Tag Archives: LeBron James

An Ohio bill allows students to give scientifically wrong answers if they say it’s because of their religious beliefs. A reminder that LeBron James is still awesome. And thoughts on tonight’s Democratic debate, where once again way too many people will be on stage

OK, I told you the other day I was all fired up and hot and bothered by two stories I read last weekend; one was the ridiculous N.J. lawsuit involving a kid getting injured from a baseball slide and the parents suing the coach, that I wrote about Monday.

Now, let me rant for a few hundred words about an equally-ridiculous story, and this one actually did make it into law.

In the Ohio House of Representatives, which sadly has made it into this column a few times over the years for batshit-crazy legislation, a new law was passed last week.

It’s called the “Student Religious Liberties Act,” and it states that under the law, students can’t be penalized if their work is scientifically wrong as long as the reasoning is because of their religious beliefs.

Let me say that again: Ohio students CANNOT be penalized if their work is wrong, as long as their reason for giving the wrong answer is because of their religion.

HB 164 is real, folks. I’m not making this up. So as an ACLU director in Ohio, Gary Daniels, said in this story: “On the other hand, Daniels said that if a student submitted biology homework saying the earth is 10,000 years old, as some creationists believe, the teacher cannot dock points.

“Under HB 164, the answer is ‘no,’ as this legislation clearly states the instructor ‘shall not penalize or reward a student based on the religious content of a student’s work,” he said.”

This is insane. Absolutely, positively insane. There is science, pure, unadulterated, proven science, that children learn in schools every day of every school year.

The idea that creationism has crept back into schools in the past few decades is scary enough. But now the idea that students will be able to use religious doctrine to OVERRIDE science on exams is ridiculous and frightening.

Now, the sponsor of the bill, an Ohio Republican named Timothy Ginter, says that’s not how it will work, that a student who doesn’t accept science on evolution would get a lower grade in a biology class about the subject, and that the students have to give answers on exams that’s consistent with what’s taught.

Ginter says this “religious beliefs” part of the law only applies to kids doing book reports or term papers on religious figures like Moses.

Uh-huh. I’m not buying it. Not. At. All. This is one more attempt from the “Fake News” part of our country, the part of our country that wants to have its own opinions and also it’s own facts, to call into question accepted and irrefutable truths, because they don’t square with the Bible or another religious teaching.

Good God almighty, this is ridiculous and asinine.

Teacher: “Tommy you got 5 answers wrong on this science test.”
Tommy: “But I got 3 questions wrong because of my religious beliefs!”
Teacher: “Oh OK then, my bad, you only got 2 wrong. Good job.”

 

**Next up today, LeBron James is in his 17th NBA season and still doing things like this, he’s off to another amazing start and I once again get to laugh and people before the season who were saying he’s too old to be as effective as he used to be.

Watch that dunk I posted above, and tell me that. He’s the greatest basketball player of all time, folks. And he’s not stopping anytime soon.

**Finally today, there’s another group of Democratic Presidential candidates gathered on a stage tonight, with each one getting to speak for 35 seconds or so with no opportunity to really challenge each other.

Or, you know, as they call it, a debate. I don’t want to beat a dead horse by railing about the ridiculousness of having 10 people on stage at one time being antithetical to an actual, you know, DEBATE, so I won’t beat that dead horse.

Instead, since I’ll be watching (9 p.m. on MSNBC), a few things I’m looking for out of tonight’s debate:

— So help me God if they again spend the first 35 minutes arguing about the minutiae of health care, Medicare for All, and why this person’s lying about their plan. There are SO many issues that don’t get talked about in these debates (environmental issues, the rise in hate crimes and hate speech in the U.S., poverty, nuclear issues worldwide, just to name a few) that it kills me to see them ignored for yet another drone-a-thon about health care.

— So it’ll be interesting if Pete Buttigieg, fresh off a new poll showing him with a big lead in Iowa, becomes a target of others’ attacks for the first time. Last debate it was Elizabeth Warren who suddenly got the slings and arrows, and she handled them, only OK. Is 37-year-old boy wonder Mayor Pete prepared to deal with his new status as a serious threat?

— Can my two favorite candidates, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, do anything to finally break the 5 percent polling ceiling they’re both at? I knew going into this campaign that Booker was a longshot, but I really and truly believed Harris had a legit great chance to win. It hasn’t happened for her, and I’m very puzzled as to why.

— Will impeachment be discussed in a meaningful way? Now that the hearings have been underway for a week and we’ve seen in plain sight just how many impeachable offenses the Man-Baby-in-Chief has committed, will the candidates talk specifically about the case?

— Finally, will someone remember to get Bernie Sanders some water on stage? Guy has sounded hoarse and ill in every debate so far. Can a brother get a lozenge?

The best “stupid criminal” surveillance video you’ll ever see. LeBron leaves Cleveland again, this time for L.A. And I’m bummed. And the funniest parent Tweets from those who’ve been there

It’s Monday, it’s 1,000 degrees here in New York, and nobody is thrilled to be at work, or wherever you’re reading this (I’m thrilled today because Wimbledon is starting, but I realize not all of you share my enthusiasm. Roger’s quest for Slam 21 is on!).

My point is, I think we all need to see this video (below). It’s of a couple of not-so-bright criminals, in Alberta, Canada, last week, who originally were just in trouble for trying to use a stolen credit card.

But watch what happens when the man and his girlfriend first get accosted by police, and please, if you’ve ever taken my advice on anything, watch at least until the 2:01 mark, where your humble blogger burst out laughing the first 12 or 13 times I watched this.

Ah, stupid criminals. They make me smile so often.

**Next up today, my wife saw this on Facebook the other day and it was so damn funny I had to share it with most parents I know.

It’s a collection of 37 hysterical parenting Tweets, from the website SlapLaughter.com, that anyone raising kids can relate to.

There are so many brilliant ones, and I highly encourage  you to read them all here, but I’ve pasted three of my favorites below. First up…

Then I also loved this one…

But as good as those were, this one was my absolute favorite and made me laugh the hardest, because I 100 percent believe this to be true:

**Finally today, LeBron James is the greatest basketball player of all time.
LeBron James, this fall, will be playing for the fourth different team in his NBA career.

Something about those two sentences just doesn’t feel right. I know players have the right to play wherever they want, and free agency is a beautiful thing since athletes shouldn’t be forced to compete in a city or franchise they don’t want to, but I mean, really, LeBron?

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Sunday evening it was announced that LeBron had spurned Cleveland for the second time, and was signing with the Los Angeles Lakers.

After all the talk in 2014 about how “Northeast Ohio will always be home,” from LeBron, and how much he talked and talked and talked the last four years about his love for Cleveland, and his family is happy there, and he doesn’t ever want to leave again… he decided to leave again.

I dunno, just seems… weird.
My good friend Tony, though, as big a LeBron lover as I am, saw it different. He told me Sunday night in a text that, look, he’s got a terrible owner in Cleveland, a screwed-up front office, not much talent around him, and he’s tired of carrying the load for them. He goes to L.A., lives the Hollywood life, has some good  young talent on his team like Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, and maybe they get another superstar to come play with him.

In other words, Tony says, you can’t blame LeBron. Guy won a title for the Cavs, and dragged a terrible roster all the way to the NBA Finals last year.

Maybe Tony’s right. But you know, the Western Conference is WAY harder than the East. Golden State and Houston are still damn good, and there are good young teams like Utah and Minnesota coming. And there’s no guarantee the Lakers will be better than Cleveland was this year.

So, I guess we’ll see. As a big LeBron fan, though, I was disappointed to see him move along, inevitable as some thought it would be.

I’ll still root for him, but playing on four teams in one career, for the greatest player ever will always seem odd to me.

 

1,500 children have been “lost” in the immigration system, and the nation should be outraged. A flying (real) Spiderman saves a dangling toddler in France; and LeBron James is once again amazing.

Happy Memorial Day, and a thank you to all of those who fought and died for the freedoms so many of us enjoy and take for granted.

It is so easy to get lost in the swarm of horrible news that emanates from Washington, D.C. these days, and have so much of it just blow past you.

We can’t keep up. It’s impossible to keep up. And when there’s too much to keep track of, the public can’t keep track of any of it.

But there are stories that deserve to be shouted from the rooftops, atrocities and horrors so un-American, so patently cruel… this is one of those stories.

The current administration, led by a man who is patently unfit to hold the office of dog catcher, has of course stepped up efforts at the border to detain, interrogate, and most cruelly of all, separate parents from their children.

These children, who did absolutely nothing wrong, who are too young in many cases to even know what their parents are doing, are being taken away (ripped away, according to reports) and sent somewhere else and held for as long as the government wants. Many of these people are seeking asylum, fleeing torture or drug gangs.

Babies? Oh, babies are taken away from their mothers, too. And they’re often put in a bus like the one I pictured above, which ought to break the heart of every parent reading this. That’s a bus owned by a company that runs the Karnes Detention Facility in Karnes City, Texas, and it’s a special bus designed just for babies on their way to detention centers. (The bus has been in use for several years, it’s not new and it can’t be blamed on Trump. But the fact that it exists, in America, and is being used…)

That’s right. A prison bus for babies.

So all of that is going on, and it’s all awful and atrocious and not who we are as a people. (I don’t care how you feel about illegal immigration, can we maybe not all agree that a PRISON BUS FOR BABIES means dealing with this issue requires some re-thinking?)

But then it somehow gets worse, when you read this:

“The government program meant to place unaccompanied children taken from the U.S.-Mexico border into the care of a parent or sponsor admitted last month it lost nearly 1,500 of them.

And it said it isn’t responsible for finding them either.

Senate testimony that was released last month but came to light more recently details how the Office of Refugee Resettlement — part of the Dept. of Health and Human Services “was unable to determine with certainty the whereabouts of 1,475 [children].” That was according to Steve Wagner, acting assistant secretary with the Administration for Children and Families.

The ORR was tasked between October and December 2017 with checking on the welfare of the more than 7,000 children supposedly placed into the homes of a sponsor or guardian. Along with the nearly 1,500 missing children, an additional 28 ran away and 52 were living with someone other than their initial sponsor, according to the testimony.”

I mean, COME ON. The federal government has no idea where 1,500 children are. Children who were ripped away from their parents, in a strange country, and know no one. And they’re lost. And no one knows where they are.

Watch this shocking Chris Hayes piece from MSNBC for more details.

I cannot fathom how people at the Dept. of Immigration sleep at night, knowing they have “lost” children and have no idea where they are.

**Next up today, speaking of unbelievable things, this is pretty amazing in a Spider-Man kind of way. A 22-year-old man named Mamoudou Gassama was in Paris and saw a 4-year-old dangling and stuck on the balcony of a building, and within 30 seconds scaled four flights to rescue her.

The child had apparently wandered onto the balcony and was unattended and got herself stuck. Oh and by the way? Gassama is from Mali. So he’s an immigrant in France.

What an incredible physical and heroic feat.

**Finally today, I ran out of superlatives to write about LeBron James about eight years ago, but damn if he doesn’t keep forcing me to write about him.

Sunday night, in a game 7 against Boston, LeBron led a team whose second best player was Jeff Green (Jeff Green! Who stinks) on the road, to an improbable victory and into his eighth straight NBA Finals.

Young Mr. James, at age 33 and playing in his 100th game of his 15th NBA season, only scored 35 points, with 15 rebounds and nine assists to lead the Cavaliers Sunday night.

He is just sensational, and every year he is widening the gap between himself and Michael Jordan as the Greatest Player of All Time. Honestly, the people still clinging to the idea of MJ as the GOAT are just living in the past, and unable to see that James is a better rebounder, passer and leader, and has done it with much less help (the 2 titles in Miami excepted.)

This Cavs team has no business being in the Finals. None. The Celtics, even without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, were the better team.

And yet, because LeBron James plays for Cleveland, it’s still playing. What a time to be alive, to witness his greatness.

Yet another absolutely disgusting example of racial profiling, this time against Native Americans on a college campus. “SNL” cold open this week was star-studded and stellar. And LeBron James, just doing what he does, amazingly.

It just seems to be getting worse and worse.
The hatred, the polarization of politics, that’s always been there. People who think it’s terrible today are right, but don’t forget two huge figures from the 1800s had a duel because they were so mad at each other (Hey, that reminds me, that Alexander Hamilton guy had a pretty interesting life. Someone should do a play or a musical or something about him.)

No what I’m talking about today is the fear, the complete, abject fear, and instant judgement so many people seem to have about those who don’t look like them. Look, of course I’d be insane to argue racism is worse now than it ever was, of course it’s not. Things have been way, way worse in the past for non-whites, and I get that.

But it just seems like every week, every freaking week, we see stories like this, and I feel like it’s so important to constantly remind yourself, this is not OK.

What got me off on this rant? This story from the campus of Colorado State University, where last week two Native American men on a tour of the school were pulled off the tour by campus police when a “nervous” mom called to say they unsettled her.

From this Denver Post story: ” Police questioned the men and allowed them to rejoin the tour, but by the time they were released, the group had moved on without them. The men then returned to CSU’s Ammons Hall before leaving campus and going home to New Mexico.

The incident on Monday has prompted a review by the university. CSU officials say campus police responded appropriately to the concerns of the parent, but they also reached out to the two men who only wanted to visit the campus to see if they wanted to enroll at CSU.”

Let’s just get this clear: These men did NOTHING wrong. They weren’t aggressive or loud or obnoxious or threaten this woman in any way. But they were on a tour of the university with her, they didn’t look like her, and so she called the police.

Happens over, and over again. Just despicable. At least Colorado State is trying to make it right, a little bit, by these two men: The school has invited the two men back to campus for a tour, and will pay for their travel from New Mexico to Colorado. This updated AP story has more details, with the woman who called the police unsettled because the teens joined the tour late and weren’t talking much.

Thomas Kanewakeron Gray, 19, and Lloyd Skanahwati Gray, 17, were simply profiled because in this country today, it’s quite OK and perfectly understandable to treat people who are not white like this, in the eyes of so many.

“I think it’s pretty discriminatory,” Thomas Kanewakeron Gray said Thursday. “Me and my brother just stayed to ourselves the whole time. I guess that was scaring people; that we were just quiet.”

Can’t ever “normalize” this stuff.

**Next up today, “Saturday Night Live” had an embarrassment of riches when it came to guest stars this past weekend. To be fair, there’s so much that happens in Trump-land every week, you need a ton of talented people to convey it all.
But check out this lineup: ScarJo, Ben Stiller, Martin Short, Alec Baldwin and Jimmy Fallon all in this fantastic opening to the show. And Kate McKinnon as Rudy Giuliani is just sensational.

**Sometimes it feels superfluous to praise LeBron James yet again. It’s like praising the sun for coming up every day, or giving props to the driver who stops at the traffic light. It’s like, of COURSE LeBron James is awesome, do we really need to say it again?

But yeah, we do. Because what he’s doing so far in these NBA playoffs… I mean, it’s just ridiculous. Playing with probably his weakest supporting cast since, what, 2007 maybe, the kid from Akron has Cleveland one win away from the Eastern Conference finals. He hit the game-winning shot over the Raptors (who everyone thought was the East’s best team) Saturday night and not even for a second did I think the shot would miss. Who cares that it was off-balance, with his right hand, falling away? I was 100 percent sure it was going on.

Couple more things I was thinking about Saturday night, as I texted my boy Tony Jones about our mutual man-crush, Mr. James…

— He came into the league in 2003, and has been playing heavy minutes ever since. It’s now 2018. 2018! Dude has been playing this well for 15 years!

— He has played every second of every game under the biggest microscope possible, and with the exception of that massive ego trip he took that started with “The Decision” in 2011 and lasted a year, he’s comported himself so well on and off the court.

They say we don’t appreciate greatness while it’s right in front of us, that only after it’s gone

In defense of Facebook, which brings me more joy than sorrow. A gorgeous time-lapse video of falls you’ve never seen. And could LeBron lose in the first round? And other NBA and NHL playoff thoughts

So this is something that’s been percolating in my brain for a week. Ginia Bellafante is a columnist for the Metro Section of the New York Times, and I find her to be usually thought-provoking. She has a strong bias against Mayor Bill de Blasio (it’s a very strong bias that comes through in everything she writes about NYC), but generally she’s fair, informative, and a talented writer.

But she wrote something in last Sunday’s paper that really bothered me, and that I disagreed with strongly.

It’s about Facebook, and not anything about the recent controversy involving data theft, and political hacking and news-feed manipulation, that led Mark Zuckerberg to testify before Congress last week.

No, Bellafante’s column point was this: Facebook brings people down, or makes them green with envy, or fills them with depressing news about people. Here’s one passage from the column:

But apart from envy, Facebook, in my experience, primarily energizes profound feelings of dread, perhaps especially for those in middle age, because it serves to remind us over and over how many ways life can go horribly and dramatically wrong. Just this week, someone I do not know posted that she had just lost her best friend. I continued reading to discover that her friend, who lived in Grosse Pointe, Mich., was killed in a car accident in Colorado along with her husband and two children. The accident appeared to involve black ice (the terrifying subject the writer John Seabrook had recently published an article about in The New Yorker).

She goes on to talk about research studies that show Facebook makes us envious of our friends, and that it’s a net negative for our lives, brings us down, etc.

I could not disagree more. Of course there are negative updates from people on Facebook; this colleague had cancer surgery, that one just broke up with her boyfriend, this one got laid off from work.

But in my experience, there is so, so much more good. I log on and am often deluged with happy news: An engagement, or a job promotion, or someone sharing something hysterically funny.

Facebook updates from friends more often than not uplift me; it gives me a smile to see someone’s 3-year-old going trick-or-treating for the first time; it makes me feel good to see people I know and love having good things happen to them. (My favorite Facebook thing these days is my awesome friend Diana’s weekly post on Friday morning, simply asking her friends “What made you happy this week?” I don’t know 95 percent of the respondents, but I still get a small joy out of their joys.)

Maybe Ginia Bellefante and her friends are just Debbie Downers, I don’t know. But the idea that Facebook just makes us envious and sad about our mortality? Absolutely not. I probably spend a little too much time on the site, and I know it’s far from perfect.

But every day, there’s something uplifting from one of my friends or colleagues that gives me a smile. And there’s real value in that, always.

**Next up today, just a small piece of beauty to get you smiling on a Monday. From Dustin Dilworth of D3 Imagery, a beautiful time-lapse video of Tahquamenon Falls, Mich., a place I’ve never been but now surely somewhere I want to go.

Nature, man. It’s wild.

**And finally today, I’ve yet to weigh on the NBA and Stanley Cup playoffs, and there’s just been so much surprising and great stuff going on that I’ve got to get at least some of it out of my brain and into yours.

Let’s start with the hockey, because of course that’s where my passion lies.

— The Washington Capitals, man oh man, I thought it was rough being a New York Jets fan. But the Caps just destroy their fans every year. They lose the first two at home, then come back and win two at Columbus (hey John Tortorella, glad to see you’ve mellowed. Not.) and then grab an overtime victory in Game 5. Now they’re a win away from playing the Pittsburgh Penguins, who will, as they always do, beat the Caps and make their fans wonder why they even bothered.

Ah, to be a Caps fan.

— Can Toront0 and Boston play in the Stanley Cup playoffs every year, please? That series has been phenomenally entertaining to watch. I hope the Leafs win tonight and it goes 7. Because I always root for Game 7’s.

— A Twitter feed I enjoy tabulates the number of days it’s been since the Philadelphia Flyers last won the Stanley Cup. Sunday’s total: 15,670 days. As a Rangers fan that makes me happy.

— We are one round away from my dream Western Conference final: Nashville vs. Las Vegas. What a phenomenal series that would be, of course, on the ice, but the idea of those two cities playing hockey for a spot in the Cup Finals, where guys like Rocket Richard and Ken Dryden and Bobby Orr played fills me with glee. Nashville has become an amazing hockey town (they call it “Smashville”) and Vegas has totally embraced its new Golden Knights franchise, but still, it’s hilarious to think of Nashville vs. Las Vegas in hockey, right? Can we get Garth Brooks and Wayne Newton to drop the puck for Game 1?

— On to the NBA, where I have no idea what’s going to happen. LeBron James is carrying the Cleveland Cavaliers, and even though he’s the greatest player of all time, his team might still lose in the first round. Even after gutting out a Game 4 win Sunday night, Cleveland is just tied 2-2 with the Pacers. Man this Cavaliers team is underachieving, or maybe just not that great.

If James gets THIS team to the Finals? Would be his greatest feat yet.

— Toronto is supposed to be the best team in the East and they’re tied 2-2 with the Wizards. Oklahoma City has Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony (three superstars) and is down 2-1 to Utah. New Orleans, who no one expected to win against Portland, just swept the Blazers in four straight. The Houston Rockets, who were the best team in the West all year, are struggling too.

Tell me again why people bet on sports?

Good News Friday: Four major NBA stars vow to speak out against racial violence. A groom’s awesome reaction to his bride walking down the aisle. And the best show on TV FINALLY gets Emmy nominations galore.

It really feels like every day right now, a major tragedy is happening somewhere. If it’s not the police shooting African-Americans for no reason, or a crazed man killing five police officers, or a truck plowing into a crowd in Nice, France on Thursday and killing 77 people, it’s something else.

I can’t remember a year where this many bad things happened (Plus, you know, Donald Trump’s rise).

It’s so easy to get depressed and throw in the towel and say “F it” to the world. But hopefully enough people still see how much good there is out there, and maybe, just maybe, some good can come out of some of these tragedies.

Which leads me to my first Good News Friday stories. For a long time people like me have been waiting for a new generation of superstar athletes to use their enormous platform to try to enact social change (or at least awareness). A few athletes have; LeBron James and Serena Williams among them. But Wednesday night at the usually-meaningless ESPY awards on ESPN, LeBron, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony opened the show with a powerful pledge to become more involved, and to lead the fight against racial injustice.

Will they follow through after these powerful words? I don’t know. But it’s a start, and these four men have enormous followings, and maybe, just maybe, this will be a tipping point for athletes realizing they have the power to do so much good.

**Next up, this video was sent to me by my father a while back but it got lost in the morass that is my inbox, so I finally watched it this week.

And it’s fabulous. It’s a short video of a wedding of Gabriel and Annabelle Deku, and specifically, it shows the incredible emotion Gabriel is overcome with as he watches his beloved walk down the aisle.

The tears flow as he is overcome by the moment; overcome by joy. It’s a beautiful reminder of love.

(And of course after watching that, I had to go back and watch this, still the best wedding entrance video ever.

**And finally today, the Emmy nominations came out Thursday, and for once, I was not angry. Finally, finally, FINALLY, the best show on television, “The Americans” got a bunch of nominations. After being inexplicably shut out for the first three seasons, “The Americans” got a best drama series nod, as well as acting nominations for Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell. I was over the moon excited to see a wonderful show finally get rewarded: I know “Game of Thrones” will win best drama but hey, it’s a start.

Also loved that “Fargo,” “Masters of None,” and “American Crime Story: O.J. Simpson” got a bunch of nominations, and “Better Call Saul”‘s amazing Jonathan Banks was tapped as well.

Great, great job by the Emmy voters this year. To leave on a high note, I give you this wonderful commercial up for an Emmy, from the Ad Council, called “Love has No Labels.”

Love is love. Have a great weekend.

 

Google thanks the 86-year-old woman who always says please and thank you. A few more thoughts on the incredible LeBron James story. And Stephen Colbert eviscerates Trump

Google.grandma

Couple of quick “one-off” thoughts before we get to the three stories on today’s post:

Finally got a chance to watch “All The Way,” the Bryan Cranston as LBJ HBO movie from last month. Man oh man, Cranston is one hell of an actor. I thought the movie was wildly entertaining, with fantastic performances by Bradley Whitford as Hubert Humphrey, Stephen Root as J. Edgar Hoover, and Frank Langella as legendary Senator Richard Russell of Georgia. But Cranston right now is like Federer from 2003-07: Just on another level. His LBJ’s mixture of rage, sarcasm, amusement and paranoia was pitch-perfect. Incredible portrayal of a deeply complicated man. I hope he gets an Emmy.

— Lionel Messi is the best soccer player in the world. Tuesday night he played in America, and his Argentine team kicked the crap out of the U.S. This goal was kinda awesome.

So this is the kind of small story that makes me think not all huge companies are evil. And that even on the Internet, there are people with manners.

An 86-year-old English woman named May Ashworth uses Google like the rest of us. Unlike the rest of us, though, when she typed in queries she thought she was talking to an actual person at Google HQ, who would help her with her questions.

So every time she performed a search, May would say “please” and “thank you” before and after. For example, one time May asked “please translate these Roman Numerals MCMXVCIII thank you.”

Her grandson discovered that she did this, and Tweeted out a photo of one of her requests. Google UK got wind of it and Tweeted the following:

“Dearest Ben’s Nan.
Hope you’re well.
In a world of billions of Searches, yours made us smile.
Oh, and it’s 1998.
Thank YOU@Push10Ben

Such a small thing, a little courtesy like that. But in a world of rude and impolite people, this story made me smile. Good job, Google.

**Next up today, you know, if he wasn’t such a sexist, racist, xenophobic, arrogant pig, I might almost be starting to feel sorry for Donald Trump.

The “vulgar, talking yam” as Charlie Pierce calls him, is having one hell of a bad month. His campaign is apparently broke, with less than $2 million cash on hand, he just fired his campaign manager, none of the rich Republican billionaires want to give him money nor have anything to do with him, and he’s alienating people at a faster rate than I thought possible.

But again, whereas 99 percent of people might engender some sympathy here, this a-hole gets none.

Stephen Colbert, whose late-night show, I must admit, has been kinda underwhelming so far, did a magnificent, blistering piece on Trump a few nights back. It was, I might say, rather “Daily Show-esque” when Jon Stewart was running things.

Stay till the end, the best part is in the final minute. Bravo, Stephen.

LeBronCover.SI

**Finally today, a few more thoughts about LeBron James and the incredible comeback he and the Cleveland Cavaliers made to win the NBA title Sunday. I thought about this briefly Sunday night but my thoughts were so jumbled after that fabulous game I didn’t get a chance to write about it then.

This story, this “LeBron wins one for Cleveland” story, is really unlike anything we’ve ever seen in sports. Consider: Phenom is born and raised in Northeast Ohio, with huge expectations placed on him at age 16. His hometown team, which was down in the dumps, gets the No.1 pick in the NBA Draft Lottery the year LeBron graduates high school (2003).

He represents the hopes and dreams of an entire region’s fan base. He leads them close but not quite to the elusive title. Then after seven years, he goes on national TV and humiliates those fans and that team. Snubs them so publicly, and announces he’s going to play somewhere else, so he can win a championship.

The fans burn his jersey; they curse his name, they hate him with every fiber of their being. The phenom wins two titles in Miami, and he’s still hated in Cleveland. Those were supposed to be OUR championships, is the cry.

Then, after four years away, the prodigal son comes home. This NEVER happens in sports; you never see a star go back to where he’s from after such a brutal and hostile breakup.

But LeBron came home. And he promised he’d win a championship for a city that hadn’t seen one in 52 years. And then, with his team down 3-1 in the Finals this year, he orchestrates the biggest NBA Finals comeback ever. And wins. And is a much bigger hero than he’s ever been to the people of his hometown.

I mean, could you sell that script to Hollywood? Could you imagine that actually happening? They’d laugh you out of the room.

Just a sensational sports story. One we’ve never seen, and probably never will again. Lee Jenkins’ cover story on LeBron in this week’s SI is a must-read.

LeBron James brings Cleveland a most improbable title. An awesome old movie dance scene remix. And a cute puppy commercial that leaves me perplexed

LeBron.tears

Yeah, I got nothing.

I’m supposed to write coherently about maybe the most improbable sports championship I’ve ever seen? I’m supposed to be coherent writing about the best basketball player I’ve seen in my lifetime, and that includes Bugs Bunny’s co-star in “Space Jams?”

A guy who did THIS last night, in a Game 7 with the score tied and the pressure of the world on his shoulders?

The Cleveland Cavaliers are NBA champions. The city of Cleveland, which has not seen a sports team win a title since another LBJ (Lyndon Johnson) was in the White House, is going crazy today and probably will for the next several months.

Down 3-1 to a Golden State Warriors team that’s an all-time great in history, an Akron native son led the Cavs to their first-ever NBA title. He dominated this series, he humiliated Steph Curry and all the cocky Warriors, and he did what he set out to do when he came home two years ago.

I don’t care what anyone says: LeBron James is the greatest basketball player of all time. To lead his team to this comeback… I mean, he should just announce his retirement at the championship parade in Cleveland. Because he’s never, ever going to top this moment.

Fifty-two years of frustration, of John Elway and Earnest Byner and Jose Mesa blowing Game 7 of the World Series and Art Modell stealing their team and LeBron leaving the first time … it’s all gone. It’s washed into Lake Erie now, replaced by joy.

The joy that Kyrie Irving (Duke!) brought with that game-winning 3-pointer. The joy of Kevin Love, basically useless for the first 6 games of this NBA Finals, coming alive in Game 7 and playing huge defense on Curry. Tristan Thompson, a man among men on the boards. Even Richard Jefferson was tremendous Sunday night.

I’m just so happy for the fans in Cleveland. I know sports isn’t all that important in the grand scheme of things, and I know life as they know it isn’t going to change just because some tall men with “Cleveland” on their jerseys won a championship.

But psychologically, man, what a boost. Just tremendous.

Couple other quick thoughts on a magnificent Game 7:

— So glad we got a nail-biter after six blowouts. It just had to come down to the end like it did.

— Lot of people going to say Curry and the Warriors choked, that a 73-win team couldn’t get over the finish line and was overrated. I don’t know, that Oklahoma City series took a LOT out of them physically, and when jump shooters like Klay Thompson and Curry miss shots like they did, it’s usually because they’re tired.

Also, the Draymond Green suspension for Game 5 was a big blow, and maybe, just maybe, they didn’t take the Cavs as seriously as they should. Curry shot 21-for-60 in the last three games. His reputation will take a while to recover.

— That LeBron block will be in the first 10 seconds of his Hall of Fame induction highlights video. Guaranteed. I mean, look how FAR he comes to block it. The athleticism, the timing, just incredible.

— I really thought LeBron broke his wrist on that fall with 10 seconds left, when Green fouled him. He landed so hard and looked to be in so much pain. And that would’ve been the most Cleveland way to lose, ever: Cavs up by 3, 10 seconds to go, LeBron gets seriously hurt, his replacement misses both free throws, Curry hits a three to send the game to OT, and with no LeBron, the Warriors win.

I guarantee you at least 25 percent of Cleveland fans watching that had that fleeting thought.

— Craziest stat I saw Sunday night: With the Warriors losing, none of the teams in all four major team sports who set records for most wins in a season won a title that year. (2001 Seattle Mariners, 2007 New England Patriots, and the 1996 Detroit Red Wings).

— Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop This Feeling” is everywhere these days, and even me, who hates most current music, finds it infectious.

**Finally, this is a very cute commercial from Amazon that aired in Japan, with a dog and a baby, but the ending leaves me perplexed: Wouldn’t the baby be totally freaked out and scared by what the dog looks like at the end?

Maybe the baby thought the dog was a lion all along.

Good News Friday: LeBron once again does exactly right by a sick kid. “Red Oaks” is my new favorite show. And a one-armed baseball player wows all

EmanuelDuncan.LeBron

And a Happy Friday to all of you out there; just a few more days before my favorite holiday of the year is upon us.

We start today with yet another example of LeBron James’ innate goodness as a human being. These stories pop up way too often for them to be fake displays of kindness and human emotion; LeBron is, and has always been, an athlete who gets it.

This most recent gesture comes after a beautiful column by Gregg Doyel in the Indianapolis Star. The story tells of a high school kid named Emanuel Duncan (above, left), who loves sports (basketball especially) but suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a particularly awful disease that often kills people before they reach 20 years old.

Duncan is a member of the Lawrence Central football team in Indiana, but hoops is his real passion. He’s been crossing things off his bucket list left and right, he’s got an incredibly positive attitude that rubs off on everyone he meets, and he’s been an inspiration at his school.

His No.1 dream, though? To meet LeBron. The Cavs play the Pacers in Indiana on Feb. 1, and Emanuel is hoping to meet his hero then.

“He inspires me to do everything,” Emanuel says of LeBron. “To be a good person, to put other people first, to live your life and do what makes you happy. If I meet LeBron James, that would make my day. I wouldn’t ask for anything.”

Well… LeBron James heard about Emanuel Duncan. And he wrote him a beautiful letter, and some signed jerseys and other stuff. The letter is here, and asked about it, LeBron said this:

“I’m in a position that I owe with a lot of responsibility to give back to my fans and to be able to be a role model to them. It’s something I take very, very seriously.”

Dude just gets it. He just gets it. How could you not root for him?

**Next up today, a few words about a great new TV show that the wife and I just started watching.

“Red Oaks,” streaming on Amazon.com, is a funny, poignant and so-accurate look at life in suburban New Jersey in 1985, starring a 19-year-old accounting major named David who gets a job as an assistant tennis pro at a fancy-schmancy country club.

There are a host of dead-on 1980s-era characters in this fictional world: the blond, bubble-headed lifeguard (Misty) who dates the town jock-idiot but is lusted after by the chubby dude who valet parks at the club (Wheeler); the obnoxious club owner (Paul Reiser is fantastic), the sleazy event photographer, and the great Richard Kind as David’s father, fresh off a heart attack and back to fighting with his kvetchy wife (Jennifer Grey). The opening seconds of that trailer (above) kill me. “A C is a Jewish F, son!”

It’s a great slice of 1980s America, but it’s also really sharply written, well-acted, and a really fast 30 minutes of TV. (Only thing that bothers me is that only Misty has a Jersey accent, and it goes in and out.) We’ve watched five of the 10 episodes so far and like it more and more each time.

Check out “Red Oaks.” It’s a really fun show. And if you’re Gen X like me, scarily accurate portrait of your childhood.

Nephtali Flores, 17, of Santa Ana, works on his swing during varsity baseball practice at Santa Ana High. He was born with one arm, his left. He says he has been playing baseball since he was 5 years old. He plays first base, outfield, pitches in relief and catcher. //ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: smith.1112 - 11/11/15 Ð ED CRISOSTOMO, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER -- Slug: smith.1112 CCI ID Code: B64809701Z.1 Assignment Summary: Nephtali Flores, 17, of Santa Ana, was born with one arm, his left. But that hasn't kept him from earning a spot on the Angels RBI baseball team or the Santa Ana High varsity squad. He plays first base, outfield, pitches in relief and even has been catcher. He swings the bat with one hand and uses his speed to get on base.

**And finally today, a great human interest story first brought to my attention by avid blog reader Sanford.

Nephtali Flores, 17, of Santa Ana, Calif., plays baseball for both the Angels RBI Senior team and the Santa Ana High Saints varsity squad. He plays first base, and he hit .346 last season.

And oh yeah, as you can see, Flores has one arm.

His amazing story is told here in the Orange County Register by Marcia C. Smith. What a terrific kid.

Good News Friday: LeBron makes an awesome promise to kids: free college. A beautiful story about a man released from prison, giving thanks. And one town’s novel approach to drug addicts is working

LeBron.collegefree

And a Happy Friday to you all; I’m headed down to the Jersey Shore for only, like, the second time in my life this weekend. If I run into any of those morons like “The Situation” or Snooki, you’ll hear about it in Monday’s blog post…

We start today with a LeBron James story, who once again has proved that he’s genuinely concerned about kids, and is genuinely a good dude.

LeBron announced this week that he will fully sponsor more than 1,000 scholarships for kids currently in his “I Promise” program, based in Akron.

He and the University of Akron are offering the chance of a college education to kids in the LeBron James Family Foundation, which helps kids from the 3rd to the 7th grade. He said if the students meet academic requirements, tuition is on him.

“As a kid growing up in the inner city and as an African American kid, you don’t really think past high school because it’s not possible or your family can’t support you,” LeBron said. “For us to be able to do something like this … it means so much.”

This is exactly what it means to give back. He’s basically giving away the equivalent of $40 million worth of tuition.

Bravo, LeBron. He truly “gets it.”

 **Next up, I love this program and think it’s a great model for America. In Gloucester, Mass., the police dept. tried a different approach to drug users. They decided two months ago to stop arresting drug users who approached officers seeking help.

Instead, the town announced it would refer the addicts to treatment, and the city would front the costs.

According to this article on Upworthy.com, the police chief,  Leonard Campanello, faced strong resistance.

“I had a lot of skepticism,” Chief Campanello said. “I didn’t know if we were going to get one person or a thousand people.

“But we had to try something different.”

After two months, the program has placed 116 people placed in treatment, with no arresets.

“We’ve had 116 people placed in treatment,” Campanello explained. “No criminal charges. All placed on the same day.”

The city bargained the cost of life-saving detox drugs from local pharmacies, and so far Campanello estimates the program has cost less than $5,000 so far.

“We’ve built partnerships with treatment centers, health plans, health providers, other law enforcement, and certain the public, which has overwhelmingly supported this approach,” he told Upworthy.

Brilliant. Imagine: Getting drug offenders treatment, and allowing them to be a part of society again once they get better, instead of just throwing them in jail.

There’s absolutely no reason this can’t work elsewhere; good on Gloucester for finally looking for altnerative solutions to the moronic War on Drugs so many are still fighting.

NYT.Norris

**Finally today, a beautiful story from Alan Schwarz in last Saturday’s New York Times really moved me. It’s about a man named Rudolph Norris, who after 22 years in prison on a drug offense, was granted clemency by President Obama in the spring.

Released in late July, the story talks about Norris’ transformation in prison, his incredible gratitude at being released, and most importantly, his overwhelming desire to give back to his community that he damaged with his drug dealing many decades ago.

I love this quote: “I’m trying to get gainfully employed in a hurry, so I can be able to provide and get my own place. I have the freedom to do what I want to do as long as I do it right.”

And this one: “I’ll take the lowest honest job out there — I just want to get started. “Society doesn’t owe me anything. I owe society for dealing drugs.”

There are SO many Rudolph Norris’ out there, wasting away in prison thanks to idiotic sentencing laws. I hope Obama uses his last 18 months in office to issue clemenc to thousands more. It would be about the best parting gift he could leave the country.