Heroes Of The Week!

 

Luis Alvarez

In this week’s episode, Imma go five strong in the old school style of business. Five stories that run the gamut, from zeroism (my word) to heroism. You’ll notice that I deviated from the typical superhero pic that usually accompanies the Friday edition of Heroes. I decided to go with a real life superhero, Luis Alvarez, who died last Saturday after a three year battle with cancer. The canyons were built for shoulders like his.

“I’ll take clueless about colonies for $1,000, Alex,”- I’ve been a consistent defender of Colin Kaepernick’s anthem protests because I’m democratic and such. But his holler over the colonial flag is more off key than Francis Scott after a night of making merry. Kaep took exception with the design of Nike’s Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July sneaker, which features the Betsy Ross flag design.

Nike, which has no problem making sneakers that cost hundreds of dollars and have gotten many a kid mugged or worse for sporting ’em, decided not to release the 4th of July special edition kicks. Because it was deemed “racially insensitive” by Kaep. It’s really getting to the point where history is being reworked to facilitate rather than to educate, and that endgame is a frightening proposition.

Tanks for nothing- El Presidente decided to take a page out of the Russian holiday playbook, switching out May with July . . of course. The Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence two hundred and forty three years ago, and not a single one of those signers asked for the top rung. They understood the shared responsibilities of a brave new world and were of the belief that no one man was more important than the freedoms and liberties enjoyed by all men. I mean . . they’d fought to get away from that.

And so this brand walk by .45 felt incongruous to what our founding fathers had in mind. The tanks and fighter jets display was inauthentic enough. But his speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial was abject showmanship on a day that is meant to commemorate the courage and sacrifice of every single man and woman who fought to gain, and preserve, our way of life.

They make soccer look gooood- The US women’s national team is in the World Cup finals for the third time in a row and will go for their second straight crown on Sunday against the Netherlands. They got there thanks to goals by Alex Morgan and Christen Press, and diamond cut goalkeeping by Alyssa Naeher in a 2-1 victory over England. In doing so, they overcame the absence of supernova midfielder Megan Rapinoe, who was sidelined with a strained hamstring.

As per usual, the ladies got some peeps all up in their feelings with their greatest show on turf. Their sexy forward, Alex Morgan, fancied a cup of imaginary tea to sip on after scoring a goal early on against England. Of course, pub goers across London took to social media with modern day red coats and bayonets after the display. And a few of the gals on England’s team got their knickers all in a knot over the shenanigans as well.

Our girls are hated . . they are real . .

And they are magnificent.

Finding peace and purpose under the sea- What do you get when you combine veterans with PTSD and an ailing environment? Would you believe it if I told you magic? Because that’s what the organization Force Blue is working along an eighty mile stretch of Florida coastline.

The idea of recruiting former military members for scuba diving missions to preserve and rescue endangered coral reefs is the brainchild of Jim Ritterhoff and Rudy Reyes. The genesis of this venture came to be after the two friends went on a scuba diving trip in 2015. Reyes, who had been suffering from depression after serving as a Recon Marine, found the experience transformative.

And so now, the men are changing minds with each new ‘mission’ to save the coral reefs. Because all those cynics who are so adept at refuting scientists, are being told by their heroes that something needs to be done about the damage we’re doing to the environment.

A genius idea that profits the environment . . . what a novel concept.

Luis Alvarez Congress

That is Luis Alvarez on the other side of sixty nine chemotherapy treatments. A ghostly remnant of the NYPD detective who possessed the physique of a linebacker and the heart of a lion. It can be said that Alvarez never did stop digging after those planes reduced the twin towers to rubble.

He lived fifty three mortal years but he lived thousands of lives in the last eighteen years; encompassing the friends he lost, the strangers he helped to recover and the fraternity he fought for until his dying breath. His was not merely the life of a public servant but a living testament to what service means. He lived through hell on September 11th, and then he kept stepping foot back inside of those nightmarish hours; day after day, month after month. Until they all found home.

In a perfect world, Alvarez would have made a great old man. But there’s nothing perfect about a place where people sacrifice everything and still have to fight for compensation on the other side. Unlike those members of Congress who didn’t show up to listen to him speak last month, Alvarez showed up. Every day. Until his body couldn’t do it any longer, until his spirit’s passing left the world a little bit colder.

The angels win, again.

 

 

 

 

 

Things We Lose In The Fire

Back in the day, when Matters did have some consequence and I was writing on a blog that spared no one, I had a default reply to anyone who threw down on me with a nasty comment. It went something like this.

Go fuck yourself. 

It didn’t end there. Because I’m nothing if not respectful to those I hurl insults at, as dichotomous as that sounds. I feel that if you’re going to engage in name calling with me, Imma clap back with my particulars in bold faced detail. This is because I want to make clear that I refuse to be sucker punched by someone looking to bully me with words.

And let’s face it, social media is a greenhouse for peeps who wish to hit and run. They shout you down as being an -ist and then they flee the scene of the crime because they don’t have proof of assurance. Who needs to be pliable when you can be libel? And get away with it. Sweet deal.

I want to share an exchange I had with a reader of my blog back in 2007. He replied to a post I wrote about Michael Vick after the Atlanta Falcons QB was arrested for his involvement in a dog fighting ring. As happens with peeps who do bad shit, Vick “found” God in the aftermath of his crimes. So I wrote a post in which I speculated on what a phone call between Vick and God would look like. Needless to say, it didn’t end well for Vick.

I’ll narrate the exchange, starting with his comment to my post.

Guys, 

The “culture” thing I agree has been misused by some so-called black leaders to the point of boredom. However, one has only to look at the “Jena 6” to realize that the spectre of racism/cultural double-standard is alive and well. Instead of talking about Mike Vick’s depravity against dogs, how about spotlighting the foul shit that’s going down in the back bayous of good ole’ Louisiana. PLEASE Don’t get “tired” to the point of being blind. Like you stated “What’s wrong is just wrong.”

I know we all want to live in the Utopia States of America, but the fact is the racial/cultural bias in some parts of this country is alive and well. I wonder what your take on this case is, and will you write a “funny” little vignette about it? By the way the lack of national (around the clock) coverage for this case, as opposed to the Vick case, is what’s really insulting to the black community.

Okay, now at this point I could have Napalmed his opinion. But he wasn’t name calling or engaging in sophomoric assaults. His was an opinion that differed from mine. Simple as that. So I responded with this.

The difference between the Vick story and the Jena 6 story is that one involves high school kids and the other involves a grown man. Vick should have known better; his horrible judgement leaves him wide open to satirists and Op-ed junkies. His newfound relationship with God (sic) notwithstanding, I believe Vick is simply a bad guy who will hide behind anything- from the law to God and back again- in order to work his way out of the hole he dug in the first place.

Those kids in Jena? Just a little different, don’t you think? There is nothing in the world I could do to “funny” up what those kids went through as a result of a racial chasm they did not ask for nor deserve to be victims of.

Hypocrisy is fodder, and I’m an equal opportunity offender. Last I looked, Larry Craig was a white Senator from Idaho. He hid behind family values while living a lifestyle he supposedly abhorred. He gets slammed. Vick gets slammed. It’s my blog, my opinion.

We don’t believe in sacred cows here. No one is beyond our reach; black or white, man or woman, Dem or GOP. And what we’re really tired of is a homogenized news cycle that shows a brilliant propensity for missing the point. We want the point, as I believe you do, to be driven home. Why Vick over Jena? Indeed.

And as far as the bayou is concerned, we both know it’s not necessary to travel to the swamps to find the depths. It’s everywhere.

I appreciate your comments, I really do. And believe it or not, I offer no wisecracking comebacks to you, because I believe you are coming at me from the heart. I like that, I respect that. And I invite that.

I don’t feel as if you’ve called me out on this one; but rather, you’ve asked me to see another side. And I do, I try, and where I fail, please let me know. The worst I will do is disagree, but I won’t ignore a thoughtful attempt.

And he came back at me, not with vitriol, but with this.

Thoughtful response. Much appreciated and respected. I think I’ll continue to read your blog.

True to his word, he read us and he would comment from time to time. And like . . . wow, right? Two people, one black and one white . . disagreeing with each other in harmony. And to think, back then we used to wonder where the world was going to?

Now I wonder where it went.

Matters of Little Consequence

I think God created blogging when he had nothing else to talk about.

I had to admit Dan had gone bulls-eye with his little idea. The 800lb Gorilla was chugging along on nicotine, friendly drinks and unsympathetic satire that offered no quarter for sacred cows. The blogosphere had plugged me into a tantric remedy in which I was writing practically every day. Shop hours would vary depending on the day ahead. Sometimes I would go for an early morning run and then post something before heading out. On other days I would regale in the simple comfit fixtures of a laptop and a well armed Martini after hours. It was Zen capture inside the tear drops of a clock whose purpose now seemed to dovetail its method into my madness.

I was enjoying myself immensely, in spite of the detours that would crop up now that our elbow bending riffs were being held in a virtual forum. Like the time Dan called to tell me Google had taken a shit on our Blogger platform and he had moved us over to a place called WordPress. But just like all the other bumps in the road, this one proved to be quite fortuitous. Because whereas our former website behaved like a rural dirt road, the new digs were akin to an eight lane highway.

Everything was coming back peach as summer moved into fall. My kids were feeling good about how life was looking on the other side of the split. My soon to be ex-wife had met a man on a dating site and things were promising. And I had met a nice girl inside the same week, on the same site as the ex-wife and things were promising as well. For a couple months. After which I got back to dating and black book research.

As far as writing was concerned, I had unlocked a parallel of myself to which had always been a mystery before this time. It was a quicksilver reckoning in which my creative bones were shaking loose, as if pole vaulting over thunderheads.

We’re gonna need a bigger boat

December 12th, 2006 is when push came to shove. It was some time in the middle of the night when Dan posted what would launch the Gorilla from obscurity into a grass roots movement that would end up getting play in a couple online magazines and local radio shows.

It was later that morning, I was doing a supply run when my phone came to life. It was Dan.

“Dude, you checking this shit out?”

“What shit?”

“The blog!”

“Oh, yeah . . the shot of Britney’s front yard. You know what you sonofabitch, next time give me a heads up when you post some shit like that,”

“Sorry to offend your delicate senses,”

“Dan, my daughter listens to Britney, okay? I don’t need to see her business is all I’m saying. I prefer to keep her in my sexy little Smurf collection where anatomy doesn’t exist. And where did you find that pic?”

“I hit on a website when I was surfing around last night for something to write about. We were one of the first sites to put it up,”

“Wow, I always wanted to run a porn site. I guess the degenerate blue ribbon goes to us, huh?”

“Marc, you see the hits?”

“I don’t look at hits, I look at writing. I’m the insufferable artist and you’re the soulless networking prick, remember?”

“We’re at 2,900 hits so far . . . I think we could hit 10 grand,”

“Jesus Christ, that Federline douchebag was right! She does have a magical vagina!” I exclaimed before I realized I was talking out loud in the middle of Staples.

“This is our hanging curve ball, it’s how we’re gonna get known for all the writing we’ve been doing in the dark,”

“As if Hemingway isn’t dead enough,” I whined.

“We have the eyeballs now is how I look at it. And I’ll tell you what man, we’re gonna need a bigger boat,” Dan said before we hung up.

This should have been cause for celebration. But whereas Dan was sewing this latest turn of events into a Matterhorn applique, I was dubious. For fuck’s sake, we’d been writing our asses to the tune of a couple stray comments here and there; so stray were these comments that we should’ve tested them for rabies. It was that kind of virtual desert island shit. And that was fine by me, because the writing was keeping me upright.

If writing truly mattered, how was it that I could write madly for a year and elicit nothing more than a yawn? Meanwhile, Britney simply had to play 21 Jump Street with a mini-skirt to clobber the fuck out of me. I was thinking too hard, and I knew this. Dan was right. Eyeballs were the bottom line to any kind of future for the site, and now we had them. It was time to put on my big boy swimming trunks and pray at the altar of Mary Shelly.

We were looking straight into the eye of a storm, even if we didn’t know it yet.

Heroes Of The Week!

Dare Devil

Family Value$- Rep. Duncan Hunter out of California is what Big Politics is all about. He is expert at talking out of both sides of his mouth; railing on about wanton spending and people’s personal lives whilst playing the role of Hugh Hefner in sequined Uncle Sam hat. Last year, Hunter and his wife were charged with bogarting a quarter of a million G-Dubs from his campaign war chest for family outings, private school tuition and beer runs (well, it said personal expenses but the dude likes beer). And wait! There’s more! He re-purposed even ‘mo money for ski trips, bar tabs (told ya) and hotel trysts with various congressional aides. His “Do as I say and not as I do,” act needs to get slam dunked.

Let’s get high!- I watched Nik and Lijana Walenda walk the high wire over Times Square . . the night after it happened. On YouTube. Because hells if I was gonna watch it live. The duo tiptoed across a 1,300 feet wire the width of a quarter, 25 feet off the ground. Oh, and it was Lijana’s first walk since a near fatal fall two years ago in which she broke every bone in her face. For those who shrugged off the performance on account of the fact they wore harnesses (NYC law), ummm . . . let’s see them try it.

There’s a catch- Next time some football diva celebrates a touchdown catch, Imma clap back with this video because “That’s not a catch . . . that’s a catch!” Check out this kid in Turkey as he catches a toddler who fell from a window. And if babies ever start falling from the sky, dial him up.

Girls just wanna have fun- Okay, the US women’s soccer team is a lousy act when it comes to sportsmanship. I got some flak for letting them off the hook in last week’s episode of Heroes, but lemme ‘splain. I’m a Yankees fan (Death Star) who digs on Negan from Walking Dead and Darth Vader. The girls are hated in many corners, and rightfully so, but I happen to find them interesting as hell. And unlike the men’s soccer team, they get shit done.

Fuck that- Imma root on the girls because they make the pitch a sexy intrigue, but Megan Rapinoe’s got to ditch the four letter sorties she’s flinging at Trump. She ain’t the first person to engage in a rubber band fight with .45. From De Niro to Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, the middle finger movement has one thing in common. It doesn’t work. Kudos to Rapinoe for coming out this week and saying that while she still ain’t stepping foot inside 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, she shouldn’t have used a four letter reply in saying so. That’s more like it.

My kind of (sports) town- I’m of the opinion that St Louis Cardinals fans are the best fans in baseball. They helped prove me right this week with a five minute standing ovation for Albert Pujols- who left the Cards in 2012 and signed a $210 million dollar contract with the Angels. It was his first trip back to the Gateway City since, and the hometown fans made Pujols feel as if he never left. They didn’t boo him for leaving, they cheered him for what he meant when he was theirs. At Busch Stadium, class is always in session.

Is there a Lemonhead Law?- A car dealership in Alabama (It’s hilarious already, right?) is offering up a holy shit of a deal for anyone who buys a new or pre-owned car. “Gods, Guns and Freedom” will gift each customer a bible, an American flag . . . and a 12-gauge shotgun. In a Facebook post, Chatom Ford heralds the promotion as an opportunity to “celebrate our independence”. From what? Sanity?

Great call, Ump- Last week I shared a story about what NOT to do when you’re a parent by chatting up those imbeciles who rumbled during a game being played by seven year old kids. The fight was precipitated by a call made by the umpire, who’s all of thirteen years old.

It’s a good thing we have peeps like Chris Guccione, who gets it. Guccione is a MLB umpire who read the story and then decided to reach out to the family of Josh Cordova- that thirteen year old umpire. Guccione invited them to be his guests at a game he will be calling in Colorado, between the Rockies and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“This is my state, this is where my heart is,” Guccione, a Colorado native, told The Denver Post on Thursday. “So when I saw the incident that happened, I was concerned. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is in my backyard.'”

Forget killing the ump, let’s kiss this one instead.

 

 

Play It Again, Spam (Case #27)

Spam

Dear Beneficiary,

This is to intimate you of a very important information which will be of a Great help to redeem you from all the difficulties you have been Experiencing in getting your long over due payment due to excessive demand For money from you by both corrupt Bank officials and Courier Companies After which your fund remain unpaid to you.

I am Mr. Gene Leon. The Senior Resident Representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Nigeria – Africa, it may interest you to know that reports have reached Our office by so many correspondences on the uneasy way which people like You are treated by Various Banks and Courier Companies across Europe to Africa and Asia and we have decided to put a stop to that and that is why i was appointed to handle your transaction here in Nigeria.

All Governmental and Non-Governmental parasites, NGOs, Finance Companies, Banks, Security Companies and Courier companies which have been in contact With you of late have been instructed to back up from your transaction and You have been advised NOT to respond to them anymore since the IMF is now Directly in charge of your payment.You are hereby advised NOT to remit further payment to any institutions With respect to your transaction as your fund will be transferred to you directly from our source. I hope this is clear. Any action contrary to this instruction is at your own risk. Respond to my Email with immediate effect and we shall give you further details on how your fund will be released.

Also call me as soon as you send the e-mail so that you will be given an immediate response: Direct Hotline: CALL: +234-8165-473-8999

Regards,
Mr. Gene Leon

Dear Mr. Leon,

Pardon me for saying, but your name is clumsier than Mike Huckabee at a strip club. You’ve got two first names, either of which is fine by its lonesome, but together? It reads like an E.L. James novel. As in, derivative and pointless. And umm . . not to be a backseat writer but I think the word you’re looking for is inform, not intimate. Also, you are UPPER CASE happy when lower case works plenty fine. Hey Boss, nothing personal . . strictly b’ness.

And speaking of b’ness, you guys must be on a mission from God (Or as I refer to him, John Belushi) because these fucking bank officials and courier companies suck harder than the New York Mets bullpen. Just the other day, I was paying for my grande Graceland Pillbox PB&J Banana Grilled Cheese Frappuccino (no whip) at a Starbucks on the Ivory Coast when the barista informed me my Diner’s Club card had been declined! You can imagine my embarrassment, after having watched that poor girl hand craft my drink for an hour and a half . . and I didn’t have a single Franc with which to pay for it. And let’s not even go into what I had to do in order to get back home. Not that there’s anything wrong with that . . .

And fret not, I ain’t about to let those parasitical bastards anywhere near my propers until I hear from y’all. I’ll just tell ’em IMFU! You know, you guys at the IMF are like the nerdy high school girl in one of those John Hughes flicks who is best friends with the main character and he doesn’t realize she’s the one until the last ten minutes. Shit, now I can’t get the Thompson Twins out of my head.

Imma hold off on calling you on account of all those numbers. Jesus, is that a phone number or the national debt? Just hit me back with an email, and think about a name change, coo?

Hasta la pasta,

Xuanzang