An even smaller USA presence this year than last contributed to the 2019 Tour de France– four riders to start and three of them to finish. It’s no longer the American experience it once was, but this is probably not what anyone in France is pondering right about now.
Much of the excitement over these past three weeks grew with the possibility this might finally prove once again to be a truly French sporting event– this is to say, that a Frenchman would win Le Tour. For more that half of this year’s 21 stages, the host country was in position for a GC victory. France had its very own “winner du jour” as Julian Alaphilippe wore le maillot jaune for the majority of days– in addition to his two stage wins no less. After 34 years, could this really be France’s time? The end was nearing as questions were mounting yet hope was building.
There’s long been talk of the French curse in professional cycling’s grandest three weeks. Alas, the curse appears to remain in play. We all know what happened, via physical skill, mother nature and all else– I needn’t retell it all here and now. Helmets off to Columbia, of course, where pride and celebration will no doubt make its mark. Still, I, an American, would really love to see France have its year. And with that, there will certainly be three weeks in July encore. Vive Le Tour!
Countless remarkable images have filled our televisions, devices and publications throughout this past solemn week of remembrance, with history both celebrated and made. Three photos stand out as my personal favorites among all others, capturing rare yet powerful moments for the historical record, each of which speaks volumes for itself. RIP 41.
The month of July has come once again, which of course means there’s a certain cycling race getting underway in France. (Actually, it starts in Germany this year, but French soil isn’t far off.) Starting today in Dusseldorf, here we go with the 104th Tour de France!
Not quite a year after marking his 90th birthday, we must now say goodbye to the truly legendary, one-of-a-kind pillar of “warmth” himself, Mr. Don Rickles. I can only dream of turning insults into a lucrative career, as others will certainly try. Still, no one will ever do it quite like he did.
Equally if not more impressive than a 25-point comeback to victory in Super Bowl LI, is the executor of the coin toss that got it all underway. A welcome and nostalgic appearance preceded the game as the elder Bush couple took the field, 92-year-old George H.W. and 91-year-old Barbara of course, the only living former president and first lady absent from this year’s inauguration. Fittingly enough, their latest public appearance came here two weeks later, a “super moment” indeed.
Very recently in fact, the subject of longest-living first ladies came up in conversation. Mindful of another birthday this summer, I realized it was time right about now to check the number of calendar days and see if the title of “second longest-living first lady” had changed hands.
Then came the news, before I completed that check, that Nancy Reagan passed away. Already well aware she was 94, or rather 94 1/2, the question for me remained as to the lifetime ranking with which she departed. After all, Lady Bird Johnson died in 2007 at age 94, or rather 94 1/2, while Mrs. Reagan was to turn 95 in July. Which one of these two long-living presidential wives lived the greater number of days, remained for me to investigate.
The answer of course came quickly and easily. Nancy Reagan was, and is, the second longest-living first lady in U.S. history, though not by much. Only in late January of this year, merely six weeks ago, did the length of her life surpass that of Lady Bird’s. As such, the perhaps obscure title did in fact change hands, as I had before today suspected.
Naturally I speak only of “second longest-living,” as the number one spot in this regard was not about to be overtaken any time soon. The longest living first lady has remained the same for more than 40 years now, as Mrs. Reagan was just beginning to close in on what still would have been a significant span of time. Now with her passing, it will be at least another seven years before another first lady breaks the record of life longevity.
In any event, my penchant for numerical presidential trivia aside, Nancy Reagan lived one long and complete life. In the Hollywood sense, she joins Abe Vigoda and George Kennedy in what’s shaping up early on to be a year of “senior loss.” I’ve always fondly recalled introducing myself to the first lady at a Christmas party in 2003, myself red-blazer clad of course. This personal memory stands out clearly in my mind today, polite as she proved herself. RIP Mrs. Reagan.
At long last, the view from my Santa Barbara living room could be mistaken for a Caribbean hurricane or Chinese typhoon, if only for a passing moment or two. But then, this may very well be the first weather windfall of many we shall see in the coming weeks. What a change!
In honor of baseball legend Yogi Berra, who passed away last week at age 90, a list of classic “Berra-isms” is well worth a thorough review– many of which warrant reuse (with proper attribution of course.) Below are five of 50, with the other 45 here.(Courtesy: USA Today)
1. When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
2. You can observe a lot by just watching.
3. It ain’t over till it’s over.
4. It’s like déjà vu all over again.
5. No one goes there nowadays, it’s too crowded.
And the lists abound! But then, did he ever say most of the things he said? I can certainly relate to such an insightful yet simple statement. How about you?
An occasion certainly a majority of Britons and a minority of Americans have been anticipating for some time– a moment I myself knew full well was on its way– this historic day has come. And she made it, not that there was much if any doubt she would. At 63 years, 216 days on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II today takes the title of longest reigning monarch in British history!
“It’s certainly no longer surprising to see someone brandishing one of these wands of self-importance. Maybe they still inspire eye-rolls. But either there are enough people who don’t care if they look silly or there are enough people who realize that selfie sticks are rather convenient.” (Contrera, Washington Post Style Blog, 6/28/15)
Granted, pulling out “the stick” mid-roller coaster ride seems like a bad idea. But for such poor judgment to bring about a park-wide ban? Balderdash, I say. A selfie stick sensibly exercised on solid, open ground in front of a picture-worthy backdrop is hardly going to cause harm to anyone. And naturally, how you or I might appear to others remains irrelevant. I did indeed happen to receive “the gift of 2014” myself, and I like it. Unfortunately, Disney is now the one to say balderdash to me and all the rest of you who believe convenience trumps silliness.
The well-played role of Tom Bradford notwithstanding, this schmaltzy moment of all-American automotive nostalgia is what somehow first popped into my mind upon hearing of his passing. RIP Dick Van Patten.
So comes a spellbinding walk down memory lane for any American over– let’s say– 50? Seeing as this number sits far in my future, who am I to talk? Naturally, yours truly being old for his age, I remember, appreciate and truly adore nearly all the moments featured in episode one of CNN’s The Seventies, aptly titled “Television Gets Real” — of which the above clip is a part.
What we have before us is one outstanding look back at what once was in the world of broadcasting, and what– sadly and ever the more painfully– now is not. Simply put, they don’t make TV like this anymore. Nevertheless, while loving every minute thus far, I can’t wait for episode two, no matter how unflattering Mr. Nixon will inevitably emerge.
Two seconds behind at the start of the final stage turns into one second after the intermediate sprint time bonuses. As such, it must be solved in the last full-tilt sprint to the finish. And so it is, by the very narrowest of margins, all coming down to less than the width of a road tire. In the closest victory in the history of this tour, thanks to a four-second time bonus for finishing the day in third (narrowly enough), the great Peter Sagan wins the 2015 Amgen Tour of California!
Stage 5 of the 2015 Amgen Tour of California rolled out of Santa Barbara on Thursday, just after I was able to snag my own photo of my two favorite rival sprinters, Mark Cavendish and Peter Sagan. As some very atypical wet weather soaked the 95-mile course and made for a soggy finish, like most other fans I was left to wonder which of the two powerhouses would win the day. The answer, of course, for his third stage victory of this tour: The Missile!
The sight of Oscars host Neil Patrick Harris almost au naturel on stage may have triggered for you an infamous memory of Academy Awards show history, as it quickly did for me. While no comparing these two very different moments (except in above-waist result), the audience (i.e. the world) had not seen this much bare skin in more than 40 years, even on Cher, until last night!
In advance of this Sunday’s annual round of pricey TV spots, I like many have seen the so-called “controversial” GoDaddy Super Bowl commercial that– thanks to the typical set of complainers– will not be aired in its original, expensively scheduled time slot. First, join me if you will in a big eye roll. Then, let me say I echo the well-reasoned sentiments of Brett Baker:It’s fine.
But it’s gone, unfortunately. So let’s take this entire illogical mess a step further, as you too might appreciate the clever reasoning of Alexandra Petri. She certainly raises a few great points to make her point, begging the question: How much more ridiculous does the whole matter have to get? Or better yet, why was this ever an issue in the first place? At least GoDaddy is getting an excellent publicity return on its $4 million investment! (Click image to watch the :30 ad.)
Joan was everything that made her fabulously one of a kind: opinionated, irreverent and irreplaceable, just to pick a few of so many apt descriptors. Altogether, I’m sorry she had to go, perhaps in a less-interesting manner than she was hoping, no less! At the same time, one of many life lessons with which she’s leaving us is that we needn’t take death too seriously. After all, “funeral” does begin with “fun.” And given the way Joan has outlined hers, we all should be looking forward to a good show– set for this Sunday. May we indeed “keep on laughing.”
The talk this week has centered on Robin Williams, understandably so considering his unexpected death. At the same time, his passing unfortunately has overshadowed another big celebrity loss the very next day, one perhaps a bit less surprising if only for age alone. Just one month shy of her 90th birthday, the legendary Lauren Bacall has left us. Her unique legacy, like Williams’, lives on.
As if the Northridge earthquake, all things Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding, and the deaths of Richard Nixon and Jacqueline Onassis weren’t enough to seal the first half of 1994, more was to come. Just days after two infamous murders in Brentwood came the ludicrous yet indelible event that reshaped broadcast media culture and altered the sensibilities of television programming forever. Two decades on, the granddaddy of all “breaking” freeway police chases remains as unfathomable now as when it occurred, 20 years ago today.
The first of two U.S. presidents to turn 90 this year hits the milestone on June 12, with his wife exactly one year behind. As we’ll see later this year, presidential longevity clearly remains a bipartisan matter, crazy socks or not! Click here to see GHW’s 90th birthday skydive. (Photo: Al Torres)
Former First Lady Nancy Reagan, almost 93, visited her husband’s resting place on this day, the tenth anniversary of his death. Mrs. Reagan leads the notable recent longevity of first ladies as now the oldest living, though with years yet to go to become the longest living. (Photo: AP)
“The Missile” bookends the 2014 Amgen Tour of California. (Photo: www.cbgphoto.com)
As usual, the word-wise Phil Liggett phrased it appropriately. For the Missile’s victories in the first and last stages of this year’s Amgen Tour of California, the past week has been nicely held together by “Cavendish bookends,” much to Peter Sagan’s disappointment no doubt after clearly gunning for two in a row to wrap up the event. In the end, with Sir Bradley Wiggins’ overall victory and Mark Cavendish’s comeback performance, it’s plain to see British legs rule California roads. I myself am thrilled to have been right there, live at the final finish line in Thousand Oaks, even as the peloton flew by faster than most our heads can turn!
Some Olympic blunders are horrifying, then sad in their downward aftermath. Others are horrifying, then spectacular in their upward recovery. So it is– the latter– for one American figure skater who suffered a severe wipe out on the ice, looking for a moment like he was finished for the night.
From here, his only way was up. (Photo: Reuters)
Au contraire! To the amazement of the audience– including yours truly in front of the television– he picked himself up to complete what was from then on a seemingly perfect performance, in the end trading the encouragement of onlookers for his own inspiration to us all. An indelible moment it was, and an even better comeback it became– literally from the ground up– for Team USA champion Jeremy Abbott.
American Taylor Phinney in the overall lead, flanked by not-your-usual podium girls. (Photo: AP)
As the XXII Olympic Winter Games get underway, while Jay Leno bids farewell (again) to “The Tonight Show”, a uniquely different event has been taking place this week that’s truly a first: The inaugural Tour of Dubai is underway for a whopping total of… well, four days. Sixteen professional cycling teams are braving the region’s flat, sandy terrain for a cumulative distance of 417 kilometers, not even 65 miles per day! Hmmm, I wonder is they’ll even break a sweat? Maybe best they don’t; the cycling season is young yet, after all. Next up after Saturday: The six-stage Tour of Qatar.
“At 92, she’s defying odds and even setting a couple records. She’s the oldest person to ever host SNL, she’s the oldest Emmy winner in history, and she’s even made it into the Guinness Book for the ‘Longest TV Career For A Female Entertainer.'” (HuffPost, 1/17/14)