Tag Archives: Justin Tucker

The most honest obituary of an addict I’ve ever seen. NFL Week 7 thoughts. And the new LeBron commercial gives me chills

There has been so much talk of the opioid crisis in America over the last few years, as it gets worse and worse, affects more and more lives, and nothing seems to get done about it.
Local and state governments talk a big game, and throw money at the problem, but never really do anything about some of the major underlying factors that put someone at risk of addiction (poverty, joblessness, etc.)

Sometimes you just get numb to it. But then you see this, the most brutally honest obituary I’ve ever read. It appeared in a small newspaper in Vermont, and it was for a young woman named Madelyn Linsenmeir, who was a young mom of only 30.

Listen to some of the words and phrases used by her family in this devastating, beautiful obit:

While her death was unexpected, Madelyn suffered from drug addiction, and for years we feared her addiction would claim her life. We are grateful that when she died, she was safe and she was with her family…

When she was 16, she moved with her parents from Vermont to Florida to attend a performing arts high school. Soon after she tried OxyContin for the first time at a high school party, and so began a relationship with opiates that would dominate the rest of her life.

And then this, gutting paragraph.

After having (her son) Ayden, Maddie tried harder and more relentlessly to stay sober than we have ever seen anyone try at anything. But she relapsed and ultimately lost custody of her son, a loss that was unbearable.

During the past two years especially, her disease brought her to places of incredible darkness, and this darkness compounded on itself, as each unspeakable thing that happened to her and each horrible thing she did in the name of her disease exponentially increased her pain and shame. For 12 days this summer, she was home, and for most of that time she was sober. For those 12 wonderful days, full of swimming and Disney movies and family dinners, we believed as we always did that she would overcome her disease and make the life for herself we knew she deserved. We believed this until the moment she took her last breath. But her addiction stalked her and stole her once again.

We talk about “the real face of addiction” and all of that, but listening to Madelyn’s family talk about her like this, it just breaks your heart.

Read the whole thing, it’s a fantastic, truthful story of a life lived, and one that ended way too soon.
(P.S.: Just found this equally great post, in reaction to the obit of Madelyn going viral, from the Burlington, Vt. police chief, about how it shouldn’t take something like this obituary to make people care. Really strong, wise words from chief Brandon del Pozo here.)

**Next up today, it’s obvious to my readers that I’m completely in the tank for LeBron James; I love the guy, everything he stands for and everything he’s done.

But it’s still nice sometimes, even though I’ve been watching him since 2002, to sit back and realize from where he came, and how far he’s come. Check out this new, beautiful Nike ad celebrating the now-Lakers star (man that feels weird to type, Lakers) and the kinds of things he said when he first came into the NBA, 15 years ago.

Really fantastic ad.

**And finally today, it was another wild day of NFL football Sunday. I really am trying to pay less attention every year because I have such conflicted feelings about pro football, head trauma, and supporting a league run by Roger Goodell, one of the worst commissioners ever in sports, but the games have been very, very compelling this year.

One game that was NOT compelling, which I’m glad I didn’t see any of, was my Jets, predictably, showing they’re not any good this year, just as we thought. The Vikings whipped up on my boys, Sam Darnold looked like a rookie QB (to be fair, all the Jets’ receivers are hurt and the O-Line apparently played terrible), and Minnesota is a good team who should beat the Jets by 20 (which they did).

— Can we just move ahead to February right now and play the Rams-Chiefs Super Bowl? Every week I watch highlights of their games and every week it’s clear these two offenses are incredible. They actually play in the regular season in November, that’s going to be fabulous.

— The Eagles… wow. A 17-0 fourth-quarter lead, at home against Carolina, and they blow it and lose. The Super Bowl champs are 3-4, and I’m going out on a limb and saying they can make other plans for Super Bowl Sunday, because they won’t be in it.

— Another week, another Cleveland  Browns epic. My second-favorite team played its FOURTH overtime game of the season Sunday, and predictably, lost. It took a 59-yard field goal by Tampa Bay to beat them, but hey, every week it’s something different.

— If there’s a more confusing NFL team this year than the Dolphins, I don’t know who it is. OK, maybe it’s the Jaguars, who seemed to be Super Bowl contenders heading into the year, but now are stinking it up.

— Finally, something incredible, amazing and unbelievable happened Sunday: Justin Tucker missed an extra point. The Ravens kicker has been Mr. Automatic for his whole career, like, he NEVER misses an easy field goal or an extra point. He was 222-for-22 on PAT’s in his career, and made 78 of 78 field goal tries from 33 yards and in (the extra point distance now), so he’d made 300 straight kicks from that distance or closer.

And then Sunday, with the Ravens just needing that point to tie the Saints and likely send the game into OT, he… missed. No, really, he did. I saw it with my own eyes.
It was shocking. It cost the Ravens the game. And Tucker, class act that he is, stood up afterwards and took the blame.
I still can’t believe he missed.


The “Gilmore Girls” reunion movies: Lots of hits, lots of big misses. An NFL kicker sings an amazing “Ave Maria.” And a weekend at a hotel pool reminds me of how far we’ve come


With the hindsight of about two hours, I’ll admit it:

There’s no way the “Gilmore Girls” reunion movies could’ve lived up to my full expectations. I’d loved this remarkable television series so much, and had been so excited when I heard creators Amy and Dan Palladino were making four 1.5 hour “episodes” to wrap the series up, that I knew when it finally arrived I’d probably be a little disappointed.

Lots, and lots of thoughts to share: Overall, I thought it was a little better than OK. Part 1 “Winter” and Part 4 “Fall” were very strong, and really delved deep into the old “Gilmore Girls” world. The middle two parts … horrible. Blech. Just bad in so many ways.

And now, a disclaimer so no one yells at me…


Everybody still with me? Good. Here goes…

Things I loved about the reunion movies: Any time Emily and Lorelai were on screen together; they have such amazing chemistry. Particularly, the scenes where Emily was in jeans and getting rid of everything in her house, and the emotional power of Lorelai’s phone call to her mother during her “Wild” hike that wasn’t that talked about a day when she was 13, was amazing.

— Paris Gellar. Just fantastic. Every scene Liza Weil was in, reprising her role as Paris, was incredible. Paris as a fertility clinic matchmaker but still being a total mess emotionally? Gold. Her fights with ex-husband Doyle? Absolutely wonderful. I could not get enough Paris, I just wish she were in all four movies.

— The Life and Death Brigade: Yeah, I know Colin and Finn get annoying after a while, but I felt like their 15 minutes in the “Fall” episode was terrific. Just enough of them to remember how great they were.

— Kirk. Oh, how I love me some Kirk. The “Oober” storyline cracked me up, as did his playing soccer with Emily’s housekeeper’s kids. And the Kirk movie… Oscar-worthy.

— The Mae Whitman (Amber from “Parenthood” cameo). Yeah, I know it had no point except to show us both of Lauren Graham’s TV daughters at the same time. But I laughed and loved it. A great touch.

— Sutton Foster at the end of the musical: I hated just about everything else about the “Stars Hollow: The Musical” episode, the whole thing felt like it went on for 11 hours. But the Sutton Foster song at the end was terrific.

Things I hated about the reunion movies: Just about every single Rory storyline. Man, did the Palladinos blow this. They took a smart, career-motivated, intelligent young woman who left Yale ready to conquer the world and turned her into an indecisive, flailing quasi-pathetic woman who at age 32 is totally lost. Just impossible to root for or like, Rory turned into something unrecognizable.

— The musical numbers: Horrendous. Stupid. Not funny in the least. Just a complete waste of time.

— The “Summer” episode: By far the worst one. Who knew Stars Hollow even had a pool?

— The “Sandee Says” website storyline: OK so let me get this straight: This gossipy celebrity website chases Rory for a year, desperately wants to hire her, finally she agrees, and then the snotty boss basically acts like she has no idea who Rory is and doesn’t hire her? Completely stupid and unrealistic.

— The Rory “boyfriend” everyone forgets about: This also made no sense. We’re supposed to believe this guy “Paul” has been dating Rory for two years, except he’s never around and no one remembers anything about him? Lazy, silly writing.

And finally …

— The ending, and the “final four words” that the Palladinos had been guarding like a national security secret all these years? They were pretty shocking. But they make sense in a full circle kind of way. Series began with Lorelai having a daughter unexpectedly 16 years earlier, and now Rory apparently has gotten pregnant by Logan.
I really don’t know if I liked this or didn’t like it yet. Would love to hear any of your thoughts…

**And now, for something completely different. The Baltimore Ravens seem to have a knack for having players who have amazing talents outside of football. One of their offensive lineman, John Urschel, is a math genius from MIT. And their placekicker, maybe the best kicker in the game right now, can sing opera.

Seriously. This is Justin Tucker, NFL star, belting out one hell of an “Ave Maria.”



**Finally today, a little riff on progress. The family and I went to Baltimore last week for Thanksgiving, and last Friday we took our 2-year-old downstairs to the hotel pool.

I swam with him for a bit, we splashed around, he laughed and had a great time. At one point, though, I looked around and noticed something. There were a few African-American kids in the pool, along with a handful of white children.

Several of them were playing together, some made-up game, and it struck me all at once: Fifty years ago, in many places, this scene would’ve been illegal.

Black children in a pool with white children? In Maryland, which is technically the South? Unheard of. Just five decades earlier, a scene like this would caused outrage and alarm.

And yet, such a short period of time later, it was the most normal thing in the world.
No big overarching point here, just a reminder to myself that we complain about how slow racial progress is in so many areas.

But in small ways, we’ve come so far from such a dark, segregationist past.