Tag Archives: Steve Hartman

Good News Friday: The wristband that soon will be able to text your thoughts. An NFL QB gives his paycheck to women who lost everything. And a senior citizen writes a letter to a neighbor, and changes both their lives.

And a Happy Friday to you all, and may my fellow Members of the Tribe have a great Yom Kippur. I’m going to try to fast but my resolve on not eating or drinking for 24 hours seems to have faded since I’ve started chasing a little boy around. But we’ll see how it goes.

As always, lots of good stuff to get to this week; I honestly thought about making this entire post a tribute to Hugh Hefner, who died at 91 on Thursday, because I truly believe he was an American hero. But nah, just a few words of thanks to Hef, who was responsible for millions of Americans (including, ahem, me) seeing their first naked lady. Hef, you were an icon who always put women on a pedestal. You lived one hell of a good life.

OK, on with the show. We start this week with another athlete who absolutely gets it. Everything I’ve ever seen, heard or read about rookie Houston Texans quarterback DeShaun Watson has told me what a class act he is, and t his story will only add to my respect for him.

Millions of Houstonians, of course, were devastated by Hurricane Harvey last month, with so many losing so much. Three cafeteria workers at the Texans’ stadium, NRG Stadium, were among those whose homes were destroyed.

This week, those workers,  Denisse Benavides, Isabel Sanchez and Maria Rincon, were surprised when Watson came to the cafeteria and donated his first NFL game check (about $29,000) to them to help them rebuild.

Watch the video above. The tears are real, as is the goodness in Watson’s heart. Heard enough horrible stories about the NFL this week? Here’s a positive one. I’m a DeShaun Watson fan no matter what team he plays on.
**Next up, I hope this next story doesn’t scare you, because it actually makes me excited. There’s a company called CTRL Labs that believes very soon, they will have created a wristband that can text for you just by reading what your thoughts are.

According to this article, and as I heard on Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me, the startup has created brainwave reading technology that they’re hoping will be mainstream by the year 2020, which isn’t exactly too long to go. Apparently it can pick up signals that your brains send to your fingers, so you won’t need to type to send texts/emails anymore.

According to one of the founders, Dr. Patrick Kaifosh, “We are developing systems to connect your neural output to machines as tightly as it is connected to the muscles that control your speech. I can already play Asteroids on my phone (personal aside: I kicked butt at Asteroids on my old Atari 2600) using only my thoughts, and the technology is already being used to train patients to use a virtual hand before receiving hand transplants from donors.”

This sounds awesome to me. Just as long as there are some safeguards, of course, I think this could make driving a lot safer (because of idiots who text and drive and let go of the wheel) and could help millions.

I’m sure there will be problems with it, but it’s still pretty incredible to me, that we live in this day and age where something like this could happen.

And finally today, it’s been a while since I’ve featured Steve Hartman and his fabulous “On the Road” stories for CBS News, but this one struck me as just beautiful. A woman in Park Hills, Mo. named Marlene Brooks got a strange letter last April, from a neighbor just a few doors away.

“Dear Mrs. ?,
Would you consider to become my friend? I’m 90 years old and live alone, and all my friends have passed away. I am so lonesome and scared. Please,  I pray for someone. Signed, Wanda Mills.”

Brooks was touched by the letter, and went to visit Mills the next day. And five months later, is still visiting her, four times a week, in a nursing home Mills now lives in. The two have become the best of friends, all because one kind woman helped out another person in need, simply by being there. Brooks even started a new pen pal group, Pen Pals for Seniors, to help others who might feel like Mills.

So much good in the world. So much good.

 

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Good News Friday: A toddler thinks a water heater is a robot, and it’s adorable. Georgia with some bipartisanship greatness fixing a major rape kit backlog. And a man who thought a town in Minnesota was the worst place to live, ever, moves there. And loves it.

And a Happy Friday to you all. As you read this I’m probably stuck in L.A. traffic, because that’s apparently all you do when you visit Southern California. I complain about NYC traffic, but man…

Anyway, we start Good News Friday with thirty seconds of adorableness. Meet Rayna, a super-cute toddler who thinks an old broken-down water heater is a robot. So she talks to it like a robot.

Too cute for words.

**Next up, a slightly more serious good news story. A major problem in states across the country is the millions of untested rape kits that are sitting in police warehouses, unable to be tested because there isn’t enough money or personnel to test them all.

In Georgia, the problem is particularly bad, and a strong state representative, Rep. Scott Holcomb, was miraculously able to do something about it.

His bill, the Pursuing Justice for Rape Victims Act, got bipartisan support in the Georgia legislature and was signed into law last month by GOP Gov. Nathan Deal. The law requires Georgia to test every single rape kit it receives from victims.

It’s a fantastic result, as now more than 4,200 kits that have been languishing will be tested, and hopefully rapists will be arrested and thrown in prison.

“It’s an example of how people can come together and make a difference to fix a very bad problem,” Holcomb said.

The show “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” did a great job on this story (below,) and major points for the “Schoolhouse Rock” theme.

**And finally today, a sweet story from CBS News’ Steve Hartman. A reporter from the Washington Post named Christopher Ingraham wrote about a study that said Red Lake County, Minn. was the worst place in America to live.

He got lots of mail from the county’s residents, of course, but not all of it was vitriolic. Some people asked Christopher to come visit and see for himself what the town had to offer.

Christopher did, fell in love with the place, and now he lives there full-time.

Very, very cool.

Ted Koppel calmly eviscerates Hannity, and it’s beautiful. An awesome commercial for “Los Pollos Hermanos.” And a couple of fantastic games Sunday leave us with a wild Final Four.

Longtime readers of my blog (both of you) know I’m a big fan of “CBS Sunday Morning.”
I love the stories they do, I love the humor, the human interest pieces that Steve Hartman does, I love the “Moment of Nature” at the end of each episode (hey, I live in the concrete jungle of New York City, I don’t get that much “real” nature on a regular basis), I love all of it.

But as usual right now, I’m a few weeks behind in my viewing. So there’s a very good chance I would have had no idea about the beautiful piece of television that aired Sunday morning, if it hadn’t kind of blown up on the Internet.

Ted Koppel, a broadcast journalist of the highest integrity and credibility, did a story on the “divide” between America right now, politically. It didn’t cover all that much new territory except for provoking some really good, frank talk between Koppel and human-sewage-dressed-in-an-Armani-suit Sean Hannity, the Fox News host who is Donald Trump’s No.1 fan and maybe Trump’s only rival in the lying department.

Anyway, I very much enjoyed the above clip, whereas Hannity asks Koppel, after some back and forth, “Do you think I’m bad for America?” and Koppel replies, “Yeah.”

I highly recommend watching the whole story here. Hannity comes off at his smarmy worst, while Koppel gently tries to explain why he feels the way he does.

As a man on Twitter named Nick Jack Pappas said, “Sean Hannity debating Ted Koppel about real journalism is like a 5-year-old debating his dad about the rules of the house.”

**Next up today, I worship “Breaking Bad” and think that after two seasons, “Better Call Saul” is on its way to becoming almost as good.

With Season 3 coming up soon, and the introduction of Gus Fring to this new/old world, AMC and “Better Call Saul” have come up with this awesome promo/commercial for the famous “Los Pollos Hermanos” restaurant Gus ran.
This cracked me up pretty hard, knowing what we know about what “Pollos” really was about.

**Finally today, I don’t think anyone in their right minds could’ve predicted this NCAA Tournament’s Final Four. (Well, OK, 657 people on ESPN.com’s bracket challenge did, but come on, nobody ACTUALLY thought South Carolina was going to make it, they were just picking the Gamecocks to be different).
We’ve got a one of a kind Final Four, it feels like to me, because half the field has never been here before, one hasn’t been here since before Pearl Harbor was attacked, and the other is basketball royalty.
Gonzaga, Oregon, South Carolina and North Carolina have made it, and it’s unlike any other Final Four I remember.  After a couple of snoozer games on Saturday, we got two absolute beauties on Sunday.
Some thoughts from my brain, which is still a little scrambled from actually rooting for hated Duke rival UNC to win on Sunday (yeah, I hate John “Satan” Calipari that much):

— The Gamecocks are really a wonderful story, even if I’m still a little mad they beat Duke last weekend. This team hadn’t won an NCAA Tournament game since 1973, and now thanks to a suffocating defense and Sindarius Thornwell (above, and what a great moniker he’s got, like a cross between a Harry Potter character and a 19th-century U.S. Senator) they’re going to the Final Four. OK, their head coach (Frank Martin) is a raving lunatic, but this is a terrific team that’s gelled at the right time. Good for them. Also, Martin gets major kudos for how he dealt with a SI for Kids reporter the other night:

— Gotta be happy for Gonzaga, too, after so many years of being really good but not good enough to make the Final 4, that they’ve finally done it. OK, OK, so they didn’t have the toughest path to make it; that’s not their fault. A clean program that’s built themselves from nothing into a legit power.

— That UNC-UK game Sunday night was sensational, even if I loathe both teams and programs. The last minute was just superb, between Kentucky’s Malik Monk sinking two remarkable 3-pointers, to Carolina’s Luke Maye (a former walk-on!) making two fantastic plays (the long pass to Justin Jackson for a layup, and then of course his game-winning shot) and you know what the best part of the last minute was? Each team’s coach just let the players play, and didn’t strangle the game with timeout after timeout.

And yes, I was having a hard time being happy that the Tar Heels, who me and everyone else keeps saying is being damaged by this academic fraud scandal, have now made two Final Fours in a row. But Kentucky and slick Satan Calipari, who gets SO much talent every year, and is so arrogant about it every year (as are UK’s fans), has now won just one national title in eight seasons there.

Shouldn’t those demanding Wildcats fans expect more?

— Oh and by the way, someone wrote this this weekend but I can’t for the life of me remember where I read it: How come CBS cameras never show Kentucky superfan Ashley Judd in the crowd anymore? We used to get inundated by shots of the actress, screaming, cheering, yelling, all that good stuff, and now we never see her. Is she no longer at the games? Have all basketball cameramen everywhere made some sort of pact never to show her again? I’m brimming with questions.

— Seeing billionaire Phil Knight cut down the nets as Oregon advanced to the Final Four just gives you all the feels, doesn’t it?

Good News Friday: The annual Teddy Bear toss at a hockey game makes me smile. Wes Anderson with an awesome holiday commercial. And an incredible story of an 82-year-old widower and his 4-year-old “angel.”

teddybeartoss-forblog

And a Happy Friday and happy December to all of you out there in Internet-land. This post will be short and (hopefully) sweet since your humble blogger has a nasty head cold and a nose that may never become unstuffed. On the plus side, my current frog-croaky voice is probably a huge turn-on for the ladies of New York City!

First up today, one of my favorite sports holiday traditions that few people outside of Calgary know about is the Calgary Hitmen’s annual Teddy Bear Toss. The minor league hockey team (Named after local hero Bret “Hitman” Hart, I believe) holds an event every year where on a certain date, fans throw thousands of teddy bears onto the ice when the Hitmen score their first goal.

The teddy bears are then donated to sick and needy children through 60 local agencies, just in time for the holidays.

Seriously, how awesome is that visual of all the bears flying on the ice?

Love it, love it, love it.

**Next up today, this is one super-slick and awesome mini-movie that director Wes Anderson has shot for H&M Department store. It’s about four minutes and it ends with a wonderful little scene. Really, really great stuff here.

**And finally today, this story has made me cry all three times I’ve watched it. Grab some tissues, yourself. It’s from Steve Hartman of CBS News, whose work I cannot praise enough. It’s about an 82-year-old Georgia man named Dan Peterson, who fell into a deep depression when his beloved wife died, and a 4-year-old stranger named Nora, who just about saved Dan’s life.

So much good, and so much love, in the world. Sometimes it pops up in the supermarket, just like Nora did.

A beautiful mentor/protege relationship on the violin, across the miles. Teachers tell their students why they love them. And Bob Dylan wins a Nobel Prize for literature

And a happy Friday to all. It’s pumpkin-spice season and Halloween’s coming up and the baseball playoffs are getting seriously good (come on, after the horrible year 2016 has been, we deserve a Cubs-Indians World Series) and the Rangers won on opening night against the Islanders Thursday and Michelle Obama gave one hell of an amazing speech Thursday  and life is good.

We start Good News Friday with the great Steve Hartman of “CBS Sunday Morning,” once again giving me, as the kids say, all the feels. This story, about a famous Philadelphia Orchestra member named David Bilger mentoring a 17-year-old Afghani student in the violin, is just a beautiful tale of one human reaching out to help another.

If the hug at the end doesn’t get you … check your heartbeat to make sure you’re still alive.

**Next up today, this is one of the best ideas I’ve ever heard. A teacher named Jamie McSparin at Oak Park High School in Kansas City, Mo. came up with the idea of teachers in her school telling one of their favorite students that they are what makes coming to school every day worthwhile, and how the student inspires them.

To see the looks on these students’ faces (the girl at 1:13 is my favorite, but the one at 2:58 is great too!)

The future is very, very bright.

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**Finally today, I was very happy to learn that Bob Dylan, a musical genius and pioneer in every sense, was given the Nobel Prize for Literature on Friday. Some on the Internet are already saying he doesn’t deserve it, his songs aren’t really “literature,” and casting other aspersions on the honor.

Hogwash. Dylan has been incredibly influential and incredibly talented for more than six decades. His lyrics spoke to generations of fans, from 1960s radicals who wanted to change the world (and did), to even Gen X’ers and Millenials, who still download the 75-year-old’s music.

I fell in love with Dylan’s music as a teenager, when I first encountered the gorgeous “Times they Are A-Changin,” “Like a Rolling Stone,” and “Blowin’ In the Wind.” The gravelly voice, the beautiful guitar-playing… all of it spoke to me.

Here’s a great appreciation of Dylan by Ty Burr of the Boston Globe.

A well-deserving honor to a legend. Take us out, Robert Zimmerman…

Good News Friday: Merry Christmas to all who celebrate. And three of my favorite Good News Friday stories from 2015

For all my readers out there who celebrate this holiday today, I say Merry Christmas, and ho, ho, ho. May you have gotten whatever you asked for in your stocking, and that you have a wonderful day with you and your family. Me? Like all other Jews in America, as is written in the Torah, I’ll be at a Chinese restaurant. (Actually I won’t be, but I’m pretty sure it IS in the Torah.)

Given that this is the last Friday of 2015, I thought I’d post a few of my favorite Good News Friday stories of the year here.

I hated narrowing it down to just three, but I know you’ve got presents to open and I’ve got moo shoo pork and egg rolls to eat.

**First off, this was from a GNF post in May, and it may be my favorite thing I saw this year. It’s a video of a father doing a rare thing at a wedding: Giving a speech to the groom while they’re up at the altar during the service, not at the reception.

This dad, whose name isn’t on the video, gives his future son-in-law Phillip a little talking-to, in a loving, oh-so-sweet tribute to the woman Philip’s about to marry. It’s about love and Jesus and how much the father loves his daughter… yeah, I cried at the end (and I’m Jewish, that’s how good it is.)

**Next up, this next story I love because it’s so out of the blue and delivered such random joy to dozens of people stranded at an airport.

During a flight delay in June at LaGuardia Airport, the touring casts of “Aladdin” and “The Lion King” decided that with everyone in a grumpy mood, they’d put on a little impromptu performance.

And as you might expect, it was awesome.

**And finally, I love this wonderful tradition. Every year, a wealthy businessman, who remains anonymous, travels the country in December and gives out $100,000 to perfect strangers, usually in $100 increments.

And for the last several years, he has allowed Steve Hartman from “CBS Sunday Morning” to tag along. The look on the strangers’ faces … just perfect.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

 

Some really smart prison inmates beat Harvard’s debate team (for real). 3 on 3 hockey OT is gonna be great. And the 101-year-old woman who still owns a candy store and loves it.

prisondebateteam

And a Happy Friday to you! Should be a really fun weekend for yours truly, with activities both meaningful and fun (my son’s going to his first fall harvest festival! For him, it’s getting to go on a hay ride and get his face painted. For me it’s just an excuse to go eat some cider donuts.)

Three stories this week on Good News Friday that hopefully will make you smile.

First, this story makes me smile, big-time. Study after study, anecdote after anecdote, illustrates the immense potential of prison inmates to rehabilitate themselves, get a real education, and become useful members of society if and when they get out.

And yet even though great strides have been made since Andy Dufresne built a prison library at Shawshank, funding for prisoner education programs lags far, far behind what it should be.

But look at a story like this, and tell me how you could possibly disagree that there’s so much potential in so many inmates.

Last weekend the Harvard debate team, the current national collegiate champs, traveled to the Eastern N.Y. Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison upstate.

Inmates there have formed a debate club and get courses taught by professors at Bard College, located nearby.

The inmates at Eastern have gotten quite good at debates, beating the University of Vermont and the cadets at West Point.

But Harvard’s the national champs, so … yeah, the inmates won.

Read the details here.

“Students in the prison are held to the exact same standards, levels of rigor and expectation as students on Bard’s main campus,” said Max Kenner, executive director of the Bard Prison Initiative, which operates in six New York prisons. “Those students are serious. They are not condescended to by their faculty.”

According to this story, Harvard’s debaters posted a comment on their Facebook page after the loss.

“There are few teams we are prouder of having lost a debate to than the phenomenally intelligent and articulate team we faced this weekend,” they wrote. “And we are incredibly thankful to Bard and the Eastern New York Correctional Facility for the work they do and for organizing this event.”

Look what can happen. Education is the silver bullet for so many things, and can lead to so much. A bunch of prisoners just out-smarted kids from Harvard.

How wonderful.

**Next up, once again Steve Hartman and “CBS Sunday Morning” put out a story so sweet it forces me to include it here. Ethel Weiss is 101 years old and lives in Brookline, Mass.

For the past 76 years, she has owned Irving’s Candy and Toy Store, right around the corner from a school. And long after most people her age have retired, Ethel is still going strong, running the store by herself.

Her best customers are the kids in the neighborhood, who are fiercely loyal to Ethel. Just look at how sweet these kids are when they talk about her.

“Nothing can compare to her and that candy shop,” one boy says.

Really sweet.

**And finally, it’s hockey season, which is enough to get me excited normally. But this year the NHL is experimenting with something new and radical and awesome: They’re going to play overtime with just three skaters aside.

Which should lead to fantastic scoring chances, beautiful displays of skill, and utter chaos all over the ice. How will the players change lines? Are we going to see lots of breakaways? Will goalies stand a chance?

No one knows. Whatever happens, it’ll be exciting if you love the sport like I do, and it should be thrilling for everyone in the arena.

Thursday night we had the first regular season 3-on-3 OT, and this happened (above).

3-on-3 OT will make the best sport in the world even better. And that’s good news.

Good News Friday: A “Lost Boy of Sudan” pays America back with love. An autistic runner from Long Island amazes. And a grandson invents a device to help Alzheimers patients

It’s freezing outside and there’s more snow coming,  and it’s been a truly shitty week for those of us who love old-school, kick-ass news reporting and writing, as CBS legend Bob Simon, and NYT media writer/author David Carr, died within 48 hours of each other. Carr, especially, had an impact on me: The way he wrote was truly unique. (Check out this great clip of Carr slapping down editors at VICE magazine who insult the New York Times.)

So, yeah, I’m ready for some good news.

Like this story that just about made me cry. Peter Kuch is a 36-year-old sergeant in the U.S. Army stationed in Fort Bragg, N.C. By all accounts he’s a fantastic soldier, but that’s not what makes his story remarkable.

Kuch was one of the thousands of “Lost Boys of Sudan”, who 15 years ago, in the midst of an awful war in that country, was taken safely to a refugee camp and then “re-settled” in America.

This short piece from the always-great Steve Hartman on “CBS Sunday Morning” is 150 seconds of pure joy and gratefulness. Watch and see how much this country can mean to one man, and how a reunion with one special person came about.

So great.

brannigan

**Next up, a story near and dear to my heart since this wonderful young man is from Northport, N.Y., about 5 miles fro my Long Island hometown of Commack.

Mikey Brannigan is one of the top high school middle distance runners in America, and is the defending national champion in the outdoor 2-mile, (8:53.59).
He’s remarkable for more than just that, though. At 18 months old Mikey was diagnosed with autism, and doctors told his parents he could end up in a group home.

At age 7 he found running, and the rest is told in this beautiful story from Ali Fenwick of Sports Illustrated, after the magazine named Brannigan their athlete of the month.

Truly limitless, what human beings who find their passion can achieve.

**Finally today, as someone who has personal experience watching a grandparent suffer with Alzheimer’s, this story gave me a smile.

It was on Upworthy.com recently, and it’s about a 15-year-old boy named Kenneth Shinozuka, whose grandfather, Deming, was an Alzheimer’s patient who had the tendency to wander off and away from his caregiver without warning, and into potentially dangerous situations.

So Kenneth invented a sensor that attaches to a patient’s sock and alerts caregivers via a wireless signal when the patient has wandered off.

Brilliant. And possibly life-saving. You go, Kenneth.

When love is an instinct: a beautiful love story 60 years in the making. Mila Kunis hilariously spoofs soon-to-be Dads. And 32 photos of people doing good

Two quick sports thoughts before we get to Good News Friday: 1, It is so, so beautiful to watch the San Antonio Spurs play basketball. Unselfishness, teamwork, no egos… that’s a very rare thing in sports today. And 2, Let’s Go Rangers! Saturday is the 20th anniversary of this. Tonight is Game 5 in L.A. If my Blueshirts somehow find a way to win this one, well then … I can start to dream about a miracle happening.

One of my favorite TV shows, as I’ve said repeatedly, is “CBS Sunday Morning,” because every once in a while they completely knock me out with a simple, beautiful story like this one. Melvin Amyrine and his wife, Doris, have been married for 60 years. Melvin’s suffering from Alzheimer’s, but of course that’s not why this story is part of Good News Friday. Watch the very short story above to see what Melvin did, to show that his heart very much remembers what his mind isn’t always able to. Just beautiful. Get the Kleenex ready. **Next up, this cracked me up. Several years ago I had a friend who was expecting a child with his wife, and he’d always say things like “We’re 28 weeks now,” or “We’re pregnant.” Used to drive me nuts, as I’m sure it drives some women nuts, and I’ve been really, really careful to not say that for the past seven months while my wife’s been carrying our child. Men are NOT pregnant. We are expecting to be parents, yes. But we don’t grow humans inside of us. Mila Kunis is pregnant, and she put together this pretty funny song about the unfortunate trend of men saying “we’re pregnant.” metermaid.buzzfeed **And finally today, some wonderful pictures of human kindness to take you into the weekend. Buzzfeed, which takes a lot of criticism from the mainstream media and deserves much of it, also does some great stuff too. Here, 32 pictures of human beings acting kindly, toward each other, toward animals, or toward the planet. The one above is just one of my favorites, but truly, they’re all worth a look. People are basically good. A lot of people have told me, my whole life, that I’m wrong. But I’m still going to believe it anyway.