Heroes Of The Week

Today's Real Heroes - Focus Financial Advisors

I must start things off by thanking Frank for sitting in for me last week. His take on the week’s heroes was a masterful gem, delivered by the Cincinnati Kid himself. If only his home town Reds could bring it with such aplomb, but that’s another post for another time.

As for this week’s heroes? Welp, I have a serendipitous stew of classics. All good ones, because we need to keep mining for memorable conclusions inside our sheltered existences. A reminder that the great big world outside is still humming a worthwhile tune, delivered up by peeps who understand what matters most of all.

And now for our heroes . . .

Yankees' Giancarlo Stanton donating face shields in wake of family ...First things, Bronx. And while the Yankees haven’t played a game this season, their pinstriped slugger Giancarlo Stanton is still hitting home runs. So far, Stanton has delivered up more than 12,000 face shields to medical professionals in New York and Southern California. He has been working with his agents Joel Wolfe and Brittany Peiffer and Voodoo Manufacturing to get the job done for those individuals on the front lines. Plans for more are currently in the on deck circle, to the tune of 3,000 more face shields. So maybe the MLB gets a season, and maybe they don’t. But Stanton? He’s already getting MVP votes from this writer.

Random act of kindness: Man caught on camera mowing lawn for blind ...

Ann Darby is throwing up her hands and saying to hell with this whole social distancing business. But it’s okay, because her hands ain’t balled up into fists, ready to punch someone’s lights out for taking the last twelve pack of TP. No, Darby is looking for the culprit who did right by a family member recently. It seems a mystery man took to mowing the lawn of Darby’s blind mother, Rebecca. And while the random act of kindness was captured by their Ring doorbell, the good Samaritan is still at large. Because he did this good deed? Just to do this good deed. And maybe Darby ends up finding him through her social media hunt, but maybe this case grows cold. But really, who am I kidding? This story leaves us all with a warm feeling inside. Where it counts most of all.

Police called to Maryland Popeyes 3 times since Sunday, including ...

Don’t get me started on which fast foodie franchise serves up the tastiest chicken sammie, because I’m going with Popeyes every day of the week and twice on Sundays (Since that other chicken sandwicheria doesn’t do Sundays). But there’s so much more to love about Popeyes than their spicy dishes. The restaurant recently announced it will be offering struggling musicians a stage to call their own: In their ads. Those with the time and the rhyme can apply their method to the Popeye’s jingle. And if it’s booms, Popeyes will use it in their national ad campaign. THAT is maximum flavor right there. (Thank you to Screen Chow for the righteous get).

And we have our late inning rally brought to us by the lovely Dale over at A Dalectable Life. Who supplies with not one . . not two . . but three (Yeah, count em) stories that round up this week’s gallery. These three beauties in one help to provide us with the necessary propers inside a pandemic whose uppercut would make the legendary Joe Louis shudder.

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Laurent Duvernay-Tardif reached the top of the sports mountain back in February when the right guard won the Super Bowl with the Kansas City Chiefs. It will be a good story for his grand-kids, to be sure. But it’s not going to be the story of his life, because Laurent is a medical doctor; just the fourth such doctor to ply his wares in the league. And while he hasn’t completed his residency yet, he was given the opportunity to man the front lines when Quebec lifted restrictions on medical students and recent graduates. The dude stepped right up, no questions asked.

“I had already wanted to, but when it’s real, it hits you, the gravity involved. Now, the discussion shifts from ‘I want to go back’ to ‘how am I going to go back?’” he wrote. “I discussed with my girlfriend whether we will continue to sleep in the same bed or live in the same apartment. These conversations made me realize even more the sacrifices that people in health care, on the front line, are making.”

Joannie Rochette: from figure skating to med school – RCI | English

And then there’s Joannie Rochette, a former world class skater whose trophy case includes an Olympic Bronze, a World Silver and six Canadian World Championships. Her mother never got to see her win that bronze medal in Vancouver in 2010, having died of a heart attack a few days prior. But Rochette prevailed on that night, thanks to the lessons her mama taught her. And she just recently graduated from medical school and is off to the front lines to make her difference . . inspired by those very same lessons.

“I always wanted to do this, and that’s why I applied to health sciences when I went to CEGEP. My mom was a nurse’s aide and I went with her to care homes when she went to feed residents,” Rochette says. “The way she saw medicine, and doctors, is really what brought me here.”

Hayley Wickenheiser poses for a photograph with volunteers during a donation drive for personal protective...

And finally, we have Hayley Wickenheiser, a four time Olympic gold medalist in hockey for the Canadian national team. She’s widely considered the greatest female hockey player in her country’s history, but it’s what she has accomplished away from the ice that lands her in this spot.

Wickenheiser is a dynamo, having worked as an assistant director of player personnel for the Toronto Maple Leafs since 2018. And oh yeah . . she just so happens to be graduating from medical school this summer. She was working on an ER rotation in Toronto when COVID-19 hit, and has been digging in her skates ever since; coordinating PPE supply drives across Canada.

“It has forced us all, I think, to reevaluate what’s important moving forward. Also just how important being prepared is. I think it just highlights all the areas we forget about in life. But you’re grateful, also, for not having to live on the street or struggle through. Just an overall feeling of gratitude.”

Three kids, whose dreams got put to work inside this wickedly mysterious time. Their steps are simple, precious things, far removed from the roar of those sporting arenas that made them household names. But it’s inside the quiet of their future lives that their most impactful differences are happening. And maybe there’s no box-scores or trophies or trips to Disney World that come with these brave new worlds. But the answers to the questions, those are more abundant than ever. And they’ll push forward in relative anonymity, in spite of the very real dangers. And they’ll do so for the most beautiful reason of all.

Because they can.

 

 

 

Joe Pesci Movie Review: Siberia

So I gotta start by saying what the fuck?! Keanu Reeves is a Canadian? I mean, when in the fuck did that happen? Because when I watched him in dose Matrix flicks, he was an American. And that movie about the bus where he ends up banging Sandra Bullock at the end? Yeah, I’m pretty sure he was an American in that one too . . .

Anyways, Marco asked me to do a movie review for Siberia, and it’s about time he asked me back . . da stupid prick! But he wasn’t doing me any favors as things turned out, because this movie was a more worthless piece of shit than my Uncle Tony.

Things start out okay, because here I was thinking it was a John Wick movie where someone kills his dog at the beginning and then he ends up taking out half of Russia. But no, this ain’t that. At all. It’s . . . what would Marco call it? It’s got more of that nuance shit that he eats up . . that happen to find more pointless than patchouli, but be that as it may. I kept watching because I’m an asshole or something . .

Reeves plays a diamond merchant named Lucas who travels to Russia, because da guy can’t find a movie role that doesn’t involve fucking Russians. He’s in St. Petersburg . . . da other St. Petersburg, where he’s supposed ta hook up with this degenerate named Pyotr. But the guy ain’t nowhere to be found.

So now . . there’s this Russian gangster, which is fucking redundant since every Russian I ever met is a gangster. His name is Boris . . again, redundant. And he’s pissed ya see? Because Lucas, the dumb prick, got screwed ovah by Pyotr and so he aint’ got da diamonds . . and now Boris is gonna cut his balls off if he doesn’t fix this shit. Again . . redundant.

Lucas goes to Siberia to find this Pyotr douche bag. His first night there, he gets in a fight with some Russians that doesn’t go well, because he’s no John Wick. This hot numbah of a waitress named Katya, of fucking course, tells Lucas that her broda thinks they’re sleeping together so get this . . she asks him to bang her. Which he does because he’s not a total schmuck.

And dat’s it! Da rest of this fucking movie is Lucas looking for Pyotr and him banging Katya. Oh yeah, da wife of this Lucas guy? Molly fucking Ringwald . . . and I had no idea! Because you see her like once, and then she’s like, well go bang dis Russian chick if that’s what you wanna do, ya stuttering prick, see if I care! So Lucas bangs her . . like twenty times over the next howah. Evidently, he’s looking ta see if maybe this chick tucked the diamonds up her ass or something.

So Lucas’s trip to Siberia consists of banging Katya and going bear hunting with the guys who kicked his ass earlier in the movie. Fucking genius . . . I mean, who da fuck goes bear hunting with Russians . . outside of Dick Cheney?! And at some point, he finds out that Pyotr fucked him over and sold the diamonds.

Later on, Lucas decides to sell Boris some fake diamonds while wearing a wire because he figures it’s the only way he’s getting out of Russia. Of course, the only good ideas dis guy has are coming from his other head. He does end up finding Pyotr . . dead on a toilet. No diamonds . . .

In da last scene, Lucas gets into a shootout with a piece of shit rifle and somehow is able to kill all the guys who are afta him . . except the one guy he shoulda killed first, because he ends up killing Lucas. Which means he ain’t gonna be banging Katya for da hundredth time inside an howah and a half . .

Thank God

 

Me and Oscar Wilde at a Ballgame

We sit along the third base line as the late summer afternoon puts another quarter in the jukebox of a melodious sky whose lyrics rhyme with every kind of forever after kind of place. And Oscar, he minds to the third baseman, who’s being rather possessive of the mussed up bag he’s responsible for guarding.

“The chap is of a mind to take that thing you call a base home with him, it would seem . . .”

“It’s why they refer to third base as the ‘Hot corner’. Because if you’re looking for the most suspenseful of locales on a diamond? It’s as good a place to start as any,” I explain.

Seven innings down and I’ve explained a lot of the nuts and bolts of a typical game to the old boy. He digests every morsel of information before spitting out literary devices in return, so the bargain? It’s fantastic as far as I’m concerned.

“Why does the fellow on the mound behave in such a fastidious manner? Is it not considered poor etiquette to deny the batter his involvement with this baseball?”

“Involvement with this baseball . . I don’t think Ted Williams could have said it any better than that, my man. Well see, it’s like this. The pitcher is attempting to talk that baseball into doing his bidding. But the batter, he is well aware of the liberties he might be able to take with the very same ball. So the pitcher holds on, as if holding to a lover he fears might quit him,”

“I see. So . . chess with a sidearm?”

“Oh God, Oscar. I can’t imagine Vin Scully could paint a baseball portrait any better!” I say.

“Here, here!” He replies as we clink our plastic cups full of a brand new round of merry.

“And there are how many stanzas to this parade again? . . Nine?” He asks,

“Officially, yes. But unofficially, the game could last forever. There is no clock, there is no time limit. I’m going to lend you a book . .it’s called The Iowa Baseball Confederacy. The author, W.P. Kinsella . . he will educate you as to why the game is like no other game ever invented. Because if both teams are tied after nine innings have been played . . they keep on playing until someone breaks the seal. Home team always batting last . . .”

“Ah, it’s very much like when I penned The Importance of Being Earnest. There were indeed moments that stretched into days and weeks and yes, months . . where I believed the very core of the sun would meet its end before I might conclude! And as it were, I produced several books out of that one . . before business was attended to and the pages were snipped into a more agreeable fashion, as it were . .” Oscar says.

“Because the words are like a baseball game, huh? They have no real end to them. The precarious little buggers,” I say.

“So, assuming this contest does not outlast the sun? Might you have a place for me to settle in, where I may commence with a postlude on the day’s events? It is my solemn wish to share these moments with strangers whose divinity can be found at the bottom of a well apportioned glass!”

“There is a place, across the bridge in fact. Full of firemen whose ancestry goes back to when these streets were navigated by horse drawn carriages. Romantic like that,” I smile.

“Are they the sort to appreciate a good story?” Oscar asks.

“As long as the tap is singing and the company understands the fine art of colorful language . . yes. But I must warn you, they are rascals, the whole lot of them,” I warn him good naturedly.

“I do love a good rascal,”

We toast as the inning ends on a double play, cut clean from the geometrical nursery rhyme of Tinkers to Evers to Chance. And the sun splashes down in one final vertical thrust before bidding adieu.

The visitor’s half of the ninth inning begins with the home team having things well in hand, by a 6-2 score. But with one man out, a rally gets to stepping and the next thing we know it’s 6-4 with two men out, but the bases loaded. And now the buzz of the crowd folds into a single, collective hush as their best hitter steps to the plate with all manner of bad intentions as far as that baseball is concerned.

And now the windup . . and now the pitch . . .

Truth isn’t just stranger than fiction, it’s dumber too

You know that scene in every other action movie, where the protagonist turns to no one in particular and says “You just don’t get it, do you?”. After which a terminally ill sounding musical score draws the curtains on a formulaic ending? That’s how most of us are low riding this pandemic through the springtime, as we ponder how in the hell some people can fuck up a glass of water’s worth of logic.

Oscar Wilde once said of the truth that it’s never pure and rarely simple. Hell if he wasn’t onto something . . . .

  • Social distancing equals six feet. It does not mean you ride up on my ass in the grocery store checkout line. I mean, if you’re gonna get that close to me? I need flowers and a nice dinner first.
  • I haven’t watched the wildly popular The Last Dance on ESPN yet, because I cut out cable in January. But I have an idea for all the sports ‘journalists’ opining on whether Jordan would make it in today’s game or if LBJ would make it back in the ’90’s. Pray for live games, because y’all can’t figure your way out of a paper bag without em. Jordan and LBJ would excel in any era, because they would be products of . . that . .  time. Greatness is an adaptation,  so please stop snow-globing these hypothetical scenarios.
  • The vacuum of leadership in Washington got me to thinking on Doris Goodwin Kearns’s book, Team of Rivals. And so when I read how Mitch McConnell wants the Senate to get back to business so’s he can hold confirmation hearings for federal judges, because he wants to lay conservative brick? While at the same time bemoaning his lack of suction in the most recent virus-response bill? Well now, M&M doesn’t have a clue as to how out of touch he looks. What I would give for Abe Lincoln to get five minutes in a room with this guy, just so’s he can set him straight on what strength and vision is supposed to look like.
  • So we’re straight on this “opening the country” business. There’s gonna be some deft maneuvering necessary by state and local leaders. One researcher told the New York Times that if the pandemic were a baseball game, “it would be the second inning”. So yanno, plan accordingly.
  • And because we don’t have enough to worry about, now comes word that Asian giant hornets have landed in the states. Also called “Murder Hornets” (how charming), these winged fuckers decapitate honey bees and pose a serious danger to humans. I mean . . . what’s next?
  • Nicolas Cage is going to play the Tiger King himself, Joe Exotic, in an eight episode series coming soon. I have two questions: Number one, do we really need this shit? And my second question is, where can I watch it?
  • Kate Beckinsale is in love. Get back to me on Friday with how it works out.
  • It appears Fifty Cent and Oprah are feuding. And apologies to Mr Fifty, but I highly doubt Oprah is aware of it.
  • Todd Bridges was trending on Twitter over the weekend, and no . . not because he’s dead. It seems his role in a Little House in the Prairie episode like, a hundred years ago, captured the imagination of the Twitterati. Which has me wondering, when they were trying to come up with a name for the site, why didn’t they just call Twitter “Slow News Day”? Makes more sense.
  • I don’t know what’s more concerning to humankind: COVID-19, or the fact that Kristin Cavallari and Jay Cutler are parents.

And coming up in next week’s news cycle of What in the Blessed Hell . . .Trump insists he uses Cialis for high blood pressure. Fox News touts heroin as a possible COVID-19 wonder drug. And the New England Patriots are decommissioned by the NRC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For When The World Stops Standing Still

EVENTS — Creatively Lancaster

Let’s be real. We have no blessed idea what happens from here, I mean, once the lights go back on. Because to believe there will ever be a normal kind of normal, well . . that went away with September 11th. Everything and every day since has been a differently textured sense of normalcy, to which we held because there is something called the everyday to attend to, after all.

Now this, and now the world . . the whole entirety of it, holds its breath in anticipation of light at the end of a tunnel we never saw coming.

Things will change, because that’s how any kind of abrupt intermezzi works on the human psyche. We change, if only in miniature. But still, the things we hold to will have their aesthetic pulp to which we can still be quenched. Just this morning, I was thinking about certain of these items to which my pulse expands. And I knew that no matter what the world ends up looking like on the B side of things, these things will hold me to.

Always.

  • Walking into a baseball stadium and looking out over the field of play and just marveling at the heavenly construction. Wondering how it was possible that someone conceived this mystical design: the idea that fielders could master the vast expanse and pitchers would be able to make a small white pill speak foreign languages whilst hitters could turn on one in the time it takes to blink? And the dimensions of that diamond will seem the most fantastical endeavor of them all. As legendary columnist Red Smith once opined, “Ninety feet between bases is perhaps as close as man has ever come to perfection”.
  • The hush that comes over a movie theater when the crackle of the featured attraction starts to pop across the screen.
  • That buzz, the gloriously definable buzz that washes over a restaurant as dozens of loose conversations weave themselves together. Accompanied by mysterious noises from an unseen kitchen, the clink of glasses. And laughter, ransoming its way across the walls as if you could pick it up and take some for yourself.
  • Standing in front of a piece of art and letting time fall away, like so many leaves on a mysterious tree. Wondering what captured the imagination of the artist to figure out that kind of magic.
  • Running in the park on a spring morning as I pass by a fellow who’s having better luck with his smokes than with dinner. Dogs run across the emerald sweep as their owners toss them a ball. While kids and their parents negotiate the parameters of their afternoon and kites break the sky into small and wondrous pieces.
  • Hugging
  • The sound of a jet overhead as it navigates the muffled crease of a moonlit night. And for a moment, you wonder where that plane is going to and where it came from. And how the world is just this: A collection of fragmented stories, pieced into billions of pieces we will never get to know. And yet, we somehow understand.
  • High fives
  • Book stores, whose perimeters are lined with pilgrims of the written word and java junkies and festering brush fires of idle conversations.
  • City traffic that gets captured by a photographers lens and immortalized in a million different ways that we somehow take for granted.
  • A stranger’s smile
  • Holding hands

For now I lay my head on the pillow and think about a world that caught fire. And perchance there is a dream to be had, and if so I want to dream about some quiet, normal day when all of this will be relegated to hushed whispers.

And nothing more than that.

Heroes Of The Week

Brief Synopsis for Marvel's SHE-HULK Series Teases the Involvement ...

So it seems we are getting ever closer to whatever it is we’re supposed to become on the flip side of our collective house arrest. As far as normalcy goes, I’ll know we’ve achieved it when I see Dr Fauci hosting his own talk show . . .

As for the news of the week? The NFL draft shattered all kinds of records seeing as how it was the first live ‘sporting event’ since the Oscars. Speaking of sporting events, Jay Cutler and Kristin Cavallari’s impending divorce will be coming to a cable show near you. Oh, and North Korea is busy going “Weekend at Bernies” on the rest of the world, because the thought of losing Kim Jong Un would just be too much for us to take right . . um, now.

Thankfully, we got heroes . . .

Jay Leno Produces 3D-Printed Masks For First Responders ...

I already knew that former Tonight Show host Jay Leno was a car freak, but I didn’t realize he had plenty of heart to go along with all that horse power. Leno has been devoting his garage to another kind of work this month: He’s got a couple 3-D printers working round the clock, producing clear plastic shields for health care workers. He delivers them to local fire departments, who then disperse them to first responders and hospital workers.

“It’s great to feel like you’re part of something and sort of helping out—not just having food delivered every five minutes.” He says.

All this time later and the dude is still killing it.

BC Boy Turns Lemons into Laughter

And while we’re on the subject of late night talk show hosts, I got some future stock you might want to invest in. The kid’s name is Callaghan McLaughlin and he’s six years old, so he’s already got the jump on a great name and plenty of years with which to hone his craft. Which he’s been doing ever since the quarantine went into effect.

In lieu of lemonade, this six year old kid has set up a joke stand at the end of his driveway in Saanich, British Columbia. He charges nada for the jokes, because he wants his friends and neighbors to save their money for the important stuff. But I mean, what’s more important than a sense of humor these days? So it’s really cool that Ryan Reynolds took notice recently, and sent some props and attention his way. Because when life hands you a lemonade stand, you might as well make sunshine.

No photo description available.

With traveling having taken an extended hiatus this spring, there were plenty of petal pilgrims who missed out on the legendary tulip fields in the Netherlands. So in order to give those would be travelers their flowery fix, the peeps at Dutch Daffodils (a family owned flower farm) and Tulips in Holland (a travel blog) teamed up to create something beautiful. The above image is what they came up with. So when you look up the term ‘labor of love’ in the dictionary, I’m pretty sure that’s the pic that accompanies it.

This High School Principal Turned To Art To Celebrate Her ...

The lovely Dale over at A Dalectable Life chimes in with the story of a high school principal in Graceville, Florida who came up with an ingenuous way to celebrate her senior class. Since Farica West wasn’t going to be able to deliver up a graduation for these kids, she decided to do the next best social distancing thing. Yep, she lined the driveway of the Poplar Springs High School campus with each graduating student’s photograph in order to commemorate their big day.

“I don’t think she could’ve done it any more perfect, it’s a wonderful idea and very thoughtful,” said one senior student Peyton Brannan. “Instead of remembering I didn’t get the end to the senior year I wanted, they’ll remember my picture was right there and my grandma saw it, and my dad saw it, and my mom saw it. I got my picture made by my banner and they’ll bring back a smile to their face instead of an empty spot,”

It’s a best case scenario to an unfortunate situation, made possible with some creativity and a whole lot of heart and soul.

Woman 'showing kindness still exists' after 8 family members die ...

If you’re looking for an adrenaline shot that helps chase away some of the gloom and doom we’ve been living through, Imma give you Shana Jones. Because her story is about getting knocked down, time and time and time again, and getting up each and every time. It’s about how the human spirit is the tallest edifice known to humankind, and its deepest ocean.

Because it’s easy to look at all the things you do not get to do and have and experience. That’s the easy part. But to just take a moment to be thankful for what you do have? And then, to give something back, from a well that life has bled dry? Well, that’s how memorable stories get told. And Shana . . she has one alright.

The woman’s life has been its own personal ground zero since COVID-19 began its horrible reign stateside. Jones has lost an aunt and uncle, as well as four cousins, a close family friend and a church member who was like a second mother to Jones. Eight souls, stolen away from her by this merciless thing.

Plenty of people would have locked the door and thrown away the key to the outside world, but not this woman. Instead, she began setting up shop for her friends and neighbors outside of her residence: A couple tables stocked with canned goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, cereal and toilet paper. People were free to take what they needed, at no cost. And Jones did this out of her own pocket, in spite of the fact she has Lupus, and can’t work because of the risk factor involved in doing so.

And then the angels, they began warming up in the bullpen for Shana Jones. Whispers became talk became community involvement, and before long, her tables were being stocked with goods by people from the neighborhood . . and all over St. Louis. When her spirits ebbed, these small reminders prevailed upon her to meet every morning with the best she could muster. The thank you notes she receives, they helped too.

“Every time I get a note,” Jones said, “I feel that the angel of one of my family members or friends is saying, ‘Well done.'”

Amen to that.

 

I Stream in Technicolor

I was thinking of posting one of those “How To Watch . . .” pieces for you in reference to my current streaming crushes, and then I remembered something. I hate those fucking pieces. So instead, I’ll call this short little trip “What to Watch Before you Die!”. Which is some seriously dramatic sounding shit come to think of it, so never mind on that one.

Let’s just call this list, Stream a Little Stream or A Big Streaming Bowl of Shows! or Stream Weaver or Stream On or . . . okay, I’ll stick with the title I came in on and just get to dishing up this month’s fare.

Unorthodox- It’s the first Netflix series to be primarily in Yiddish. This four episode miniseries follows nineteen year old Jewish woman Esty, who decides that Ultra-Orthodox life just ain’t for her. So she flees to Berlin. And while I’m not completely enthralled after one episode, it has a “chase flick” feel to it, what with the community elders ready to send their posse after her.

Goliath- I must’ve bypassed this Billy Bob Thornton show on Amazon Prime a thousand times, seeing as how it’s stuck to my main screen. Welp, I’m glad I finally decided to check it out because it’s snarky and smart and Billy Bob knows how to play down and out genius like few others. Double B is a lawyer who no longer needs to pass the bar, so he hangs out in one instead. And then along comes a huge enchilada of a case that will pit him against the platinum revolver law firm that ditched his ass. What’s not to love?

WACO- This miniseries appeared on something called the Paramount Network a couple years ago, but it has caught fire since being picked up by Netflix. I devoured the six episodes in no time flat, because nothing grabs my attention quite like a bunch of gun toting Jesus cultists holed up in a Texas compound. The performances- including Michael Shannon as an FBI negotiator- are great, but I warn you . . if you aren’t up on this fifty one day siege, read up before you watch. The ending marks one of the darkest days in the history of the US government.

Narcos: Mexico- Another show I came in on late, but just in time. As a huge fan of the original show, which followed the rise of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar in Colombia . . I didn’t give Mexico much chance of matching it and I was right. It surpasses the original. Diego Luna plays Felix “El Padrino” Gallardo, the former boss of the Guadalajara Cartel, to such stone cold perfection, he’d make Michael Corleone shiver in his three piece. When did Netflix become this kind of money?

Tiger King- Okay . . so who didn’t check this one out?

Hunters- Comic book shtick writing, seventies fashion and Nazi hunters? How could I go wrong? Well, the show gave me the time release answer to this question. Because in spite of a solid cast and coo soundtrack . . the ending pissed me off so much that I have to move on to the next show.

The Wire- Best one last, and of course it follows my MO in that I came to this show late. As in more than a decade after its last episode aired late. And you know what? That’s okay, because to see a baby faced Michael B Jordan was worth it right there. This show is first ballot Hall of Fame, pulled from the front pages and police logs stuff, with writing that is second to nothing else I’ve seen. There’s really little need to give any more props to a show many consider the greatest ever made. So Imma get back to watching instead.

 

Heroes Of The Week

Protests erupt again over coronavirus shelter-in-place orders ...

The image stapled to this week’s homework assignment is a sign of the times. It’s where we currently find ourselves in a country that could not wait to politicize a dark moment in world history. We do not receive our grace period this time, nope. Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling this post. But it still happens, because it’s Friday.

And thanks to Frank, I had a way in. So a big thank you goes out to the scientists and doctors and nurses and EMT’s and all medical personnel for showing us what humanity is supposed to look like.

The Browns' new uniforms are a sign they're making good decisions ...

Shout out to the Cleveland Browns, who might not do much winning on the field (Sorry Browns fans, but you know it’s true) but who are winning big off of it. The team unveiled some new uniforms last week, after which they announced that all net proceeds from  uniform sales will be donated to COVID-19 relief efforts in the Cleveland area. Lots of teams have gotten fat on their threads count, but these guys are making sure to give something back.

Keeping Up With The Kardashians: Kylie Jenner opens up to Khloe ...

What you’re about to read, well . . it doesn’t happen every day. The Kardashians have arrived at this Friday spot, and there’s not a whit of satire in the doing. And it’s thanks to Khloe K and the most fruitful shopping trip the reality family has had in quite some time. It seems that she has been frequenting groceries all over Los Angeles and paying the tabs of the elderly customers. She’s also provided gift cards for more than two hundred employees during her goodwill missions. And last month, little sister Kylie donated $1 million to the purchase of protective gear for first responders. These gals are putting their money where a lot of politicians mouths are, and good for them. Good for all of us, really.

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One minute, Bevin Strickland of High Point, North Carolina was sitting on her sofa watching constantly changing news reports about the coronavirus and the next? She was right smack dab on the front lines. This forty seven year old nurse is working at Mt Sinai in Queens, New York; which just so happens to be ground zero for the state’s coronavirus outbreak. She is currently working with the sickest patients, and if that wasn’t enough, she’s planning on donating every penny she makes (after expenses) to the Mount Sinai support staff.

“Somebody’s gotta help,” Bevin said. “What if we all said we couldn’t handle it and we couldn’t do it? You know, what if everybody said that?”

This woman is what my Friday episodes are all about.

(And a big shout out to Frank for gifting me this story).

Jeanna Barbieri works as an ER nurse at Lowell General Hospital in Massachusetts, but she’s been moonlighting recently as a guardian angel. Barbieri figured her way around the no-visitor policy at Lowell when she began bringing in family photographs for the patients. And what started out as a simple idea, grew.

“Just to see how excited they were to have that piece of comfort with him, it made me realize I want to do more of that,” Barbieri said. “I never imagined in a million years it would turn into anything other than a small project.”

Well, grow it did. With a dedicated email address and a social media hashtag, #picturesforpatients, Jeanna has made twenty two photograph deliveries thus far. And this labor of love isn’t just helping the patients through this trying time, it’s been a Godsend for the medical staff as well. It’s like leaving a light on, to let them know the world is still there.

French lab scientists working on potentially infected patient samples at the Pasteur Institute in Paris in February.

This week’s wrap isn’t gonna focus on one particular individual, but rather, on the countless heroes around the world who are busy putting their knowledge, skills and passion to the ultimate test. Read this article from the New York Times if you can, because it focuses on the peeps who don’t get the pub they truly deserve. The scientists, from around the globe, who have forged an impenetrable alliance inside these tenuously political times.

“I never hear scientists — true scientists, good quality scientists — speak in terms of nationality,” said Dr. Francesco Perrone, who is leading a coronavirus clinical trial in Italy. “My nation, your nation. My language, your language. My geographic location, your geographic location. This is something that is really distant from true top-level scientists.”

That’s because patriotic ideals ain’t gonna save us now, or provide hope in the event another outbreak truly is on the horizon. But science will eventually find a way, because there are no walls or borders keeping it from its appointed task. See, these folks have a very different agenda. They’re not running for office or anointing themselves as patriots on some Op-Ed cable show and they don’t have a late night monologue with which they can introduce themselves. They answer not to one person, but to every person.

All of us.

 

All That Flitters Is Not Gold

I think it’s important to see the good in things. But it’s not a spiritual deal breaker if you can’t bring yourself to do so all the time. Because as with everything in life, there is context.

Take for instance, Trump’s daily press conferences, which feel as if they’re being underwritten by the WWE. COVID-19 has King Minus back at the podium after an extended break, because yanno . . the pandemic didn’t have enough polarity as it was. I call it Kerosene Theater, because to call it absurd would be a disservice to Samuel Beckett. Tuning in will kill your brain cells faster than a batch of OG Kush, unless Anthony Fauci happens to make the scene. I only wish word bubbles were a real thing, because Fauci’s thoughts must read like a George Carlin skit. 

If you’ve been in a coma since 2016, check out one of these pressers, because it will let you know what’s been going on in a nutshell (emphasis on nut). When I think about where we are as a country, the Janis Joplin song Me and Bobby McG gets to stepping through my brain . . .

Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose. 

No shit JJ.

Seriously, if the Declaration of Independence were signed in 2020, it would happen in a shopping mall. Such is the skewed variation of truth we’ve come to accept. Not to mention an indivisible pledge that once promised liberty and justice for all. Truth got sample sized in the Clintonian Era, Liberty became incorporated in the W years and Justice is currently getting bumper stickered into obsolescence by brand-mothers and freedom fighting fathers who are on a mission from God. No, not the God mentioned in The Blues Brothers- who was all about R&B, car chases and lying to your hot girlfriend. Nope, these new age defenders of the constitution believe in wearing their guns and developing a portal that delivers them back to 1955, tout de suite. Their plan is to bottle up all the great shit that was going on back there and bring it here, after which they’ll crop dust the fuck out of us.

So it’s no surprise, given the political climate change we’ve experienced over the last three and a half years, that we have groups like Ammon Bundy’s Liberty Rebellion rising up through the cracks, everywhere. From Idaho to Islip and the Twin Cities to Tampa Bay, these peeps are storming government buildings with the goal to take back their freedom of movement, coronavirus be damned. And so what if the US has three quarters of a million confirmed cases and more than forty two thousand casualties. Give us beaches and Applebee’s or give us death!

They vow to go all Rambo on COVID-19 with a game plan that’s simpler than Paris Hilton’s diary. They insist that we must get back to business as usual . . or the virus wins. Mind you, it ain’t gonna be easy to win this particular war on terror since the virus doesn’t have an accent or run a convenience store. Hell, we might actually have to depend on science to see us through.

The protesters are trying to high-jack common sense by insisting that our freedoms are in great peril as a result of the quarantine, whilst never minding the grim tote board. They’re a blight to the legacy of founding fathers who endeavored for the greater good and understood that democracy is not a win at all costs theorem. It’s actually much more advanced than that kind of box-score logic. Because it asks us to aim our differences in a general direction, so that we may arrive at an eventual consensus.

Instead, these peeps shout down the truth of the matter, which is that the quarantine works. They ignore the fact that when large groups have gathered together since the virus began to spread, bad things followed. And not for nothing, but quoting Jefferson in relation to the current pandemic is akin to slapping a number on the side of a team of oxen and thinking they could win the Daytona 500.

If you come across one of these Fox News patriots, ask them to double down on the six foot social distance rule. And then be sure to let them know the man who penned the Pledge of Allegiance- Francis Bellamy- was in fact, a socialist.

Marty McFly called. He wants his time machine back.

You Suck, I Love You

Frank has issued me a challenge to which I just had to accept, because it means he’ll make way for this joint as a result. His mission, if I chose to accept it, was to make a short story out of the image below. And so I did just that. It should be noted I didn’t give myself a word count, because I know full well once I get writing, I can’t shut myself up . . .

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Andy led Monica into the men’s room of The Bulldog Cafe and stood in front of the stall, beaming like a Cheshire cat standing over a drained Koi pond.

“We’re in the men’s room . . because?”

“The sign? They posted this sign because of us!” Andy said excitedly.

“Because of us, I’m not following . .”

“The stall babe, this is OUR stall! It’s where we, yanno . . .”

“Is this why you dragged me in here? To remind me about my less than brilliant life choices? I can call my mother for that, thank you,”

Andy continued, apparently clueless to the slight as he remembered back to their raucous New Year’s celebration a year earlier, as if this men’s room was the top of the Eiffel Tower.

“We had sex in this stall . . and now we’re immortalized!”

“Because of this sign?” Monica asked disbelievingly.

“Hell yes because of this sign! Remember how pissed the owner was when he had to come in here because people were complaining about the couple in the stall?” Andy laughed.

“No, I don’t remember. Which is the point Andy . . because that’s how sex in a bathroom stall works. The participants are in no condition to remember anything!”

“Well, I remember . .” Andy said, clearly hurt by Monica’s brazen attitude.

“And I love you for it, really I do. But something tells me that . . Tiger? Something tells me Tiger didn’t post this sign because we were the first couple to have sex in that stall,”

Andy was undeterred as he studied the stall door now.

“You know what? We did break the door that night, I knew it! Look, they replaced it with plywood! If my memory serves me right, the original door was made of pine, wasn’t it?”

“No babe, it was cherry wood . . with dovetailed edges. Because Tiger and his business partner, whose name I can only assume must be Booger, those boys always go top of the line,”

“Okay, you obviously do not share my appreciation for our connubial flammability. But that door was most definitely pine,” Andy said as the door to the men’s room swung open and a burly man in a football jersey ambled in.

“Excuse me,” He grunted as he moved around the couple and settled over the urinal.

“Honey, can we discuss this somewhere else? I’m sure this gentleman would like some privacy,” Monica said through gritted teeth.

“Nah, I’m good. Yanno, when I gotta drain the lizard, ain’t nothing or no one who’s gonna stop it,” The man chuckled.

“Okay, I’m outta here,” Monica said, throwing her arms up in disgust.

“Wait . . wait a minute. Sir, perhaps you could settle an argument me and my wife are having about this stall door. I told her that, clearly it’s been replaced and . . ”

“Yes dear, and my new boss? Bears a striking resemblance to Keanu Reeves . . so maybe you want to quit trying my patience and let this nice man go about his . . . business?” Monica said as she took hold of his arm. But Andy wasn’t budging.

“Yeah, they replaced it last year.” The man chimed in. “Tiger said it was coming off its hinges . . . says some couple was having sex and busted the damn thing,”

“BOOM!” Andy bellowed. “That was US!”

“No shit,” The man laughed as the door to the men’s room swung open again and a boy entered. 

“Oh good! More company,” Monica deadpanned.

“Daddy? What’s a girl doing in here?” The boy gawked as he moved to the sink to wash his hands.

“Look at that. Ten years old and he gets it. What’s your excuse?” Monica said as her eyes burned into Andy.

The burly man moved to the sink with his son and began washing his hands now. “Son, remember how I was telling you about the birds and the bees?”

“Is he gonna bang her?” The boy asked.

“Yeah son, I think he’s gonna bang her so we should get outta here,” He chuckled.

“I don’t know what you see in him, lady. But I’ll guard the door . .” The boy winked on his way out.

“That . . . is wrong on so many levels,” Monica said.

“I think it’s kinda sweet,” Andy smiled.

“We’re never having kids. I just decided that,” Monica said.

“I can’t wait to have kids with you. I imagine they’ll crawl into bed with us in the early morning. I’ll go downstairs to make us some coffee, and when I come back up to the room there you are, fixing those great big, beautiful eyes on me. And your hair’s all mussed up and you’ve got no makeup on and none of it matters because I am looking at the most beautiful creature I’ve ever laid eyes on . . .”

“You know what?” Monica said, her anger subsiding no matter how hard she tried to get it back. “You suck. And I love you. So much” Monica said as tears began to pool on the corners of her eyes.

“So whaddya say? Wanna go another round while we’re here, since we have our own personal security detail?” Andy said.

“Not a chance, Romeo.” Monica said as she led him out of the bathroom. “Plywood can’t handle what I’ve got in store for you, pal”