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I Think, Therefore I’m Medicated

Fidel Castro | Biography, Cause of Death, Brother, & Facts | Britannica

I was reading an article about all the bat-shit crazy conspiracy theories that have loosed themselves upon social media since the winter of last year. Yes it’s true, not even a global pandemic with casualty rates in the millions can keep the crazies from their appointed rounds.

Of course, I’m one to talk. Some of the thoughts that float through my head would have Elwood P. Dowd going Bra, you need to check your shit! And since I’m all about transparency, lemme ‘splain.

There was a period of time in which I would have wagered a year’s worth of pizza money that Fidel Castro died in 2008. This is because I had the strangest dream regarding the (now officially dead) Cuban dictator; it was a dream whose residual effects went all Chernobyl on my brain.

For the sake of shits and giggles, here’s some context . . .

I was visiting Chicago in 2008, which is where the living and the dead merge as a matter of political survival. Add to this, it was a national election year and promises of an ideological sea change were gripping the nation, and I just so happened to be in the epicenter of its wake, with Obama sweeping in and out of town as if he was the starting center for the Bulls. Oh yeah, I was also self medicating with an 80 proof IV drip. Copiously.

As far as that dream about Castro? Welp, in the dream I received an anonymous call informing me that Castro had died in New York City while attending the Letterman show. I was told to keep the news to myself since the US was planning an invasion of the island led by . . get this, Neil Young. Regrettably (or is that thankfully?) I don’t remember anything else.

My problema began when I fused this dream state with reality. I truly came to believe that Fidel Castro was dead. I went so far as to share this belief with other people, and believe me, I paid for it.

Turns out, my republic is fairly bananas, seeing as how this momentary lapse of reason ain’t so momentary when it comes to the thoughts that ride the local through my brain. A few por ejemplos? Como no . . .

  • I never order milk when I go out. The reason being, the idea of spittle making its way into my glass of milk is painfully repulsive to my senses. Somehow, ice cream is spared the same restriction since I deem it to be more robust, and thus, able to withstand stray spittle.
  • When the driver in front of me is going really slow, I wait till the last minute before putting on my turn signal in order to throw them off. Yanno, in the event they are trying to slow me down in perpetuity?
  • Every time I choose a horror movie on Prime, I swear it’s going to be a cult classic and not a high school art film. I am always wrong.
  • When I go near the edge of a building, I have the overwhelming urge to jump. Which is why I don’t go near the edge of a building.
  • Why do I feel like I’ll go to hell if I ever eat a Pepperidge Farm cake? It’s the icing . . it’s gotta be the icing.
  • Applebee’s is always finding new ways to annoy the hell out of me. So much so that I almost wish they could be charged with crimes against humanity.
  • Never keep a butcher knife in the dish rack overnight. It gives an intruder an unfair advantage.

I could go on (and on) but I fear this post would turn into a Castro-esque rendition of attrition by subtraction that would put the space-time continuum to sleep. While it may be physically impossible to do so, I’m sure anyone who witnessed Castro’s four hour and twenty-nine minute speech at the UN in 1960 truly believed time was standing still.

Now that is crazy.

Heroes Of The Week!

Imma start the weekend off with the story of a realtor named Linda Brown from Springfield, Missouri whose hobby is making a positive difference in the lives of others. Years back, Linda and her husband organized a nightly drop-in shelter for the city’s homeless; it was a place where they could eat, shower and do laundry, among other things. Of course, peeps like Linda always want more . . to do more . . for others.

That need turned into Eden Village, a village of tiny homes that provide permanent housing to the chronically disabled homeless. After raising almost $5 million in 2018, the Browns built this wonderful place on the grounds of an abandoned mobile home property.

Jonathan Fisher is one of the tenants at Eden Village. He battled substance abuse and lived on the streets for two years before meeting Linda Brown and her husband. He looks back on it as the day that changed his life. He’s clean and sober now, and he’s working full-time doing construction and maintenance on the thirty-one homes in the village.

“In the worst moments of my life, Linda gave me guidance, care and made me feel like I was still worth something.” Fisher says. “She helped me to build a better life . . . even when I was struggling with homelessness and sobriety, she showed me I was valuable and that my potential shouldn’t be wasted. She made me feel like I belonged somewhere,”

As far as hobbies go, Linda Brown is killing it.

Fleury staying with Golden Knights after Lehner signs five-year contract

The Vegas Golden Knights played the role of bush league bozos this week after they traded Marc Andre Fleury to the Chicago Blackhawks. They’re not getting a failing grade for trading their netminder, but for how it went down. The goalie who led them to the Stanley Cup finals a couple years ago found out about the trade on Twitter. Lame, Vegas . . . very lame. Of course, since my Chicago Blackhawks are the lucky recipients of a Stanley Cup caliber goalie as a result, I’m grateful that what plays in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas.

Russia shocks U.S. for gymnastics gold after Simone Biles withdraws - The San Diego Union-Tribune

Dear Simone,

You did the right thing, even if there are some who would have us believe you let your team down when you withdrew from the finals. Telling the truth is never defeat, and you proved as much this week. For those who believe differently, I’d like to ask them if they would forego pain medication if they popped their kneecap or pulled a hamstring. Because it’s painfully obvious they don’t believe the brain needs the very same attention as other parts of our body.

All I know is, you’re a champion in every conceivable definition of the word. But as far as I’m concerned, the conversation about Simone Biles begins with all those medals you’ve earned in your young life, but it doesn’t end there. Not even close. Because you are so much more than an Olympic gold medal winner and a World Champion. You are so much more. And you just proved it.

We love you

Truffles the kitty.

When Danielle Crull found a stray kitten meandering through the woods almost four years ago, she had no idea the impact this little lady would have. All this time later, the optician and owner of A Child’s Eyes in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania is well aware of the gift she received in that forest. Because Truffles has become so much more than a favorite child to Danielle; she has also become a valued partner.

Truffles comes to work with her cat mama every day, complete with a loving personality and a cool pair of specs. She has more than twenty pairs, but if you asked her to decide, she’d go with the green ones (pictured above).

“She is literally magical with little kids,” Crull says. “It takes me at least half an hour to try and get to know them so they realize I’m not something to be afraid of, and Truffles will come strutting out from the back as if she knows exactly when I need her help.”

These two are purrfect for each other.

Airport pianist Tonee Valentine gets $60,000 in tips after Instagram influencer Carlos Whittaker records him playing - The Washington Post

There’s a theme we’ve been surfing on at Heroes for the past several weeks. It involves chance meetings, and the contagious spirit borne inside these simple twists of fate. In a world where most of the news deals in strikeouts, it’s nice to read about life serving up a home run ball.

Tonee “Valentine” Carter is a pianist whose fingertips will take you on a ride the likes of which Jeff Bezos can only dream about. He does his thing in Concourse A of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, performing for an international audience for tip money.

A professional musician, Carter knew what his life was going to look like when he was all of six-years old and his father brought him to see the great Ray Charles. He has played in bands and worked on cruise ships, traveling the world and sharing his gift with every corner of it. In 2008, he was diagnosed with severe kidney disease and had to put his traveling shoes on the shelf. Since then he’s been playing the lights out in A-Town, with a tip jar riding his piano for passersby who dig on the vibe he supplies.

Carlos Whittaker says he likes to use his social media following to help other people.

Carlos Whitaker is a motivational speaker who was having the kind of moment that tests his expertise. His speaking engagement had been canceled and he was waiting on his flight back home when Tonee Carter’s music changed the day he was walking through. When Whitaker noticed there was no money in the tip jar, an idea came to him.

He took to Instagram with a couple of videos of Carter doing his thing and then he asked his “Instafamilia” to help give the pianist the biggest tip he’d ever gotten. Within thirty-minutes, $10,000 had been raised and before all was said and done, that biggest tip ever had grown to $61,000.

The good will shown to him left Carter humbled and in tears. After which he said the first thing he was going to do was get an oil change, because . . priorities. And after that? Well, since he claims the money is “not mine”, he’s going to spread the love by paying it forward. By giving, as good as he got.

Atlanta airport pianist earns $83,000 in tips after video shared to Instagram

I have to believe this story is further evidence that humankind’s demise has been greatly exaggerated. It is a sweet counter to all the news that’s print in fits, a chance meeting that lets us know we don’t have to let the purveyors of a skull and cross bones mythology write our epitaph.

Because in between all this living and breathing, we also love and laugh and celebrate and inspire . . . and give. Ours is a currency that will never go out of circulation, ours is a mindset that will never prove obsolete, ours is a spirit that will come for the music.

It will stay for the song.

Play It Again Spam (Case File #4,256)

Beneficiary Sir:

I am Mr. Richard Wahl, the mega winner of $533 Million USD in Mega Millions Jackpot, I’m donating to 5 random individuals if you get this email then your email was selected after a spin ball. I have spread most of my wealth over a number of charities and organizations. I have voluntarily decided to donate the sum of $2 Million USD to you as one of the selected 5, to verify my winnings please see my YouTube website page.

Richard Sir:

My man! This windfall could not have come at a better time as I am going away next month, and two million dollars should about cover my expenses. Of course, me being me, I’ve got a thousand questions regarding this gift of yours. A top five cut to the chase? Sure, why not . . .

  • You didn’t give to any of those dopes on Fox and Friends, did you? Because if so, I would have to respectfully decline your offer. The idea of having anything in common with peeps who are regular visitors to the Jungle Room in Mar-a-Lago is akin to being booked on Dante’s 9th Circle cruise.
  • This is a cash in a suitcase deal right? We really don’t need to be getting anyone else involved, if you ask me. Having done the math, if word of my cash cow got out, I would be milked dry before the end of the year. Your gift would become my bill.
  • On second thought, would it be possible to be paid in Cierto Tequila Reserve Collection Extra Anejo, Cohiba Esplendido cigars and Royal Kona coffee instead?
  • You wouldn’t happen to be related to the Wahl family out of Illinois, producers of top quality American made clippers? If so, could you throw in the all new Lawn Mower 4.0 Waterproof Electric Trimmer?
  • Is it a deal breaker if I don’t click on your YouTube link? Because the last time I fell for something like that, I was subjected to Fred Flinstone and Betty Rubble doing something called the “Stone Age Slingshot”. Lemme tell you, that is something you can never, ever unsee . . .

If the answer to my top five questions is answered in a manner that is agreeable with my eccentrically prohibitive senses, then we have ourselves a deal. Please do not think me ungrateful, but in today’s world, due diligence is a boy’s best friend. And since I don’t get an offer like this every day (It’s more like . . once a week), I find it necessary to safeguard my sweet ass in the event you are not who you say you are.

Until we chat again, be well and don’t go chasing waterfalls.

Best,

Inigo Montoya

Heroes Of The Week!

Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr. opened dugout to protect fans | Yardbarker

In this week’s “Four Letter Beasts and Where to Find Them”, I mentioned the heroic exploits of the San Diego Padres. And here’s why. Because when all manner of really bad shit was going down outside Nationals Park in Washington D.C., which resulted in three people being shot, the visiting team was making certain that every fan inside the stadium would make it home.

One minute, the details of a baseball game were all that mattered and the next, people were running for their lives. So Padres stars Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis led them into the visitors dugout, where they would find shelter from an attack.

“The situation changed immediately,” Tatis told reporters. “There’s no longer players, fans. Everybody’s just people, just human beings out there.”

Padres manager Jayce Tingler says he couldn’t be any more proud of his guys, and with good reason. Because while it’s really easy to whittle these athletes down until they achieve the dimension of a baseball card, humanity still counts most of all. And in the darkest of moments, they weren’t playing a baseball game thousands of miles from home.

They were home.

As with many great ideas, when Finnish and Norwegian artists Riitta Ikonen and Karoline Hjorth collaborated on a conceptual photography project, they had no blessed clue as to the path it would lead them on. Titled “Eyes as Big as Plates”, it was to be an intepretation of traditional Nordic folklore.

What had begun as a way of fleshing out regional mythology soon turned into something much bolder and far reaching than that. To quote the American philosopher Yogi Berra, when they hit the fork in the road, they took it.

The project is going on ten years now, and it has taken the artists from the United States to Japan, and all points in between. They work with seniors- farmers, artists, plumbers, academics, opera singers, housewives and zoologists-, “dressing” them as sculptural elements of nature. They work with the elderly in order to show us how our cultures have pushed them aside, to our detriment.

It is an immersive exploration that merges fantasy with reality, creating magical translations in the landscapes. The intent is to highlight how vital our living histories are to future generations, and that we shouldn’t dismiss the lessons we can learn. And the fact that they transform the earth into a rendering whose celebration is knee-high to a grasshopper’s moon walk? That’s just bonus round.

Giannis Antetokounmpo wins NBA Finals MVP, dubbed 'new king of the NBA' | Fox News

All this talk about heart and home ain’t gonna be complete until I give a shout out to the Milwaukee Bucks and the other worldly Giannis Antetokounmpo. Their Game 6 win on Tuesday night over the Phoenix Suns clinched the city’s first NBA title in fifty years. It also vindicated a decision Giannis made last year when he re-signed with the team that drafted him. In an age where superstars go ring chasing from one zip code to the next, Giannis declared his loyalty to the team that believed in him from the get, and it paid off in the dream scenario. And so while this Miami Heat fan will always wonder what the big guy would’ve looked like on South Beach, I gotta admit, this story is better. Good for him.

Cyclist donates kidney to complete stranger

Have you heard the one about two guys walking into a bar? Complete strangers, these two, the one guy confides that he’s on dialysis ten hours a night after he went into kidney failure. And get this, the guy he confides in? Offers him a kidney.

Thing is, this isn’t a joke . . it actually happened when Mark Scotch, 64, paid a visit to Natchitoches, Louisiana. That’s where he crossed paths with Hugh Smith, 56, and learned of Smith’s plight. And yes, Scotch let this total stranger know he was all in. But that wasn’t that because after the two men were tested, it turned out they were only a thirty percent match.

Tell you what, happy endings ain’t easy. But as these two would prove, they’re worth chasing, and so the question became, how did Scotch plan on seeing this good deed through? Well, by paying it forward, of course. And so he decided he would donate his kidney to a stranger . . another stranger. Through something called the “Voucher Donor” program, this moved Hugh to the top of the transplant waiting list. And this past February, he got his new kidney. To celebrate, Mark just completed a 1,500 mile bike ride from his home in Madison, Wisconsin to Louisiana in what he dubbed “The Organ Trail”. And at the end of that ride, those same two guys met up in that same bar.

And get this, they’re the best of friends now.

WATCH NOW: Getting brighter - Blood drive held in honor of Columbus girl  battling leukemia | Local | columbustelegram.com

I struggled with this last story, mightily. Because it’s incredibly heart wrenching to read about a six-year old girl who is in the fight of her life, and then you find yourself scrolling through images and you’re crying without even knowing it. But of course you are, because it doesn’t make a damn bit of sense. And so you keep reading, because you have to connect with those smiles . . you have to understand the hope they carry with them, and why.

Violet Jackson is six-years old and she has the kind of smile that could talk the sun into working overtime. Just last month she was diagnosed with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She has been undergoing treatments at Omaha’s Children’s Hospital, where she receives blood and platelets to feed her body since the chemotherapy stunts her blood cell production.

Her sister needed blood and platelet donations to survive. It inspired this  teen to launch a blood drive - CBS News

“I was thankful the blood was available for Violet when she needed it,” said Violet’s mother, Wendy. “And I wanted to pay that gift forward, so I scheduled my blood donation.”

This inspired Violet’s sister Eden to organize a blood drive, and the timing couldn’t have been more vital, seeing as how blood banks across the country have been running on empty since the pandemic. It wasn’t long before big sister had reached goal .  and then kept right on going.

WATCH NOW: Getting brighter - Blood drive held in honor of Columbus girl  battling leukemia | Local | columbustelegram.com

When you come to the end of the story, you pray there is a new beginning and that all those smiles will have been prelude to a dinner table in the distant future; all those same faces, having written chapters of a book that just keeps getting better with time. Their smiles the only evidence of the fight they once shared. Their lives a passage from the long ago pen of Dylan Thomas, come to life once more.

They caught and sang the sun in flight. 

The Fuck It Post

I was never very good at swear jars or excusing my French, so it only makes sense that I write a post in which I celebrate one of my favorites words in the English language. So here then is my first (and probably last) post celebrating the word Fuck.

Because, why the fuck not? . . . .

Shooting outside Nationals Park causes panic inside stadium; Nationals-Padres game suspended - CBSSports.com

  • What in the unholiest of fucks . . . Is the world coming to when I read about a shooting outside of Nationals Park in Washington, and I’m not surprised in the least? The fans inside the stadium were another story, as they ran for their lives. And you can expect the San Diego Padres to make an appearance on my Heroes episode this week for what they did to help those fans.

Lego tells company to stop making gun that looks like its bricks - News Break

  • What the fuck . . . Was a Utah company thinking with their Lego-themed pistol kit? With the “Block 19” pistol kit, gun owners could use Lego blocks to create their own sights and designs on top of a Glock 19. The kit would have retailed for $600. Culper Precision pulled the product only after intense backlash (No fucking shit there was backlash!). But they did so reluctantly, and they blamed gun control advocates for overreacting. I don’t know about you, but I think that deserves yet another What the fuck.

Airweave creates cardboard beds for athletes at Tokyo 2020 Olympics

  • Where the fuck . . . Are Olympic athletes gonna go for some overtime play now that they can’t do the horizontal back at their village cribs? Officials have set up 18,000 cardboard beds, and while they’re sturdy enough for a single athlete, it might not hold up in the event of a doubles match. Which is what the suits are hoping for, seeing as how they want two weeks worth of competition rather than quarantining. But athletes are gonna be athletes, so I just hope there are more cardboard beds where those came from. Either that or . . umm . . grab some blankets and use the floor.

May be an image of outdoors

  • Why the fuck . . . didn’t I check out this image after reading the story of a woman in Krakow who called animal welfare to report what looked like an iguana crawling up a tree in front of her house? When officers arrived on the scene, they learned that the creature in question wasn’t an iguana after all, but rather, a croissant. Now, when you simply read this account, your first thought is What the fuck? But then you Google the image and it tells a different tail. I mean, tale. Both. Which just goes to show, not all fucks are created equal.

Blue Origin auctions seat for space flight with Jeff Bezos for $28M

  • It’s about fucking time . . . A billionaire orbited space, now that Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos have done the deed. Sixty years to go eleven minutes, but hey, it still counts. And now that rich guys are walking all their space talk, can we please book passage for that fat schmuck down in Mar-a-Lago?

Welp, that’s a wrap, and if you made it this far, congratulations! For your trouble, I’ve included a short video all about my favorite word. And if you’re kind enough to leave a comment, feel free to substitute my favorite word with one of your own.

Hey, I’m that kind of fucking guy.

 

 

Heroes Of The Week!

Non-Muslims Love Burkinis, But Why? | The Muslim Skeptic

It’s almost the weekend, and with temps soaring across the country, we’re going to take it nice and easy this week. I was going to title this episode as the “Big Chill Edition” but I was afraid it would be mistaken for an ’80’s Movie Trivia post. Which, believe it or not, is not my wheelhouse. Nice and easy? Is.

Let’s get to our lineup . . . .

We storm out of the gates this Friday morning with a story dialed up by the lovely Dale. It’s about a Buddhist daughter and the mother who taught her the most important lesson of all; the one that teaches us how the act of giving replenishes the soul.

It happened when these two decided to sell Joanna Lavelle’s mobility scooter since the ninety-year old mom is homebound these days. And so it was that she got into a conversation with an elderly gentleman who just so happened to be in the market for, you guessed it . . a mobility scooter.

Lavelle just so happens to be a lousy saleswoman, because when she had a chance to close the deal, she let him off the hook . . by giving it to him. Free of charge. Because sometimes the oldest lessons really are the best ones. And this was one . . with everything.

MLB All-Star Game Uniforms Not Drawing All-Star Reviews – NBC Chicago

In honor of the 91st MLB All-Star Game, Imma dish up a traditional double-header of a Yea and a Not So Much. I’ll begin with the latter, which came in the form of those putrid All-Star uniforms that resembled something out of a beer league softball game. Players and fans were in agreement that the uniforms were a bad idea. The sport’s mid-summer classic has long been revered for allowing its players to wear their own uniforms, which creates a beautiful mosaic of unique threads. So of course the MLB, once again, had to play like the other leagues rather than embrace what makes it different from all the rest. How lame.

Live coverage of Shohei Ohtani at the MLB all-star game - Los Angeles Times

Thank the baseball Gods for Shohei Ohtani, who made history by becoming the first All-Star to be tabbed as both a starting pitcher and a position player in the same game. While he went hitless as the American League’s leadoff hitter, he did get the win by tossing a perfect first inning. And big props to AL skipper Kevin Cash (I can’t believe I’m giving props to the Rays here) for understanding the moment and giving Shohei the starting nod.

Amy Polly, Gloria Settelmayer and Amanda Greenberg grew up in the same small town of Goshen Township, Ohio. As the years went by, their relationship grew. In 2017, Polly volunteered to be a surrogate for Settelmayer after Settelmayer had trouble carrying a viable pregnancy. Recently, Greenberg volunteered to do just the same.

Cincy “Beach Walks” Angle makes it back to Friday with a story about family and friends, and how Gloria Settelmayer of Goshen Township, Ohio has merged the two in a very special way. Four years ago, her sister-in-law Peggy made the decision to be her surrogate when it had become painfully clear that Gloria would not be able to have another child. It was a selfless act that is being repeated, this time with her friend Amanda Greenberg. While Gloria and her husband were discussing what to do with their frozen embryos, Amanda made the decision easy.

“You know I’ll carry a baby for you, right?” Greenberg said.

Just like that. Because when people think beyond the constraints of their own little universe, whole new worlds are born. Just ask Gloria Settelmayer. She knows.

We put a bow on this puppy with a love story about a man and his dog. (With yet another HT to Dale for the get).

Brayden Morton from British, Columbia would do anything for his Shar-Pei named Darla, and he proved it recently when she was taken from their home. The frantic dog papa was on social media within minutes, sharing the details of this dognapping, which was shared more than 30,000 times. He also posted a $5,000 reward.

And then he received a call that changed everything. The woman was crying and panicked and it didn’t take long for Brayden to realize she had taken Darla. He reassured her that all he wanted was the safe return of his dog, and so they met up in a parking lot where Brayden was re-united with Darla. She confessed that she had stolen her with a friend in order to collect the reward money to buy drugs.

Morton is a recovering addict who has been clean and sober since May of 2015, so rather than anger, he brought understanding. He offered to pay for her rehab treatment. And while that outcome is still being worked out, there’s even more to this story.

When he met with a tipster who had given him information on another suspect, he learned that the man was homeless. So Brayden paid for a week’s stay at a hotel and when he posted about it on social media, the homeless man was gifted another week’s stay at that hotel, and a job to boot.

You wouldn’t blame Morton for being bitter, but it doesn’t matter because he’s not. He chose hugs over hate, and in a world where it seems as if we have an overabundance of the latter, how can you not love that?

“I would say honestly, more than anything… it was exactly what I needed in my life at that point in time. Those people helped me immensely. [They] really warmed my heart and humbled me,” Morton said. “I’m just as grateful for those two relationships that I made in this whole ordeal and I’m happy that I was able to meet [them].”

When you slow the world down, the lessons are everywhere.

We Have Met The Enemy, And Guess What? . . .

USA Basketball

Time was, it wasn’t so easy to find a professional athlete in the Olympics if you resided on this side of the continent. And call me naïve but I happen to think it was a kitschy involvement worthy of a look.

This was before the cache of commercialism made everybody famous, well ahead of their respective medal quests. Amateurism hadn’t become the longest four letter word in the dictionary just yet. I know, it’s hard to imagine an America where humility and patience were woven into our stuck up blue jeans, but trust me . . there was a time when this country actually had some charm to it.

And then the International Federation opened the floodgates in 1986 when they announced that professional athletes would be permitted in Olympic competition. Of course, the logistical hurdles meant that many countries- including us- were slow to the get. Until our national pride took a hit on the hardwood in the ’88 Summer Games when the Soviets delivered a big fat nyet to our college kids, forcing USA Basketball to (gasp!) settle for bronze.

This turn of events led to the brand serpent known as the “Dream Team”, which featured the greatest collection of basketball talent in the history of ever. It was a roster that began with Magic, Bird and Jordan and just kept on going from there. So basically, the ’92 Summer Olympics in Madrid wasn’t a matter of if USA Basketball was going to take back the gold, but by how many points.

And you can call me un-American if you like, but it was joyless.

Listen, I get why it all went down that way. Teams like the Soviets had been using the professional by proxy method forever, so it was only a matter of time before everybody else got to it. But still, there was something magical about our kids going up against the giants of the sport.

It’s why the classic Al Michaels call at the end of USA 4- USSR 3 is etched into the memory of anyone who watched that hockey game in Lake Placid. Because the impossible actually happened when a bunch of college players took down the greatest (professional) team in the world. Replace those kids with NHL players? Herb Brooks ain’t our Olympic Santa Claus . . Kurt Russell ain’t playing him in a movie and that Al Michaels call never happens.

So here we are, all this time later, playing the role of the Soviets. On hardwood. Because that’s what it feels like after our basketball Goliaths got beat not once . . but twice inside a single calendar week after having lost only two other times in Olympic competition since forever ago.

Nigeria 90- USA 87

Australia 91- USA 83

Two straight losses for the first time ever. And yes, okay . . it’s exhibition games we’re talking in the leadup to the real spaghetti dinner. Still, our collective shrug was their champagne toast at last call. They are naming boulevards and first born’s after the players on those teams as we speak. And good for them, seriously.

Because while I love me some Association, I also feel like we should have let sleeping dogs lie after ’92. I said it then and I’ll say it now. We should have gone back to kids for the summer games after that. I realize this means leaving money on the table, which ain’t something a professional sports league is going to do. But in retrospect, maybe it was short sighted to believe we HAD to keep rolling out a known brand.

I mean, think about it. Those college kids whose skills proved worthy of an Olympic nod would’ve been cashing their NBA checks soon enough. They were the future brand. We could’ve given them the keys to the car after Madrid and not missed a beat. If we lost . . hey, college kids. When we won, hey, college kids!

But nope, we had to bully that pulpit into submission.

Welp, as ancient Rome would tell you . . mighty? is flighty. And just like those Soviet hockey players from back in the day, our NBA guys have become the victims of their own greatness. Winning gold is the expectation, anything less is bupkis cake. And I didn’t even mention the fact that globalization of the NBA allows for the league’s best to play for their home countries, further destabilizing our slam dunk march to the bacon cheeseburger spot on the podium. Which means that even after beating Argentina, whose star player I think is my age, the Americans hold on the gold is still less certain than a Kardashian love thing.

Am I a socialist for loving that?

 

 

Heroes Of The Week!

(The above capture is Harry Kane and his England mates celebrating their 2-1 win in extra time against Denmark. With the victory, England reaches its first major final since 1966. It will face Italy on Sunday in Euro 2020 at Wembley Stadium.)

I figured since I’ve been on summer hiatus, I’d summon up a special sum-sum for this mid-summer morning’s thrill ride through Hero-Land USA upon my return. No zeros . . which means I can’t talk about that dope whose sign wrecked all those cyclists at the Tour De France or those warring ESPN’ers or Trump’s latest lawsuit. And yet somehow . . I’ll think we’ll survive.

Welp, let’s get back to our regularly scheduled programming . . . .

Canadiens lose Stanley Cup Final, playing from behind among reasons

We begin with a hat tip to a classic lover letter that played out on ice this summer in Ville-Marie, more commonly known as Montreal. The Habs awakened the echoes of Richard and Beliveau, LaFleur, Plante and Dryden by making it all the way to the Stanley Cup finals. In a season where they were supposed to be happy just to be there, the Canadiens of Price, Caufield and Suzuki did much better than that. And while they fell short of the dream scenario, they reminded us as to why we root so passionately. Because it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you love the game.

Anonymous kindness: Customer leaves $16,000 tip for restaurant employees :: WRAL.com

If ever there was a year that made us eager to turn the page, it was 2020. It was the year that kept on taking, stealing our lives, our occupations . . stealing our everyday. Bars and restaurants across the country can attest to this fact all too well. More than 100,000 of these establishments were forced to close as a result of the pandemic while others are barely holding on. Now multiply that with all the workers whose lives have been turned upside down and you’ll see why this feel good moment made my roster.

It happened at the Stumble Inn in Londonderry, New Hampshire when an anonymous customer left a generous tip on his $38 bill. How generous you ask? Try $16,000 worth of the stuff. Which is going to be split between eight servers now, allowing for bills to be paid and summer vacations to be had.

That’s how you turn the page.

One of the (few) things I learned in my short time as a Boy Scout, was that textbook knowledge doesn’t prepare you for real world scenarios. Acing a test is all well and good, but it’s a controlled environment that presents little challenge to your true mettle. So it is that 15-year-old Dominic Viet and 16-year-old Joseph Diener of Columbia, Missouri can honestly say they’ve passed not only the written test, but the driving test too. Or in this case, the swimming test.

They were passing by a basketball court that had basically been transformed into a water polo swimming pool when they heard the screams of a young woman who was drowning in the flood waters. So, they jumped in. Never mind all the wrong answers that flood waters provide- such as the threat of sunken power lines, sewage runoff and the sheer force of mother nature wreaking havoc. In spite of all that, they were able to pull the woman to solid ground. After which Dom sent a text to his mother that read “Coming home soon, just saved a woman’s life,”.

I think that’s called extra credit.

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter: Love story of the longest married presidential couple

Politics and love don’t usually end up in a story together. Unless you’re Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, who just celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary. The pair have known each other since they were old enough to walk and talk. And they fell in love inside the last days of WW2, when he was 20 and she was 17. Jimmy was home from the Naval Academy and Rosalynn had just completed her first year of college. And while the former President cannot remember the movie they saw, he remembers the only thing that the truly mattered was the girl sitting next to him. In his 1995 memoir, he wrote this.

“I’d pay to sit behind her, blind to

what was on the screen, and watch the image flicker

upon her hair.”

What more can I add? Other than Happy Anniversary, you crazy kids.

Shohei Ohtani pitching and hitting plans for 2021

Okay, how do you know when a player just might be working his way into the pantheon of the all-time greats? Well, when you can say something like “Not even Babe Ruth did that . . “. It’s where the California Angels Mr. Everything, Shohei Ohtani, finds himself these days after being named to the All-Star Game, as a pitcher and a hitter. On the mound, he’s 4-1 with a 3.49 ERA while also hitting .279 with . . are you ready? 32 home runs. He’s staring 10 plus wins and 50 long balls right in the kisser.

Hey Babe, there’s a new Sultan in town and he works on the left coast.

Crews work in the rubble Champlain Towers South condo, Tuesday, June 29, 2021, in Surfside, Fla. Many people were still unaccounted for after Thursday's fatal collapse. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

By now you’ve all seen the sobering images of that collapsed condominium tower in Surfside, Florida. The heart wrenching stories that have followed in the two weeks since this tragic event offer a haunting reminder of just how fragile this thing called life really is.

It is damn near impossible to believe in a higher power at a time like this. And then you start reading about how a community of first responders and volunteers are finding those places in the heart where forever spreads its lonesome wings. These are people who come from every walk of life: From first responders who have shown up at the site every day to volunteers who have taken to renting food trucks to feed them, to sports teams doing whatever it takes to make a difference, to neighbors who have opened their doors to those in need.

Robert Martinez talks with a law enforcement officer after handing him a hot meal from his food truck in Surfside, Fla., Tuesday, June 29, 2021. A small army of volunteers mobilized to deliver bottled water and energy drinks, chicken tenders and pizzas to law enforcement and emergency crews working long shifts after the deadly collapse of a condominium tower in the city, near Miami. (AP Photo/Russ Bynum)

The end result of all this time and energy might seem a hopeless cause, excepting to those people who find themselves there day after day. They remain fixed in the spot where nothing good will come in the way of news, because that is no longer the point of this expedition. Now, they seek something much more significant than any idea they ever might have mustered before the end came in the middle of the night, taking countless souls with it.

Death toll in Surfside building collapse rises to 64 after searc - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

This place they keep to, it’s sacred ground now. The labor is of love and its advent is a dedicated will, consumed with breathing life into that which possesses none at all. They forge ahead with rolled up sleeves and a belief that life is not defined by the beginning or the end, but by the middle we pen into being.

Their efforts are testimony to a religion that is not contained inside a leather bound book or houses with steeples or solemn hymns. Their actions are living proof that deities exist in the real time of every single day. And they spell the love and the purpose we devote to the most important things.

The Surfside community gathers for a memorial as search efforts turn from rescue to recovery

Where so much has been lost, these people provide what they have so that families can have closure. Their work is the indefatigable light of the human soul that refuses to go gently into that dark night. And when it looks as if God just isn’t going to show up, they provide us with the truest of necessary truths.

He’s already there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Solving The World’s Problems Over Dinner

I’ll be taking a week long blog break so in the interim, Imma post a couple of time capsule shots. This was the first ever post here at Sorryless and it made its appearance on October 18, 2017.

A question was posed to me some time ago. One to which has been posed many times over between friends and associates, from the beginning of more civilized thought to right here and now.

If you could have dinner with anyone from history . . who would it be? 

I answered the question then in the same way I answer it now. It depends. My reply isn’t meant to be contrarian or irreverent. It’s just that, to my way of thinking, history doesn’t possess a static quality. History is fluid. When we talk about the past, we usually do so within the context of our given time.

So it stands to reason that my dinner with a famous person would grapple with the issues of the day, these days. See, comparisons are useful if you’re willing to apply the education they provide to current events in order to cull a better understanding of ourselves and our time. I think people dismiss history because they’re looking for the encyclopedic resemblance rather than the spiritual resonance.

By the late seventies, I was applying my favorite Dickens novels to inflation, gas lines, a hostage crisis and the death of disco. There was a post-Vietnam ennui whose creep seemed everlasting back then. So I’ll start from back then. Imma give you a guest list, by decades, from all the way back there, to here.

1970’s: Andy Warhol. I would have asked this genius where he parked his time machine. Because he not only predicted our future, he colored it in all the provocative tints of a man whose brilliance was a stardust driven thing.

1980’s: Ronald Reagan. Because he presided over the new age of Hollywood politics. He was a middling actor who somehow forged an empire of political ambitiousness that is replicated by both sides to this very day.

1990’s: Prince. His reach is something our grandchildren’s grandchildren will still be lip syncing to if humanity is still around. His timing was masterful, his lyrics doctorate level and his talent was the gift that my generation got to feast on . . . daily.

2000’s: George W, Bush. Strange one, right? Not really. For as much vitriol as I heaped on this man back in the day, perspective has been kicking my ass over the last year and change. He was more complicated, and human, than we ever gave him credit for.

2017: Martin Luther King. His example feels like the most necessary of things inside these increasingly divided times. I would love to hear his thoughts on the chasm that exists between people of different races, creeds and colors inside of this supposedly advanced age. And I would really love to hear his blueprint for hope and peace and better days Because I really need someone like him right now.

We all do.

Al Pacino Movie Review: Capone

Al Pacino: 'It's never been about money. I was often unemployed' | Al Pacino | The Guardian

When Marco called to ask me if I would be interested in doing a movie review, I asked him where it would it be published. There are a million different websites out there and it messes with my OCD, and I don’t even have OCD! Anyway, here’s how that conversation went.

Marc: The review will run on my blog, I call it Sorryless. 

Al: Wait, hold on a minute . . speak English! What’s a blog?

Marc: It’s a more casual and loosely defined website.

Al: You know . . Brando was loosely defined . .

Marc: It’s not like that, Al. I write everything from comedy to tragedy. I even do a weekly segment about heroes.

Al: I’m not interested in any kind of heroes stories . . ever since I was turned down for the role of Batman, anything to do with heroes . . bad taste in my mouth. Nothing personal, you understand . . but uh, yeah screw heroes.

Marc: No problem.

Al: Hey, you don’t think Beverly (D’Angelo) reads this blog crap, do you?

Marc: Like you, she probably has no blessed idea what a blog is.

Al: I’ll do it.

Marc: Oh, and Al? You can dish up the ‘FIAHHH!’ and ‘Hoo-ah!’ catch-phrases in liberal doses . . just saying.

Al: What am I? A monkey? Get out of here before I change my mind, you little asshole!

So that’s how I came to be here today. To do a movie review . . about a movie that is a royal piece of shit if you ask me. But I’m guessing I should have prefaced that opinion with a spoiler alert. Aaahh . . . fuck it, you only live once, right?

Okay, so it’s my professional opinion that the beginning of a movie is very important. I was always a stickler for a great start because I feel that a movie is like a football season. A great start sets the tone, unless you’re the New York Jets, in which case you’re going to suck regardless.

This movie, doesn’t start great.

Tom Hardy, who’s a sensational actor even if he’s a little bit of a prick, plays the lead role here. He looks like Capone alright, he sounds like Capone alright, but it doesn’t matter because he’s suffering from neurosyphilis, dementia and shitting his pants. Now maybe the last problem is a result of the other conditions, I dunno. What I do know is that I don’t want to think about Public Enemy Number One doing number two in bed. It’s humiliating!

All I’m saying is, when you make a movie about Capone as an invalid it’s like making a movie about Rocky Balboa playing Bingo in a retirement home. I mean, if they had paid Hardy by the word, he woulda taken home ten bucks! I haven’t seen this kind of mumbling performance since Matthew McConaughey in that True Detective show.

The movie is supposed to cover the last couple years of Capone’s life, when he’s living in Florida after he’s released from prison on account of his brain having turned into rice pudding. Of course, the Feds think it’s all an act. They think he has ten-million bucks stashed away somewhere so they have surveillance units spying on him. I can tell you this for a fact, that if you’re shitting your pants, it’s no act.

This movie is one big collection of hallucinations, from a fever dream sequence of the Valentine’s Day Massacre . . why botha?! . . to a series of wise guys he rubbed out who come back to visit him, to a crocodile that almost bites his crazy head off. I wasn’t sure whether the directors were going for Goodfellas or A Christmas Carol but it doesn’t matter because they fucked things up worse than Fredo.

The next time Marco has me review a film, he better give me a movie worth reviewing or I’ll threaten to take him fishing.

That should get his attention.

 

 

 

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