Tag Archives: LeBron James

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

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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.

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**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.

We are lucky to live in the age of LeBron. A really funny JetBlue ad catches New Yorkers by surprise. And the fascinating story of the teen runner who collapses after every race

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My whole life until now, I thought Michael Jordan was the one basketball player I’d be telling my grandchildren about, and have them listen at my knee, wide-eyed, as I recall wat it was really like to see him play.

The way my generation heard stories about Oscar Robertson, or Jerry West. MJ would be the standard, the legend all others are judged against, and I feel lucky that his career happened during my childhood/early adulthood.

But as it turns out, the grandkids will be hearing about someone else, too. About a 6-foot-8, 260 pound kid who went from high school to the NBA, and did things no one had ever done before on a basketball court.

And 12 years into his career, he’s still doing things no one has ever seen. LeBron James is not simply the best player in the world; he has become, in my mind and many other sportswriters I’ve read the last few weeks, equal to Michael Jordan.

Yes, I said it. LeBron is as good as MJ ever was. And there is no way in Hades Jordan gets to the NBA Finals this year with the cast LeBron is playing with.

With his two all-star teammates sidelined, and forced to play with the hoops equivalent of four guys he found hanging out at the YMCA, LeBron willed his team to the NBA Finals, and kept them in a series they had no business being in after Kyrie Irving went down. Golden State was the far superior team, and are a worthy NBA champion, and I’m happy for Steph Curry and his whole squad, and for Warriors fans, who are awesome.

But even after a season-ending loss, I’m thinking about LeBron.

The last two weeks, he has put on one of the greatest spectacles I’ve ever seen in sports. One man against five, basically, and the one kept his team in every single game. Jump shots, drives, 3-pointers, assists,

His NBA Finals averages of 36.6 points, 12.4 rebounds and 8.8 assists heading into Tuesday night’s Game 6 are extraordinary; words can’t describe how dominant he’s been. He’s played 228 of a possible 250 minutes. And in those 22 minutes he hasn’t been on the floor, Cleveland has been outscored by 22 points — one point per minute.

I could go on and on. But suffice to say, we’re watching a one-of-a-kind athlete in his prime, and, notwithstanding a few months of raging ego when he first went to play for Miami in 2011, a really good guy on and off the court, one who’s easy to root for.

I know Cleveland came up short, and LeBron James couldn’t do it all himself.

But these last two weeks have been an absolute joy to watch. It never gets boring watching pure excellence.

**Next up today, we New Yorkers are pretty immune to surprises on the street. I mean, the wide as the Grand Canyon spectrum of human behavior on display every day right in front of us has kinda innoculated us from truly being shocked, I think.

But this JetBlue experiment sure seemed to shake up people, in a pretty funny way. The airline decided to put a hologram-looking talking computer up in a glass window on 6th Avenue recently, and it asked pedestrians pretty simple questions about their flying preferences.

Then the machine started talking back. And making fun of their wardrobe. Turns out it was a real person inside the whole time…

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**Finally today, this is one of the strangest stories you’ll see. A high school track athlete from Buffalo named Sam Peterman literally collapses after every race she competes in.

Peterman, who’s 15, suffers from something called neurocardiogenic syncope, or NCS, a condition that causes her to faint nearly every time she finishes a race. Her father, Dale Peterman has almost always been there to catch her.

“It’s the hardest thing,” he said of waiting for Sam at the finish line. “Because you never know.”

Despite Peterman’s condition, she’s been cleared to run by doctors. But can you imagine what that’s like, knowing you’re going to pass out after every race, but loving to run anyway? That takes dedication and a love of a sport I’m not sure many people would have.

Fascinating story by Rob Harms in the New York Times.

A fabulous video on if we treated the arts like sports. A Michigan law disgustingly discriminates against gay adoption. And a father turns funny kids sayings into art

Thoughts on a Monday morning while pondering why God hates Cleveland, how if Kyrie Irving were healthy the Cavs would’ve been planning a parade in Ohio right now, and knowing damn well that no matter who wins this NBA Finals series, LeBron should be Finals MVP…

It’s obvious to millions of people in this country, even to sports diehards like me, that we put way too much emphasis on athletics in America.

And that of course extends to the media, which covers people like Alex Rodriguez, LeBron James and Tom Brady as if they were the most important humans who ever walked the face of the Earth (“what, they can hit a ball far over a fence or throw it 50 yards? Of course they should be treated like kings!”)

However, since it’s not like sports are suddenly going to be de-emphasized, in place of say, the arts, it’s up to comedians like Owen Weber to produce brilliant parodies like this (above), sent to me by my smart and funny friend Will. It’s a “Sportscenter”-like take on how shows about the arts would look if they were given the same God-like status in our culture as sports.

My favorite part? “The stage-presence-enhancing drugs.” Brilliant.

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**Next up, it’s fairly depressing for liberals like me to look around at the enormous majority of Republicans running statehouses and state legislatures these days, and the draconian laws they’re passing.

Truly, I could write a post a day, seven days a week, for months just on the anti-choice, discriminatory bills against gays, minorities, and any other group that isn’t a while male that gets passed, usually under the radar. Sure, the GOP-led Congress is doing nothing, but truly insidious laws are being passed in places like Florida, Texas and Oklahoma.

Today, though, I want to focus on Michigan, and a remarkably shameful piece of legislation just passed.

From the Detroit Free Press: “On Wednesday, Republican majorities in both chambers approved a bill that would allow faith-based adoption agencies — including those who take taxpayer dollars to place children who are in the state’s custody — to discriminate in the practice of their work. They can deny services to families that violate the agency’s religious beliefs, including unmarried couples, same-sex couples and those who hold different religious beliefs.

The legislation is a craven attempt to cloak discrimination in faith, and it leaves the best interests of the 13,000 children in the state’s care — entirely out of the equation.”

So once again, just like in Indiana last spring, the Michigan legislature has legalized discrimination, telling anyone, like an adoption agency, that they don’t have to let gay couples adopt.

This is disgusting, and as has been discussed before, oh so stupid; committed gay couples are just as likely, if not more likely (thanks to the fact that it’s infinitely more difficult for them to adopt) to be good parents for those kids who need homes.

I really think that, 25 years from now, this idiotic thinking is going to look so bizarre to people, that simply because of a couple’s sexual preference, they weren’t allowed to be parents.

And hiding behind “religious reasons” is just oh so cowardly.

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**Finally today, my friend Amanda pointed me to this pretty hilarious post on the ScaryMommy.com blog, highlighting the work of Martin Bruckner. He’s a Dad who runs a Tumblr called “Spaghetti Toes” (the name comes from overhearing his wife say to his daughter, “Please don’t put spaghetti between your toes” at the dinner table,” something I’m sure I’ll say at some point in the next year or two to our son), and what he does is take utterances by parents to little kids, or vice versa, and makes art out of them.

The one above might be my favorite, but I love this one too:

Scarymommy.tiredandoutofgasCheck out more at Bruckner’s Etsy.com site here.

 

A weekend in Philly and a return to my alma mater was wonderful. And quickie thoughts on a huge sports weekend

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Lots of people romanticize their college years, mythologizing them beyond all actual truth because their memories (often drug-affected) get worse over the years, or because in college, everything seems possible.

I’m one of those people who had an incredibly wonderful college experience; as I’ve written about on here before, attending the University of Delaware (above) was the best decision I made in my life, professionally and personally.

It was the launching pad for so many wonderful things, and the best part of it was The Review, the completely student-run newspaper where I spent the better part of three years learning, screwing up, getting better, having an insane amount of fun and losing an insane amount of sleep while learning to be a journalist.

So when word got out a few months back that the paper was in financial trouble, many of us alumni, who used The Review as a springboard to fantastic and successful journalism careers, started raising money, spreading the word, and doing what we could.

Saturday night there was a fundraising dinner for newspaper alumni at UD, and I was thrilled to be there. We didn’t get as many old scribes as I would’ve hoped, but the atmosphere was terrific, and it was great seeing how many care. In talking to the current editors, it turns out that the fundraising has made a difference, and the paper is in better financial shape than it had been (Truth be told, all independent college papers seem to be struggling; ad dollars are down, and kids just don’t read their school paper anymore.)

It was great to be back. UD will always hold a place in my heart.

Some other thoughts from a fun weekend, where the family and I stayed in Philadelphia and I drove down to UD on Saturday:

— The cheesesteaks in Philly are all people talk about and rightfully so, I had two this weekend and they’re awesome. But for my money, the best gastronomical delight in the city are the hand-rolled cannolis from Termini Bros., three of which came home with us in the car (I won’t tell you how many made it all the way back to NYC). I mean, they are sinfully good.

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— Went to the Franklin Institute Saturday morning; what a wonderful museum. Saw a fabulous exhibit by Nathan Sawaya, a guy who builds incredible sculptures painting re-creations (like the one above of Edward Munch’s “The Scream” using only LEGO. Blew my mind. Check it out if you’re in Philly the next few months.

— Stayed in a lovely Center City hotel in Philly, except for the 12:15 a.m. Saturday night fire alarm going off, followed by five consecutive obscenely loud announcements telling us an emergency had been reported, please stand by, followed five minutes later by five more obscenely loud announcements piped into our room as well, telling us the fire dept. said all was clear, we can relax.

Shockingly, all that woke our 9-month-old.

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**Finally today, there was so much great stuff in sports this past weekend that I could write several hundred words about each one. But neither you nor I have time for all that, so some quick-hit thoughts on a sports-gasm that lasted for two days:

— Gotta start, of course since it’s my passion, with the tennis. Serena Williams continues to show why she’s now, at worst, one of the two or three best players of all time. As much as I dislike Serena for her histrionics and poor sportsmanship, she continues to blow away all criticism by continuing to win, so deep into her career. I think she’s erasing all argument about the G.O.A.T. debate, and after winning a few more Slam titles and passing Steffi Graf’s record of 22, she’ll be acknowledged No. 1 of all time.

And of course, on the men’s side at the French Open, Stan Wawrinka shocked the hell out of everyone, including himself, with an incredible win Sunday over Novak Djokovic. Everyone, including me, thought that after Nole beat Rafa Nadal in the quarterfinals, he’d find a way to win the one Slam crown that has eluded him. But Wawrinka and that postcard-perfect one-handed backhand were just too good.

I love Djokovic and felt terrible for him, still not able to win the one title that he doesn’t have. He’ll get one one day, but he’ll never have a better chance than this.

— So American Pharoah shut up all those people who said there’d never be another Triple Crown winner, huh? Tremendous horse. Happy the drought is finally over after 37 years. Amazing that after all those horses before him had failed, American Pharoah simply led wire-to-wire and made winning the Belmont look so easy.

— These first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals have been wild. Blackhawks definitely seem like the better team to me, but Tampa’s offense is explosive. And the goalie musical-chairs thing Tampa pulled in the 3rd period of Game 2? Bizarre.

— LeBron James. What more can you say about this man? Single-handedly carrying the Cavaliers on his back, and got zero help from his teammates down the stretch in Game 2, saw the referees do their damnedest to help Golden State win the game, and still the Cavs pulled it out. What a fantastic first two games of the NBA Finals, though honestly, that was the worst-officiated fourth quarter of an NBA game I’ve seen, maybe ever.

I don’t care if the Cavs win this series or not. LBJ has, in my mind and that of many others I’ve read in the past week, reached that rarefied air inhabited only by Michael Jordan.

I’m not saying LeBron’s better. I’m saying he’s Jordan’s equal. And I never in a million years thought I’d write that sentence in my lifetime.

LeBron back in Cleveland would be 57 kinds of awesome. Penalty kicks are an awful way to decide World Cup games. And Jimmy Fallon and Halle Berry make a human hamster wheel

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A not-so-little secret, from a former sportswriter: We in the sports media tend to overhype things.
We make way, way too much out of common events, declare games “the best ever” and are quick to anoint heroes and legends all the time, making enormous mountains out of molehills.

But if what happens today with LeBron James is what lots of folks were reporting Wednesday night happens, then the news’ importance would be inelastic: It could not be stretched.

LeBron James going back to Cleveland would be HUGE. Bigger than huge. The biggest sports story in a decade, I think.

Do you realize what an incredible tale this is? Hometown kid, grows up to become the best player on the planet, plays seven years for the Cleveland Cavaliers and is beloved beyond belief by the fans there. They don’t win a title, and then as a free agent he goes on national TV, humiliates the city that loves him and chooses to go to Miami, where he teams up with other stars and of course, wins championships that he seemed destined to win for the long-suffering fans of Cleveland.

His jerseys get burned in Cleveland. He feels rage like few athletes ever have. The Cavs owner writes a scathing letter ripping LeBron to shreds.

And then, four years later … LeBron comes back to Cleveland? It would be epic. That kind of story just does not happen in sports.  You know with Kyrie Irving and Andrew Wiggins, and some other free agents who will soon sign by his side, LeBron would have a great chance to end Cleveland’s 50-year sports championship drought.

Why would he go back to a place that sent so much fury at him? I have no inside information into his psyche, of course, but I honestly think he feels bad about the way he left. I think he knows how he departed, making a spectacle of himself on national TV, was wrong and immature, and he sees this as righting a wrong.

And if he comes back to Ohio and wins a title or two, man, what a story it would make.

I so hope LeBron becomes a Cav again. It would be just a wonderful, wonderful story.

 

**And now, more Jimmy Fallon awesomeness: He got Halle Berry to agree to be a human hamster wheel with him the other night.
Love how trusting these celebs are with Fallon…

**Finally today, a couple words on the ridiculousness of World Cup penalty kicks, deciding games.
I like shootouts in the NHL regular season, because at some point games have to end, they’re exciting for fans, and with 82 games, it breaks up the monotony and never truly impacts who wins the Stanley Cup. If they ever went to shootouts to determine Stanley Cup playoff game winners, I’d be right out there with my pitchfork with all the other hockey diehards, because it would be positively insane to do that.

And yet, in the World Cup elimination rounds, when a country has waited four years to get a chance to win this prestigious event, if the score is tied after 120 minutes of play, they go to a “skills competition” gimmick to decide the winner.

It happened Wednesday in the Argentina-Holland semifinal, it happened in the Costa-Rica-Netherlands game, and the Brazil-Chile game as well. It’s nuts that after working that hard, and putting so much effort into the game, teams watch one shooter and one goalie decide the outcome, one at a time.

Play it out until someone scores, I say. Allow more substitutions if you must, but to have the whole thing come down to PKs seems incredibly unfair to me.

Then again, I’m not a soccer guy. Happy to argue with anyone who is.

The Spurs, a championship “team” in every sense of the world. A couple of beautiful Father’s Day tributes. And my thoughts on an incredible run by the Rangers ending

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There are certain teams in sports that remind you of why you loved them in the first place.
They play the game beautifully, like you always want to see it be played. They conduct themselves with class, with humility, and win gracefully. Their games are the purest, most beautiful form of the sport, and you wish it could always be that way.
But it’s not, which is when a team like that comes along, it’s so special.

The Edmonton Oilers made me feel that way about hockey in the 1980s. The New York Yankees did it for me in the late 1990s.
And the 2014 San Antonio Spurs … man, is this a team that Norman Dale from Hickory High School would’ve loved, or what?
Tim Duncan, as selfless a superstar as basketball has ever seen. Tony Parker, a wizard with the ball on a string. Manu Ginobili. Boris Diaw. And Kawhi Leonard, who I remember watching at San Diego State a few years back and thinking, ‘That dude plays hard.

The Spurs finished off a massacre of the two-time defending champs Sunday night, and it wasn’t even close after the first quarter. The Miami Heat got a championship performance from LeBron James (next stop, Cleveland? I have no idea, but that would set the sports media shuddering with joy.), but nobody else really showed up after Game 2.

Do you realize how incredible it is that Duncan and coach Gregg Popovich (above) won titles together 15 years apart? FIFTEEN! That’s unheard of, but it speaks to quiet consistency, and greatness both.

The Spurs are more than worthy champs, and stand as a testament for all that basketball fans like me love about the game.

Couple more thoughts on an NBA Finals that ended way sooner than any of us expected:

— It was the final game in the career of my all-time favorite Dukie, Shane Battier, and that makes me a little sad. The man had a tremendous career, making every team he was on better with his defense, his intensity, and his intelligence. The joke when he was at Duke was always that he’d be President one day.
Wouldn’t surprise me one bit.

— Very classy of LeBron and the rest of the Heat to act gracefully in defeat, congratulating the Spurs on the court after the game. It’s really hard to dislike LeBron anymore, isn’t it, all you who hate him?

— I said this on my Twitter feed the other day: I would 100 percent watch a reality TV show starring broadcasters Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson, living in an apartment together, bickering, hugging, you name it. They are fantastic on TV together.

**Hope everyone had a happy Father’s Day Sunday; I am so blessed to have three outstanding fathers/role models in my life, with my dad, my stepfather, and my father-in-law. They show me every day what it’ll take for me when I join the “club” in September and become a Dad myself: compassion, humor, kindness, and most of all, patience. Lots, and lots of patience!

Can’t wait to join the club. Three more months and I get the best title of all: Dad.
Couple things to share that I saw Sunday: First, the above Dove ad that almost made me cry, and this from Joe Posnanski, who is never better than when he’s writing about his kids, and being a father. This is really great.

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**Finally … after midnight on Friday, after Alec Martinez had collected a rebound kicked out by the all-world Henrik Lundqvist and deposited it into the open net to give the Los Angeles Kings the Stanley Cup, I fell back on the couch and sighed deeply.
I was mad for about 60 seconds, mad that the incredible New York Rangers run through the Stanley Cup playoffs was over. Mad that they played three games in L.A. this series, all went to overtime, and they somehow lost all of them. Mad that Chris Kreider didn’t score on a breakaway in OT, mad that the Rangers hit the post twice and didn’t score the winner.
But that was it; just 60 seconds or so of anger. After that, it was pride. And joy. And a little greatfulness sprinkled in, that the Rangers took their fans on a crazy, unexpected journey that came up just three wins short.

It really was a hell of a spring, and a great way to go out. The Kings were better, but I’m so glad the world got to see Lundqvist at his best.

Sigh. Training camp in three months. Can’t wait. In the meantime, check out (below) the always-awesome Hockey Night in Canada closing montage, putting a bow on these fantastic playoffs:
(By the way, that photo above is not how I looked after the game. Lenox Hill Hospital gave out 100 Rangers onesies to babies born during the Finals. Brilliant.)

 

LeBron and the Heat survive in an NBA classic. A Spanish town figures out the public dog-poop problem. And introducing Rib Stain camo gear

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What. A. Game.

I’m not a fan of either the Miami Heat or San Antonio Spurs. I used to have a man-crush on LeBron but now I just admire his incredible talent, and I’ve always appreciated the lunch-pail work ethic and greatness of Tim Duncan.
But really, it didn’t matter much to me who won Tuesday night’s epic Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

And still, I was on the edge of my seat, screaming and pulling my (limited) hair out with every twist and turn.
That was a phenomenal NBA Finals game Tuesday night. I have no idea how the hell the Heat pulled out a 103-100 overtime win, when it looked for so long like the Spurs were headed to yet another NBA title.
LeBron, after being mortal all night, tosses his headband aside in the 4th quarter and became superhuman again. Duncan, great all night, could do nothing in the 4th quarter and overtime.

And poor Chris Bosh, who gets way too much blame when the Heat lose, came up with a couple of huge blocked shots in the final minute of OT.
Couple other thoughts:

— How good is Tony Parker? Imagine what would’ve been if the Spurs had traded him for Jason Kidd back in 2003, like they almost did. Would they have more titles, or fewer?
— The officiating was, predictably, awful, though I think the basketball might be the hardest sport to officiate. The Spurs’ Manu Ginobili absolutely got fouled at the end of overtime on his drive to the hoop, but he traveled also, so I guess it’s a wash. So many missed calls in this game.
— Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy are really an outstanding announcing team. I’d listen to them call anything.
— I haven’t seen much of this series, having been on the honeymoon, but it sounds like last night was the first “great” game of the Finals. I have no idea what’ll happen in Game 7, but I’m not betting against Tim Duncan. I say Spurs win by 3, even after that crushing loss last night.

**Time for our regular installment of “There’s no possible way this product could be real, except it is.”

Do you have a problem getting stains on your shirts while eating ribs? Well worry no more, my friend (By the way, this would’ve been a perfect Father’s Day gift for my dad if I knew about it before Sunday.)

**Finally today, I love what the Spanish town of Brunete is doing about a problem we all encounter every day: dog poop on the streets.
When Brunete police officers catch a dog-owner allowing the feces to stay on the sidewalk and forcing the rest of us to avoid stepping in it, they’ve come up with a novel solution:

They’re mailing the poop back to the owners.
How are they doing this? Get the full details here, but basically it involves spying and some good ole’ fashioned detective work.

I love it. Would love to see the careless owners’ faces when their “package” arrives in the mail.

Then again, I do feel pretty badly for the postal workers who have to deliver it.

This Miami Heat win streak is nuts, and I don’t even care about the NBA. A man refuses to share ice cream with his woman. And the NYPD, “heroically” fighting pot

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Today, the Madness truly begins. These next two days are sports nirvana for me, as I plan to watch hour after hour of college hoops at one of the many fine watering holes here in New York City. If you hear on the news reports of a man thrown out of a bar for screaming too loud for a 14 seed to upset a 3, you’ll know it’s just me happy my Davidson over Marquette pick has come through. Enjoy the madness…

I care very little about the NBA mostly, except at playoff time and in those rare years my Nets (now the Brooklyn Nets, of course) are any good, like this year.

But I have to say, this Miami Heat 24-game winning streak has captured my attention like nothing else in pro hoops the last 10 years. I find myself checking NBA.com every day to see if they kept it going, not because I love the Heat (though I have gotten over hatred of LeBron over “The Decision”, and Miami does employ my all-time favorite Dukie, Shane Battier) but because a streak that goes on this long is just so improbable in pro sports.

I don’t care how good you are, and clearly the Heat are the NBA’s best: In a long 82-game season, filled with long road trips to Cleveland and Detroit and Milwaukee, every team is going to lose once in a while. It’s just inevitable; your top players have a bad night, the bench guys can’t bail you out, and the opposition and their fans are fired up to take down the champs.

And yet every time it’s looked like the Heat were going to tumble, they somehow pull the rabbit out of the hat. Wednesday night at Cleveland was their most Doug Hennig-esque trick yet (look him up, kids, he was a famous magician in the 1980s).

The Heat were playing in Cleveland, which of course still has all kinds of warm and fuzzy feelings toward LeBron, and despite the Cavs playing without its top two stars, they amazingly led the Heat by 27 points in the third quarter.

Pretty much an insurmountable lead in 95 percent of NBA games. But because this streak has magical powers now, apparently, Miami came back and won.
They’ve now won 24 straight games, nine short of the all-time record.

It’s hard to not root this streak, or at least not be in awe of it. And oh yeah, this happened during the game, too; I hope this guy enjoyed his few minutes of fame.

**Next today, I thought this was pretty funny. Former NBA star Chris Webber, and the man all Knicks fans love forever, Isiah Thomas, used their analysis skills to explain how this fan at a recent game refused to share his ice cream with his lady friend. Pretty funny…

**Finally, yet another disturbing story about the ridiculousness of America’s war on marijuana, perhaps the stupidest “war” ever fought in U.S. history.

A recent report discovered that the NYPD spent one million hours making 440,000 marijuana possession arrests in the last 10 years.

Think about that for a minute: Think how much better and more effectively those 1 million hours could’ve been spent. Think about the REAL crimes that could’ve been prevented, or investigated, if officers weren’t arresting people for the victimless, mostly harmless crime of smoking pot.

Just ridiculous. The only upside is this story also says that Andrew Cuomo is talking about reforming New York’s drug laws, and decriminalizing marijuana in small amounts.

Wish the rest of the country would do the same.

Good News Friday: The banker who saved ducklings. LeBron, acting like a shy kid at the White House. And the double-arm transplant: Another medical miracle

A healthy dose of Good News today, as we head into Super Bowl weekend; just think, a few days from now and you’ll no longer have to see either Harbaugh brother for a really long time.

First up today, the banker who saved ducklings. A hat tip to my father for this clip; he saw it on “Good Morning America” and send it to me. A man named Joel Armstrong saw a dozen ducklings trapped on a ledge outside his second-story office; the ducklings’ mother had flown down already and the ducklings were supposed to follow, but they were too scared.

So Armstrong went outside and coaxed them down safely. All ducklings happily back on the ground! Then Armstrong and the mommy duck led them back to the river.

Such a cute story.

**Next up, LeBron James, acting like a kid, all bashful and excited this week after meeting President Barack Obama and visiting the White House.

I think I’ve pretty much completely forgiven LeBron for his 180-degree attitude turn back during “The Decision” and all that; he’s back to his old charming self, and I”m convinced he just temporarily lost his mind for about a year. Happens to all of us.

I just love how genuinely thrilled he seems to be there, and when he calls the leader of the free world “Coach” by accident.

brendan-marrocco

**Finally, sometimes you forget how far medical science has come. We take so many of these improvements for granted that it takes something amazing to wow us.
Well, something amazing happened to an Iraq war veteran on Staten Island, N.Y. named Brendan Marrocco received a double arm transplant at Johns Hopkins last month, and he met the media this week to show off his new limbs and talk about them.

Who ever would’ve thought we’d be able to put new arms on people? I mean, aren’t we pretty close to being able to create a bionic man soon?

Truly amazing.

Good News Friday: Coca-Cola promotes secret acts of kindness. A flash mob marriage proposal that’s awesome. And a dolphin that spewed a rainbow

OK, OK. I’m happy for LeBron James. An amazing playoffs, an amazing NBA Finals, and a truly worthy champion. I still think “The Decision” was one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen a big-time athlete do, but you know … the guy went crazy for a few months. He deserves this title.
And I’m even happier that my favorite Duke player ever, Shane Battier, has won his first NBA crown.
And now, on with the show… 

I start this week’s Good News Friday with this: Random acts of kindness are just about the best thing ever.
Coca-Cola, who long have been known for awesome advertising, has done something very, very cool: They’ve taken security camera footage from around the world and spliced it together to show things that we never seen on security cameras:

People being nice. And helpful. And happy. And taking a moment out of their day to find some joy. (Note: I read up on this commercial and 90 percent of these scenes are real; the other 10 percent have been re-enacted.)
This is my favorite commercial in a long, long time. Watch it and smile.

**If you read this space often you know how much I love creative and unique marriage proposals. Not sure if this one tops Isaac’s lip-dub proposal from a few weeks ago (nothing will ever top that one), but this one’s pretty good: A flash-mob proposal involving a high-school band in New York City’s Bryant Park. It gets good around 2 minutes in…

**Finally, a whale spitting out a rainbow. Illusion, or proof that Free Willy here has some magical powers? You decide (it’s at the :16 mark).