Tag Archives: Rick Nash

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.

 

The dumbing down of America is devastating, from Canada’s perspective. An amazing 6-year-old’s yo-yo skills. And the Rangers are 2 wins from playing for the Cup

liberty_rect

It’s something that’s completely obvious: America, and American politics, are getting dumber and dumber. To disturbingly large amounts of people, not believing in things like science, evolution, and rights to basic things like health care are badges of honor.

And as much as you and I know this, sometimes it takes an outside perspective to show just how bad it’s gotten. My buddy Pearlman pointed out to me on Twitter this fantastic, but utterly depressing, article from Maclean’s, a terrific Canadian publication, that was published recently.

It was basically an overview of just how far America has fallen, and why. Some of the eye-popping statistics, and I’m not even including the lead anecdote of the story, about an 8-year-old girl in South Carolina who suggested they have a state fossil, which of course became controversial:

— According to an AP poll, 42 percent (42!) of Americans are not confident life started with evolution.

–Only 53 percent of respondents were very confident childhood vaccines are safe and effective.
— In 1978, 42 percent of Americans reported that they had read 11 or more books in the past year. In 2014, just 28 percent say that, and 23 percent admit to not having read even one.

Understand: This is not just a “lunatic fringe,” or some obscure people in what Easterners dismissively call “fly-over states.” These are huge amounts of citizens who intentionally try to stay uniformed, and ignorant, and these are the people who are voting and driving cars and contributing to the stupidity of America.

It scares the hell out of me, I gotta be honest. It really does.

The most truthful line in the whole article? “If ignorance is contagious, it’s high time to put the United States in quarantine.”

I strongly recommend reading the whole piece here, but then watch some dogs playing or children laughing to cheer you up.

**And now, a 6-year-old named Kazuya Murata, who is way better than you and I will ever be at yo-yo tricks. I got dizzy just watching this kid.

New York Rangers v Montreal Canadiens - Game Two

**And finally, a few words about the New York Rangers. You know, every year as a sports fan, before your team’s season begins, you do a mental inventory and make a prediction.

You say, “OK, we lost these guys in free agency, gained these guys, here’s what the division looks like,” and so on, and you set a bar for where an acceptable finish for your team would be.
This year, for example I thought the Nets were good enough to get to the second round, and so they did, so I can’t be disappointed.

With the Rangers this year, I thought 2nd round of the Stanley Cup playoffs was as far as they could go. They were inconsistent, didn’t have enough scoring, had some injuries, so you know, 2nd round.

But holy shishkebob, look at them now. I look up and see that they won again Monday night, 3-1, behind some amazing goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist, goals from their top players (McDonagh, St. Louis and Nash), and a fantastic all-around team effort.

And I sit there thinking, holy crap, they’re six wins from the Stanley Cup. This could actually, truly happen. It’s so close I can taste it.

And I’m completely, utterly gobsmacked that it’s happening. Every year, one team gets hot in the Stanley Cup playoffs, gets some breaks (the Canadiens have to play with their backup goalie now since star Carey Price is hurt), has some bad things happen to the other team, and suddenly is skating around the ice in mid-June with the most beautiful trophy in sports.

Never, ever did I think this Rangers team could play for the Cup this year. But they’re two wins away, and now I find myself in a strange position:
I’ve got a ticket for Game 6, so I’d love to go to MSG and see them clinch the series that night, but I also would rather see them sweep and get ready for the Finals and not have to sweat it out.

Six wins away from winning a Cup. Amazing.

Highs and lows of a sports weekend: Rangers up, Nets dow. Jets? Who the hell knows. And Obama kills it at the silly Correspondents Dinner

28nets1-img-articleLarge

This past weekend was one of those rare times of year when my three favorite pro sports teams were all making news and doing big things: The Rangers, the Nets, and the Jets all either delighted me, angered me and left me scratching my head and pulling out my few hairs left.

It was a worlds-colliding kind of sports weekend. Some highlights/lowlights from my point of view as a NY sports fan:

**The Nets: Since I’d like to get the misery out of the way first, that was one of the all-time brutal, gut-punching losses Brooklyn suffered Saturday. Deron Williams and Co. were up 14 points with less than four minutes to play … and lost.
That’s really, really hard to do. But if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it. Turnovers, missed free throws, and some holy spirit of Magic Johnson got into Nate Robinson of the Bulls (the most obnoxious player in the NBA, am I right?), and all of a sudden the game went to overtime.
Where of course, the agony got drawn out for us Nets fans, as it stretched to three OT’s before the Bulls won.
Just a horrendous performance at the end by the Nets, and P.J. Carlesimo’s coaching job was as bad as the players’ performance. Series is now 3-1 Bulls, but it’s basically over. Damn.
**The Rangers: On a much happier note, my favorite hockey team appears to finally have stopped underachieving the last few weeks, and roll into the playoffs on a high note. Very excited to see Rick Nash and Derek Stepan scoring so much, and I think the Rangers have a very winnable first-round series against the Capitals. (Gotta love the NHL playoffs, the best in any sport).
Not saying the Rangers are winning the Cup or anything; they’re nowhere near as good as Pittsburgh, Chicago, Anaheim or Boston. But at least finally, after 3 months of mediocre hockey, they’re showing what’s possible with all that talent on the team.

**The Jets: Finally, the New York Jets, America’s most dysfunctional football team. I don’t know what the hell to think about a team with so few offensive weapons deciding that, instead of drafting some, let’s take a QB in the 2nd round who back in October was considered a Top 5 pick, yet by April wasn’t even worthy of a first-round choice.
Which is to say, the more everyone saw of Geno Smith, the less they liked him. Except for the Jets, who apparently decided five QBs on the roster already weren’t enough.
I spent Saturday trying to talk myself into the Geno Smith era: Hey, at least it means I won’t have to watch Mark Sanchez anymore, and maybe the kid will prove all his critics wrong who say he fumbles too much and can’t read defenses well. And maybe the Jets will be smart with him and let him learn on the bench behind David Garrard for at least half a season…

But who the hell am I kidding? I was rationalizing big-time. Taking Smith was not a good move by my Jets; I can’t see any way he can succeed this year with such little talent around him.
But it’s April; no sense stressing over the Jets’ miseries just yet.  There’ll be plenty of time for that in the fall.

Let’s go Rangers.

**Finally today, I say in this space every year how ridiculous and unprofessional I think the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner is.

Reporters whose job it is to investigate and cover politicians in that town get together and share drinks and back-slaps with the same people they’re supposed to be impartial about.

It reeks of unprofessionalism and “insider-ness”  and everything people suspect about the culture of Washington.

But they’re going to keep having it every year, and with a pretty funny President in office, I usually get some good chuckles out of the POTUS speech.

Some of his best lines from the video above:
— “You know, sometimes I look in the mirror and realize I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist I used to be.”
— “CNN covers ever angle of a story, just in case they stumble onto the right one.”
— “Sheldon Adelson spent $100 million in 2012 to try to get Republicans elected. He would’ve been better off offering me $100 million not to run.”

Tales from my first month as a substitute teacher. The NHL is back, whoo-hoo! And a Super Mario Bros. spoof I loved.

subphoto.cartoon

It’s been about a month now that I’ve been substitute teaching in the New York City school system.

Just as I expected, it hasn’t been boring. Every day brings a different challenge ( I’m actually subbing three days a week, so I can keep doing the freelance writing I do), and there have been more highs and lows than I can count.

Subbing is hard, it’s thankless, and it doesn’t pay a whole lot. But so far I’m liking it, mostly.

Some stories from my own personal Sub Files…

— One day about two weeks ago I walked out of the teacher’s lounge at a Harlem high school and started to walk down the stairs.

Then I saw something on fire in the stairwell. It looked like a sock, with a piece of paper wrapped around it. My first thought was , “go put it out.” My second thought was, “Are you crazy?” Go call security.” So I went back upstairs to the lounge, one of the regular teachers got security, and soon the stairs were safe again.

Turns out it was the second fire of the day in that school. “But that’s very unusual,” a security guard told me. That doesn’t explain why his uniform was flame-retardant.

— The lack of respect for me as a sub, by students, I expected. But just the incredible lack of respect they have for me as an adult, was a little jarring. Never in a million years would I have imagined talking to a grown-up the way some of these kids have talked to me. (“Get away dude, you’re just a sub, you don’t count” was one of the nicer things I’ve heard).

But it’s a different world, and a lot of these kids were not raised to respect authority. Makes me sad.

— Similarly, the feeling of powerlessness is something that’s been hard to get used to. More than once a kid has said to me “You’re just a sub, you’re here for one day, I’m here every day. You don’t matter, I don’t have to listen to you.” And they don’t. I’m just a blip in their academic life, and I have no power to get them to behave or do their work.

— Some of my most interesting days have come at elementary schools; I’m not really trained as a elementary teacher, but I’ve filled in for a few days. The adorable kids, the crazy names (I’ve taught two Syncere’s, a Joelmy, and a Washier, among others), and the things that come out of their mouths keep me laughing.

Two of my favorite comments from the little people set:
“Mr. Lewis, they’re just acting wild because Mrs. V. isn’t here. They feel like they have freedom now.”
And “Mr. Lewis, you a good grown-up and a good worker. I wanna shake your hand.” I had to bend down to reach the boy’s digits, but it was still nice of him to say.

— The cell phone/iPod epidemic is incredible in NYC schools. Every junior high or high school class I’ve been in, at least 5-6 kids are trying to sneak texts or earphones. It’s like putting out little fires; you yell at one kid to put the phone away, and two others across the room are busy texting.

 I always knew subbing was hard, but man, my respect for the job increases every day.

More stories to come, I’m sure.

**And now, an interlude from the incredibly awesome Nintendo video game “Super Mario Brothers.” If you are at all like me, you spent hundreds of hours playing this instead of doing homework as a kid.
Here’s a bizarre video of Dallas Mavericks forward Shawn Marion, acting as Mario as he navigates the first board of the game.
I laughed pretty hard.

**Well it’s about damn time.
After months and months of arguing and posturing and abusing the loyalty of the most dedicated fans in sports, the grand poobahs of the NHL finally came to an agreement with the players on a new labor deal Sunday morning.

Four months after the season was supposed to begin, we are finally getting NHL hockey, in about a week.

I know I’m supposed to be bitter about how ridiculous this lockout was, and I am, a little.
But I can’t lie: I love, love, love this sport, especially at its highest level. And I’m very excited to have it back, especially when my Rangers have such a good shot at a Stanley Cup this year, having added Rick Nash.

Can’t wait for the puck to drop. A pox on Gary Bettman, the league owners, and Donald Fehr for dragging this lockout on so long.

Finally, we can think about hockey. I watched the video above and got pumped up big-time.

Let’s go Rangers!

R.I.P. Sally Ride, a true American pioneer. Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, just hanging out, hilariously. And a big day for the Rangers: Rick Nash is coming to NYC

The thing that surprised me most when I read that the first American woman in space, Sally Ride had died Monday night? Her age.
For a person who accomplished as much as Ride did, and to be only 61 when she passed away due to cancer, was eye-opening.
This was a woman who was a true pioneer, becoming the first woman accepted at NASA as an astronaut in 1978, and who then flew two missions.

As discriminatory barrier after barrier falls away as society becomes more enlightened and less beholden to the past, you sometimes forget how big a deal it was when certain blockades fell. In the middle of the feminism wave of the 1970s, Ride literally proved women could go anywhere men could go, all the way to outer space.

She was a wonderful role model for girls who loved science, and a terrific representative for all who had the imagination to go where few had gone before.

Hers was a life cut short too soon, and she will be missed. But as long as the tales of traveling in orbit are told, Sally Ride will be remembered.

**Jerry Seinfeld, whose post-“Seinfeld” career hasn’t been all that, you know, funny, may finally have something worth watching again. He’s got a new Web-only show on Crackle.com called “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” Which is exactly what it is.

For episode one he had his old partner Larry David on, and it was fantastic. These two are just so clearly, perfectly in tune, that it’s like watching jazz, seeing them riff off each other. A definite good use of 13 minutes of your time; watch the clip above (and enjoy the real spit-take around the 8-minute mark).

**Finally, on a day when the New York Yankees acquired the great outfielder Ichiro (who may or may not be washed up, we’ll see), I was much more excited by another trade one of my favorite teams made Monday.
After months of negotiating, and trade talks stalling, the deal was finally cinched: Star goal-scorer Rick Nash is coming to the Rangers. My Blueshirts had to give up a few good players, but nobody anywhere close the quality of Nash, who scored 30 goals every year on a terrible team in Columbus. Imagine what he’ll do playing with Ryan Callahan and Brad Richards every night!

This trade makes the Rangers a lot better. If there’s a hockey season this fall (and that’s a big if, with an owners’ lockout looming), I’m very pumped for the Rangers’ chances.
Rick Nash, welcome to Broadway. Now don’t screw up.