Heroes Of The Week

You say Twitter, I say Twatter- This garden variety weed of social media is Darwin’s gift to the technological world. And this week’s “Dumb Shit People Say On Twitter” award goes to . . .

Those imbeciles who trashed Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s beau, referring to him as a ‘bin raccoon’. One of the Twitterati exclaimed in mock horror, “THIS is what AOC’s boyfriend looks like?” . . . After which, I have to think their kindergarten teacher took away their phones.

Riley Roberts and AOC keep things pretty quiet and chill for a reason, this one. But the web developer loves his girl, is fiercely supportive of her and is loved by her mama. So apologies to all those twits who trashed his look for my blatantly mean response but . . .

Who gives a blessed fuck what you think?

And now for a Frank Angle on a few of the week’s heroes. Cincy, from AFrankAngle hit me with a double mint of good stuff this past week. Here then, his twin bill . . .

Back to the Future- Nineteen years ago, DerMarr Johnson’s future was so bright he was investing in Ray Bans and sunscreen. His was the mad game skill set that perched itself inside the NCAA’s “One and Done” system whereby high school stars use college as a revolving door in order to hone their games and get some much needed national recognition. A spring board for the starry studs, with the emphasis on court work over school work.

Johnson attended the University of Cincinnati for his requisite cup of coffee, leading the Bearcats to a 29-3 record before being upset in the second round of the NCAA tournament by Tulsa. It was a blip for the kid whose game was going places, as proven by his being selected sixth overall in the NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks. It was all right there for Johnson; NBA stardom and generational money that would keep him in Ray Bans forever.

And then his first two seasons didn’t produce the takeoff many scouts had predicted. And then he was involved in a car accident that almost left him paralyzed, and then forever started getting lost. Johnson did play again, but most of his service time was spent on the fringes- some spot duty on various NBA teams followed by playing overseas and in developmental leagues.

Johnson never found his star, but this past week all that adversity felt a million light years away when the thirty eight year old earned a degree from UC. He wants to coach, and in order to do so, he needed a degree. So he went back to the classroom, for real. And now he’s got a bead on taking the court once again. Different seat, but it still counts for lots.

“Life is short. My life was almost taken my second year in the NBA. You don’t take anything for granted. You take advantage of all your opportunities,’’

I take back what I said about Johnson not finding his star. He’s simply chasing a different one now.

Running Down A Dream- Shaquem Griffin was born with amniotic band syndrome. The condition occurs when amniotic bands constrict the flow of blood to digits, arms and legs and impair their development. Griffin’s left hand was compromised during childbirth, leaving him in excruciating pain as a toddler. His parents made the heart wrenching decision to amputate his left hand after finding him in the kitchen attempting to cut it off himself.

It never stopped Griffin from visiting all those places in his childhood dreams. He starred in track, baseball and football in high school. He played alongside his brother Shaquill at the University of Central Florida. Among his many achievements, Griffin was named the defensive player of the year for his league in 2016; and in 2018 he scored MVP honors at the Peach Bowl, capping an undefeated season for UCF. In April of 2018, he was selected in the fifth round by the Seattle Seahawks, where he would play alongside his brother once again.

Griffin never forgot where his dreams came from, and so when he heard the story of ten year old Izzy Turkington, he sprang to action. Turkington was born with quad congenital limb differences. He was fitted with prosthetic devices for his legs as an infant. In conjunction with the Challenged Athlete Foundation, Griffin fitted Izzy- who plays several sports himself- with prosthetic runners.

Because Griffin understands as well as anyone that disabilities are not roadblocks to success, they’re simply the challenges you overcome to get there.

The Days of Whine and Poses- The NBA has become a league of girly men. Players are knighted by shoe contracts rather than their achievements on the court. Ya got Kyrie Irving wanting to be Batman when he’s a Robin. The Rockets ‘auditing’ referees calls and deciding they should have won last year’s playoff series against Golden State, which is shamefully weak. There’s Joel Embiid, who has more maladies than a hypochondriac proof reader for WebMD.

It’s quite obvious Michael Jordan has nothing to worry about.

As for the final entry for this weeks Heroes post, it goes to a place I’ve visited too many damned times.

Eighteen year old Kendrick Castillo was all set to graduate from STEM School Highlands Ranch next week. His interests included Computer Information Technology and he wanted to study electrical engineering in college. He was looking forward to this weekend, when he would compete in a “Rods and Robots” event at the school.

Kendrick had done such a great job interning at a manufacturing company that they gave him a part time gig. Post-graduation, he had several internships lined up, because companies wanted in on his smarts. With each passing day, his tomorrows were becoming more limitless.

And then someone walked into Castillo’s classroom with a gun on Tuesday and then the kid lunged at the shooter, saving his classmates by taking a bullet. And then all those tomorrows became the latest theft in a long and hopeless wound of school shootings.

Just like that, gone was the idea of everything. Replaced with stories that will never be told, memories that will never be made, and a life that comes to an end just as it was busy getting started.

His father is left to wish that his son would have run and hid, but he admits that wasn’t his way. Kendrick wasn’t the type to back down, he wasn’t afraid of the world he had grown up inside of. A world where kids go to school and never come home. A world where days like Tuesday have achieved a sick normalcy.

A world gone mad.












81 thoughts on “Heroes Of The Week

  1. Unfortunately for the horrific news at the end, three worthy heroes. In today’s mad world, stories like these need to get out. Well done … and glad that my suggestions made it. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Do you think the Rockets’ analysis of last year’s series adequately accounted for all of the times Harden travels and pushes off with his left arm? I think not.

    As for Castillo … it’s a tragedy within a tragedy. One wonders if we’ll ever escape these things.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Of course not. The audit may as well have been written by one of Trump’s underlings.

      I don’t know that there is an escape. Guns are a form of mediation in our society, as nuts as that sounds. But it’s been that way since forever. These school shootings simply added a layer of hopeless insanity to that reality.

      Liked by 2 people

      • And so we have the Rockets utter failure last night. I am far more excited about a Durant-less Warriors team than one with him on the roster. They are a better team with him. And the Rockets demonstrated they are pretenders.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Mark,

          I am by NO means a Warriors fan. But that close out game in Houston had me pacing the room and shaking my fists in celebration. For the Warriors! They are better with Durant, but they are so much more fun without him.
          Houston has been wearing on me for a while now. All this talk about it being their turn to win ‘titles’ (plural?!). How about getting one first, fellas? And then auditing referee’s calls? Seriously? How shameful. And now the Houston owner comes out after the game and talks about getting back here again and making sure they finish the Warriors by slitting their throats. If a player said that, he’d be fined. Wow.

          Needless to say, I found the Rockets to be highly unlikable. And the Warriors, playing without KD and without Cousins . . they do what they have done for the last five seasons. Win a big game. This group, this one . . totally likable. And their coach, borrowing the term “Fucking giants” from Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp. And being so spot on in the doing.

          This Warriors club, with Kerr as coach, is one of the all timers. And I’m not debating “best” because that debate is simply a debate and impossible to prove. But their personality, their ability to transform the hardwood into theater, it’s up there with any club in the annals.

          One last note. Kerr was a basketball lifer whose knees never gave him a break in his playing days. His playing career was a case study in keeping on when all else fails you. And his team is a case study in patience and persistence. Curry was considered an afterthought in the draft, after which he went several years before becoming THIS Steph Curry. This was Iggy’s third NBA stop. He was a plugger but not a difference maker. Thompson was a kid drafted out of Washington State who did nothing but improve his game from college to the pros by dedicating himself to just that. Draymond Green is a tougher Danny Ainge 2.0. He gets under your skin if you’re the opponent but he lights a fire under you if you’re on his team. Interestingly, Iggy is the only one who came from somewhere else. The Warriors drafted these guys, stuck with these guys and flourished with these guys.

          I could ramble on and on about them, but I’ll stop.

          Liked by 1 person

          • You could ramble on about them? Sheesh, you’re not even a fan of the team. I’ve been a fan ever since the 70s when I started following sports. Through Latrell Sprewell and Joe Barry Carrolll and Manute Bol hoisting threes and World B Free and Sleepy Floyd and the promise of Run TMC that was never realized. So much bad basketball for decades.

            And then the Warriors are faced with a decision. Monte Ellis or Steph Curry. Any idea where Ellis is these days? Yeah, me neither.

            Their first championship season in this run was a thing of beauty. They just loved playing basketball together and showed that a group of buys playing team basketball could win the whole thing.

            The year they lost to the Cavs was a fluke.

            I never liked the Durant signing just because I don’t like evil empire teams (see Yankees) who can have it all. And with each season since that signing Durant’s influence on the team has made them less enjoyable to watch.

            As I’ve said … he may be a great player but the team is a better team without him. They play with an energy and urgency that is lacking when he is on the floor. And possibly more importantly, they play with more joy and fun. He is an absolute joykiller. An angel of darkness. He sucks the positive energy out of the room.

            And then Cousins. Sigh.

            As soon as Durant left the floor in game five I got more optimistic about their chances. They just play better basketball without him on the floor. Over the last three years, they are something like 27-2 when he doesn’t play. I may not have got that quite right, but it’s close.

            And Igoudala. The absolute worst shot in the NBA, but when he has to he goes 5-8 from three point range and they win the game.

            Just love this core group of guys who just play basketball with so much talent and joy. More teams need to capture that.

            And it’s what the Rockets completely lack. Just completely lack the kind of spirit the Warriors have had for the past five season. Paul is vastly over-rated. Harden plays the game in a way that is offensive to the game. Spending more effort trying to draw fouls than actually trying to make a shot.

            They may beat the Warriors some day, but it will likely be when the Warriors are at the end of their run.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I can most certainly ramble on about them, they are that special. And I can absolutely see what you’re talking about. I DID see it in Game 6. They were making the extra pass, they were running. There was a fluidity to their game that wasn’t there with KD.

            Liked by 1 person

          • One of the things that has frustrated me in crunch times in important games is how frequently they turn the ball over. Suddenly, when Durant is off the floor, that doesn’t happen.

            This can’t all be coincidental.

            Liked by 1 person

          • They’re waiting on KD most times. Listen man, he’s opera when he’s feeling it. But you’re right, there is a dark angel quality to this whole thing. It didn’t occur to me straight away, but once it was apparent, I couldn’t NOT see it.

            Liked by 1 person

          • And I do love KD. But it’s his game, man. I love his game. The individual has really disappointed me. If they could jar his game and leave the rest out, I’d want him on the Heat.
            Hell, I would still want him on the Heat. Wade is gone, Riley’s moving out the door, and they are gonna be a tourist “shits and giggles” destination soon enough, if they ain’t already.

            Liked by 1 person

          • We’ve talked about this … at this point, I say let him go to the Knicks. It will be fascinating seeing what happens if he does.

            I mean seriously … apparently, his BFF is Kyrie Irving. Can you imagine the two of them playing together? On the Knicks? With Dollan as the owner? In the NY Media scrum? Oh please, let this happen!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Dude, it will become (soap) opera. He can’t take the media out there. How in the blessed hell is he gonna be okay with what the NY scribes are gonna pull out of their ass hats? It’s like watching one of those Final Destination flicks, where you see the accident before it happens.

            I want to see him and Kyrie in NY. With Dolan. Bravo is gonna get the rights to that reality show. No doubt about it.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Buahahaha!

            I mean, you’re talking about two very sensitive individuals getting together in a town that plays for keeps. Two great players in their own right, but two great players who have never been able to be “The Man” without lots of help.

            What could possibly go wrong?

            Liked by 1 person

  3. “…a hypochondriac proof reader for WebMD.“ Priceless!

    As for the victims of the recent shootings – shame on our American society. It doesn’t help that the rep for the Highlands Ranch area thinks the solution is more guns at schools.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Haha! Yeah, that was a tag ’em all moment for yours truly. I have those every now and again.

      Ugh. Madness begets more madness. These representatives bend over backwards to protect an antiquated amendment from being reworked to fit the times. But they need to answer for Castillo and the countless lives lost to gun violence. And they won’t.

      In the Declaration of Independence, there is a right divined by God which holds elected representatives responsible for its fulfillment.
      The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

      They have failed to uphold this.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. B,

    I don’t know why I am constantly amazed by the goings on in Twit-land. Who the fuck cares who is dating whom, indeed? Oh, right. Millions who have nothing better to do.

    Good for DerMarr Johnson finding his star. I’m always impressed by the ones who choose to finish school (even if the choice is made for them by events), leaving them with options.

    I remember a post of yours mentioned Shaquem Griffin. Not only does he do what he does, he pays it forward. Beautiful thing.

    Wanting to be Batman when he’s a Robin… love it! Bunch of girly men… though I think there’s an insult in there to girls… but I’ll let it slide because, like Ilene, I loved your “hypochondriac proof-reader for WEbMD”. I love how you do that!

    And, lastly. Kendrick Castillo. Yes, this place has been visited way too many times.
    Saw this tweet yesterday… it is so damn true. https://twitter.com/knecessary/status/997960395569721344
    I so wish I could just include the image here but that’s not how things work!

    Great post, Marco!


    Liked by 1 person

    • Q,

      Twitter allows people to treat discourse like fast food. Get in there, pound a few mindless thoughts out and get out. It’s the way of the new world.

      Johnson had to have his ass handed to him but hey, sometimes that’s how it happens. Just so long as he learned from it, doesn’t matter the age as far as I’m concerned.

      Griffin is an inspiration. No doubt about it.

      Well, I made sure to say ‘girly’ for a reason. It connotes a much different characteristic. Whereas girl is future woman, girly is silly and frilly. These dudes behave like a bunch of mean mall girls (Yeah . . that’s a double dose of uh oh right there).

      Every once in a while I hit one out. 🙂

      Sad but true.

      Thank you muchly!


      Liked by 2 people

      • This is soooo tue. And it sadly is the way.

        Sometimes it needs an ass-whupping, otherwise it will be missed. Never too late.

        Griffin is.

        You know I am totally teasing you on that girly comment! And now I am sitting here laughing at your double dose of uh oh!.

        More than once in a while.


        Liked by 2 people

        • Unless you’re a celebrity, where you post a tweet and then take it down later . . as if it hasn’t already been bronzed. And then the celebrity issues a half ass apology. Unless you’re Trump . . in which case you don’t really care.

          That’s the problem with the NCAA system sometimes. It gives these kids a false impression of what they can do at the next level. Beating the best NCAA teams is not the same thing as winning in the NBA. But how do you deny them their chance to cash in before they’re ready? You can’t. If they want to go, they can.

          It IS a double dose. Like a double dosy dose . . times dos. Duh! If they introduced a mall girl’s DNA to a mean girl’s DNA . . they very well might get an NBA player.

          N’kay . . . .

          In all ways . . .

          Liked by 1 person

          • Right. On both counts.

            Honestly, Only a select few “make it” so why don’t you all get your education so you can have a future chance at something if playing ball isn’t it!

            Buahahaha! I am killing myself laughing here! NBA double dosy dose!

            Don’t you n’kay me. I know of what I speak.


            Liked by 2 people

          • I often wonder what the thought process is when they post these inane tweets. At what point was it a good idea to them? And when did it occur to them it was never a good idea? After the backlash? They’re worse than children.

            I mean, if you’re a Lebron type who can score big right off the get, you can forego high school altogether. But how many of those kids are out there? Not many. You’re right, stay and get your schooling.

            Seriously . . the NBA. Joel Embiid had a stomach issue one game, had a horrible showing. It made me think back a couple years, to when I worked all day with a gall bladder attack. The pain was intense, I was nauseous and oh yeah, I went to the ER that night and had it taken out that weekend. Was it smart? Nope. But I didn’t behave like a girly man.

            No likey the n’kay?

            Senorita . . .

            Liked by 1 person

          • I know! I honestly think they don’t think. Of if they do, they don’t care about repercussions. Or they do care and just want to hurt. They are worse than children.

            Exackery. And how many LeBrons are out there?

            You can not be accused of being a girly man, that is for shizzle. Today’s peeps are so weak. The smallest thing and they are whinging and whining. Ugh. I’ve no patience for it, to tell the truth.

            N’kay is used when you don’t quite believe what I am saying. So, here. No. 😉


            Liked by 1 person

          • And let’s not forget the faux apologies . . where a celebrity begins with “If I offended anyone . . .” My God.

            The AOC thing is especially repugnant in that it is a personal attack. I may not agree with this chica on a ton of stuff, but that doesn’t give me- or anyone- the right to get personal. The level of vitriol for public figures is astounding. I mean, even with that Smollett kid. Listen, he was dead wrong and should be held accountable. But we gotta move on and let the peeps involved figure it out.

            He’s a couple times in a generation talent. Versus the countless players who need the work and the education that comes with college life.

            This isn’t to say there aren’t plenty of players who gut things out. DeShaun Watson played football last year with a lacerated kidney.

            Jes ‘maam! 😉

            Asi . . .


          • Puh-leeze. That’s the equivalent of inserting a “but” which means everything I said before the “but” just disregard.

            Exactly. Whose business is it who one is dating and what does that have to do with anything the person does for a living? Moving on seems to be only valid for school shootings. Sorry. But that is what it feels like. Go on and on about someone’s stupidity but quickly, let’s brush the serious stuff under the rug and continue on our way.

            And, I wonder how much he even realises it? Maybe way back when he first started. Or not ever. Oftentimes these types are cocky as shit so.

            They are not all the same eggs in the same basket. There are some real tough ones out there. You usually find them on the ice, though 😉

            Amigo querido!

            Liked by 1 person

          • That’s exactly what they do. Might as well not apologize at all . . .

            Yeah that is how it goes, isn’t it? They harped on AOC’s boyfriend for days. But the shooting in Colorado has run its course in our news cycle, it seems. Wow.

            Yes, the hockey players play through everything. Maybe if they started bitching and complaining, the sport would be more popular . . .


            Liked by 1 person

          • Yeah. A waste of everyone’s time and energy.

            It’s just mind-blowing how wonked focus seems to be on various issues.

            Oh don’t even go there! We can’t be having no soccer players on the ice…


            Liked by 1 person

          • Fo sho.

            It’s sad, depressing and a tad bit hopeless feeling. We’ve gone down the rabbit hole and there ain’t no more rope to save us.

            Soccer players on ice? Sounds like a Mel Brooks production.

            Liked by 1 person

          • The rabbit hole is far too deep indeed.

            Haha! K.. how ’bout soccer attitude on the ice… falling down in pain until the acting is no longer necessary…

            Liked by 1 person

          • No, no, no. That’s just me. I know lots of Canucks who dig on baseball. I’m just not one of them. Unless they are Dennis Quaid or Kevin Costner, who, ironically, have a resemblance one to the other. 😊

            Liked by 1 person

  5. you had me at twatter… i always thought twit was the past tense of tweet. i stand corrected. one of those links led to the twitter page of one El Duderino aka The Dude aka inspiration for my blog title. and we come full circle (ahem). well, sorry i don’t stop by more but the way you write is so awesome that i can only stand small doses. please suck on or rather savor that unoriginal lame compliment for a while. you don’t need it, though. nice post is all i mean to say.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Naturally the Kendrick Castillo story has dominated the news in the Mile High City. His father is a good friend of my closest friend’s husband and the family is decidedly heartbroken. The community is reeling since it all kind of began here with Columbine, then the Aurora Mall and now this. We all keep saying screw your thoughts and prayers, something needs to be done. This morning I learned the Colorado School of Mines has set up a scholarship fund for STEM School graduated in the name of Kendrick Castillo. My personal regret these kinds of memorials keep adding up for some really truly special people. RIP dear Kendrick with loving thoughts to his friends and family. 💔☮️

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Who gives a blessed fuck what you think? My second favorite line.

    I always clean up my language so afraid of being judged when I’m so brazen otherwise. You’re a trailblazer alright Mr. Imma. I’m going to go right now and practice saying fuck in front of the mirror then hopefully, take it to the page. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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