Heroes Of The Week! (500th Post Edition)

U.S. navy pilot who saw 'something weird' in the sky welcomes U.S. report on UFOs | CBC RadioOkay, can you tell I’m super excited about the upcoming Congressional UFO report that’s going to prove Mulder was onto something? The above capture, like the current news cycle, isn’t genuine . . but it’s all Obama’s fault for admitting this UFO business really is a thing! And so I have a deal for any aliens who might be reading this Friday edition. Leave us be and we’ll give you Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Cleveland Cavaliers and anything Jim Belushi ever starred in. And to balance the books, Imma throw in Nancy Pelosi, the Detroit Tigers and the original script from Cop Rock.

Let’s get to Friday . . .

White House Butler William "Buddy" Carter Retires After 47 Years

We’re kicking things off with a Cincinnati Special, delivered by our favorite Beach Boy, Frank, who does his thing over at Beach Walk Reflections.

An American Story: When it comes to having his finger on the pulse of a nation, Buddy Carter has achieved a  doctorate level knowledge over the past half century. As a butler on staff at the White House executive residence since the Reagan administration, he has seen it all. I mean that literally. He has suffered Reagan’s corny jokes, he’s served coffee to the Clintons, kept a close eye on W’s pretzel habit and most likely was the treated to Obama’s pipes whenever 44 laid down some Al Green in the hallways.

He was the man with a plan when it came to state dinners, or when a foreign dignitary came calling, or whenever the leader of the free world just needed a moment to vent. He attended the weddings of Chelsea Clinton and Jenna Bush, among many others. He accompanied First Lady Melania Trump to the funeral of former First Lady Barbara Bush in 2018. Such was the bond Buddy fostered with everyone he crossed paths with.

“For 47 years, across 10 administrations, Buddy Carter has been an integral part of the lives of US Presidents, their families and their home, the White House,” said Michael LaRosa, press secretary to First Lady Jill Biden .

Thank you Mr. Carter, from all of us.

QAnon Convention: Michael Flynn Backtracks, Denies Suggesting US CoupCoup Coup For Cocoa Puffs!: What if I told you a former National Security Advisor of the United States advocated a military coup? Well, if he was a democrat, Mitch McConnell and the Gang That Can’t Shoot Straight would demand he be locked up . . immejiately. But seeing as how Michael Flynn is Trump’s errand boy, they’ll probably run him for President in 2024 . . .

Lost Footage from “The Revenant”: Hailey Morinico’s “To Do List” for the Memorial Day weekend . . .

  • Grocery shop
  • Fire up the grill
  • Fend off an Apex predator

About that last item on the checklist . . the 17 year old from Bradbury, California nailed it. More specifically, she nailed a big ass brown bear . . get this . . who was toting her cubs. Which goes against every rule Ranger Smith laid out in his diminutive tome, “Don’t Fuck With Bears”.

However, this particular brown bear mama was going up against a fairly tenacious dog mama, so there was that. And the video serves as the tail of the tape in this knockout upset of the week, as Morinico came to the rescue of her fur children by doing what Leonardo DiCaprio? Couldn’t.

Jim Kelly, Class of 2002 | Pro Football Hall of Fame Official Site

I’m only excited because this shit happened in the eighties: After thirty-five seasons on the shelf, the USFL will make its return next spring. The original version was fairly successful as a spring football league, until they attempted to move to the fall . . which is owned by another well known pigskin property. The USFL will compete with the XFL for viewers, but if the former is half as much fun as it was in its three seasons of play, I’m betting on vintage for the win. Which means they’ll last a season to the XFL’s three weeks . . .

I wasn’t going to include this next story because the look of dejection on this homeless woman’s face in the above video was too sad for words. But you know what? If my Fridays are about mining the gamut, then it really is about the every single thing of a world that makes us rejoice one day, while bringing us to our knees the next.

And what’s more, it’s how I’m signing off on this episode . . .

Officer Conner Hjellming of the La Crosse Police Department was responding to a police call regarding a shoplifting incident at a Walgreen’s store back in December when compassion took the wheel. What he found was a young woman at the breaking point. She wasn’t stealing candy bars or cosmetics, she was stealing a pair of gloves and a hat to keep warm in the sub-freezing temps. So Conner let her have it. The gloves and hat, I mean. While warning her to steer clear of the store from now on, he paid for them. And so Connor’s job description, in which he promises “To Serve and Protect”, well . . mission accomplished.

And if you’re an alien reading this Friday episode, Imma give it to you straight. Don’t let the fact that we’re treating this beautiful place like a cosmic ping pong table fool you. Because inside this seemingly hopeless cause, this lost paradise of dreamers and this playground of schemers and this chain of fools, there is love. There is so much of the stuff that it could fill the oceans and the lakes, and the rivers and the streams and the kitchen sinks of every living soul. That’s 326 million trillion gallons of the stuff, for your information.

And maybe that’s what you’re here for. Maybe you figure we’ve screwed up our chance, so why not take our dibs. I’d like to think you’re so far advanced that conquest doesn’t rate, but who am I to know for certain? And it doesn’t matter anyways, because I’ll take the look on that young woman’s face when she realized that there was someone out there who actually cared enough to make the day she was walking through just a little better. And just so you know?

We have more where that came from.

 

 

Today’s Birthday! Gemini

The truth is not always pleasant, so it’s a good thing you don’t concern yourself with it. Thing is, the truth is going to be of vital importance in upcoming events . . so . .  you better start practicing. Remember the immortal words of George Costanza: It’s not a lie if you believe it. Trust your higher wisdom . . and when you fall short on that count, call in some favors.

Your dual personalities will come in handy this week, as long as you don’t get caught this time. Seriously, you’re about as nuanced as a sledgehammer. It wouldn’t kill you to read up on your Zen . . skip Happy Hour . . quit the Chia pet fetish . . find a new gig . . move out of the country.

Avoid those who wish to cause you harm, unless your spouse insists that you attend the family re-union. In which case, don’t forget the Xanax. Proceed with caution, and if possible, you should put off important decisions until clarity prevails. Never mind that clarity will probably arrive in the form of divorce papers. Hey . . it still counts!

Cosmic tip: Sleep in. Until July . . .

 

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.