Tag Archives: Oprah Winfrey

The Golden Globes is dominated by women, and by Queen Oprah’s amazing speech. And the Saints and Falcons look very dangerous in NFL playoffs

I can positively report that there were, in fact, men present at the Golden Globe awards Sunday night.

I’m not sure why they were there, but they were. I saw Dwayne Johnson and Jason Bateman and I think even a few male award winners. But by all means, this year’s Golden Globes were ALL about the women.

Which is totally fine, and even welcome. With all the Hollywood sexual misconduct we’ve learned about over the past several months, it was great to see women take center stage and, almost as a group, demand better treatment.

It was a very different feel to this year’s Globes (and am I crazy or was there no “death montage?” Isn’t there usually one?), and most of the show was pretty so-so.

But then, Queen Oprah came out and blew the doors off everything that came before, and after. I’d tell you about her speech, but I wouldn’t do it justice. If this was the kickoff to her 2020 Presidential campaign (and quite honestly, I might vote for her if she ran), it was sensational. Please watch this:

As for the rest of the show, a few rambling thoughts from my brain, and as always, fashion commentary and other thoughts helpfully provided by my beautiful wife:

— Seth Meyers as host was fine, though he disappeared the last half of the show. Two great monologue jokes I loved: “For the male nominees tonight will be the first time in three months it won’t be terrifying to hear your name read out loud.” Also I liked when he said “A string of three words that could not have been better designed to infuriate our president:Hollywood Foreign Press.”

— Winners I was super happy about: Rachel Brosnahan and “The Marvelous  Mrs. Maisel” both winning. Aziz Ansari for “Master of None,” maybe the best show I saw in 2017, was a shocking win, I thought. And of course, Sterling K. Brown for “This Is Us” thrilled me. His speech at the Globes wasn’t nearly as great as his awesome Emmys speech last year, but still, pretty great.

— The on-stage speeches all paled next to Queen Oprah’s, but I thought Laura Dern gave a heartfelt one, I loved Frances MacDormand’s fierce pride, and the sheer excitement of Greta Gerwig when “Lady Bird” won was very cool to see.

— Fashion do’s and don’ts: Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry and Sharon Stone all looked amazing. Mariah Carey looked like a Playboy Bunny who wandered off from Hef’s place. And Allison Janney? I love her to death, she can’t win enough awards for me. But that dress was hideous.

— OK, so that weird dude who was called up on stage when James Franco one, the dude who directed the movie that “The Disaster Artist” was based on? His name is Tommy Wiseau but I swear my first thought when I saw him was “Holy crap, Michael Jackson is alive???)

— Finally, while many women spoke beautifully about the importance of the “Time is Up” movement and women’s equality, it was definitely disappointing to see so few men say a word about what’s gone on in Hollywood all these years. No reason only women have to be standing up for women. I’m just sayin.’

**And now for some football talk: We had two bad games and two good games this weekend in the NFL playoffs, which is usually what happens on Wild Card weekend.

— The Saints-Panthers game was stellar on Sunday, I really felt sure Carolina was going to pull it out in the fourth quarter after Saints coach Sean Payton crazily went for it on 4th and 2 from midfield, with a five-point lead and three minutes to go. But New Orleans won a 31-26 thriller and I think the “Aints” have an excellent shot to beat the Vikings next week.

— Atlanta is probably going to beat Philly, too, because the Iggles don’t have a quarterback.  Both the NFC games should be terrific next weekend, but in the AFC? Blech.

Buffalo and Jacksonville did their best to put America to sleep Sunday; you’re going to tell me Blake Bortles is winning a road playoff game in Pittsburgh next week?  I was really pulling for the Bills Sunday but Tyrod Taylor, that was a putrid performance.

And as shocking (not) as the Titans’ comeback over the El Foldo Chiefs was, Marcus Mariota and Co. are going into Foxboro to beat Brady and Belichick? I’ll dunk a basketball in the NBA before that happens. (But that was a great block (above) the QB threw on the game-clinching Titans run).

— Poor Chiefs fans. Every time they make the playoffs and get a home game, they lose. Six straight times, over more than 20 years! It’s an impressive streak. Andy Reid, you are an amazing regular season coach. Come January, you turn into Rich Kotite.

And that’s not a pretty picture.

 

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In praise of a really good NYC hospital. My student asks a great MLK question. And the worst human of 2013 (man who hit baby on flight)

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We had an unexpected medical scare in my family last week; my stepfather has been having some heart trouble recently, and my Mom checked him into Lenox Hill Hospital here in New York City last Monday night.

Fortunately, he seems to be OK now, but over the course of the next five days, I saw a truly great hospital up close.
There were nurses everywhere. Doctors came in and out, different specialists of all kinds (at first they didn’t know what was wrong with my stepfather, so at various times he saw a gastro guy, a neurologist, and a cardiologist.)

Sure, there were some bad points, and information didn’t always get passed to us quickly. But I think we hear horror stories about hospitals too much that we forget what small miracles they are.

You go in when you’re sick, they examine you, usually find out what’s wrong, and send you home better than when you came in (and with some great drugs!)

I’m glad my stepfather was in a good hospital, and I got to see hard-working, dedicated medical pros at work.

Never take for granted what a top team of physicians can do. I just hope we dont’ have to see them again for a long time.

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**One of the things I’ve really enjoyed about substitute teaching so far is the unexpected questions that come my way (and no, “why can’t I go to the bathroom now?” isn’t one of them).

I was in class last week helping students with an assignment where they had to analyze Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech. I got to talking with one of the male students and he said, “Hey, how come there’s never been a great Hollywood movie about him?”

I thought about it for a second. We had a Malcolm X movie, a JFK movie, and movies about so many other great 1960s figures.
But we’ve never had a great MLK movie. And I have no idea why. Is it that Hollywood is too scared to take on such a controversial figure?

Just did a few minutes of Internet research and I found that two feature-length movies are in the works about MLK, and Oprah Winfrey is supposedly helping produce a 7-part mini-series about the Reverend for HBO, though I can’t find any stories talking about it since 2010.

I do hope we get a great King movie made; his legacy certainly deserves one.

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** Finally today, I know it’s only mid-February, but I think we may have found the worst human being of 2013 already.

His name is Joe Rickey Hundley, and on Feb. 8 he was aboard a Delta Air Lines flight and seated next to a woman named Jessica Bennett, who was travelling with her 19-month-old son Jonah.

Upon the plane’s final descent, young Jonah started crying a bit, which is of course natural for babies due to the altitude change.

So instead of just ignoring the child, ole’ Joe Rickey, who was also allegedly drunk, slapped Jonah in the face and used a racial slur toward Bennett.

Hundley was arrested and charged with simple assault, but his penalty ought to be locked up in roomful of crying babies for eternity.

I mean, slapping an infant???? Throw the book at this disgrace to humanity.

The Smoking Gun story about man who hit crying baby in the face.

Manti T’eo and the most bizarre sports story of all time. Thoughts on Lance Armstrong, suddenly a “truth-teller.” And Obama gets serious on guns

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So much to get to today, but I have to start with what has to be, without equivocation, the most bizarre sports story of my lifetime.
If you have somehow missed it in the last 18 hours, star Notre Dame linebacker Manti T’eo was revealed in a Deadspin.com story to either have been in on and planned (seems very likely), or been the innocent victim of (not likely), an incredible hoax wherein a girlfriend he talked about movingly and in extreme detail in the past, a girlfriend who was said to have died from leukemia last September, in actuality never existed.

Yes, that’s right. He told hundreds of media outlets in stories personal details of a relationship with a woman named Lennay Kekua, about meeting her at Stanford in 2009, seeing her in Hawaii on vacations, and how tragic and difficult her death was.

Except, such a person never existed, Deadspin revealed. Notre Dame came out Wednesday defending T’eo, saying he had nothing to do with it, and T’eo said in a statement he’s completely a victim here.

I know this all sounds nuts, because it is. Read the original Deadspin story here, and a CNN update here (with bizarre details toward the end from a T’eo friend who said he met Kekua many times). I truly can’t wait to see where this story goes next.

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**OK, now to Lance Armstrong, who I’ve tried really hard to avoid reading about in the past few days, once it was “revealed” that he sat down with Queen Oprah and told her that, yes, regrettably, he did all those terrible things people said he did, all those things that there is incontrovertible proof he did: took performance-enhancing drugs, threatened cycling officials, coaches and his own teammates, and basically bullied an entire sport like he was  Corleone family member.

And I’m sorry, but are we supposed to give this disgrace of a person “credit” for coming clean now? It’s not confessing if everyone already knows you’re guilty, and there are mounds of evidence proving so.

Lance Armstrong is a disgrace not just because he cheated, and not just because he intimidated and threatened and ruined the lives of many, many people.

He’s a disgrace because he held himself up as a model of what can be done in the fight against cancer, a disease that ravages and kills millions every year. And with all the success stories and heroes that emerge from the cancer fight, he was held up as the No. 1 hero, the paramount success story.

And he’s nothing more than a fraud, wrapped in bicycling clothes. Good riddance to him, and I hope he loses every shred of credibility and esteem he ever had.

On the plus side, hey, it’s nice to see Oprah being relevant again, huh?

**Finally, a few words on Barack Obama and guns. Despite my initial skepticism, he does seem to really be serious this time. Wednesday he proposed 23 executive actions as part of a sweeping overhaul of some of the nation’s gun laws, with a major focus on closing loopholes about background checks.

I don’t know how much of Obama’s plan will pass Congress, but with the NRA continued to absolutely shoot itself in the foot (pardon the pun) with idiotic TV ads like the one above, he’s definitely going to have the public on his side.

Good for him for making a good-faith effort. But there’s still a long, long way to go on gun control.

The guy who beat himself up (literally) over Oprah tickets. Another ridiculous infomercial. And adult spelling bees?

Men make life so hard on themselves sometimes.
For example: Robert Spearing of Ontario had a great idea: His wife is a huge fan of Oprah Winfrey, so Spearing, being a great husband, told her he got tickets to Oprah’s Farewell special at the United Center.
And Mrs. Spearing was delighted. The couple drove all the way from Ontario to Chicago, thrilled at the chance to see Oprah before she left her show.

But the day before the big taping, Mr. Spearing went to police with the horrible news that he’d been mugged, and the rotten thieves had stolen his Oprah tickets! (Criminals are huge fans of Oprah, everyone knows that). Spearing went to the hospital with cuts on his head.
Somehow, the fine policemen of Chicago got a little suspicious of Spearing’s story.
It turns out that Mr. Spearing never had Oprah tickets. And to avoid disappointing his wife, he pretended to get mugged.

I’m not exactly sure what his plan was, given he HAD NO TICKETS. But he did spend a night in jail, so maybe that got him some sympathy from the wife.

But probably not. I’m sure she really wanted to see Oprah.

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**This thing pretty much speaks for itself. Does the world really need a Koozie Pocket Shirt? I don’t think so. But hey, maybe it’s just me.

**Finally, this week brings my favorite “sporting” event of the year. Yes, the Scripps National Spelling Bee! I love the Bee, as I said last year. It’s full of drama and excitement and I just love seeing smart kids get rewarded on national television. (it’s on ESPN Thursday night at 8:30, if you’re a bee fan like I am).

Apparently I’m  not the only grown-up who likes Spelling Bees; according to this story on NPR’s Only a Game, spelling bees for adults are growing in popularity. These people in Louisville have them at a bar, and it’s a whole social thing.

Very interesting stuff. I totally want to find one here in Florida that I can spell at.

In praise of 25 years at the Church of Oprah. A quick Lebron thought. And Darth Vader entertains senior citizens

“The Oprah Winfrey Show” ended Wednesday. Maybe you heard something about it.
If you’re already sick of the hype about the ending of a television talk show, you might want to skip this post.
But I just wanted to say a few words about maybe the most powerful, influential woman in America.
It’s easy to mock the “cult” of Oprah; the millions of people who hang on her every word, do exactly what she tells them to do, etc.
But I won’t do that. Because let’s take a look at what Oprah has been telling people to do for the last quarter-century:
Believe in yourself. Take control of your life. Don’t allow people to mistreat you. Don’t mistreat others. Strive for greatness. Live your dreams. Help other people achieve theirs.
Make yourself a better person. Make the world better.
Through 25 years, through all the shows she did, that was pretty much her mantra.
And is it so bad, then, if a person like that has millions and millions of followers?
I didn’t watch Oprah every day. But I watched her show plenty; sometimes with a family member, sometimes with my wife, sometimes just by myself.
Usually, you learned something from Oprah and her guests. You learned about courage, about wisdom, about overcoming obstacles. Or you just learned in a small way, how to make your life better.
Oprah Winfrey was at tremendous force of good in the lives of so many others. And beyond all the other hype and criticism you may find of her, that’s as good a legacy as anyone could ever hope for.

**Watched the 4th quarter of the Bulls-Heat NBA playoff game Thursday night. Damn, LeBron James is good. Much as I hate the 180-degree turn in his attitude since before “The Decision,” he reminded me again Thursday night why I loved him so much in the first place.
A phenomenal 4th quarter performance. Just cold-blooded, cutting the heart out of the Bulls.
All that said, go Dallas in the Finals!

**And now, for something completely different. Found this clip on Andrew Sullivan’s blog, which I love for many reasons, but one of which is, he always seems to post random clips of joy. And I LOVE random clips of joy.
So here is a man, dressed as Darth Vader, entertaining people at a senior citizens center in New York.

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John Lithgow dramatically reads Newt Gingrich. And Oprah, making another dream come true.

John Lithgow is one of those actors who I forget about for years, then see him do something funny, and I’m like “Of course! I love John Lithgow! Why haven’t I thought about him more?”

The acting legend was at it again last week; this was from the Stephen Colbert show last week. It’s Lithgow, doing a dramatic reading of a Newt Gingrich press release. Brilliant:

**So you may have heard that Oprah Winfrey is wrapping up her show in a few days.  I’ll probably have more to say about Oprah in a few days after I watch her final shows (no, I don’t watch Oprah usually, but I’m a sucker for series finales and stuff like that); she’s a complex woman who has done so much good for so many, and spreads her wealth around in a very good way.
Yes, her followers are a little cult-like, and yes, Oprah gets way too preachy sometimes, but she still does so much more good than bad.
As her show has wound down, she seems to be making even more grand gestures than usual. I was moved by this video I came across Saturday; it’s Oprah and her “favorite guest,” a woman named Terarai Grant, who rose from being a poorly-educated, abused woman in Zimbabwe to get her Masters degree and become a successful businesswoman (see Oprah’s original story about Grant here).
The other day, on one of her final shows, Oprah made this incredible gesture to help Grant. It moved me; hope you like it as well.

A book I cannot praise enough. A great meal. And Kennedy Center honors a Beatle

Finished an amazing book the other night, one I thought I wrote about when it came out but alas, I had not.
I first learned about Dirk Hayhurst, a minor league baseball pitcher, a couple of years ago when someone sent me a blog post he was writing for his hometown newspaper in Canton, Ohio. It was smart, witty and remarkably level-headed. I remember sending it to a few people I know because I was so stunned that an athlete had so captured his sport, in writing.
Eventually, Hayhurst decided to keep a journal of his experiences for the 2007 season, and the result is the hilarious, poignant and can’t-put-it-down “The Bullpen Gospels.”
It’s a baseball book, but really it’s a life book. There is some incredibly juvenile stuff in here, but that’s what life on a minor league baseball team is sometimes. Some of the book is dark, as Hayhurst, definitely no-longer a big-league prospect, struggles with his failures on the field, his brother’s alcoholism and how it’s affected his family, and whether he should just quit.
The book is also riotously funny, and wise, and the last 20 pages will knock your socks off.
I highly, highly, highly recommend this book. If you want a taste of his writing, this is the blog post from a few years ago that got me so charged up about him.

**Had a truly fantastic meal Tuesday night, in celebration of my mother’s birthday (Happy birthday Mom!). We went to this great Japanese restaurant, with great appetizers, a terrific main course (I had the tilefish with teriyaki sauce and broccoli on the side, de-lish), and Baskin-Robbins birthday cake for dessert (we brought our own, thank you.)
Now, I love food. As much as I love breathing, pretty much. But this was one of those meals where as you’re walking out of the restaurant, you exhale and say to yourself, “Damn, that was a great meal!” You know those kind? I knew you did.

**So I watched a few minutes of the Kennedy Center Honors program on CBS last night. Didn’t get home in time to see the Oprah tribute, but saw the Paul McCartney stuff toward the end. As I watched Gwen Stefani and others “honor” Paul, I wondered how someone like him feels at that moment.
Like, it’s great to be honored and worshipped by millions, but watching people who weren’t even born when you recorded “Let It Be” and “Hey Jude” sing them, while you’re sitting there high atop a luxury suite? Methinks that has to be a little strange. I’m wondering if McCartney and the other brilliant musicians who’ve been honored by the Kennedy Center ever want to just run down there and yell “Hey! Enough! I get that you love me.
Now please, for God’s sakes, we don’t need a reggae version of “Born to Run!” Thank you!”

Why 2010 is the best time in history to be lonely. And Ebert’s incredible new voice

Hear me out on this one.

So while I was talking to Pearlman the other day, we got to discussing chatroulette.com, that bizarre new site where, with a webcam and a computer, you can have hundreds, nay, thousands of encounters with random strangers, all with in a few hours.

And this thought suddenly occurred to me: There is no better time in the history of the world to be a lonely person than right now. Think about this: Let’s say you’re sitting at home, bored, with no friends or family around, no significant other, and feeling extremely depressed.

Think about how many ways you can now experience human companionship. Skype. Chatroulette.com. Internet chat rooms. Message boards. Email. Instant messaging.

I could go on and on, but you’ve got things to do today once you’re done reading this blog post.

There are literally dozens of ways a lonely person can experience human contact, or feel a little less strange, or isolated. Technology has basically ensured that you are never truly alone; there is always someone, somewhere, who shares your interests, your beliefs, or just wants to be a little less lonesome themselves.

When I was a high school kid or recent college graduate (I don’t ever recall being lonely in college; that was four years of bliss), I didn’t have any of these options. I’d read, or play my video games, but I’d stay depressed when I got in one of those “no one loves me, I’ll always be alone” moods we all go through at one time or another.

But now? The entire world is at your fingertips.

It’s a great time to be alive.  And the best time ever to feel the pangs of loneliness.

**I’ve been writing a lot about Roger Ebert lately, partly because I find him so inspiring. Here’s a man who can no longer eat, drink or talk, but is still writing brilliantly and living courageously.

If you read that Esquire article I linked above, you may remember that there was a company in Scotland called Cereproc working on a computerized voice that would sound almost identical to Ebert’s former voice, and that soon the legendary film critic would be able to type words and have them come out sounding like his old self.

Tuesday on Oprah, the new voice was unveiled. Pretty damn amazing, if you ask me. Fast forward to :35 on this clip to hear the new, computerized Ebert.

What a world we live in.