope making the rounds at St. Mary’s Medical Center was channeling his inner Doogie Howser (I’m sure you had a Vinnie Delpino in his life as well).

My favorite part of this story is the quote at the :43 mark. I mean, it’s pretty funny, but also pretty scary, right?
Finwhale

**And finally, I’m not much of a beer drinker, as anyone who knows me can attest (serioiusly, I don’t like the taste of it, and after 1 1/2 beers I’m pretty much unsafe to drive), but even for hard-core Norm Petersons out there, this has to be pretty gross, right?

A company in Finland called Stedji Brewery has decided to make a beer flavored with smoked whale testicles for the annual month-long winter celebration of Thorri, (honoring the God Thor, of course). It’s called Hvalur 2, and made with the balls of the endangered fin whale.

Not only is this a pretty disgusting use of whale fin, but who the hell would want to drink this?

“We work the testicle by the old traditional way,” brewery co-owner Dabjartur Arilíusson told Beverage Daily. “We smoke it with dried sheep shit.” This method gives it a unique smoked flavor, and we also get a bit of the meaty taste in the beer.”

Man, would I love to see what the commercials for this beer would look like…

The biggest climate change rally ever, and how Congress still doesn’t get it. A mesmerizing video of acrobats flying. And some thoughts from the dad of a 2-week-old

More than 300,000 people marched in New York City Sunday to bring awareness, and protest the massive lack of activity in our government, on the issue of climate change.
It was an important rally for an important cause, and in most forward-thinking nations who give a damn about the future, it would be seen as a strong statement that something must be done about climate change, NOW.

And yet, nothing will happen. Because just last week, as Jon Stewart brilliantly satirizes above, a House of Representatives committee (a committee with the word “Science” in its name, mind you) showed just how utterly clueless many GOP Congressmen are, and how deep in denial they are, about this issue.

Stewart’s bit is hilarious. But so sad, too.

**And now, some awesome “extreme trampolining” from brothers Sean and Eric Kennedy. I thought this was mesmerizing and very cool…

**Finally, I’m about two weeks into this whole Fatherhood thing (I feel it’s important enough of a job to be capitalized, don’t you?), and of course it’s been an adventure: Thrilling, tiring, hard, rewarding, you name it:
Couple quick thoughts on the things I’ve learned, and if you’re a father reading this, I’m sure you can relate:

— Every day brings a new “first” moment, and they’re all awesome. Last Friday was his first “outdoor” outing to the park. A couple of nights ago we read our son a story in bed for the first time, even though we know he’s way too young to really focus or understand anything of what we’re saying.
And Tuesday night was my favorite “first” so far: We gave him his first bath, and then I sung Barry Manilow’s “Can’t Smile Without You” to my boy and he stayed quiet and seemed to enjoy it. It’s the same song my mother used to sing to me as a child, and you can be darn sure my son will be hearing it a whole lot.
Too bad his old man can’t carry a tune.

— It’s amazing how quickly you can lose touch with the outside world when you’re just trying to keep an infant happy and fed, and how what day of the week it is very easily slips your mind. With my wife on maternity leave and me taking a few weeks off from substitute teaching, we’re spending so much time together and in our apartment that one day really bleeds into another. If not for NFL games on Sunday, I would’ve had no idea that it was Sunday.

— This is apparently quite common with newborns, but in the middle of a deep sleep my child will make random noises that sound like squeaky toys, and then continue sleeping. If we could harness that ability, he could be a key member of a rock band one day, just squeaking on cue.

— Can’t imagine how single mothers raise children alone, especially in the first few weeks. As much respect as I had for them before, it’s increased 100 times now that I’m a parent.

— My friend Rhonda told me the sweetest feeling in the world is when your baby falls asleep on your chest. She’s 100 percent right. It’s happened a few times for me, and when it happens, I don’t want to move from that spot, ever.

 

Andrew Cuomo, I had such high hopes for you, but this scandal may bring you down. Seinfeld and Stewart getting coffee, hilariously. And Bieber can prevent cancer! (sorta)

Israelsoldier

Two quick notes: One, I’m sorry the pace of blogging has slowed down a bit in recent weeks; I’m dealing with a pretty irritating thumb/hand injury thing that makes it painful to type. I’m trying to get rid of it through physical therapy but so far, not much progress (I just started so I’m not blaming Pat, my cool therapist dude). And two, I have many, many, thoughts about the Israel-Hamas ongoing carnage, but they’re nowhere near organized enough to turn into a coherent post. Still, I wanted to link to what I thought was a remarkable essay from a journalist in Israel named David Horovitz, about the price, in morality and lives, both sides are paying right now.

OK, on with the show…

I try not to put too much faith in politicians anymore. I’ve been burned many times before; as Billy Bob Thornton says in the brilliant and underrated movie “Primary Colors,” I too easy come down with a case of TB (True Believerism).

Bill Clinton disappointed me time and time again. Lord knows the hours and effort I put into John Edwards’ presidential hopes only led to heartbreak. And Barack Obama, as much as I still support and appreciate having him as President, has also made me angry/sad/frustrated quite a few times over the past 5 1/2 years.

But still, I can’t help myself. I start to believe that another politician might have the goods, the goods to deliver what I’ve always wanted in a President. A couple years ago, I started to think Andrew Cuomo might be that guy. Socially liberal, forceful leader, able to forge consensus on some issues, a little too conservative financially for my taste but a man who seemed to be Presidential timber to me.

I was happy he was elected Governor in 2010 of my home state, think he’s done a pretty good job overall so far, and I believe him to be one of a handful of Dems who I’m hoping and praying derails the Hillary coronation of 2016 (or at least, gives her a fight for the nomination.)

Yep, Cuomo was my guy… which made it inevitable that this would happen. On Wednesday the N.Y. Times unleashed a stunning and wholly damning article that found that Cuomo and his office worked hard to derail the work of an ethics commission Cuomo himself set up to investigate corruption in N.Y. state government, once that commission started looking into the Gov’s friends and allies.

It’s a piece of fantastic investigative work by the Times, painting Cuomo in an awful light, and will likely severely damage his 2016 hopes.
Sigh. I’ll fall in love with someone else soon, I’m sure.

**Next up, haven’t linked to an episode of Jerry Seinfeld’s great web show in a while, but this episode with Jon Stewart is just fantastic. Enjoy…

 

justin-bieber

**And finally, I present this without (too much) comment: Scientists believe that Justin Bieber’s original bangs haircut can help prevent skin cancer, if other boys wear their hair the same way.

Justin Bieber, you are the Dr. Jonas Salk of our time, my man. God bless you!

The U.S. gov’t acts disgracefully in collecting debt from 40 years ago. A beautiful tale of leaving notes for kids. And NCAA hypocrisy exposed again

matzoh

I’m saving my review of last night’s “Mad Men” for Tuesday (oh Pete Campbell, you’re just so California cool!), but it was pointed out to me by numerous people on Twitter that every single date this week is the same written forwards and backward (4/14/14, 4/15/14, etc.)

I don’t know what that means, but I think we’re in for a weird, weird week.

And Happy Passover to my fellow Members of the Tribe! I hope you all enjoy the matzoh and gefilte fish, while my brother-in-law Flyers fan and I argue over who’s going to win the Rangers-Flyers series starting Thursday.

A few people I know were outraged about this on Facebook, but quite honestly I never took the time to read the story until this weekend.

Now I’m outraged, too. According to the Washington Post, the Treasury Dept. and the Social Security Administration have been going after the children and grandchildren of people who either received too big a tax refund or owed a debt to the IRS.

In most cases, the children and grandchildren never knew about any such debt, but they’re being notified and having their tax refunds withheld by the government.

This is affecting hundreds of thousands of people, and most of them

The Treasury Department has intercepted $1.9 billion in tax refunds already this year — $75 million of that on debts delinquent for more than 10 years, said Jeffrey Schramek, assistant commissioner of the department’s debt management service.

What’s even more ridiculous is that in many cases, the government can’t prove if any extra benefits were even awarded to the families of the now-deceased.

From the lawyer of one of those individual affected:
“The craziest part of this whole thing is the way the government seizes a child’s money to satisfy a debt that child never even knew about,” says Robert Vogel, Grice’s attorney. “They’ll say that somebody got paid for that child’s benefit, but the child had no control over the money and there’s no way to know if the parent ever used the money for the benefit of that kid.”

Just awful and unfair.

lunchnote

**Next up, something a little sweeter. Like tons of other parents (and like I’m sure I’ll do one day), Wendy Bradford’s husband got in the habit of leaving notes for his three children in their lunchbags every day.
Wendy didn’t leave notes. And her kids noticed.

And so she started to, and her kids started writing notes back… and it’s just a really sweet little story. Check it out on Wendy’s blog www.mamaonetwothree.com.

**Finally today, two pieces that continue to show the insanity that is the NCAA rules. First, Jon Stewart satirizes and mocks the idea that the players who make millions for the NCAA get bubkes from the deal.

Then there was this eye-opening piece on SBNation.com by Steve Godfrey, a semi- first-person account from an NCAA “bag man,” a fella who delivers cash to athletes at a major college, explaining how it’s done, and how easily it’s done.

Here’s the lede to get  you hooked:

The Bag Man excuses himself to make a call outside, on his “other phone,” to arrange delivery of $500 in cash to a visiting recruit. The player is rated No. 1 at his position nationally and on his way into town. We’re sitting in a popular restaurant near campus almost a week before National Signing Day, talking about how to arrange cash payments for amateur athletes.

“Nah, there’s no way we’re landing him, but you still have to do it,” he says. “It looks good. It’s good for down the road. Same reason my wife reads Yelp. These kids talk to each other. It’s a waste of money, but they’re doing the same thing to our guys right now in [rival school’s town]. Cost of business.”

Technically, this conversation never happened, because I won’t reveal this man’s name or the player’s, or even the town I visited. Accordingly, all the other conversations I had with different bag men representing different SEC programs over a two-month span surrounding National Signing Day didn’t happen either.

But that’s OK, NCAA< let’s just keep the status quo. Everything’s just fine.