Tag Archives: Lady Gaga

A Friday night I’ll never forget: Me and Mark Messier hang out for a bit. Kate McKinnon continues to be awesome on “SNL.” And my annual “old fogey watches the Grammys” thoughts

I don’t think I do a lot of complaining about my life here on the blog, but if I ever do, remind of the night of Feb. 8, 2019 and tell me to shut up.

Friday night… man, was it magical.

They say you should never meet your childhood heroes in real life, because they’re bound to disappoint you. I don’t know about that, because a few of my heroes that I’ve been lucky enough to meet (Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Bob Costas) have all turned out to be pretty cool.

But one hero I never, ever expected to meet is one of the greatest hockey players who ever lived. Guy by the name of Messier. First name Mark.

Played for the Edmonton Oilers, won five Stanley Cups, then came to New York and gave the single greatest sports memory I will ever have on June 14, 1994, when he and the Rangers won the Stanley Cup for the first time in 54 years.

And Friday night, the Captain and I spent about 30 glorious minutes together, on an evening that was incredible and memorable before I ever shook his hand.

A little background on how a night I’ll never forget came to be: So my wonderful wife has a work contact whose firm has a suite at Madison Square Garden, and around twice a year we are fortunate enough to spend a night at a Rangers game in the suite, with great food, a private bathroom (that’s huge at a hockey game!) and cool people.

Several months ago my wife told me our two games for this year, and at the time I had no idea that Feb. 8 vs. Carolina was going to be the 25th anniversary celebration of the 1994 Stanley Cup. When I found that out, I went from my normal level of excitement to a 10.

Seeing my favorite sports team of all time all dressed up and being honored was going to be awesome.
Then, I get to the suite about two hours before the game, and like usual I start introducing myself to the other people in the suite. Normally these are just other lawyers or bankers or whatever.

“Hi,” the first guy said. “I’m Paul Messier.”
“Hi,” the second guy said. “I’m Doug Messier.”

Wait, what? Mark Messier’s brother, and father, are sitting in this box with me? My excitement level went up seven or eight notches.

Then I found out that a few Rangers legends would be stopping by our suite during the game, including that “other” Messier guy.
I couldn’t call my wife and my father fast enough (she hadn’t arrived yet) to tell them that I might get to meet one of my all-time idols. This is a man whose name is part of some of my email passwords, a man who stood for everything (courage, tenacity, being clutch, being a good guy off the ice) that I believe in and worship in an athlete.

The pregame ceremony gave me chills. Then the game started. I half paid attention to the game, because I kept watching the door of the suite waiting for No. 11 to come in.

By the end of the second period, even though I’d had lots of fun chatting about hockey with Messier’s brother (and the poor guy, you just know that’s how everyone refers to him), I was getting worried. Maybe Mark wouldn’t show. Maybe he had too many other obligations on this special night.

Then, early in the third, he walked in. And of course for the rest of us in the box, time kind of stood still.

I bided my time. I waited a whole two minutes before walking over to where the great Mark Messier stood. I shook his hand, told him that I’m sure I’m the 48 millionth person to tell him this, but thank you for the 1994 Cup.

And he was great. We took some more pics with my wife and her co-workers, and then for about 10 glorious minutes, I sat one row in front of the greatest captain in hockey history and exchanged a few barbs. I made him laugh with one joke about how bad the current Rangers were playing, and a few minutes later we talked briefly about Sergei Zubov and how it’s a travesty he’s not in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Then way too quickly, the game ended and it was time to leave. We thanked Mess again on our way out, and I walked into the night a few moments later wondering if all that all really happened.

They say you shouldn’t meet your heroes. I met one Friday night. And it was so freaking awesome.

And just because we’re talking about Messier, here’s this, the greatest clutch performance a Rangers player has ever had.

**Next up today, a big story at the end of last week was Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos and his stunningly honest and transparent letter accusing the National Enquirer of trying to extort him to not cover the Enquirer/Trump love-in, by threatening to release penis pics of Bezos.

Yes, this is America in 2019. Thankfully, we have “Saturday Night Live” to sort this all out. And as always, Kate McKinnon is gold.

**Finally today, Sunday night was the Grammys, and as usual this 43-year-old suburban white father of two didn’t know a lot of the musical acts that took the stage, or won awards (actual pre-Grammys conversation in our house: Post Malone, is that a boy, or a girl, or a group? And is there an alternative group called Pre-Malone?”)

But hey, as usual I enjoyed lots of the show, anyway. Some thoughts from my still stuck in the 1980s musically brain:

— The Dolly Parton tribute was fabulous. And I say this every time I hear her sing, but Miley Cyrus has an amazing voice. Truly an all-time great set of pipes. If I could just get past her crazy, I’d probably be a big fan of hers.

— I don’t usually like Lady Gaga’s outfits at all, but that shiny silver dress she wore at the beginning? Fantastic. And the glittery catsuit thingy she had on when singing her awesome song “Shallow?” Pretty fabulous too.

— That opening speaking segment with Michelle Obama, Gaga, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Lopez, and Jada Pinkett-Smith was pretty spectacular as well.

— Alicia Keys rules. She was a killer host, a great singer, and I loved her little montage. But this will still be the best thing she ever did.

— I want whatever anti-aging cream John Mayer uses. Dude still looks like he’s 16!

— Best performance by someone I’d never heard of until the Grammys: H-E-R. Very strong. But I swear I don’t get the appeal of half these artists. I’m old.

 

The best book I’ve read in years finally comes out (and it was dedicated to me!) Lady Gaga and James Corden do a great “Carpool Karoake.” And a 5-year-old soccer fan does something adorable.

gunslingercover

In September of 1993, a scrawny, glasses-wearing, jean-jacket sporting freshman at the University of Delaware (OK it was me) walked up to the student newspaper office, The Review, and said he wanted to write.

I had all of two years of high school newspaper experience, hadn’t taken any of the required college journalism courses you needed to write for the newspaper, and probably annoyed a few of the editors by telling them how great my high school newspaper was (hey, The Commack H.S. Courant won awards!)

The editor-in-chief was a tall skinny dude with a cocky attitude but a heart of gold. His name was Jeff Pearlman, and he wasn’t allowed to write for The Review as a freshman, and it stung him. After quizzing me a bit on sports, he decided he’d give me the chance that he never was.

Twenty-three years later, I’m really glad I walked up the stairs to the office that day. Jeff has become one of my two or three best friends in the whole world. He has been more instrumental in whatever journalism successes I’ve had than anyone else; truly there was a time early in my career where just about every chance I got was because he either talked me up to the person in charge, or passed on an opportunity so I could have it.

As a friend, he’s been more than amazing, which is why he was a groomsman in my wedding three years ago. His kind gestures big and small have never been forgotten, including the time two years ago when he mentioned our newborn son’s name on a nationally-televised sports show, just because I told him my wife thought it’d be cool to hear it. (To be fair, my son DOES share a name with a former NFL receiver, so it wasn’t dropped totally out of nowhere).

He’s also, oh yeah, a fantastic journalist and author, with four New York Times bestsellers to his credit.

Why am I telling you all this? Because as one of the people lucky enough to have edited/proofread all of his books and offer thoughts on them, I feel pretty qualified to say this: His new book, “Gunslinger,” a biography of NFL legend Brett Favre, is by far his best. Jeff talked to nearly 600 people about Favre, who of course played QB for the Green Bay Packers, won a Super Bowl, had a major prescription drug problem, said he was retiring 43 times before he actually did, and was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame last summer.

Also, I nearly cried when Jeff sent me an advance copy a few months ago and I saw this on the first page:

favrebookdedication-2

I can’t tell you how cool I thought it was to have a book dedicated to me (all those other names are obscure New York Jets from the 1980s and ’90s; we’re both hardcore Jets fans).

Anyway, after all he’s done for me, the least I can do for him is promote his books when they come out. I am certain this Favre book will be a bestseller, and well worth your time. (Here’s a very quick taste of what you can expect from the book.) If you are, or know of, a big NFL or Green Bay Packers or just sports fan, please consider buying “Gunslinger.”

**Next up today, seems like James Corden hasn’t done a “Carpool Karaoke” in a while, but this one was worth the wait. I’m no Lady Gaga fan (I don’t dig her music, and I think she spent way too much of her career doing offensive and crazy things just to get attention), but she comes across really well here. Her voice is, unquestionably, fantastic, and Corden’s “costume changes” at about the 12-minute mark through are pretty hilarious.

soccerfan-5yearold

**Finally today, I don’t know if this is a true “Good News Friday” story but it made me smile pretty widely when I heard it. It seems 5-year-old Louis Kayes had to go to a birthday party last weekend, which meant he couldn’t go to the game of his favorite soccer team in Scotland, Celtic FC.

So Louis borrowed his mom’s phone and called the team to tell them he was sorry he couldn’t make it, and could he speak to manager Brendan Rodgers and captain Scott Brown, to apologize for his absence

She told the BBC her son had called after a “bit of a guilt trip”.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Kaye Adams program, she said: “He was in the living room with my phone and then I heard the voicemail message from Celtic Park saying ‘thank you for calling’.”

“He wanted to let both of them know he’d missed it in case they were looking for him,” said Lisa Kayes, Louis’s mother.

Louis told BBC Scotland the birthday party had been “good”, but said he would definitely not be missing Wednesday evening’s Champions League clash with Borussia Monchengladbach.

Come on, Celtic FC, give this kid free tickets for the rest of the season!

Some rude New Yorkers, “Glee” sliding downhill, and a really bad idea mixing the KKK with learning

You ever read a story and not know whether to be more horrified by the action, or the result?

That’s kind of how I felt reading this story in the New York Times Tuesday.  According to a study by the Metropolitan Transit Authority, 51 New Yorkers in 2009 assaulted a bus driver by spitting on them. Fifty-one! That’s once a week, a bus driver, who is simply doing his job and going about his life and trying to earn a paycheck, had to endure the indignity of getting expectorated on.

So that’s pretty shocking, right? Even in New York, there should be manners, right? Well, that’s not even the most shocking part of the story.

After being spat on, the report said, drivers took an average of 64 days off work following the incident; the equivalent of three months of paid leave.

This is unbelievable to me. Of course being spit on is disgusting, rude, and those who do it should be prosecuted. But 64 days off following an incident? That seems like blatant abuse and incredibly irresponsible of the drivers.

Man, first it was the railroad conductors taking advantage of taxpayer money last year, and now the bus drivers. Geez.

**You people know I love “Glee.” Have adored it ever since it first aired and they did that amazing “Don’t Stop Believin'” cover.

But something has happened between the first batch of episodes, and when it returned from its winter hiatus: They’ve forgotten the storytelling. They’ve forgotten a lot of the humor. And they’ve given us way, way, WAY too many musical numbers. Look, I love the musical numbers; Tuesday night the whole KISS thing was great, and I don’t like Lady Gaga but the performances were good.

It feels like the whole episodes have no point except to put on the songs, and Tuesday we didn’t even get Sue Sylvester for a minute.

(By the way, who the heck ever figured Mike O’Malley had such acting chops? That was a phenomenal scene with Finn in the basement.)

I’m still a big fan, and Tuesday’s episode did have some nice moments. I just feel it’s getting closer and closer to ridiculousness and (dare I say it) self-parody.

**Finally, here’s another page from the really, really bad idea book: A teacher in Atlanta, Catherine Ariemma, allowed four students to wear KKK costumes to school to film a school project about racism.

Oh yeah, the county where the school is, Lumpkin, Ga., is 95 percent white.

I’m thinking maybe there was a better way to illustrate that lesson, Mrs. Ariemma. Did they come to school with flaming crosses in their backpacks, too?

“Field of Dreams” is up for sale; I am sad. And the most bizarre cover of Journey you’ll ever see

If you’re a good friend or a relative, you probably know that I’m a little obsessed with the movie “Field of Dreams.”

Not only is it my favorite movie ever, not only do I believe that there are two kinds of people in the world (those that love “Field of Dreams” and those that don’t have a heart), but as a teenager (I was 14 when it came out) I often delighted my father by simply blurting out parts of the movie, verbatim.

I could spend 3,000 words explaining why I love the movie, even after 100 viewings. I could tell you that visiting the actual movie site in Dyersville, Iowa is on my “Bucket List.”

But you don’t want to hear all that today. Instead, I’ll just tell you I was sad to hear that family who owns the farm the movie was filmed on has decided to sell.

Becky and Don Lansing, who actually only own 2/3 of the property the movie was made on (don’t ask me why I know that), have kept the field exactly as it was in the movie, and don’t charge admission at the field.

People of all ages come out there, April-November, and play baseball. With strangers. And they walk out of the corn field and wait for magic to happen.

Sure it’s just a movie site. But to those of us who worship the film, it’s a shrine. So I just hope that whoever buys Becky and Don’s property don’t turn the field into something tacky.

I hope they don’t overcommercialize it, and add on all kinds of crap.

Just leave it alone, I’d ask the new owners. It’s a sacred place.

**So at a benefit to save the rainforests the other night in New York City, there stood on stage one of the oddest collections of musical singing talent you’ll see.

Elton John, Lady Gaga, Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Debbie Harry, and Shirley Bassey all gathered round to sing “Don’t Stop Believin.” It was pretty awesome, especially when the mostly-naked men came on toward the end. Enjoy: