Today’s Birthday! (Reading Between The Lines Edition)

Not easily understood, your emotions fluctuate a lot (no shit), although you tend to wear a manner of strength and will (because that sounds a hell of a lot better than anger and bitterness). You have very refined and particular tastes (as your credit card debt attests to), and others might find it difficult to know how to please you as a result! (Your exes could fill a convention hall). The truth is that you are very sensitive to subtle issues that others might overlook. (Like . . at three in the morning when you wake up your partner to ask why they haven’t changed their Facebook status yet) At times you can be very frank (nasty), which can be refreshing to some (More specifically, your therapist. The vanity tags on her Mercedes should include your initials . . . just saying), and offputting to others. (Everyone other than your therapist). You are highly competent and success-oriented. (Which is a really good thing, considering . . yanno, all that credit card debt). 

What’s In A Name?

I am Michonne.

I know, it ain’t the level of bad ass Poe when compared to the likes of Negan or Alpha. But I took a Walking Dead quiz in the hopes I wasn’t found to be their kind of Poe-try in motion. Because let’s face it, once you get past the rock a bye cool shit sounding fascination of saying I am Negan, all that’s left is a frustrated ballplayer who also happens to be a sociopath with PTSD.

Negan has tremendous value as a character, even if Maggie and the gang would beg to differ. It took Angela Kang to flesh out- pun intended- the complicated layers. Here’s a guy who doesn’t flinch when it comes to turning people into mashed potatoes with a baseball bat. And here’s the same guy who goes out into a blizzard to save the little girl of his arch-nemesis. I for one am glad we get both sides of Negan . . . now, and for whatever time he has left. But I’m also a little bit glad I’m not him, from here.

Alpha, on the other hand . . is more evil than an insider trader with a getaway villa. And her backstory tells us she didn’t need no zombie apocalypse in order to become this bitch on wheels. She was already there. She’s more hell bent on fucking people’s shit up than a frustrated Seventh Day Adventist in a shit marriage living in a double wide. The post apocalyptic Alpha harbors not a wit or a wiggle of difference from her previous existence as a serial killer in hiding. She ain’t ever cared. Which makes her the most frightening WD villain yet.

As for these personality quizzes that foretell your apocalyptic self, let’s face it, they’re only collecting intel on a control basis. Because you cannot possibly predict what kind of individual you will morph into once Kraft mac and cheese becomes five star cuisine and prescription drugs replace dead presidents as ching. I relate to Negan in lots of ways- from the leather getup to finding wit in the macabre. And the idea that I might fill out into a sadistic fucker if humanity’s thermostat goes on the blink? I can’t say I would, because I just can’t say.

As for the character quiz I took, I’m Michonne. Which makes total sense from where I am standing presently.

I’m loyal, I keep to a very tight circle and I will cut you loose quicker than Liz Taylor if I feel like you’re messing with the rug that centers my room (Big Lebowski reference). I don’t care what your opinion of me happens to be, until you add dimension to it. After which, we can throw down and I’m sorry, not sorry about that.

My previous iterations were unconventional and yet, there was an abidance to those staples (relatively speaking) just the same. Not anymore. And I dig the fact we can change in such a piecemeal metaphysical fashion as that. Wearing so much more than the one person we were born into. And I dig the idea that we Zen with the one personality, eventually. If we’re lucky.

And if we’re really lucky, we might be good at the one that matters most of all when push finally comes to shove. Because as far as names go?

I like Michonne just fine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heroes Of The Week!

Heroes April 5

Girl Power Gone Wild!- Alright, I didn’t see Captain Marvel and I ain’t planning on it. But I still think it’s pretty cool shit that Anna Boden became the first female to direct a live action film that grossed 1 billion dollars worldwide. This, coming on the heels of an $820 million dollar haul for Wonder Woman just goes to show that the girls ain’t interested in being window dressing in the superhero universe. These straight cash home girls are leading the way.

Say it ain’t so Joe: A second woman has come forward with damaging allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden, and to borrow from the immortal Yogi Berra . . it’s getting late early. I ain’t gonna say much just yet, as the details keep trickling out. But needless to say, this mucks up the murky waters of the 2020 Presidential race even more.

Standing in for the Oakland Raidahs this week . . the Arizona Cardinals- Last week I trashed the Raiders and their field boss Gruden as hopeless gypsies without a clue. And then I read a piece by football writer Peter King in which Gruden was very critical of himself for trading his best player last year. His big return on that trade was hailed in some corners- not mine. But the bottom line is, the Raiders weren’t gonna pay up, so Gruden swung a deal. All things considered, he done good. Even if he will probably never draft a player like the one- Mack- that he traded away. And even if I do not agree with bringing in Antonio Brown- a diva who killed the Steelers clubhouse and who is on the wrong side of thirty. And even if I detest the signing of Vontaze Burfict, who is a thug. But . . . maybe I was wrong about Gruden . . I hope so. Time will tell.

That said, the Cardinals take the reins from Gruden’s Raiders for being so transparent as to how they plan on drafting a quarterback with the first pick in this year’s draft- a year after drafting a quarterback with their first pick just last year. Thereby giving themselves zero negotiating leverage. Thereby continuing the tradition of being a dumpster fire of an organization. The Cardinals score a zero, for pilfering the money of their long suffering fans and giving them dog food in return.

Fox News did a thing. Again . . .

Holly’s Healthy Bank Account- The city of Baltimore isn’t an easy gig for any Mayor. You’ve got a police force that went on record as mailing it in. You’ve got a crisis in the inner city that requires daily mediation in an attempt to cultivate a better future . . or a future at all.

Which makes Mayor Catherine Pugh‘s back room deal with Kaiser Permanente even more repugnant. In 2017, the healthcare behemoth scored a contract to provide coverage for city employees. Two years earlier, Kaiser had paid Pugh $114,000 dollars for 20,000 copies of her book “Healthy Holly”. Pugh was a member of the city’s spending panel at the time.

The Baltimore Sun pieced it all together and recently came forward with the smoking gun. Pugh is currently on leave with pneumonia. Meanwhile, the city burns. Large swaths of previously blue collar working class neighborhoods have fallen into severe poverty levels. For most inhabitants, a college education is a pipe dream. Crime is way up and employment is booming, if you deal drugs. And even the drug dealers are simply getting by in order to make ends meet. Not to mention, the city’s population has dipped below pre-World War I levels.

Pugh’s failure to serve the best interests of her constituency should result in a doctor’s note to take a permanent leave of absence.

How ‘swagger’ got murdered- The term is so miserably overused in sports, and incorrectly at that. Swagger is one of those plug and go snack words that bastardizes an original concept whilst masquerading as propers. It’s meant to convey epic confidence, but the recipients are usually the lousiest of the lousy. Dudes like Antonio Brown, who savaged people’s reputations in order to get his way. And Jalen Ramsey, who talks like a champ but couldn’t lead his team out of last place.

Manny Machado and Conor McGregor are synonymous with the term swagger, according to sports commentators who’d rather chum up than do their jobs. But the truth is, Machado is one of the dirtiest players in the MLB, and a bum. McGregor is a washed up hoodlum who should just rent space in a jail cell. Recently, he tweeted an ethnic slur about his rival’s wife. Next week it’ll be something else.

Memo to sports peeps. If you want to know what swagger looks like? Watch an old Clint Eastwood flick and shaddup.

A gal walks in a shoe store . . .- Addy Tritt got herself a deal on shoes, and before you think I’m dredging up a cliched Carrie Bradshaw joke . . . read on.

The twenty five year old master’s program graduate at Fort Hays University knows how to wheel and deal for heels like nobody’s business. When she got word that Payless Shoesource would be closing all its stores, she got to stepping. She toed the line of an expert liquidation shopper by going light on the cash and hard on the savvy.

The score? 204 pairs of shoes with a retail value of more than $6,000 hush puppies. For $100 dollars. 

Here’s the thing. She doesn’t have a master closet or a storage unit, and she won’t need one. Most of the shoes she purchased are for children, and no . . she doesn’t have kids. See, Tritt wasn’t playing for keeps when she went on her shopping spree. She donated all the shoes to the Nebraska flood victims. Because that’s what a good deal looks like to her. It’s the kind of bargain that transcends economics. A simple lesson that can be summed up in a single word.

Priceless.

Thought For The Day (The Plus One Edition!)

If you’re pushing your own boundaries, and if you care what others think of you, you’re bound to experience humiliation at some point in your life. 

Jonathan Harnum, Practice Like This

Absofuckinglutely! Listen . . . no one is saying you should go through life totally indifferent to the opinions of others, but for fuck’s sake . . be yourself. When you’re being who you are, there is no opinion more valid than the one you’re toting around. And if the real you is not acceptable to someone else? Fuck ’em. 

Do you or go home. 

 

 

When life hands you spam, make fun of it

Spam

Fucking spam.

We all have to deal with it. And while it probably makes more sense to just delete the shit, sometimes I just can’t help myself. When I decide to venture down the rabbit hole, I do a number on these fucking things. As I did recently with a very urgent message I received informing me I had come into a great deal of money. And before you start shaking your head, let me assure you this one was legit. He wasn’t even a Prince!

Here then is the email I received, followed by my earnest reply.

Dear Email Owner,

COMPENSATION FUNDS PAYMENT ORDER VIA ATM CARD

This is to inform you that we have been working towards the eradication of fraudsters and scam Artists in Africa with the help of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) United Nations (UN), European Union (EU) and FBI.

During the course of investigation, they were able to recovered some funds from these scam artists and IMF organization have ordered the funds recovered to be shared among the 10 Lucky people listed around the World as a compensation. This notice is been directed to you because your email address was found in one of the scam Artists file and computer hard-disk while the investigation, maybe you have been scammed. You are therefore being compensated with sum of $4.5M  valid into an (ATM Card Number 4848421013879602).

Since your email address is among the lucky beneficiaries who will receive a compensation funds, we have arranged your payment to be paid to you through ATM VISA CARD and deliver to your postal address with the Pin Numbers as to enable you withdrawal maximum of $5,000  on each withdrawal from any Bank ATM Machine of your choice, until all the funds are exhausted.

The ATM Card with Security Pin Numbers shall be delivered to you using Express Mail Service (DHL).

The package is coming from Benin Republic. don’t forget to reconfirm your following information.

1. Your Full Name:

2. Address Where You want us to Send Your ATM Card

3. Cell/Mobile Number:

We advice you to stop all the communications with everyone regarding your payment as we have short listed to deliver to you and now urge you to comply and receive your ATM Card funds.

Thanks for your understanding as you follow instructions while I wait to hear from you today. You can contact me through this my alternative email address:

Yours in Services

Mr. Eric Moor,

IMF ORGANIZATION

 

My man,

I was about to delete this email, and then Jesus suggested I read it. For a degenerate drug dealer, he’s good people. I’m not gonna lie, to come into this kind of money here in the states, we either play PowerBall or wait for a wealthy relative to drop dead. I had a sugar mama for a while, until she scored a gig as Speaker of the House and I lost her to Twitter.

As for your offer, not to be ungrateful, but four and a half million US dollars doesn’t go nearly as far as it used to. Add interest rates and ATM fees and your ‘gift’ starts feeling more like a bill. I’d blame Obama, but I’m not a racist. So Imma supply you with a counter offer instead. That’s what we Americans do . . we negotiate, everything. Did you know you can negotiate your bill at Waffle House? Yep, I only paid twenty bucks (and a gently used Target gift card) for five All Star Specials! 

Anyways, here’s what I’m asking for in lieu of dollar bills . . .

– A bachelor farmhouse in Hudson Valley New York. Within pizza delivery range of Vera Farmiga’s house.
– A signed copy of Alec Baldwin’s expletive laden wedding vows.
– Bill Murray’s real cell phone number.
– Dinner with Tupac. He can be reached at the Hotel Saratoga in Havana, Cuba. 
– A Bengal Tiger.
– Weekly visits from parishioners of the Westboro Baptist Church (I gotta feed the tiger).
– A 10 day contract with the Miami Heat.
– Bonsai tree making lessons.
– An 80’s arcade room.
– A 1961 midnight blue Lincoln Continental with silver interior.
– A beer waterfall.
– Tickets to the moon (round trip).
– A notarized letter from Paul Simon in which he states explicitly that the song ‘Mother and Child Reunion’ is in fact, about Chinese food. 
– Pizza on demand. Forever. 
– A partridge in a pear tree. 

As for my physical address, please send any correspondence to the Vatican in Rome, Suite 316. And in order to expedite the process, use “Covfefe” as my middle name so I can distinguish it from all other mail I receive from the Benin Republic. 

My cell phone number is 867-5309. 

Hoping this letter finds you well, and that Dateline NBC hasn’t caught up with you just yet. May the force be with you, the odds be ever in your favor and may you keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars. 

Yours in Solidarity, 

Charles Ponzi

Heroes Of The Week!

This week in the news, March Madness continues to wreak havoc on regularly scheduled programming. A person in Wisconsin won the 750 million dollar Powerball, after which I can only assume they invested in a witness protection program kit. And Disney has announced it will no longer allow visitors to bring ice into their parks. Because, climate change?

And now to a zero-heavy week . . .

Up in the Air- When you pay dollar store prices to fly, you kinda know what to expect. Not much. But WOW Airlines went one step further by giving its passengers nothing at all. As in, they closed up shop and left their passengers stranded across North America and Europe. Nice.

But you don’t have to be discount to fail those you serve. Boeing would know all about that after its 737 MAX aircraft were grounded by the FAA after a second crash in less than six months. The company was left largely to its own devices in vetting the MAX. Unimaginable, if it weren’t true.

The Dead Comes Back To Life!- I swore I was done with this show as soon as Andrew Lincoln walked out. And with good reason seeing as how The Walking Dead had become staler than day old Sprite. But then came the Whisperers and then I fell into a sick, dark love all over again. Robert Kirkman and company have re-invigorated the story line nine seasons in! And while this feat may not be heroic in the grand scheme of things, it sure beats the hell out of talking about Trump.

The Oakland Raidahs- They were once the gold standard as far as perennial contenders went. But for the past fifteen years they’ve been shit on a swizzle stick, while still pretending to be relevant. So they signed Jon Gruden to a 100 million contract to be their Don, even though he hadn’t coached a game in ten years. In his first year, it wasn’t certain if Gruden was working for Oakland or the Russians. The plan was to get younger, but they’ve gotten older by signing Antonio “Me, Myself and I” Brown and Vontaze Burfect- who should be in an orange jumpsuit. And they’re going to ditch Oakland (again) by moving to Vegas in a year or two. The Raiders have replaced the Browns as the league’s punchline.

E. Pluribus U Gotta Be Kidding- You mean to tell me with all the challenges going on right here at home as well as around the world, the Pentagon finds the time to do side jobs for the executive branch that have absolutely nothing to do with national security? Because that’s what happened when they decided to divert one billion dollars of their budget to go to Trump’s wall. And then the House Armed Services Committee stepped in, and now we’re going to see how high this battle goes.

E. Pluribus U Too?- US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos never met a bad looking headline she didn’t gravitate to. The 12 percent cut in education spending was bad (if not predictable) enough. But her announcement that the federal government would cut funding to the Special Olympics broke the internet. It wasn’t long before Trump played like the cavalry and overrode her cuts . . sort of like the kid who says sorry only because he knows he’s been caught.

For Shame? Forget It!- So Jussie Smollett stages an attack . .  a hate crime attack. It’s politically charged, racially motivated and it compromises two black men. And after all charges are dropped and Chicago’s Mayor and Chief of Police rail on about the miscarriage of justice. And after the city of Chicago demands reimbursement from Smollett for the circus he brought to town. And after he became the latest influential person to set race relations back. After all that . . . Smollett behaves like the victim, as in a real victim. And now he’s a candidate for an NAACP Image Award? Because the news cycle wasn’t ridiculous enough . . .

Thank God for Keanu Reeves, who walks the earth doing Keanu Reeves things. He’s a surfer dude with a soul, and the only way you’re going to get him to come at ya is if you mess with his dog.

So of course he knew what to do when his flight from San Francisco to Burbank made an emergency landing in Bakersfield, leaving Reeves and his fellow passengers to figure out the rest. Reeves was on it, making travel arrangements for everyone and then playing tour guide on the van ride back to Burbank. He made jokes, took pictures and shook everyone’s hand when the ordeal was finally over. Basically, Reeves transformed a logistical fuck salad into a memorable experience. And while he had social media blowing up, it was with cool anecdotes and smiling faces instead of nasty complaints and lawsuits. He should run for office.

Dude. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lost Horizon

 

Sydney

There’s a scene in the Frank Capra movie Lost Horizon that always shakes me, no matter how many times I watch it. It’s near the end of the film, when Hugh Conway meets the leader of Shangri-La- the High Lama. In this meeting, Conway is introduced to all the truths of the magical place. All the answers to all the many questions are finally within his grasp, and that’s when he begins to understand the design his life is supposed to follow.

A little more than a year ago, Sydney Aiello was busy sewing together the designs on what her life was going to look like. A high school cheerleader who always brought a smile with her to Monday mornings, she loved Yoga and music and fancy gowns and hanging out with her best friend in the world, Meadow Pollack.

Sydney was figuring it all out. Test scores and heartbreak would one day lead to dream jobs and marriage, with forever stretched out in front of her as if the vista from some fictional mountaintop.

And then Nikolas Cruz brought an assault rifle to Marjory Stoneman High School last Valentine’s Day, ambushing eighteen of her fellow students- including Aiello’s best friend, Meadow- and then everything changed. And then the way forever used to look from that mountaintop whose peaks were crowned in an eternal smile, collapsed.

She made it out of that horrible day, in body. But her mind and her spirit remained fixed to the moments that stole those seventeen souls. She enrolled at Florida Atlantic University, but struggled to attend classes because of the memories she carried with her from Stoneman.

She posted on social media frequently, rarely if ever sharing the darkness that resided inside of her. She posted pictures of those better days with Meadow and her friends, and she talked excitedly about how she would be teaching her first Yoga class. But there was always a shadow attached to the words she spoke and the pictures she shared.

She carried it, all of it, for as long a time as she could until forever stopped making any sense at all. And then last weekend, it all came crashing down when Sydney put a gun to her head and pulled the trigger. Nineteen years worth of her is all we got. Eternity gets the rest.

When do we ask ourselves how it all went so wrong? When do we ask ourselves why labeling the survivors of Marjory Stoneman High School makes more sense than listening to them? When do we ask ourselves why our kids are growing tired of the world when they’re supposed to be growing old inside of it?

At the end of Lost Horizon, Hugh Conway leaves the world behind and returns to Shangri-La. And with his return, he will find the answers to all those questions the world could never supply.

If only it were that easy.