Tag Archives: Modern Love

“Modern Love” an outstanding Amazon show, with awesome cast and sweet stories. A climate change protest delays Harvard-Yale game, fascinatingly. And the Jets stay hot, Ryan Tannehill is unstoppable, and more NFL thoughts

Very rarely do I come across shows like “Modern Love,” the new Amazon streaming series that is adapted from the wildly popular New York Times column that lets New Yorkers tell their unique love stories.

It has a different cast in each of its eight episodes, and the episodes vary wildly in tone. You watch the third episode (my personal favorite), starring Anne Hathaway, and then watch the seventh one, featuring a gay couple looking to hire a surrogate mother, and they’re completely different in almost every way, save for the New York backgrounds.

But the one thing they all have in common: a great heart, and lots of love. I really, really loved this show. It brought together a bunch of A-list actors like Hathaway, Tina Fey, John Slattery, and Catherine Keener, and gave them wonderful material to work with.

One episode (my wife’s favorite) deals with a single woman and her long-term friendship with the doorman at her building. Another follows a couple on a second date, when a broken glass gets lodged in one of their arms and we see the extent of true devotion.

There are serious issues dealt with, and funny issues, and not every episode is perfect (the Fey/Slattery one, oddly considering how great they both are, was maybe our least favorite.)

The power of love courses through each one of “Modern Love”‘s stories, and I found myself wanting more each time. The final episode does something great that I won’t spoil, but is very very satisfying.

Each episode is 30 minutes each, so you can easily binge the whole thing like we did in a week or two.

If you’re looking to feel renewed, about love and life, I highly highly recommend it.

**Next up, this was something very strange and possibly fabulous that happened Saturday: Harvard and Yale, besides being probably the two most prestigious universities in America, have had a long and storied football rivalry, going back more than 100 years.

They’ve played many famous games, including one in 1968 that saw a miracle comeback by Harvard, scoring 16 points in the final 42 seconds of the game, leading to the classic headline in the Harvard Crimson newspaper, “Harvard beats Yale, 29-29.”

Anyway, Saturday’s game turned out to be fabulous, too, with Yale rallying and winning in double overtime, but that’s not why I’m writing about it. At halftime, more than 150 students from both schools stormed the field and disrupted the game for more than hour, nearly causing it to finish in darkness since the Yale Bowl has no lights.

The students were protesting both school’s holdings in the fossil fuel industry, as well as urging the U.S. government to cancel Puerto Rico’s massive debt.

It may be because I’m a liberal who agrees with these positions, but I think it’s great what these students did. Nothing gets more attention in college than a football game, and no game at these two schools gets more attention than Harvard.

So this was a chance to get maximum attention for a cause. Will it work? I have no idea. But whether it’s student groups getting offensive statues taken down from campus, or the names of racists taken off buildings, college kids have been getting results when making protests like this for years.

I say good on them. It’s just a football game, after all.

**Now of course all that said, I’m now going to spend a couple hundred words talking about football games. (Hypocrisy, thy name is Michael Lewis. What can I tell you.)

First I have to start with the stunning, shocking, and downright mystifying 34-3 win by my New York Jets over the previously thought to be pretty good Oakland Raiders.

In the cold and rain of MetLife Stadium (and I can’t for the life of me understand how thousands of fans sat out there in this weather, it was awful here on Sunday), the Jets just destroyed the 6-4 Raiders. Sam Darnold looked awesome, the defense was stifling, and Le’Veon Bell even looked pretty good.

So now my previously-pathetic team is 4-7, with two winnable games upcoming against the putrid Bengals and woeful Dolphins, and it wouldn’t seem so crazy to start dreaming about them being 6-7 and in the playoff hunt in a few weeks.

Except, it’s the Jets, so I know they’ll lose one of these games (hey, they already know how to lose to Miami, they just did it a few weeks ago) so there’s no need to stupidly waste time about saving this season.

Still, nice to see Darnold finally improving and looking like a franchise QB.

In other news from the league where they play for pay…

— I hate the Patriots but man they are really freaking good this year. Tom Brady is basically throwing to high school receivers and they’re hardly scoring the last few weeks but they keep on winning thanks to a ridiculously good defense. I think only Baltimore has a legit shot of stopping a fourth straight Patriots Super Bowl appearance in the AFC.

— Wild game in New Orleans, where God clearly has a sense of humor when he allowed the NFL officials to overturn a non-pass interference call in Carolina’s favor with the game tied at 31 and the Panthers driving inside the Saints 10. Because the football gods didn’t want a riot in the Bayou, New Orleans ended up winning.
But this challenge thing on pass interference calls has been such a joke; hardly any get overturned, even blatantly obvious ones. 

— My friend Buddy S. is a swell guy and I love him, so I had to feel for him a little bit Sunday night. Buddy is a Dolphins fan, so not only has he had to suffer thru a miserable season, not only does he have to watch ex-Jets coach Adam Gase finally start winning with my Jets, but now he’s got to see the former QB of the future for the Dolphins, Ryan Tannehill (that’s him, above), play like Joe Montana the past month for Tennessee.

Tannehill, who was wildly erratic and injury-prone with Miami, has been incredible given a second chance to start. He accounted for four touchdowns Sunday in the Titans’ 42-20 demolition of Jacksonville. Ryan Tannehill, who knew???

— The Redskins won. No, seriously, they did. I checked a few different websites to make sure it was real. But after nine straight losses, they actually won.

— The Bills are 8-3 and the only team they’ve beaten who’s even moderately good is Tennessee. Strangest 8-3 I’ve ever seen. They’re about to play the Ravens, Steelers and Patriots though, so we’ll see how good they really are.

 

A gorgeous column on love and loss at Christmastime. The Gary Hart scandal captured poignantly in new book. And a Mom calls in to yell at her sons on live TV.

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Sometimes a piece of writing just smacks you in the gut, totally out of nowhere, and your jaw drops at the beauty of the words. (Yeah yeah, I know I’m a writer and a sap, but bear with me, this is worth it).

The New York Times’ “Modern Love” column usually produces good stuff, but it’s usually about an adult sexual relationship, and it’s often funny and entertaining.

But this week … wow. A writer named Jessica Strawser tells a moving story about the first holiday season she had to experience without her best friend, who had been killed in the past year by an abusive ex-boyfriend. Strawser goes to the cemetery around Christmastime and meets an interesting man there, doing his own ritual and… I don’t want to give any more away. Just read it, smile at the power of love, then hug someone you love.

Really an extraordinary column.

**Next up, this cracked me up and apparently went viral on the Web Tuesday. During a C-Span appearance by Brad and Dallas Woodhouse, two brothers who are political pundits on opposite sides of the aisle, they got a call from a “Joy in Raleigh, N.C.”

Turns out it was their Mom, who proceeded to scold her boys for never getting along.
“I was hoping this would be the year you went to your in-laws for Thanksgiving,” she said. “And I want peace when you come here at Christmas.”

Hilarious stuff. I love the brothers’ reaction when they realize it’s their momma on the line.

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**Finally today, I just finished an excellent book I want to recommend to anyone on your list who loves politics. Five years before Bill Clinton ran for President and we learned that America really didn’t care much who a politician had shtupped over the years, there was another major political force whose career was ended because of a possible affair he may have had.

The name “Gary Hart,” if you’re 30 or older, probably means one thing to you: Presidential candidate/frontrunner to win in 1988 who in 1987 was caught by reporters cavorting with a young blonde named Donna Rice, and the ensuing sex scandal ruined Hart’s chances forever in just a few days.

Matt Bai, formerly of the New York Times Magazine, has written a fabulous new book about Hart called “All the Truth is Out,” about the Hart scandal and how it changed the way politicans are covered, forever.

Before Hart, politicians’ affairs pretty much were kept secret by reporters; hell, JFK, LBJ, FDR, all had extra-marital relations. But with the explosion of cable TV and increasing pressure to “be first” and be salacious, the late 1980s ushered in a new era of political coverage.

And when the Miami Herald got a tip that Hart was fooling around, and then stalked him and “caught” him outside his Washington D.C. apartment, well, all the rules were forever changed. (As an ex-reporter I’m torn about what the Herald did; yes they were chasing a legit story, but they did it in a very sleazy way.)

Bai is clearly sympathetic to Hart, and he makes a really strong case on why this one affair shouldn’t have ruined him forever. Hart was a brilliant politician but didn’t have Clinton’s charm and political skills which is probably why Clinton won two terms and Hart is a footnote.

It’s a really interesting book about a fascinating man and a pivotal moment in how politics are covered. Check it out here.