Tag Archives: Key and Peele

A wonderful day spent helping underprivileged kids get much-needed back to school clothes. “Key and Peele” on texting confusion is still hilarious. And the Ohio State fan who, in a coma, still hated Michigan

It has quickly become one of the highlights of my summer, every summer.

There is so much we take for granted in our lives, especially those of us fortunate to never have had to worry about having new clothes for school, or new notebooks, or even toothbrushes. But of course millions of American kids don’t have those things, don’t have the kinds of basic items that can mean so much in terms of self-esteem, educational opportunities, and simply being able to succeed.

For the fifth year in a row on Long Island, Sunday was Back 2 School Store day in Woodmere, the small community where my wonderful in-laws live. This event, sponsored by the National Council of Jewish Women (an organization my late, beloved grandmother volunteered for), has a simple purpose:To provide free clothes, school supplies, books and other merchandise to underprivileged children in the Nassau County, N.Y. area.

Thanks to grants and donations, more than 500 kids each year (mostly aged 5-13) get to go on a shopping spree (this year held inside a middle school gymnasium) where they pick out new pants, shirts, sneakers, winter coats, backpacks full of school supplies, and so many other goodies that they otherwise might never see.

I volunteer for this wonderful event every year, and Sunday brought so many smiles. This year I got to do a variety of jobs, including shoe fitter (I channeled my inner Al Bundy on that one), pajamas assistant (I learned pretty quickly to size up what size each child needed, and I also gained a new appreciation for retail salesmen and women who have to re-arrange all the clothes once the customers leave them all over the place) and most excitingly to me, personal shopper.

The personal shopper gets matched up with one child and then spends the next 20 minutes walking them around and letting them pick one type of every item. Seeing one of the little girls I helped’s face when she found the perfect pink coat, and then pants to match, was so rewarding.

The best story I heard Sunday came not from me, but from a friend of my mother-in-law. The woman was told by this pre-teen boy’s parents at the start that shopping for him “will take hours,” because he suffers from ADD, has trouble making decisions, is never happy with anything, etc.

Twenty minutes later, the personal shopper emerged from the gym with this boy smiling ear to ear. He had loved making decisions on everything he wanted, was incredibly appreciative, saying “thank you” every time he put an item into his bag, and had the time of his life.

His beaming parents told the personal shopper, “He came out of that room a different kid from the one who walked in.”

That’s the kind of small difference just one program, on one day of the year, can make.

The NCJW holds Back 2 School Store events in many cities across the country; for more info, check out www.ncjw.org

**Next up today, I’m sure most of you have had this experience: You’re texting with someone you know, they write something you think means one thing, but thanks to their being no way to tell “tone” with texting, you take it to mean something completely different. I had that experience with a friend last week, and then coincidentally saw this clip in an online column I read. It’s from the often-hilarious “Key and Peele” show, and it’s fantastic. Enjoy…

**Finally today, this from the intersection of medical miracles and sports passion. A huge Ohio State fan, from Dublin, Ohio named Zach Lawrence was in a serious car accident in April, and was in a coma for quite some time. His doctors at the  Dodd Hall Rehabilitation Center at Ohio State University gave him a series of tests to try to gauge his responsiveness and alertness, even while in the coma.

He was unresponsive to many questions where he was asked to push one button for yes, and another for no.

Finally, “Do you like Michigan?” was asked.

Lawrence immediately pushed the “no” button. And then — just to make sure everyone had heard him the first time — he pushed it again.

Man, that’s some rivalry. Even in a coma the dude manages to convey hatred for all things maize and blue. Best news of all, is that he’s recovering slowly but surely.

If UM football coach Jim Harbaugh reads about Lawrence, I’m thinking he should send a whole treasure trove of Wolverines gear to the rehab center. Can you imagine how many times he’d press the “no” button then?

 

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President Obama and Anderson Cooper with 2 powerful, human responses to Orlando tragedy. And Jimmy Kimmel’s NBA “Generation Gap” cracks me up

There was a fantastic running sketch on the great “Key and Peele” show on Comedy Central about Luther, Barack Obama’s “anger translator.”If you don’t remember it, Luther served as a stand-in for Obama’s rage, poking fun at the fact that Obama is so even-keeled all the time, and that he never lets himself get angry. Luther, therefore, was there to say what Obama couldn’t.

It was a hilarious sketch. But it’s not really needed anymore, sadly, because President Obama has just about reached his tipping point. And he’s really freaking pissed. Maybe what put him over the top was the vulgar, talking yam Tweeting just after the worst mass killing in U.S. history, bragging about how he was right to propose banning all Muslims, and calling for Obama to resign.

(Quick aside: Isn’t it interesting how Republicans always blame Democrats for “politicizing” a tragedy by calling for stricter gun laws after a mass killing, yet after Sunday’s tragedy their Presidential nominee immediately made it a political issue, and no one on the right seems bothered by that? F’ing infuriating.)

Whatever it was, Tuesday afternoon our President gave a stinging rebuke of hatred and intolerance. I encourage you to watch his whole speech embedded above, but if you only have time for a part of it, watch the five-minute clip I’ve embedded above.

It’s powerful, it’s important, and it’s the voice of one man saying “Enough!” Stop!” You are killing people with your insane, racist rhetoric. You think you’re being entertaining and firing up a mob, but you’re actually dangerous, incompetent, and causing more hatred toward America.

Enough. E-fucking-nough.

**Next, someone who actually took the time to memorialize and think about the victims of this tragedy, instead of shamelessly using death to promote an agenda. Anderson Cooper spent seven minutes at the start of his show Monday night, reading the names of the 49 people killed in the Orlando massacre, and giving a few small details where he could about each of their lives.

I found this incredibly compelling; the few details like “he always had a smile on his face,” about one guy, and “she always was such a hard worker” about another give you just a tiny insight, but really go a long way.

Cooper, who is openly gay, chokes up several times reading this. But it’s incredibly important that he did it, and I urge you to watch if you can, emotionally.

These were people, not political pawns.

**Finally today, wanted to end on a lighter note, after all this sadness. The NBA Finals are still going on, which means ESPN/ABC are doing all kinds of cross-promotion, which gave us this hilarious Jimmy Kimmel “Generation Gap” sketch last week, wherein 1970s NBA legend (and insanely bad dresser) Walt “Clyde” Frazier went head-to-head in a trivia game with current NBA star Anthony Davis.

It gets better as it goes along; poor Walt, he just couldn’t keep up. The “Welcome Back, Kotter” question did crack me up…

The President again brings the funny at Correspondents Dinner. A very cool NASA video. And some thoughts on a crazy-fun weekend of playoff hockey

I say it every year, and I’ll keep saying it: The White House Correspondents Dinner is ridiculous. Journalists who cover high-ranking politicians in the U.S. government, going to an event where they kiss up to, schmooze and drink with the people they cover violates so many ethical rules of journalism, I can’t even count that high.

It’s obscene, journalistically, that so many papers and websites and TV stations attend this every year. And Saturday night, while the city of Baltimore was erupting in protest over yet another suspicious death of a black man while in police custory (RIP, Freddie Gray), every single major cable news channel showed the WHCD, and not real, actual news breaking in a major American city. Disgraceful.

It’s also a little bit blood-boiling for me that Barack Obama always honors and toasts journalists at this thing, yet his administration has done more to stifle press freedom, between prosecuting journalists who protect secret sources, to being not nearly as transparent as he promised, than most other Presidents have.

However, it’s also true that it’s the one time of year where Barack Obama gets to show off his comedy chops. And the man has serious comedy chops. (Check out this clip with the awesome Keegan-Michael Key, playing his “anger translator.“)

His speech this  year was as good as ever, highlighted by one-liners such as:

— Those Grey Hairs: “I look so old John Boehner’s already invited Netanyahu to speak at my funeral.”

— Hillary Clinton: The economy’s gotten so bad for some people, Obama said, “I had a friend, just a few weeks ago, she was making millions of dollars a year, and now she’s living out of a van in Iowa.”

— Joe Biden: Talking about how close he and Vice President Biden have gotten, especially in stressful times, Obama joked that he loves Biden’s back massages. “Those Joe Biden shoulder massages are like magic. You should try one.” [Pause.] “Oh, you have?”

He added, “We’ve gotten so close, in some places in Indiana, they won’t serve us pizza anymore.”

Good stuff.

**Next up today, this is incredibly cool: NASA released a video last year (that I just saw this wekeend, thanks to a friend’s Facebook page) showing what the eruption of the Sarychev volcano looked like when it happened in 2009 (The Sarychev volcano is a Russian archipelago located in the Kuril Islands, out in the Pacific Ocean).

Mesmerizing, isn’t it?

isles-caps

**God bless the Stanley Cup playoffs. Man, I love them. Of course I’m happy this day because my New York Rangers finished off Pittsburgh Friday night, and for the first time in forever, actually have a few days off.

But there was sensational hockey all over the place the last few days, in great contrast to the for some reason more popular NBA, where blowout after blowout reigned in the first round. (Seriously, there’s one competitive series among the 8 first-rounders. ONE!)

A few scattered Stanley Cup playoffs thoughts from the last few days:

— The Islanders and Capitals play Game 7 tonight, and it should be a beaut. If Saturday was the last game at the old dump, aka, Nassau Coliseum, it went with a loud bang, literally. As a Rangers fan, I’m stuck in a very uncomfortable position: Rooting for the Islanders.
I desperately want to see a Rangers-Islanders series, first one in 21 years, but I’m also scared to death that the Isles might win that series. So I should be rooting for the Caps tonight, but that would be no fun. Go Isles (ducking to avoid lightning bolt).

— Move over, San Jose Sharks. The St. Louis Blues have eclipsed you as the biggest chokers in hockey. Man oh man, what a miserable performance, losing in the first round again, on Sunday to Minnesota. How many years have the Blues been favorites, and lost?

— The Chicago Blackhawks, if they get any kind of decent goaltending at all, will win the Cup.

— So great to see Canadian teams like Calgary doing well; they are such a fun team to watch.

— Finally, Ryan Miller almost won a gold medal for the U.S. in 2010. Now in 2015, he gives up a 3-0 lead for Vancouver and 5 goals, total, in an elimination game. Boy has that guy fallen fast.