Tag Archives: Scott Bakula

A prayer for Gary Carter. “Men of A Certain Age” is back. And ultimate chutzpah in a divorce proceeding

I was always a Yankees fan growing up.
But I loved Gary Carter. Even though he was a Met.
It’s pretty hard not to like Carter. As a catcher for the Mets and Expos, his Hall of Fame career was marked by home runs, great  play behind the plate, but most of all, his huge smile.

The guy just looked like he was always having fun. He played the game with such an infectious enthusiasm, and it was impossible not to notice how much he loved what he did.
My ultimate memory of Carter the player is  when I was 9 years old. In 1984 and the Mets had just acquired Carter, and they had these great young pitchers like Dwight Gooden and Ron Darling, and I remember they got off to a great start that year, and Carter was just such a spark, encouraging the young guys, hitting a ton, and just letting the fans know that the Mets were back, and would be good again.

I’m thinking of Carter this week, if you haven’t heard, because he just received some awful medical news. Doctors found four tumors on his brain, and after further testing, it was determined that they were inoperable. Which, of course, means Carter’s chances for survival are pretty slim.

Truly awful news for one of sport’s all-time good guys. Spare a thought or a prayer for Carter today; he could us all the help.

**Yay, one of my favorite shows is back!
If you’re not watching TNT’s “Men of A Certain Age” yet, you really should be. I’ve waxed poetic about its greatness before; it stars Ray Romano, Andre Braugher, and Scott Bakula as three guys in their 40s trying to figure out life. It’s funny, smart and tugs at your heartstrings sometimes, too.
The new season started Wednesday night, with a really solid episode. It’s On Demand and on TNT a few times this weekend; definitely check it out.

**Finally, this is the absolute ultimate in chutzpah. Steve Simkin and Laura Blank got divorced in 2006. They split up their considerable assets 50/50, and each got a significant amount of cash. They also had money invested with a fella named Bernard Madoff, who a couple years later got into a little trouble.
Something about a Ponzi scheme.
When they split up, Blank took her money out of the Madoff investment. But Simkin decided to keep his money with Madoff.
Well, obviously Simkin lost all the money he invested. And now, after being swindled, he’s got the gall to challenge the original divorce agreement he made, and is asking in court that she turn over millions of her settlement to help offset the money he lost with Madoff.

My incredulous response: Are you freaking kidding me, Mr. Simkin? Your wife is supposed to share her half of the settlement because you blew it with Madoff? That’s absolutely insane.
I can’t believe the courts are even considering this.
By the way, if this sounds like something you’ve heard before, it was part of  a “Curb Your Enthusiasm” episode a couple of years ago. Purely coincidence, though, says Larry David.
Unbelievable, this Simkin guy. What nerve.

Elizabeth Edwards, a woman of grace. And “Men of A Certain Age,” back and great again

I met Elizabeth Edwards on two occasions in the winter of 2003-04.
I was working as a volunteer for the John Edwards for President campaign in New Hampshire, going up on weekends to knock on doors, stand in the freezing cold and sing songs (“E-DW-ARD-S, oh yes, John is the best!” Seriously, that was our song).
One day after a rally,  the host family I stayed with while in Concord called me over, said someone wanted to meet some volunteers. And there, standing in the middle of a group and holding a hot chocolate, was Elizabeth Edwards.
She was smiling so brightly; I’ll always remember her enthusiasm and gentle smile.
I shook her hand, she called me by name (each volunteer got that courtesy from her), and she thanked me for coming up to New Hampshire to help her husband get elected President.
I spoke to her once more, a few weeks later right before the primary, and once again, her warmth cut through the freezing Manchester night.
She was a remarkable woman, brave in her fights against cancer, resilient in the face of the unspeakable tragedy she and John endured when they buried their own son, Wade.
Some will remember Elizabeth Edwards for sticking with John even after his infidelities, and even after most of the rest of us fled and wondered how she could stay with him. Others will recall the salacious details in a campaign book released last year.
I will remember her smile, and gentle nature. And how remarkably courageous she was in the face of so much pain.
Rest in peace, Elizabeth Edwards. Your smile remains with us, always.

**One of my favorite discoveries last year was the TNT show “Men of A Certain Age.” I caught on halfway through the season, and was shocked at how good it was, and how much I liked it. I’ve never cared for Ray Romano, never found him funny at all. But he’s really good in this show, as are Scott Bakula and Andre Braugher.
It’s a very well-written show, with flashes of humor and drama and all kinds of good acting. It just started its second season, and you haven’t missed too much if you start watching now.

Definitely worth your time. TNT, Monday at 10.

Sarah Palin’s cheat sheet. And in praise of Ray Romano’s new show

So, yeah, I know I said a long time ago that I didn’t care one bit about Sarah Palin, and was annoyed that the media gave her so much attention.

But when she keeps announcing herself, loudly and clearly, as a moron, well, I just can’t myself.

Have you seen this yet? Probably, but it’s worth sharing again. During a sit-down “interview” at the Tea Party Convention (do you think Lipton’s got the sponsorship deal there?), she stopped and looked at her hand for a moment. And what was on her hand? TALKING POINTS. Specifically, energy, tax, and lift American spirits. Watch for yourself, and marvel that this woman who was almost thisclose to the Presidency, CAN’T REMEMBER THREE WORDS when she’s talking.

Oh yeah, I may be meeting the former sportscaster herself on Sunday. She’ll be at the Daytona 500. So will I. I’m hoping she gets to be the starter, so I can watch her look down at her hand when she yells “Start, your … wait, wait, it’s coming to me, hang on … ENGINES!”

**So I’m one of the few people in America who hated “Everybody Loves Raymond.” I just thought it wasn’t funny, and as a sportswriter, I wondered how come, in the few episodes I ever watched, Ray Barone never actually did any work.

Ray Romano never did it for me; never thought his stand-up was all that funny, either. So when I heard he had a new show on TNT called “Men of A Certain Age,” I ignored it. Then three people whose TV opinion I trust told me it was really, really good.

So I’ve been catching up on Hulu. And I must admit, this show is fantastic. Andre Braugher and Scott Bakula play Romano’s friends, and the series explores the friendship of these 40-something guys. It’s funny, it’s so smartly written, and has a lot more heart than I would’ve expected. The scene in Episode 4 where Braugher’s character wins a battle with City Hall, then jumps around outside on the steps of the government building, with the “Rocky” music playing? Brilliant.

Check it on TNT or Hulu. It’s totally turned me around on Ray Romano, and it’s damn entertaining television.

Not as entertaining as laughing at Sarah Palin, but come on, that’s a pretty high bar to leap over.

The Growing Pains of Mark Sanchez, and Holder disappoints

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Here’s just one tiny slice of what it’s like as a New York Jets fan:

This year’s Quarterback of the Future, a.k.a. the next Joe Namath, threw an interception return for a touchdown on his first pass. And frankly, I wasn’t even remotely surprised.

On his next throw, Mark Sanchez hit Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis right in the chest. Lewis dropped it.

About what I expected.

Earlier tonight, while I watched the Jets’ new hope show he’s, um, a rookie, I tried to remember all the young quarterbacks I’ve been excited about as a Jets fan for the last 29 years (I don’t count my first 5 years of life; no football memories back there).

There was Ken O’Brien, who, while very accurate, got sacked more often than Scott Bakula at the beginning of “Necessary Roughness,” (an underrated movie, in my opinion. I tried to link to a clip from the film here but not one single clip was on YouTube. A disgrace, people of this world, an outright disgrace! Anyway…)

There was the legendary Browning Nagle, who was going to be so awesome after a great 1991 preseason (then they went 4-12). Who could forget the magnificent Glenn Foley era, or the one that followed a few years later, the Glory that was Ray Lucas?

You get the point. All those guys after O’Brien stunk more than four-day-old garbage. And each time, like Charlie Brown running at Lucy, I get my hopes up.

So, I’m trying to be cautiously optimistic about this new kid, Sanchez. He’s saying all the right things, he’s respectful, seems to have a great attitude … but they all do at the beginning.

I thought after his first two atrocious throws, it would get better for No. 6. But then he botched a handoff exchange, totally mis-timed a pass to Jerricho Cotchery, and looked poor for most of the first half.

But God bless our new coach, Rex Ryan, who was going to leave Sanchez in there until something good happened. And it did; thanks to Leon Washington’s brilliance (a guy who I’ve been crowing about since he was a rookie, and yet they never give him the ball enough) and a great throw, Sanchez tossed a TD pass late in the half.

The kid ended up 3-for-8 with one pick; fortunately for him, Kellen Clemens stinks. I’m officially off the Clemens bandwagon; I’ve had more excuses for this guy than a kid with a late school project, but he’s just not that good. He’s making rookie mistakes in his FOURTH year.

So I guess Sanchez should be the starter; I mean, the Ravens are one of the best defenses in football, so it’s not that embarrassing that the kid stunk. I initially hoped Clemens would win the job and give Sanchez a chance to sit and watch for a while, but Kellen has shown me bubkes (it’s Yiddish, look it up. This blog is going multi-lingual!)

Other quick Jets-related thoughts after I just watched three quarters of preseason football (you could say I’m a little obsessed):

— I feel very good about Gang Green’s running game. Leon was terrific tonight, and Thomas Jones had some nice burst up the middle. Having Alan Faneca and Nick Mangold back was very nice to see.

— I’m loving what Rex Ryan is doing with the defense; these guys blitz and bring pressure from everywhere. I thought the first team D did a real good job, with the exception of the secondary, where Dwight Lowery continued to show why he belongs as a backup.

— Very worried about the receivers; I’m just not seeing any separation or play-making ability from anyone. I really don’t want them to bring in ultimate head case Brandon Marshall, but they need somebody who can make a play.

I think deep in his heart Ryan wants Sanchez to be the starting QB, but I think he should wait until after the Giants game this Saturday to decide. Neither guy earned the job tonight.

OK, repeating to myself: It’s only preseason, it’s only preseason (though I have to say I’m enjoying the new “MNF” booth; Jon Gruden is bringing something to the table, and he and Jaworski seem to have good chemistry).

*********************************************************************************************

Eric Holder, I had high hopes for you.

Finally, finally, you decide to appoint a prosecutor to look into all the torture of the alleged terrorists the Bush/Cheney gang rounded up. Finally, you had decided to you simply couldn’t look the other way, and that justice needed to be done as the previous administration picked up the Constitution and spit on it.

And yet, there are conditions. Always with my wimpy Democrats, there are conditions and caveats. As the outstanding Salon writer Glenn Greenwald points out here, Holder is just dipping a toe in. He’s basically saying that he’s just going after the guys who did more torture than sadists like Cheney and John Yoo approved, because Cheney and Yoo made the laws at the time (Seriously, it is frightening to know how much power John Yoo had in the last administration. Frightening).

Instead of vowing to go after anyone and everyone who authorized or encouraged torture performed by lower-level CIA or FBI employees, Holder barely dipped a toe in the water.

Watch this video again, and let it sink in: The United States of America tortured people. And once again, just like at Abu Gharaib, it looks like the low-level interrogators will be the only ones to suffer the consequences.

Maybe Holder will go further. For right now, he’s taken the first step. So I’m at least a little happy about that.