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Heroes Of The Week!

When Hugh Jackman was almost fired as Wolverine after leaving director, studio head unimpressed with performance | Hollywood - Hindustan Times

Welcome to Friday! Well . . . we’re close enough that I can plant the flag on the weekend, don’t you think? Quick shout out to the lovely Dale for contributing the musical spill today. My roster is shorter this week, because I was getting in the habit of dishing up a weekly five until it occurred to me that it doesn’t matter how many stories I have, but the snap, crackle and pop of the ones that happen upon this place.

Let’s get to it . . .

Star Trek's' Shatner going to space on Bezos' Blue Origin rocket, admires 'remarkable' vision | Fox Business

If you were to ask me what kind of crazy man would venture into space at the age of ninety, I’d have to go with Shatner. Because of course he did that.

Jon Gruden resigns as Raiders coach amid report he sent more offensive emails - The Boston Globe

Inside a week’s time, Jon Gruden goes from mediocre football coach to outright creep. Of course, it wasn’t really a week’s time when you think about it. Because maybe that’s how long we’ve known Gruden for who he really is, but the evidence presented shows that he didn’t just become a racist, homophobic, misogynist ass in a week’s time. Or even in ten years time, if you go back to the dates on those emails. Because we’re not going to pretend 2011 was his initial foray into the kind of hateful language that forced him to resign as head coach of the Vegas Raiders.

Gruden regaled in being the league’s every man. A folksy, tell it like it is ball coach who said all the right things when the cameras were on. And now we learn that his preach was simply a disingenuous reach. And now he becomes just the latest phony to have fallen on his self righteous sword; a man who owes his standing in the NFL community to the same people he denigrates.

He showed us what privilege looks like last week when he shrugged off the email about DeMaurice Smith in which he wrote that the director of the NFLPA had lips “the size of Michelin tires”. Gruden said it was no big deal and then insisted he didn’t have a racist bone in his body before telling everyone he was done talking about it. And he would have probably gotten away with it until more emails surfaced this week.

William Rhoden brought up a good point the other day when he wondered as to the content in the replies to all those emails Gruden was sending.

Stay tuned.

Ohio State football: Ryan and Nina Day continue push for mental health

Not every head football coach at Ohio State makes the zeroes list on my Friday cruise (Yeah, Urban Meyer). In fact, Ryan Day is proving to be a refreshing change from his predecessor. Results on the field and genuine commitment to his kids and the community at large off the field is what Day is all about.

Ryan and his wife Nina have teamed up to create the Ryan and Christina Day Fund for Pediatric and Adolescent Mental Wellness at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. And they got things rolling with a $100,000 donation. They’re also involved with the “On Our Sleeves” initiative to end the stigma associated with mental health. Ryan lost his father to suicide when he was nine years old. He kept this to himself until 2018 when the rash of teen suicides in his community compelled him to speak up and take action.

“Life is all about ups and downs. We all go through ups and downs. When things are well and it’s on upswing, enjoy it best you can. Hug your family, hug your friends, get all you can get. Love it, enjoy it, laugh, have fun,” He says. “But at some point, it is going to go back down, and when it goes back down and it gets hard and it gets tough, you just have to hang on. That’s all you do is hang on because eventually, if you just hang on, it’s going to turn and it’s going to go back up. That’s just the way life works,”

It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you face the day.

Brittany Walters hugs Nyla Covington after she passed along her crown.

Imma finish up with one from Frank “Beach Walks” Angle and just letting you know right from the get, this one comes with a Kleenex alert.

It was a promise Brittany Walters was intent on keeping. On the day her mother A.J. passed away from cancer, her daughter promised to attend homecoming with her father. The senior was on the list of nominees for homecoming queen, and while she didn’t win the crown, she did end up winning the night thanks to that promise.

A.J. Walters, an administrator at Mississippi’s Forrest County Agricultural High School, played the role of Wonder Woman when it came to her little girl. From bake sales to assemblies to games, she showed up. She was that silent partner for her child, ceding the spotlight as Brittany tested her wings on the sky and every single good thing it had coming. When mom left this earth, it was Brittany’s turn to show up.

And then on homecoming night, it was as if A.J. Walters had been granted one more wish from the cosmos when Nyla Covington presented Brittany with the crown she had just won.

“I just felt like it was something that was put on my heart,” Covington said. “It was really just for her, to bring up her day a little bit, and she’d rather have her mom than a crown… but the point was, I was telling her that she was her mom’s queen and I was just letting her know that she was loved by many and especially me.”

Nyla says the crown is Brittany’s to keep, knowing full well the value of this piece is in what it means to her and her family. Because when they look back on all of this, that crown will signify a promise made.

And a promise kept.

 

 

 

 

Heroes Of The Week!

Floating Flower Garden; 花と我と同根、庭と我と一体 - Single by Hideaki Takahashi, teamLab | Spotify

The above image is of the floating flower garden in Tokyo. Developed by teamLab, the garden is a technological marvel that wraps you up in the magic of nature. It’s a spellbinding tour through an ocean of flowers that rise to the heavens as visitors walk along. It is a place constructed in the now, but whose foundation hails from a long ago quote.

“Heaven and I are of the same root. All things and I are of the same substance,”

The monk who penned this thought explained it thusly. “People these days see this flower as if they were in a dream.” Because in doing so, the dream is malleable, no longer impossible or fleeting. In doing so, the dream becomes ours to keep.

Let’s get to the lineup . . .

Andrew Zimmern tackles food, other issues in new show on MSNBC – Twin Cities

You might know Andrew Zimmern as the humorous bon-vivant whose culinary skills are matched only by his adventurous palette. Many of you might know that Zimmern began his culinary training at the age of 14, graduated from Vassar and was executive chef at several NYC restaurants. What you may not know about Zimmern is that he almost lost that boundless future to drug and alcohol addiction and was homeless for a year.

He got clean thirty years ago at Hazelden Treatment Center in Minnesota, where he volunteers these days. The man who once tried to drink himself to death now lives a life of purpose, giving his time, money and talents wherever he goes. In typical Zimmern-ese, he admits that he doesn’t like talking about all the great good work he does because “there’s no way to talk about doing work for other people without sounding like a real douchebag,”. I mean, what is not to love about this guy?

I have Andrew in my top spot after having read a letter he penned to a friend who recently passed. And if you haven’t read it, oh please do. (Here’s the link).

Monster Mash Cereal on Shelves NOW, New Song Hits Spotify

Okay, this entry crashed the party, but hey, it’s a throwback to my childhood. And since it is October, I’m all about autumnal fixes. I got my apple cider doughnuts from Kauffman’s Orchards, freshly lathered from their apple cider reduction bath and served piping hot. I have every kind of horror movie imaginable parked in my queues and ready to roll. Pumpkins? Got ’em. Haunted attraction on the docket? Probably. And then I found my good old days sitting on a shelf, begging for me to take it home. And while I said no to the come on, I delighted in how it made me feel yesterday once more.

What do you get when you combine a self righteous mutt with a football coach who behaves like a crime boss? Urban Meyer, of course.

It’s been a forgettable start to Coach Meyer’s venture into the NFL, as the once (and I’m thinking near future) kingpin of college football is winless through four games with the Jaguars. But wait, there’s less! Meyer was subpoenaed over the summer for documents related to former strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle. Meyer hired Doyle knowing the guy was radioactive, and not caring in the least because he is Urban Fucking Meyer, after all. Anyone who was the least bit surprised at the Doyle fiasco wasn’t paying attention to all those player arrests that happened during Meyer’s watch at Florida and later on, at Ohio State.

So, I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation for the above video. Yep . . I’m sure of it.

Now, this next story is going to make many of those peeps who have used the dating app Tinder mighty jealous. That’s because Reid Alexander didn’t just find love on the site, he found a kidney too. And no, not the dark web rendition where you wake up in an ice bath hours later.

Reid was diagnosed with a genetic kidney disease called Alport Syndrome when he was 17. By the time he graduated college, his kidneys were only functioning at 20 percent capacity. As a result, he’s been on dialysis ever since. Not that he let the disease rule his life, not in the least. Instead, the Indiana native made a big move to Denver, Colorado. And it was there that he met Rafael Diaz on the dating app. It was love at first sight, and then a whole lot more when Rafael looked into becoming a donor for his new beau.

Rafael became a match for Reid on two counts, so after getting hitched in a small ceremony in April, they went forward with the transplant operation in June. While Tinder is a punchline to some, it proved to be a lifeline for these two love-birds who found everything they were ever going to need in a single swipe.

Take that eharmony.

Y’all know how I liken the grocery checkout line to Dante’s nine circles of Hell; specifically the First Circle, which is officially referred to as the Limbo Department. Which is why I’ll choose the self checkout most days, but not this one.

The Netherlands introduced a campaign called “One Against Loneliness” with the idea being to provide outreach to their elderly population. Companies, organizations and individuals were called upon to get involved, and the grocery store chain Jumbo is doing just that.

Jumbo provides a ‘Kletskassa’ or “chat checkout” in several of its stores. This line doesn’t concern itself with the number of items in your cart. All it cares about is connecting with the shoppers who choose it by engaging them in conversation for a few minutes. There’s no time limit to the chat, because there doesn’t have to be. All that matters is the connection it proffers. And they’ve had no shortage of employees who want to take part in this endeavor, so the success of this small gesture resulted in the announcement that Jumbo will provide chat checkouts in 200 stores by next year.

Colette Cloosterman-van Eerd is the CCO of Jumbo, and she has merged her passion for providing connections for people in order to combat loneliness with her business sense. It’s proving to be a model with plenty of upside.

“Our stores are an important meeting place for many people and we want to play a role in identifying and reducing loneliness. We do this in various ways, including our Kletskassas. We are proud that many of our cashiers like to take a seat behind a Kletskassa. They support the initiative and want to help people to make real contact with them out of genuine interest.”

One of the greatest gifts we can give to someone is our time. When we help someone feel connected to the world around them, it becomes the kind of song that changes the day they’re walking through. If there’s something more valuable than that, it ain’t been created yet. And you know what?

Who needs it?

Heroes Of The Week!

Polish Girl With Down Syndrome Sends Painting to Queen Elizabeth and is 'Over the Moon' Receiving a Reply - LOOKWelcome back to another Friday morning surf on the righteous wave that will deliver us to that pristine shore otherwise known as the weekend. This week Imma serve up a menu consisting of five honest to mostly goodness entrees, and when I tell you they couldn’t be more different, I ain’t kidding.

Let’s get our Friday started with 12-year-old wunderkid Wanessa Bąkowska, who scores the marquee for her impressive skill set and spirited conviction. She’s a seriously talented painter whose works appear on a Facebook page her mother has put together for her. And she also happens to be a huge fan of royalty, and so it was that she got it in her head to write a letter to Queen Elizabeth, because she figures if you can think it, why not write it? And that letter went like this . . .

“Your Majesty, my name is Wanessa and I am 12 years old. I live in Poland, in the small town of Lipka . . . I have wonderful teachers and many friends. I have mum Karolina, dad Rafał, brother Alan and sister Nutka. I love them very much . . . I am a person with a disability and Down Syndrome. Nevertheless, I paint pictures. I would like to give you one of them, Your Majesty. The title of this painting is ‘Earth’. Greetings from Poland.”

How sweet is this little lady? Putting herself out there like that, even though the chances that the Queen of England is going to reply are . . oh wait, the Queen of England replied. And here’s her letter . . .

Some people live their lives chasing dreams, and then there’s little Wanessa, who is simply living that dream to its fullest. To her way of thinking, it makes no sense to waste your time dwelling on the odds.

Not when a simple hello works so much better.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez departs The 2021 Met Gala

We can’t blame Trump for the seriously awful reality show that American politics has become. His reign of error was absurdist theater, no doubt about it. But we have more actors where he came from and this week’s “Are you kidding me?” moment was brought to us by Alexandria “Look At Me!” Ocasio-Cortez. Who needs meaningful dialogue and practical solutions when you can just have a photo-op? And so AOC decided it was a good idea to grandstand during the Met Gala by wearing a dress better suited for a DC Comic book. And not for nothing but, NYC is looking to attract more businesses . . not scare them away. The Representative out of New York’s 14th Congressional District best drop the Page Six act and get down to doing the people’s business.

Coronavirus: Texas couple asked to leave restaurant for wearing face masks | CTV News

Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A couple walks into a restaurant and after being seated, a request is made to which they refuse to abide; after which the couple is asked to leave said restaurant.

It happened in . . you guessed it, Texas. But this tale comes with a twist, seeing as how the couple was asked to leave not because they refused to wear a face covering, but because they insisted on wearing one. It was a choice that went against owner Tom Blackmer’s wishes. See, Hang Time Sports Grill and Bar, located in Rowlett Texas is taking a stand “against politics” by playing politics. And so what that Natalie Wester and her husband, Jose Lopez-Guerrero have a four-year old son who has cystic-fibrosis?

And so it is that the ignorant among us continue to insist they’re being patriotic when they’re really just being obstinate little shits. And Blackmer can do whatever the hell he wants, because it’s his restaurant. And I can call his message of patriotism a self-defeating prophecy.

Hey, it’s a free country.

This next get comes by way of the lovely Dale, and it’s about how some peeps in Albuquerque are making houses into homes for those in need. The County of Bernalillo, New Mexico, was able to secure a 30-year lease on a property owned by the Albuquerque Indian Center. With it, they built a gated community consisting of 30 tiny houses.

These houses will serve as a bridge for the homeless, an avenue through which they will reacquaint themselves with community living. The founders modeled it after opportUNITY village in Eugene, Oregon as a place where people can work to get their lives back. “We’re trying to give the villagers some tools that would stand them in really good stead once they do move out,” says resource manager Ilse Biel.

Residents are expected to pay a $30 monthly utilities fee. They must also test clean of any hard drugs and have been sober for at least 10 days before entry. Chores and engagement are a part of the deal, and in return, new dreams start taking root.

Welcome mats are free of charge.

Transplant recipient meets her donor for 1st time, live on TODAY

The awful truth about rock bottom is that it’s not a single episode but rather a series of them. The spiral is not a solitary circumstance, which is what makes it that much more difficult to climb out of.

Twenty-eight year old Gage Tappe of Boise, Idaho knows all about rock bottom. Living with depression, he knows all the many stops it makes along the way to a never ending darkness. Which is why he knew that if he was ever going to pull himself out of the darkness, he was going to have utilize a proactive approach in order to get there.

He found it when he decided to sign up as a donor for the national bone marrow registry. “I felt like my life wasn’t worth very much, so I hoped that I gave myself a chance to put some value to my own life by trying to help somebody extend theirs and continuing to stay on the list… and you have to be alive to do that,” Tappe says.

When he was informed he had been identified as a match, all that darkness gave way to the unmistakable lightness of being. That he might never know the life he impacted did not matter as much as knowing that someone, somewhere had been gifted a new lease on life.

Tia Jensen had other ideas. She was the recipient of Tappe’s life changing donation. After the transplant procedure, she learned that not only had her leukemia gone into remission but so too had her multiple sclerosis- which she had been battling for more than twenty years.

She needed to reach out to Tappe, to meet him and to thank him for giving her back her life. After more than two years worth of phone calls and letters, she was given Gage’s contact information. And after corresponding for a time, they met face to face earlier this month.

“I realized that because of Gage, there’s a lot of milestones that I won’t miss. I’m alive. I’m here. I’m going to get to be with my family, to be in the memories,” She says. She’s teaming up with Be The Match for an online donor registration event in the hopes of inspiring other would be donors.

And that new lease on life? It was a package deal.

 

 

 

 

 

Heroes Of The Week!

Imma supply you with a quick heads up to let you know that I will be stepping away from WordPress for a week, as in zero-dark nada. Next Friday will keep on keeping on though, thanks to Frank “Beach Walks” Angle, who will be guest hosting for me. Big thank you to Cincy for his pinch-hitting prowess, and big hugs to all my Friday peeps who keep me coming back for more with your wonderful thoughts.

And a tip of the hat to the lovely Dale at A Dalectable Life as we begin this episode with track and field superstar Allyson Felix, whose exploits in the arena only tell half of the story. The thirty-five year old Felix is the most decorated Olympian in the history of track and field- 6 golds, 11 overall- which is a remarkable achievement when you consider the names that have occupied that universe. But it’s her role as super mama that finds her on our podium.

When her relationship with Nike was not extended, it was a slap in the face to the woman who had given the company so much. The swoosh refused to make accommodations to an expectant mother, instead offering her a 70 percent pay cut as their way of saying thanks. It didn’t get any easier for her at the first World Championship meet after giving birth. She was assigned a roommate even though she had requested her own room since she was breastfeeding and didn’t want to distract a peer who was also competing.

Felix didn’t get mad, she simply got better. In 2019, she wrote an op-ed for The New York Times in which she talked about her treatment by Nike- “I was tired of asking for change. I knew I had to create it,”. In June, she announced the launch of her own footwear company, Saysh. She has also created a $200,000 fund to pay the cost of child care for moms competing in the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Here’s to winning the right way.

Naomi Osaka Donating Prize Money to Haiti's Relief Effort after Earthquake

Naomi Osaka has announced she will be donating her earnings from a recent golf event to the relief effort in Haiti.

“Really hurts to see all the devastation that’s going on in Haiti, and I feel like we really can’t catch a break,” she tweeted. “I’m about to play a tournament this week and I’ll give all the prize money to relief efforts for Haiti. I know our ancestors blood is strong we’ll keep rising.”

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit the island nation last week. It has claimed at least 2,000 lives thus far with officials estimating that the number will rise drastically in the days and weeks to come. To make matters worse, tropical storm Grace’s arrival has further hampered rescue efforts.

Ms. Osaka is putting her money where her heart is, and bless her for doing so.

Jaylo Miles knows that the worst part about hitting rock bottom emotionally, is that return visits are commonplace. Mental health isn’t a sometimes thing, to maintain and to overcome requires a daily regimen for those affected. Which is why Jaylo loves climbing mountains; because it speaks the right language when his soul really needs to hear it.

And when you have a climbing partner like Jaylo’s pal Louie- a PTSD owl- it makes the journey that much more fulfilling. The father of three has set up a Facebook page Many Downs, Time To Get Up. It’s a community where Jaylo and others share their mental health stories and connect for challenges and meet-ups. “I have built this page from a desperate battle with my own mental health and suicidal thoughts in the hope to make a difference and leave a legacy to create & inspire.”

Mountaintops inspire the soul, but the journey is what feeds it.

Mary and Benjamin are proof that even in the most trying of times, flowers will find their bloom. Theirs grew during the time of COVID, when social distancing and sheltering in place learned us a lesson in perspective. Because it’s how these two came to understand that the fence which separated them wasn’t a barrier but rather, a meeting place.

Ninety-seven years are tucked between these two pals- Mary is approaching her 100th birthday while Benjamin just turned two- but you’d never know it when they get together. The Minneapolis grandmother says the company keeps her spirit up, since she lives alone and her family is out of state.

C.S. Lewis believed that while friendship has no survival value, it gives value to our survival. These two friends are offering up one hundred and one years worth of validation to that sentiment.

As we get ready to high five another Friday, I’ve come up with a return visitor to our Friday episode, and in the name of transparency, it’ a Vegas winner of a chicken dinner that he’s gonna be making yet another appearance . . . I’m thinking by the fall.

Max Woosey, remember him? He’s the kid I wrote about back in April (You can read it here) who was camping out in a tent gifted him by a neighbor with terminal cancer. Rick Abbott lost his battle, but Max’s family never forgot the efforts of a local hospice in North Devon. They made it possible for Rick to remain in his home to the end, and Max? Well, he remembered that.

Thus began a campaign by the 11-year old, to help out since all the fundraisers planned by the hospice were canceled during the pandemic. Max took his tent to the backyard and began a one kid fundraiser with the goal of raising 100 pounds. At the time of my original posting, he’d shattered that goal and had collected more than five hundred thousand pounds.

Reading back, I mistakenly wrote that Max was camping out in a sleeping bag when it’s actually a tent. But truth be told, it wouldn’t matter with this kid, who was determined to sleep on a blanket if it came to that. He’s had company a time or two. His dog Digby is a regular and his father stayed with him during Storm Bella as they braved 70 mph winds. He had to replace the old tent when it sprang a leak, but through it all, he’s still going strong.

He recently passed 500 days and the tote board is still smoking, currently sitting on 770,000 pounds. His goal achieved long ago, he’s got a million reasons to keep this thing going. And no, I’m not sure that’s what the kid from Braunton, England has in mind. But it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if he’s thinking about it. Even though he could go inside right now, tonight, and his achievement would be nothing short of remarkable. To be this young and this compassionate, it’s transcendent. It’s a higher power tapping us on the shoulder and whispering, “Hey! I know there’s a lot that sucks about the world, but if you’re not paying attention to THIS kind of thing . . you’re doing it wrong!”. And this kind of thing is what Max Woosey is gifting us. His dedication to a goal that keeps on giving is a reminder as to what matters most of all.

When we share the good things inside of us, we get to hold forever in our hands.

 

Heroes Of The Week!

Imma start the weekend off with the story of a realtor named Linda Brown from Springfield, Missouri whose hobby is making a positive difference in the lives of others. Years back, Linda and her husband organized a nightly drop-in shelter for the city’s homeless; it was a place where they could eat, shower and do laundry, among other things. Of course, peeps like Linda always want more . . to do more . . for others.

That need turned into Eden Village, a village of tiny homes that provide permanent housing to the chronically disabled homeless. After raising almost $5 million in 2018, the Browns built this wonderful place on the grounds of an abandoned mobile home property.

Jonathan Fisher is one of the tenants at Eden Village. He battled substance abuse and lived on the streets for two years before meeting Linda Brown and her husband. He looks back on it as the day that changed his life. He’s clean and sober now, and he’s working full-time doing construction and maintenance on the thirty-one homes in the village.

“In the worst moments of my life, Linda gave me guidance, care and made me feel like I was still worth something.” Fisher says. “She helped me to build a better life . . . even when I was struggling with homelessness and sobriety, she showed me I was valuable and that my potential shouldn’t be wasted. She made me feel like I belonged somewhere,”

As far as hobbies go, Linda Brown is killing it.

Fleury staying with Golden Knights after Lehner signs five-year contract

The Vegas Golden Knights played the role of bush league bozos this week after they traded Marc Andre Fleury to the Chicago Blackhawks. They’re not getting a failing grade for trading their netminder, but for how it went down. The goalie who led them to the Stanley Cup finals a couple years ago found out about the trade on Twitter. Lame, Vegas . . . very lame. Of course, since my Chicago Blackhawks are the lucky recipients of a Stanley Cup caliber goalie as a result, I’m grateful that what plays in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas.

Russia shocks U.S. for gymnastics gold after Simone Biles withdraws - The San Diego Union-Tribune

Dear Simone,

You did the right thing, even if there are some who would have us believe you let your team down when you withdrew from the finals. Telling the truth is never defeat, and you proved as much this week. For those who believe differently, I’d like to ask them if they would forego pain medication if they popped their kneecap or pulled a hamstring. Because it’s painfully obvious they don’t believe the brain needs the very same attention as other parts of our body.

All I know is, you’re a champion in every conceivable definition of the word. But as far as I’m concerned, the conversation about Simone Biles begins with all those medals you’ve earned in your young life, but it doesn’t end there. Not even close. Because you are so much more than an Olympic gold medal winner and a World Champion. You are so much more. And you just proved it.

We love you

Truffles the kitty.

When Danielle Crull found a stray kitten meandering through the woods almost four years ago, she had no idea the impact this little lady would have. All this time later, the optician and owner of A Child’s Eyes in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania is well aware of the gift she received in that forest. Because Truffles has become so much more than a favorite child to Danielle; she has also become a valued partner.

Truffles comes to work with her cat mama every day, complete with a loving personality and a cool pair of specs. She has more than twenty pairs, but if you asked her to decide, she’d go with the green ones (pictured above).

“She is literally magical with little kids,” Crull says. “It takes me at least half an hour to try and get to know them so they realize I’m not something to be afraid of, and Truffles will come strutting out from the back as if she knows exactly when I need her help.”

These two are purrfect for each other.

Airport pianist Tonee Valentine gets $60,000 in tips after Instagram influencer Carlos Whittaker records him playing - The Washington Post

There’s a theme we’ve been surfing on at Heroes for the past several weeks. It involves chance meetings, and the contagious spirit borne inside these simple twists of fate. In a world where most of the news deals in strikeouts, it’s nice to read about life serving up a home run ball.

Tonee “Valentine” Carter is a pianist whose fingertips will take you on a ride the likes of which Jeff Bezos can only dream about. He does his thing in Concourse A of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, performing for an international audience for tip money.

A professional musician, Carter knew what his life was going to look like when he was all of six-years old and his father brought him to see the great Ray Charles. He has played in bands and worked on cruise ships, traveling the world and sharing his gift with every corner of it. In 2008, he was diagnosed with severe kidney disease and had to put his traveling shoes on the shelf. Since then he’s been playing the lights out in A-Town, with a tip jar riding his piano for passersby who dig on the vibe he supplies.

Carlos Whittaker says he likes to use his social media following to help other people.

Carlos Whitaker is a motivational speaker who was having the kind of moment that tests his expertise. His speaking engagement had been canceled and he was waiting on his flight back home when Tonee Carter’s music changed the day he was walking through. When Whitaker noticed there was no money in the tip jar, an idea came to him.

He took to Instagram with a couple of videos of Carter doing his thing and then he asked his “Instafamilia” to help give the pianist the biggest tip he’d ever gotten. Within thirty-minutes, $10,000 had been raised and before all was said and done, that biggest tip ever had grown to $61,000.

The good will shown to him left Carter humbled and in tears. After which he said the first thing he was going to do was get an oil change, because . . priorities. And after that? Well, since he claims the money is “not mine”, he’s going to spread the love by paying it forward. By giving, as good as he got.

Atlanta airport pianist earns $83,000 in tips after video shared to Instagram

I have to believe this story is further evidence that humankind’s demise has been greatly exaggerated. It is a sweet counter to all the news that’s print in fits, a chance meeting that lets us know we don’t have to let the purveyors of a skull and cross bones mythology write our epitaph.

Because in between all this living and breathing, we also love and laugh and celebrate and inspire . . . and give. Ours is a currency that will never go out of circulation, ours is a mindset that will never prove obsolete, ours is a spirit that will come for the music.

It will stay for the song.

Heroes Of The Week!

Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr. opened dugout to protect fans | Yardbarker

In this week’s “Four Letter Beasts and Where to Find Them”, I mentioned the heroic exploits of the San Diego Padres. And here’s why. Because when all manner of really bad shit was going down outside Nationals Park in Washington D.C., which resulted in three people being shot, the visiting team was making certain that every fan inside the stadium would make it home.

One minute, the details of a baseball game were all that mattered and the next, people were running for their lives. So Padres stars Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis led them into the visitors dugout, where they would find shelter from an attack.

“The situation changed immediately,” Tatis told reporters. “There’s no longer players, fans. Everybody’s just people, just human beings out there.”

Padres manager Jayce Tingler says he couldn’t be any more proud of his guys, and with good reason. Because while it’s really easy to whittle these athletes down until they achieve the dimension of a baseball card, humanity still counts most of all. And in the darkest of moments, they weren’t playing a baseball game thousands of miles from home.

They were home.

As with many great ideas, when Finnish and Norwegian artists Riitta Ikonen and Karoline Hjorth collaborated on a conceptual photography project, they had no blessed clue as to the path it would lead them on. Titled “Eyes as Big as Plates”, it was to be an intepretation of traditional Nordic folklore.

What had begun as a way of fleshing out regional mythology soon turned into something much bolder and far reaching than that. To quote the American philosopher Yogi Berra, when they hit the fork in the road, they took it.

The project is going on ten years now, and it has taken the artists from the United States to Japan, and all points in between. They work with seniors- farmers, artists, plumbers, academics, opera singers, housewives and zoologists-, “dressing” them as sculptural elements of nature. They work with the elderly in order to show us how our cultures have pushed them aside, to our detriment.

It is an immersive exploration that merges fantasy with reality, creating magical translations in the landscapes. The intent is to highlight how vital our living histories are to future generations, and that we shouldn’t dismiss the lessons we can learn. And the fact that they transform the earth into a rendering whose celebration is knee-high to a grasshopper’s moon walk? That’s just bonus round.

Giannis Antetokounmpo wins NBA Finals MVP, dubbed 'new king of the NBA' | Fox News

All this talk about heart and home ain’t gonna be complete until I give a shout out to the Milwaukee Bucks and the other worldly Giannis Antetokounmpo. Their Game 6 win on Tuesday night over the Phoenix Suns clinched the city’s first NBA title in fifty years. It also vindicated a decision Giannis made last year when he re-signed with the team that drafted him. In an age where superstars go ring chasing from one zip code to the next, Giannis declared his loyalty to the team that believed in him from the get, and it paid off in the dream scenario. And so while this Miami Heat fan will always wonder what the big guy would’ve looked like on South Beach, I gotta admit, this story is better. Good for him.

Cyclist donates kidney to complete stranger

Have you heard the one about two guys walking into a bar? Complete strangers, these two, the one guy confides that he’s on dialysis ten hours a night after he went into kidney failure. And get this, the guy he confides in? Offers him a kidney.

Thing is, this isn’t a joke . . it actually happened when Mark Scotch, 64, paid a visit to Natchitoches, Louisiana. That’s where he crossed paths with Hugh Smith, 56, and learned of Smith’s plight. And yes, Scotch let this total stranger know he was all in. But that wasn’t that because after the two men were tested, it turned out they were only a thirty percent match.

Tell you what, happy endings ain’t easy. But as these two would prove, they’re worth chasing, and so the question became, how did Scotch plan on seeing this good deed through? Well, by paying it forward, of course. And so he decided he would donate his kidney to a stranger . . another stranger. Through something called the “Voucher Donor” program, this moved Hugh to the top of the transplant waiting list. And this past February, he got his new kidney. To celebrate, Mark just completed a 1,500 mile bike ride from his home in Madison, Wisconsin to Louisiana in what he dubbed “The Organ Trail”. And at the end of that ride, those same two guys met up in that same bar.

And get this, they’re the best of friends now.

WATCH NOW: Getting brighter - Blood drive held in honor of Columbus girl  battling leukemia | Local | columbustelegram.com

I struggled with this last story, mightily. Because it’s incredibly heart wrenching to read about a six-year old girl who is in the fight of her life, and then you find yourself scrolling through images and you’re crying without even knowing it. But of course you are, because it doesn’t make a damn bit of sense. And so you keep reading, because you have to connect with those smiles . . you have to understand the hope they carry with them, and why.

Violet Jackson is six-years old and she has the kind of smile that could talk the sun into working overtime. Just last month she was diagnosed with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She has been undergoing treatments at Omaha’s Children’s Hospital, where she receives blood and platelets to feed her body since the chemotherapy stunts her blood cell production.

Her sister needed blood and platelet donations to survive. It inspired this  teen to launch a blood drive - CBS News

“I was thankful the blood was available for Violet when she needed it,” said Violet’s mother, Wendy. “And I wanted to pay that gift forward, so I scheduled my blood donation.”

This inspired Violet’s sister Eden to organize a blood drive, and the timing couldn’t have been more vital, seeing as how blood banks across the country have been running on empty since the pandemic. It wasn’t long before big sister had reached goal .  and then kept right on going.

WATCH NOW: Getting brighter - Blood drive held in honor of Columbus girl  battling leukemia | Local | columbustelegram.com

When you come to the end of the story, you pray there is a new beginning and that all those smiles will have been prelude to a dinner table in the distant future; all those same faces, having written chapters of a book that just keeps getting better with time. Their smiles the only evidence of the fight they once shared. Their lives a passage from the long ago pen of Dylan Thomas, come to life once more.

They caught and sang the sun in flight. 

Heroes Of The Week!

Non-Muslims Love Burkinis, But Why? | The Muslim Skeptic

It’s almost the weekend, and with temps soaring across the country, we’re going to take it nice and easy this week. I was going to title this episode as the “Big Chill Edition” but I was afraid it would be mistaken for an ’80’s Movie Trivia post. Which, believe it or not, is not my wheelhouse. Nice and easy? Is.

Let’s get to our lineup . . . .

We storm out of the gates this Friday morning with a story dialed up by the lovely Dale. It’s about a Buddhist daughter and the mother who taught her the most important lesson of all; the one that teaches us how the act of giving replenishes the soul.

It happened when these two decided to sell Joanna Lavelle’s mobility scooter since the ninety-year old mom is homebound these days. And so it was that she got into a conversation with an elderly gentleman who just so happened to be in the market for, you guessed it . . a mobility scooter.

Lavelle just so happens to be a lousy saleswoman, because when she had a chance to close the deal, she let him off the hook . . by giving it to him. Free of charge. Because sometimes the oldest lessons really are the best ones. And this was one . . with everything.

MLB All-Star Game Uniforms Not Drawing All-Star Reviews – NBC Chicago

In honor of the 91st MLB All-Star Game, Imma dish up a traditional double-header of a Yea and a Not So Much. I’ll begin with the latter, which came in the form of those putrid All-Star uniforms that resembled something out of a beer league softball game. Players and fans were in agreement that the uniforms were a bad idea. The sport’s mid-summer classic has long been revered for allowing its players to wear their own uniforms, which creates a beautiful mosaic of unique threads. So of course the MLB, once again, had to play like the other leagues rather than embrace what makes it different from all the rest. How lame.

Live coverage of Shohei Ohtani at the MLB all-star game - Los Angeles Times

Thank the baseball Gods for Shohei Ohtani, who made history by becoming the first All-Star to be tabbed as both a starting pitcher and a position player in the same game. While he went hitless as the American League’s leadoff hitter, he did get the win by tossing a perfect first inning. And big props to AL skipper Kevin Cash (I can’t believe I’m giving props to the Rays here) for understanding the moment and giving Shohei the starting nod.

Amy Polly, Gloria Settelmayer and Amanda Greenberg grew up in the same small town of Goshen Township, Ohio. As the years went by, their relationship grew. In 2017, Polly volunteered to be a surrogate for Settelmayer after Settelmayer had trouble carrying a viable pregnancy. Recently, Greenberg volunteered to do just the same.

Cincy “Beach Walks” Angle makes it back to Friday with a story about family and friends, and how Gloria Settelmayer of Goshen Township, Ohio has merged the two in a very special way. Four years ago, her sister-in-law Peggy made the decision to be her surrogate when it had become painfully clear that Gloria would not be able to have another child. It was a selfless act that is being repeated, this time with her friend Amanda Greenberg. While Gloria and her husband were discussing what to do with their frozen embryos, Amanda made the decision easy.

“You know I’ll carry a baby for you, right?” Greenberg said.

Just like that. Because when people think beyond the constraints of their own little universe, whole new worlds are born. Just ask Gloria Settelmayer. She knows.

We put a bow on this puppy with a love story about a man and his dog. (With yet another HT to Dale for the get).

Brayden Morton from British, Columbia would do anything for his Shar-Pei named Darla, and he proved it recently when she was taken from their home. The frantic dog papa was on social media within minutes, sharing the details of this dognapping, which was shared more than 30,000 times. He also posted a $5,000 reward.

And then he received a call that changed everything. The woman was crying and panicked and it didn’t take long for Brayden to realize she had taken Darla. He reassured her that all he wanted was the safe return of his dog, and so they met up in a parking lot where Brayden was re-united with Darla. She confessed that she had stolen her with a friend in order to collect the reward money to buy drugs.

Morton is a recovering addict who has been clean and sober since May of 2015, so rather than anger, he brought understanding. He offered to pay for her rehab treatment. And while that outcome is still being worked out, there’s even more to this story.

When he met with a tipster who had given him information on another suspect, he learned that the man was homeless. So Brayden paid for a week’s stay at a hotel and when he posted about it on social media, the homeless man was gifted another week’s stay at that hotel, and a job to boot.

You wouldn’t blame Morton for being bitter, but it doesn’t matter because he’s not. He chose hugs over hate, and in a world where it seems as if we have an overabundance of the latter, how can you not love that?

“I would say honestly, more than anything… it was exactly what I needed in my life at that point in time. Those people helped me immensely. [They] really warmed my heart and humbled me,” Morton said. “I’m just as grateful for those two relationships that I made in this whole ordeal and I’m happy that I was able to meet [them].”

When you slow the world down, the lessons are everywhere.

Heroes Of The Week!

(The above capture is Harry Kane and his England mates celebrating their 2-1 win in extra time against Denmark. With the victory, England reaches its first major final since 1966. It will face Italy on Sunday in Euro 2020 at Wembley Stadium.)

I figured since I’ve been on summer hiatus, I’d summon up a special sum-sum for this mid-summer morning’s thrill ride through Hero-Land USA upon my return. No zeros . . which means I can’t talk about that dope whose sign wrecked all those cyclists at the Tour De France or those warring ESPN’ers or Trump’s latest lawsuit. And yet somehow . . I’ll think we’ll survive.

Welp, let’s get back to our regularly scheduled programming . . . .

Canadiens lose Stanley Cup Final, playing from behind among reasons

We begin with a hat tip to a classic lover letter that played out on ice this summer in Ville-Marie, more commonly known as Montreal. The Habs awakened the echoes of Richard and Beliveau, LaFleur, Plante and Dryden by making it all the way to the Stanley Cup finals. In a season where they were supposed to be happy just to be there, the Canadiens of Price, Caufield and Suzuki did much better than that. And while they fell short of the dream scenario, they reminded us as to why we root so passionately. Because it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you love the game.

Anonymous kindness: Customer leaves $16,000 tip for restaurant employees :: WRAL.com

If ever there was a year that made us eager to turn the page, it was 2020. It was the year that kept on taking, stealing our lives, our occupations . . stealing our everyday. Bars and restaurants across the country can attest to this fact all too well. More than 100,000 of these establishments were forced to close as a result of the pandemic while others are barely holding on. Now multiply that with all the workers whose lives have been turned upside down and you’ll see why this feel good moment made my roster.

It happened at the Stumble Inn in Londonderry, New Hampshire when an anonymous customer left a generous tip on his $38 bill. How generous you ask? Try $16,000 worth of the stuff. Which is going to be split between eight servers now, allowing for bills to be paid and summer vacations to be had.

That’s how you turn the page.

One of the (few) things I learned in my short time as a Boy Scout, was that textbook knowledge doesn’t prepare you for real world scenarios. Acing a test is all well and good, but it’s a controlled environment that presents little challenge to your true mettle. So it is that 15-year-old Dominic Viet and 16-year-old Joseph Diener of Columbia, Missouri can honestly say they’ve passed not only the written test, but the driving test too. Or in this case, the swimming test.

They were passing by a basketball court that had basically been transformed into a water polo swimming pool when they heard the screams of a young woman who was drowning in the flood waters. So, they jumped in. Never mind all the wrong answers that flood waters provide- such as the threat of sunken power lines, sewage runoff and the sheer force of mother nature wreaking havoc. In spite of all that, they were able to pull the woman to solid ground. After which Dom sent a text to his mother that read “Coming home soon, just saved a woman’s life,”.

I think that’s called extra credit.

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter: Love story of the longest married presidential couple

Politics and love don’t usually end up in a story together. Unless you’re Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, who just celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary. The pair have known each other since they were old enough to walk and talk. And they fell in love inside the last days of WW2, when he was 20 and she was 17. Jimmy was home from the Naval Academy and Rosalynn had just completed her first year of college. And while the former President cannot remember the movie they saw, he remembers the only thing that the truly mattered was the girl sitting next to him. In his 1995 memoir, he wrote this.

“I’d pay to sit behind her, blind to

what was on the screen, and watch the image flicker

upon her hair.”

What more can I add? Other than Happy Anniversary, you crazy kids.

Shohei Ohtani pitching and hitting plans for 2021

Okay, how do you know when a player just might be working his way into the pantheon of the all-time greats? Well, when you can say something like “Not even Babe Ruth did that . . “. It’s where the California Angels Mr. Everything, Shohei Ohtani, finds himself these days after being named to the All-Star Game, as a pitcher and a hitter. On the mound, he’s 4-1 with a 3.49 ERA while also hitting .279 with . . are you ready? 32 home runs. He’s staring 10 plus wins and 50 long balls right in the kisser.

Hey Babe, there’s a new Sultan in town and he works on the left coast.

Crews work in the rubble Champlain Towers South condo, Tuesday, June 29, 2021, in Surfside, Fla. Many people were still unaccounted for after Thursday's fatal collapse. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

By now you’ve all seen the sobering images of that collapsed condominium tower in Surfside, Florida. The heart wrenching stories that have followed in the two weeks since this tragic event offer a haunting reminder of just how fragile this thing called life really is.

It is damn near impossible to believe in a higher power at a time like this. And then you start reading about how a community of first responders and volunteers are finding those places in the heart where forever spreads its lonesome wings. These are people who come from every walk of life: From first responders who have shown up at the site every day to volunteers who have taken to renting food trucks to feed them, to sports teams doing whatever it takes to make a difference, to neighbors who have opened their doors to those in need.

Robert Martinez talks with a law enforcement officer after handing him a hot meal from his food truck in Surfside, Fla., Tuesday, June 29, 2021. A small army of volunteers mobilized to deliver bottled water and energy drinks, chicken tenders and pizzas to law enforcement and emergency crews working long shifts after the deadly collapse of a condominium tower in the city, near Miami. (AP Photo/Russ Bynum)

The end result of all this time and energy might seem a hopeless cause, excepting to those people who find themselves there day after day. They remain fixed in the spot where nothing good will come in the way of news, because that is no longer the point of this expedition. Now, they seek something much more significant than any idea they ever might have mustered before the end came in the middle of the night, taking countless souls with it.

Death toll in Surfside building collapse rises to 64 after searc - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

This place they keep to, it’s sacred ground now. The labor is of love and its advent is a dedicated will, consumed with breathing life into that which possesses none at all. They forge ahead with rolled up sleeves and a belief that life is not defined by the beginning or the end, but by the middle we pen into being.

Their efforts are testimony to a religion that is not contained inside a leather bound book or houses with steeples or solemn hymns. Their actions are living proof that deities exist in the real time of every single day. And they spell the love and the purpose we devote to the most important things.

The Surfside community gathers for a memorial as search efforts turn from rescue to recovery

Where so much has been lost, these people provide what they have so that families can have closure. Their work is the indefatigable light of the human soul that refuses to go gently into that dark night. And when it looks as if God just isn’t going to show up, they provide us with the truest of necessary truths.

He’s already there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heroes Of The Week!

Performer Debbie Harry holds a microphone onstage.

That is the lovely as ever Debbie Harry performing at the Tribeca Film Festival in Battery Park last week. She was there to celebrate the premiere of her new doc, Blondie: Vivir En La Habana. The short film documents the band’s trip to Cuba in 2019, and I am all in baby! Not to go to Cuba, heck no. But to check out this work. And oh by the way, ain’t it nice to see musicians doing their thing outside again?

Let’s get to Friday . . .

Victoria's Secret rebrand: Priyanka Chopra, Megan Rapinoe and Valentina Sampaio join as new ambassadors | Ents & Arts News | Sky News

Goooooooooaaaaallllllll . . . Alright, is it okay if I admit that I had no idea Megan Rapinoe has become a brand ambassador for Victoria’s Secret? Thanks to the lovely Dale, I’m in the know. And so when I got to . . ahem, researching the topic, I learned something. Men are pigs.

Okay, I’m not talking about all men. Just the ones who pitched a fit over the new course the struggling retailer is taking. Out with the angels and in with peeps like Rapinoe, actor Priyanka Chopra and transgender model Valentina Sampaio. See, the company is listening to the consumers of its product and not simply the dudes who watch the Victoria’s Secret angels videos. And I really don’t know why anyone would have a problem with more and different kinds of sexy.

It’s a new world fellas. Embrace it.

Carl Nassib is first active NFL player to come out as gay - OPBNice play, Carl . . . Carl Nassib is a defensive lineman for the Las Vegas Raiders and this past Monday he became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. In his Instagram video, Carl talked about a day when such announcements will not be necessary. But for the here and now, it still is. Necessary. And so this young man decided he would be the one to stand up and tell the world his story. His announcement was brief and the young man was calm and soft spoken, and courageous as all get out. All that, and he pledged $100,000 to the Trevor Project, which offers suicide prevention for L.G.B.T.Q youth. Here’s to people living their lives in the light of day, and to people like Carl Nassib who are making it happen.

a woman standing in front of a body of water: Maya Nepos made good use of her unused meal plan money.

When giving a little means everything . . . Maya Nepos was a couple days shy of graduating from Washington University in St. Louis Missouri when she learned that she had $600 worth of unused meal plan money left on her credit. That’s what happens when you don’t have in-person classes during a pandemic.

She had two days to spend that money, and so she decided to make it a challenge she could post to her Tik-Tok page, where she has- get this- 330,000 followers. Maya has made quite a name for herself in the realm of social justice and political advocacy, but spending all that money on food she couldn’t possibly eat by herself? Wasn’t happening. So she started giving it away. Before long she was making care packages for the city’s homeless. In two days time, she handed out forty of them. Videos of this new challenge went viral and the donations started pouring in and so Maya kept going and a week later had donated close to a hundred care packages. It brings to mind the words of another fairly prominent Maya who once wrote that when you get something, you should give something back.

And in the grace of giving, we all rise.

There ain’t no good guy, there ain’t no bad guy, there’s only you and me and we just disagree . . . It was a ‘sticky’ situation on Wednesday night in the City of Not So Brotherly Love, and I was loving every minute of this video. Since the MLB has decided to come down hard on pitchers who use Spider Tack and other substances in order to gain an edge, things have gotten . . well, lively. It reached Defcon1 when Phillies manager decided to enlist some gamesmanship to rescue his squad from the dominant clutches of Nationals hurler Max Scherzer, who was mowing down the Philadelphia Nine. Now . . I love Joe and I love Max . . but what I really loved was how it all went down. For maximum comedic overdrive, watch the above video whilst listening to the theme song from Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Chances Are . . . is how Imma wrap up this Friday episode . .

Sometimes it’s best not to question the fates, and there are two families in Atlanta, Georgia who can testify to this. Susan Ellis and Tia Wimbush work at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and so it was that the two friends were playing catchup last fall. They hadn’t seen each other since COVID turned the world upside down, so Susan hadn’t a clue that Tia’s husband Rodney was in need of a kidney. Same goes for Tia, who had no idea that Susan’s husband Lance . . was also in need of a kidney.

The two ladies were all too familiar with the daunting prospects of transplant lists when the conversation moved in a direction neither of them could’ve imagined. And the next thing you know, they were being tested to see if it was possible they could be kidney donors for each other’s husbands. When it came back a match on both counts, it was as if the collective breaths of two families could be heard from one end of the state of Georgia to the other. And in March of this year, the transplant surgeries were carried out successfully and friends became something more, so much more. They became family.

“Our story is a story of kindness. It ended up in a kidney exchange, that was the result of it, but it started with human beings just human beings and checking on each other,” Susan said. “We’re so busy with social media and texting and thinking, that’s not my business that we can self-isolate and we don’t check in on our neighbors.”

Here’s to the crazy chances.

 

Heroes Of The Week!

Darnella Frazier Awarded Honorary Pulitzer For Filming George Floyd's Police Death | Crime News

We begin this Friday episode by sending out a group hug to Darnella Frazier. The Minnesota teen whose video footage of George Floyd’s death led to the conviction of Derek Chauvin. She was our singular song here last month for a reason. Because this young woman rose up and made sure there wasn’t going to be another travesty of justice. She didn’t hesitate to make the ultimate difference and as a result, she is the recipient of an honorary Pulitzer Prize.

Ben Crump, the attorney for the Floyd family, issued the following statement:

“The Floyd family is so pleased to see Darnella Frazier honored for her courageous humanity in documenting the murder of George Floyd . . . We are deeply grateful for her heroism which led to justice for George and sparked a historic social change.”

Big thank you to Dale for contributing this lead off hit for our Friday roster. And stick around to the end, because in a first here at Heroes, she came up with the closing tune to boot. Those Habitantes really are something, eh?

On to Friday! . . . .

This week, Frank is twirling a twin-bill of truly terrific tales. Okay, I might have gotten drunk on alliteration, but I was on a . . . tear. Too much?

First up is the story of a fairy tale wedding day that went up in smoke, until a community came together to rescue it from the ashes, literally. Check out this Steve Hartman special about how “Newlyfleds” Elizabeth and Jake Landuyt had their reception saved by angels.

The Waffle House team raced to make sure Harrison got his cap and gown in time for the ceremony.

The Cincinnati Kid’s capper is all about coming together as a team to get the job done. Which is exactly what the peeps at a Waffle House in Center Point Alabama did when 18-year old Timothy Harrison showed up to work, on the day of his high-school commencement ceremony.

“That’s when I said why aren’t you going to graduation?” said Cedric Hampton, Harrison’s manager at Waffle House. “And he said ‘I don’t want to miss work.’ So I was like, you’re going!”

Turns out the Woodlawn High School senior didn’t have a cap and gown, or tickets, or even a ride to his commencement ceremony which was taking place across town, so he came to work instead. And then his co-workers followed their boss’s lead, determined to make certain the kid didn’t miss his big day. They bought him some threads and then a co-worker rode him across town to procure his cap and gown.

Timothy Harrison said putting on those clothes and then donning that cap and gown made him feel like “a million dollars”. Made possible by a team that’s got a lot more on the menu than just waffles.

They specialize in making tomorrows happen.

Point/Counterpoint: Should the NFL Adopt College Football's Overtime Rules? – BC Heights

Honesty Doesn’t Suit Them: If only NFL and NCAA suits would stop peddling this narrative about player safety being paramount. If only they would just fess up to the driving force behind everything they do. If only it was okay to admit that revenue streams are more important than anything else.

The NFL season will expand to 17 games this season, on the way to an inevitable 18 game season during the next collective bargaining session. And the NCAA will be expanding their national playoff from four teams to twelve. In both instances, this will shorten player’s careers and further water down what made the respective sports special. And the suits will insist this wasn’t about the money, when the fact is, it was all about the money. If only they could admit that money takes precedence without the media bashing them for it while simultaneously sidling up to the trough to collect theirs.

If only.

Imma wrap up this Friday get down with another Super Mama story. And while this woman ain’t snaring a baseball out of mid-air with a baby in her arms, 27 year-old Alyssa DeWitt possesses a very impressive skill set in her own right.

Mama had just arrived at the First Street Beach Pier with her six-year old daughter and two-year old son in tow when she began to rethink her beach day plans on account of the gusty winds sweeping across Lake Michigan. The stay-at-home mom, who also happens to be five months pregnant, threw caution to that wind and made camp by the water when she noticed a group of young girls nearby.

“I happened to look up and saw one of the girls waving her arms towards me and immediately knew something was wrong,” she said. “I got up, pulled my kids out of the water and ran out onto the pier.”

Three girls were clinging to the side wall of the pier, struggling to make it back up. She called 911 but wasn’t sure they could hear her, and there was no time to spare. With no one around to help, she knew the girls were going to drown if she didn’t act quickly, After instructing big sister to keep little brother away from the scene, she moved to the side of the pier and laid down while reaching over to retrieve the girls. Every time it seemed she was making progress, the waves pushed them back.

“My turning point was when one of the little girls looked at me and said, ‘I’m going to die.’ That was it for me and I was like ‘I’m not going to let you die, I’m going to get you out of this water, I promise.’”

The adrenaline rush made all the difference as Alyssa finally pulled them up over the pier wall and to safety. And while she suffered a sprained wrist, we’re happy to report that both mama and child are doing just fine. And big sister is reportedly in negotiations to secure a summer’s supply of ice cream for her part in the rescue mission.

Something tells me she’s going to get it.

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