Heroes Of The Week! (Old School Edition)

Pop Art

Today Imma take the way-back machine© to the not so way back of times, when the good and the not so good shared this patch of WP grass. Interestingly, none of the plus sides are mine . . which is probably the universe telling me I need to incorporate more fiber into my diet, I’m not sure. All I know is you peeps keep on keeping on with the good stuff, so I ain’t complaining one bit.

And now to this week’s episode . . .

Cardboard cut-outs with portraits of Borussia Moenchegladbach's supporters are seen at the Borussia Park stadium.

We’re starting things off with the beautiful game, and it’s a beautiful story that Peter from over at Cheers, Govanhill brings to us this week. Borussia Monchengladbac (say that one time fast) is a club in the Bundesliga football league, and they got back to work last month inside a new reality: No fans in the stands. So the club went about the task of filling the stands with cardboard cut-outs. The upside is that these faux fans don’t drink copious amounts of alcohol and scream all manner of artful particulars in the doing. This just so happens to he the downside as well, because yanno . . that’s part of what gives the game its soul. So the boys at Borussia came up with a soulful solution by selling the cut-outs to their fans for twenty bucks a pop, with the profits earmarked for local causes.

“When you first come into the stadium, for three or four seconds you don’t realize that it’s not real people,” Borussia player Marcus Thuram says.

And while the stands may not bring the noise, the spirit is alive and kicking. Which makes this idea a game winner.

Image credit: YouTube

Who among us hasn’t crafted a four lettered rebuttal when muscle car owners decide to let everyone hear what’s going on under the hood? But there is such a thing as context, and a Texas woman learned that lesson the hard way recently when she decided to play Sheriff to a caravan of cars in her neighborhood. They had arranged this “cruise” to help celebrate a ten year’s old boy’s birthday, revving their engines in unison as they passed his house. And that’s where the nosy neighbor stepped in to put a stop to the festivities. Which ended up backfiring when word got out that she had stalled the parade and more cars showed up later on, at the request of other neighbors.

Cutting to the chase, the woman’s complaints fell on deaf ears with the local police and now she’s listing her house. So you could say this squeaky wheel got . . replaced?

And speaking of cruising, that’s what Marcus Harvey and Tre’ Jones of Marion, Indiana were doing when they came upon a shroud of smoke. The kids pulled over to find where the source of the smoke was coming from and that’s when they were told that a neighbor’s house was on fire and that a man was still inside. So they went all Superman, breaking down the door and retrieving Guy Tarlton, who was laying unconscious in his living room. Tarlton suffered first and third degree burns and is currently in a medically induced coma, but his chances of survival are entirely the result of Harvey and Jones, who put their lives on the line without a second thought. These young men put the first in responder.

Robert Williams

This next story is what George Orwell warned us about more than three quarters of a century ago. It involves the use of facial recognition in criminal investigation and it speaks to a flawed technology that is more dangerous than it is useful. Forty two year old Robert Williams of Detroit found this out the hard way when police arrested him outside of his home recently. Seems that his drivers license photo matched that of a suspect who stole more than $3,800 worth of watches from a department store.

Williams ended up spending a night in jail before the investigating officers figured out they had made a terrible mistake. Which prompted the ACLU to get involved, claiming “the facts of Mr. Williams’ case prove both that the technology is flawed and that investigators are not competent in making use of such technology.” No. Kidding!

Remember that old saying about being careful what you wish for? We’re there . . .

Malala Yousafzai Celebrates Graduating From Oxford 10 Years After ...

(Thank you to the lovely Dale for providing the capper to her twin bill for this episode).

Most of you know the story of Malala Yousafzai. At fifteen, she was shot in the head by a member of the Taliban. Her crime? Pursuing an education, which is obviously a dangerous proposition in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. The group perceived Malala as a threat, since she defied their archaic rule at every turn; first in writing a blog for the BBC and later for being featured in a New York Times documentary. She was an inspiration to young women in a region of the world where the idea of getting an education is often met with threats of violence and worse.

Malala didn’t leave the world on that horrible day. Instead, she has flourished, bringing light to the darkest corners of the world while spreading her message of hope and empowerment. She spoke before the UN a year after the shooting. She’s met with the Queen of England as well as President Barack Obama. And at 17, she became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Almost eight years since being shot in the head and left for dead by the Taliban, she graduated from Oxford with a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. And so, what do you give the girl who has done so much for so many? A cake bath, of course. She can have the summer too. To sleep in, binge watch some TV shows and to think back on how far she has come in such a young life. Before her journey begins anew.

“It’s like we have done our activism; we have done enough to raise our voice. And I think the next step is now let’s make the change, let’s be the change-makers, let’s get more involved in this”

And to anyone who has a problem with this sentiment? Let ’em eat cake.

 

 

Heroes Of The Week

George Floyd protesters embrace 'taking a knee' for race awareness ...

Yeah, it’s been a minute. I haven’t penned a Friday episode in several weeks, what with my platinum club guest hosts providing their sublime takes . . and then last week. When the world wasn’t making any sense. Again. And it didn’t feel right, to celebrate inside moments that possessed all the subtlety of a powder keg.

But Heroes is a keeping on kind of groove, and when I looked up from my trance I discovered a few stories that got me feeling hopeful all over again. Because as with any journey, you can always find a new beginning.

Imma dedicate this week to my friend Martin.

Texas Residents Defend Their Local Mall After Looting is ...

Peaceful protests across the country have been marred by acts of violence and looting that have coincided with the marches. And as proof that one has nothing to do with the other, a group of Killeen, Texas residents banded together recently to protect their local mall. After organizing a local protest march over the weekend, Reshard Hicks and Jonathan Hildner mobilized seventy five neighbors to stand guard outside Killeen Mall in order to guard against a possible incident.

“We showed everybody that Killeen can do something positive and not be destructive,” Hicks said. “To have somebody come in and ruin all that for us would have been very counter-intuitive to what we are trying to accomplish”

They’ve accomplished so very much already.

All David York and David North are saying is, give peace a chance. No . . check that. They aren’t just uttering those words, they are busy living the best life those words have to offer. This interracial Maryland couple doesn’t stand on convention, because to do such a thing is to remain in place. And for thirty years, these two have been much too busy building a life together to worry about rear view mirror concepts and designs. And during the pandemic, North even took to building a doorway he called the Doorway to Imagination. 

And it had his niece Kimberly Adams so smitten, that she just had to share it in a tweet for all the world to see. Adams is a correspondent for the public radio show Marketplace, and so you can imagine there was some big love going on in the Twitterverse after she did so.

This piece is symbolic of the union that York and North have forged, out of love and respect for one another. Because when they speak on matters of race, their perspective is all about the person rather than the color of their skin. Hate calls for sides to be drawn but love? Well . . love is love.

“And it’s not an argument,” North says. “It’s things that we can discuss because we love one another. And love has a way of dispelling fear. The work of love is more than just the people that we know, but even the people that we don’t know — that we all deserve love. We all deserve respect.”

I choose that door.

(Thank you to the lovely Dale for this beautiful story)

'They saved me': How protesters protected a lone cop, a moment captured in powerful photos

Officer Galen Hinshaw of Louisville, Kentucky found himself in the middle of an angry mob during a protest march recently. The thirty two year old was responding to a call when he removed himself from his cruiser in order to survey the scene. Within moments, he found himself surrounded. His baton, vest, helmet and body armor would be no match considering the fact that he was all alone. So he moved in front of a pizzeria, making sure to keep his back to the wall.

And then help arrived. Not his fellow officers, but rather a small band of protesters who came together and formed a human shield in order to protect Hinshaw. This band of five men consisted of three who were black, one white and one Dominican. Showing up when Hinshaw- who is half Pakistani- needed someone to be there for him. Because it didn’t matter to these five men whether Hinshaw was black or white or chartreuse. All that mattered was that he was a human being.

It’s all that should ever matter.

Chief of Department of the New York City Police, Terence Monahan, hugs an activist.

Us. It’s the hope, the unifying factor that can build bridges if we just took a moment to unplug from all the loudness. It requires that we take a deep breath, and drop any and all preconceived notions, and then just listen. And learn.

Police officers have joined this national movement, and the image I posted above shows Chief of Department of the New York City Police Terence Monahan hugging a protester in NYC. And while a picture is worth a thousand words, it possesses even more possibilities in this instance.

View image on Twitter

And there’s Jeri Williams, the Phoenix Police Chief marching in solidarity with protesters to police headquarters. Because she didn’t content herself with simply hearing the calls for change, she is intent on listening. And learning.

TOPSHOT-US-POLITICS-POLICE-JUSTICE-RACISM

And there you have police officers in Coral Gables, Florida kneeling during a rally in response to the murder of George Floyd . . .

police join protests

And there’s Camden County Police Chief Joseph Wysocki joining protests in Camden, New Jersey . . .

UPDATED:

And the officers who kneeled in front of the Spokane County Courthouse in Spokane, Washington . . .

There is a path forward from here. And it consists of swallowing some inconvenient truths. Because there is little comfort in changing the way things are, but the cost of not taking these steps and making these changes is too high a price to pay any longer. We need to be mindful of that dream my friend Martin had all those many years ago.

A dream deferred, but the hope is still very much alive.

Heroes of the Week – With Guest Host Dale

What makes a hero? - BBC News

Hello, hello!  So nice to be here!  No, no, don’t be checking your calendars. It’s not Wednesday.  It is Friday and Marc was feeling a tad rushed and short on time and mentioned to me that Heroes was going to post late. “Do you want more help?” I asked, sending him another story.  “Or, you could do it,” he volleyed.  “Do you want me to?” I asked.  Stupid question.  Here I am.

This Heroes thing has become rather important to all of us. A bright moment, sharing the good news, amidst all the hate and anger; never more important than now as people are getting more and more aggravated and impatient with the situation. So, shall I stop dilly-dallying and get on with it?

Here in Canada, Tim Horton’s is the top dog when it comes to coffee and doughnuts (donuts, for you folks south of the border from me).  Call it the sort of equivalent to Dunkin’ Donuts, if you will.  While Timmies is a Canadian thing, they can be found in some of the States, including Mr. Sorryless’ very own Pennsylvania so I felt this was a right appropriate story.

Residents in nursing homes are particularly cut off from society with this current situation.  Of course, they are missing their families but they were also missing their sweet treats.  So the staff from the Dr. John M. Gillis Memorial Lodge in Belfast, P.E.I., brought the experience to them, right down to the drive-thru. Check out this video here.

Ryan Reynolds is buying 385 pizzas for Kits grads from Nat's Pizzeria

Ryan Reynolds is not just a pretty Canadian (sorry folks) face. He is funny and generous.  Not only did he and his gorgeous wife, Blake Lively, donate one million dollars to food banks in Canada and the US to help low-income families and vulnerable individuals, suffering during this pandemic, he was also asked to give a commencement speech for this year’s grads from Kitsilano Secondary School, in British Columbia, where he, himself, graduated from.  You can read about it here. Not only was he funny, but he also gave some good advice, and while he was at it, he threw in a pizza for each and every grad.

 

We all know how Marc feels about the Dolphins… And not only are they gonna be a force on the field, eventually, we know it, right, Marc? but some of their players are doing overtime. It’s not only about football for some. It’s about helping because they can.

Albert Wilson, Adrian Colbert, Allen Hurns and Davon Godchaux have all taken it upon themselves to give in their own way.

Colbert, the “Pelaton Don” a safety who played at the University of Miami, is pedaling his way to raise funds for the Jackson Health System through his love of the Peloton.

Godchaux has teamed up with Papa John’s to deliver pizzas to the hospital healthcare workers at Jackson Health.

Wilson knows what life is like in the foster care system, having grown up in said system. The pandemic put a halt to all extra help these kids and caretakers need so his foundation has stepped in.

Hurns, through his 88 Blessings Foundation, is helping the high school students robbed of normal graduation ceremonies because of the coronavirus. They supply celebratory care packages on top of hope, love, motivation and encouragement. He even plans to mentor them as they move forward.

Read the full story, here.

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Nathan Fillion (shoot, another Canadian?) might be known for the shows “Castle” and “The Rookie” but I loved him in the mismanaged-by-Fox-so-cut-short-needlessly fabulous show “Firefly”… but I digress.

Can you imagine? You get to Costco, your card refuses to work, you get all frustrated and the attendant comes by, inserts his own card and pays for your gas. What?  You offer to come back and pay him back and he says no, please, just pay it forward.  Well I’ll be….

So what happens when you are the mother of a celebrity?  Yep, you guessed it, that was Nathan Fillion’s mom that Les Thompson helped and when Nathan found out, he Instagrammed his thank you and said:  “You restore my faith in humanity, sir. My dad and I are sending three iPads and headphones to a nearby senior care facility so that folks there can visit with their families. Right now, we could all stand to be a little less afraid, and a little more Les.” Read the full story and check out the video (that refuses to embed) here,

And finally, when you think of Pirate Radio, what comes to mind? The movie with Philip Seymour Hoffman about wild and illegal radio station on the high seas bringing that “filthy rock and roll” to millions? Welll…. not in this case. Radio Recliner is a pirate radio station run and hosted exclusively by elderly DJs from assisted living communities across the United States. This was supposed to be for one hour per day for thirty days. They became so popular they are up to 18 DJs and even play music on a loop when there is no programming. This is a generation that was raised on radio, how wonderful that they now have this to keep them connected and less lonely during these crazy days.  Full story is right here.

 

The things people do to help others are not always grandiose and extravagant and that’s okay.  They are doing something, anything, within their own power to alleviate the suffering, bring the joy, light a light.  If everyone did that one little thing and passed it on, asking that it be paid forward, what a wonderful world this would be. Grumbling about our current situation, experienced all over the world, is not productive. Let’s show a little patience, a little love, a little kindness. Let’s be better and do something. Anything.

 

Heroes Of The Week

Today's Real Heroes - Focus Financial Advisors

I must start things off by thanking Frank for sitting in for me last week. His take on the week’s heroes was a masterful gem, delivered by the Cincinnati Kid himself. If only his home town Reds could bring it with such aplomb, but that’s another post for another time.

As for this week’s heroes? Welp, I have a serendipitous stew of classics. All good ones, because we need to keep mining for memorable conclusions inside our sheltered existences. A reminder that the great big world outside is still humming a worthwhile tune, delivered up by peeps who understand what matters most of all.

And now for our heroes . . .

Yankees' Giancarlo Stanton donating face shields in wake of family ...First things, Bronx. And while the Yankees haven’t played a game this season, their pinstriped slugger Giancarlo Stanton is still hitting home runs. So far, Stanton has delivered up more than 12,000 face shields to medical professionals in New York and Southern California. He has been working with his agents Joel Wolfe and Brittany Peiffer and Voodoo Manufacturing to get the job done for those individuals on the front lines. Plans for more are currently in the on deck circle, to the tune of 3,000 more face shields. So maybe the MLB gets a season, and maybe they don’t. But Stanton? He’s already getting MVP votes from this writer.

Random act of kindness: Man caught on camera mowing lawn for blind ...

Ann Darby is throwing up her hands and saying to hell with this whole social distancing business. But it’s okay, because her hands ain’t balled up into fists, ready to punch someone’s lights out for taking the last twelve pack of TP. No, Darby is looking for the culprit who did right by a family member recently. It seems a mystery man took to mowing the lawn of Darby’s blind mother, Rebecca. And while the random act of kindness was captured by their Ring doorbell, the good Samaritan is still at large. Because he did this good deed? Just to do this good deed. And maybe Darby ends up finding him through her social media hunt, but maybe this case grows cold. But really, who am I kidding? This story leaves us all with a warm feeling inside. Where it counts most of all.

Police called to Maryland Popeyes 3 times since Sunday, including ...

Don’t get me started on which fast foodie franchise serves up the tastiest chicken sammie, because I’m going with Popeyes every day of the week and twice on Sundays (Since that other chicken sandwicheria doesn’t do Sundays). But there’s so much more to love about Popeyes than their spicy dishes. The restaurant recently announced it will be offering struggling musicians a stage to call their own: In their ads. Those with the time and the rhyme can apply their method to the Popeye’s jingle. And if it’s booms, Popeyes will use it in their national ad campaign. THAT is maximum flavor right there. (Thank you to Screen Chow for the righteous get).

And we have our late inning rally brought to us by the lovely Dale over at A Dalectable Life. Who supplies with not one . . not two . . but three (Yeah, count em) stories that round up this week’s gallery. These three beauties in one help to provide us with the necessary propers inside a pandemic whose uppercut would make the legendary Joe Louis shudder.

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Laurent Duvernay-Tardif reached the top of the sports mountain back in February when the right guard won the Super Bowl with the Kansas City Chiefs. It will be a good story for his grand-kids, to be sure. But it’s not going to be the story of his life, because Laurent is a medical doctor; just the fourth such doctor to ply his wares in the league. And while he hasn’t completed his residency yet, he was given the opportunity to man the front lines when Quebec lifted restrictions on medical students and recent graduates. The dude stepped right up, no questions asked.

“I had already wanted to, but when it’s real, it hits you, the gravity involved. Now, the discussion shifts from ‘I want to go back’ to ‘how am I going to go back?’” he wrote. “I discussed with my girlfriend whether we will continue to sleep in the same bed or live in the same apartment. These conversations made me realize even more the sacrifices that people in health care, on the front line, are making.”

Joannie Rochette: from figure skating to med school – RCI | English

And then there’s Joannie Rochette, a former world class skater whose trophy case includes an Olympic Bronze, a World Silver and six Canadian World Championships. Her mother never got to see her win that bronze medal in Vancouver in 2010, having died of a heart attack a few days prior. But Rochette prevailed on that night, thanks to the lessons her mama taught her. And she just recently graduated from medical school and is off to the front lines to make her difference . . inspired by those very same lessons.

“I always wanted to do this, and that’s why I applied to health sciences when I went to CEGEP. My mom was a nurse’s aide and I went with her to care homes when she went to feed residents,” Rochette says. “The way she saw medicine, and doctors, is really what brought me here.”

Hayley Wickenheiser poses for a photograph with volunteers during a donation drive for personal protective...

And finally, we have Hayley Wickenheiser, a four time Olympic gold medalist in hockey for the Canadian national team. She’s widely considered the greatest female hockey player in her country’s history, but it’s what she has accomplished away from the ice that lands her in this spot.

Wickenheiser is a dynamo, having worked as an assistant director of player personnel for the Toronto Maple Leafs since 2018. And oh yeah . . she just so happens to be graduating from medical school this summer. She was working on an ER rotation in Toronto when COVID-19 hit, and has been digging in her skates ever since; coordinating PPE supply drives across Canada.

“It has forced us all, I think, to reevaluate what’s important moving forward. Also just how important being prepared is. I think it just highlights all the areas we forget about in life. But you’re grateful, also, for not having to live on the street or struggle through. Just an overall feeling of gratitude.”

Three kids, whose dreams got put to work inside this wickedly mysterious time. Their steps are simple, precious things, far removed from the roar of those sporting arenas that made them household names. But it’s inside the quiet of their future lives that their most impactful differences are happening. And maybe there’s no box-scores or trophies or trips to Disney World that come with these brave new worlds. But the answers to the questions, those are more abundant than ever. And they’ll push forward in relative anonymity, in spite of the very real dangers. And they’ll do so for the most beautiful reason of all.

Because they can.

 

 

 

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Edition of Heroes

Embed from Getty Images

 

Although I last posted in early February, I haven’t written a blog post since January – let alone put something together on the fly. Then again, the tales of The Painted Lady are the exception.

This past Wednesday evening, Marc invited me to write this Heroes edition. How in the hell is a guy who hasn’t written in so long supposed to write something in place of the host who can write better than most of us on his first draft while asleep?

For full disclosure, I submitted so many heroes for this week, I promoted an idea to Marc for an all-Frank edition of heroes. Unforeseen by me, he turned the tables on me by returning the pile to my lap – and Imma not a talkin’ hemorrhoid piles from sitting on my keister.

What do you get when a newspaper delivery guy, a mailman, and a lady in a Subaru meet a property manager for a meal outside a restaurant that isn’t open because of COVID-19? Yep – the Whiskey Tango Foxtrot edition of Heroes.

My peeps who remember me know that I firmly believe the majority of the world is good. Oh yes – plenty of assholes exist, including the regular ass hats that find their way into the daily news. But the good of the world’s majority is the light of humanity.

Bruno Serato of Anaheim CA is a celebrity chef, restaurant owner, and long-time giver. Since coming to America with $200 in his pocket, he is a self-made success story. He has achieved more acclaim for his long history of feeding unprivileged kids than his highly successful restaurant. Unfortunately, in 2017 a fire destroyed his restaurant – but he kept giving. COVID-19 has pushed him close to bankruptcy, but he keeps on giving meals to the needy because it is his true passion. Watch this short video for yourself.

 

Kyle West is my local connection – a 23-year-old mail carrier in Cincinnati, Ohio. On his daily route of 400 customers, he smiles and talks to them. With COVID-19 changing people’s lives, Kyle included a personal note in each stack of mail. “If you are at risk and need help getting essential items, let me know. I will do what I can to help. Sincerely, Mailman Kyle.” The number of requests surprised him and he surprised them all with action. Here’s a short report from a local television station.

 

Greg Dailey delivers newspapers to home subscribers in his central New Jersey town. A subscriber requested he toss the paper closer to the house. He obliged, then an idea came to him – so (like Mailman Kyle) he wrote a note and included it in the paper. “I would like to offer my service free of charge to anyone who needs groceries.” People called – then more people – customers and noncustomers – and he did what he offered. Watch this short video.

 

Larry Connor owns a company in nearby Dayton, Ohio. The Connor Group owns and manages luxury apartments around the country. Two of Connor Group’s core values are doing the right thing and the belief that people count. Larry’s success has made him a shit-pot full of money. COVID-19‘s economic impact on people has been profound, yet Larry has made more money on the stock market. He thought about the money and the economic situation. Then called a Zoom meeting of employees – and yes – gave it away. Check out the short video.

 

Mary’s story is not directly related to COVID-19, but it is about goodness. While distraught from the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Mary Latham and a friend decided to collect stories about good deeds and post them on a website. Her mother’s illness suddenly turned for the worse. That day she also received a story about a person who lost both parents – then her mother died within two weeks – and that’s when she decided to drive around the country collecting stories about goodness that she would put together into a book to be placed in hospital waiting rooms. Three years later, she returned home from her journey with her stories about that goodness that she knew was out there. But she also returned with many surprises – the goodness that people did for her. Here’s the story I first learned about Mary, plus a short video made during her journey.

 

Keep smiling, have a good week, and thanks for reading. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Truth isn’t just stranger than fiction, it’s dumber too

You know that scene in every other action movie, where the protagonist turns to no one in particular and says “You just don’t get it, do you?”. After which a terminally ill sounding musical score draws the curtains on a formulaic ending? That’s how most of us are low riding this pandemic through the springtime, as we ponder how in the hell some people can fuck up a glass of water’s worth of logic.

Oscar Wilde once said of the truth that it’s never pure and rarely simple. Hell if he wasn’t onto something . . . .

  • Social distancing equals six feet. It does not mean you ride up on my ass in the grocery store checkout line. I mean, if you’re gonna get that close to me? I need flowers and a nice dinner first.
  • I haven’t watched the wildly popular The Last Dance on ESPN yet, because I cut out cable in January. But I have an idea for all the sports ‘journalists’ opining on whether Jordan would make it in today’s game or if LBJ would make it back in the ’90’s. Pray for live games, because y’all can’t figure your way out of a paper bag without em. Jordan and LBJ would excel in any era, because they would be products of . . that . .  time. Greatness is an adaptation,  so please stop snow-globing these hypothetical scenarios.
  • The vacuum of leadership in Washington got me to thinking on Doris Goodwin Kearns’s book, Team of Rivals. And so when I read how Mitch McConnell wants the Senate to get back to business so’s he can hold confirmation hearings for federal judges, because he wants to lay conservative brick? While at the same time bemoaning his lack of suction in the most recent virus-response bill? Well now, M&M doesn’t have a clue as to how out of touch he looks. What I would give for Abe Lincoln to get five minutes in a room with this guy, just so’s he can set him straight on what strength and vision is supposed to look like.
  • So we’re straight on this “opening the country” business. There’s gonna be some deft maneuvering necessary by state and local leaders. One researcher told the New York Times that if the pandemic were a baseball game, “it would be the second inning”. So yanno, plan accordingly.
  • And because we don’t have enough to worry about, now comes word that Asian giant hornets have landed in the states. Also called “Murder Hornets” (how charming), these winged fuckers decapitate honey bees and pose a serious danger to humans. I mean . . . what’s next?
  • Nicolas Cage is going to play the Tiger King himself, Joe Exotic, in an eight episode series coming soon. I have two questions: Number one, do we really need this shit? And my second question is, where can I watch it?
  • Kate Beckinsale is in love. Get back to me on Friday with how it works out.
  • It appears Fifty Cent and Oprah are feuding. And apologies to Mr Fifty, but I highly doubt Oprah is aware of it.
  • Todd Bridges was trending on Twitter over the weekend, and no . . not because he’s dead. It seems his role in a Little House in the Prairie episode like, a hundred years ago, captured the imagination of the Twitterati. Which has me wondering, when they were trying to come up with a name for the site, why didn’t they just call Twitter “Slow News Day”? Makes more sense.
  • I don’t know what’s more concerning to humankind: COVID-19, or the fact that Kristin Cavallari and Jay Cutler are parents.

And coming up in next week’s news cycle of What in the Blessed Hell . . .Trump insists he uses Cialis for high blood pressure. Fox News touts heroin as a possible COVID-19 wonder drug. And the New England Patriots are decommissioned by the NRC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heroes Of The Week

Brief Synopsis for Marvel's SHE-HULK Series Teases the Involvement ...

So it seems we are getting ever closer to whatever it is we’re supposed to become on the flip side of our collective house arrest. As far as normalcy goes, I’ll know we’ve achieved it when I see Dr Fauci hosting his own talk show . . .

As for the news of the week? The NFL draft shattered all kinds of records seeing as how it was the first live ‘sporting event’ since the Oscars. Speaking of sporting events, Jay Cutler and Kristin Cavallari’s impending divorce will be coming to a cable show near you. Oh, and North Korea is busy going “Weekend at Bernies” on the rest of the world, because the thought of losing Kim Jong Un would just be too much for us to take right . . um, now.

Thankfully, we got heroes . . .

Jay Leno Produces 3D-Printed Masks For First Responders ...

I already knew that former Tonight Show host Jay Leno was a car freak, but I didn’t realize he had plenty of heart to go along with all that horse power. Leno has been devoting his garage to another kind of work this month: He’s got a couple 3-D printers working round the clock, producing clear plastic shields for health care workers. He delivers them to local fire departments, who then disperse them to first responders and hospital workers.

“It’s great to feel like you’re part of something and sort of helping out—not just having food delivered every five minutes.” He says.

All this time later and the dude is still killing it.

BC Boy Turns Lemons into Laughter

And while we’re on the subject of late night talk show hosts, I got some future stock you might want to invest in. The kid’s name is Callaghan McLaughlin and he’s six years old, so he’s already got the jump on a great name and plenty of years with which to hone his craft. Which he’s been doing ever since the quarantine went into effect.

In lieu of lemonade, this six year old kid has set up a joke stand at the end of his driveway in Saanich, British Columbia. He charges nada for the jokes, because he wants his friends and neighbors to save their money for the important stuff. But I mean, what’s more important than a sense of humor these days? So it’s really cool that Ryan Reynolds took notice recently, and sent some props and attention his way. Because when life hands you a lemonade stand, you might as well make sunshine.

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With traveling having taken an extended hiatus this spring, there were plenty of petal pilgrims who missed out on the legendary tulip fields in the Netherlands. So in order to give those would be travelers their flowery fix, the peeps at Dutch Daffodils (a family owned flower farm) and Tulips in Holland (a travel blog) teamed up to create something beautiful. The above image is what they came up with. So when you look up the term ‘labor of love’ in the dictionary, I’m pretty sure that’s the pic that accompanies it.

This High School Principal Turned To Art To Celebrate Her ...

The lovely Dale over at A Dalectable Life chimes in with the story of a high school principal in Graceville, Florida who came up with an ingenuous way to celebrate her senior class. Since Farica West wasn’t going to be able to deliver up a graduation for these kids, she decided to do the next best social distancing thing. Yep, she lined the driveway of the Poplar Springs High School campus with each graduating student’s photograph in order to commemorate their big day.

“I don’t think she could’ve done it any more perfect, it’s a wonderful idea and very thoughtful,” said one senior student Peyton Brannan. “Instead of remembering I didn’t get the end to the senior year I wanted, they’ll remember my picture was right there and my grandma saw it, and my dad saw it, and my mom saw it. I got my picture made by my banner and they’ll bring back a smile to their face instead of an empty spot,”

It’s a best case scenario to an unfortunate situation, made possible with some creativity and a whole lot of heart and soul.

Woman 'showing kindness still exists' after 8 family members die ...

If you’re looking for an adrenaline shot that helps chase away some of the gloom and doom we’ve been living through, Imma give you Shana Jones. Because her story is about getting knocked down, time and time and time again, and getting up each and every time. It’s about how the human spirit is the tallest edifice known to humankind, and its deepest ocean.

Because it’s easy to look at all the things you do not get to do and have and experience. That’s the easy part. But to just take a moment to be thankful for what you do have? And then, to give something back, from a well that life has bled dry? Well, that’s how memorable stories get told. And Shana . . she has one alright.

The woman’s life has been its own personal ground zero since COVID-19 began its horrible reign stateside. Jones has lost an aunt and uncle, as well as four cousins, a close family friend and a church member who was like a second mother to Jones. Eight souls, stolen away from her by this merciless thing.

Plenty of people would have locked the door and thrown away the key to the outside world, but not this woman. Instead, she began setting up shop for her friends and neighbors outside of her residence: A couple tables stocked with canned goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, cereal and toilet paper. People were free to take what they needed, at no cost. And Jones did this out of her own pocket, in spite of the fact she has Lupus, and can’t work because of the risk factor involved in doing so.

And then the angels, they began warming up in the bullpen for Shana Jones. Whispers became talk became community involvement, and before long, her tables were being stocked with goods by people from the neighborhood . . and all over St. Louis. When her spirits ebbed, these small reminders prevailed upon her to meet every morning with the best she could muster. The thank you notes she receives, they helped too.

“Every time I get a note,” Jones said, “I feel that the angel of one of my family members or friends is saying, ‘Well done.'”

Amen to that.

 

Heroes Of The Week

Protests erupt again over coronavirus shelter-in-place orders ...

The image stapled to this week’s homework assignment is a sign of the times. It’s where we currently find ourselves in a country that could not wait to politicize a dark moment in world history. We do not receive our grace period this time, nope. Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling this post. But it still happens, because it’s Friday.

And thanks to Frank, I had a way in. So a big thank you goes out to the scientists and doctors and nurses and EMT’s and all medical personnel for showing us what humanity is supposed to look like.

The Browns' new uniforms are a sign they're making good decisions ...

Shout out to the Cleveland Browns, who might not do much winning on the field (Sorry Browns fans, but you know it’s true) but who are winning big off of it. The team unveiled some new uniforms last week, after which they announced that all net proceeds from  uniform sales will be donated to COVID-19 relief efforts in the Cleveland area. Lots of teams have gotten fat on their threads count, but these guys are making sure to give something back.

Keeping Up With The Kardashians: Kylie Jenner opens up to Khloe ...

What you’re about to read, well . . it doesn’t happen every day. The Kardashians have arrived at this Friday spot, and there’s not a whit of satire in the doing. And it’s thanks to Khloe K and the most fruitful shopping trip the reality family has had in quite some time. It seems that she has been frequenting groceries all over Los Angeles and paying the tabs of the elderly customers. She’s also provided gift cards for more than two hundred employees during her goodwill missions. And last month, little sister Kylie donated $1 million to the purchase of protective gear for first responders. These gals are putting their money where a lot of politicians mouths are, and good for them. Good for all of us, really.

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One minute, Bevin Strickland of High Point, North Carolina was sitting on her sofa watching constantly changing news reports about the coronavirus and the next? She was right smack dab on the front lines. This forty seven year old nurse is working at Mt Sinai in Queens, New York; which just so happens to be ground zero for the state’s coronavirus outbreak. She is currently working with the sickest patients, and if that wasn’t enough, she’s planning on donating every penny she makes (after expenses) to the Mount Sinai support staff.

“Somebody’s gotta help,” Bevin said. “What if we all said we couldn’t handle it and we couldn’t do it? You know, what if everybody said that?”

This woman is what my Friday episodes are all about.

(And a big shout out to Frank for gifting me this story).

Jeanna Barbieri works as an ER nurse at Lowell General Hospital in Massachusetts, but she’s been moonlighting recently as a guardian angel. Barbieri figured her way around the no-visitor policy at Lowell when she began bringing in family photographs for the patients. And what started out as a simple idea, grew.

“Just to see how excited they were to have that piece of comfort with him, it made me realize I want to do more of that,” Barbieri said. “I never imagined in a million years it would turn into anything other than a small project.”

Well, grow it did. With a dedicated email address and a social media hashtag, #picturesforpatients, Jeanna has made twenty two photograph deliveries thus far. And this labor of love isn’t just helping the patients through this trying time, it’s been a Godsend for the medical staff as well. It’s like leaving a light on, to let them know the world is still there.

French lab scientists working on potentially infected patient samples at the Pasteur Institute in Paris in February.

This week’s wrap isn’t gonna focus on one particular individual, but rather, on the countless heroes around the world who are busy putting their knowledge, skills and passion to the ultimate test. Read this article from the New York Times if you can, because it focuses on the peeps who don’t get the pub they truly deserve. The scientists, from around the globe, who have forged an impenetrable alliance inside these tenuously political times.

“I never hear scientists — true scientists, good quality scientists — speak in terms of nationality,” said Dr. Francesco Perrone, who is leading a coronavirus clinical trial in Italy. “My nation, your nation. My language, your language. My geographic location, your geographic location. This is something that is really distant from true top-level scientists.”

That’s because patriotic ideals ain’t gonna save us now, or provide hope in the event another outbreak truly is on the horizon. But science will eventually find a way, because there are no walls or borders keeping it from its appointed task. See, these folks have a very different agenda. They’re not running for office or anointing themselves as patriots on some Op-Ed cable show and they don’t have a late night monologue with which they can introduce themselves. They answer not to one person, but to every person.

All of us.

 

All That Flitters Is Not Gold

I think it’s important to see the good in things. But it’s not a spiritual deal breaker if you can’t bring yourself to do so all the time. Because as with everything in life, there is context.

Take for instance, Trump’s daily press conferences, which feel as if they’re being underwritten by the WWE. COVID-19 has King Minus back at the podium after an extended break, because yanno . . the pandemic didn’t have enough polarity as it was. I call it Kerosene Theater, because to call it absurd would be a disservice to Samuel Beckett. Tuning in will kill your brain cells faster than a batch of OG Kush, unless Anthony Fauci happens to make the scene. I only wish word bubbles were a real thing, because Fauci’s thoughts must read like a George Carlin skit. 

If you’ve been in a coma since 2016, check out one of these pressers, because it will let you know what’s been going on in a nutshell (emphasis on nut). When I think about where we are as a country, the Janis Joplin song Me and Bobby McG gets to stepping through my brain . . .

Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose. 

No shit JJ.

Seriously, if the Declaration of Independence were signed in 2020, it would happen in a shopping mall. Such is the skewed variation of truth we’ve come to accept. Not to mention an indivisible pledge that once promised liberty and justice for all. Truth got sample sized in the Clintonian Era, Liberty became incorporated in the W years and Justice is currently getting bumper stickered into obsolescence by brand-mothers and freedom fighting fathers who are on a mission from God. No, not the God mentioned in The Blues Brothers- who was all about R&B, car chases and lying to your hot girlfriend. Nope, these new age defenders of the constitution believe in wearing their guns and developing a portal that delivers them back to 1955, tout de suite. Their plan is to bottle up all the great shit that was going on back there and bring it here, after which they’ll crop dust the fuck out of us.

So it’s no surprise, given the political climate change we’ve experienced over the last three and a half years, that we have groups like Ammon Bundy’s Liberty Rebellion rising up through the cracks, everywhere. From Idaho to Islip and the Twin Cities to Tampa Bay, these peeps are storming government buildings with the goal to take back their freedom of movement, coronavirus be damned. And so what if the US has three quarters of a million confirmed cases and more than forty two thousand casualties. Give us beaches and Applebee’s or give us death!

They vow to go all Rambo on COVID-19 with a game plan that’s simpler than Paris Hilton’s diary. They insist that we must get back to business as usual . . or the virus wins. Mind you, it ain’t gonna be easy to win this particular war on terror since the virus doesn’t have an accent or run a convenience store. Hell, we might actually have to depend on science to see us through.

The protesters are trying to high-jack common sense by insisting that our freedoms are in great peril as a result of the quarantine, whilst never minding the grim tote board. They’re a blight to the legacy of founding fathers who endeavored for the greater good and understood that democracy is not a win at all costs theorem. It’s actually much more advanced than that kind of box-score logic. Because it asks us to aim our differences in a general direction, so that we may arrive at an eventual consensus.

Instead, these peeps shout down the truth of the matter, which is that the quarantine works. They ignore the fact that when large groups have gathered together since the virus began to spread, bad things followed. And not for nothing, but quoting Jefferson in relation to the current pandemic is akin to slapping a number on the side of a team of oxen and thinking they could win the Daytona 500.

If you come across one of these Fox News patriots, ask them to double down on the six foot social distance rule. And then be sure to let them know the man who penned the Pledge of Allegiance- Francis Bellamy- was in fact, a socialist.

Marty McFly called. He wants his time machine back.

Heroes Of The Week

Meet the Heroes of the Front Lines of the Coronavirus Fight | TIME

Another week, another six degrees of non-pharmaceutical separation. And while we continue to affix ourselves to the new normal, we hold to the light at the end of this long and strange trip. Because, we can.

And now to the heroes, who just keep showing up . . . .

John Krasinski, David Ortiz announce Red Sox tickets for life to ...

I kick things off with those stinking Red Sawx from up Boston way, who are busy winning off the field these days. David “Big Papi” Ortiz and John “The Office” Krasinski recently presented a group of healthcare workers from Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center with Boston Red Sox season tickets. For life. This is no small deal, considering that Krasinski has been on the waiting list for sixteen years himself. But according to Ortiz, it’s the least they could do for the people who put their lives on the line every single day. Even this Yankees fan can agree with him on that one.

Coronavirus: Clippers owner Steve Ballmer to donate $25 million to ...

Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer has a knack for drawing up a winning formula. He tripled sales at Microsoft after taking over for Bill Gates, and then he threw his elbows into the Association and turned an also ran franchise into a title contender. He’s got the knack for drawing up winning game plans, and so his pledge of $25 million to coronavirus aid and vaccine research is good news at a time when we really could use some.

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The restaurant industry has been hit hard and yet I read stories all the time about how restaurateurs are making it through with equal parts guts and guile. But this next story, well . . it brought me to tears. Five chefs out of Detroit decided to pool their unused stocks and come up with dishes for the city’s homeless population.

“I didn’t want to see that product go to waste,” Explains Chef Maxcel Hardy of Coop Caribbean Fusion. Which was exactly what was going to happen after he was forced to shut his doors. So Hardy began by distributing the unused food to his staff, but he found there was plenty more where that came from. So he got together with four other local chefs and they dished up a life changing idea. To feed those who will otherwise go without. 

Compassion is one ingredient society cannot afford to run out of.

War veteran Captain Tom raises millions for health workers | News ...

Tom Moore is celebrating his 100th birthday on April 30th, and he’s currently in training for the day in which he makes it to the century mark. The Captain was born in West Yorkshire, England and has always been an active fella. Moore trained as a civil engineer before enlisting in the Army during World War II. He achieved the rank of captain and traveled to locales such as India and Burma while in the service. And now, more than seventy years later, he’s at it again.

He had the idea to complete one hundred lengths of his garden in Bedfordshire and raise some money in the doing. Moore was looking to raise one thousand pounds to benefit the charities of the National Health Service of England, as his way of saying thank you to the staff for treating his broken hip. When word of his fundraiser got out, donations poured in. And with less than two weeks to his big day, Moore has completed the one hundred lengths and smashed his target goal . . by more than twelve million pounds. One thing is certain . . this kid’s got game! (A big thank you to Cathy from Facebook (Via Dale) for this get.

Teacher stunned by response to quarantine video: 'I can't believe ...

Kathleen McColaugh is a Spanish teacher at Addison Trail High School in Addison, Illinois. Like teachers across the country, McColaugh’s classroom has gone virtual since schools were shuttered as a result of the pandemic. And while the new normal presents its fair share of challenges for teachers and students alike, she’s making sure to keep the social alive and well in spite of the distance.

Teacher decided to have some fun with her virtual class recently by speaking in code, and it went something like this . . .

“Just to let you know, the McColaugh family, we’re all here together in the house, and we are having a great time!” she said while holding up a sign that read “Help!”

But she wasn’t done there, nope.

“Everyone here is just wonderful. We’re getting up every morning and we’re just so fortunate with how well we all get along, and we’re just spending so much time together, it’s just been really great” McColaugh continued, after which she held up another sign that read. “They are here, they can hear me.”

And so it went, as the kids howled in delight at this unexpected break from their studies, not to mention a much welcomed vacation from worrying over what comes next in a world that continues to deal up more questions than answers.

It was the kind of connection that told the distance to play hooky.