Heroes Of The Week!

It’s never a bad time to be saying Hello Dolly, so thank you to the lovely Dale for this latest get on the legendary mistress of all things melodic. The country music legend is headlining this week’s episode because she represents that light at the end of the tunnel I’ve been writing about for . . get this . . . almost a year now. Yeah.

This week, Dolly received a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine she had been so instrumental in bringing to market. The money mama didn’t get preferential treatment for helping to fund research though, seeing as how she had been waiting on it since December. But no matter, because when it was her turn to go under the needle, she was there with bells on. And a song to boot. She sang a little rebooted ditty for the occasion, a down home take on her classic “Jolene”, subbing it with . . you guessed it, vaccine.

“I’ve been waiting a while,” Parton said. “I’m old enough to get it and I’m smart enough to get it.”

Bless her heart. No . . I mean it. Bless her heart.

Drew Brees' Intense Work Out, and New Hair, SparkReturn Rumors

This ain’t necessarily heroic or zeroic (a word I can only use on Fridays) but I feel it must be mentioned here, since it leans more to the latter. I’ve had the shits of this current trend among athletes who post vague messages on social media instead of just coming out with it. Two quick examples are Deshaun Watson tweeting “Loyalty is everything, don’t you EVER forget it” to the Texans when “Get me the fuck out of here or I will sit!” would have done just fine. And then there’s Drew Brees’ trainer posting a video of the quarterback pushing a weighted sled, hinting that maybe Brees ain’t done quite yet. Why not something like “I pretty much suck now but I’m coming back to make another thirty million . . somewhere, . . next year!” instead? Stop acting like mall girls, and just get to the point fellas!

Creighton's basketball coach used a racist and dumb analogy after a loss - SBNation.com

Creighton basketball coach Greg McDermott is the latest smart guy to say a dumb thing. Following a recent loss, McDermott implored his kids to stay the course with a Knute Rockhead pep talk that went exactly like this.

“Guys, we got to stick together. We need both feet in. I need everybody to stay on the plantation. I can’t have anybody leave the plantation.”

There are a million right ways to rally a team, and somehow coach still screwed the lesson plan up with this one. But credit his team for not asking him to resign, because the narrative would’ve been twisted into how the athletes have too much power in such matters. And then we’d have lost the chance to ask why the millionaires club of collegiate coaches has been given so much of it.

Alex Trebek muskox

Dale is at it again, gifting us with this next story about the late Alex Trebek. When she asked if maybe it was too soon for another Trebek story, I told her “If Kyrie can go back to back on these pages, so can Alex”, because of course he can. And will.

The image above shows Trebek visiting a muskox farm in Palmer, Alaska. Trebek became involved with the non-profit organization more than thirty years ago after its former executive director reached out to the game show host upon learning that the muskox was his favorite animal. Thus began a relationship that would last more than thirty years, with Trebek visiting the farm on several occasions. Aside from financial donations, Trebek also made certain to sign every adoption certificate for the Friends of the Musk Ox program. He became known as the “herd godfather”, and for good reason.

To all God’s creatures great and small, Alex Trebek always provided. Tell you what, the Angels have one hell of a lineup with that guy batting cleanup.

We head to the Windy City for this capo de tutti capper of a story that got all tangled up in my feels when I read it. It’s the story of a man whose passion is coffee but whose purpose colors way outside those lines.

Pete Thomas runs Pilot Pete’s, a coffeehouse that has been voted Chicago’s best cuppa a few times over, which is impressive as hell considering how serious those peeps take their java. And that would be plenty ’nuff for most business owners, but not so much with this guy. Because to his way of thinking, success is a light meant to be shared.

So he gives his time to a homeless population whose concerns go far beyond masks and limited capacity seating and vaccines. Pete Thomas comes bearing gifts . . from coffee and water to pastries and blankets and coats. Anything they need, he’s got their backs. (I dare you to watch the above video without shedding a tear).

His mom says this is the same kid he’s always been. Inclusive and compassionate and yearning to make a positive difference in all the places that need it most. And for all the unfair things this world throws at us, here’s proof of God’s existence. I mean, he gave this magnificent mama a daily front row seat to the harmony of a soul she helped write into being.

Stories like this remind me that the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t the only light we have, not by a long shot. And maybe all the vicious haymakers the fates have been handing up to a great big world full of true believers doesn’t stand a chance after all. Not when we have people like Pete Thomas on our side.

It reminds me of a scene from a favorite show of mine from back in the day. It involved a band of misfit souls getting pinned into a corner in what looks to be their last stand. Left to the darkness of a wicked fate, with little chance of finding their way out, their fearless leader, Sheriff Rick, lets them know what he thinks of those wicked fates.

They messed with the wrong people.

Heroes Of The Week!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heroes Of The Week!

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

And now to our heroes . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Heroes Of The Week!

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

Let’s get to this week’s roster . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s remember this every time we vote.

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

That’s where the kids come in.

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

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

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

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

All of them.

 

 

 

 

Heroes Of The Week!

How HBO's 'Watchmen' Captures the Spirit of the Graphic Novel | The Mary Sue

Welcome to the intersection of Friday and good times, as we get ready to raise the roof with yet another roster full of mostly good, with just a touch of grumble. The former allows us the inspiration that is oftentimes found in the most hard to reach places. The latter provides us the necessary perspective by letting us know that the journey has obstacles, but that they won’t alter our destination. Not one bit.

And now to the lineup . . .

Chick-Fil-A manager speeds up drive-thru vaccine line in South Carolina

First up is yet another front line worker who was called upon to serve, and rose so far above the occasion, the FAA should’ve been called in. A vaccination program being conducted at Seacoast Church in Mount Pleasant, S.C. ran into computer issues, resulting in massive delays to their line. So Mayor Will Haynie called in a guy who knows how to work lines like nobody’s business. His name is Jerry Walkowiak and he’s the manager at the local Chick-fil-A. He was able to cut the wait time from one hour to fifteen minutes.

“He actually got there before I did,” Haynie says. “He was standing there. He was moving people along.”

That’s what’s called thinking outside the Styrofoam box.

Hockey game breaks out after 40-car pileup outside Montreal

Dale from A Dalectable Life has solved the riddle with this next story. You know why Canadians are renowned for their world famous ‘nice’ gene? Because you can’t spell nice without the ice. And so what do a bunch of motorists do when they’re stuck in traffic on Highway 40 outside of Montreal? They start a pickup hockey game, of course!

A 75 car pile-up closed the road for several hours, so rather than sit on their hands and listen to Welcome to the Jungle twenty seven times, they took to the ice and dropped puck. With nowhere to go and all day to get there, these peeps made a stretch of frozen road their own personal Montreal Forum (Sorry, but it’s always going to be the Forum to this American).

Let this be a lesson to you, kids. When life hands you lemons, grab your hockey sticks and play.

Juliana Carlos aka Courtside Karen Calls LeBron a P*ssy, Says She's 25 and Not a Gold Digger Even Though Her Husband is 60+ | BlackSportsOnline

We head back to the Association for this classic, and nope, it’s not Kyrie again. This next story involves Juliana Carlos. You might be asking who? And you’re not alone. I’m STILL wondering who in the hell this woman is and I READ the article. She’s a pseudo-curiosity who appears on Real Housewives of Atlanta, and really, can someone please explain to me what purpose these shows have? I mean, other than keeping P.F. Chang’s in business?

So Ms. Carlos and her husband started hurling obscenities at Lebron James when the Lakers were in town this week and that right there is her claim to fame; being included in the same sentence with Lebron James. To her credit, Carlos has since apologized. Like, a real deal apology where she owned her shit. But since I wasted thirty seconds of my life reading this article, I figure you guys can too.

Stacy Milrany and her Little Free Art Gallery.

Thank God for art, and artists. Without which, the world would be a monochromatic wasteland befitting Orwell’s worst nightmares. Stacy Milrany is proof of God’s existence, in loving color. The Seattle artist has taken to gifting her neighborhood of Queen Anne with a miniature art gallery. Her first “show” was in December, with a painting she titled “Cat Hair”.

The idea was inspired by the Little Free Library, which offers book-sharing boxes. Milrany’s gallery is also an interactive sharing space where people from the neighborhood can connect. She says the idea was born out of a need to fill the void left by a pandemic. Neighbors are encouraged to take art if it speaks to them, which they have done. Others have left art, even though it is not a requirement to do so. In a month’s time, more than 100 works of art have gone on display.

One of Milrany's own pieces, titled "MLK," featured in her mini art gallery on MLK Day.

“It makes me feel like I’m helping in some kind of way, especially at a time when loneliness multiplied in the past year because of the pandemic,” Milrany says. “It’s getting people to go out to see what their neighbors are contributing, and people who put their own artwork that gets claimed know somebody has enjoyed their little masterpiece.”

Van Gogh believed that great things are accomplished when small things are brought together. There’s a neighborhood in Seattle that’s proving him right.

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I’m icing the top of this too cool for school cake with Katalin Karikó. And if you don’t recognize the name- I didn’t- it might be time to read up. Because it’s in thanks to the dogged persistence of this biochemist that there is a COVID-19 vaccine.

When Karikó arrived in this country, she had $1,200 to her name. As with so many immigrants, she also had a dream. It was the kind of dream that only gets to stepping once you roll up your sleeves and put in the time to achieve it. Brilliance is nothing without persistence, and when you add compassion to that mix, well, that’s where people like Karikó come from.

She spent decades developing mRNA and RNA technologies that have become the foundation for countless life saving treatments. As a result she’s received more than 12,000 academic citations.  But this senior vice-president of  the German pharmaceutical giant BioNTech didn’t get to regale in a cupcake party procession to get to this day.

In the mid-eighties, she transferred to Penn University to continue her research. It should have been the next big step in her journey but instead it became a period fraught with so many obstacles that she began to doubt herself. The research she had made her life’s work was considered too risky, resulting in one failed grant application after another. She spent ten years trying to break through that wall and her reward? She was demoted. Shortly after the demotion she was diagnosed with cancer.

Things began to take a turn when she found a kindred soul in Drew Weissman and she was finally able to receive a patent for her mRNA technology in 2012. After butting heads some more with the suits at Penn, she took a job with BioNTech, For all her brilliance, persistence and compassion, she might have a Nobel Prize waiting for her at the end of all this but she’s not content to celebrate until the pandemic goes rearview. And so this is the part of the story where yours truly is going to editorialize just a tad bit by pointing out that the vaccine for COVID-19 was brought to market by immigrants. Immigrants whose allegiance is not to any one country, but to the world.

What a concept.

 

 

 

 

 

Heroes Of The Week! (Super Bowl Edition)

Patrick Mahomes Is Conquering the NFL - WSJ

Can you believe January is almost gone? It just goes to show, time flies when you settle into a normalized way of doing business. Unless you’re one of those fun bunch investors who didn’t pass go with Game Stop stock until it went Yahtzee. And for their next trick, a Reddit group is going to buy the Green Bay Packers and sell Aaron Rodgers to Fox Sports.

Let’s get to the lineup . . .

We begin with the floor of this week’s episode and it comes out of Seattle. The Seahawks football team has offered yet further proof of just how out of touch the NFL still is when it comes to domestic violence. Their offensive lineman Chad Wheeler was arrested this week and charged with felony assault after strangling his girlfriend to the point where she lost consciousness. When she awoke, he expressed dismay at the fact she was still alive. The Seahawks response on Twitter? Nothing short of sickening.

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To be “saddened” rather than disgusted? And later to reference the fact that Wheeler is diagnosed as bi-polar by giving out a phone number? No and hell no. On that second count, his diagnosis has nothing to do with the criminal act he perpetrated on a defenseless woman. So let’s stop taking any team’s word for it when they promise to do right by families and women. They’re a corporate enterprise interested in their bottom line, and so once Wheeler has done his time, he’ll be a free agent. Remember that.

NFL Network's Nate Burleson talks Chad Wheeler arrest on air - Sports Illustrated

Conversely, big props to Nate Burleson of the NFL Network for going off script during a recent telecast and mentioning the Wheeler incident. It wasn’t a part of the show, until Burleson made it a part of the show. This wasn’t a small deal, to break from football talk on the league’s network and tackle a subject the league is still fumbling.

“It was heavy on my heart. As I was going through the show, I thought, ‘We haven’t touched on it and it’s been a couple of days.’ I wanted to make sure we handle every situation like this the same across the board,”

It’s a big deal, and it took a big man to stand up and not be silent. Thank you Mr. Burleson.

Vegan NBA Star Kyrie Irving Buys George Floyd's Family a House | VegNews

Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets has made it a three-peat at Heroes, becoming the first individual to make three straight appearances. Only this time, it’s for all the right reasons. He recently bought the family of George Floyd a home. The dude gives a lot of himself to others without advertising it and so of course he downplayed his beautiful deed by calling it his “service” to those in need. I call it a young man’s best self showing up when others need it most.

Reports: Gary Andersen headed back to Utah State

Head coach Gary Andersen was fired by Utah State last November, with $2.7 million remaining on his contract. Which meant coach was looking at a cool nine hundred thousand graham crackers a year for the next three years to not coach the Aggies. He could’ve booked passage on a month long cruise, or taken a European vacation, or even splurged on a couple court-side seats to a Lakers game. Instead, he told the school to keep their money.

“Waiving my contract is the correct decision and enables the young men and the program to move forward and concentrate on the rest of this season,” Andersen said. “Coaching is not about the mighty dollar. It is about teaching and putting young men in a position to succeed on and off the field. Success comes when all parties involved are moving in the same direction.”

Heroic? Probably not. Stoic? Absolutely. And with public institutions feeling the crunch nationwide, Andersen has done his part. (Big thank you to Frank “Beach Walks” Angle for this get).

6-Year-Old Lily Adeleye is the Youngest CEO to Have Products on Target Shelves

Dale over at A Dalectable Life chimed in with this beauty of a story about a CEO who’s got product on the shelves at Target. Oh yeah, and she’s all of six years old.

Lily Adeleye runs Lily Frilly, a girl’s fashion brand. Being Boss Lady runs in the family, seeing as her mother Courtney runs a haircare company called The Mane Choice. But this adorable young lady didn’t just want to help mom. She wanted to BE mom. And so the dreams of a child have been realized in a way that many adults will never attain. Which just goes to show what happens when you parent your children to follow their dreams.

I’ll wrap this puppy in a shiny bow-tie with a story that provided that light I was talking about just last week on these pages. I’m including the video because I figure it’s best to deliver this kind of story where you can read it and hear it and see it, especially that. And maybe it’s selfish on my part. Maybe I need to cover myself in this kind of good thing because truth be told, my cynical side can behave like a grizzly bear after fasting.

A handful of health-care workers in Oregon were in a bind. They were on their way back from a vaccination clinic when their ride came to a standstill on a snow covered highway. They had six vaccines in tow that were about to expire so they decided to run an impromptu clinic right there. They went from car to car, offering a free vaccination to anyone who wanted it until they had administered the last of their stash, with an ambulance on hand to make sure it all went off without a hitch.

Now, six vaccines may not seem like that big a deal in the grand scheme of things. But I’m sure there are six individuals out there right now who slept a little bit better as a result of this goodwill drive-through. Good is always a work in progress, made up almost entirely of divine patience, brick by beautiful brick, in the quiet of our everyday lives.

That’s how the grand scheme of things gets built.

 

Heroes Of The Week!

Justice League: One year on, still an unmitigated disaster | Entertainment News,The Indian Express

Welcome to another brand spanking new episode of Heroes. In this week’s episode, we’ll travel to Montreal, where shelter and love has gone mobile. We’ll read about how a simple note can change everything. There will be unexcused absences and fat suits to ponder on. And we’ll finish things up with a story reminiscent of mice and men.

It’s early afternoon in America. And seriously, why would we ever want to return to the last four years? So let’s get better and smarter. And let’s never imagine ourselves to be greater than the sum of our parts.

Now to our lineup . . .

We have another twin kiss coming to us from the lovely Dale at A Dalectable Life. As if her prize winning photography wasn’t enough, she’s a reporter in the field as well! And first up is the story of a community center in Montreal that is looking out for those most vulnerable this winter season.

michel monette care montreal | News, Videos & Articles

Michel Monette is the founder of CARE Montreal and he ordered twenty make-shift igloo structures- made of foam and insulation that snap together- from the Czech Republic. The igloos provide shelter and warmth to the homeless population that refuse to stay in over-populated shelters, even in the harshest of conditions. Monette says he knew Raphaël André, a homeless man who was found dead in a portable toilet just last week

“I would have really loved if he would have had access to these (igloos),” Monette says, while adding that workers will look to make sure such a tragedy doesn’t happen again by traveling the city, searching for people in need. “It’s kind of us taking the shelter to them, instead of taking them to the shelter,”

Further proof that in an imperfect world, we seek perfection not in absolutes, but in the solace of good deeds.

Who is Flavaine Carvalho? Quick-thinking Orlando waitress saves 11-year-old from his abusive parents | MEAWW

If you want to know what being in the right place at the right time looks like, I give you Flavaine Carvalho. The waitress at Mrs. Potato Restaurant in Orlando, Florida was working her last table of the night when her life intersected with an 11-year old boy. It began when his father forbid him from ordering anything to eat. And then she saw the bruises on the boy’s arms and face.

Carvalho knew she had to do something. So she wrote a note to the boy that read simply “Do you need help?” and held it up so only the boy could see it. On the third try, the boy signaled yes. Authorities would later say the abuse suffered by the boy was nothing short of torture. The parents were arrested; the father charged with multiple counts of aggravated child abuse and the mother with two counts of child neglect.

“This could have been a homicide situation if she had not intervened,” Said Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon.

Thing of it is, Flavaine wasn’t even scheduled that night. She’d been called in at the last minute. Since it was the last table of the night, she was able to pay extra attention to what was going on. Add to this the fact that the family was sitting at the only table in the restaurant where she could have held up a sign without the boys parents noticing.

See something, say something . . save someone.

Kyrie Irving is proving once again that he can't be a No. 1 in the NBA

I’ve got a couple return guests to this spot. And they’re on the same team! First up is Kyrie Irving, who decided to return to the Brooklyn Nets this week. That’s nice of him, considering he’s making north of 30 million cheeseburgers to ball when the mood strikes. In his return to the team this week, he dropped a cool thirty seven points . . but his team lost anyways. To the woebegone Cleveland Cavaliers, no less. Maybe it’s just a blip, and maybe it’s the universe telling Brooklyn that this whole “Three Grows in Brooklyn” super-team idea isn’t going to work as smoothly as they envisioned it might.

Do you think James Harden was wearing a fat suit while playing for the Houston Rockets? – RFM | RatchetFridayMedia

And to Kyrie’s new running mate, James Harden, I say thank you. Because this guy provides quality entertainment on and off the court. The above image shows the pre-trade James Harden on the right with the post-trade Harden on the left. The story goes that he wore a fat suit to get out of Houston. Nutri-system called, they want their prop back!

New Video Details Tense Moments as Capitol Mob Sought Out Lawmakers | FlaglerLive

I’ve always been of the opinion that in the darkest of times, there is light. It’s impossible to see in the immediate aftermath, but it’s always there. And so it is with Eugene Goodman, who escorted Kamala Harris to the Presidential inauguration ceremony on Wednesday in his new role as acting Deputy House Sergeant at Arms.

During the capitol riots two weeks earlier, it was Goodman who single-handedly steered an angry mob away from the Senate chamber. In the last days of an administration that talked about greatness while providing little in the way of it, Goodman taught us all how it’s done. He stood in front of rioters and directed them his way. As a member of the Capitol police, the man took the badge he wore to its most literal and courageous outcome.

Image

Making America great doesn’t happen with haughty campaign slogans. A nation will never see its best self if it spends all of its time standing in front of a mirror. And it sure as hell isn’t going to happen by pledging a blind obedience to our past. Democracy isn’t about a single person or party, it’s about the will of a people to stand for something. Together. So maybe this is the time in our nation’s history where we stop crying about all the things we aren’t and start building on the many great things we are.

And when the darkness comes, be the light.

 

 

Heroes Of The Week!

 

Why It's Difficult To Find Full Video Of King's Historic Speech : The Two-Way : NPR

Welcome to our first heroes episode of the new year, kids. This patch of grass is still under construction with new this’s and that’s ready to make themselves known throughout the coming year. But the one thing that won’t change is the love that is shown to this here intersection of Friday and the weekend. So it be that I’ve got a little help coming from my friends, as per. Muchas gracias to them, and to you.

As for the above image, not for nothing but, that’s what a big crowd and a real leader look like. In case there was any confusion (much) about such things over the last four years. And while those clueless cretins might’ve stolen a sacred national spot with their despicable act last week? Well, my friend Martin is taking it back.

Now to the lineup . . .

What Giuliani's past tells us about how he may represent Trump - ABC NewsFirst up are the retrograde republicans (no capital letters for capitol seditionists), who perpetrated a terror attack on our nation’s capital on January 6th. From the aiders and abettors in suits- Trump, Giuliani, et al.-  to the mentally deficient warriors who looted a federal building and committed mayhem and murder. The irony is that these mask-less mutts made it that much easier for authorities to finger them by flouting the public safety standards. They should reconsider a civil war, seeing as how strategy isn’t their strong suit.

And now for a double kiss of good feeling brought to you by Dale over at A Dalectable Life.

Jon Bon Jovi Soul Kitchen at Rutgers battles student food insecurity | Food ManagementWe flip the script from the clueless to the community minded with news that the ageless rocker Jon Bon Jovi and his wife Dorothea just opened their third community restaurant on the campus of Rutgers University. JBJ Soul Kitchen serves up meals free of charge to those patrons who can’t afford it. For those who can, they’re asked for a $20 donation to cover the cost of their meal.

“Hunger doesn’t look like what your mind’s eye might imagine,” Dorothea says. “It’s the people at your church. It’s the kids that go to school with your kids. And I think that was eye-opening for a lot of the community here that said, ‘Oh, there’s no homeless people here.’”

This garden to table eatery has served up more than 100,000 meals so far and they say they’ll keep the hits coming as long as there is a need. Rock on, good man. Rock on.

Theresa Kachindamoto is a Real-Life Black Queen, A True Leader - Hollywood InsiderTheresa Kachindamoto is the kind of leader you don’t hear much about. And it’s because she’s making a profoundly impactful difference on the lives of the young women of Malawi. In a country with one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world, Kachindamoto is fighting back. To date, she has annulled more than 3,000 marriages.

In her district of Dedza, where she serves as a senior chief, girls as young as twelve years of age were once forced into marriage by parents who considered it a traditional rite of passage. In 2017, she was an integral part of an amendment which raised the minimum age of marriage from 15 to 18. She also teamed up with UN Women to get these young women an education, which she says is their right. These groundbreaking accomplishments have not come easy. When you combine an entrenched mindset with generational poverty, success is both relative and fleeting. But she forges ahead, one young woman at a time.

It’s the kind of story that doesn’t get told nearly enough because let’s face it, human interest stories are considered more filler than headline. But it makes you wonder what could be more important than an interest in humans?

Kevin Durant, James Harden, Kyrie Irving Big 3 destined to failA shout out to my pal Big Papi for breaking the news to me of James Harden’s beard now residing in Brooklyn. “The Beard” forced his way out of Houston by quitting on the Houston Rockets, and he comes East with the reputation of being a prolific scorer who considers defense optional. He’ll saddle up with Kyrie Irving- when Kyrie decides to return from his hiatus- and Kevin Durant, and not much else since Brooklyn emptied the cupboard to acquire him. Team TMZ in the media hornets nest of NYC? I cannot wait.

Wendy's manager shares the love one drive-thru customer at a time | Whidbey News-TimesImma conclude the day’s programming with a real keeper of a young lady who hails from Oak Harbor, Washington by the name of April DiDonna. Young April works as the fast food manager at a local Wendy’s and she’s serving up way more than hamburgers and fries. Last fall as the world was busy holding on for dear life, she decided to deliver a sentiment that Jackie DeShannon insisted there was much too little of. She told a drive-thru customer that she loved him.

“To know that the little three words could mean so much to so many people, it’s overwhelming my heart with so much more love . . .  I truly believe that if we just love each other, the world would be better.”

In October, she started keeping count of every customer who returned serve with an “I love you” of their own. She’s at over 2,700 and yes, she still counting. Because why not say it? And mean it? And count them? Every single one of the beautiful them?

The mother of three brings this powerful affirmation from a dark place in 2019 when her husband passed away. It turned her life upside down and left her feeling lost and hopeless. As with so many people who find themselves struggling through darkness, she was able to find the light by shining it not on herself, but on the people around her. Paying it forward comes with cosmic receipts and she collected one recently when an elderly customer admitted to DiDonna that she never thought she would hear those words again after losing her husband and then her brother. Of course, such an admission was greeted with a request to drive forward and park so she could receive a hug as well, at no extra charge.

Young April insists the universe is changing and that the stars are aligning for better days ahead, for all of us. And while the cynic in me might wonder aloud as to why anyone would think such a fool thing as this, the realist in me knows better than to argue. Because it’s not crazy or hopeless to believe that things might actually get better.

It’s love, actually.

 

The Great Divide

Biden and several ex-presidents condemn U.S. Capitol riots - CGTN

I guess the worst thing about a day full of worse case scenarios is that I saw it coming.

Yesterday was supposed to be the first Heroes episode of the new year. But for an early January day that became further proof that the ides of 2020 aren’t going to be that easy to shake. More to the truth, it’s the echoes of 2016 that promise to transcend a calendar year. And as much as we would like to think that Wednesday was an isolated incident, we know better because we’ve already seen some of the worst.

So it goes with the Make America Great Again Brigade, whose purpose is to transport us back to a simpler time. Back when the -isms were an integral part of society’s fabric. They want us to believe it’s not like that but their actions say otherwise. And yeah, you can start with all those confederate flags that were being waved and draped all over our nation’s Capitol building the other day. Unless you believe it was just a matter of imbedded marketing for the History Channel.

This great divide in our country didn’t happen overnight. It’s been festering for decades on end, but it was in need of a highly reactive charge to light the fire. They got their wish when Trump began speaking the language of a time and place that resonated with people who felt disenfranchised. And their feckless leader was only too happy to feed that beast.

It began with “Build the Wall”; ripped from the pages of a cold war logic whose tenets were built on quicksand and atrophy. This misbegotten campaign promise foretold the tyrannical game plan of a man who made it his business to retrofit patriotism into hateful propaganda. If nothing else, Trump has proved expert in the branding of -isms, and he used the office to do his bidding.

This President was never intent on being granted last rites, not while he still had a pulpit to bully from. And so he affixed his decisive loss to Joe Biden in November with yet another cartoonish conspiracy: Stop the Steal. It was classic Trump, boorish and divisive and entirely without merit. His Nixonian tactics might have been comical, if not for the tens of millions of apologists who behaved like moths to his flame.

Now we’ll get a flood of apologies from his former comrades who are experiencing buyer’s remorse a little too late. Their words ring hollow, more a matter of political survival than genuine concern for the safety and well being of its citizenry. And therein lies the meticulously insidious rub to our fledgling union. On the one side we have cretins like Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, whose mission, it seems, is to bastardize the Constitution. And on the other hand we’ll have a bloodthirsty media positioning themselves for Trump’s Waterloo with pulpy narratives, many of which will read more like fetish than fact.

The residue of the last four years did not conclude on Wednesday, it only made its reckoning tangible. We are facing a divide whose meanest days are ahead of us. But don’t take my word for it. Look at the lack of police presence as a mob of white people stormed a federal building and you can draw your own conclusions. It’s simply further proof that Trump fans travel well; from the Great Smoky Mountains to the halls of Congress to the world of finance, the military and law enforcement. The asymmetrical value of this mad circus must not be taken lightly.

Trump gained traction by convincing the haves they were the have nots. He took certain truths about the media and the liberal left and he transformed them into caricatures who posed a national security threat. But in the end, he was always the biggest threat.

On Wednesday, he proved it.

 

Heroes Of The Week! (24 Days Of Christmas Edition)

Super Santa Claus - Imgur

As the last Heroes episode of 2020, Imma dish up twenty four heroes and zeroes of the week as well as the year that was. This little intersection of Friday and the weekend has become a pretty cool place to be thanks to you, the readers. Because while I supply the stories, it’s you who gift the heartbeat with your participation. So as we bid adieu to a trying year, I wanted to take a moment to say a heartfelt thank you. Because without you, this Friday spot would be just another post.

For the final lineup of the year, I’ve gone red for the zeros and green for our heroes. So let’s get to ’em . . .


. . . To Ron Jacobsen, a 75 year old Vietnam veteran from Ronald, Washington for providing volunteerism with keeps. He’s logged more than 900 hours mentoring students at Cle Elum-Roslyn Elementary and was recently named a spokesman for the VFW’s #StillServing- which highlights the many contributions of our nation’s veterans.
. . .San Antonio Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan played the most important defense of his life last month when he chased an intruder from his Los Angeles-area home. The perpetrator- who shall remain nameless because I say so- was arrested and charged with felony burglary. Thanks to DeMar, his neighbors can rest easy this holiday season.
. . . The Los Angeles Clippers won last offseason, after which they provided an epic collapse in the playoffs, with plenty of excuses to go around. After which they committed an obscene amount of money to Paul George, who has made a career of coming up short when it matters most.
. . . To first responders in Australia and California. The ones who lived there and the ones who traveled from across the map to get there and help, round the clock, any way they could.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg - HISTORY
. . . Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a trailblazer for gender equality who brought grace, dignity and a brilliant mind to her role as Supreme Court Justice. Her loss is a resounding one, but also a clarion call to others that her life’s work must be continued by this generation and the generations to come.
. . . To the thousands of volunteers who agreed to take the experimental vaccines, in spite of the risks, in order to ensure the safety and well being of millions.
. . . Rudy Giuliani has gone from “America’s Mayor” to the Penguin, acting as the shill for a President whose final act has proven to be every bit as graceless as the last four years.
. . . Army Ranger Patrick Payne signed up after September 11th because he wanted to make a difference. And he’s been doing just that ever since. He was recently awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for rescuing seventy five hostages during a firefight in Hawija, Iraq in 2015. He is what these Fridays are here for.
. . . Big time props to Tyler Perry, who was honored with the “People’s Champion of 2020” award last month at the E! People’s Choice Awards. Perry has shown up on our Friday edition a time or two, thanks to his philanthropic work. Here’s to a champion worth rooting for.
. . . And to soon to be former President Trump. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
. . . And a big thank you to the lovely Dale for the next three feel good stories, starting with Edmonton Oilers defenseman Ethan Bear, who wore a special jersey (check it out here) in honor of his indigenous heritage. It’s a lesson for our sports teams on this side of the border.

Henry Zavriyev Friendship Circletoys
. . . When Montreal businessman Henry Zavriyev came across a stash of toys in the basement of a building he was interested in buying, real estate took a backseat to his Christmas spirit. So he laid down a cool thirty G’s and then donated the toys to Friendship Circle; a non-profit that provides support to children with special needs. And somewhere, Santa is taking notes.
. . . And we’re sending out birthday wishes to Major Wooten, whose family threw him one heck of a party earlier this month. The WWII Army veteran was diagnosed with the coronavirus in November. And won. Just in time to celebrate his 104th birthday. We salute you, good sir.
. . . Disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was convicted of rape in February in what would prove to be a watershed moment for the #MeToo movement. May he never see the light of day again.
. . . The American Voters. They spoke in record numbers with more than 161 million people turning out to cast their ballots, which adds up to 66 percent of eligible voters. It was a resounding display of what democracy is all about.

70-Year-Old Veteran Battling Cancer Hailed as an 'Angel' After He Charged into Burning Home to Save Neighbors
. . . Marshall Helm is a seventy year old Air Force veteran who worked on B-29’s and fought in Vietnam. Now he’s fighting a very different battle, this one with cancer. And yet, the Salem Illinois resident did not hesitate when he spotted a neighbor’s house going up in flames. He ran in and woke up the couple, who’ve taken to calling Helm their “angel”. Clarence Odbody would be proud. (A shout out to Cincy over at “Beaches” for this get). 
. . . To all the scientists who have been working tirelessly in their quest to develop a coronavirus vaccine.
. . . To the mask-less marauders among us who make the already difficult jobs of retail, service and health workers that much harder. They come up with myriad excuses- from defending their ‘rights’ to having a ‘medical condition’- but this dog and pony ate my homework show is not only lame, it’s dangerous.
. . . Another big thank you to Frank “Beaches” Angle for supplying the story about a Secret Santa who will be doling out $100,000 dollars this holiday season to essential workers. In these trying times, it’s heartening to know there are plenty of peeps who understand what the season of giving is all about.
. . . MLB Umpire Brian O’Nora- along with thirteen other men in Youngstown, Ohio- was arrested last weekend and charged with soliciting and possessing criminal tools. The arrests were part of a human trafficking sting by law enforcement officials and is further evidence of this frightening shadow world.
. . . To all the essential workers out there who have been getting it done in the middle of a raging storm. Their dedication and commitment serve as an inspiration, now and always.
. . . And here’s a two for one Hero/Zero for you . . . To Alex Trebek, whose legacy goes far beyond the set of a game show thanks to a lifetime of philanthropic pursuits. And to be replaced, even on an interim basis by former Jeopardy champion Ken Jennings? Nope. The dude has shown himself to be a champion creep, and unworthy of the seat Trebek once occupied.

Heroic Nurses Stay Behind To Rescue 19 Babies As Hurricane Laura Hit Hospital | Goalcast
. . . When Hurricane Laura bore down on Lake Charles, Louisiana back in September, there were 19 residents who could not abide by the official order for a mandatory evacuation: The nineteen babies in the neonatal intensive unit at Lake Charles Hospital. So a team of twenty hospital workers stayed with them. If ever there was a microcosm of 2020, this just might be it.

Welp, I hope you enjoyed the last installment of Heroes for the year. May your Christmas be merry and bright and may the new year bring us to the end of what has proven to be a long, dark tunnel.

Here’s to the light.