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There Is No F In Accountability

When I was an old man, I thought I was a kid.

That’s how ass backwards the world feels to me sometimes. Because whenever I opine on how things used to be, it makes me feel as if I Benjamin Buttoned myself into the here and now. Where once I was lost to the thankless mysteries of the world, now I’m finding myself in this vapid little pill that keeps its insanity on retainer.

As with most things that fruit my loop, these changes whittled themselves into a monolithic curiosity with the wicked patience of a well done knuckleball. In the process, they turned yesterday into a bell jar full of pennies, which is about as yesterday as you’re gonna get.

This particular assessment came about as I was telling my daughter what school used to look like. Yanno . . back in the day. She’s a teacher, and as such, she’s taken to wearing steel toe boots whenever she has occasion to conference with those hard pipe hitting advocates known as parents. Because we’re living in an age where an unhealthy percentage of the parent population has gone and shoved accountability out of a speeding car. Why pass the buck when you can burn the fucker to a crisp?

I could never be a teacher, because for one thing . . I don’t like kids. And for another, I don’t like parents. My days would be spent drinking heavily and chasing it with painkillers and anti-depressants. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

“Most parents get that their kid can do better and that it’s a shared responsibility. But every once in a while you get a parent who isn’t having it . . ” My daughter said. Calmly, I might add. Which is why she’s going to be a great teacher, because that kind of thing doesn’t piss her off.

As for yours truly? Hell, nawh.

“When I got a bad grade on a report card, or I failed a test . . I caught hell for it. In waves. First it was my teacher giving me shit and then I got home and I had to hear it from my mother. And if the offense was serious enough, it went into the evening when the old man got home. I earned that shit and I remembered that shit. Because it was incredibly unpleasant shit,” I ranted, rather un-sweetly.

“Yeah . . it’s different now,” She laughed.

No shit.

I tell you what, even in a deliciously vegetative state of insobriety, I wouldn’t be able to stem my Cobra Kai when a parent gave their kid the look-away pass and followed that up by delivering a few misplaced adjectives in my direction. Nope. I would be teaching a very different kind of lesson at that point.

The kind I learned, a long time ago.

 

Heroes Of The Week!

Rains Drench Migrants Crossing Rio Grande River Into United States | Top News | US News

A migrant mother from Central America seeks asylum after crossing the Rio Grande into the United States- Photo courtesy of Reuters

Wherever you stand on the immigration issue, it’s important to remember that it is about people. The front lines are comprised by uniforms who are paid to do a job no matter what, and those who simply want a chance at a better life. The suits and the loud mouth talking heads will turn them into numbers, but they are not numbers. Let’s stop pretending we wouldn’t do the same thing in that mother’s situation.

Let’s get to Friday . . .

a person jumping up in the air: Davison senior Bradly Rainwater clears the bar in the Pole Vault Monday, May 17, 2021 at Lapeer High School. Rainwater was born blind and uses step counts and a specialized track to aid him in competition.Bradly Rainwater of Davison High School in Lapeer, Michigan makes it a point to touch the sky on a daily basis. The senior track and field star comes from a long line of pole vaulters, and he’s done the family proud with his exploits: This year alone he’s won three events while finishing second-place in another four. His personal best is a 10 foot jump, which he’s accomplished twice. Impressive stuff made all the more so when you learn that Bradly has been blind since birth.

“He’s a pretty remarkable kid,” says coach Michael Crongeyer. “I’ve been competing and coaching for over 20 years and he’s the first (blind pole vaulter) I’ve seen. We think he’s the only one in Michigan to be a blind pole vaulter. It’s very rare,”

The kid is sporting a 3.5 GPA and plans on attending Spring Arbor University in the fall, where he’ll major in psychology and music. He says he might even try and make the track and field team, because why not? And his goal for the regionals coming up in June is to jump 11 feet . . . which would qualify him to vault in college.

I wouldn’t bet against it.

(Gracias to Frank “Beach Walks” Angle for this sky-high get.)

I’m all for fan involvement in a sporting event, excepting for the Tampa Bay Rays . . whose fans rarely show up at all. But here’s the thing. Fans ain’t the story, they’re simply the accompaniment to the story.

This week saw two separate incidents where fans behaving badly became the story. The above image shows Russell Westbrook of the Wizards being restrained after a Philadelphia fan dumped popcorn on him. In the image below, a New York Knicks fan spit on Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks.

Trae Young Won't Press Charges Against Knicks Fan That Spit on Him | BlackSportsOnlineBoth of these fans ass-hats were escorted from the respective arenas and were banned for life. Which is great, but not enough in my opinion. Charge them, even if the charges won’t go anywhere. Hell, they should be doing community service. Say . . 5,000 hours worth of it.

Hey, I was gonna say give the players a minute alone with these degenerates, but there’s been enough line crossing for one week.

To paraphrase the Hal David classic, what the world needs now . . is ducks, sweet ducks. More specifically, rubber duckies.

That’s how Jim Preston of Menlo Park, California is going about it. He’s been delivering up messages of inspiration to his neighbors for several months now, and he pens them in rubber duckies. Everything from “Be Kind” to “No Fear” to . . requests. The man will even take requests, I mean . . . can you imagine living next door to a guy who can double down on your sunshine intake? Sign me up!

When the COVID-19 lockdown made celebrations harder to come by, Jim provided his neighbor Locke Anderson with best wishes for his sixtieth birthday. So yeah, you can keep your mountains and oceans.

I want what this guy is supplying.

An Honor Long Overdue:' After 70 Years, Ranger Legend Ralph Puckett Receives Medal of Honor | Military.comCongratulations to Ralph Puckett, who was presented with the Medal of Honor by President Biden last week. It is the highest award you can receive and it was a very long time coming for a man whose deep-seated belief in service to his country mattered more than anything else, and still does. Puckett never expected a thing in return. When he received his invite to the White House for the ceremony, he cracked “Why all the fuss? Can’t they just mail it to me?”.

On November 25, 1950, Puckett was serving as a first-lieutenant when he led a company of 51 US and nine South Korean soldiers into battle against several hundred Chinese troops. Puckett’s men were able to capture and hold Hill 205- a strategic point overlooking the Chongchon River in Korea.

During the ceremony, President Biden referenced the Colonel’s response to his invite by saying, “Col. Puckett, after 70 years rather than mail it to you I would have walked it to you,”

Nice comeback, Joe.

HeroHomes completes 4th home for a veteran | News | loudountimes.comImma wrap up this week’s episode with a story of struggle and redemption, and a man whose life’s journey bears a haunting resemblance to the Robert Frost poem; because it has been lovely, dark and deep. And for veteran Vainuupo “AV” Avegalio, the beauty of it all has been a hard earned thing.

The retired US Army veteran served his country proudly, but as with most veterans, the next chapter of his life proved to be an epic challenge. Having experienced the polar opposite of normalcy for more than a dozen years, he found it damn near impossible to wrap his head around life as a civilian.

“Military life was both a blessing and a curse. It took me to places I could have only dreamed of growing up on the Samoan Islands. I witnessed horror, destruction, merciless acts of inhumanity. I saw acts of gallantry and heroism. I sent and welcomed many good friends home. I was shot at by enemies. I was spit on by the people we fought to protect. Through 12 years of service and even today, a battle deep within me grew stronger with each breath and every thought, a battle with myself.”

After leaving the military, Avegalio struggled to find purpose. He found it in the arts, with poetry and painting. It was his conduit, a shared language he could share with a world that seemed so foreign to his senses. He volunteered at correctional facilities and worked with at-risk youth, all the while living in his car. He traveled the country this way, conducting workshops with the money he received from the Army.

Life caught up with his beautiful soul and the fates had a big fat IOU at the ready in the form of a brand new house for Avegalio. It was all made possible by HeroHomes, a non-profit organization that gives veterans the ability to live independently. Add to that AV recently made his big screen debut in the HBO documentary We Are Not Done Yet.

This turn of events has led Avegalio to . . you guessed it, pay it forward. He plans on using the basement of his new home as an art studio so that he can continue to do his great good work, for others. It’s what he knows.

He has promises to keep, and miles to go . . . lots of them.

When Faith Makes The Scene

My relationship with God has always been awkward, because I was never really certain as to what I was supposed to be looking for. It’s a signature of the human condition that compels us to define relationships, even those that can prove least definable. And as humans, we want something out of the deal.

When I was young and impressionable, I was seeking answers to the biggest questions the same way most young people of my generation did: By watching movies and listening to music. I had it figured that George Burns was God, John Denver was an Apostle and Ozzy Osbourne was the Antichrist. Looking back now I wish I’d been right. Shit, a God who smoked cigars and had a great sense of humor, an Apostle who sang folk songs and a devil who penned Ironman, one of the greatest rock songs ever? Sold!

When I was a teenager, I negotiated all manner of adversity by by dialing up the high and mighty hotline. It was more about kitsch than catechism. Mix too many adult beverages . . . put in a call. Bend a rule . . or maybe even a law . . put in a call. Get myself in a bind with a girlfriend’s girlfriend . . put in a call. Find out girlfriend or girlfriend’s girlfriend was late . . . put in a series of calls.

Adulthood is where I stopped calling on God because I didn’t feel like dealing with a busy signal. This is how adults survive. When we ain’t listened to in a way we deem appropriate, we look elsewhere: Financial advisors, general practitioners, insurance agents, mechanics, bookies, bartenders and therapists. Mediation comes at a price that we’re more than willing to pay because we’re assured that someone is listening.

Getting married meant churching, for a while, but the arrangement was never a fit for me because I was never much for country clubs. And that’s what church felt like, with all the networking and gossip mongering. I knew I could get more religion out of a bottle of wine or a baseball diamond than a Sunday morning in church.

Of course, it all comes down to faith. And faith is one of those things that isn’t found in a book or a house or a hymn. No doubt, these things can serve to inspire you, but they’ll never make you believe. No, that kind of thing usually makes the scene when we least expect it.

It’s been twenty years since I woke up in a hospital bed after having undergone a thyroidectomy to remove two separate cancerous growths. I remember feeling super groovy, as if Jimi Hendrix had just supplied me with some magical feel goods and chased it with a song. Needless to say, I didn’t give a flip about the tubes that were sticking out of me or the fact that I was sharing a room with a guy who was hacking up a lung. Before I could start doing the math on what came next, I passed out again.

Waking up at night in a hospital room is some truly creepy shit. For most people. But I guess I always had a morbid streak and a genuine curiosity for that kind of thing because I felt nothing but peace. And yes, the primo stock that was running through my veins helped. But it was more than that, because now my brain was working plenty well enough to remember back to that morning. The pastor at the church I’d stop attending had come by before my surgery to talk with me. He was a good man and I was genuine in my warm greeting. We talked for a while, about baseball and kids and steak houses. But I remember one simple exchange.

“Are you scared?”

“No, I’m not. Everything’s cool, it’s really cool,”

“Good, that’s good,” He examined my face as if searching for the lie, and not finding it.

It was as if I had waited all my life to feel the kind of peace I did on that morning. Uncertain as to what came next, and remarkably okay with that. I chatted with the nurses as they rolled me through the corridors until we arrived at a frosty operating room and I was introduced to all the players. And then they were serving me up a tonic to help me sleep and then I cracked a few jokes just to let them know it was paying off handsomely.

Something mystical was riding shotgun with me as I began to tiptoe through the tulips, because that’s when David Gilmour and Roger Waters started doing their thing. As my eyes grew heavy, I could feel the dumbest smile taking hold of my face as I muttered sleepily “Great fucking song . . .”

If there’s more to faith than that? I don’t need it.

 

 

 

Heroes Of The Week!

 

A woman kneels down to light a candle among thousands of other candles arranged in a courtyard.A Czechoslovakian woman lights a candle at Prague Castle to commemorate the almost 30,000 lives lost to the coronavirus. (Courtesy: The Atlantic)

We dredge too much of our existence in possessive terminology that inevitably collapses into a scrum of agitated verbs. After which we grab a side and hunker down to fight for an idea called ownership. Thing is, for almost fourteen billion years, this cosmic fastball got along just fine without us. So as much as we like to believe we own the joint, the only thing we really own is our ability to find our place inside it.

It’s what I think about when I look at all those candles. Because I can’t dismiss those lights as someone else from somewhere else. What I see is the pain, struggle and the strength to overcome that we all share. Every someone from every someplace . . everywhere.

Let’s get to Friday . . .

It's been 42 years since the Maple Leafs faced the Canadiens in the playoffs: Meet the last Toronto goalie to do it – The AthleticOh! Canada? . . . The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens got their postseason puck on last night, for the first time since . . are you sitting down? The Carter administration. Those dynastic Habs swept the Leafs in ’79 on their way to their fourth Stanley Cup of the Scotty Bowman era. And while Bob Gainey and Guy LaFleur and Ken Dryden ain’t walking through that door, for one night, the Habs awakened the echoes.

Chinese player Tan Zhongyi (left) shakes hands with Anna Muzychuk (right) of Ukraine at a championship in Iran

The Queen’s Gambit: (Hat tip to the lovely Dale for this one) Anna Muzychuk of Ukraine reached the summit of the chess world back in 2017 when she won the top spot in two disciplines of the game; Rapid, where each player gets 15 minutes to complete their moves and Blitz, where players get 10. She had realized her lifelong dream of becoming a grandmaster at the age of thirty-one.

And then she gave it all away.

Muzychuck ceded her world titles when she decided to boycott the Women’s World Speed Chess Championship that was to be held in Saudi Arabia. At the time, she spoke of how she refused to be treated like a “secondary creature” in a country that is still playing catchup with the rest of the world when it comes to their treatment of women. When given the chance for fame and fortune, she chose her principles instead.

That’s one hell of a checkmate.

January 6 commission vote: Prospects bleak that 10 Republicans would buck McConnell

The Great White Nope: If you’re searching for the antonym for backbone, look no further than the GOP. Yes, for the second week in a row, the party about nothing has scored a spot in my lineup. You can thank Mitch McConnell for this entry, since he’s the voice that is looking to put the kibosh on a bill that would establish a commission to investigate the events of January 6th. His argument is that investigations are currently ongoing and so the commission’s work would be duplicative. Okay fine, but would he feel the same way if the insurrectionists had looked and voted differently? Just asking . .

This kindness thing really does matter: Imma dish up a before and after pic for this next story, because it goes to show just how far a kindness can travel. And this particular random act of kindness was provided by a man named Ian. He was walking along, minding his own business when he came upon Natalie Fernando attempting to calm her autistic child Rudy, and not having very much luck doing so. Mom and kid love to take walks along the water, but kid ain’t so crazy about the return trip. And on this day, he wasn’t having it, which resulted in a meltdown. Which soon resulted in nasty stares by passersby who haven’t a clue as to what mother and child go through on a daily basis.

Enter the man named Ian, who didn’t hesitate to communicate with Rudy. I mean, the guy really wasn’t sure it was going to work but he knew the try was a damn sight better than simply walking by. So he lay on the ground and Rudy . . he listened. No words needed to be exchanged, because in that moment, kindness was speaking.

The “After” image speaks to what happens when you take a breath and consider what someone else might be going through. Imagine how much good we can create if we stopped thinking about ourselves for a moment. If we stopped feeling inconvenienced by someone who harshes our mellow, and instead considered that maybe they never get to feel that kind of mellow at all.

The best chances involve kindness.

A Hero On Mount St. Helens: Remembering David Johnston – Rosetta Stones

My final story for this Friday episode comes to us courtesy of Eilene at Myricopia, and it  involves geologist David A. Johnston.

Johnston devoted his life to the study of volcanoes, but his legacy goes far beyond that. He believed it was his duty to put himself at risk if it meant protecting the public from natural disasters. It was thanks to the tireless efforts of Johnston and his peers that authorities closed Mount St. Helens to the public ahead of the eruption, saving thousands of lives in the process.

As was one of the lead scientists for the United States Geological Survey monitoring team, he was manning an observation post six miles away from the mouth of Mount St. Helens on the morning of May 18th, 1980 when the volcano erupted. His was the first radio transmission of the eruption. They would be his last words, after which this brilliant mind was stolen away, his body never found.

David never got to tell his grandkids what it was like to be there on that day when Mount St. Helens erupted because he was busy making sure that others would get to tell that story to their grandkids. His bravery is the kind of gift humanity does not deserve, but also must never forget. Because it’s his legacy that feeds our will, to be better and to do better. And forty-one years removed from the day he was lost, his footprints still resound.

He was thirty-years old.

 

 

 

 

Joe Pesci Reviews Those Who Wish Me Dead

Those Who Wish Me Dead Review: Angelina Jolie's Throwback Action Movie | IndieWire

I was doing a stakeout of Bob Baffert’s place in Boca when Marco interrupted my business with a text. The asshole decided that was a good time to ask me if I wanted to do another movie review. His timing is worse than my first wife, who sent me a fax to tell me she was breaking up with me right before I went on trial in a double homicide case. No . . wait . . that was my first lawyer . . even worse!

So I called Marco and I asked him what movie he wanted me to watch for this oh so important movie review. You know what the ingrate says to me?

“I just watched Those Who Wish Me Dead and holy shit did it blow! You’ve GOT to review it for the blog!”

The balls on this guy! He wanted me to forget the fact I lost half a million clams because Bob Fucking Baffert decided to treat his horse like it was A-Rod . . . and instead . . watch a movie that is a complete waste of my time. And then he told me Angelina Jolie was in it, and I said okay. It’s probably for the best since that silver haired prick Baffert has better lawyers than I do.

Those Who Wish Me Dead Reviews - Metacritic

Before I get started with this review, you should know I’m scoring it a perfect four out of four stars because Angelina Jolie is in it. And while Marco may be a stuttering prick, he was right about the flick. It really does blow, in spite of Angelina, who should win an Oscar, just for existing.

Those Who Wish Me Dead Is A Straight Shot of Adrenaline

For Those Who Wish Me Dead is a movie title I can totally relate to, so points for that.

Okay, so in the first scene, Aiden Gillen and his associate pose as fire inspectors. When the lady of the house answers the door, they ask if her husband is home. When she says yes, they tell her that the house may have a gas leak and they ask if they can check it out. It’s the oldest trick in the book, and it works like a charm, every time. Trust me on that.

So once dat guy is outta da picture, we learn there is another guy who needs to be quieted because of some top secret shit. This fellow is what they call a forensic accountant, which in laymen’s terms means bad news for guys like us. He knows they’re after him so he skips town but of course they find him, but his kid gets away.

Those Who Wish Me Dead Movie: Showtimes, Review, Songs, Trailer, Posters, News & Videos | eTimes

That’s when we get to meet Angelina, who plays a smoke jumper named Hannah Faber in this buttfuck of a town in Montana. I was familiar with the term- smoke jumper-but my definition is much different and since Angelina is supposed to be one, I’m gonna stick with my definition. Anyway, Hannah has a lot of guilt because she fucked up and and some kids died in a wildfire because of it. So she drinks whiskey and jumps out of flat bed trucks for fun in order to bury the pain. I really love that.

How to Watch Angelina Jolie's 'Those Who Wish Me Dead' | Entertainment Tonight

Jon Bernthal plays a Sheriff who basically just takes scenes away from Angelina, because his wife actually inflicts more damage on the two villains than he does. Fucking Sheriffs, it’s always the same thing with those guys!

So this kid who just lost his father runs into Hannah in the forest and holy fucking shit if that isn’t every twelve-year old boy’s wildest dream! I mean, if my old man woulda had to get offed for me to meet up with Angelina in the woods? I’m sorry Pop, but I ain’t gonna be twelve forever, yanno?

The ending is predictable shit. The bad guys get killed, the good guys win and Angelina is the only reason this movie wasn’t a complete waste of time.

Oh yeah . . I’m supposed to tell you there are spoilers in this post.

Da End

 

Heroes Of The Week!

An artist stands in front of a large mural of the face of a young person wearing a mask.

Brazilian graffiti artist Eduardo Kobra completing his mural Coexistence-Memorial of Faith for All Victims of COVID-19

As for the week that was? It was partly spring-like with a predictable amount of nonsense thrown in for good measure. Aaron Rodgers’s future might be in Jeopardy, Florida signed into law new voting restrictions, with Texas close behind, and McDonalds still won’t honor my request to bring back the Patty Melt.

So, it’s a good time to get started on the weekend by launching into another episode, and . . . here . . . we . . . go! . . .

Dropping the mic with class: I am no longer in the same space as Liz Cheney, politically speaking, but her impassioned speech the other night before Congress deserves a special mention today. Because it speaks to how we are supposed to behave in a democracy. Our union is tenuous because consensus has given way to contention, dialogue has given way to vitriolic disagreement. Her ouster proves that her party is intent on drawing a line in quicksand.

What Is Happening to the Republicans? | The New Yorker

Like a termite that’s choking on the splinters: The Republican party hitched their star to Trump in 2016 because they had become the political equivalent of Seinfeld; they had become a party about nothing. In the five years since then, they’ve done little to change this fact. And now they have a vengeful former President intent on delivering death blows to those GOP members he believes did him dirty. The loudest voices are the ones driving this party bus right over the cliff, and they’re turning the GOP into a self-destructive prophecy.

Two-way star Shohei Ohtani pitches gem, plays outfield, makes history in Angels' loss to Astros - CBSSports.com

The Shohei Kid Strikes Again: The California Angels have themselves a bona-fide rock star sidekick to go alongside baseball’s best player, Mike Trout. Shohei Ohtani’s magic was on full display the other night against the Houston Astros. He pitched seven innings, allowing one run on four hits while striking out ten. He also singled once in four plate appearances while remaining tied for the league lead in HR’s with 10. The last time the majors saw this kind of two-way excellence? Woodrow Wilson was President, and a fellow named Babe Ruth was doing it . . for the Boston Red Sox.

18-year-old Joshua Nelson standing with Katie Krodinger and Lenell Hahn, shows off the scholarship given to him by Southeast Missouri State University.

Too Cool for School: Joshua Nelson’s dream of going to college was busy figuring itself out a long time ago. The senior at St. Charles West High School is a member of the National Honor Society, the National Society of Black Engineers and the Black Student Union. Outside of the classroom, he’s also the President of the school’s Multicultural Achievement Council (MAC). It’s a program that helps underrepresented kids get ready for college and a career. Nelson also plays on the varsity basketball team and is a tutor for kids at the Boys and Girls Club.

So with the future squarely in his sights, he had taken to saving up some money for the next chapter of his life. And then he got the call. He had scored a full ride to Southeast Missouri State University. He was one of only five applications to received the President’s Scholarship.

And so with the $1,000 he’d been saving up for college . . of course he decided to pay it forward. And he’s hoping that others will help match his starting donation so that more students can be provided with assistance in achieving their dreams. Because while some people believe that creating wealth is an individual pursuit, Joshua Nelson sees it differently.

Dreams should be shared.

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
-Nelson Mandela 

When you look at the above image, you cannot help but think that tragedy ruled the day. And if not for Jonathan Bauer, you would have been right.

A five-car pileup on the Route 90 bridge over Maryland’s Assawoman Bay sent eight people to the hospital, and yeah . . that truck. Dangling precipitously over the edge, the collision ejected a toddler into the bay waters. Jonathan and his teenage daughter Ava came upon the pileup and that’s when dad went superhero. After making sure his daughter was good, he moved to the guardrail and found the toddler floating on her back. When the waves turned her over, Jonathan jumped into action. Literally.

The man with a fear of heights took the forty foot plunge into the water and held to the toddler while patting her back until he had opened her airway. A couple of nearby boaters then got them to shore, after which the twenty-three month old was airlifted to Johns Hopkins where she was evaluated and later released. She’s expected to make a full recovery.

Like any superhero worth their cape, Bauer didn’t stick around for the photo-op. He was plenty fine with knowing he had done his part to avert certain tragedy. His neighbors and friends? They had something else in mind, and so Bauer and his daughter Ava were re-united with the boaters who had joined in the rescue, as well as the first responders who arrived soon after. The Mayor saved the morning for him and Bauer even got a plaque. But the best reward of all?

A little girl turns two later this month.

 

Winning By Pinocchio’s Nose

Medina Spirit | 2022 Kentucky Derby & Oaks | May 6 and May 7, 2022

With Medina Spirit’s Kentucky Derby win now being called into question after traces of the steroid betamethasone were found in his system, it’s clear the sporting world will stop at nothing in pursuit of glory. Trainer Bob Baffert claimed the horse has never been treated with the stuff because most sports figures are just frustrated politicians.

Pete Rose has been telling and re-telling a thirty year lie that changes with each new book deal. Dopers everywhere- from the four major sports to the Olympics- always play it like that guy in the show Cops who insists the drugs aren’t his. College recruiting reads like an episode of Law and Order. Little leaguers pretend to be smaller while college players pretend to be bigger and the Patriots . . . well, yanno.

Back inside the brutally simple time known as the ’70’s, NASCAR driver Richard Petty issued a sporting proclamation that has proven to have more lasting power than his hat . . or his legendary career for that matter.

“If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying,”

Without a twenty-four hour social media dragnet to collect every last dangling participle of an athlete’s most innocuously lonesome thoughts, the checkmate of a raging morning after headline was still a twinkle in every sports voyeur’s eye. Petty’s southern drawl was saved the slings and arrows of our current day claw machine which would have issued the “Breaking News” headline at three in the morning. After which Twitter would’ve split in two like the Titanic, sports debate shows would’ve argued over whether Petty should be suspended and Petty would’ve read a PR crafted apology that was about as heartfelt as a zombie flick.

The thing is, his simple syrup was a sporting truth long before he let it pass go. Need some proof? Okay why not . . .

Fred Lorz's lift and the rat-poison runner – Tale Runners

Fred Lorz lapped the field at the 1904 Olympic marathon in St. Louis by completing the race in three hours and thirteen minutes. Only problem was, he hitched a ride with a passing car for 11 miles of the race. When reading about Lorz, my question was, “There were passing cars in 1904?”

ECC | [New York Giants baseball player John J. McGraw, walking on

Before San Francisco Giants outfielder Barry Bonds’ noggin grew to twice the legal limit in the name of bad science, there was John McGraw. The New York Giants third-baseman played the hot corner like a gangster. A middling player who would later make his Hall of Fame bones as a skipper, McGraw was notorious for slowing opposing runners down by whatever means possible; from tripping them to latching on to their belt loops. How much fun would instant replay be with this guy around?

Michael Beschloss on Twitter: "Black Sox Scandal emerged from 1919 World Series, which ended 95 years ago today: http://t.co/BrVVhglnZF"

 

Several key players on the 1919 Chicago White Sox canoodled with New York mobster Arnold Rothstein, after which they threw the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. The worst part of it is, the infamous Black Sox scandal kept one of the all-time greats- Shoeless Joe Jackson- from reaching the Hall of Fame after his ban. The second worst part of it is they made a movie about it in 1988 called Eight Men Out in which John Cusack proved he is not nearly as good at throwing a baseball as he is at holding up a boombox.

Dora Ratjen - Wikidata

Dora “The Explorer” Ratjen finished fourth in the women’s high jump at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Turned out, Dora’s real name was Hermann. Those fun loving kids known as the Hitler Youth talked Hermann into hiding his balls in order to compete as a woman. I’m thinking their game plan didn’t include a fourth place finish . . .

From Heroes To Villains': CCNY Basketball's Dramatic Fall From Glory | Only A Game

The 1951 CCNY point-shaving scandal involved seven college basketball teams, with the Beavers squad leading the way. The players involved prevented their clubs from covering the spread until one player refused to play along, after which the jig was up. To think, today’s college coaches- whose cheat sheets are part of the recruiting process- would shrug at this quaint little racket.

The East German women’s swimming team dominated the sport from the late ’60’s through the early ’80’s. Which . . I mean . . it took the IOC that long to figure out these gals were loading up on their carbs by filing them with steroids? Of course it did, because they were even dirtier than the culprits!

Like it or loathe it, as long as there are sports to be played, cheating is going to be a part of the equation. Because the risks are always going to be outweighed by the rewards for a whole lot of athletes who don’t care how they become somebody, just so long as they do. And I don’t much give a shit if they choose notoriety over nobility.

Just leave the horses out of it.

 

Heroes Of The Week!

Another week, another episode of the good, the bad and the dyno-might! And if you’re showing up here on the regular, you’ll see where I occasionally go rogue inside this rose garden. And that’s because my weekly episodes ain’t searching for heroes. Nah, this aircraft endeavors to find the best in all of us.

I think we all get it, the fact that Superman ain’t walking through that door. We get every kind of something hitting our grills on a daily basis and somehow we are able to navigate our way home anyway. Because the good stuff compels us to figure out better conclusions, in the same way the not so good stuff does. And in the end, it leaves us with the realization that the sunny side can’t push us to do good things and the dark side can’t bury us. In the end? It’s up to us.

Let’s get to the roster . . . .

Hitting 'Em Where They Ain't | The Market Cyclist

An ode to Wee Willie Keeler: Vintage hat tip to the Texas Rangers Joey Gallo, who figured out how to beat the dreaded shift. There’s no need to ban it if you simply play fundamental baseball . . who knew? With MLB players all caught up in launch angles and exit velocities in a feast or famine philosophy, stuff like hitting the other way, bunting and sacrifice flies has gone the way of pepper games. So it was refreshing to see Gallo beat the shift against the Angels recently by laying a bunt down the third base line. He could have walked to first base. For one blissful moment, sanity returned to the MLB.

Josh Duggar granted release but not allowed to return home in alleged child sex abuse image case

“19 And Counting” takes on a whole new meaning: I have to ask. Does the Mama Duggar catchphrase about giving birth to a freshman class pertain to her son’s criminal perversity? Was his hard drive a part of God’s plan too? Yes, any chance I get to slam these sanctimonious Baptists, Imma take it. As for Josh, he best hold onto the soap, never fall asleep and take his meals in solitary.

Get Off My Lawn! And Other Grumblings About Sports Today | NCPR News

A priceless beef: A grateful shout out to the octogenarian I stepped in front of the other day at the grocery store. In my defense, I wasn’t sure whether he had fallen asleep while standing up, so I walked in front of him to grab my shopping cart. In his defense, I didn’t excuse myself when doing so. But it all turned out fine when he came to and then proceeded to give me shit by shouting “That’s the problem with the younger generation!”. Needless to say, I was flattered. So I said a simple thank you before bidding him adieu.

Same time next week old timer? God, I hope so.

Officer Clarence; the nations first Police Comfort Dog at the Capitol Rotunda - Album on Imgur

All Creatures Great and Small: This is Clarence, an eleven-year old Saint Bernard who, with some help from his four legged pals, was able to achieve the impossible. They brought Republicans and Democrats together. Yeah, that’s no typo, it actually happened when Congress passed a bipartisan bill that will provide comfort dogs for first responders. Clarence earned his Angel First Class wings a long time ago, having visited Sandy Hook, Las Vegas, the Boston Marathon and the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh; providing a moment’s peace for the officers called to the scene of some of the nation’s worst tragedies. As an officer for the Greenfield Massachusetts Police Department, he’ll provide comfort and peace to uniforms and civilians alike. Wherever the need arises, he’ll be there.

And now he brings his friends.

Stranger surprises twins with gifts, a puppy after wish-list balloon to Santa found 650 miles away

When you wish upon a star: Props to LA for bringing us this story, which will send us off into the weekend with plenty of sunshine for the ride.

How many of us remember what it was like to believe in Santa Claus? It was a magical time inside the myriad confusion, angst and fears we had about the great big world. The idea of a jolly old man and a sleigh pulled by reindeer was our mobile snow globe. Our belief existed within the province of magic and infinite possibilities.

Letizia Gonzalez wants to raise her two little girls to believe in that place. And the want is even stronger after the last year and a half we’ve spent in a purgatory filled with plenty of that confusion, angst and fear. So mama brought her girls together and created a dream for them to hitch their little stars to. She tucked the Christmas wish lists of the twins- Luna and Gianella- into a pair of balloons and then the three of them released them to the skies above.

The twins' Christmas wish lists.

“It was important doing something special for my girls because of the hard year we had during the coronavirus pandemic. I wanted them to feel like 2020 was another year spent with mom making beautiful memories,” Said mama.

And that’s when Santa Claus made the scene, and his name is Alvin Bamburg. He spotted those two balloons and when he went to collect them, that’s when magic happened. He wondered where the Christmas wish lists had flown in from so he took to social media and posted them. It wasn’t long before Letizia Gonzalez came across his post and well, Christmas was happening all over again.

Two balloons filled with dreams departed from Liberal Kansas and landed in Grand Cane, Louisiana . . . 650 miles away. And if you forgot what it feels like to believe in Santa Claus, listen to what happened next.

Bamburg’s family and friends and co-workers began sending gifts to Luna and Gianella after reading the posts. Alvin and his wife Lee Ann started face timing with the Gonzalez clan as well. And then in April, the couple made the six hour drive to Kansas to deliver one last present.

Luna and Gianella with their puppy, Max.

A dachsund puppy the girls call Max.

“There’s so much sadness in the world right now . . .” Alvin says. “It’s really not hard to spread kindness, and you can never underestimate the impact even just a smile will have on someone’s day.”

The best in all of us should be on everyone’s wish list.

 

 

 

 

A Word For Wednesday

The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not mans
-Mark Twain

I told Dale I would post today’s entry because I just do not want to let Wednesday go wordless. Not this Wednesday.

Zeke passed into the mystic on Tuesday afternoon. And as with any brilliant light, the end came much too soon. Because it is always too soon to say goodbye to such a cherished companion. She referred to him as a beautiful beast yesterday and a more fitting description you will not find. He lived a wonderful life as evidenced by this montage pieced together by the love of his life.

Good night, sweet prince.

Heroes Of The Week! (Oscar Do-Over Edition!)

Chadwick Boseman: Ma Rainey's Black Bottom trailer shows final film made before star's death | Ents & Arts News | Sky News

I’ve been perusing my earliest Heroes ventures, which read more like gentle nudges of penmanship wrapped in sardonic wit. They were pithy little beasts whose fantastic was still in transit. These episodes didn’t go optimum until y’all fed the comment pool with ever more interesting ideas, anecdotes and thoughts. So thank you for helping Fridays grow, and the end song? It’s what I think of you.

Alright, this week is Oscar themed, seeing as how the annual gold gitting gala was an entirely forgettable calamity of errors and omissions. To borrow me some Bono, we’re stealing it back this week.

Let’s get to the awards . . .

angry little Matt Gaetz statue image 0

The award for Lolita goes to . . . 

Matt Gaetz (Marco, Producer) Whose indecent proposals would be the lead story, every morning, on Fox and Friends if he was a democrat. This bobblehead is the poster boy for the “Do as I say” hypocrites who get all holier than thou six days a week and then show up to church on Sunday to network more of their dirty laundry. He preached the need for “decorum” in ostracizing Nancy Pelosi’s stunt at the 2020 State of the Union but was plenty fine inviting a Holocaust denier to the event a couple years prior. He defended Kyle Rittenhouse after the 17 year old shot and killed two people and injured another during a protest of the Jacob Blake shooting in Wisconsin. He voted no to a human trafficking bill because well . . he would’ve been implicated! The charges against this asshole were so radioactive, even Trump could not defend him. If that doesn’t rate as a Holy Shit!, I don’t know what does.

The award for Toy Story goes to . . .

A group of Arizona cops, the Tempe Officers Association and Walmart (Dale @ A Dalectable Life, Producer) When thieves stole four-year-old Gerald Philbrook’s favorite tractor (I mean . . seriously!), it was the men and women in blue who stepped up and made things right. After reading Peter Philbrook’s account of the theft of his son’s ride on his Facebook page, officers carried out a search which proved fruitless. So they coordinated with the good folks at the local Walmart and purchased a replica John Deere tractor for little Gerald, complete with a personalized license plate. Here’s to the good guys. All of them.A rare cancer forced him to give up baseball. He returned for a final game to pitch a no-hitter. | WNCT

The award for The Natural goes to . . . 

Eighteen-year-old Walker Smallwood of Dixie Heights High School (A Frank Angle, Producer) At fifteen, Walker was diagnosed with bone cancer. So he hung up his cleats and fought, hard. Three long years filled with surgeries, chemo cycles and treatments until the day arrived when he got the news that his cancer was in remission. To celebrate, Walker wanted one more chance on the mound, for old time’s sake. He figured on getting out there for an inning, and so he did just that. But wait, there’s more. Or should I say, less.

Both.

Walker pitched a hitless first inning . . and a hitless second inning . . . and yeah, a hitless third, and fourth and before he knew it, he’d gone the distance, striking out nineteen and pitching a no-hitter.

“I definitely appreciate everything more and now I just get to look back and be thankful.” Said Walker. ” I mean, every time I wake up, I’m happy. I know that tomorrow it can all be over, but you’ve just got to enjoy whatever you have that day.”

Ray Kinsella couldn’t have written a better ending.

The award for Funny Girl goes to . . .

Aparna Nancherla (Marco, Producer) She talks about anxiety and depression the way it needs to be talked about. With comedy. Because we consider it to be our best medicine.

Climate Activist Cleaned Up Litter at a Canyon for 589 Days Straight | PEOPLE.com

The award for Into The Wild goes to . . . 

Edgar McGregor (A Frank Angle, Producer) When Edgar made up his mind to clean up one of his favorite hiking trails, he figured it was probably going to take a weekend. His innocent climb began as he took his first steps through Eaton Canyon in Southern California with the sun as his partner and a dream in his back pocket. And then it hit him that maybe this dream of his was going to take a little longer than he’d bargained for.

His labor of love was an equally distributed enterprise that bled through one calendar year and then a lot more than that. And when he finally settled up with Mother Nature, he’d gone 589 consecutive days; picking up trash in every kind of weather until he’d collected something in the neighborhood of . . . get this, 15,000 pounds. 

This humble journey took on a life of its own, inspiring people around the globe to clean up their favorite hiking trails and parks as well. It was as if the man took that dream out of his back pocket and paid it forward to the whole wide world.

Now that’s a stimulus check.

She's Starting College at Age 12, With Plans to Be a NASA Engineer

And for our last presentation of the evening, the award for A Star Is Born goes to . . .

Alena Analeigh (Dale @ A Dalectable Life, Producer) There are four billions stars in our galaxy alone, and twelve-year-old Alena is busy writing her name into that deep blue silk with dreams that promise to lasso the moon. Her vision of the world has always been that it’s a nice place to visit, but she’ll never want to live here. Since she was knee high to a Rover, she’s dreamt of learning more about all the places she could not touch; which is something you’ll find in the DNA of every great explorer.

Already a high school graduate, next month she’ll be attending Arizona State University via remote learning. She’ll be pulling a double major in astronomical/planetary science and chemistry with the goal of becoming a NASA engineer by the time she’s 16. Which isn’t your typical teenage game plan, but yanno . . she’s not going to be typical. At anything.

“I’ll be driving one of those future space mobiles by the time I graduate college,” she says. And she’ll carry forever in her hands, where it will be nestled safely to a boundless passion and a brilliant mind.

It is in the smallness of humankind that we find our nobility. To crease the mysteries and loose impossible answers out of the mighty darkness is where fears get settled and history gets made. And to this end, the fiery spirit of a young girl’s dreams to visit the unfound places and to write them into being provides all of us with a sense of wonder. But more than that, it fills us with a precious faith.

For our world, and all the worlds to come.

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