NFL player's Ferguson post on Facebook goes viral

I caught this on Facebook this morning. It says everything I've wanted to say about Ferguson but couldn't find the words to articulate.

I sat saddened, angered and embarrassed Monday night as more violence broke out after the announcement of a grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer involved in the shooting death of a young man last summer

Thank you, Benjamin Watson for your words.

Here are some excerpts from his post ...
I'M ANGRY because the stories of injustice that have been passed down for generations seem to be continuing before our very eyes.

I'M FRUSTRATED, because pop culture, music and movies glorify these types of police citizen altercations and promote an invincible attitude that continues to get young men killed in real life, away from safety movie sets and music studios.

I'M EMBARRASSED because the looting, violent protests, and law breaking only confirm, and in the minds of many, validate, the stereotypes and thus the inferior treatment.

I'M SYMPATHETIC, because I wasn't there so I don't know exactly what happened. Maybe Darren Wilson acted within his rights and duty as an officer of the law and killed Michael Brown in self defense like any of us would in the circumstance. Now he has to fear the backlash against himself and his loved ones when he was only doing his job. What a horrible thing to endure. OR maybe he provoked Michael and ignited the series of events that led to him eventually murdering the young man to prove a point.

I'M OFFENDED, because of the insulting comments I've seen that are not only insensitive but dismissive to the painful experiences of others.

I'M CONFUSED, because I don't know why it's so hard to obey a policeman. You will not win!!! And I don't know why some policeman abuse their power. Power is a responsibility, not a weapon to brandish and lord over the populace.

I'M INTROSPECTIVE, because sometimes I want to take "our" side without looking at the facts in situations like these. Sometimes I feel like it's us against them. Sometimes I'm just as prejudiced as people I point fingers at. And that's not right. How can I look at white skin and make assumptions but not want assumptions made about me? That's not right.

I'M HOPEFUL, because I know that while we still have race issues in America, we enjoy a much different normal than those of our parents and grandparents. I see it in my personal relationships with teammates, friends and mentors. And it's a beautiful thing.


To The Farm for Thanksgiving we go

Relaxing at The Farm tonight and warming by a fire on this Thanksgiving eve. Kates and her mom are in the kitchen, already preparing food for the big feast tomorrow. All the others are in their beds upstairs.

We arrived around 7 tonight after a mostly smooth drive. For once, we woke up ready to go this morning and were on the road on schedule. It also helped that Kates and I finished most of our packing Monday night with only some final items left to pack Tuesday night.

We left The ‘Ville around 9 a.m., and Kates gave Faye and Phoebe a “Frozen” present to help keep them occupied during the trip. Phoebe got a “Frozen” and math-themed marker board to practice her addition skills. She was good to go until Faye got her “Frozen” sticker book, and suddenly Phoebe’s gift want good enough. “I liked it for a moment until I realized I don’t like math!” she shouted through her tears.

We hit Des Moines around 11:30 with intentions of making a lunch stop and doing some shopping. But the first McDonald’s we stopped at didn’t have a Playplace, so we took a family vote and opted to do the shopping first and look for a kid-friendly McDonald’s later. … Our shopping destination was Trader Joe’s – which had been recommended to us by family and friends as if it was the Ikea of grocery stores, but I didn’t get that. We stocked up on some wine and snack foods, and the girls enjoyed pushing the kid-sized shopping cart – but mostly, to us, it was just like any other corner grocery store.

We found the McDonald’s about 10 miles down the road, ate our lunches and let the girls run off some energy on the Playplace. … By the time we were back on the road, it was almost 2 p.m., assuring that the sun would set before we arrived at The Farm.

Faye crashed and slept for most of the afternoon while Phoebe watched movies. That afternoon stretch through Iowa was the toughest we faced in terms of the weather conditions, with heavy snow flurries – but it was nothing I couldn’t handle.

We made one more stop outside of Dubuque for gas and a bathroom break. … Just two stops with the girls – not bad at all.

At Phoebe’s request, we listened to The Monkees on the iPod for the rest of the way. … That was fun. I loved listening to The Monkees when I was growing up, and I’ve enjoyed watching Phoebe take to them as I’ve played some of their records during the last several weeks. Phoebe’s favorite song right now is “Tomorrow’s Gonna Be Another Day.” And Kates and I had a nice time singing the harmonies on classics like “Daydream Believer,” “I’m a Believer” and “Pleasant Valley Sunday.”

It’s always a relief when we come around the bend in the highway and see the farmhouse illuminated at the base of the bluff. … Until the girls unbuckle and scurry to greet anyone inside and saddle me with the task of unpacking the car and moving all of the baggage inside.

It was ok, though. I eventually made it inside to join everyone, too. We gathered for a refreshing chili supper …

Then, I rewarded myself with a nap on the couch, for which Chloe cuddled up next to me. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all and to all a good night!


The American (and every other international pop star) Awards

It's been years since I've tuned in for the American Music Awards, and I got a good reminder why last night as I watched international stars like One Direction, Lorde and Sam Smith rack up the awards and appearances on the show. ... There's almost nothing significantly American about the awards show.

Nonetheless, I tuned it and was entertained by the performers I expected to entertain me and tuned out for the ones I don't care for.

Fortunately for Phoebe, Taylor Swift opened the showcase with "Blank Space," which allowed Phoebe to get in on some of the action before her bedtime. Taylor delivered a dramatic performance full of pyrotechnics that will have Phoebe talking about for days. ... And Taylor won the Dick Clark Award for Excellence. Grand.

My favorite performance of the night, though, was Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj knocking out "Bang Bang" -- and brought Taylor and company into the act at the seats. The women are ruling pop music right now, and I don't expect to tire of this song anytime soon ...

Rolling Stone recaps all of the performances here

Saturday Night Live: Weird but good

It's true "Saturday Night Live" has seemed weirder than ever this season. Aside from the Bill Hader episode, I've caught myself having serious doubts this fall about whether I'm getting too old to get SNL's humor any more.  

Then they bring in Woody Harrelson and Cameron Diaz -- two actors that don't normally have me scrambling for a place on the couch -- to host the last couple weeks. And -- surprise -- they turned out two of the more enjoyable episodes of the season.

Weekend Update has provided several laugh-out-loud punchlines, and the pre-recorded bits have been good, too.

Here are some favorite clips, first from the Nov. 15 episode with Woody Harrelson ...

New Marijuana Policy

Weekend Update, Part 1, including Leslie Jones on Crazy Bitches ... Jones is becoming the Lewis Black of SNL.

Weekend Update, Part 2

And from last weekend's episode with Cameron Diaz ...

Weekend Update, Part 1 ...

Weekend Update, Part 2 ...

Office Boss ...