The Vera Farmiga Invitational

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Imma go back to my old school crush for this lovely episode, with many thanks to the timeless beauty of that man slayer extraordinaire, Sara Michelle Gellar. SMG is so much more than just a sexy stand in, and rest assured she will be booming these pages again soon. But January is for figuring out slumps and what better math to utilize than the geometrical qualities of Ms Farmiga? So here then is my first honeydew list of 2020. Enjoy!

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Elle Duncan: She works for Animal House Sports (Business Name: ESPN), but she’s no keeper of the lame ass qualities perpetuated on the network. She’s funny in the realest kind of way, with no forced soundtrack necessary. She dispenses knowledge without verbiage, facts without fiction and news without the sophomoric slant. Girl’s got a smile that could melt butter and a rap that is all business. She doesn’t need to issue any ridiculous “hot takes”. She IS a hot take.

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Phoebe Waller-Bridge: Phoebe’s got that Headmistress vibe going strong, and it makes you want to score detention on the regular so’s you can be under her pretty thumb. She’s got the endearingly awkward personality that works a Happy Hour jaunt into an after-hours repartee. Quick to cut your knees out from under you, after which she props you up on the sofa and feeds you tequila in particular ways.

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Ashley Graham: When it comes to exhibiting model behavior, this woman schools her peers on the regular. Because she’s what sexy is all about; confidence, fused together with the courage to be who she is, rather than what others insist she has to be. Mistress of the come hither glance, she is a Vegas lock when her eyes come calling on you. Positive proof that coloring outside the lines is so damned hot.

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Skylar Diggins-Smith: This woman has represented at every level- from high school to college to the pros- with a game that never quits, just like her. She came all the way back from an ACL injury without missing a beat, stringing together four straight WNBA All Star Game appearances. She’s equal parts fire and ice- throwing down daggers when left to her own devices while making opponents pay mightily with an ability to dish to the open teammate given the tiniest window. But really . . she had me at the curls.

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Bella Heathcote: She’s got an old school element to her new age filament that makes the screen she adorns go boom, every time. Pouty lips that tug at you and eyes that scratch at all the logic known to Mars with claws drawn up in a Venus playbook. She carries this perfumed swagger that makes you believe in the mystic. And when her hair goes all ramshackle, so do your knees.

I conclude this tasty episode by writing one more lovely into the starting lineup. This “All That All Star” was scouted by the Cincinnati Kid, the Short Order Opinion Maker, the Maestro of Madcap, the King of the Home Run Swing, the Titan of Tango  . . . none other than Frank from over at afrankangle.

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Robin Meade: This hawt headliner spells the news on weekday mornings for millions of Americans who choose to get their news delivered sans bluster. She’s a beauty who talks kindly, reports fairly and makes you feel as if you’re swapping coffee talk with her and only her. Personal enough to make you blush, and when she leans into the camera . . you will. And it’s what missing in today’s iteration of the Fourth Estate- where expert analysis is oftentimes code for pulpit speak. She ain’t faking her journalistic know how, and it shows.

Welp . . that’s all for this episode of what’s hot. I’d like to thank Vera for being the mostess of a hostess, and to the ladies in my lovely lineup . . thank you for rocking the science with smarts, savvy and plenty of sexy.

Heroes Of The Week!

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In this week’s episode, I delved into great catches, life changing tips, Hollywood giving and, get this . .  the federal government doing some good for a change. I know, it sounds like a work of fiction but it’s true. I mean, I wouldn’t get used to that kind of behavior in Washington. But it’s nice to know that our elected officials have it in them.

And now, your heroes . . .

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A purple haze hung over the New Orleans Superdome last Sunday after Kyle Rudolph came down with a rainbow pass from Kirk Cousins in the back of the end zone that ended the Saints season while keeping his team’s hopes very much alive. After catching the OT game winner, Rudolph gave his game worn gloves to a ‘media member’, autographing them first. So when the dude turned around and sold the gloves on eBay for a few hundred bucks, Rudolph was a little bummed out. Until Jason King tweeted the Vikings wide receiver, informing him he was the purchaser of the gloves and that he would donate them to the charity of Rudolph’s choice. That’s called putting your money where your heart is.

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Danielle Franzoni is a recovering addict who wakes up every day with three reasons to stay clean. The mother of three is a server at Thunder Bay River Restaurant in Alpena, Michigan, and as the new year approached, she received a message letting her know she’s doing things the right way. This message came in the form of a tip from a couple she’d been serving. In keeping with the year to come, they left her a $2,020.00 tip. She says “Things like this don’t happen to people like me,”. But lemme tell you, when people like Danielle happen to things like this? It’s like the world is singing in perfect harmony.

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Chris Hemsworth ain’t just another pretty face. The actor known as Thor to Marvel fans just so happens to be a superhero in real life as well. After watching fires sweep through Australia, Hemsworth and his family have announced they will be donating one million dollars to their native country. Other celebs have taken note of what’s happening on his Instagram page. Elton John will also be donating a million dollars, while Margot Robbie, Selena Gomez, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban and Pink are doing their part as well. Hollywood can be so much more than a Ricky Gervais monologue when it wants to be.

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And another lampooned entity- our very own federal government- is getting involved in the relief efforts in Australia as well. More than one hundred American firefighters have already been deployed, with a few dozen more volunteer firefighters set to head down under. And to show they are about way more than just NBA titles, Canada has sent eighty seven of its own volunteers to assist in the relief efforts as well. Isn’t it kind of refreshing to see our federal government putting out fires rather than starting them?

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In a perfect world, Ryan Smith would be the starting power forward for the East Stroudsburg University Warriors. A sophomore, he would be improving on a star that has been shining brightly since his days at Lampeter Strasburg High School in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

But there are no perfect worlds where cancer is concerned as Smith came to learn last summer. He noticed he was getting more fatigued during his workout regimen, which led to a battery of tests. A full blood panel at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Pocono revealed the sum of all fears: Acute Myeloid Leukemia. So far he’s undergone a few rounds of chemo while taking up residence at University of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia.

This past Monday, Millersville University teamed up with East Stroudsburg during a PSAC Mens/Womens doubleheader. All proceeds from tickets sales of the games to be donated to the Smith family through a fund established by East Stroudsburg. And for the first time in almost a year, Ryan Smith stepped foot inside Pucillo Gymnasium on the campus of Millersville to watch the game he has been in love with his entire life. He received a hero’s welcome as he sat in the stands of a rival arena that was intent on giving him a home court advantage as he battles on.

Ryan has a much bigger victory in mind.

 

 

 

IQ, So You Don’t Have To!

I read an interesting piece in Smithsonian Magazine about how often smart people get things wrong, and it got me thinking. Which is always a risky proposition. So I did a little digging to find some examples, and mango . . they were everywhere!

TESS is our space program’s satellite that searches for exoplanets hiding underneath our cosmic shag rug. They recently found TOI 700 d, which they describe as a habitable-ish planet that is a hundred  light years away. So while the research is kitschy, the reality is that we ain’t backing up the moving vans. And it begs the question as to why all the smart people here at home are sweeping our habitat under the carpet for the next generation to deal with.

What’s that you say? Looking for an example that’s a little less obscure? Okay, how’s about the fact that in 1932, Albert Einstein observed that nuclear energy will “never be attainable,”?

Or how about the Decca Recording Company’s decision not to sign four chaps from Liverpool to a record label back in 1962 because they claimed their sound would never work . . . less than two years before the British Invasion changed music forever.

Variety magazine predicted that Rock and Roll would be gone by June . . of 1955.

In 1830, Dr. Dionysius Lardner predicted rail travel at high speeds wasn’t possible because passengers would “die of asphyxia”.

Napoleon Bonaparte sniffed at Robert Fulton’s steamboat, calling it “nonsense”.

HG Wells claimed that submarines would never work in practice.

I checked out three of the biggest names in the NFL mock draft business, and the ‘winner’ scored twenty two percent on his 2019 picks.

Those mock experts are not alone. To wit, let’s look at five of the all time greatest passers in NFL history as an example. NFL general managers passed over Aaron Rodgers 21 times, Dan Marino 26 times, Drew Brees 31 times, Joe Montana 81 times and Tom Brady 198 times.

Most every sportswriter was picking the 2003 Lakers to win it all, while not a single sportswriter picked the 1969 Mets.

And if you’re like . . it’s sports! Who cares? Okay then, let’s look at a couple of political predictions for a moment.

In 1936, the American weekly Literary Digest predicted Republican Alf Landon would defeat Theodore Roosevelt. Apologies to Mr Landon, but he’s not even the most famous Alf in American pop culture. And do we really need to be reminded why Truman is holding that newspaper?

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And so yeah . . that was forever ago and technology changed everything. So let’s remember back to Nate Silver’s Five Thirty Eight giving Hilary Clinton a 69% chance of winning the 2016 Presidential Election. Old Nate wasn’t alone . . not by a long shot.

Speaking of technology, smart people get it wrong all the time. Darryl Zanuck was a pioneer of the Motion Picture Industry who helped blaze the trail from silent film to Technicolor. As such, he didn’t consider television to be a threat in the least. In 1946, he said Americans would get tired of staring at a plywood box in no time at all.

In 1966, Time Magazine observed that remote shopping was entirely feasible, but that it would flop. And in 2006, David Pogue of the New York Times predicted Apple would ‘probably never’ come out with a cell phone.

Homer said the world was flat. Mathematical economist Irving Fisher said the economy was a round bubble that would never burst . . three days before the stock market collapse of 1929.

Lots of smart people derided the Wright Brothers idea of flight, and a lot of those same smart people claimed the Titanic was unsinkable when it set sail from Southampton, England.

So the moral of the story is that you’re never as smart as you think you are, but don’t worry. Neither is anyone else.

 

 

 

 

First Draft Horoscopes- Capricorn

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This is the year when you get in sync with friends and family. Like . . seriously. It’s going to matter to you this year, so brush up on names and new spouses by making a chart.

And not to sound like a greeting card, but can you try and keep some cheer in this new year? When the shit hits the fan, try and suppress your desire to shoot the fan . . . twelve times. The way you shot your ex twelve times when you found them in bed with someone else. Thank God your Uncle Sal has a soft spot for you and was able to rig the jury, but yanno . . he ain’t getting any younger so chill with the firearms?

Here’s a novel thought. Why not simply enjoy the company and wisdom of your posse, and while you’re at it, impart your wisdom on them as well. Or take them out to dinner once a month and don’t be a cheapskate with the friendly drinks. Either or.

Make vivaciousness your jam, just hold the histrionics. February might be a challenge when it comes to cash flow, but you can navigate the ebbs without skimming ATM’s for your cream and sugar. As for exercise, practice moderation and sensibility. No more staying out all night and then signing up for a marathon in the morning because “it was calling me,”. Just remember those EMT’s who were calling you away from the light when you didn’t make it out of mile three without collapsing, coo?

October will bring great challenges and worthwhile lessons . . so think jello shot contests and DUI checks and maybe practice some temperance for a change. November will bring increased responsibilities at work, unless that meme you posted about your boss on Facebook gets found.

This can be a magnificent year as long as you don’t fuck it up!

A Love Scenario For My Favorite Team

The following is a simple thank you to my beloved Miami Dolphins. For being the most relevant 5-11 squad in the history of the league. They somehow out-won the mighty Patriots down the stretch by going 5-4 after that 0-7 beginning; capped by an upset victory in the final week to knock New England off its perch. Last night may have been the end of the Patriots dynasty, and maybe I’m being a tad bit hyperbolic . . but I like to think this wonderful bunch of miscreants played a small part in the final breaths of a dynasty.

Thank you to Monika for suggesting Justin Herbert in the starring role as Miami QB. Not sure if it’ll work out this way, any of it. But who cares? All I know is that I found reason to believe inside this lost cause of a season. And while there is a long road ahead, there is a lot more hope involved than I had bargained for at the get. Sometimes, a season can be that way; it can give you something you never saw coming. Where one minute you’re throwing your arms up in disgust, and the next, you’re uttering that most magical of sporting refrains, and meaning it.

Wait till next year.

New Orleans 2024- Brian Flores sits in his makeshift office inside the New Orleans Superdome and scratches out an idea, whittling it into precise measurements as if a master carpenter. He is a craftsman of sorts, having built the foundation of a championship club from the rubble of obsolescence along with general manager Chris Grier.

It’s as if the moment Flores walked in the door, those couple decades of mediocrity that preceded him hitched a ride to someplace else. He paid scant attention to the collective shrug that accompanied his introduction as Miami’s field boss in February of 2019. And he paid little mind to the vitriol heaped on his club due to the clumsy maneuvering that led to a mass exodus of their most talented players in the name of draft capital. The overpaid suits said it was morally reprehensible that a football organization left its players in harm’s way by fielding a prohibitive skeleton crew.

Their criticism was temporarily vindicated when Flores’ Dolphins team lost his first game 59-10 to the Baltimore Ravens. It reached Chernobyl status when they began the season 0-7. The critics were only too delighted to break out their “Told You So” material, to which Flores responded with three simple words: We’re not tanking.

He was parodied for this, but he never minded that too. All he concerned himself with was drawing up a game plan that would give his fledgling outfit a fighting chance. And just as importantly, changing an organizational culture that was equal parts Caddyshack and Animal House.

Five years to the date when he was named head coach of the Miami Dolphins, he’s sixty minutes away from the Holy Grail of professional football. His opponent- the Arizona Cardinals- present myriad complications for Flores and his defense. But they’ve been up to the challenge all season, and on through January in wins over the Vegas Raiders and then, the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens.

There is irony in that Baltimore was the team Flores beat to get his squad to the Super Bowl for the first time since ’85. But he hasn’t got time to dwell on it with MVP Kyler Murray next up on the docket. Later today. About ten hours from now, to be exact, as evidenced by the bustle of doors and chatter that is making its way to his office now. His guys, come to keep their coach company.

“Hey coach,” Justin Herbert says as he sticks his head in the door whilst munching on a power bar.

“What’s up ten?” Flores says, referring to his quarterback’s number.

“We’re here to kick ass and chew bubblegum . . .” Herbert smiles.

“AND WE’RE ALL OUTTA PATIENCE!!!” The guys whoop and holler as Herbert leads them to the field. Flores grins as he moves out of his chair for the first time in several hours and stretches out before moving towards the tunnel of the North end zone. His Dolphins will be the ‘home team’ today- dressed in their dark aqua old school threads out of the time of Shula and Marino. And it’s appropriate, since the feeling is of yesterday once more.

“I can’t believe we’re actually here . .” Justyn Ross, their third year wide receiver out of Clemson says as he looks out over the field.

“Not yet JR . . .not yet,” Flores says.

Heroes Of The Week! (2020 Edition)

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With a new year comes a new meme. We are already three days into a new decade, so trash that crash diet, ditch the money pit matchmaking sites and make sustainable resolutions that actually pay you back instead. A top five list from yours truly? Sure why not . . .

My 2020 . . . Umm . . . Resolutions

-Swear smarter
-No Speedos
-Sign any petitions involving the dissolution of the Hallmark Channel
-No kale
-No Chick-fil-A

That’s how you resolution, kids. And now your heroes . . .

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies who made Christmas possible for a little boy and his mother when they learned the two have been going through some hard times. The deputies showed up with lights flashing. They gifted mother and son a Christmas tree, shoes, clothes, toys and some gift cards. They were delivered straight from the North Pole, of course. Straight from the heart? Absolutely.

US Army veteran Jamie Willis has been raising cane since 2016 when he started Canes For Veterans Central TexasThe dude served eight years before becoming permanently disabled and unable to work. The cane Veterans Affairs gave him wasn’t doing the job, so he reached out to the Florida organization Free Canes For VeteransThe founder- Oscar Morris- told Willis they had run out of canes, but he taught him how to make his own. An idea was born.

“I do this so I don’t sit home all day feeling sorry for myself,” Willis says. “This is all out of kindness. I do everything out of pocket and from donations.”

Willis recycles donated Christmas trees, and so far he’s delivered more than two hundred canes to veterans around the world. Home Depot donated more than four hundred trees to his effort, with another hundred coming from the community at large. It really is the gift that keeps on giving.

Needless to say, incarceration isn’t exactly a resume builder. So what to do if you’re a former felon who wants a job and a normal life but can’t find it? Greg Boylea Jesuit priest out of Los Angeles, set out to provide an answer to that question. In 1988, with the help of his parish as well as community members, Boyle started Jobs For A Future. The hope was to provide a bridge to a better life for young people who had gotten caught up in the gang culture that dominated the landscape.

Thirty years later, Homeboy Industries is a global force; hailed as the most successful gang rehabilitation and re-entry program in the world. It provides help for more than ten thousand men and women looking to pick up the pieces and start anew. Jacques Deval once wrote of how man’s love of birds led him to build cages. Whereas God’s love of birds led to the invention of trees. (Thank you to Frank for this story).

The restaurant biz is crazy enough without being left to run the place yourself. Especially if your gig is at Waffle House . . at some time past midnight . . with a restaurant full of hungry patrons looking to get their waffle on. Which is what happened recently to a kid we’ll call Ben- because that’s his name.

Thanks to a scheduling gaffe, Ben was left to run the place all by his lonesome. Now, I don’t know about you but if you ask me to make a waffle, Imma be preoccupied with doing that and only that. Which doesn’t include waiting tables, making coffee or running register. So the kid was in a panic, and can you blame him?

And then a customer grabbed an apron and began helping with orders. And then another customer began making coffee and waiting tables. And before you know it, the place was fully staffed. A crisis was averted and Ben was gifted a moment he’ll not soon forget. The moral of the story is that when your patience is wearing thin, make waffles. (Thank you to the lovely Q for this story).

Pixie Adams believes in healthy competition; the kind to which you bust it every day in a race to win the day. But ‘healthy’ means mindful . . as per the context of real life issues that transcend bottom lines. Adams runs the Moonlight Coffee Cafe in Oak Grove Portland, and when she learned the plight of one of her competitors, she went to work. For them.

Dave McAdams runs The Local Coffee Company with his wife Tina. At least until he was diagnosed with cancer for the third time. It’s inoperable and it’s terminal and now he will be put into hospice to live out the remainder of his days. So Pixie donned an apron and kept the place going while Tina tends to her husband, because she didn’t want her to lose the business.

“It’s supposed to be friendship over business, community over competition,” Pixie Adams says. “I am here supporting them, trying to generate attention for their business to help make sure that after Dave is gone, they still have the ability to keep the coffee place open.”

For some people, winning doesn’t preclude humanity. It welcomes it.