The Rushmore Series: The King of Pop

I remember being on the phone with my pal David Miller as we mourned the loss of John Lennon one night in early December of 1980. The legendary singer/songwriter had been assassinated outside the Dakota, and it went against the unnatural order of society to my way of thinking. Musicians were meant to pass too soon thanks to bad trips or hedonistic entanglements with pills, but not this. Assassinations were the kind of thing that happened to world leaders and mob bosses.

“The music died, man . . the music is dead,” His voice trailed off as we were left to imagine a world where this kind of shit was possible. How could music, that thing we held onto for dear lives as we tried figuring out the world around us, survive?

Sure it had happened before. There was that story about a group of Hell’s Angels who had plotted to murder Mick Jagger. And Bob Marley did get shot before taking part in a benefit concert four years earler. But the former had been a business dealing gone wrong and the latter was political in nature. John Lennon’s politics consisted of making love over war and staying naked for days on end, but that’s what rock stars did. No, John Lennon was shot simply because he was John fucking Lennon, which was akin to adding kerosene to ambrosia.

I grew up in Howard Beach, New York, where guns and assassinations went with the territory. I thought the place was the center of the universe for good reason. John Gotti and his associates were the soldiers of our Roman Empire in suburbia. Where else could you run into a guy like that while waiting in line at a bakery? Or find tennis great Vitas Gerulitis working on his game at Charles Park? The boxer Vito Antuefermo was born and raised there. Joey Ramone lived there, as did Woody and Arlo Guthrie and music producer DJ Skribble and New York Giants linebacker George Martin.

David Miller was from Forest Hills, which felt like the other side of the moon to a boy like me. Lennon and the Beatles were one of the few things we agreed on. We argued politics and history, food and drugs and art and girls and of course, music. Perhaps nothing pissed him off more than my contention that Michael Jackson was changing the face of music as we knew it.

His professional opinion was to say “No fucking way, not a chance . .”. And I took this provocative rebuttal in stride, seeing as how this was the same guy who shaved his eyebrows after going to see Pink Floyd the movie. My musical fixes ran the gamut and so I wasn’t looking for agreement. From Deep Purple, Rush, Queen, Black Sabbath and Bowie to the Sugarhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and N.W.A., I just wanted to plug into something that moved me.

Michael Jackson was different in that he was a Billboard pop star who deviated from my norm, and it didn’t matter because the sound worked. Holy shit how it worked. He was an odd misfit and he was outrageously talented and all I knew was that the stuff he was doing then . . it was going to stick around long after I was done cruising Cross Bay Boulevard.

Calling Michael Jackson a singer was like saying Jackie Robinson was a second baseman. It was much too simplistic a term for a mercurial talent that redefined history. He was polarizing, secretive and with time he became a modern day horror story we couldn’t look away from, as much as we wanted to. But to cancel out what he did inside arguably the greatest decade in the history of music (my humble opinion) is kind of like saying that Michelangelo never existed. You can’t do it.

From his iconic moonwalk to his transformation of the video music standard to his funky get ups to his mythical reputation for the absurd, Jackson was equal parts entertainer and phenomenon. His appeal was transcendent, his reach undeniable. People who loved him couldn’t stop talking about him and people who couldn’t stand the guy, they couldn’t stop talking about him either.

By the mid eighties, Lennon’s death hadn’t signaled the end of the music, but rather, a brash new beginning whose might is still felt today. And deep inside that complicated time of nuclear fears and a new economy and music that colored outside of every imaginable line there came to us a sound unlike anything we’d heard before, or since.

All dressed up with somewhere to go.

(I don’t expect you to watch a fourteen minute music video, but I think it speaks to how Jackson turned the industry on its head. Who tells music executives, “I’m going to make a short movie when everyone else is putting out three minute videos. And you’ll fit the bill,”. He did.

I do expect you to visit Dale over at A Dalectable Life, whose dishing up her first choice for Rushmore.)

Heroes Of The Week! (Casual Friday Edition)

Macy's Thanskgiving Day Parade 2012: Helium is wasted in floating parade balloons.

Welp . . . I couldn’t go with Black Friday Edition on account of the fact the retailers have gone and screwed that up in the recent past by opening on Thanksgiving night. Of course, this year they got religion . . on account of COVID. So Imma go with a more casual flow to this week’s episode. And with twenty eight shopping days until Christmas, methinks it’s a good idea to take a chill day before our shopping boots really get to stepping.

Big thank you to Frank “Beaches” Angle for riding shotgun with me last week. Of course, going solo means I have some zeroes to go along with the good stuff. But that’s alright because, just like in the movies, the good guys win in the end.

Now to our heroes . . .

I’m starting things off with Green Shirt Guy. And if you don’t know who that is, then do yourself a favor and watch this video. His name is Alex Kack and he’s a twenty eight year old field organizer from Tucson, Arizona. He went viral after video footage caught him having a good laugh during a city council on immigration. He was reacting to the mindless rant of an anti-immigration protester when his fifteen minutes of fame came calling.

“There’s a side to it that’s not funny, especially in light of El Paso,” he said. “But when you’re sitting there and your confronted with a level of absurdity and insanity, what else are you gonna do?”

Kack says he plans on keeping his green shirt. And hopefully he keeps that sense of humor as well. We need it right about now.

Big props to a recent hero, Alex Smith. The Washington quarterback not only made it back to the field after almost losing his leg a couple years ago, but he’s kicking some butt. He threw for almost four hundred yards last week, and he helped lead Washington to a victory against the Cowboys yesterday that lifted his team into first place. Just . . . wow.

Not for nothing (because that’s what it’s worth) but what in the hell happened to “America’s Mayor” Rudy Giuliani? Dude should have remained in the private sector, because once he went high profile again, he quickly turned into the Penguin. Seriously . . . DC Comics is suing him for identity theft. But I guess that’s what happens when you join forces with the Joker.

And what’s the deal with Rudy’s boss taking credit for the Dow hitting 30 K for the first time? Does he not remember predicting the market would crash if Biden was elected? Huh? Hmm? Huh?

Ryan Shazier walks out to announce Steelers' draft pick

Ryan Shazier was busy living his dream until a spinal cord injury in a December 2017 game against the Cincinnati Bengals changed everything. The former linebacker was given only a twenty percent chance of ever walking again. He pushed back on that daunting outlook and less than six months later was walking up to the podium to announce the Pittsburgh Steelers pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

“My injury has helped me see firsthand what the SCI community goes through every day and the inequities people face when it comes to getting the care they need,” Shazier said. “I want to be there for people who are going through similar struggles, including their caregivers and families.”

Over the last three years, this former member of the “Steel Curtain” has shown plenty of steel off the field. This week he announced that he is starting a non-profit organization: The Ryan Shazier Fund for Spinal Rehabilitation. In his words, it’s one step at a time to a better tomorrow. His courageous example will help to lead the way.

Dogs are man’s best friend, so it was only right this guy returned the favor. He went in the water and extricated his puppy from the jaws of an alligator. The part of this video that’s most impressive is how he opens the gator’s jaws while it’s between his legs. I mean . . courage AND concentration.

Seriously! The gator is BETWEEN his legs . . . thisclose to his business! Okay I’ll stop . . .

Michael J. Fox Details Crisis Of Optimism In New Memoir, 'No Time Like The Future' | Here & Now

And now for a double tapestry of righteous brought to us from the lovely Dale over at A Dalectable Life.

First up is that much loved Canadian(?) Michael J. Fox. He’s penned a new memoir titled No Time Like The Future, in which he goes deep on his darkest moments. Specific to this was 2018 when doctors found a tumor on his spinal cord. Though benign, doctors believed it was too risky to operate, and that it would eventually lead to him not being able to walk. He was able to find a doctor who removed it successfully, after which he spent much of the year learning to walk again.

Things did not go well.

“I squandered it by going too fast down a hallway and turning into the kitchen, slipping on a tile and crushing my arm,” says Fox, who couldn’t reach the phone to call for help. “I had to get my arm rebuilt.”

It was in that moment where Fox thought to himself “I’m out of the freaking lemonade business,”. And yet he found his way from there to here. With a new book, a new outlook and a perspective that will serve to help others. In spite of all the valleys he’s been made to journey through, he says he is still so thankful for everything he’s got.

Is it any wonder me and Frank try and steal this guy every chance we get?

And a belated congratulations to Kim Ng, the first female general manager of a men’s team in the history of major North American sports. From the White Sox to the Yankees to the Dodgers, Ng has paid her dues over a thirty year career. Next up? I want to see Becky Hammon score a head coaching gig in the NBA.

Dolly Parton, who in April donated $1 million to Covid-19 research, is listed among sponsors who funded research for the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine.

As for the B side of Dale’s two-fer, we have Dolly Parton. She wasn’t just tapping her toes, hoping the pandemic would miraculously disappear by spring, nope. In April she donated $1 million to coronavirus research. Money that helped to fund Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. Her name appears in the preliminary report for the vaccine, but she was never looking to draw attention to herself. All she wanted was to help, and she called on others to send what they could to the research team at Vanderbilt University.

She believed it was the time to “open my heart” in order to help others. But you know what really helps that process along?

When your heart was right there all along.

And the following video is why I am going to miss Conan. One of the many reasons . . .

Pat Sajak told a Wheel of Fortune contestant that he was “ungrateful” and Twitter went nuclear. And in other news, I just cut my toenails . . . .

Imma send y’all into the weekend with the story of Grover Wilhelmsen. He’s a retired music teacher who was stricken with COVID-19 this fall. The virus moved into his lungs and impeded his ability to talk. So Grover took to passing notes to the nurses tending to him before coming up with a better idea. He got his wife Diana to bring his violin to the hospital so he could play them a song, as his way of saying thank you.

And in the music shined a light for the people who have had to work through so much darkness. His gift of love and thanks, in keeping with the season. The gesture shows us that gratitude is more than appreciation or a reciprocal kindness.

It’s a gift.

A Cult Above

Shelter Island Estate - Montana, United States - Private Islands for Sale

Remember the good old days when Michael Stipe spit-balled the end of days into a rock and roll beer song as we divested one stock and invested in another whilst bitching about all that disposable income we were smoking? This was in a time before commercial airliners crashed into our little cocoon. We thought Trump was smug and harmless and Joe Paterno was a saint and Bill Cosby was the father we really wanted.

All this time later, here we are . . . a disheveled, dispirited reckoning that keeps spiraling into an Edvard Munch pit. So Imma call my backup plan into active duty. Because as much as I want to hope and dream again, now that an adult will be inhabiting the White House again . . I’m still concerned about our long term forecast.

Thus, my backup plan.

I’m going to become a cult leader and move to Montana. I realize that any cult boss worth his Sambuca goes to Texas, but I have exes in Texas and none in Montana. That I know of. Also, the proximity to Calgary allows us to siphon their oil reserves if need be, because as Americans it’s our God given right to order out. We’re also close enough to the Dakotas that we can hide out there if the Federalis decide to shut down our little enterprise. And we’re half a day’s drive from the Pacific in the event the zombies get to stepping.

Montana is picturesque and roomy. It also happens to be where former Bulls and Lakers coach Phil Jackson lives, so the Zen Master can hook us up with some medicinal herbs seeing as how cult life is all about siestas and corn chips.

In my compound, the rules will be simple.

  • Everyone is equal, unless you’re a Red Sox fan.
  • No prayer services. Sunday is for football, drinking and junk food cheat day. Any or all, your choice.
  • Wearing of political slogans is strictly prohibited. If you want to speak on your political opinions, you’re free to do so. But don’t behave like a billboard . . . you’re a human being.
  • Cursing is encouraged. New and creative combinations are always welcome.
  • No children. If you’re under the age of twenty one, you ain’t in my compound.
  • Spaghetti (and meatballs) Tuesdays will take place every Wednesday. Wine fountain included.
  • Turntables and vinyl are the preferred music delivery system.
  • Saturdays are drinking and a movie nights. So is every other night of the week.
  • Those found guilty of stealing will be dealt with severely. They will be forced to do the shopping at Costco.
  • Kool Aid is prohibited.
  • No cable.
  • Beer on tap. No . . I mean it will be on tap in every residence. You get your hot and cold water and your beer tap. No baths allowed unless you plan on drinking it all.
  • We will construct and maintain an old school library.
  • No assault weapons allowed. Black market weapons, however? Abso-fucking-lutely. And we keep this arsenal a well guarded secret since the ATF frowns on cults with arsenals.
  • And speaking of the ATF, we send them Omaha Steaks and liquor monthly.
  • You can worship any God you wish. Jeff Bridges equals bonus points.

As the leader of this cult, I will not have multiple wives. I know that’s what cult leaders are expected to do, because its supposed to signify power. But having been married, I can assure you . . this is an incorrect assumption. Furthermore, married people will have to undergo an extensive psychological evaluation before being accepted into the cult in order to ensure they pose no physical threat. Pets are welcomed. Actually, they are more welcomed than humans. If you harm one of our animals, you will be fired. As in . . . tossed in a bonfire.

My idea is still in its infancy but I expect to have it game time ready by the fall of 2022. Which is when the world should be kicking the tires on its new normal ride and all the stress fractures endured inside this forgettable year will either be healing, or cracking wide open. If it’s the latter, then you’ll find me Pink Floyding my way through the genesis of a manmade apocalypse. I’ll be the one in the robe and cowboy hat.

In order to gain entry, the password will be cannoli.

The Rushmore Series

Now that Rushmore is safe from COVID-19 parties disguised as political rallies, Imma time share the national monument for a classic barstool debate. Nope, not the one about who the greatest basketball player of all time is (It’s Michael Jordan). Or the one about who the greatest football player of all time is (It’s Jim Brown). Or even the one about the greatest baseball player (Willie Mays). And before you ask . . yes, Wayne Gretzky . . of course!

What’s coming up next weekend is all about the music. It will be a four part series in which I will feature one musical artist a week to round out my Rushmore. Music is the soundtrack of our lives, and as such, the list is an entirely subjective endeavor. I’ll be choosing up male artists while the lovely Dale (Notorious Q) at A Dalectable Life will round up her top four female artists for Rushmore.

In order to gain the necessary reduction, we had to cut the lyrical fat by adding a few qualifiers. Because while fat most certainly means flavor, it also makes it damn near impossible to pare it down to four. So there’s that.

The Rushmore Rules . . .

1- The artist must have written their own songs
2- We’re only including artists from the last fifty years for this exercise
3- Influence that keeps on keeping on
4- Stage presence

If you’re wondering about the last fifty years rule, it’s either that or going back hundreds of years to the time of the classical composers. With only four spots on the mountain, it was best to keep things relatively current.

Welp, that about covers the what’s what of this Rushmore series. Next weekend will thus begin the big reveal with the first of our four faces of Rushmore. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you will probably even disagree.

How fun is that?

Heroes Of The Week! (The Dynamic Duo Edition)

reddit: the front page of the internet | Batman illustration, Robin comics, Batman robin

For this week’s episode, I’ve invited Frank “Beach Walks” Angle to ride shotgun with me as we deliver up a roster of righteousness. We’re still trying to figure out who’s Batman and who’s Robin (I’m Batman), but in the meantime, let’s just say we have a sweet supply of feel good coming at ya. And of course, seeing as how Cincy is sooooo glass half full (must be all those refreshing walks of his), Imma be peach positive in all my entries. This duo rocks!

Now to our heroes . . .

My Project: Goldie Hawn and The Hawn Foundation - NBC News

Goldie Hawn is proving once again that beauty is so much more than skin deep.

For the last sixteen years, Hawn’s MINDUP Program has been helping students deal with anxiety, stress, anger and depression. Schools that have instituted her mindfulness program have seen a dramatic improvement in the mental health of their students and the numbers ain’t lying: 86% percent of users say the program has helped them achieve more positive outcomes while 83% say it has led to an improvement in their social skills.

And now Hawn has introduced a way for these children to cope with the isolation and uncertainty that has come with a global pandemic. She’s partnered up with Insight Timer- a meditation app- to offer five minute exercises called “brain breaks” that help the kids maintain focus while alleviating their stress levels.

“During this time of uncertainty, children are affected negatively emotionally and are facing symptoms of stress and anxiety,” says Hawn, the 74-year-old founder of MindUP. “Our program helps address these issues by creating mental fitness and emotional stability.”

For one thing, the girl is making seventy four the new Wow! But more important to her, and to the world around her, is the positive difference she is making every day. In a world of superficial, there do in fact exist superheroes.

Remember back in the early days of this pandemic when people were singing in their windows and baking breads and learning to sew again for the very first time? Well, Scott McKenzie and Jeremy Uhrich- both of whom hail from Huntingdon, Pa.- baked cookies from scratch. This coping mechanism led to a bake-off when Ulrich read McKenzie’s post on Facebook.

The two men invited local front line workers to be the judges as a thank you for all their hard work and dedication.

Well, the event was such a success that the two decided to start up a Facebook page called “Cookies for Caregivers”. The group currently has 299 members the group and has delivered more than 15,000 cookies and cakes to hospital staff, grocery stores and fire departments. Uhrich’s father even got to baking creating his own group in Hershey, Pa.

“There aren’t enough people to thank,” McKenzie said. “Kindness doesn’t have an expiration date.”

So the next time someone pulls out the old standard about how the cookie crumbles? Remind that as to why this isn’t necessarily a bad thing after all.

A New Jersey restaurant with a coronavirus scare stayed open because of the generosity of a neighboring barbershop - CNN

Not everyone likes to play by the rules of this pandemic, so it’s important to note that places such as the Würstbar eatery in Jersey City, New Jersey abide. Even when faced with the daunting prospect of having to close its doors for good, these guys still did the right thing when one of their workers was exposed to the virus recently. They shut down, together. The health and safety of their staff was more important to these owners than money. Imagine that? Giving a damn about people more than your bottom line.

But no good deed goes unnoticed and so when the workers at Virile Barber Shop got word of the restaurant’s plight, they decided to step in and keep the lights on.

“The weather is too nice out to let our neighbors at Würstbar stay closed!” Virile Barber Shop owner Andre Fersa posted. “I’ve taken over the bar and am selling PRETZELS, beer, wine and cider for outdoor seating only. Come on by and support this great staff.”

No whining about medical conditions or how their rights had been violated. Just human beings making the very best of a bad situation in these trying times.

That’s how you define humanity.

And now Imma kick it over to Cincy, who is going to send y’all into the weekend with a selection of stories that will fill your tank with inspiration. Take it away Frank.

Thanks, Marco for the opportunity to co-anchor this edition of Heroes. I’m starting with a young kid in Gaithersburg, Maryland – Cavanaugh Bell – a second grader that gives humanity hope. He started Operation Magic because he thinks big. So big, I wonder what is next. So big, he makes me feel small.

Last week you featured a Cincinnati story about a man adopting not one, but five kids. This week we are crossing the Ohio River to the Kentucky side. Campbell County is where we find Tricia Verst, a high school freshman with a rare chromosomal disorder. She wanted to run cross country. Unsure how to motivate Tricia, coach Toni McKee got an idea, and that’s when senior Sydney McKinney stepped up. Well, here’s the story.

Image property of WXIX television Cincinnati, Ohio

This one is my no-brainer for the week. This story is about 140.6 miles: swimming 2.4 miles, biking riding 112 miles, and running 26.2 miles … yes, one after another. I have volunteered to dance with those with Down Syndrome. One of the reasons it is so rewarding is that many DS people are so positive and appreciative. This story is about Chris Nikic of Maitland, Florida, but a tip of the cap to Dan Grieb, who was with Chris the entire 140.6 miles.

Yes, to my surprise, I’m leading you out with Britney Spears – well – no really – but a cover of one of her songs.

 

Business As Usual

LSU's Ed Orgeron Volunteers to Take $300K Pay Cut for 2021 Season | Bleacher Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights

Win at all costs.

The world of college sports has taken that refrain literally, and boy, do they have a rap sheet Al Capone would be envious of. From back room cash grabs to academic cheating scandals to recruiting high risk players whose criminality is then aided and abetted by coaching staffs, administrators and high profile boosters. College sports means never having to say you’re sorry, so long as you keep winning.

And when the worst laid plans get even worse, we get the same tired, old lines about how they failed to live up to their stated goals of producing quality “student athletes”, some of whom wouldn’t be able to find the classrooms with a GPS. The powers that be will express regret while at the same time insisting they never saw trouble coming, honest. As if they truly believed all those high risk/high reward cases they were chasing would miraculously transform into law abiding citizens when given the chance to play for a platinum program.

Next up is Ed Orgeron. He’s less than one calendar year removed from having been the darling of the college football world, after presiding over a powerhouse LSU team that tore its way through the toughest conference in the sport and then laid waste to all comers in the college football playoffs. Coach O had lived the life of a football nomad, moving from one gig to the next with little chance of ever being the grand poohbah. Until the Tigers gave him that one last chance at a head coaching position, after which he rewarded them with an undefeated season and the fourth national title in the school’s history.

There was nothing not to like about Orgeron. A combination of Ward Cleaver and Forrest Gump; a hard working lifer whose legs kept running until they found the right kind of somewhere. In a landscape that ran the gamut of forgettable; full of boring corporate kings like Nick Saban and snake oil salesmen like Bobby Petrino, Orgeron was different. Here was an affable guy with a booming, gravelly voice whose story of perseverance was downright charming. He had made the most of his one last chance, and we figured good for him, and for college football. And then we were reminded, once again, that college sports really has no rock bottom.

LSU RB Derrius Guice still limited with 'nagging injury,' Ed Orgeron said; Arden Key down to 255 pounds | LSU | theadvocate.com

USA Today reported this week that former LSU running back Derrius Guice was accused by two women of sexual assault on two separate occasions while playing for the Tigers back in 2016-17. LSU officials, including Orgeron, did nothing about these allegations, and Guice continued playing without so much as an investigation into the matter. A serial abuser of women, Guice recently was cut by the Washington football team after being arrested and charged in three separate incidents of domestic violence.

Then there’s Drake Davis, whose on field exploits pale in comparison to his criminal rap sheet. The highly recruited wide receiver- one of those high risk gambles that football schools like LSU can always make room for- was suspended for one year after assaulting a woman- he punched her multiple times. They were given no choice in the matter after he was arrested on multiple felony charges.

In the last half decade alone, Guice and Davis were far from the only menacing threats on campus. Peter Parish, a backup quarterback, was also suspended for one year after being accused of raping a woman in a car this past winter. Running back Tae Provens, linebacker Jacob Phillips and tight end Zach Sheffer have also been accused of rape in separate incidents. Safety Grant Delpit was accused of recording a woman during sex and sharing the video without her knowledge. None of these men were charged with a crime because the school never even bothered to investigate.  Defensive linemen Davon Godchaux and Ray Parker are alleged to have taken part in what the university referred to as “dating violence”. School officials were not forthcoming on whether the two were disciplined, citing “privacy interests”.

When tasked with doing the right thing, the university has stayed on brand by doing the absolute worst thing: They ignored these young women. Never mind that their inaction violated school policy, not to mention local and federal laws. And never mind that such blatant disregard for the safety and well being of these young women can never be undone.

LSU declined to make its coaches and administrators available to USA Today, but no worries because they did put out a statement looking to assuage any concerns that parents or the female population on campus might have.

“We are unwavering in our commitment to respond promptly to any reports of misconduct, to investigate these reports in a manner that is fair and equitable, to support victims of sexual assault, and to protect the privacy of our students according to the law,” the statement said. “Putting an end to sexual assault is an institutional priority, and we are constantly working to achieve that goal.”

So basically, if you’re a woman on campus trying to get an education, do yourself a favor and enroll in self defense classes. And hire a bodyguard while you’re at it. Just in case those institutional priorities suffer another massive breakdown. And if you can’t work that into your schedule or budget, you could always transfer. Because let’s face it, the Tigers have a power brand to sell. And all the statements in the world don’t cover up the fact that they aren’t sorry for having gone rogue.

They’re only sorry they got caught.

 

 

Joe Pesci Review: Fargo

I like crime. Movies, in da movies. Yanno, my career is proof that crime pays . . . in da movies. So when Marco asked me if I would be innerested in doing a review of Fargo, I told the stuttering prick to kiss my ass. Of fucking course I would be innerested! And then I asked him what in the fuck Fargo was about. He says it’s one of the greatest movies, like ever. I betcha he’s one of dose guys who says every fucking thing is the best thing ever. But okay, I ain’t sleeping much so what the fuck.

Fifteen minutes into this shit pancake, I found something that puts me to sleep. I woke up just in time for the closing credits so I called Marco and asked him if he thought he was a wise guy. But the asshole insisted I go back and watch the rest of dis flick and if I made it to the end without trowing up my brain, he’d send me a bottle of Chivas. I told the cheap bastid if he made it a box, I was in. Deal.

So okay . . what inspired me to waste almost two hours of my life when I ain’t got two hours to waste? Other than Chivas? I have no idea. But I did it and lemme tell ya . . . I would rather have been given a Sriracha enema. There’s more action going on in a retirement community than there is in this movie, which is based on a true story. Which just goes to prove how boring life really is for most people.

Da plot goes like dis. Some asshole is trying to get out of debt so he arranges for his wife to be ‘kidnapped’ so that he can get his rich father in law to pay the ransom to cover his debt. My Uncle Sal tried that with my Aunt Rosemary . . we still laugh about it. So da plot as they say in da classy books, goes awry. During the exchange, the father in law gets shot by the fake kidnapper but he ends up shooting him in the face before croaking. So now the fake kidnapper has da money but he’s also got a hole in his face that napkins ain’t gonna fix.  And then he finds out that the asshole who planned the whole thing was trying to schtup him and his partner by lying about the ransom amount. Needless to say this changes everything.

Meanwhile, this pregnant chick who happens to be a cop is starting to figure out that the husband of this supposedly kidnapped woman is fulla shit. She’s by far the most inneresting character, because she’s still working even though she’s about ta go inta labor. And not only that, but she’s got a certain something about her that, God forgive me for saying dis but . . I’d still bang hah. She’s clever too, which I find very attractive, unless it’s being used against me.

So the wife who’s been kidnapped, bullshitedly, she gets taken out. So does the kidnapper with da hole in his face, after which he’s disposed of in a wood chipper, and I mean . . why didn’t I think of that?! It’s beautiful! And then the husband is caught. which is good for him I guess because now he ain’t in debt no more, and he can’t fuck up anything else. But really . . . two hours of nothing much happening to get to any good stuff is a bigger waste of time than doing a sequel to Casino.

Marco owes me two boxes of Chivas now.

 

The Kamala Harris Invitational

Kamala Harris Makes History as First Woman and Woman of Color as Vice President - The New York Times

In honor of the first female Vice President in our nation’s history, Imma deliver up a roster of hot dishes whose extraordinary talents serve to make them that much more beautiful in my book. This gallery of gaga is what I like to call divinity meeting femininity, and we, their grateful admirers.

And before you go calling me a Johnny Come Bandwagon, let the record show that I featured our Vice President-Elect in a previous Vera Invitational post (Click here for best results!) . . . before she made history. Am I gonna take any credit for the fact that Joe read that particular post and had a genius idea for his ticket? Well . . . I’m not not going to take some credit for it. I am an American, after all, doing my civic duty.

To Madam Vice President, congratulations and thank you. For making an otherwise forgettable year something much more hopeful. Your beauty is more than skin deep, and your class and dignity will be a welcomed breath of fresh air in a house that is in dire need of just that.

Vera Farmiga | NUVO

I said to myself “Self, why don’t you have the Queen of your Crush River crash this invitational? Seeing as how you ain’t featured her all summer!” And I gotta admit, Self was making some big sense. So yes, Vera ends up here . . as it should be. And I really don’t have many superlative pitches in my repertoire when it comes to this timeless beauty, only because I’ve used them all. Okay, here’s one I never mentioned. She was the best thing about “The Departed”. There . . . I said it.

128.9k Likes, 1,022 Comments - Taissa Farmiga (@taissafarmiga) on Instagram: “Fishing for something.” | Pretty people, American horror story, Vera farmiga

Alright . . I know. I’m pouring it on now because guilt is eating at me for not having featured Vera all summer. I mentioned Taissa Farmiga in passing in an Invitational post many moons ago, by saying Vera was so talented that she had her own farm team. But her niece wouldn’t be here on looks alone. Like her aunt, she’s gone deep in a variety of different roles and she’s just getting better. Couple things. For one, this photo ain’t professional in nature and I’m not sure what’s going on. I feel like her boyfriend caught her in the middle of an argument and she was just about to punch him in the face for taking her picture. I don’t know why I find that sexy, but I do. But the mussed up hair . . it’s winning. And for another, and this is no slight on this pretty little chica but . . . in fifteen years, she is going to be absolutely breathtaking. Trust me on this.

From Top Model To Black Panther, Actress Yaya Alafia Is 'Truly African-American' : NPR

And okay, Imma get this out of the way straight off by saying Yaya? Como va? Because Yaya Dacosta is that classic beauty who fills you with song and wonder whenever she makes the screen. And no matter the size of that screen, she’s busy commanding it. On the small screen, she’s starred on All My Children, Ugly Betty, Law and Order:SVU, House and Chicago Fire and is currently a regular on Chicago Med. She also scored, and nailed, the role as Whitney Houston in the Lifetime bio-pic Whitney. On the silver screen, she’s got The Messenger, The Butler, Tron, The Kids are Alright and The Shanghai Hotel on her resume, among others. And that’s not even talking about the music videos she’s appeared in with the likes of Kanye and Jay-Z. Classic beauty and big talent get you to the Invitational, and who knows . . maybe she’s got politics in her future too. Just saying.

In Conversation With Emmy Raver-Lampman — Rose & Ivy

If you’re not familiar with Emmy Raver-Lampman, you will be. She made her Broadway debut in 2011 in the musical Hair. After that stint, she went on a fantastical caravan- touring the country and starring in productions of Jekyll and Hyde, Wicked and Hamilton. She’s since scored several television roles, most notably as Number Three in my current Netflix go to Umbrella Academy, where Lampman plays “Number Three”. And speaking of hair . . hers is a blossom of sun and fire that speaks funky beautiful truths and she can do anything and everything with it, after which all I can muster is yes, please and thank you so very much. And that voice, it’s like hot buttah. I heard a rumor that Umbrella Academy is locked and loaded for a third season, because hey, if Netflix is gonna raise its rates it better make damn certain it raises the roof right along with it. With Lampman on board, that’s a given.

Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini on their dark friendship in Netflix's 'Dead to Me' - The San Diego Union-Tribune

Another first here at the Invitational, as I’m featuring a dynamic duo. Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini are tasty goodness a la carte. But when paired together, as they are in the Netflix show Dead to Me? Everybody wins. My favorite show of the year, thanks to these two, who are the dark side version of Ethel and Lucy, by which I mean they work so damn well together. Do you know how you make dynamite? Put these two in the same script . . . and BOOM!

I hope you had as much fun reading this as I had putting it together. And I’m going to close up shop on this episode with Vice President Harris’s victory speech. The venue was so 2020, seeing as how it took place at a drive-in. But the feeling? Well, she made us feel like the world really can change for the better.

I’ll buy that.