Tag Archives: Prince

Two cool Halloween stories for a spooky Monday. The Jets have a winning streak! And why Saints games are so much fun. And the NBA “genius” who autographed the Great Wall of China

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Happy Halloween, my fellow ghosts and goblins! Hope you and yours have a safe and fun day; my little guy is going as an elephant this year (pretend bag of peanuts came with the costume, which I thought was a nice touch), and I think now that he’s 2 he might enjoy the experience a little more.

Anyway, whether you’re trick-or-treating with your kids, or handing out Kit-Kats and mini-Hershey bars to the neighborhood brats who complain they only got two pieces, hope it’s a safe, fun day. A few Halloween-y items to start today:
First, how awesome is that kid (above) in his Prince costume? First of all, the kid is actually as tall as the real Prince was (ouch). Also the hair and the wisp of a mustache are just perfect. Bravo.

Secondly, this cracked me up, and apparently others enjoyed it too, since it has 5 million view on YouTube. A dog owner decided to dress up as his pooch’s favorite toy, Gumby, and see what happened. Take a wild guess how pumped up the furry guy was…

My final Halloween item comes from a very cool gesture from my man Jeff Pearlman’s daughter, who is Jewish, and her best friend, who is Muslim. They decided to dress up as a new superhero team for Halloween called the “Juslims,” and their photo went crazy-viral on Sunday. So much so that Buzzfeed interviewed the girls and they sounded great.

**Ladies and gentlemen, the New York Jets are on fire! Two wins in a row! 3-5, playoffs here we come, baby!

Yeah, right. The pathetic NFL team I root for played as poorly as you can imagine for a half against the lowly and winless Cleveland Browns, trailing 20-7, and looking like they wanted to go home and watch Game 5 of the World Series, just like the rest of the Browns fans.

But just to tease us fans for a few more weeks, the Jets responded with a huge second half, the Browns remembered they are the Browns, and the Jets squeaked out a 31-28 win.
Great. Now we Jets fans don’t get to see if Bryce Petty is the QB of the future for at least a few more weeks.

— Thought about this during the Jets-Browns game: Wouldn’t it be nuts if, in 2016, the Cavaliers won the NBA title, the Indians won the World Series, and the Browns went 0-16? That’d be awesome.

— I don’t have any statistical proof of this at the moment, but doesn’t it seem like the New Orleans Saints play more crazy-finish games than anyone, at least in the last five years? It always seems like Drew Brees and his mates are involved in nail-biter after nail-biter. Sunday they held off Seattle 25-20, but not before the Seahawks drove to the Saints’ 10 and had one pass into the end zone to win it.

— Some fan threw a dildo onto the field during the Patriots-Bills game. I have no sarcastic or witty comment to add, I just feel like you needed to know that happened.

— I realize I may be the last football fan in America to have seen this, but the Bo Jackson Tecmo Bowl commercial for Kia? Magnificent. I’ve tried to explain to younger people that Tecmo Bo was the greatest video game athlete of all time, and they just don’t get it. But he was.

— Is it time we acknowledge the Raiders are finally good? I mean, 6-2 is 6-2. Their QB, Derek Carr, is terrific, they’ve got great wideouts, and a defense that doesn’t stink. Maybe all this success means they won’t move to Vegas in a few years.

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**Finally today, this story just made me laugh and question this guy’s sanity all at once.
A Houston Rockets guard named Bobby Brown (no, not the singer) was with his team over in China a few weeks ago playing some NBA exhibition games when, like millions of tourists do every year, he decided to visit the Great Wall.

But unlike those millions of others, Bobby decided to treat one of the Seven Wonders of the World like it was a storefront in Bed-Stuy. He scrawled his name (and uniform number!) on a section of the historic site.

And then, you know, Brown posted a photo of his autograph on Twitter.

I mean … COME ON DUDE! Do you think Yao Ming wrote his name and number on the Statue of Liberty when he played the Knicks???

Shockingly, Chinese citizens weren’t thrilled by Brown’s deed.

“Are you proud of your carving? This is a part of world heritage, not the toilet of your home,” one said.

Brown apologized. Can’t wait till he goes back to China with a big scrubber to try to get his signature off.

“Beautiful/Anonymous” is a new podcast I’m obsessed with. Two great Prince tributes over the weekend. And I vent a little about the Rangers’ season ending

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I’m a pretty huge fan of podcasts; I listen to them when I’m driving somewhere, or walking somewhere (which is always in Manhattan), or taking the subway. I love learning about worlds other than my own; podcasts keep me informed, entertained and often angered. But never bored.

That said, I wasn’t really looking for any new ones, as I don’t have time to listen to all the ones I already like.

But on the most recent new episode of “This American Life,” they played a long stretch of a fantastic new podcast called “Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People,” and I was hooked. There’ve only been seven episodes so far and I’ve devoured three of them in the last couple of days.

Here’s the premise: A comedian named Chris Gethard sits in a studio, and people call in. He picks one phone caller each week, gets them on the line, and then for the next 60 minutes, they talk. The caller stays anonymous, and Gethard must stay on the phone for the whole hour, he can’t hang up, no matter where the conversation goes (the caller can hang up anytime).

It sounds so simple, and so open-ended, and it is. The podcast works because Gethard is a terrific listener who asks great questions, and the conversations go anywhere and everywhere at once.

Just to give you an example of what it’s like: One episode features an illustrator living in New York City, struggling to make ends meet in a difficult profession, ruminating with Chris on staying true to his art or “selling out,” but the conversation goes all over the place, to NYC parking rules, the Star Wars movies, and lots of other places.
There has been one incredible episode featuring an Army soldier who played with a Ouija board on leave, and he asked the board if anyone in his platoon was going to die that year, and the board spelled out a very unusual first name, the name of a guy in his platoon, and the caller never told the guy and then the guy was killed by a sniper eight months later.

And the caller is dealing with the weight, and the guilt, of that, plus his Grandma was a French spy and his grandpa was an Allied officer and they met during World War II. (That’s episode 5)

Maybe the most emotional episode was No. 4, with a formerly homeless voice actor just talking and working stuff out with Gethard, who is alternately empathetic, angry, funny and just exactly the kind of guy you’d want to spend an hour on the phone with.

It’s really a fantastic podcast, if you want to hear real, unscripted, raw conversation. Check it out on ITunes here, or on the Earwolf.com site here.

**Next up today, like many people I’m sure I spent a bit of my weekend reminiscing about Prince after his death on Thursday; a highlight for me was the 10 minutes I spent at my aunt and uncle’s Passover Seder Saturday explaining to my uncle exactly why Prince was so talented, and so beloved for his music.

Two tributes I saw over the weekend that I wanted to share that I thought were great: First, above, is the cast of “Hamilton” closing their show Thursday night with a fantastic little dance tribute to Prince, and the second, below, is Bruce Springsteen, showing once again he’s a rock god, opening a concert in Brooklyn Saturday night with “Purple Rain,” featuring the amazing Nils Lofgren on the great guitar solo halfway through the song.

Just fantastic.

**And finally today, if you’ll permit me a minute to rant about my New York Rangers, whose season mercifully ended on Saturday, with a 6-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

I’ve been spoiled these last four years as a Rangers fan; my favorite team in all of sports got to the conference finals in 2012, then the Cup finals in 2014, then lost a Game 7 of the conference finals last year. That’s a whole lot of hockey, a whole lot of excitement. Those Rangers teams, I was proud to support. They deserved admiration and love.

This year’s team? This team was pathetic. The effort was lacking in so many games this year, and then in so many playoff games. They hung the best goalie in the world, Henrik Lundqvist, out to dry many times. They had a penalty killing unit that would’ve had to improve to be considered dreadful.

Several young players took steps backward this season (I’m looking at you, Kevin Hayes), and I’m honestly not sure if King Henrik’s poor year was an omen of things to come (ducks lightning bolt).

Just a miserable Rangers season. But like I said, I’ve been spoiled.
Also, these Stanley Cup playoffs have been so-so so far; the Blues-Blackhawks series has been sensational (can’t wait for Game 7), but outside of that, kind of meh. Hated that the Islanders won Sunday night, but happy for many of my Isles fan friends who hadn’t seen a playoff series win since 1993 (That was before O.J. murdered Nicole and Ron, that’s how long ago that was.)

Expecting great things out of Caps-Penguins in Round 2, and as always, playoff overtime hockey is the best thing in sports.

Celebrating the life of the incredible Prince. Vin Scully, as sharp as ever at 88. And Obama and Steph Curry make a great mentoring video

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It is Friday, which usually means I post only Good News stories, and it would be impossible for anyone to say that the death Thursday of 57-year-old music icon Prince Rogers Nelson is good news.

It’s tragic news, because anytime the death of someone leaves less genius in the world, it’s a tragedy.

Prince was so many things, to so many people. To me, he was an incredible voice, a scintillating talent who could sing, dance, write music, play 30 instruments all in one sitting (he once did an entire concert like that, playing each instrument for three minutes each), and pretty much revolutionize music in his own way.

He was an epic music producer for so many other artists, he was a trailblazer in fighting record companies for what he believed he should rightfully get paid for music rights, and more than anything else, he was just a weird, weird dude.

Exhibit A, the story of Prince playing ping-pong with Jimmy Fallon.

Then there’s Kevin Smith’s fabulous re-telling of a week spent with Prince making a documentary (watch if only for the revelation that Prince buys workout clothes from the boys department at Nordstrom!)

He was one of a kind, and his music got me through a lot of long nights in college; my friend Brian Hickey would put a Prince CD on while a bunch of us toiled away on deadline at the school newspaper The Review and we’d get a burst of energy from “When Doves Cry” and “Kiss” and most of all, “I Would Die 4 U.”

His unique voice has been silenced forever. Goddamn, we’ve lost Bowie, Glenn Frey, and now Prince this year and it’s not even May yet.

Rest in peace, sweet Prince. You will be missed.

** Next up today, a small tribute to a giant of a man. Vin Scully has been broadcasting Dodgers games for 67 years, and the 88-year-old has announced this will be his last season. Scully will be celebrated all season, for his kindness to others, his humility, and just his remarkable ability to weave interesting stories  through his broadcasts.

Already this season we’ve gotten two classic Scully stories. The first, embedded above, about why the No. 13 should be celebrated, not feared. And the second, below, is just an incredible story about Giants ace Madison Bumgarner, and a snake, and some other stuff.

**Finally, Barack Obama and Steph Curry did a video, a public service announcement about mentorship last week, for the organization My Brother’s Keeper.

It is, predictably, awesome, and put a big smile on my face when I saw it.

 

 

I survive my 10K quite well, with all muscles intact. The Jets lose a heartbreaker but I am OK with it. And Shaq sings Prince

My moment of triumph arrived at around 10:45 a.m. Saturday, and I didn’t want to blow it.
For the past hour and 15 minutes, I had alternately sprinted, jogged, and for a brief minute, walked during the Run for the Warriors 10k in Lindenhurst, on Long Island.
My first 10k ever was a whole lot of fun. The course, through the town of Lindenhurst, was pretty except for the part where we ran on Sunrise Highway, a major road that was closed for us but still felt a little weird to be running on.

My first two miles were pretty fast by my standards, I slowed down a bit around mile three (halfway through), paired up with a nice woman named Mary who paced me through the 4 1/2 mile mark, then I got a burst of speed and caught up with a guy named Rob, and he and I ran to the finish.
My goals for this race were simple: I wanted to finish. I wanted to come in under 1 hour, 20 minutes. And I didn’t want to finish last.

I’m happy to say I didn’t, which is why I look so happy in the above photo. Fifteen people finished behind me (OK, out of 322, and two people in their 70’s kicked my butt, but still…), as I clocked in at 1:18.22.

My family was there to greet me at the finish line, which was awesome. I actually didn’t feel too sore Sunday, which made me feel good since my training clearly has made me stronger.

But most importantly, thanks to the generosity of readers, friends and family, I raised $725 for the Hope for the Warriors charity, an excellent cause.
My next goal? A much faster 10k in the early spring, and then, hopefully a half-marathon next fall.
Now that I’ve caught this running bug, I gotta keep going.

**I had a strange feeling after watching yet another Jets-Patriots classic Sunday, when my boys came from 10 points down in the second half to take the lead, only to blow that and lose in overtime, 29-26.
I was mad, and disappointed, but also, strangely… encouraged. Maybe it’s because I’ve so dramatically lowered my expectations for this team this year, or because I’m overestimating the Pats, but I thought there were lots to be pleased about with how the Jets played.
So despite being angry at more asinine playcalling (3rd and goal from the 1 in the third quarter, you’ve been running it down their throats, and you don’t use Tebow but call a slant pass?), and at Stephen Hill’s big drop, and Sanchez again failing to secure the ball on the game-changing fumble, I also saw…

–Sanchez play beautifully in the second half. Man, where is that guy most of the time? A couple of those drives in the second half, especially when he zipped the TD in to Dustin Keller, were just fabulous displays of passing. I still want to start over with a fresh QB next year, but man, he’s got some talent.
— Glad to see they finally, finally used Joe McKnight in the running game a little bit. I just hope he’s not too banged up because we need him next week, too.
— The defense really stepped up, tackling well and harassing Brady at times. Again, maybe the Pats aren’t that good (and they sure seemed out of sync in the 2nd half on offense), but the Jets D played a terrific game.

A couple other quick-hit NFL thoughts on another wild Sunday:
 Robert Griffin III. Man, if he could cut down on those turnovers,  he’d be just about perfect. What an incredible athlete. He’s moving the position of QB forward, he really is.
— Then again, the Redskins did lose. Eli Manning is uncanny; he made an awful throw for a pick, then five minutes later with his team down, he throws a beautiful pass to Victor Cruz on a bomb for a TD.
— The Tampa-New Orleans game was one of the bar’s TV’s where I was at (there are apparently three huge Bucs fans in New York City and all sat next to me) and it was a hell of a game. Drew Brees is pretty damn good. Those hold throwback Bucs creamsicle jerseys, though? Burn ’em all.
— Finally, there are only three teams in the AFC with winning records. Am I nuts to think the Jets could make the playoffs at 8-8?

**As a karaoke singer and mangler of great songs myself, I have to sometimes acknowledge the “greatness” of other bad singers. So this made me laugh: The great Shaquille O’Neal, singing the Prince classic, “When Doves Cry.”

Say this about Shaq: Man’s not ashamed to make a fool of himself in public.