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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.

When Football Meets Festivus

Miami Dolphins 2020 Draft - 1st Round Draft Picks Since 2000 - The Phinsider

This Thursday night, the NFL will prove once again that professional football is playing chess while all the other sports are playing checkers. More fans will tune in to watch an event where no game is being played than will watch the World Series or NBA finals. From its humble beginnings, the NFL Draft has become America’s second most favorite sporting event behind only the Super Bowl. And the added bonus is that Tom Brady can’t win this one . . I don’t think.

The first NFL Draft took place in 1936 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Philadelphia, inspired by an all out bidding war, a mayoral candidate out of Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota and the Brooklyn Dodgers. The NFL was comprised of nine teams at the time, with Stan Kostka- a star running back for the University of Minnesota- being the coveted prize. Rather than signing right out of school, Kostka decided to hold out. He even ran for mayor of his hometown before inking a deal with the Brooklyn football Dodgers for the princely sum of $5,000 dollars. When some owners cried foul, a selection process by which college graduates were chosen by teams was agreed upon, and the draft was born.

The presumptive top pick in the 2021 NFL draft- Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence- will sign a four year contract for somewhere in the neighborhood of $35 million when the Jacksonville Jaguars make their selection. And he won’t even have to run for mayor to get it.

I just figured out who Trevor Lawrence looks like | SECRant.com

The only Vegas lock is that Trevor Lawrence will be the first overall choice as God, Central Casting and Mattel intended. After which a quarterback feeding frenzy will ensue since the prevailing opinion is that getting the quarterback right is more important than electing a President. Don’t take my word for this, just ask 2016.

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Quarterbacks are the belles of the ballers, since every club dreams of plucking the next Tom Brady out of a bag of maybes. Of course, back in 2000, nobody knew Tom Brady was going to be Tom Brady, seeing as how he was selected with the 199th overall pick. But that doesn’t stop teams from trying, and usually failing. And this year, no fewer than five quarterbacks . . and perhaps as many as six or seven, will be chosen in the first round alone. It’s the Waiting For Godot Theory, where teams let Jesus take the wheel . . . so long as he can sling the ball, use complete sentences and stay out of trouble for at least ten minutes.

The Odell Beckham Jr revival tour: How a flashback to New York supremacy has left NFL wanting more | NFL News | Sky Sports

Historically speaking, wide receiver is another popular position even though the failure rate for first round receivers is higher than Snoop Dog was last Tuesday. Choosing a first round receiver is akin to buying the latest Apple product. You’re going to pay way too much for something you want but really don’t need. The Odell Beckham Jr. Rule states that a first round wide receiver should possess more playoff wins than hair colors in order to be worth the investment. The Browns did make a playoff run this year . . . after OBJ got injured and was out of the lineup, so there’s that.

NFL mock draft 2021 (4.0): Oregon's Penei Sewell prepares for a reunion and the 49ers make a surprise QB choice; trades and other first-round predictions - oregonlive.com

If you’re looking to maximize your Maximus, you gotta go big or you might as well go home. Offensive linemen are like the dorky girl in that eighties teen comedy who gets a makeover during the musical montage. When most of the popular girls- quarterbacks and wide receivers- have already peaked, the O-linemen are just getting started. If the Miami Dolphins selected Oregon left tackle Penei Sewell based entirely on the image above, I would be totally on board. He’s the winner of my Rick Ross Boss Award. I mean, he’ll beat the Jets twice just by fixing that stare on their asses!

NFL Draft Preview: Florida's Kyle Pitts headlines deep, but not elite, tight end class

Then there’s Kyle “The Unicorn” Pitts. He’s a tight end/receiver hybrid who is currently the “IT” player this football holiday season. He wins the Johnny Come Lately Award for this year’s event since he’s the new kid in town and everybody loves him most of all because there are only a couple days to the draft and not enough time to hone in on some other can’t miss prospect. The only critiques I can offer as far as this kid is concerned is that he doesn’t play quarterback, and he didn’t play for the U in Miami. I would be over the moon excited if Miami ends up grabbing him at 6, but please . .don’t tell Penei Sewell I said that.

None of this matters, of course. Because trying to predict how a college player’s skills will translate to the next level is akin to teaching a cat how to wake you up in the morning without using their claws. It’s why your guess is as good as the so called experts who write up dozens of mock drafts over the course of a year . . each one wronger than Khloe Kardashian’s Instagram page.

As long as the Dolphins don’t select Stan Kostka, Imma chalk it up as a win.

Hero Of The Week

Portrait of a Hero: Darnella Frazier” by Rebecca Lazinger | Portrait painting, The art of storytelling, Colorful art

Darnella Frazier was seventeen years old when she recorded the last nine minutes of George Floyd’s life.

She woke up on May 25th, 2020 with the typical hopes and dreams of a teenage girl whose tomorrows possessed the quality of pristine musical notes ready to be born to sound. And that’s when history came calling on her with the expectation that she do more than simply bear witness to yet another senseless tragedy. That’s when history asked her to come of age, ready or not.

Darnella Frazier answered the call.

Walking to the store with her little cousin, she was introduced to George Floyd during his final moments on this earth. By the time she came to know the man, his fate was being decided by a Minneapolis police officer by the name of Derek Chauvin. In his nineteen years on the force, the veteran officer had been the recipient of almost as many complaints against him, with eighteen such cases being lodged. His penchant for being aggressive and combative resulted in two disciplinary actions, but it didn’t keep him off the streets. His career was underwritten by a mindset which holds that every person in uniform is beyond reproach, even when the facts say otherwise.

A narrative peddled by the law and order talking heads dismissed George Floyd out of hand. They painted him as a small time crook not worth our thoughts and prayers and they disparaged his name before he was even in the ground. A half century removed from that march on Selma and this was the best we could do? A black man pinned to the ground until he stopped breathing because he allegedly tried to pass a counterfeit twenty dollar bill while a President whose brand was screwing people out of millions campaigned on a platform that called for more of the same.

The truth was found in the camera phone recording of Darnella Frazier. A truth that could not be dismissed out of hand or disappeared. At seventeen years of age, this young lady produced one of the most important pieces of film in the history of American jurisprudence.

Life will never go back to what it looked like before Darnella stopped on that Minneapolis street corner in front of Cup Foods Grocery and pressed record. She knew she had to do something, because it just as easily could have been one of the men in her life pinned under the knee of Derek Chauvin. And yet, this heroic young lady provided heart breaking testimony at the trial in which she admitted to wondering if maybe she could have done more.

“It’s been nights I stayed up apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life,”

The sad truth is that she would have been risking her freedom and maybe even her own life if she had done so. She did everything she could have done because there’s little chance Tuesday would have ended with Derek Chauvin being found guilty on three counts if not for the evidence she provided. She is the angel of a broken dream who provided us with light when darkness was prevailing.

That’s what heroes do.

 

 

Mortal Coils, A Cuppa Kafka And Bengal Tiger Express Lanes

Life ain’t simple.

I’m not talking about how absurdly inconvenient mortality tends to be. What was it that Kafka wrote? The meaning of life is that it stops. So there’s no use ranting about the inevitable, even if I resent the fact that Ryan Seacrest and Kelly Ripa are going to live forever.

Nah, this ain’t big picture stuff I’m talking about. This is B-movie soapbox . . it’s direct to Prime Video. Because I’m talking about the little impediments that get painted across your Zen windshield on the regular. Things like a bill you weren’t expecting . . pain in the ass neighbors (I know, that’s redundant), traffic, and long lines at the grocery store.

The bills represent death to me. Every time I get a bill, it’s as if the grim reaper dropped in and is like Sup? Because there’s not a thing you can do about it, you have to eat it. You could run away to the Keys, but what good would that serve since you’d only come home to even more bills?

To think that we meet our neighbors when we get to heaven? Is a hellish proposition.

To say traffic blows is to win the Oscar for Big Fucking Understatement. I once dated a girl who confessed that she “loved traffic” because it helped center her. Come to think of it, her confession came on our last date. Because I can’t be with someone who spins positive shit out of traffic. I will get with a serial killer before I’ll do that. And the serial killer is going to be way more interesting.

Long Lines In a Grocery Store . . The Musical!

It’s not even the line that pisses me off. I can wait . . I’m not on any Most Wanted posters, that I know of. I’m not ecstatic about having to wait in line to pay a bill, and it sure as hell doesn’t ‘center’ me since I’m not a psycho. But standing in line at a grocery store separates us from the Bengal tiger, and I dig that. It reminds me that we’re not the top of the food chain, because if that Bengal tiger was shopping, the line would be much shorter.

So it was on Saturday afternoon that I prayed for that Bengal tiger to make the scene and maul the fuck-head in front of me (Editor’s Note: I use a hyphen to elucidate just how much of an asshole this guy truly was). Was it fair to judge this individual based on such a small sample size? No fucking doubt about it.

A few examples of his fuck-headedness? Sure, why not . . .  (Editor’s Note: My spellcheck didn’t correct me on that word because it’s in complete agreement with me).

  • Keeping his phone on speaker, thus allowing his conversational skills to dumb down the world around him.
  • Wearing a “No Fear” t-shirt. And here I thought the United Nations had banned them.
  • Skinny jeans. Sorry, maybe this makes me an old guy but . . no. Dudes? Just. No.
  • Every other word is “like”. As if Merriam Webster ain’t dead enough.
  • P.F. Changs . . . Healthy Choice Power Bowls . . Chia Seeds . . Almond Milk . . Chocolate Lucky Charms .  . and okay, one or two of these in your cart is not a crime. All of these in your cart? And then add in all of the above? Guilty.

So it was quick thinking on my part to turn the ordeal into a musical . . in my head . . of course.

Opening Scene: The antagonist is mauled by a Bengal Tiger. 

The End

The musical part of this equation was taking place inside my head. Uncentered and unsettled but very much in time with the bluesy palette of Bobby Caldwell. It was a modest accord to which I was willing to oblige since committing murder is the ultimate bill. So I imagined myself firing up a turntable and letting its silky logic set the ground rules.

The bonus came with not making the Most Wanted List, which is . . like, pretty good too.

 

 

Heroes Of The Week!

Cancer Survivor, 8, Breaks Girl Scout Cookie Record | PEOPLE.com

Move over Wonder Woman, you got company.

Eight year old Lily Bumpus of San Bernardino, California is a cancer survivor . . and if you’re having a meh day, just take that in for a moment. Eight years old and a cancer survivor. That there is perspective on the meh-est of days, don’t you think?

Lily was born with Ewing sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. She began receiving adult treatments for the disease at the age of three months old and has been cancer-free for the past seven years,. She’s been a warrior for those who fight this horrible thing ever since her feet started moving forward.

As a Girl Scout, she made it her goal to sell 5,000 boxes of cookies, with a portion of the proceeds going to her fellow warriors. And then things started rolling, and she upped that estimate to 20,000 boxes as a result, which she also scaled with ease. Her final tally? 32,484 boxes of girl scout cookies.

I’m thinking the Justice League best make room for another warrior princess.

Suspected mafia fugitive arrested after police saw his YouTube cooking videos - CNN

Marc Feren Claude Biart is carrying around a severely overcomplicated name, but that’s not why he made my zero list this week. Biart is a good fella . . as in, he’s a goodfella. As in, he takes some nostra with his cosa . . but that’s not why he made my zero list either. Hey, I have a soft spot in my heart for wise guys. No, he’s here on account of having blown his cover whilst on the lam. Boss Biart was hiding out in the Dominican Republic, sipping on gin and juice and living an otherwise clusterfuck-free life . . but that wasn’t enough for the guy. Nope. His love of Italian cuisine inspired him to start his own YouTube cooking channel . . and while he was careful to hide his notorious drug smuggling mug, he wasn’t so careful about his distinctive body art . . and that’s what got him nabbed.

John Gotti called . . he wants his mafia back.

I feel like I’m forgetting someone. Like . . some asshole I was supposed to rail on this week. First name Matt, last name . . whatever derogatory term you feel like using. But I can’t quite place him . . just yet.

Marjy Stagmeier knew she wanted to be a landlord when she was all of eleven years old. The inspiration came to her after being crowned Monopoly champion of her sixth grade class. But really, it’s the game of life where she has done her finest work in the years since.

After graduating from college, the Georgia native began investing in affordable rental communities. She recognized that many of her tenants were in need of social services, so she founded a non-profit that provided on-site services to those families. Her goal was to make sure her tenants could not only afford their monthly rents, but that they would be able to save up enough for the next step: Home ownership.

Even at below market rates, some tenants were struggling to make ends meet. So it was a stroke of good fortune that she crossed paths with Bill and Melinda Gates and Matthew Desmond, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Evicted. The thing about good luck? You gotta be working your way in its direction in order to cross its path. The meeting was a revelation, inspiring her to build a resource network for these families.

When COVID-19 made matters worse, Stagmeier’s non-profit- Star C- launched a GoFundMe campaign to the tune of $50,000. And got it. Oh . wait . .  there’s more. Cobb County got wind of her efforts and donated $1.5 million of their federal stimulus funding. Other municipalities followed suit and as a result, more than $9 million dollars has been raised. The monies will help more than 3,000 families avoid eviction.

And here we are, with yet another story about how a complicated patchwork of business and government was somehow able to come together and get something done. Something really, really worth getting done. Just like that.

This is what winning looks like.

Remembering Jackie | Baseball Hall of Fame

I am wrapping up this week’s episode with a love letter to a great American hero. A man whose value was felt far beyond the fields of play, and whose courage helped push the civil rights movement to the forefront in this country. Decades before the moon landing, Jackie Roosevelt Robinson took his one giant leap for mankind.

Yesterday marked the seventy-fourth anniversary of Robinson breaking the color barrier of Major League Baseball. On April 15th, 1947, he stepped onto the hard green grass of Ebbets Field against the Boston Braves. Only 26,623 fans showed up to witness history, but I’m willing to bet millions more would claim to have been there as time went on. Such was the impact Jackie possessed by taking up the challenge handed him by Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey.

Born to a family of sharecroppers, his parents gave him a middle name that paid homage to former President Theodore Roosevelt. And it was as if that simple gesture forged a mystical alignment whose spirit prevailed on our better angels. They raised a son who would take on the centuries old establishment of racial division. Because Jackie Robinson’s boundless courage didn’t simply open up baseball to men of color, it provided a wake up call to the country.

Almost three-quarters of a century removed from that day, it feels as if we have lost our way and in so doing that we’ve done a disservice to the memory of this great man. We have become a tale of two countries, rife with margins whose roots do not give a whit about fairness and equality.

It’s fair to doubt the road ahead, but it would be a mistake to stop walking it. Because adversity doesn’t lessen the impact of our steps, it only serves to strengthen them. Jackie taught us that. He didn’t quit when teams padlocked their gates when his minor league club- the Montreal Royals- came to town. He didn’t give up when his own teammates refused to play with him, or when his own fans screamed hateful epitaphs at him. And when writers referred to this man who served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army as the enemy, he didn’t stop jogging out to second base.

He will always be our true north.

 

 

Stay Simple . . Ponyboy

When it comes to comment threads, I don’t partake. Maybe it’s because I’ve never been a joiner . . outside of of that one summer in high school when I went with my girlfriend to a nude beach and almost went blind. Worst ten minutes of my life. Or maybe it’s the expectation that bloggers need to immerse themselves in the thread if they’re true bloggers. Like, who in the blessed hell comes up with rules like that? And are they the same peeps who decided it was okay to allow anyone onto a nude beach?

To paraphrase the late, great Vito Corleone, it makes no difference to me what other bloggers do. If they write a post with the express written intent to grow a thread, that’s their business. But for me? I like to keep things simpler than Simon on a budget.

So it went against my norm when I began reading comments on YouTube recently. You see, reading comments on this platinum patch of piddle earth is seriously redundant shit. As it is, you age five times faster as soon as you log onto the site thanks to all the time you’re usually wasting. And while this may not be scientifically proven (yet), Imma go with it.

It gets worse. I even began commenting to certain comments, which repulses me more than I can tell you as I read this sentence back to myself. I’ve kept my thread count to a minimum on the platform, since I’m usually logged on to find somethings (Yes, plural. I’m a professional). But as with any site worth its ad revenue, you’re gonna stumble across more rabbit holes than a Warner Brothers cartoon. And I have.

And then this happened . . .

On April 9th, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh died at the age of 99. On the same day, superstar rapper BMX died at the age of a lot younger than that. In life, you would be hard pressed to find two more disparate individuals. In death, it was the same. Because whereas Philip died of 99, BMX died of a drug overdose.

And then I clicked on a tribute video to Prince Philip and while you may be thinking that makes me uncool . . more to the truth it’s because I’m uncultured. I knew way more about BMX than I did about a man who lived a history book. After the video had concluded, I scrolled down. One comment after another paid tribute, not to Prince Philip but to BMX. And many didn’t leave it at that, nope. They disparaged Philip while mourning a rapper gone too soon. As if the Duke of Edinburgh was responsible for the demons of a man he never even met.

I was perilously close to throwing down on these cretins before I realized it was my fault for having visited the comment thread in the first place. It was as if the Universe had tapped me on the shoulder, imploring me to Stay in your lane, schmuck! For one thing, I was honored that the Universe had taken time out of it’s uber-busy day to personally reprimand me. And for another, the Universe was absolutely right.

And for one last thing . . the Universe sounds a hell of a lot like Mel Brooks.

 

 

 

 

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