Thursday, April 17, 2014


Carlos Arredondo wasn't the only hero to rise up in the Boston Marathon bombing,
but he became the most famous one.

First responders, doctors, surgeons, and ordinary people acted quickly to save
lives on that terrible April day a year ago, but it was the man in the cowboy hat
who became the face of courage and everything that was good on a day destroyed by
an evil act.

Some would say Arredondo was in the "right place at the right time" as a photographer
clicked what would become an iconic image of him rushing Jeff Bauman to medical
care, but there is nothing right about an event that killed three innocent people and
maimed so many others.

But if everything, indeed, does "happen for a reason," then nobody can ever resent
Arredondo for being the one to carry the torch and for the hundreds of heroes who
emerged that day and morphing into the celebrity he has become.

Arredondo deserves everything is he is getting and then some.

In the decade leading up to the 2013 Boston Marathon, he had been in the darkest of
places, experiencing pain and tragedy that no man, or parent should ever have to endure.

In 2004, Arrendondo lost a 20-year old son to the war in Iraq. Seven years later, his
other son took his own life, unable to bear the searing pain of losing a brother and best friend.

No parent should ever have to bury their own child,  doing it twice seems just so
unimaginable, not to mention unfair. Think about the pain, mental anguish, and the
guilt that arises from not being able to save or help either one of your children. Two
beautiful children that you helped bring into this world gone, in an instant.

When Arredondo was sitting in the stands near the finish line last year, he did so in
that cowboy hat. In a city where nearly every resident has a Red Sox hat, this guy was
in a cowboy one. He stood out like a Boston accent in a high school's French club.

Arredondo was there cheering on some members of his son's battalion who were
running in the race. How many times do you think he thought about his son killed
in the war and the other one who took his own life because of it?

Then, it was as if God touched him on the shoulder and said, "Carlos, this is your
moment. I have tested you long and hard enough. This is your time to shine."

Carlos came out of his personal darkness and became a hero. When a sudden catastrophic
event occurs, different people act in different ways. Some become paralyzed with fear
and do nothing.

Others become like Forest Gump and just start running until they don't feel like
running anymore.

It's hard to blame anybody for they act in those moments of terror, but it's easy to
admire, adore, and appreciate the people like Arredondo who show tremendous courage
and save a life.

Arredondo, like so many other first responders did everything right that day, and
deserves to be rewarded. He is more famous than all the rest, but there isn't a person,
even if this sometimes petty, jealous, and resentful world, that has a problem with it.

Carlos Arredondo is a true hero. It may never extinguish the blaze of personal pain he
suffers everyday, the result of losing his own flesh and blood, but I hope it has given
him great joy and satisfaction that he saved many others from experiencing the
mind-boggling pain he's had to endure.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


April 15, 2013.

That was the day that two bombs rattled the core of Boston and brought the world class city
to its knees. There was death and destruction thanks to a deliberate act of terrorism by brothers
who were filled with anger and hell bent on making other people's lives as miserable as theirs.

In the hours after the bombings, I heard more than a few Bostonians say their town, their city,
and their marathon would never be the same, as if those two bombs destroyed everything.

Those pessimists were partially right---Boston isn't the same as it was before the bombs
went off. Today, 365 days after one of the worst moments in its storied history, Boston is
stronger, much stronger than it was before those homemade bombs detonated.

It was a great city before April 15, 2013, now, because of its strength and resiliency, Boston is
far beyond being just great. It is spectacular.

I lived in Boston on two different occasions.  I occupied an apartment on Newbury Street,  the
next one over from Boyleston Street and less than 1,000 yards from where the blood was shed
and people died or were maimed for life. I knew all about the heart, soul, and mind of the city.

Boston had been a tough as nails city before those bombs went off on Patriots Day, one of the
biggest holidays in New England. People in Boston rarely want any help from anybody, especially from an outsider. They may reluctantly give you the shirt off their backs just as long as you make
sure it's dry-cleaned when you return it.

They don't have time for small talk and if you don't worship at the altar of the Red Sox, Patriots,
Celtics, and Bruins, you're invisible to them. And Lord help you if you ever utter a bad word
about Tom Brady, Bobby Orr, Larry Bird, or Ted Williams. It that happens, be prepared to fight.

However, the soul of Boston was scorched on April 15, 2013. The entire region was shattered
and emotions were as raw as a cold night in February. Their town was damaged, their people
were killed, and their brothers and sisters were maimed for life.

For just a short time, Boston let its guard down. They showed the world they were hurting. But
if anyone thought the bombings would weaken the city,  they were sadly mistaken. We saw the
strength of the city well-before the smoke from the bombs had vanished into thin air.

First responders responded in a way that few have ever done in a life-changing catastrophic
event. Heroes like Carlos Arredondo, the man in the cowboy hat who suffered his own
personal tragedy losing two sons, one in military action, the other from suicide.

It's easy to ask how much pain can one man handle? But Arrendondo put his personal pain
aside and ran to aid others, not knowing if another bomb would go off and take him.

Arredondo saved Jeff Bauman, whose legs were shredded. He pinched a gushing artery to
keep Bauman from bleeding to death. In a world dearth of heroes, Arredondo was a knight
in shining armor.

More than 15 people who were enjoying marathon Monday, woke up with limbs missing,
their lives changed forever. But they have battled through emotional and physical pain to
try and resume their  life's journey.

They showed much more courage, fight, and will than the athletes on the professional
teams in town can only dream of.  They inspired us, moved us, and made us appreciate the
human will and spirit like never before.

April 15, 2013 ripped Boston apart for short period, but a year later, the city is stronger than
it has ever been. Ever.

It is not Boston Strong, but Boston Stronger. The city is better than its ever been, and next
Monday, the Boston Marathon will be the greatest marathon on American soil--bar none.

People are running in this race to raise money for charity and just to be part of the healing
and reconstruction process. It will be the most watched, most covered, and most exciting
marathon this country has ever seen.

And it's Boston's Marathon. That will always be the case. However, this year, it will be better
than it has ever been. Ever. Just like the city itself.

Monday, February 24, 2014


Long before people amused themselves and punctuated every text with LOL, Harold Ramis
blessed us all with his creative genius. Thanks to his imagination, "Animal House," "Caddyshack",
"Stripes',  and "Ghostbusters" became instant classics that made us laugh out loud
 over and over and over again.

Ramis died on Monday, bringing sadness to many who got so much joy and comic relief from
his movies. He gave us Otter, the Gopher  and that psycho marine, who if you called him Francis,
he'd kill you.

There was Flounder, Niedemeyer, (Dead!),  Lacy Underalls, and even Sergeant Hulka. I often
said to myself in wonderment, "Who the hell makes all this stuff up?" And it was usually Ramis.
He was to comedic writing what Zuckerberg is to algorithms: brilliant, pure brilliant.

Ramis wrote or co-wrote the aforementioned classics, in addition to National Lampoons,
"Vacation", "Groundhog Day", and "Analyze This." I watched a documentary about the
making of "Caddyshack" which Ramos also directed. That was a film no big shot in Hollywood
wanted any part of, the feeling was that it was going to be an epic disaster.

Ramis said most of the actors and crew shot all day and partied all night, with many folks
arriving for work coming straight form a house party. A majority of the movie was made up
on the fly, and you know that gopher? Yep, that gopher was added long after most of the actors
had gone home for good after Ramis said, "That's a wrap."

"Caddyshack" worked because of Ramis and his genius. A movie that many expected bomb
at the box office became one of its greatest and most profitable hits.

30 years after "Caddyshack" and "Animal House", people can still recite many of the lines
from them. There is the "Cinderella story!", "It's in the hole!,"  "Did we give up when the
Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?", "That's fact, Jack," and "fat, drunk, and stupid is no way
to go through life."

Ramis went through most of his life making us laugh. I can only imagine the amount of
fun he had on the sets of "Caddyshack", "Animal House", "Stripes" and "Vacation". Nobody
would've been surprised if he himself, died from laughter.

I was surprised today when I heard Ramos passed away from a rare disease in his blood
vessels. He was 69 years old. I'm not sure he ever put LOL at the end of his text, but it'd be appropriate if they put it on his tombstone because that's what he made most of us do, over and
over and over again.

Monday, January 20, 2014


Richard Sherman, Richard Sherman, and more Richard Sherman. I'm pretty sure we'll
be hearing about the All-Pro cornerback from now up until the Super Bowl. I'll bet that
outside of Peyton Manning, Sherman will be the most popular player at the circus known
as media day. While the squeaky-clean Broncos quarterback will be the star leading up
to the biggest game of the year, Sherman is on his way to being the biggest freak show.

But say this about Richard Sherman: He may be arrogant, obnoxious, and low-class, but
the Stanford man is a pretty smart guy because he's figured out how to feed the media
monster and become a household name in this NFL-obsessed country.

In Sunday's post-game interview, Sherman went on a rant and called Michael Crabtree of
the San Francisco 49ers a 'sorry' wide receiver. He supposedly said a few other things to a
few other networks, but I didn't hear them, because I hit the 'off' button on my TV clicker.
On Monday, Sherman's post-game hate-fest flooded the Internet, sports talk radio, and
every still-existing paper in the country. He even authored a column for on why he
said what he said about Michael Crabtree.

Yep, the media rewards people for being controversial, colorful, and often times, downright
right despicable. Television executives do it all the time as well. Heck, CNN gave Elliot
Spitzer, the former governor of New York who resigned after his scandal with a hooker, his
own television show! Is this a great country or what. Same thing happened north of the border
after Toronto mayor Rob Ford was outed for being a crack-smoking, foul-mouthed, near-
frat boy politician. (Although, Ford never resigned. )

The media nor television executives care that much about morality and character because,
after all, it's all about the ratings. Athletes who don't deliver the great sound bite or call
teammates or opponents out, don't usually get calls to be on "PTI", "Around the Horn"
or be the subject of ESPN's "Sunday Conversation", unless they are Manning, Brady, or
Derek Jeter, but there are so few of those athletes around in today's, "You-Face-Twit" world.
(that's short for YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, if you're scoring at home.)

By Tuesday, I'm sure just about every significant media outlet in the country will have
called the Seattle Seahawks public relations department requesting Sherman for an interview.
It's how it works. Producers often feel they have to get someone who is colorful and
with an 'edge'. You know, that athlete who is "trending" or in the Buzzfeed.

Sherman knows how to play the media, that's for sure. He plays cornerback in Seattle, which
is pretty much non-existent to the people outside of, well, Seattle. Sherman wears dreadlocks
just like every other defensive back in the league and he's far from being happy with just
being an All-Pro. He wants to be an 'it' guy and get all the attention. And how may I ask is
he going to accomplish that without tooting his horn or yanking the chain of others?


Sherman's rant to Erin Andrews of Fox has made him Stephen A. Smith with dreadlocks.
He is a man most of the country loves to hate but man just about every producer has to
have in their sports television program.

Two weeks before the Super Bowl, Sherman is getting the attention he feels that he deserves.
There will probably be appearances on the Late Night talk show circuit, television commercials,
and a bigger contract down the line. That's how it works these days, doesn't it?

Sherman's behavior isn't exactly worth of being a role model, but I don't think he cares one
bit about that. I'm sure a lot of high school kids doing post-game interviews will feel inclined
to diss an opponent or thump his chest like a buffoon because after all, Richard Sherman
did it. He's in the NFL, so they can do it too.

Monday, January 13, 2014


Aaron Hernandez
Wes Welker
Vince Wilford
Jerod Mayo
Tommy Kelly
Rob Gronkowski

Name another team could lose all those players like the Patriots did before and during the season
and still make it to the AFC championship game.

You can't because there is none.

No team deals with injuries and adversity better than the New England Patriots. Ever. Aaron
Hernandez, an All-Pro, impact player gets charged with murder and the team barely blinks before
saying good-bye to him and moving on. It's like he never existed.

Bill Belichick lets Wes Welker walk over a couple of measly million dollars and the fans and
experts say that the Patriots won't be able to replace Welker's production. Really? Julian Edelman,
a former college quarterback and seventh-round draft pick catches 105 passes, just about the
same amount Wellker averaged during his career as Tom Brady's favorite.

During the season, the team loses three Pro Bowl players in Vince Wilford, Jerod Mayo, and
Rob Gronkowski and what happens? They finish 12-4 and are now just a win away from
going to the Super Bowl again.

It's all because of Belichick and his genius. Under his watch, the Patriots are strengthened by
adversity instead of coming apart. They are fueled by the doubters and all those who said they'll
come apart. It happens all the time. Remember when Brady went down in the first game of the
2006 season with a torn-up knee? Yeah, they finished the year at 11-5 record with a quarterback
Matt Cassell, who took about seven snaps in college as a back-up to Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart.

It's the genius of Belichick. It's his system, his way, and the Patriots have never crumbled
no matter what the circumstances. 11 straight seasons with 10 or more wins. That's an insane accomplishment in this day and age of the NFL's parity.

Few people cared when the Patriots sent Jeff Demps and a seventh-round draft pick to Tampa
Bay for running back LaGarrette Blount. He had some baggage like Corey Dillon once did and
Blount is carrying it for the Patriots like "Clock-killin' Dillon did for the team the last time
they won the Super Bowl. Blount has been a beast the last few games and he could be the
key to winning the AFC Championship game against the Broncos.

A 260 lb machine for a 7th-round pick? That's the genius of Belichick.

The Hoodie is head and shoulders about any coach in the NFL. It's not even close. I just wish
the Patriots fans would learn their lesson when Belichick decides to let a player go a year
too early rather than a year too late.

He was the guy who cut Bernie Kosar, the most popular player in Browns history outside
of Jim Brown, and replaced him with Vinny Testaverde. Belichick was the guy who told Drew Bledsoe, a franchise quarterback on his way to the Hall of Fame before Mo Lewis knock
him out, to take a seat in favor of an untested QB named Tom Brady.

I've heard people say that Belichick is just a .500 coach without Brady. That's totally
absurd, but if you want to believe that argument, then you can say the same thing about
Chuck Knoll, Tom Landry, Bill Walsh, and Don Shula. I'm sure if they didnt have
Terry Bradshaw, Roger Staubach, Joe Montana, Steve Young, Bob Griese, and Dan
Marino, there's a good chance they wouldn't have been the coaches they were.

The key is finding those franchise quarterbacks. Nearly every team passed on Brady
six, I repeat, SIX times before the Patriots drafted him. Belichick had a franchise
QB in Bledsoe, but saw something in Brady that made his say good-bye to Bledsoe.

He knew. That's the genius of Belichick. He knew that Edelman could replace the
production of Welker. Yes, he knew.  He knew the team could once again overcome
injuries to All-Pro players.

This is his team, his system, his way. Belichick had all those great assistant coaches
and  player personnel guys but once they went out on their own, they were nothing.
Eric Mangini, Charlie Weis, Romeo Crennel,  Josh McDaniels, and Scott Pioli were
supposed to be the next big things (and Belichicks), but they flopped when they
became the men in charge.

It's further proof of Belichick's genius. Coaches and players come and go, but Belichick
is the one constant, as well as Brady, the guy Belichick found and groomed for greatness.

It's the genius of Belichick. Pure genius.