Tag Archives: Lincoln

One of the Florida shooting survivors powerfully speaks out; is this what it finally takes? Thinking about Abe Lincoln on President’s Day (movie clip). And The New York Open tennis tournament makes a so-so debut.

We have had so much experience, way too much practice, reacting to school shootings in the United States.

We have had dozens and dozens of opportunities to show our outrage, to express our grief, to shake our fists in anger at the inaction of our Congress that’s been bought and paid for (My mother, bless her heart, really, really wants me to share this list of who the largest recipients of NRA money in Congress are, and since I think you should usually do what your mother says, here it is. No surprise, enormous frauds like Marco Rubio are on the list.)

But we’re seeing something over the last few few days that I don’t believe we’ve seen, at least not to this scale: Students at the scene, students who survived but saw their friends murdered, speaking out angrily, forcefully, about what has just happened to them.

The students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., are speaking out, and they are angry, and they are fed up, as they should be.

They are making statements like this, and like this, and organizing a rally like this one coming up on March 24.

Watch the press conference from Saturday featuring Stoneman student Emma Gonzalez, who is as poised and mature as many adults would love to be, speaking with passion and conviction and pure, furious anger, about the need for change.

I have to be honest: This gives me hope. I’ve become so cynical that anything will change, no matter how many shootings have gone on. Our politicians are too bought and paid for by the NRA.

I mean, Jesus H. Christ, if the slaughter of elementary school children in 2012 in Newtown didn’t lead to massive change, what ever will????

But this might be something new. This isn’t the parents of victims speaking out, or political activists, or community members, or grandstanding members of Congress.

These are the ACTUAL victims, the students who were terrorized because one of their former classmates was able to legally buy a semi-automatic weapon and kill 17 people in their school. The school where they took biology tests, goofed off during recess, and practiced volleyball. A school, where some people think, insanely, that we should arm teachers with guns, like teachers aren’t overburdened enough, and given enough responsibility, that now we should have them be marksmen.

Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg and the rest are doing something we haven’t seen before. Maybe, just maybe, things could finally be different.

**Next up, it’s President’s Day, which has me thinking about some of our most legendary Oval Office-holders, and Abraham Lincoln.

And this speech, from the sensational movie “Lincoln” a few years ago, that is still so moving and beautiful.

**Finally today, a brand-new pro tennis tournament has come to my ‘hood, and I was super-excited for it.

After 40 years of holding a lower-tier tournament in Memphis, Tenn., the ATP Tour moved its early-February indoor men’s event to Long Island for this year, and it just wrapped up on Sunday at the new Nassau Coliseum (which is way, way, way, WAY nicer than the old Coliseum, a dump that saw some great hockey and lots of upset fans in the super-crowded hallways and dark upper seats).

I went to two sessions last week, and my review is mixed.

First, the good: The tennis was excellent; the new tournament attracted a pretty good field, with Top 20 players like Kevin Anderson, Kei Nishikori, Sam Querrey, and some up-and-coming Americans. The new Nassau Coliseum, with the top sections tarped off for tennis, felt like a small, intimate arena, and the fans there seemed to really get into the match.

Now the bad: There were very few fans at the matches all week; on Tuesday I swear the players heard the conversations my Dad and I were having during the points. Saturday’s semifinal day session was a little more crowded, but still, we’re talking a few hundred people at most.

New events are hard to get off the ground, mid-February is a tough time to get people out, both of those things are true. But the ticket prices were the biggest problem: They were way, way, way too high. Seventy bucks for a day-session ticket during the week, and $100 for good seats for the semis. No way most people, or casual tennis fans, are going to spend that much.

I know they’ve got to make enough money to cover the expenses, but man, those prices were nuts, even for NY.

I love having a tournament so close by, and of course as a freelance writer I love having opportunities to make a little dough in early February (I wrote two stories on the tournament). But for the New York Open to succeed, they’ve got to get more people in the building to see how great live pro tennis is.

And with these prices, that’s going to be very very hard to do.

A sea otter is a slam-dunking king. The incredible surfing dog. And the greatest cheerleader shot you’ll ever see

annehathaway.lesmiz

A short blog today, filled with fun and bizarre stuff to take you into the weekend capped by the Oscars Sunday night. For the record, my quickie Oscar picks (this is who I think will win, not who I want to win:)
— 
Best Picture: “Lincoln” (in a nail-biter over “Argo”)
— Best Actor: Daniel-Day Lewis (no relation to me, if you were wondering). But Joaquin Phoenix was amazing in “The Master.”
— Best Actress: Jessica Chastain (I’m calling the upset here over Jennifer Lawrence)
— Best Supporting Actor: Toughest category to call, but I’m going with Tommy Lee Jones for “Lincoln”
— Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, Les Miz. She was awesome, if only in the movie for 30 minutes)
— Best Director: Mr. Spielberg.

We start today’s trio of amazing videos with something you may have seen this week; it’s a sea otter named Eddie who lives at the Oregon Zoo. And he’s like the LeBron James of otters, apparently; check out how good he is at dunking.

Of course, no one’s playing defense on Eddie; let’s see him do that shit when a dolphin is playing him man-to-man.

**Next up, we have Surfing Bulldog Tillman and his amazing talent. I think that’s all I need to say about this video, except look how good Tillman is in the snow, too! All-weather surfer.

**And finally, this happened Thursday night: A female cheerleader at William Carey College made this ridiculous shot at halftime. From halfcourt on the flip like that? Impossibly awesome.

Good News Friday: Oscar nominations come out, whoo-hoo! The L.A. Kings give $1 million to the community. A dance compilation to make you smile.

silverlinings

Always love the day when the Oscar nominations come out, as myself and millions of other movie fans get ready to debate the merits of movies we haven’t seen, movies we’ve seen that got robbed in the nomination fight, and trying to figure out who will win in some of the most competitive categories.

I love all the debate and the silliness, and can’t wait for Oscar night on Feb. 24.

Some quickie thoughts on the nominations:
— I’ve seen three of the nine Best Picture nominees, and hope to see “Django Unchained” pretty soon. If I had to guess right now, I’d say “Lincoln” is the favorite, “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Argo” have an outside chance, and “Life of Pi” and “Silver Linings Playbook” have almost no shot.

— I don’t know why the Academy hates Ben Affleck, but while “Argo” got a Best Picture nod, he didn’t get tabbed for Best Director. Just wrong.

— This may be the most loaded Best Supporting Actor field ever. I mean, how do you choose among Robert De Niro, Alan Arkin, Philip Seymour Hoffman (who was really a co-lead in “The Master”, but the equally-awesome Joaquin Phoenix was up in the Best Actor category), Tommy Lee Jones, and former winner Christoph Waltz? Absolute Murderer’s Row. No idea who’ll win that.
— Love that we have a 9-year-old nominee (Quvenzhané Wallis, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”) and an 85-year-old nominee (Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour”) going against each other.

**And now, five minutes of a pretty awesome dance compilation mash-up, with every style you can think of. But instead of that famous video where that comedian does “The History of Dance,” this is the real performers. Pretty sweet stuff…

**Finally, a lot of us hockey fans, as we anxiously await the season to finally start (next Saturday, yay!), are wondering what NHL teams are going to do to make it up to us, after blowing four months of a season in a silly lockout.

Well, the L.A. Kings, the current Stanley Cup champs, are off to a good start. They’ve teamed up with McDonald’s to donate $1 million to four local charities, as a thank you to fans for the support.

The money will go to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, Ronald McDonald House, the Boys and Girls Club of America, and City Year Los Angeles.

Very nice job, Kings. Very classy.