Heroes Of The Week! (Late-ish Edition?)

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Welp, I made the mistake of watching snippets of the democratic debate on YouTube yesterday morning, and all I have to say is Holy Kennedy! What have these people been doing with the last three and a half years given them by the voters? What’s going on is shameful, and if it prolongs this long national nightmare come November? I say we impeach everybody and just start over.

Thankfully, we do have some real heroes out there . . .

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Super Kid- Five year old Noah Woods may not look like your typical superhero and that’s plenty fine with him and his family. Because what the kid out of Bartow County, Georgia did was every bit as heroic as anything the Justice League has going on. Noah woke up to find his bedroom on fire, with the only escape route being through the second story window. Not only didn’t he panic; he managed to get his two year old sister and his dog  to safety. Then he ran next door and woke up his uncle so the rest of the family could be alerted. His actions ended up saving seven family members that night, and for his efforts he will be recognized as an honorary member of the Bartow County Fire Department today and will receive a Lifesaving Award. Fire may have destroyed their home, but Noah made sure it wouldn’t take its most prized possessions.

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Best ‘Decision’ he ever made- Los Angeles Lakers small forward LeBron James, who has been no stranger to my Friday edition gets it. And now the inaugural class from his I Promise School in Akron, Ohio will be getting something as well: Free tuition to Kent State University, made possible through the LeBron James Family Foundation.  ” . . for me to be able to be in a position where I can give these kids options to decide what they want to do with their future, it’s probably the best thing I’ve ever done.” James said.

He’s my MVP . . as in most valuable philanthropist.

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Who’s your Dada?- If you’re looking for the polar opposite of an ambulance chaser, his name is Karimul Haque. He is a rock star in West Bengal for the service he provides to residents of the rural villages in this northern region of India with little or no access to hospitals. Over the last nineteen years, the Bike-Ambulance-dada has delivered more than five thousand people to the hospital, free of charge. He has received the Padma Shri- a civilian medal awarded in the Republic of India, for his contributions. But if you ask me, the guy is so much better when it comes to giving.

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Little things mean the most- When I think about how the past three and a half years were the result of some big picture special effects, created out of wrongheaded smarts and a maddening hubris . . I realize the missing equation is what has capsized our boat: Heart. Enter two year old Cohen Sheely who toddled things back to that foreign concept recently with a simple hug. It happened during a routine pizza delivery when Ryan Catterson dropped off a pizza to the Sheely residence and got a hug from Cohen in return. Turns out, Catterson had recently lost his teenage daughter and this hug meant more than words could say. All those peeps in power behaving like two year olds should look to Cohen for pointers. Just saying . . .

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I often write about how the very best things are happening on the regular inside the quiet. This doesn’t mean to say that the quiet is some vapid, toothless corner of a long forgotten world, because it ain’t. The quiet I refer to has chops the size of Uluru, and it’s been going on for an even longer time than that. And so while the talking heads generate tinder-like swipes of the left and right with their pejorative-laden slings and poisonous arrows, Natalie Reilly is buying herself karma credits . . wholesale.

Four years ago, Natalie and her mother began writing love notes to first responders. It was their small way of saying thank you to the peeps who put it all on the line every single day in order to keep us safe. When she lost her mother to cancer, the notes helped to maintain the connection for Natalie. This mystical hand clasp helped create Nothing But Love Notes– an organization dedicated to writing thank you cards to police officers and firefighters. Twenty thousand cards strong, Natalie is just getting started.

And it’s nice to read a story where good things happen to people who do good things. Natalie’s world has opened into a cosmic bloom she never saw coming; in the form of a community of like minded souls who believe in the healing qualities of giving something rather than asking for it. She found love too, when one of the recipients of her goodwill mission reached out to her and hello turned into a string of tomorrows.

I vote for this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rebel Wilson Reviews Last Blood

I went into Rambo: Last Blood fresh . . . like me. I wanted to give this movie a fair suck of the sauce bottle, you know what I’m saying? If you live in America, your mind is already in the gutter so no need for me to ruin that with an explanation.

Sylvester Stallone is how old? This mate still has plenty of stallion in his tank, at least from the neck down and that’s all I’m looking for as it is. Not that I would place a bag over his head when we were going at it or anything like that. Unless he was into that sort of thing . . .

As for the actual movie, personally speaking, I think it should have been titled “Meat Surprise” because the entire bloody movie is literally just that. This John Rambo bloke is a few stubbies short of a six pack, which I have to say really triggered me because he reminded me of my ex. All of them.

So his adopted daughter, whose name is Gabriela, learns that her biological father is living in Mexico so of COURSE she has to go looking for the clacker. Her guy friend takes her south of the border and then dumps her, which I really related to. Then she’s drugged at a club and sold into prostitution. A Mexican cartel kidnaps his adopted daughter, and that’s when I knew this movie was gonna blow because it would have been a much better story line if the cartel would have adopted his kidnapped daughter . .ammm-I-right?

Rambo hears about the kidnapping and drives to Mexico to find her, which means he’s going to kill a lot of bad Mexican hombres. He goes to the club where she was last seen and a guy named El Flaco says “Oh, you’re Gabriela’s American father? Great! Let me take you to her, we’re all celebrating Taco Tuesday (Mexicans call it Tuesday) at the Bad Mexican Hombres Ranch and would be delighted to have you as a guest!” But you know that’s not what happened, because if a guy’s name is El Flaco, he’s probably lying. And yet, Rambo . . who has seen more shit than a plumber, thinks they’re just gonna give his daughter back to him?

They beat the living Vegemite out of Rambo and mark him, as if he’s a wild animal because . . okay yeah, I get it. Hugo and Victor Martinez are brothers who specialize in drug dealing and dismemberment and they’re pissed off that Rambo took time away from their busy days so they beat him some more and take his driver’s license so . . yanno . . they can say “I know where you live!” and really mean it. Then they tell him to get on his bike and go home, because they have no bloody idea who Rambo is.

This journalist named Carmen shows up and takes care of Rambo. I really thought they were gonna have sex, because it’s what happens in every action flick, no matter how pressed they are for time. Carmen is investigating the Mexican brothers because they killed her sister, so she decides to help Rambo. She helps him find a brothel, where Rambo does some ‘investigation’ of his own . . meaning he kills a bunch of bad hombres before he finds Gabriela. If you’re looking for a happy ending, tough, because she dies on the way back to his ranch.

Now Rambo is pissed. I mean again. I mean STILL.

He goes back to Mexico and tells Carmen she has to help him find the brothers, and initially she is hesitant. But then she figures, well I wouldn’t piss on those two blokes if they were on fire., and I haven’t been to the movies in forever and this should be good, so sure!

Rambo goes to Victor’s villa, because every rich person in Mexico lives in a villa. It’s the Mexican word for mansion. He kills everybody and then he lops Victor’s head off for good measure because simply killing him wouldn’t be enough of a statement. So Hugo gets a posse and pays a visit to Rambo’s ranch, which is rigged with more traps than an American election.

Hugo going along is predictable, but it makes zero sense. Why would the Boss tag along when he’s worth all that money and he can remain safe and sound in his villa? Send your goons and watch what happens on a live remote! So of course Rambo kills everyone and somehow is able to save Hugo for last because it’s an action movie and action movie writers steal more money than a pickpocket at a New Year’s celebration. Rambo rips out Hugo’s heart, literally rips the bugger’s heart out! Easily the best part of the film, which I gotta admit, wasn’t hard to pull off. At the end of the movie, after making a bunch of guys his bitch, he rides off into the sunset.

Story of my life.

A lie by any other name is still bullshit

Nietzsche once said the visionary lies to himself while the liar only lies to others. And I have to believe he would’ve gotten a kick out of the current state of a world he once wrote was too hung up on morals.

No worries, Fred. It was just a phase.

George Washington could not tell a lie, Nixon insisted he did not tell a lie, Clinton never lied about weed or women, and the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has applied a four letter Warhol manifesto to the as defined three letter ‘assertion believed to be false’. And while many of his followers regale in this new age hegemony, where lies are currency and feelings be damned, the truth of the matter is their guy ain’t the father of fib. He’s just the latest slouch to rent its effete epidemiology.

And yes, politics is easy pickings since the rule of every practical voter is to choose the person who lies least. Unless you’re a MAGA member, in which case lies are akin to medals.

Lying is everywhere, and it’s not simply an acceptable endeavor, it has become monetized. From YouTube urban legend makers to parents who misplaced their kids and are conducting their search for the abductors in Hawaii . . . lies are that most valuable social commodity; they are magnets to the trending cycle. And so what if you can’t prove a theory or produce your children for authorities? The empty calories will still make you rich!

In sports, the bottom line is lie-proof. College basketball coaches like Roy Williams lie about academics and get away with it until they stop winning. College football coaches like Mel Tucker rail on about how players should be loyal to their commitment to a university and then they hightail it to another school for a bigger payday. Pete Rose wants to be in the Hall of Fame because he insists his fifteen year long lie was less criminal than steroids and sign stealing. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says that the health of his players is most important while pushing for more games.

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And the lying liars of the sports world have a new champion this week. Enter Jim Crane; owner of the Houston Astros, who won the World Series in 2017 by hook and crook and garbage cans. The Astros held a press conference the other day in which they did something that was previously thought to be impossible; they looked worse for it. Crane insisted the elaborate system his team utilized in order to gain an advantage “did not impact the game,” and then a minute later he said  . . with a straight face, mind you “I didn’t say it didn’t impact the game . . .” Well . . now that we have that straight.

And as much as I love my Yankees, Brian Cashman has to chill with all the indignant jabs he’s throwing at Houston. Because Cash was plenty okay with signing drug cheats like A-Rod and Robinson Cano and Roget Clemens once upon a time. And no, those lies were not okay because they were our lies. For fuck’s sake, that’s why we find ourselves at this intersection of wrong and wronger.

History proves that lying has always proven more worth it than not. Herodotus was the chronicler of the Persian Empire who was born in a time before fact checking became a job description. And no . . . Nero didn’t start the fire. Columbus never should have had a day to begin with and Ben Franklin dabbled in fake news in order to get the French to help us tag team the Brits off American soil. Of course, not all lies are created equal . . and yes, expediency in the name of freedom is dressed in a sweet and worthwhile rind. Unfortunately, history has engaged a more insidious byproduct as a result of all this lying. It has created an alibi.

We live in the age of reality shows that have absolutely nothing to do with reality and the news is oftentimes less reliable than a makeshift subway station food stand. So when Debbie Mazar makes misleading claims about losing weight and Jussie Smolett makes claims that mislead us regarding loser Magats, we don’t even flinch. So attuned are we to the prevailing winds of small change, that lies are an expected device. Makes you wistful for the good old days when tobacco companies recommended smoking for better health and LBJ warned our parents that a vote for Goldwater was a vote for nuclear annihilation.

I’d like to think this too shall pass, but maybe I’m just lying to myself.

 

 

 

Heroes Of The Week!

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Another week, another half dozen candidates trimmed from a democratic primary season that is beginning to look a lot like a Poirot whodunit. You can imagine my surprise when I received a call from DNC chairman Tom Perez informing me that I should drop out of the race . . since I wasn’t even aware I was in the race. On the bright side, I nabbed thirty five thousand votes, which placed me fourth.

And now your Heroes . . . .

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Do the Math- Remember as a kid when you used to rail on about how useless math was going to be when you got out in the real world? And then you got out  in the real world and there were stock options and mortgage payments and kids allowances to consider? Well, a family owned Bronx deli is actually bringing the fun back to math (for the first time) with a little game they play with their customers. Solve a math problem and you have five seconds to grab anything in the shop . . . free of charge.

Ahmed Alwan has been working at Lucky Candy since he was thirteen years old. Now twenty and studying at Bronx Community College, he wants to be a pharmacist some day. He came up with the math quiz and began broadcasting it on Tik Tok and Instagram, where it has since gone viral. He pays for everything out of his own pocket, which is nothing new to the kid. He’s been known to give his customers food and house supplies on credit, and he’ll bring coffee and muffins to the homeless. His goal is to “inspire others to be kindhearted”.

He’s living his best life, and passing it on.

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Bringing koala to a gray world- The 9th Brigade of the Australian Army has been putting in the yeoman’s work on the other side of the world in fighting the brush fires that have laid waste to New South Wales for more than half a year. With heavy rainfall helping to extinguish the ongoing fires, these peeps ain’t resting just yet.

They have proven every bit as unrelenting as the firestorm they’ve been fighting since last summer: clearing debris, hosting benefits  cleaning up residential properties and just listening to their affected neighbors. And with their ‘down time’, they’ve taken to bottle feeding koalas at the Cleland Wildlife Park in the Adelaide Hills.

No rest for the mighty, and they wouldn’t have it any other way.

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A Super save- If there is one thing I truly abhor, it’s the criminally insane amount of food that goes wasted in this country. There’s no excuse for such a thing to happen in such a forward thinking place as ours. According to the US Department of Agriculture, we waste more than $160 billion dollars in food every year.

NFL Green, in partnership with Centerplate and Food Rescue US made certain that the Super Bowl would be different. These organizations took part in a massive collaborative goodwill mission to make sure all that big game haste did not go to waste.  Thanks to these folks, more than 30,000 pounds of unused food was donated to local shelters throughout Southern Florida, helping to feed more than 20,000 people.

There’s a lot of things we may never solve, but this is proof that hunger shouldn’t be one of them.

Game Winner- Inside the time of Howard Cosell and the Wide World of Sports, the Harlem Globetrotters were once considered the Elvis five of the hardwood. And I know I’m dating myself with those references, but hell . .  doing good is a timeless thing, and the Globetrotters showed us they still got plenty of game recently when they helped bring a military mama and her family together. Sergeant DeAndrea Proctor has been deployed in Kuwait for the past seven months. And then an invitation to take a picture with the sultans of slam turned into a family reunion. (Check out the video here).

Still winning after all these years.

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There’s no kitschy headline for this last story, because it’s the story of our country’s failed war on drugs. Kevin Simmers knows the brutal truths of this epic fail in the most deeply personal way. A decorated narcotics officer in Hagerstown, Maryland, he once took great pride in locking up drug offenders. “If they just had a pipe—fine,” he said. “At the end of the night, I wanted to have an arrest . . .”

An Air Force veteran and self proclaimed hard ass, Simmers was all in on the Reagan era philosophy of meting out harsh punishment to drug offenders. And then came the day when his teenage daughter Brooke told him she was addicted to opioid pain pills and had taken to selling her body in order to feed her habit. One year and six failed rehabs later, Simmers took a drastic step and had his daughter arrested. It is a decision he still regrets.

On April 4th, 2015, Brooke Simmers was released from incarceration. She was nineteen years old with a new lease on life. The bright light she had shone so brightly while serving her time provided the hope that her father had been seeking since that fateful morning two years earlier. She talked about opening a sober-living house for women and her father made her a deal; on the one year anniversary of her sobriety, they would do just that, together. Sadly, that day would never come because a little more than a week later on April 14th, Brooke’s lifeless body was found in a church parking lot in the backseat of her red Volkswagen Beetle.

For the next few years, Simmers tried turning back time on himself while in the throes of overwhelming grief. He knew his role and he owned it, and if not for his daughter’s dream, he might very well have followed her out of this world. But he stayed put, and in 2018 he opened Brooke’s House- a sober-living house in Hagerstown, Maryland.

Brooke Simmers never got to see the lives that will be impacted in a positive way by the house her father built. But her lesson will prove far mightier than a failed political slogan out of another era. Two simple words that every parent must heed.

Just listen.

 

The Gold and the Beautiful

Welcome to the first and probably only Sorryless Awards Show. I’ll be your host as we honor the top five categories made famous by dead white people. Since I didn’t watch the Oscars, Imma dish up my own version for best actor, actress, director, screenplay and of course . . picture. 

Best Actor (Runaway Bride)- Former Steeler/Raider/Patriot/Almost Saint Antonio Brown takes home the top prize for his (sic) heartfelt apology to the Steelers, the NFL and his ex-girlfriend. This week. Stay tuned for next week when Brown recants all apologies and signs on with Cirque du Soleil before suing the production company in order to get out of his contract.

Best Actress (Sunset Boulevard)- Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi wins again. For residing over an impeachment trial that was easier to predict than a Harlem Globetrotters game. She followed that by ripping up the President’s State of the Union speech in full view of the world when setting it on fire was a much better idea.

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Best Director (Lord of the Rings)- Tom Brady scores the award. The former best actor winner for his role in Deflate-Gate, Brady wins here for the cryptic Instagram pic (above) that he posted in the week leading up to Super Bowl 54. Turns out it was a sneak preview for a Hulu commercial Brady would star in on Super Bowl Sunday. And the best part? He says he’s not done yet. Lucky us!

Best Picture (All the President’s Men)- And the award goes to the US Senate. Against a backdrop of corruption and abuse of power, one Republican Senator stands stall. Mitt Romney’s vote to convict the President on one count of abuse of power falls short but he wins the respect of many democrats. Let’s hope the 2020 elections bring some comeuppance to those Republican senators who voted to cover their asses.

Best Screenplay (The Usual Supects)- Chad and Lori Daybell for running an end around on law enforcement officials, the media and every right thinking person alive. These nut bags have somehow avoided any kind of police detainment in spite of the slew of murders involving family members and the unexplained disappearances of their two children . . in September.

As for the pieces of Oscar night I did catch online, I’ve got some thoughts.

  • This no host business blows. I don’t care if it works okay without one . . . I’m not sorry I missed that.
  • Renee Zellweger really looked like Judy Garland!
  • Chris Rock and Steve Martin delivered a vagina monologue? I’m sorry I missed that.
  • One Hollywood legend- Tom Hanks- honors another in Kirk Douglas. As it should be.
  • Enough with the Cats bashing already, for fuck’s sake.
  • I gotta see Parasite.
  • Brad Pitt got political, and while I ain’t usually down with such a thing, his mention was brief, smart and real. I’m okay with that.
  • As I was very okay with the speech Joaquin Phoenix gave after winning the Oscar for his turn in Joker. Sure he’s out there, but that’s what makes him such a great actor. And yanno, when he said that maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to cancel each other out over past failures? That shit resonated with me. And I’m okay with not agreeing with every single thing he said up there. Because I agree with the most important part. Like when he closed it out with a quote from his late brother, River. And that becomes how I choose to close out this post, with nothing more to add to such a beautiful idea.
  • “Run to the rescue with love, and peace will follow.”