Tag Archives: Novak Djokovic

A damn entertaining Super Bowl, with some great commercials to boot. And Serena and Djokovic rule again at Australian Open

Pats.SuperBowl

Never in Super Bowl history have so many jaws hit the floor at the exact same time as they did a little after 10 p.m. Sunday night, in one of the greatest Super Bowls ever played.

You don’t have to ask what I’m talking about. From sea to shining sea, all 110 million football fans watched the Seattle Seahawks just GIVE away a championship to the New England Patriots in the final seconds of Super Bowl 49.

At the 1-yard-line, with :30 left, with the BEST SHORT-YARDAGE BACK in the NFL on your team (Marshawn Lynch), with a touchdown winning the game, the Seahawks decided to throw the ball.

I had to watch it four times to actually believe what they did. But it happened. And Russell Wilson’s pass was intercepted, and the Patriots won, and oh my God that was one sensational football game.

And it’s too bad that so many great moments from the game will be forgotten because of the worst play-call in Super Bowl history. The incredible Jermaine Kearse catch to get Seattle down there in the final minute (and if that had led to a Seahawks win, on yet another fluke/crazy catch in a Super Bowl, the entire New England region would’ve been on suicide watch, I think).

Tom Brady, cool as Fonzie, bringing his team back from 10 down. The great games by guys you never heard of, like Seattle’s Chris Matthews and New England’s Malcolm Butler.

One of the five best Super Bowls of my lifetime, with an ending that’ll never be forgotten.
It pains me, really, really pains me to type this.  But congratulations to the legends, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. To win four Super Bowls in 14 years is insanely difficult, and worthy of much praise.

Some other Super Bowl thoughts from my scattered brain…

— Idina Menzel sang the hell out of the anthem. God, what a voice.

— Loved the cool new NBC overhead camera angle they showed us at times; really let you see the whole field.

— Real classy, Doug Baldwin of the Seahawks, pretending to poop out the ball after scoring a TD (NBC cut away from this delightful act, but it’s all over the Internet if you haven’t seen it.) Your whole life, you wait to score in the Super Bowl, and that’s what you do?

**Loved a bunch of the Super Bowl commercials, including the Dove for Men ad (yes, of course me being a new father had a little to do with that), the Budweiser Lost Puppy ad, and this Snickers “Brady Bunch” ad was hilarious:

I also loved the Dodge commercial featuring the 100-year-old people giving pearls of wisdom. And I thought the Nissan commercial with the race-car driver and Harry Chapin’s “Cats in the Cradle” was good too, though as many pointed out on Twitter, Chapin died in a car accident so maybe not the best idea to have his song there, Nissan?

**On the other hand, that Nationwide commercial? Way too dark. Scared the hell out of me. Yes, let’s talk about kids dying from being unsafe on the Super Bowl.

— Didn’t watch much of the halftime show, since Katy Perry doesn’t do it for me. But seeing dolphin mascots dance alongside her was … interesting.

— It’s unconscionable that the Pats’ Julian Edelman wasn’t checked for a concussion after that severe hit he took in the fourth. It’s all about the safety of the players, right Roger Goodell?

— No more football for awhile. Boo.

Serena-Williams-5

**Finally today, I want to say a few words about Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic, who just completed dominating performances in winning the Australian Open, once again.

Serena, who it’s no secret to anyone who reads this blog I have long loathed for her poor sportsmanship and arrogance on and off the court, was once again her dominant self. She now has 19 Grand Slam singles titles, rapidly closing the gap on Margaret Court’s total of 24 (and let’s be clear, it’s MUCH harder to win Slams these days, because the field is so much tougher than it was in Court’s day.)

She’s inching up the ladder toward being considered by most tennis experts as the greatest of all time. I still have her behind Steffi Graf and Martina, but it’s damn close. Serena is an incredible athlete, an unmatched competitor with a killer instinct like few others.

And Novak Djokovic? Well, he just about owns the Australian Open now, winning it for the fifth time. His defense, his shot-making, his mental toughness, just so impressive. Andy Murray had plenty of chances to win Sunday, and he played great at times.

But Djokovic was fitter, stronger, and better. He’s not in Rafa or Roger Federer’s category yet when it comes to all-time greats, but shoot, he’s getting closer.

Great Australian Open.

Djokovic outlasts Federer in another epic Wimbledon final. Some fireworks in reverse. And remembering Louis Zamperini, an all-time great American hero.

Djokovic.grass

At the risk of sounding like a grandpa, young tennis fans don’t know how good they’ve got it.

Really, they don’t. If you’ve only been following tennis for the past decade or so, maybe you think it’s always been like this. Three or four all-time greats, battling it out in epic, high-quality matches at Grand Slam Final after Grand Slam Final.

But I remember the Lleyton Hewitt-Yevgeny Kafelnikov years of the late ‘90s and early aughts; the Marcelo Rios-Guillermo Coria (shudder) era.

Which is why I don’t ever take incredible matches like Sunday’s men’s (excuse me, gentlemen’s) singles final for granted. For five tight, thrilling sets, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer played sublime, scintillating tennis, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
First it looked like Federer had the upper hand, winning the first set. Then Djokovic, so many times in the past few years having come up short in major moments, winning the next two sets playing fantastic defensive tennis.

In the fourth, with Djokovic up 5-2, I got dressed and put my sneakers on; my best friend’s in town and we were headed to the Met (an aside: still the best museum in NYC; spent 3 hours there Sunday but easily could’ve spent 6 or 7), and I thought the great Federer was cooked.
My buddy ended up going to the museum ahead of me, because with absolutely no warning, Federer stormed back and won the last five games of the set, a gag job of Buckner-ian proportions.
“No way Djokovic can recover in the fifth,” my Mom and I agreed on the phone.
Only he did, winning a 6-4 fifth set that finished with the soon-to-be father crying hysterically, dropping down to the ground and eating a blade of Wimbledon grass.

Sensational match. Of course I was pulling big-time for Federer, my all-time favorite athlete, but I can’t be too mad he lost; he played attacking, ferocious tennis, and proved he can still hang with the big boys. And I was happy for Djokovic, who’s suffered a lot the last few years and really deserved this win.

I honestly think if he’d just held on and won 6-3 in the fourth set, it wouldn’t have been as impressive as the way he ended up winning.

Another incredible Wimbledon final, at least the fifth classic final we’ve had since 2007. We are SO, so spoiled in tennis right now; greatness is with us everywhere.

Can’t wait for the U.S. Open…

**And now, after watching fireworks this weekend, try watching fireworks in reverse. Cool, and a little trippy…

zamperini

**Finally today, I didn’t blog Friday so I’m a few days late on this, but don’t want to let the passing of American legend Louis Zamperini pass by without a few words. I wrote about Louie after reading the incredible New York Times bestselling book about his life, Laura Hillenbrand’s “Unbroken,” which I highly, highly recommend.

Zamperini was 97 when he died Thursday, and he packed so much living, and endured so much suffering, in that time. What amazed me most about his life was his complete lack of bitterness and good humor about life; a man who endured what he did as a prisoner of war still found so much good. He is a role model in every sense of the term.

Here’s a great obit of Zamperini from the L.A. Times, and below, a “CBS Sunday Morning” piece from 2012 that shows his humanity beautifully:

 

Rafael Nadal, King of Clay and pretty much unbeatable. Jonah Hill with a legit celebrity apology. And the Rangers, down but (maybe) not out

Nadal.FrenchOpen

One of the reasons I love sports so much is that it gives you a front-row seat to greatness on a regular basis.

LeBron James, Sunday night for the Miami Heat, was incredible. But he was only the second-most dominant athlete performing Sunday, because as has become as reliable as death, taxes and the GOP Republicans in Congress trying to repeal Obamacare, Rafael Nadal won the French Open, fairly easily.

This is the ninth French Open win for Nadal. Let me say that again: He was won NINE titles at Roland Garros, an absurd number for a guy still in his prime.
He’s as unbeatable on that court as any athete in an individual sport has ever been. Did Nicklaus or Tiger ever win nine Masters tournaments? No. Did Michael Phelps win nine 100-meter Olympic butterflys? Nope. You could throw any boxer, track sprinter or anyone else you want at me, and they won’t measure up to Nadal on Court Phillipe Chartrier in Paris in June.

What’s a little scary for the rest of the tennis world is that Nadal didn’t even play all that well for a while against Novak Djokovic Sunday. Djokovic took the first set and was right there at 5-all in the second, before Rafa turned it up a notch, and didn’t look back.

I was fooled once again, as I have many times before, in thinking this would be the year the Djoker finally toppled Nadal at the French. But nope, he couldn’t get it done, partly due to feeling ill during the match (and hey, NBC, did we really need the super-slo-mo look of Djokovic vomiting on the court? I know I didn’t).

Nadal is an incredible specimen, a marvelous sportsman, and a guy who is creeping up ever-so-closer to catching Roger Federer for G.O.A.T. and in Grand Slam titles won (it’s now 17-14 Roger).

It’s a privilege to watch him work.

**I’ve heard thousands of celebrity “apologies” in my lifetime, and 99 percent of them come off as incredibly fake and insincere. Most of them are written for the celeb in trouble by an agent or P.R. person, and rarely do the words “I’m sorry” or “It was my fault” get uttered by the famous person.

Which is why this apology, by Jonah Hill on the Jimmy Fallon show the other night, was so refreshing. You can tell in his face how upset he is at what he did; I’m not a huge fan of his movies in general, but I’m a big fan of his character as a person now.

Good job.

**So, the Rangers did everything they could Saturday night to give me both a heart attack and send me jumping through the roof with joy, and then after nearly five periods of incredibly intense hockey, they made me collapse on the couch, mad, tired and wondering why the L.A. Kings needed the referees’ help.

Oh, don’t get me wrong: The Rangers did plenty to dig themselves the 0-2 hole they’re in right now in the Stanley Cup Final. They turned the puck over way too much Saturday, they failed to take advantage of several fantastic opportunities to win in OT (Chris Kreider, you gotta bury that breakaway!), and look, the Kings are really, really good and punished the Rangers’ defensemen much of the night.

But come on… that third goal by the Kings was such utter and complete B.S., it was clearly goalie interference, 100 times out of 100 they’ve called that this year in the NHL. I mean, look at this replay of the goal, starting at the :38 mark:

When I tell you that SO much less contact than that has been called interference all season in the NHL, and for that not to be called, a game-turning, and maybe Stanley Cup-final turning, goal, was absolutely bogus.

And listen, I never complain about officiating, in any sport. All calls eventually even out, and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve come away from a game bitching about the zebras. But that was an awful non-call.

Anyway, it’s done, Rangers are down 2-0, and must, must, must win tonight. For inspiration, I will watch the as always superb CBC Stanley Cup montages, like the one above. Nobody does these videos better than them… Let’s Go Rangers!

Rafael Nadal wins a scintillating U.S. Open final. Photos from a new school year. And “Boardwalk Empire” is back, with too many people on the boardwalk

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I have been denying that Rafael Nadal is the greatest tennis player of all time for years now.
I have been saying that Roger Federer won more, more consistently, on different surfaces and against different opponents. Federer is, in my mind, the G.O.A.T., and will always be.
But I’m starting to crack a little. Because this Nadal kid just continues to amaze. Less than a year after being out of the sport with another knee injury, he has roared back and won another U.S. Open on Monday, in four compelling and high-quality sets over Novak Djokovic. The second and third sets featured as brilliant and high-level tennis as you’re likely to see, including this phenomenal 54-shot rally that you really must see if you haven’t.

Nadal looked headed for defeat, down 3-1 in the third set, yet his will, his unbending will, prevailed. He is so strong, so consistent, and so powerful that if he is somehow able to stay healthy, I now think he’ll go down as the greatest of all time, because if he stays healthy he’ll pass Federer in Slam titles (17-13 right now for Fed).
Which is really hard for me to admit as a Federer fan.
Couple quick-hit thoughts on the match:

— Don’t let the score fool you; Djokovic played very well for long stretches. But his will was broken by Nadal after the Serb lost that third set; his mental toughness was unparalleled just two years ago, when he crushed Nadal and all other comers. Now? I’m wondering if his confidence is gone.
— Nadal never looks tired. Ever. Even after epic rallies, he seems ready to go a few more rounds. He said it best after the match, that only Djokovic can bring out this level in him. And the two have played some epic matches over the years; we’re so fortunate that they have each other as foils.

— Mary Carillo, as usual, was fantastic in the CBS commentary booth, even though as usual John McEnroe wouldn’t shut the hell up, even for a second, to let the match breathe. Carillo’s best comment? She said Nadal was a part of the best matches she’s ever seen on a hardcourt (his 2012 six-hour epic loss to Djokovic), on grass (his 2008 Wimbledon win over Fed, the greatest match ever played), and on clay (this year’s 5-set triumph over Djokovic in the semis).
That’s pretty high praise coming from a lifetime tennis-watcher like Carillo.

— Loved how into it the New York crowd was. Don’t love a 5 p.m. Monday start for a championship final. But I am glad the Open gave these guys a day off between the semis and final; it made for so much better tennis.

bigpicture.schools

**So Monday was the first day of school in New York City; I know most of you around the country have had your kids back in school for a while now.
Looks like I’ll be doing the substitute teacher thing again this year, as I wasn’t able to land a full-time classroom position. Which of course means, for all of you, more crazy stories from my professional life of herding teenagers in small rooms.

To celebrate the new school year, the awesome photo site on Boston.com, the Big Picture, has photos of what school looks like from around the world.

Definitely some eye-opening pictures there; the one above is from a school in Japan (I love the half-asleep girl with her hand up).

BoardwalkEmpire

**Finally today, one of my favorite shows is back, Part 2. “Boardwalk Empire” started its fourth season Sunday night, and as much as I like the show and am happy it’s back, I don’t understand why they keep adding new cast members. (SPOILER ALERT. STOP READING IF YOU’RE A FAN AND HAVEN’T SEEN THE PREMIERE YET.)

The show has so many supporting players who aren’t used enough, including Al Capone (who was hilarious and crazy as usual Sunday), Arnold Rothstein, and Chalky White, that I don’t know why they keep insisting on adding new actors and actresses. I’m not really interested in Gillian and her whorehouse anymore, although apparently she’s still a big character.  The only new character who seems intriguing is the young FBI agent, Knox, who beautifully set up his partner to be killed so Knox could keep a bootlegger’s liquor.

Still, there were good signs on Sunday. I like that Nucky is getting back into business with Chalky, and I like that he threw out that floozy who was just using him to become a star. I also think Al Capone is just about ready to overthrow Torrio in Chicago, and that should be fun to watch.
And Richard Harrow’s killing spree? Always a good time.

For all its flaws, “Boardwalk Empire” is still beautiful to watch, and beautifully acted. I just wish they would focus on the characters they already have.

A beautiful story of a man recovering from a childhood trauma. The U.S. Open is here, whoo-hoo! And great SNL audition tapes of stars

**After watching three quarters of the Jets’ preseason game Saturday night, I’m seriously contemplating not watching all their games this year. I mean, what’s the point? If this team wins 6 games, it’ll be a greater miracle than the ending of “It’s A Wonderful Life.”

How do you spend the rest of your life dealing with a tragic accident that changed your life forever when you’re 14?

It sounds like the beginning of a Hollywood movie, or a novel. But it’s the real-life story of Kemp Powers, who at 14 accidentally shot and killed his best friend while fooling around with a gun he had in his room. The next 20 years after that for Powers have been a constant reminder of what he did, even though everyone around him tried to let him forget it.

I’ve written before about how awesome “The Moth” storytelling podcast is, and have linked to a few stories.

But Powers’ story might be the most powerful one I’ve ever heard on “The Moth.” It’s Monday, take a few minutes and listen to a man struggling with demons, and eventually starting to win out. It’s a wonderfully-told tale that shows one mistake doesn’t have to ruin you forever.

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**So today starts the U.S. Open at the National Tennis Center, and to say I’m psyched would be a massive understatement.

I’ve got tickets to go to three of the first five day sessions, and I’ve been counting down the weeks (out loud) for the whole summer (which has annoyed my wife, who said “you’re making the summer go by too fast by looking ahead to the end of it!'” I s’pose she had a point.)

Love, love, LOVE the U.S. Open; went every year as a kid, missed quite a few years as an adult, what with college and then moving all over the country for newspaper jobs.
But since I moved back to N.Y. two years ago, it’s my favorite annual event. A ticket to a day session to the Open during the first week is the best bargain in sports; for about $60, you get around 10 hours of tennis on 20 courts, and much of the time you’re within 10 feet of some of the greatest players in the world.

This year I expect awesomeness as usual. Can Rafa Nadal continue his summer dominance and win the Open again? (Nope.) Will Andy Murray defend the title and keep his incredible 12 months going? (Maybe). Will Novak Djokovic win it all? (Yep.) Can anyone beat Serena? (Keep an eye on Sloane Stephens.) Does my man Federer have any shot? (A small one. But he’d have to beat Rafa in the quarters.)

If you’re a tennis nut like me, the New York Times did an awesome Open section Sunday; click here for all the goodies.

**Finally today, I got a kick out these. The website Mental Floss has gathered eight great videos of “Saturday Night Live” audition tapes; the Jimmy Fallon one I posted above, but the Dana Carvey and John Belushi ones are stellar, too.

There was also a really cool Sunday story in the N.Y. Times, an oral history about the pressure of auditioning for Lorne Michaels, the longtime head honcho of “SNL” who never, ever laughs during auditions.

The drought is over: A Brit finally wins Wimbledon. A celeb 1st pitch like you’ve never seen. And more shameful U.S. secret spying revealed

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It has to be difficult carrying the expectations and hopes of an entire kingdom on your shoulders.

For most of his tennis career, that burden was too much for Andy Murray. It weighed on him, this idea that it had been seven decades-plus since a British man had won Wimbledon, and that he would be the chosen one to break that epic drought.

He came close, oh so close, a few times. Last year when Roger Federer beat him in a close final, he cried and said “I’m getting closer.”

Then he won Olympic gold on Center Court, and then the U.S. Open, his first Grand Slam tournament win, and suddenly you got the feeling maybe Murray would actually win the greatest trophy in tennis one day.

Sunday was that day. I didn’t think it would happen; I thought Novak Djokovic would be too strong, too steady, too mentally tough for Murray to handle.
But as I often am, I was wrong. Murray was fabulous, Djokovic was less than at his best, and for the first time since 1936, a British man is the champion of Wimbledon.

So many questions spring up in the wake of this tremendous win. Can Murray get to No. 1 in the world now? What the hell will the Brits complain about now? Did Djokovic’s epic 5-set semifinal win on Friday take too much out of him for Sunday’s final?

Man oh man, the storylines in tennis just keep getting better. Can’t wait for the U.S. Open.

**And now, one of the most unusual first pitches you’ll ever see. Many celebrity tosses are terrible, but this one is fantastic thanks to the delivery by  Shin Soo-ji, a rhythmic gymnast throwing out the first pitch at a Korean Baseball League game last week.

Very, very cool.

**Finally today, more ugliness revealed about the National Security Agency and their vast, secret spying on Americans. If anyone thought that the information Edward Snowden revealed a few weeks ago was the end of the NSA’s secret doings, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

This New York Times story reports that America’s “surveillance court” has “created a secret body of law giving the NSA the power to amass vast collections of data on Americans while pursuing not only terrorism suspects, but also people possibly involved in nuclear proliferation, espionage and cyberattacks, officials say.”

There are people who will be OK with this, who say that it’s all in the name of fighting terror, and that anything our government has to do, anything, it’s all well and good because we’re at war, we’re fighting the bad guys and this is how we have to do it, yada yada yada.

I could not disagree more with those people. This is NOT what America is about. This is NOT a nation where we just blindly trust our government to do what’s right and look the other way because we’re at war (how’d that go in 2003 when Congress let Bush/Cheney take us into that quagmire of Iraq?)

What President Obama and the NSA are doing is going outside the law without American citizens’ knowledge and doing things that just shouldn’t be done.

It’s shameful, and I hope more U.S. citizens start paying attention to what civil liberties of ours are being given up in the name of “security.”

The hilarious tale of the 2nd black baseball player in the big leagues. An awesome impersonation of the Big 4 in Tennis. And the craziest stop-smoking technique ever

With all the attention that the new Jackie Robinson movie “42” has gotten, it’s easy to forget that Larry Doby was just as much a pioneer as Robinson was.

Doby broke in with the Cleveland Indians in July of 1947, just a few months after Robinson broke the major league color barrier by suiting up for Brooklyn.

Doby had a fine career and it’s a shame he’s been overlooked by so many simply because Robinson’s historic feat was first.

Now, to right this wrong, a clip from the W. Kamal Bell show starring “Larry Doby.” (OK, full disclosure; no wrongs are righted, I just thought this was hilarious. Hat tip to friend of the blog Sanford for sending me the clip. Watch until at least the 2:15 mark and I guarantee a few laughs)

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**Next, I have no idea who this guy Josh Berry is, but his impressions of the Big 4 in men’s tennis (Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic) are absolutely uncanny. The Nadal and Murray ones are scarily spot-on.

**Finally, I’ve heard of all kinds of ways people have to quit smoking. Some of them work, some of them … not so much.
But I think a woman in California has come up with the craziest, most ridiculous way to quit her addiction ever.
She decided that the only way to cure her nicotine fix was to get arrested.

Etta Mae Lopez stood outside a Sacramento courthouse 10 days ago waiting for a sheriff’s deputy to come out. When he did, Lopez slapped him across the face.

“She knew that the only way to quit smoking was to go to jail because they don’t allow tobacco in the jail,” deputy Matt Campoy explained. “She waited all day for a deputy to come out because she knew if she assaulted a deputy she would go to jail and be inside long enough to quit her smoking habit.”

Lopez got 63 days in jail, and Campoy got a great new nickname from his buddies on the force: Nick O’Derm.

Djokovic powers through to another Aussie Open title. Harry Reid disgusts me yet again. And an awesome NHL goal celebration.

Novak.Aussieopen2013

One of the many, many awesome things about being a tennis fan in 2013 is that the Golden Age we’ve been since about 2008 or so shows no signs of slowing down.
The storyline just changes a little. Where once it was Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal towering above all, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray creeped into the picture, and the four of them have raised the sport I love most to an un-Godly level.
And as the Federer-Nadal rivalry has dissipated, because of injuries and age, we’re so lucky to have two guy born within days of each other to carry us throug, and be the new pre-eminent rivalry.

Djokovic and Murray have already played some classics in the last two years, and it looked like Sunday’s Aussie Open final would be another. They traded tiebreak wins for the first two sets, but Djokovic (my 2nd favorite player behind Fed) ran away with the match in four sets.

He’s just so hard to beat when he’s defending like he did Sunday; Djokovic is truly the best defender I’ve ever seen, retrieving balls he has no business getting to. I thought Murray played pretty well, but couldn’t hit enough winners, or enough first serves, to hang in there.

As for my man Federer, no shame for him this tournament, going out in 5 sets to Murray in the semis. Roger is far from done.
It was really a great Aussie Open; I should’ve blogged about it more. We got a new American star on the women’s side (Sloane Stephens is fantastic), some great matches on the men’s side throughout the two weeks, and ESPN even gave us some good announcing with Chris Fowler and Patty McEnroe actually shutting up once in a while and letting the match breathe (Pam Shriver, Cliff Drysdale and Mary Joe Fernandez would not shut the hell up for even a second during the Serena-Stephens match, and it was highly annoying)

Love that the tennis year is underway. Can’t wait till the French Open in May, when Rafa will be back and healthy and ready to defend his crown.

For a really good column on Sunday’s match, check out Jason Gay’s Wall Street Journal piece here.

**Nail Yakupov of the Edmonton Oilers is 19 years old, and has major, major potential. In his third NHL game Thursday night, he scored a game-tying goal, batting the puck out of mid-air, with only five seconds left.

He then enjoyed one of the best NHL goal celebrations in years. I loved it; I wish more players would react like this when they score.

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**And finally, a few words of disgust for the Senate Majority Leader, Mr. Harry Reid, who is a Democrat that consistently continues to let down those in his party, but being a spineless, compromising, collapsing jellyfish of a man.

Late last week, without much fanfare in the press, Reid completely folded in negotiations about ending or reforming the filibuster. The filibuster, if you are not aware, is the process by which the minority party in the Senate can block legislation from coming to a vote. In the old days, Senators had to actually stand on the floor of the Senate and talk and talk and talk for as long as they wanted to filibuster (like Jimmy Stewart in the classic “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”

Now, a filibuster is incredibly simple; a minority party Senator simply and often anonymously says he wants to filibuster something, and poof! there goes the legislation.
It’s why a majority seemingly must have 60 votes now to do anything, and it’s yet another sign of dysfunction in Washington.

So last year, at the urging of some real Dems in the Senate, Reid decided that filibuster reform would be a big deal in 2013. He was in a strong negotiating position, his party just won the White House again, and the GOP was wounded.

And yet, Harry Do-Nothing Reid got just about ZERO reform done. He caved like he always does; he’s an awful, ineffective leader, and I wish he had lost re-election in 2010 so the Democrats could get a real leader at the top of the Senate.

Sigh. Harry Reid, what a disgrace.

Remembering 9/11, always. Andy Murray wins a pulsating U.S. Open. And the keg that looks like R2D2

Today is September 11, the 11th anniversary of the most horrific attack ever on American soil. There has been much less hoopla about it this year than last, though it strangely comforted me hearing thousands of motorcycles roaring through the streets of Manhattan Monday night, all on their way to a memorial this morning.

I know each person commemorates this awful day in their own way; some people don’t even like to think about the tragedy, while others (like me) want to be reminded of it.
I always try to watch a brilliant HBO documentary called “Telling Nicholas” on this day every year, and I also always point you to this amazing slide show created a week after the towers fell by a man named Jason Powers, called “Can’t Cry Hard Enough.”

Good luck getting through this day however you can.

**Man, professional men’s tennis is an embarrassment of riches these days. We keep getting these scintillating Grand Slam finals, one after another, with the plotlines changing faster than in a John Grisham novel, and the story keeps getting better and better.
Monday evening, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic battled hellacious wind, and each other, for nearly five hours and five sets. It was thrilling, heart-pounding stuff, as each man pounded the ball and fought the stiff breeze, trying to make the other submit.
In the end, history was made, and I think people in the UK will never forget where they were when it happened. Murray became the first British man (well, OK, he’s Scottish) since 1936 to win a Slam title, winning 6-2 in the fifth set.
It was sensational and entertaining tennis; Djokovic played such terrific defense to get in the match, and it surely looked like Murray would wilt after blowing a two sets to love lead.

After the 4th set I tweeted, only half-jokingly, that if Murray loses this after being so close he should never pick up a racket again. But I can’t imagine how crushing it would’ve been if he had lost.

But finally, the UK has a tennis champion again. Murray absolutely deserves it; he’s a worthy champ no doubt.

Man, what an incredible year in men’s tennis; four Slams, four different winners, one each for the “Big 4” in the game.

We tennis fans are so lucky to be living in this golden age.


**Finally, this needs no introduction but it’s something you should see. At LSU, they have a keg that looks like R2D2.

Yep, God bless America.

“Rock of Ages” wildly entertaining and ridiculous. A rap song about sippy cups. And Wimbledon, my favorite event, begins

After enjoying the hell out of “Rock of Ages” on Broadway a couple years ago, there was no way I wasn’t going to see the movie.
And after seeing it on Friday night, I can happily report this: It’s thoroughly, awesomely entertaining, and also completely, utterly ridiculous. So, about what I expected.
If you saw the play, you know the story: Bright-eyed starlet comes to Hollywood in the late 1980s, takes a job at a famous dive bar, meets up and coming singer/bartender, and hilarity and heartache ensue.

Julianne Hough is no Meryl Streep here, but she does a good job in the Sherrie role. Diego Beneta gets the “Drew” role, and he’s OK.
And Tom Cruise, who I mocked and cringed about after he was cast? He was terrific as insane rock star Stacee Jaxx.
But the real revelations are Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand, who steal the show with a brilliant man/love relationship, culminating in a wonderful dance to REO Speedwagon’s “Can’t Fight This Feeling.”
There were way too many people in the movie (Bryan Cranston and Mary J. Blige were basically wasted in their roles), and of course the story was ludicrous, but man did my fiance and I have fun at the movie. We sang, out loud and in our seats, many of the great songs (there were only about 10 other people in the theater, FYI) that were the soundtrack of our Gen X childhoods.

No, it won’t win any Oscars. But I doubt I’ll have a better time at any movie this year.

**And now, something I feel certain you’ve never seen before: A 2-minute rap song about a kid having milk in his sippy cup.
You’re welcome.

**Ah, Wimbledon. When tennis nuts like me wax poetic about the splendor of grass, the strawberries and cream, the majesty of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club… God I love it. It begins today, and I actually tried to go in person this year for the first time ever (I toured the grounds on a trip to England in 2007, but it was in March, so, you know, not the same), but tickets were impossible to get. Still, I will get there one day.

As for this year’s tournament, I’m amazed at how many people in the tennis media are picking Roger Federer to win it. Don’t get me wrong, Fed is a God to me and I’d be as happy as any Fed-phile if he did win it again. But I feel like Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are just pretty far ahead of everyone else right now, and I can’t see anyone but the two of them raising the trophy two weeks from now.

But hey, it’d be a fantastic story to see Federer win it. But the pick here in Djokovic on the men’s side, and, what the hell, Serena Williams on the ladies side.