Tag Archives: Rangers

Good News Friday: Prom dates from 64 years ago tie the knot. A dog doesn’t recognize his owner who lost weight, until he does, beautifully. And the first African-born MLB player has a fabulous debut

Prom dates get married
Credit: Anna Harris

And a Happy Friday to you out there in Internet-land. A little bummed this morning because the Rangers blew Game 1 against Ottawa, but hey, the Jets seem to have made a good draft pick and our President says he thought being President would be much easier than it is, so hey, everything’s coming up roses. (How much do you love a man saying he thought being President would be easier than his last job? Ah, the chutzpah.)

Anyway, three cool stories for you today on GNF. First up, meet Joyce Kevorkian and Jim Bowman, two 81-year-olds who grew up in Indiana. They went to the senior prom together 64 years ago, then drifted apart, had very long marriages to other people that sadly ended in their spouses dying.

After being alone for a little while, Bowman began thinking about his old flame. Bowman dug up Kevorkian’s address and sent her a letter. Kevorkian responded within a month and the two began rekindling their lost love.

“After many hours of phone conversations and emails, she asked me to visit her,” says Bowman. “We both like fun things and we both still have a good sense of humor and can laugh at each other. We both still liked to dance, we both love music and reading and hiking still.”

The couple tied the knot on April 1 at Kevorkian’s senior living center during an intimate ceremony Bowman described as “very special.”

“She’s even more beautiful now,” Bowman gushes to PEOPLE of his new bride. “We’re just as happy as can be.”

Kevorkian adds, “And he hasn’t changed that much! A little less hair, but he’s tall and handsome as ever.”

Those photos are just perfect, aren’t they? Great story. I’m sure this kind of thing has happened before, but to see the joy in Jim and Joyce’s faces … just magical.

**Next up today, I’m not a big dog person but I thought this was pretty sweet. A dog owner in North Carolina had gotten very sick and been in the hospital for a few months, losing a lot of weight. When he came home, his beloved dog didn’t recognize him and started barking wildly. Then the pooch got close enough to smell his owner and boy, did that change!

Very sweet.

**Finally today, this is such a wonderful story. A man named Gift Ngoepe became the first player born in Africa to play in a major-league baseball game this week, and in his first at-bat, the 27-year-old ripped a single to center field.

Ngoepe’s story is pretty amazing; he spent nine years in the minor leagues after being signed by the Pirates (the incomparable Gary Smith wrote a marvelous story on Ngoepe in SI in 2009)  and he took a long road to the majors.

But Wednesday Ngoepe entered a game against the Cubs in the fourth inning and made history. His story is terrific, and after the game he gave a great interview to Deadspin. Quick excerpt:

“I heard the fans yelling when they called my name to hit and I was like, “Oh boy, yeah, okay, thanks.” There’s like 30,000 people watching right now. No worries. And that’s not even counting the people that are streaming it. Or ESPN might be showing it across the whole world or something. I don’t even know what’s going on. I just tried to keep everything simple at that point.”

I hope Gift stays around awhile.

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Bill O’Reilly’s actually gonna fall, and I’m shocked. A pro tennis match gets interrupted by people having sex. And Stanley Cup playoff hockey making me tear my (little remaining) hair out

Looks like a sacred cash cow, the biggest one on cable TV, is finally being let out of the barn.

I loathe Bill O’Reilly for the same reasons most people do: He’s a smug, arrogant blowhard who acts the fool on television and riles up millions of people with angry rhetoric, often racist and sexist in tone.  He was rude and dismissive during his interviews with Barack Obama when he was President, and his complete disregard for facts was disgusting.

Still, O’Reilly attracts a huge audience and makes a ton of money, and brings in a boatload of cash for Fox News, so I figured he was pretty much bulletproof from any scandal, including the recent New York Times investigation that showed he was a serial sexual harasser.

Let’s face it, TV executives don’t care what their talent does, as long as the money train keeps rolling. But O’Reilly’s advertisers have started running away from him like viewers should have years ago, and Fox is apparently now getting ready to can him.

I’m kind of stunned. O’Reilly’s shtick (and he admits off-camera that it is a shtick) was still pulling in big numbers for Fox. But after the Roger Ailes sexual scandal last year, maybe Fox didn’t feel like fighting this one, too.

Good riddance, Bill O. You deserve all the public scorn you are getting. John Oliver, take it away…

**So this is something you don’t see every day: Frances Tiafoe and Mitchell Krueger are two young American pro tennis players, and Tuesday they were playing a match at the Sarasota Open, a minor-league-level event in Florida that was watched by a crowd of dozens.

Midway through the second set, with Tiafoe about to serve, he hears some very strange noises. At first he thinks it’s from a phone, but nope… it’s a couple having very energetic sex in an apartment a few feet away from the court.

So many things I love about the above video, but the announcer trying to stay calm and explain without explaining what’s going on is great. Also, stay tuned for Tiafoe’s shout at the 1:56 mark, which is I’m sure what everyone else was thinking.

Been watching tennis a loooong. time. Never seen this before. Awesome.

**Finally today, a few words about the delightful agony and ecstasy of this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs so far.

My New York Rangers continue to baffle me, but at least they’re still alive and kicking in the playoffs. After blowing a late lead last Friday night and losing in overtime against Montreal (by the way, there have been a ton of overtime games so far this year, which makes me happy, but so many of them have been over so quickly. Come on, give us a triple-OT thriller, NHL!) my Blueshirts decided to not show up Sunday night in Game 3 at MSG, the world’s quietest arena. Truly, they played awful, and I had low expectations for last night.

But what do you know, the Rangers actually played a really strong game and beat Montreal, 2-1, Tuesday night, to even the series at 2. They could’ve scored at least 3 or 4 more goals but as usual decided that shooting the puck was a less attractive option than trying to make the perfect, beautiful pass.

Anyway, the series is probably going to go seven games, which is always nice, because I really want to tear out my four remaining hairs on top of my head.

Besides the Rangers series, I’ve been loving what I’ve seen from the Maple Leafs, who have won two straight overtime games over top-seed Washington and look like they may actually be the beneficiaries of yet another Caps playoff choke.

St. Louis and Nashville both stunningly are up 3-0, and I have no idea why Columbus is playing so poorly in being down 3-1 to Pittsburgh. Also, nice to see the referees have decided not to call any penalties this year (sarcasm).

Anyway, playoff hockey makes me very happy, especially all the overtimes.

 

A night out celebrating a worthy cause, Friends of Jaclyn. John Oliver defends the IRS, with help from Michael Bolton. And the Stanley Cup playoffs begin!

FOJ.benefit

Last Saturday night my wife and I had the supreme pleasure of attending the annual Friends of Jaclyn Benefit gala for the first time, and it was an experience I won’t forget.

I’ve written about FOJ a few times before on the blog, and wrote a story for the sadly-deceased sports website Thrivesports.com about the organization last year.

If you don’t have time to click through, FOJ was founded 10 years ago by a little girl named Jaclyn Murphy, who had been diagnosed with a life-threatening brain tumor. During a treatment session, her father Denis pointed out a women’s lacrosse poster hanging on the hospital’s walls and told Jaclyn, a budding player, to use that woman as inspiration.

Turns out that woman was Kelly Amonte, the lacrosse coach at Northwestern, and through a mutual friend Jaclyn started talking to Amonte, and her Northwestern team “adopted” Jaclyn, sending her encouraging letters, making videos and inviting her to games near her New York home.

So moved by the experience, and getting healthier, Jaclyn told her Dad that they need to get other kids with brain tumors adopted by college teams, and 10 years later, there are hundreds of pediatric brain tumor patients matched up with teams all across America (That’s the Penn football team, above, with 4-year-old Vhito, their new teammate).

It’s a wonderful charity filled with warm, generous people, and my wife and I are proud to be supporters.

At the benefit Saturday, we heard moving speeches from coaches whose teams had adopted children, including one whose team unfortunately saw their adoptee pass away.
We heard from parents of kids cruelly afflicted, like Cindy Bachman, whose son Sterling was diagnosed at 18 months, and has now reached 13 years old, helped along in spirit by the Yale lacrosse team.

And we met some of the FOJ kids themselves, beaming from ear to ear while sitting with some of the teams that came to the event (Shout-out to UConn women’s soccer, who literally brought the whole team).

FOJ doesn’t just match kids up with teams and walk away; they send care packages to kids with upcoming MRIs, make phone calls, email, and basically “adopt” each new kid in the program.

Tears were shed throughout the night Saturday; I’m a softie anyway, but this would’ve made the most hardened cynic cry.
It was a wonderful night for a wonderful organization, and if you’re looking to get involved with a charitable cause that’s a little off the beaten path, and doesn’t get the support of the “big guys,” I wholeheartedly endorse checking out Friends of Jaclyn.

I wouldn’t dream of telling people how to spend their money; all I ask is, spend a couple minutes checking out what FOJ does. Thanks.

**Next up today, John Oliver has once again been killing it in Season 2 of his HBO show “Last Week Tonight,” but this Sunday’s episode was maybe the best yet.
Today of course is Tax Day, and Oliver had a segment about the much-loathed Internal Revenue Service. But in a delightful twist, he defends the IRS, and does it with the help of, naturally, talented 1980s balladeer Michael Bolton.

**In the words of the great Jim Mora, playoffs? Playoffs!
The Stanley Cup playoffs begin tonight, by far the most exciting and fun of the four major sports postseasons (I may be biased since I love hockey so much I’m part-Canadian).

For many reasons, I’m more pumped up than usual this year (and that clip above, showing the insane dedication of NHL players to win the Cup, gets me going every time. You can be sure I’ll be throwing some of the awesome Hockey Night in Canada playoff montages on the blog over the next few months).

For one, the Rangers have a great shot to win the Cup, as the top seed in the East (which of course makes me nervous, my team being the favorite). Second, a whole buncha Canadian teams (five) qualified this year, and Canadian teams always make the playoffs more fun, since their fans are so rabid and loud.)

And third, we’ve got lots of fresh blood this year, seven teams who didn’t make it last year are in it this year.

It all starts tonight. For what it’s worth, I’m picking a Tampa Bay vs. Chicago Stanley Cup Final, with the Bolts winning it.

I of course hope I’m wrong, and get to attend a parade in Lower Manhattan in June.

The Rangers win a wild Game 7. Why Donald Sterling’s racism overshadows the real problem. And grilled cheese delivered by parachutes in Australia

RANGERS-2-master675

So, yeah, I’m still breathing. All faculties working, am able to respond to commands and walk on my own. All good things.
For about a half hour Wednesday night, most of that was in question. Because once again, my New York Rangers not only won, but won in heart-stopping fashion, making me and the millions of other Blueshirts diehards sweat it out until the final buzzer.
But they won, and I am happy. What a hockey series. What a Game 7. Play was even in the first, Rangers dominated the second, then hung on for dear life in the 3rd.
Steve Mason, Flyers goalie, was phenomenal Wednesday. Absolutely phenomenal. Rangers could’ve, and should’ve, had five or six goals in that second period if not for Mason. Daniel Carcillo, a lifetime goon whose acquisition by the Rangers I hated, scored another huge goal.
Then in the third, King Henrik was outstanding. Made a bunch of key stops, while I paced the living room and threw stuff and yelled at the TV. (Don’t worry, the wife is used to this by now. She just goes in the other room and closes the door. Key to a happy marriage? Respecting each other’s craziness.)

Great series. Great sport. And a terrific and classy handshake line at the end, which is the best thing hockey does.

Whew. God I love hockey. And then the Nets came back from 26 down… and lost to Toronto in a huge Game 5. Hey, I can’t have everything.

 

clippers.sterling

**So it’s been a couple of days since the whole Donald Sterling/L.A. Clippers owner banned for life story broke, and we’ve had the predictable responses: The incredibly overblown media coverage. The NBA players falling all over themselves congratulating new commissioner Adam Silver for “saving the league” and rescuing them from one schmuck who, oh by the way, has been the exact same schmuck for 30 years, doing and saying the exact same things, and no one cared.

But a few writers, like my boy Pearlman in this great blog post, point out that for all the screaming and shouting about racism the last few days, a much, MUCH more dangerous form of it goes on every day in this country.

Here’s an excerpt from Jeff’s excellent post:

He’s a basketball owner who lives a wealthy life in California. The words are infuriating, but does his take of African-Americans have any bearing on my world? Or, really, the world? No.

But let’s talk about the south, and what’s happening to the voting rights of minorities.

Without much fanfare, and with 1 /1,000,000,000,000,000th of the attention directed toward Sterling, one Republican lawmaker after another has worked hard (and often succeeded) to limit the number of minorities able to vote. There’s nothing hypothetical about this take, or slanted toward the left. State by state, there have been repeated efforts to make it more arduous for African-American and Hispanics to successfully cast their ballots—via the requirements of photo IDs, via limiting the days and times polls are often, via myriad methods to make it more difficult for people to register. You can read about it in a ton of places, including a pretty thorough piece right here.

He’s absolutely right. Donald Sterling’s racism hardly matters, but it’s been so blatant and in your face, thanks to that audiotape from his girlfriend, that everyone gets up in arms.
But the cruelty and viciousness of the policies designed to stop poor people, and minorities, has been going on in plain sight for years now, and nobody seems to care.
Shameful.

**And finally today, god bless the Australian people for this. A pop-up restaurant in Melbourne can now deliver a grilled cheese sandwich to you by parachute.

Or, as the company, Jafflechutes.com calls it, a “gravity controlled melted cheese delivery mechanism.”

Watch this video, and tell me you don’t want one, right now.

“Parenthood” goes out on a great note. Mental Floss pays tribute to the late, great “Freaks and Geeks.” And the Rangers-Flyers series has divided my family

Parenthood

Another season of the infuriating but fascinating and often lovable NBC show “Parenthood” has just finished up, and as usual, the season finale is so good and heartfelt that I almost overlook all the things wrong with this year’s show.

Like the insane storyline of Kristina running for mayor of Berkeley, or even more insane idea of her and Adam opening up a charter school for autistic kids. Or Sarah Braverman being a horrendous mother and all-around not-great person, yet getting more men chasing after her than any woman her age in history.

But dammit, as often as I get mad at the show, I still love it. The season finale (SPOILER ALERT) was beautiful in so many ways; Amber reuniting with her still-majorly damaged physically and mentally ex-fiance Ryan was beautiful. Ray Romano’s Hank, who I’ve completely turned around on and now root for, pouring out his heart to Sarah a week earlier, and now trying so hard to be the man she can date; and the Joel/Julia separation storyline, which has dragged on forever, continues to be interesting because of the great acting. (Completely improbable that Victor would win an essay contest and read so flawlessly out loud given what we know about him, but that scene in the school library was just so touching.)

The finale was sweet and tender with the whole Braverman family house being sold storyline coming to an end, and Drew going to see his new girlfriend, and Haddie suddenly being a lesbian (my wife and I both thought it was hilarious that the kid grew up in free-love Berkeley, yet discovered she liked girls at Cornell).

I don’t know if NBC is going to renew “Parenthood,” it seems to always be up in the air. But this show has tremendous heart, and for all its flaws, continues to win mine. Please, NBC, keep it on the air.

**Next up, the great website Mental Floss has been on a roll lately writing about beloved former TV shows, and this weekend they put out a list of “20 Things You Didn’t Know About” one of the all-time greats, and a show I’ve talked about several times on this blog already, “Freaks and Geeks.”

Couple of great nuggets in this story: Everything that happened to the characters on the show actually happened to one of the show’s writers (man, that episode with the fake keg party must’ve been hilarious in real life, too), Lauren Ambrose from “Six Feet Under” was almost Lindsey Weir (she’d have been great), and there were some awesome storylines for Season 2 that never got to happen (Daniel in jail? Yeah, that would’ve fit).

This was such a classic show; so wrong that it only got one season.

 

rangersflyers

**Finally today, Sunday was a great day (mostly) for me. My mother hosted a post-Passover lunch for our extended family, and I got to see some people I hadn’t seen in a while. We ate, we laughed, we ate some more, and I got to play catch with my 9-year-old nephew, which is always a good thing.

So everything was great… except when we watched the hockey game together. I was born and raised a Rangers fan, just like my father taught me to be. My sister married a man from outside Philadelphia, who is a die-hard Flyers fan and is raising his child to be one, too. (Hey, he has other good qualities, but she had to marry a Flyers fan???)

Anyway, the Rangers and Flyers played Game 2 of their Stanley Cup playoffs first-round series Sunday, and me and the enemy watched some of the game together. My bro-in-law and nephew cheered when something good happened for Philly. I cheered when something good happened for the Rangers.
They got to cheer more. I didn’t get to taunt a 9-year-old, which is probably a good thing.
The Flyers won. Then we ate.

Playoff hockey is life.  But family’s family. Still, I ain’t watching no more games with any Flyers fans this year…

 

Obama finally comes into the light on gay marriage, while North Carolina continues to punish loving couples. And some incredible photos from Afghanistan.

Stomach churning, nerves frayed, dark blue cap tossed across the room a half-dozen times… Rangers playoff hockey, it’s FAN-tastic. Another blown chance to  win a series Wednesday. So frustrating. Game 7 Saturday night. It’s never easy in the playoffs…

He got there. And I’m damn proud to have voted for him, and worked tirelessly as a volunteer for him 3 1/2 years ago.
But man, did it take Barack Obama a long time to acknowledge that gay people ought to have the right to marry who they love.
But I’m not here to be a Negative Nate on a glorious day in this country’s history. Finally, for once, any gay or lesbian person in the United States can look to the President and say “See? He knows it’s fine for two loving people to be married.”
Maybe this was a political move by Obama, especially one day after the voters of North Carolina once again came down on the wrong side of history, resoundingly passing an amendment to the state constitution banning gay marriage.

(And as someone who lived in North Carolina for three years, let me say I’m embarrassed for the people of that state, but not surprised. This is a state that sent the most racist Senator of the 20th century, Jesse Helms, repeatedly back to Congress. It’s so distressing to see so many people so intolerant and bigoted toward others. It’s a beautiful state, but its got some ugly people in it. And I’m not talking about looks.)
Then again, how could it be political if N.C. is involved? Obama won the Tar Heel State thanks to heavy African-American turnout in ’08, but today’s decision will surely cost him N.C.
Anyway, maybe it was political. But I don’t care. Finally, the President has spoken up and said what should not even be up for debate: Everyone in this country has the same right to marry their loved one.

Good for Obama. Good for America. It’s about time the leader of the free world took this stance publicly.
As usual, Andrew Sullivan says it way better than I could here.

**Finally today, the folks at Boston.com’s awesome photo site “The Big Picture” have come up with another beautiful gallery. Check out these fabulous photos from Afghanistan; it’s such a beautiful country when seen through the lens…

New Jersey police disgrace themselves. HBO’s “Veep” is pretty awesome. And how ’bout those Rangers!

This is so stupid on so many levels. It reeks of arrogance, incompetence, and just plain idiocy.

I speak today of the New Jersey state police troopers, specifically, the two of them who, according to the Star-Ledger newspaper,  in the early afternoon on March 30, “escorted a caravan of luxury sports cars at speeds in excess of 100 mph down the Garden State Parkway to Atlantic City last month. The occupants included former Giants running back and sports car enthusiast Brandon Jacobs, according to a source with knowledge of the trip.”

I mean seriously. How bleeping stupid can you be? You’re a state police officer leading celebrities on a high-speed joy ride? the story also says that witnesses “saw two State Police patrol cars with their emergency lights flashing driving in front of and behind the southbound caravan, which included dozens of Porsches, Lamborghinis, Ferraris and other vehicles, all with their license plates covered with tape.”

So dangerous and disgusting. I hope these guys are fired and their pensions taken away.

**I’d heard all kinds of great things about Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ new show that debuted on HBO Sunday, “Veep.” She plays a totally ineffective and foul-mouthed vice president, and the show revolves around the foibles of her and her staff, plus their desire to try to be relevant. Since, you know, being VP is a pretty awful job.

After watching the first episode, I have to wholeheartedly agree with all the critics. It’s hilarious, even if it is kinda the anti “West Wing.”

Also starring Anna Chlumsky (remember the little kid from “My Girl?”) and “Arrested Develoment”‘s Tony Hale, “Veep” is fabulous. All of the supporting characters get off a few good lines, and Louis-Dreyfus is perfect. As soon as the first episode ended, I wanted to see the next one.

And that’s all you can ask for in a show.

**Finally, so pumped today about my New York Rangers. Things looked pretty damn bleak Monday night, down 3-2 in the series to the 8th seeded Ottawa Senators, and the Rangers were down 1-0 almost halfway through the game. All my lucky charms weren’t working, so I was left where I normally am during tense sports moments of my life: rocking back and forth in front of my TV, clutching a pillow to my chest (hey, don’t judge: it calms me).

And then, finally, the Blueshirts came back. Three goals in 11 minutes, and after a frantic finish to the third period, the Rangers had won, 3-2, to force Game 7 in NY Thursday.
Some burning questions/thoughts in my head after the game:
— How in the hell did the refs, AND the video replay, call this a legal goal (it’s the last highlight under goals) for Ottawa in the last 30 seconds? Yes, Ottawa’s Chris Neil misses most of the puck with his kick, but he clearly gets some of it because the puck acclerates after he swings his skate! The refereeing in this game was terrible, both ways (yeah, the Rangers caught a break or two, I can admit that), but this blown replay is just amazing.

— Hell of a game, Brad Richards. You too, Ryan McDonagh. You were everywhere. And Chris Kreider, playing his 3rd NHL game? Yeah, not too bad, youngster. Kid’s going to be a star.
— My 7-year-old nephew is being raised a Flyers fan, which I wholeheartedly disapprove of. Apparently he asked my sister Monday afternoon: “Is Uncle Michael going to cry if the Rangers lose?” Nice.

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/buster/porn-star-teacher-fired-7893412