Heroes Of The Week!

Imma hit the ground running in this week’s episode by venturing into Gene Roddenberry’s backyard, a place no man has gone for at least the last half hour. The final frontier of space will achieve two positive outcomes for yours truly; it will keep the treads on my Nikes pristine whilst ensuring that my carbon footprint doesn’t get brought up on charges.

And you can blame the lovely Dale for dishing up an assist on this one. She sent me this article featuring NASA Engineer Farah Alibay, a little girl at heart whose wild side got saddled with a dream when she was still learning to drive . . a bike. “My earliest memory of falling in love with space is watching Apollo 13 when I was 8 years old. . . What fascinated me was not only the vast expanse and dangers of space, but that teams of engineers rallied together to solve what seemed to be insurmountable problems,”

This Montreal born chica studied Aerospace Engineering at the University of Cambridge, where she earned her Masters before accepting an internship to the NASA Academy. That’s where she found her calling in robotic planetary exploration before moving back across the pond to MIT where she pursued a PhD in Systems Engineering. The rest is busy making history on Mars, as Farah is a part of the brilliant team of minds whose passion led to a rover named Perseverance going where no man . . or woman, had gone before.

Where some see stars inside the blanket of night, Farah sees open roads.

There was a time when hockey was prize fighting on ice. Nowadays, it’s rare to see two players drop gloves. But this week Marcus Foligno of the Minnesota Wild faced off against San Jose Sharks Nikolai Knyzhov, with Foligno choosing common sense over caveman. Even in the homogenized version of the NHL, the dude has fixed his share of knuckle sammys, but when it became apparent that Knyzhov was never gonna be mistaken with Canelo Alvarez, Foligno waved the refs over to break things up before the kid got hurt. Heroic? Nah. Cool? As the sport he plays.

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As proof that the real ballet on ice has its share of brutes, I give you Peter Oppegard. He’s a former Olympic bronze medalist who later won acclaim as a figure skating coach before 2020 happened. And the allegations of abuse being thrown his way are every bit as ugly as the year they came out of. He’s coached up ten national champions, while also scoring a “Choreographer of the Year” award as well as “Coach of the Year” honors. And then Lombardi turned into a great big lout as one story after another came to light regarding Oppegard’s coaching ‘methods’,  which included biting skaters as well as throwing hot drinks on them. It’s the latest reminder that competitive sports needs to continually upgrade the network of safeguards in place, seeing as how the heart and soul of its young athletes lay in the balance.

Father John Ubel is auctioning off his 50 most valuable baseball cards

Speaking of cool sports, I move to the world of baseball card collecting with this next story. The woebegone hobby out of another time experienced a boom inside the age of COVID and Father John Ubel of St. Paul Minnesota could have cashed in, seeing as how he owns a sweet stash. Ubel’s impressive collection of vintage sports cards; with names like Terry Bradshaw, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Jackie Robinson and Nolan Ryan comprise but a handful of the more than 2,000 cards he’s collected over the years. But instead of profiting for himself, he’s hoping to raise $25,000 by auctioning them off, with all the profits going to the Aim Higher Foundation– a scholarship program for low-income students, where Ubel serves on the board. On the website, the auction is referred to as “Hitting It Out Of The Park” and I gotta believe Babe Ruth just tipped his cap to that one.

Restaurant owner Adolfo Melendez spent $2,000 of his own money to help other restaurants in his Wisconsin community.

Adolfo Melendez considers himself to be one of the lucky ones. The owner/operator of El Mezcal in Steven’s Point Wisconsin has navigated the myriad obstacles thrown his way over the last year while keeping his doors open and his clientele coming back for more. But many of his competitors haven’t been quite so fortunate, and so Melendez decided to help them out. Yeah, you read that right. He took $2,000 of his own money and bought gift cards to competing local restaurants that he will raffle off to his customers.

The lifeblood of every small business can be found in the people who open the doors for their community every single day. And so Melendez figures that the best way to go about achieving a healthy bottom line going forward is to look out for your neighbors when you have the chance. What a concept.

‘People must stop focusing on the symptoms of hate, that’s like putting a bandaid on cancer’ ... Daryl Davis

We began with space and we’re gonna finish things up in that very same place, with yet another hat tip to Dale for this keeper. This one ain’t about space exploration but rather, the space between. It’s where things like dimension, substance and humanity are replaced with a weeping void of hate and ignorance. And it’s the kind of history that gets planted in the darkness over hundreds of years and scores of generations to right here and now.

It’s estimated there are over 1,000 active hate groups in America today, causing musician Daryl Davis to lament that “Our ideology needs to catch up to our technology,”. But don’t take this statement to mean he’s giving up, because Davis doesn’t know that song. The pianist who’s played with luminaries such as Chuck Berry, BB King and Jerry Lee Lewis has been penning a different kind of song for almost forty years now.

This journey began in a bar in Frederick, Maryland back in 1983 when Davis got into a conversation with a man he would come to learn was a member of the KKK. That conversation changed his life, and ever since then, he’s made it his mission to change minds. With words, audaciously positive ones that seek light where the darkness has prevailed for far too long a time.

Davis has been meeting and befriending Klansmen ever since, and while he admits that some are beyond his reach, many have proven much more pliable than that. The point is, the courage behind his convictions possesses the kind of value that can span the canyons of separation that still exist in too many places. And he’s come to learn that there’s something much worse than losing, and it’s the idea that we don’t even try.

I just have to say, I read this story three times and I have it bookmarked so that I can go back and read it again whenever I feel, as SB likes to say, like I’m a quart low. Because for all the people, places and things that will try to steal your soul, I’d place a million dollar bet they’re vastly outnumbered by all the things that will replenish it. And so Melville, Martel, Twain, Wilde and Poe share the bookshelf that’s tucked inside a file on my computer, with Daryl Davis. A remarkable man whose spirit would give the Perseverance a run for its money. Because he’s not just imagining a better way, he’s doing something about it.

In the words of Martin Luther King, Davis hews out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.

Sticks And Stones Ain’t Got Nothing On This

I recently decided to research the term “Karen” because as an avid fan of YouTube, you could say that I was compelled to deconstruct the mythological expression. You could say that, but this post was mostly just about killing some time. Check that, murdering it. So I consulted Wikipedia, because nothing says “I wanna broaden my horizons with the least amount of effort possible,” like a Wiki search. And man, did I get so much smarter . . I mean dumber. Both.

I learned that the term may have started on Black Twitter, and I’m not gonna lie. I had no idea that was a thing. Does that make me a Terry? Yeah that’s the male equivalent of a Karen and I wasn’t about to research that one any further since my head most certainly would’ve exploded in the doing.

Turns out, Karen has a history. And I’ll refrain from making a snide remark about my own personal Vietnam of a relationship with a woman of the same name. Oh shit, too late! Anyways, the current pejorative is basically an (comm)ode to anyone who specializes in wasting someone else’s time and then makes a federal case out of it. It’s a toot to the bittersweet, a chupa to the cabra . . a laming of the shrew.

The term has become synonymous with drama mamas who insist on talking to a manager and bullying health-care workers and preventing neighbors they never knew existed from entering their apartment building and coughing on strangers and having Target tantrums and otherwise boring us with their inalienable right to be really fucking annoying.  It would, however, take several iterations before “Karen” came to achieve Instagram infamy. Wanna take a quick trip down mercury lane? N’kay . . .

Miss Ann– This term was used in the Jim Crow era. Black people would refer to white people who used their privilege as ‘Miss Ann’. If you ask me, this one would’ve made a really shitty hashtag. Miss Ann sounds like a nanny, or an elementary school teacher. And a virgin at that. Nah.

Barbecue Becky– The term “Becky” was born in the 1992 hip-hop classic Baby Got Back. And it might have stood the test of time if someone hadn’t added Barbecue to it along the way. After which it sounds like something you’d find in the American Girl Doll catalogue.

Cornerstore Caroline– I’m pretty sure this was the name of the bakery run by the final winner of “Cupcake Wars”. Not that I . . uh, ever watched that stupid show.

Permit Patty– Wait, I thought this was Peppermint Patty’s fun loving sister. The one who was written off the show after sleeping with Snoopy.

It was rumored that the 2019 tropical storm Karen possessed hidden meaning, mostly because it was hilarious to assume such a thing. I’m of the belief it was a crazy coincidence, and I’m fairly certain that if the meteorologist who named the storm had been reached for comment, he would have re-iterated as much to the media . . and his ex-wife’s lawyers.

And if you haven’t been sufficiently turned off by the idea that mean people everywhere have successfully  commandeered a common God given name, look whose bob the meme-ologists have decided to pin “Karen” to.

Kate Gosselin Old Hair | Blog Pendidikan

I don’t know about you, but if my name was Karen, I’d be furious at the thought that they’re profiling my ass with Justin Bieber head shots.

Rest assured, the derogatory nature of the term has its fair share of critics. Like for instance, anyone whose name is actually Karen. And anyone who happens to be married to someone whose name is actually Karen. And the Dalai Lama, him too.

Is any of this fair to all the Karens out there who are just trying to live their best lives without feeling the need to resort to using college nicknames when in public? Of course it isn’t. But society has always operated on a whim and a plier, so there’s that. Alls I know is that if some guy named Marc goes viral after pitching a hissy fit in a Whole Foods because his Prime account ain’t being recognized, I’m changing my name. I’ll go with something that is antonymous to controversy of any kind.

Geraldo . . yeah, that’s it.

 

 

 

 

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The Sorryless Non-Refundable 2021 MLB Season Preview!

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Since I’m still trying to figure a way in to the Magic Dance Sunday series, I decided to change things up this week and go with something completely different. With spring training on the horizon, Imma summon my creative fastball with a 2021 preview of what to expect from the MLB this coming season. And as always, if you decide to place a wager based on these predictions, seek help . . immediately.

The season begins on April Fools Day, and the results are in keeping . . .

Newly acquired slugger George Springer hits a record five home runs in his Blue Jays debut as Toronto beats Gerrit Cole and the Yankees 21-18. New York signs NFL place-kicker Sam Ficken after the loss. In Colorado, the defending champion Dodgers score so many runs that the scoreboard operator resorts to Roman numerals after the fifth inning. Final score: Dodgers XXVIII- Rockies II. The New York Mets win their opener over the Nationals, after which the New York papers declare the NL East Race to be over. The Chicago White Sox club the home team Angels so badly that Mike Trout asks to be traded to a playoff contender. He is promptly dealt to the Rams for five first round draft picks.

Once the season gets its legs kicking, form wins out. In the National League, the Dodgers go undefeated until mid-July and end up beating out the San Diego Padres for the NL West. The Mets win the East going away, prompting owner Steve Cohen to ask for public money to build an exact replica of The Colosseum. For the first time in baseball history, an entire division- the NL Central- is eliminated from postseason play.

In the American League, the Yankees win the East but decide to sit out the playoffs since more than half the team is on the injured list. “We would have to call A-Rod back into service, and I’d much rather hold on to the soul the good Lord gave me,” Says manager Aaron Boone. The White Sox win the AL Central but are upstaged by the Chicago Bears trade for DeShaun Watson so the team announces it will be moving to the cornfields of Iowa in 2022. The Houston Astros win the AL Central despite playing in a literal dump, after MLB removes every trash can from Minute Maid Park.

The postseason is where things get carazy with a capital Ice-T.

The Dodgers fall flat after going 151-3 in the regular season, losing in three straight to the Mets, after which they attempt to trade for the Rams Mike Trout but are thwarted since LA is undefeated thanks in large part to the running back’s MVP caliber season. The Mets then lose a hard fought classic to the Padres in seven games, when Fernando Tatis hits a pennant clinching home run in extra innings. The Mets lodge a protest claiming they led for the first three innings and thus should be awarded the game but the case goes nowhere since the GOP already tried that in the 2020 Presidential election.

In the American League, with the Yankees out, the Tampa Bay Rays stand in for them and proceed to sweep the Astros out of the playoffs. Houston promises to bring a pennant back to Houston next season, after the city’s health department orders the team to house trash cans in their stadium by 2022. The Rays are then swept out themselves by the White Sox, after which the team enters into discussions with the city of Tampa to build a tax-payer funded stadium for the team . . in Montreal.

The World Series is a winner for baseball fans, even if the networks complain that a San Diego/Chicago World Series is a ratings killer on the level of The Alliance of American Football. Fox Sports President Mark Silverman petitions to have the teams replaced with New York and Los Angeles and Commissioner Rob Manfred suggests two World Series be played. The idea goes nowhere since daytime World Series games would have to be played in order to pull it off, and no network worth its gravy is going to forfeit prime time ratings, sorry kids.

With the series locked at three games apiece, the deciding game is played in a snowstorm. It’s the first such storm to hit San Diego in more than fifty years. Illinois GOP Chairman Don Tracy calls it a “Gift from God” but is refuted by California Governor Gavin Newsom who proclaims it to be a byproduct of climate change. Feeling right at home in the elements, the White Sox push five runs across the board and hold serve through the first seven innings before the Padres answer with three runs of their own after replacing their cleats with snowshoes. The game goes to the bottom of the ninth inning with the White Sox clinging to a 5-4 lead when Fernando Tatis comes to the plate with one man on and two outs.

“Tom Brady is one swing away from delivering San Diego its first Stanley Cup ever!” Says a clearly inebriated Joe Buck. The Fox announcer will later admit he played a drinking game in which he downed a shot of tequila every time a batter struck out in Game 7. To the great entertainment of Fox viewers, the teams combine to strike out a record forty six times.

Tatis quickly falls behind 0-2 and appears to tweak his left shoulder, which forces him to finish his at bat from the left side. A Fox Graph follows, grimly predicting the Padres chances of winning to be less than Hilary Clinton’s in a Presidential election. Somehow, Tatis works the count to 3-2 as Joe Buck is replaced in the booth by the legendary Vin Scully, who tucks the baseball season to bed.

“And Tatis has sustained every punch the odds have thrown his way, from the frigid snowflakes out of Currier and Ives to the fiery bullets being served up by Sox closer Alex Colome. Add in the fact that Tatis is batting from the left side for the first time since his days as a prospect in the Dominican League. And now El Nino, as befitting a name in these conditions as Henry Thoreau could muster, is being asked to pen a Cinderella ending for the Friars . . .”

” . . . Colome will be pitching from the windup here with the whole of October in the offing. And now the pitch . . . hit deep down the right field line, if it’s fair its gone . . . it iiiiiiiiiis GONE!” 

And then Scully does something remarkable. He lets the scene play out without injecting a single, solitary adjective. He lets the tapestry of joy and heartbreak play out on its own, and he allows the viewers . . to view. Three minutes worth of watching men transform themselves into little boys again. Stomping through a miracle ending on the way to baseball nirvana. Inside this moment, the world settles into a most agreeable place, where magic and reality intertwine before the season gets lost to winter. And in the dark confines of the losing dugout can be heard that most dignified appraisal of not just baseball, but life itself.

Wait till next year.

 

Heroes Of The Week!

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It’s been a big week in space, what with the Perseverance rover landing on Mars. The only downfall to this historic landing is that it didn’t take the last guy to occupy the White House with it. But I’m guessing when you’re travelling 292.5 million miles, gross tonnage is a huge consideration. Emphasis on gross . . . and tonnage. But seriously speaking, they best dish up a thank you note to the Godfather of this Star Trekian accomplishment, David Bowie. The legendary singer wrote up the blueprint for this trip more than fifty years ago, so there’s that. And it’ll be easy to find him, seeing as he’s already there.

And now to our heroes . .

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Judging by the image above, you’re probably wondering what in the name of Zoe Kravitz I’m doing, opening this episode with a can of beer. And no, it’s not that impossibly difficult to find good peeps out there. And also no, Michelob Ultra really can’t even be considered beer as per the definition. Hell, there’s more alcohol in most of those kiddie juice boxes  than there is in one of these suckers. Which is why I’m featuring it here. Because Super Bowl winning Tom Brady got waaaaassssted on the stuff last week during a boat parade celebrating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win on February 7th. To watch Brady (here) behave like a frat girl at a rager was almost worth having to listen to all the GOAT talk since. Almost.

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I’ve got a couple of American footballers who may not be Super Bowl champions, but whose good deeds for the folks in Texas are the stuff of champions. First up is Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, who helped buy meals for homeless Dallas residents. He had the meals delivered to a convention center in Dallas that was serving as a temporary shelter for people who had been displaced as a result of severe winter storms in the state that have led to numerous power outages. Prescott made sure to keep a light on.

(As a special bonus round hero, big props to Matthew Conaughey who teamed up with Dak in this effort). 

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And then there’s Pierre Desir, an NFL cornerback who is currently looking for a new NFL home but whose perspective is right where it needs to be. The native of Haiti donated 10,000 meals to a Houston food bank to help local residents left without power as a result of winter storms. He’s played for six NFL teams, even if the Texans do not happen to be one of them. To his way of thinking, he didn’t need to have ties to the area when he knew “it was the right thing to do,” He’s a two-time nominee for the Walter Payton Man Of The Year Award, which recognizes a player’s charitable contributions to his community. To peeps like Desir, community doesn’t simply mean one place, it means all of them.

And now for something completely hilarious. Thanks to one of Philly’s best, Will Smith

I wonder if he plans on running for President in 2028 . . .

Jason Schweitzer has a long memory and he recently put it to work, achieving a most beautiful outcome for a woman that he’s come to regard as a member of the family. The Toronto native has been frequenting his local KFC franchise since he was old enough to understand the Maple Leafs suck (for us Americans, that’s about five years old). So we’re talking almost thirty five years worth of visits now, and the one constant- other than that vault recipe- has always been the kindly Emilia. Even the name makes you smile, doesn’t it? Well, for this one time immigrant from Portugal . . smiles are her thing. That’s no small feat considering she’s worked in the restaurant biz for more than forty years. So Schweitzer started a GoFundMe page for the seventy year old Emilia, to make life a little easier for the woman who serves up a smile with every meal. So far, he’s tallied more than $25,000. As far as recipes go, this one is priceless.

And Imma wrap up this week’s episode with an assist from the lovely Dale over at A Dalectable Life. She gifted me a story that will get you feeling the warmth . . figuratively, literally and any other kind of blessed -ly you can think of.

Alex Trebek has met these pages before, and I’ve no doubt he’s going to cross our paths here again at the intersection of Friday and the weekend. Because the beloved host of Jeopardy was so much more than a game show host. That job title was where his sidewalk began, but where it ended? Well, that’s assuming it has an end, because his good deeds just keep on providing.

His philanthropy is the kind of historical record that doesn’t get rated, and that’s the point. Doing good things for the people who need it most isn’t a contest, it’s a mindset. For the people whose goodwill is a matter of habit, acclaim doesn’t matter when you’re busy rolling up your sleeves and getting to work. And as it happens, sometimes the world is blessed by a genealogical descendance that carries it forward.

Alex’s son Matthew is the answer to the question “Who’s next”. The kid is a supporter of The Doe Fund– a non-profit that provides a bridge to a better future for people who have been homeless, incarcerated or struggle with substance abuse. Along with mom Jean, he recently donated some of his father’s wardrobe to the cause, which included 58 dress shirts, 14 suits and 300 neck ties. And there was plenty more where that came from, and now it will go to men who are looking to re-enter the workforce. All those job interviews will have an angel stitched in to the fabric, whose good name will not go quietly into that good night.

Somewhere up there, Bowie just gave Alex a high five.

 

The Rosario Dawson Invitational

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Welcome to the intersection of Hot and Damn! I gotta tell you, putting this ensemble of lovelies together raised the temps on my thermostat so effectively, I had to do a double take when my calendar didn’t come back at me with July. And I blame the lovely Rosario Dawson for this. She’s been delivering up A-list performances since back in the day with no signs of letting up any time soon. And my Godness, if she doesn’t get better looking every day. She was a slam dunk choice to lead my latest cabal of beauties.

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Joy Taylor- The co-host of The Herd with Colin Cowherd puts the sizzle in sports talk during the week. The girl with a thousand hair styles is an anomaly in her industry in that she practices brevity over bravado. Her narratives are usually spot on, sans the hot take nonsense that too many sports talkers rely on. The little sister of Miami Dolphins Hall of Famer Jason Taylor, Joy is style AND substance and she’s just getting started. Lucky us.

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Lupita Nyong’o- I first discovered this stunner in the 2014 Liam Neeson flick Non-Stop, and well . . can you blame me for wanting more? I can’t decide whether it’s those come hither eyes or that Mona Lisa smile whose brilliant mystery transforms me into a schoolboy, so Imma go with both. She was the hands down best thing about the frustratingly bizarre movie Us and she has a couple of vehicles (One movie and one television series) on the horizon. I’ll follow her anywhere, but not in a creepy stalker kind of way. I learned my lesson after Mr. Farmiga got a restraining order on my ass.

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Nathalie Emmanuel- I was remiss in not including Game of Thrones on my TV show list the other day. Because I went back to drink from the well of this epically fantastic show recently. And so of course I ran into Emmanuel, bringing that Southern heat to my cold February days here in the Northeast. You need look no further than her character Missandei to figure out why GOT was the place to be once upon a time. As if battle scenes, palace intrigue and extraordinary sets weren’t enough . . they dished up sexy on a doctorate level. And since I ain’t watching past Season 6, Missandei will remain that chica who put the mighty in Aphrodite, forever after.

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Normani Kordei- I first came upon this luscious little lady when I read an interview where she talked about having been bullied when she was younger. My first reaction was “gimme five minutes with those punks”, but that sentiment was shushed by her peaceful reconciliation in which she stated that she has moved on, and that she loves everyone. Even the haters. So here you have a young lady who’s got beauty on the outside and the inside? Sold.

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Lianne La Havas- So what if the British didn’t win the Revolutionary War? All I know is, they can lay claim to this beauty, who hails from London England, and so I gotta ask . . . who really won? Lianne’s been on the music scene for nearly a decade as a singer and songwriter whose voice could melt butter and whose lyrical prowess gained the attention of none other than Prince himself. So much so that the legendary rock star called her to talk music. And when she recounts the story in that British accent, I find myself humming God Save The Queen. Let’s umm . . not tell Homeland Security about this, coo?

I hope you enjoyed reading up on the latest in lovelies as much as I enjoyed bringing them to you. And as we head through the final quarter (okay, the final quarter and a half) of sub-freezing temps, remember to always be thinking sizzle. I mean summer.

Okay, both.

Magic Dance

Howard Beach, 1983: Liz fumbled across the night table until her index finger was strumming the snooze option on the alarm clock radio. She lay still as the dead, as if by doing so she might stave off the day that was dripping into her brain like tiny beads of water from a faucet. She rose when the morning news broke through the darkness and switched off the alarm clock before moving into the bathroom.

“Fuck . . ” She said, examining the tiny shadow of a curl on her face. A virgin wrinkle. Her mother had taught her the value of pretty faces and gin martinis; a disharmonious combination that would end up stealing the elasticity of Mary Austin’s youth until she concluded that life was no longer worth living, and promptly moved to Long Island.

The chime of the rotary phone in the living room brought Liz back to present day. She ran to its bleating hum like a lovesick Lizzy Borden, craving that melodic timbre that was silk to her senses, even if she wanted to murder the sweet talking sonofabitch.

“Hey funny face,” Danny said. He lifted the moniker from an Audrey Hepburn flick they’d taken in at the Regent Theater in Soho on the day they fell in love.

“A Saturday, Danny? The fuck . . ”

“Half a day, and then we have a hot date at Don Peppe,”

“I wanted a hot date this morning and I got the fucking cat, okay?”

“Okay, forget Don Peppe. Makeup sex, pizza and beer,”

“Uh, no . . you don’t get to cheap out after standing me up. And morning sex beats makeup sex, every day of the week,”

“Debatable,”

“No, what’s debatable is whether you’re getting any tonight,”

“That’s harsh,”

“It’s why you love me. Get me some cheesecake from Eileen’s on your way home,”

“Done. I’ll be home by three,”

“That’s a half day?”

“Yanno, some day when we’re summering in the Hamptons and you’re drinking gin martinis at noon and having sex on a king sized hammock, you’re going to look back on this time and wonder what all the bitching was about,”

“Well now, that depends on the gardener . . .”

“Cheesecake as per your wish good looking,” Danny said.

“I hate you,” Liz replied.

“Hate you more, see you at three,”

Liz turned to find her black cat, Thin Lizzy, tossing daggers at her.

“I don’t need your shit right now sister, so you go tell it to the old man when he gets home,”

She moved to the kitchen and cranked up her coffee maker before delivering up some Al Green on her turntable as the intercom came to life.

“Yeah?!”

“Buzz me in! Buzz me in!” It was her best friend Maria. Liz unlocked the door and poured two cups of coffee, fixing hers up the way the old Cubans did, with enough sugar to send her into a diabetic coma.

“I hate my fucking life! More later . . I gotta piss!”

Maria was what happened when sound got pregnant with fury’s baby. The two of them had been friends since grade school, and Liz was thankful for the fact every single day. To know there was someone in the world more fucked up than her, it was a priceless thing.

“Coffee . .”

“Kitchen, I didn’t add anything to it since I don’t know what your mood is,”

“Bitch knows me!”

“So why does life suck today?”

“Never mind, but okay. Remember Richie Mancuso from high school?”

“Probably not,”

“Sweet black Riv? We went double dating after ditching the prom? You passed out in the front seat and he banged me in the back seat?”

“Oh shit, the guy I thought was too good looking to be straight!”

“Him. Well, we went out last night. He’s a used car salesman now,”

“God, I am so proud of you for moving on,”

“So we’ve gone out twice, he’s banged me twice,”

“When’s the wedding?”

“That’s just it, the fucking guy’s married!”

“It’s just so strange, Mar. A used car salesman . . . who lies,”

“I know! How did you get so lucky, meeting a handsome guy with money?”

“Easy. His childhood was as messed up as mine, Get this, his mother confessed to me that Danny’s father? Ain’t his father,”

“Get the fuck out!”

“Yeah, she pulled me aside at her birthday party last week to tell me this. She was totally wasted so of course I had to confirm it by calling her a couple days later. Turns out, she was messing with a family friend and the next thing she knew . .”

“Danny,”

“Yep. And it makes sense. They’re blonds, can’t grow facial hair to save their lives. I saw pictures of this guy . . has a Robert Redford thing going on. So no complaints on my end,”

“Do you have any weed?”

“Utensils drawer in the kitchen . . .”

“How’s the painting going by the way?”

“Eh, I sold a couple pieces last month at that art gallery in Brooklyn,”

“That’s awesome!”

“Maybe. But it was to the same guy, and I think he only bought them because he wants to sleep with me, so there’s that,”

“Does he look like Robert Redford?”

“More like Robert Redford’s accountant. Toke, por favor,” Liz said.

“Does Danny know? About his old men?”

“Are you nuts? He still thinks his mom was a virgin when she met his . . . when she met Carl,”

“Well when I have kids, they’re gonna know their mother had a good time when she was younger. Lying about your past bites you in the ass, always,” Maria said.

“I’ll make sure to remind you of this when you’re boring the shit out of them with stories of your time in the convent,” Liz smiled.

“Why does love have to suck so much Liz?”

“Because it knows we’ll keep coming back for more . . .”

Heroes Of The Week!

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Welcome to Friday, better known as Heroes Of The Week in these parts. And this week Imma be covering the good, the not so good and the downright ugly. But as happens every week, I’ll figure out a way to leave you smiling. After all, we’re more than a month removed from 2020 and yet, we’re still feeling the residual effects of that forgettable year. So yanno, smiles work wonders.

Let’s get to this week’s roster . . .

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I begin with a shout out to Bruce Arians, who became the oldest head coach to win the Super Bowl at the age of sixty-eight. Arians is a football lifer who has paid his dues, first with the Colts and later with the Arizona Cardinals. He’s been able to keep pace in an ever changing sport, while at the same time providing the model for diversity on his coaching staff. In a copy-cat league, maybe the competition should be paying closer attention to how Arians does his business, because it works.

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I tell you what, the more MLB looks to change the game, the more they end up screwing it up even more. All this jazz about pitch clocks and three batter minimums skips class on the plain simple fact that the game has sold its soul to network money. Not to mention, the fundamentals have been pushed aside in favor of exit velocity while starting pitchers are no longer allowed to finish what they started, even when it makes sense for skip to let them be. And now there’s an article out of SI that talks about how the baseball Rob Manfred insisted wasn’t juiced for all these years? Very well might have been juiced. Bud Selig’s predecessor seems content to break what didn’t need fixing in the first place. What a shame.

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Big thank you to Eilene over at Myricopia for this next story. After commenting on last week’s Heroes post, she mentioned Karen Zink, a nurse practitioner friend of hers from Durango, Colorado. The Founder of Southwest Women’s Health Associates, Zink reached out to the San Juan Basin Public Health Department to find out what their game plan was for vaccinating the community. When she was told there wasn’t one, she took action.

As Eilene says, ” . . . she (Zink) stepped up and volunteered. She called on a hundred volunteers she knows and got the whole thing up and running.”

This is why we do Fridays here the way we do them. So that we can learn about special human beings like Karen Zink, whose decades long service to her community has left a positive imprint on so many of her neighbors. Eilene happens to be one of those neighbors, and she inspires me with her ability to cull lessons from history. She’s a genealogist par excellence, who’s got a bead on the past and the present.

When I tell you that Fridays are special because of you peeps? I really mean it.

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From the sublime to the ridiculous we go. And yes, of course I mean Marjorie Taylor Greene. The representative out of Georgia’s 14th congressional district is Exhibit A as to why that middle ground the Boss spoke of in that kitschy Jeep commercial feels like a fairy tale. Since taking office, Greene has gone on an apology tour, well . . sort of. Actually, she comes off sounding like a sixteen year old who just had her phone taken away. Here’s a slice . . .

“I never once said any of the things that I am being accused of today during my campaign. I never said any of these things since I have been elected for Congress. These were words of the past and these things do not represent me. They do not represent my district and they do not represent my values.”

Okay, let’s unpack this shit. She’s being disingenuous by utilizing chronology over accountability. Maybe she didn’t say that the Parkland and Las Vegas shootings were “staged” during her campaign or since she’s been elected to Congress. But it doesn’t change the fact she did say these things. She was front and center when social media chatter moved from vitriolic to dangerous: She was on board with the idea that former President Barack Obama should be hanged. And she was plenty fine with the idea of taking out House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with a bullet to the head.

Now she wants us to believe it was the evils of social media that made her do it. Amazing how these zealots talk such a good game about accountability . . until it comes time to be accountable. Greene’s ignorance didn’t happen in a vacuum. She’s got plenty of fans who, like her do, not give a blessed fuck about the middle.

Let’s remember this every time we vote.

The antidote to backwards thinking and self serving service comes from the realization that there are more people in this country who are intent on moving forward. They’re not stapled to the past, back inside a time when greatness was defined in a wholly different prism.

That’s where the kids come in.

The AmeriCorps’ National Civilian Community Corps is all about giving back. They’ve got teams set up across the country; providing support to testing sites, assisting in the implementation of wildfire management strategies, building houses and distributing food to those in need.

Wilhemina Solley is one of those kids. She says the pride she feels in being able to make a positive difference in the lives of others is what drives her.

“It was so rewarding to talk to homeowners and know that because of the work I was doing, they are going to be safer and more protected from wildfires. I know that this is an experience I will take with me for the rest of my life . . . Being able to step up and help places that really need it has been such a gratifying way to take a year that would otherwise have been staying at home, and make it a life-changing experience,” Solley says.

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They’ll graduate in July after completion of a series of long-term service projects. And when they make their way out into the world, it will be with a perspective that extends far beyond their own backyards. Their constituency just so happens to be anyone and everyone who needs a helping hand. Because they have come to understand that representing people isn’t about narrow minded narratives, it’s about providing the greater good to the greatest many.

All of them.