Tag Archives: Mario Cuomo

A trip back to UD to talk about college journalism leaves me inspired. Joe Biden, for the love of God, just decide already. And “Gilmore Girls” is coming back!


I’ve said this before on here, but I’ll say it again: My experience at the University of Delaware’s student newspaper was the best experience of my life.

The three years I spent on the paper, staying up all night to make deadline, eating crap food, having wonderful memories with like-minded crazies like me who lived, ate and breathed journalism, still makes me smile every time I think of it.

It’s been almost 20 years now since my byline last appeared in The Review, but the darn thing still holds a grip on me. It’s where I first learned everything about how to be a reporter, how to write good stories, how to write bad stories, how to screw up so bad and then face the music the next day, and truly, how much bloody fun it is to be a journalist.

Anyway, back in June I wrote about how, but due to financial troubles, a bunch of UD alumni who worked at The Review were trying to raise money to help save it, and one of the things we’ve done is form an alumni association. Last Saturday I ventured down to UD for our first event, a workshop featuring current Review editors and us old geezer alumni.

We had a great turnout, with alums from places like the Philadelphia Daily News and Baltimore Sun coming back to lead sessions about writing, reporting and editing.

I led sessions on interviewing techniques and longform writing, and what I’ll remember most about the day was the passion of the current staff.

They told us stories about frustration with current administration, coaches who wouldn’t let them talk to players, and general, unbridled enthusiasm about their journalistic futures.

These people were me two decades ago, and despite the challenges facing journalism today, were full of passion and love for it. I felt fortunate to be passing along what wisdom I’ve gleaned to these 19 and 20-year-old kids, newbies in the field.

I loved talking to them and seeing their hope, and how much they still cared about my old student newspaper.

I hope their passion never fades.

(By the way, this is totally random, but when I did a Google search for photos of The Review,” that one above came up. And the guy on the right in the photo? Ray West. Kanye West’s father. How bizarre.)


**Next up today, Joe Biden made some remarks at George Washington University on Tuesday, and he made a few remarks that seemed to be digs at Hillary Clinton, and a few barbs that seemed to be digs at Bernie Sanders, and he looks like a Presidential candidate, smells like a Presidential candidate … but refuses to say he is one.

A quick open letter to Joe from Delaware: Seriously, with all due respect Mr. Vice President, I’m getting Mario Cuomo flashbacks here. Either you’re running or you’re not. Poop or get off the pot (trying to be respectful here, he is, after all, the VPOTUS).

It’s late-October, the debates have started, nearly all the Democratic millionaires and billionaires have chosen their candidate, and all this waffling is pretty unbecoming of someone of your stature.

You’ve run for President twice before, and failed badly. Apparently, though, instead of going out of public office on a high note, as a terrific vice-president to a two-term Democratic President, you want to run again, where you’ll likely lose.

There’s no clamor for you to run, no void for you to fill. I don’t think you can beat Hillary, but it seems against your own better judgement, you’re going to run (just watch that Colbert interview from a few weeks ago again, that’s not a man who wants to do this).

Anyway, whatever you do, just make up your mind already. Please. Thank you.

**Finally today, this really could wait until Good News Friday but news this exciting just can’t wait: “Gilmore Girls” is coming back! Yes, one of my all-time favorites, a show with more words per minute than anything this side of “The West Wing,” is coming back.

Sorta. Creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and Netflix have announced that the inhabitants of Stars Hollow are returning for four 90-minute episodes, or mini-movies, or whatever.

Apparently they’ve already got a large part of the cast returning, with Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, Scott Patterson (Luke) and Kelly Bishop (Emily) agreeing to come back.

I really hope they don’t ruin the show and make bad comeback episodes. I mean, they have to set it in the present day and not try to go back eight years to when the show ended, right?

Anyway, I’m thrilled. I loved “Gilmore Girls” for its wit, wisdom, heart, and downright quirkiness. The scene above is one of my all-time faves, but really, there were 50 I could’ve picked from.

We’ve missed you, Stars Hollow. If there’s any justice in the world, Kirk will be mayor by now.

Mario Cuomo and the idea of “missed opportunities.” The Baseball Hall of Fame elects the best pitcher I ever saw. And I finally watch the “SNL” Serial parody, and it’s genius

Mario Cuomo’s funeral was here in New York City Tuesday, and it got me thinking about missed opportunities, and wasted talent.

Cuomo was an early political hero of mine; growing up in N.Y. as a political junkie-kid and discovering I was a liberal, there was no one bigger to look up to than Cuomo, then the towering governor of New York.

He spoke so eloquently, and so passionately, about equal rights, about income inequality, about the destructiveness of Ronald Reagan’s policies, that I completely fell in political love for the first time (sometimes it goes great when that happens; other times, when I fell hard for John Edwards, well, not so great.)

His speech at the 1984 Democratic Convention was, until Barack Obama came along, the best speech I ever heard while it was happening; it was on the radio and we were in the car on a family vacation and my Dad, a big Cuomo fan, wanted to hear it (I’ve pasted the clip above).

He was so thunderous, so eloquent, so … right that we wanted him to run for President right then and there.
Surely, in 1988 he would run, we figured. There was no one standing in his way in a weak Democratic field. Mario Cuomo was going to be President, a real, true-blue liberal in the White House.
Only, somehow, he didn’t run. We were crushed. Then, come 1992, again it seemed like he was destined to cruise into the job. The first George Bush was wildly unpopular, the Democratic field was jumbled and without a front-runner, and Cuomo’s name recognition towered over everyone.
And still, Cuomo demurred, and eventually decided not to run. The press called him “Hamlet on the Hudson.”

Again, it was crushing for me as a young liberal that he passed up going for the biggest job in the world. Why, why would this man choose to miss an opportunity he was so clearly qualified for? (His son, N.Y. governor Andrew Cuomo, a man I also think would make a good President, answered that question at the funeral Tuesday: “Beccause he didn’t want to, that’s all.)

There were always rumors as to why he didn’t run, rumors about his father-in-law’s alleged Mafia ties, rumors about financial improprieties in his past. But Cuomo himself never talked about any of that, and the theories continue (Steve Kornacki at MSNBC.com has a really good column with a theory why he didn’t run here.)

I was angry at Mario Cuomo for a while after ’92, angry we lost probably our last real chance at a liberal progressive in the White House. I saw it as a great missed opportunity.

But Cuomo? Maybe he just didn’t want to be President. And that’s hardly a sin.



**The Baseball Hall of Fame 2015 Class was announced Tuesday, and as usual, there was plenty of hand-wringing and criticism, as Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Craig Biggio and John Smoltz were elected to be memorialized in Cooperstown forever
“How could Mike Piazza not get in, that’s a joke!” the NY media cried. (Answer: He used steroids, quite obviously, which has been verified by many, many former players.)
“Why don’t the writers put Bonds and Clemens in, everyone was using steroids back in the 1990s and early 2000s?” is another rant I saw everywhere. (My answer: So because everyone did it, we should put two major, unrepentant cheaters in? No.)

Anyway, the one legit complaint I have every year is the pompous, self-important members of the BBWAA refusing to let anyone be voted in unanimously. That there were three percent of voters who didn’t vote for Randy Johnson, and nine percent who didn’t vote for Pedro Martinez, is absolutely ridiculous; those voters should have their credentials stripped, and their voting privileges going to someone else.

Let me tell you something about Pedro Martinez: I’ve been watching baseball for 35 years, and he is the scariest pitcher I’ve ever seen. Watching him live, which I was lucky enough to do twice, was practically a religious experience, and I hated his guts because he was a Red Sox and then a Met.
His curveball? Unhittable. Changeup? No chance. Fastball? Dominating. He had an aura on the mound that I’m guessing Bob Gibson had, just a sense you had that when he was out there


**Finally today, I know I’m WAY late on seeing this, but it’s so good that I have to share it, in case some of my fellow “Serial” obessives haven’t seen it yet. Two weeks ago “Saturday Night Live” did a brilliant, hilarious spoof of Serial, investigating the story of one “Chris Kringle,” and they nail the voices and details of the real “Serial” so perfectly, I was amazed.


Good News Friday: The Winter Classic hockey game a great start to 2015. Parenting tips that are actually brilliant. And a little taste of “The Wire.”


And a Happy 2015 to you!  Thanks for coming to see this blog again in 2015, I truly I appreciate your readership and support.

Hope your New Year’s celebration was fun, and safe. We Lewises had a very low-key night, thanks to the new baby and all, plus the wife has been sick and coughing all week. Still, it was fun watching an old movie favorite (“You’ve Got Mail,” which I know will be mocked by some but we like it), then turning on CNN to see Kathy Griffin hilariously, as always, embarrassing the hell out of Anderson Cooper. Sadly, it’s the only time I think I turned on CNN in 2014.)

And oh yeah, R.I.P., Mario Cuomo. As gifted a public speaker as has ever been in politics. Watch this if you don’t believe me.

Used to be, Jan. 1 meant only college football bowl games, and I’ll admit, this year gave us a bunch of great ones (Michigan State erasing a 20-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Baylor was sensational, and Oregon laying the smackdown on Florida State was delightful to see. Jameis Winston and Co. deserve to be humbled a bit, don’t you think?)

But since 2009 the NHL has made Jan. 1 must-see hockey, and once again the Winter Classic delivered the goods Thursday.
No, we didn’t get snow like we did that first year, but it was still a hell of a hockey game between the Blackhawks and Capitals. Good action, lots of chances, great job by NBC with that only-works-in-outdoor-games overhead camera angles, and a dramatic finish with the Caps scoring the game-winner with 12 seconds left. (As a Rangers fan, I didn’t like the ending, but hey, it’s just one game).

The NHL has done a great job moving the game around to different and unique venues; some cool ones in the future would be Ohio State’s football stadium (Columbus Blue Jackets would host, but NHL won’t do it because Columbus isn’t a big market) or Denver’s Invesco FIeld (hockey outdoors at high altitude would be fun.)


Next up, this is pretty ingenious if you’re a parent: The website http://www.twentytwowords.com has come up with a story called “27 Parenting Hacks that will make you feel like you have everything under control.” It’s filled with great tips like the one in the photo above, which instructs to put a fitted sheet over a Pack and Play so your baby can stay cool outdoors without getting eaten alive by bugs.
I also love “instead of having to cut each piece of food into tiny bites with a knife, use a pizza cutter” and “use a disposable coffee lid to keep popsicles from turning into a huge mess.”

Seriously, a lot of these tips are fabulous; check them all out here.

**Finally, a little video from “The Wire” that always makes me smile, because it’s the best show ever on television, because HBO has been running the whole series from beginning to end the last few days and of course I had to DVR a couple, and because if you resolve to watch only one thing on 2015 that you’ve never watched, I implore you to make it “The Wire.”

This video definitely not safe for work, but it’s fantastic (my favorite quote is from Daniels at :52.)

Al Pacino as “Dr. Death.” And Eliot Spitzer, the chutzpah king

Nobody likes to mention this, but Al Pacino doesn’t really make good movies anymore.

Seriously, as ESPN.com’s Bill Simmons has pointed out, Pacino hasn’t made a good major theatre movie in, like, a decade.

His last movie that I liked was HBO’s brilliant “Angels in America,” when he played the savagely profane but brilliant lawyer Roy Cohn. (Lewis family trivia: I’ll always remember that movie because Julie and I had our first phone conversation that night, it lasted three hours, and I learned later both of us wanted to get off the phone at about 10:59 p.m. so we could watch the West Coast version of the movie. See, we were made for each other.)

So when I heard good ole’ Michael Corleone was playing Jack Kevorkian, a man I admire greatly, in a new HBO movie called “You Don’t Know Jack,” I was pumped.

Saw the movie Sunday, and it was really, really good. I feel very strongly about euthanasia and why it should be legal, and I always thought Kevorkian was truly on the side of mercy. Pacino completely channeled Kevorkian, and director Barry Levinson got a fantastic cast to play off Pacino (Susan Sarandon, John Goodman).

I remember thinking at the time that all the same people who protested Kevorkian and called him a murderer, are also the same people talking about religious beliefs and showing “mercy” to people. Allowing someone to die with dignity is as merciful as you can get.

The movie was great, I highly recommend it. But it made me sad that 15 years after Kevorkian started gently helping those with terminal illness to stop the suffering, this country still looks at assisted suicide as such a sin.

I think years from now, many will wonder why such a humane act was deemed illegal.

**So I woke up Sunday morning to read in The New York Times that former New York governor Eliot Spitzer has reservations about likely Democratic nominee Andrew Cuomo, that he’s too politically motived, and that Spitzer isn’t sure he’s right for the job.

Spitzer, you know, the guy who decided it’d be smart while governor to use a prostitution service and pay for it with a credit card, isn’t sure someone else is right for the job.

This brings up a host of questions: Why is Spitzer still asked by media members to pontificate and analyze, when he’s clearly a disgrace as a human being? Is there no “shame” period anymore in American life, or if there is, Spitzer’s sure seemed to be short.

Look, I don’t know how great or not great Andrew Cuomo would be as governor. I like what I’ve seen and read about him, my friend Andrew once worked for him at a non-profit and said Cuomo was nice, and his father is one of my favorite speakers ever (Mario Cuomo).

But that the New York Times would give Eliot Spitzer, one of the biggest megalomaniacs in politics, a platform to bash another gubernatorial hopeful, and that Spitzer would continue to come off as holier than thou as he has for years, just ticks me off.