Heroes Of The Week

The way things are going, I could devote every single Friday to another mass shooting story. And every single Friday would be filled with stories of the dead and promises by our elected officials to dishonor their memories by sticking with the status quo. So this week, no snarky intro and no superhero images leading us into the next episode and no tune to send us into the weekend. The void seems an apt one, all things considered.

And so it goes . . .

NBA fines Kevin Durant $50,000 over language he used to Michael Rapaport

I’ve got a double dose of knuckleheadedness (Merriam Webster won’t accept this word, so I tucked it into my Fridays). This one is made possible by NBA superstar Kevin Durant and actor Michael Rappaport. The Brooklyn Nets small forward has a penchant for being overly sensitive to criticism, which is a seriously weak trait for a high profile athlete. Enter Rapaport, who tossed some trash in KD’s direction which resulted in an unfortunate return on this wasted investment. So the actor decided to dish up Durant’s reply for public consumption and yeah, these are grown ass men we’re talking about here. They’re a double play combination of dumb meeting dumber. Grow up fellas!

Shaq Pays Off Man's Engagement Ring Debt In Generous Act Caught On Video

If I was providing a title to this next story, it would be Brother Can You Spare A Diamond?. Because that’s what Shaquille O’ Neal did recently for a young man in a jewelry store in McDonough, Georgia. The customer was inquiring as to how much he still owed on a ring purchase and when O’Neal overheard the conversation, he pulled out his credit card and settled up. Shaq’s take is he’s just looking to help people out in any way he can. All he really cares about is making people smile, and the big guy does it on a regular basis. The dude brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘World Champion’.

Batgirl gets her revenge on The Joker in 'Injustice: Gods Among Us'

Speaking of growing up, Matt Gaetz doesn’t get the nod this week either. Fuck that guy . . let him stew in our green room for at least another week. After the last story, three would most definitely be a clown. I mean, a crowd. Both!

Instead, Imma turn this ride around and hit the Up button. Tom Cornish, a 96 year old WWII veteran, has never stopped giving back to the country he loves. The former Navy man and native Minnesotan has devoted his life to volunteerism, which is something he shared with his wife Marvel until her passing. Last year, Tom’s daughter gifted him a hat knitting kit and it might as well have been a light bulb sent courtesy of the universe. Because Cornish, he hatched a plan right from the get. Knitting has been a long time hobby, and so he took the kit and re-gifted it . . in the very best way. Last year he donated 400 handmade hats, and he’s still going.  Cornish says he takes pride in the fact “other people are getting something out of my labor. It’s better than playing cards or looking out the window.”

His window is open, to the whole wide world.

I’ve already made it known LaVar Burton is my answer to the question as to who should replace Alex Trebek as host of Jeopardy!. That said, I gotta admit, Green Bay Packer QB Aaron Rodgers is a natural in his own right. But this is ALL about the response a contestant gave in the final round last week. Scott Shewfelt was at a loss for the answer so he decided to troll Rodgers by writing “Who wanted to kick that field goal?”, which referred to the Packers ill fated decision to put Rodgers on the sideline and settle for three points in a season ending loss. The quarterback has been openly critical of the decision ever since, but he took the jab in stride on this night. It was fun to watch.

News, Living Water Lawn And Garden, Las Vegas, Nevada, NV

This understated episode finds its way home by way of Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Community Healing Garden was grown on the site of one of the worst mass shootings in the history of this country. On October 1st, 2017, a gunman opened fire on a crowd of concert goers during the Route 91 Harvest Festival, killing 58 and injuring 489 more.

A beautiful place to reflect': Memorial garden springs up downtown to honor victims - Las Vegas Sun Newspaper

The next day, a sketch on a cocktail napkin became the blueprint for an idea. To make a garden out of the site in honor of the lost. By late afternoon, the plan was set in place and by the end of the week, the project was completed. So the next time someone tells you nothing can be done about the gun crisis in this country, take note of what was accomplished inside of basically four days time.

Healing Las Vegas | News Center | University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Community organizations, small business owners and volunteers of all ages came together and brought life back to a place that had lost so much of it. A “Tree of Life” was donated by Siegfried and Roy. 58 more trees were donated in honor of each life that had been stolen on that October night. There is a Remembrance Wall, painted rocks with the names of the lost, flowers, pictures and other mementoes placed on the grounds in their memory.

The Las vegas Community Healing Garden - 2021 All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos) - Tripadvisor

There’s a garden in Las Vegas where the lost have a name, and it’s testament to what can be done when people come together for the greater good. Because nothing will change until we recognize that so much has to change. We owe it to the countless thousands of souls whose voices have been lost to the madness and we owe it to our children.

We have to give tomorrow a chance.

Photo of Las Vegas Community Healing Garden - Las Vegas, NV, United States

 

 

 

 

Heroes Of The Week!

Zack Snyder's Justice League: New Clip Teases Black-and-White Version

Another week and another slew of forgettable and worse stories making headlines From the 100 fully vaccinated peeps getting COVID in Washington State to Florida Representative Matt Gaetz being investigated for sex trafficking to yet another mass shooting, this one in Southern California.

This week’s episode isn’t perfect, but hey . . I learned it from watching news. So what do you say we get to it? . . .

Deflategate victory leaves Roger Goodell all powerful in kingdom of NFL | Sporting News

Raja could be here for his latest money grab, in the form of a 17th game. But the NFLPA and the owners were more than happy to go along with it as they move towards an eventual 18 game season so whatever. But no more PSA’s about injuries and early retirements after this, fellas, because y’all signed off on it.

No, the Boss of all Sports Bosses is here because of his silence on the Deshaun Watson front. The Houston Texans star currently faces twenty-one sexual assault allegations. Not that long ago, Watson trade talk was all the rage, and while it has been muted since these charges went public, it’s incumbent on Goodell to freeze any trade talk. Immediately. The idea that teams called Houston after the allegations began multiplying is sickening, and I hope those teams are identified so their people are called to answer for it.

Fox, OAN Shoot Down Matt Gaetz's Dream of Becoming a Right-Wing Media Star | Vanity Fair

A new first on Heroes and it’s happening because I don’t feel like talking about Matt Gaetz this week. But a coming attraction for when I break out a can of whoop-ass on this friend of Trump? Oh hell yeah. Stay tuned . . .

Alright, enough of that nonsense. Next up, I have a double dose of delightful served up by Dale. You dig?

Max with Joe's sleeping bag 1.JPG

First up is an 11 year old by the name of Max Woosey who went on a 365 day (or in this case, night) winning streak when the lockdown began last March. His team? The North Devon Hospice in England. It all began when little Max was gifted a sleeping bag by his neighbor, who later died of cancer. The kid decided to camp out in his backyard with the sleeping bag when he learned all hospice fund raising events had been canceled due to COVID-19. Thanks to his sponsors, one year later, Max had collected more than half a million pounds. He went through several tents as a result of the weather; one gifted to him by the family of a soldier who died while serving in Afghanistan. Thanks to Max’s efforts, the hospice has been able to provide care for the people who need it most. Gives a whole new meaning to good night’s sleep, doesn’t it?

Peak Vista vaccinates 200 local homeless people | News | csindy.com

Speaking of people in need, the homeless population has been overlooked in too many cities as the mad rush for vaccinations continues. Colorado Springs ain’t one of those places, thanks to the Peak Vista Community Health Centers and Springs Rescue Mission. This dynamic duo got together to provide two hundred doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to the homeless in Colorado Springs.

“This is a turning point for the community,” says Jack Briggs, president and CEO of Springs Rescue Mission. “If you think about homelessness, there are three things you’re trying to address: The first is health, the second is their housing, and the third is work. You can’t get to housing or work if they’re not healthy. The COVID virus has had impact in a lot of communities, but particularly in the homeless community — it’s isolated them even more than before. By getting them vaccinated and prepared to re-enter society, whether it’s in housing or work, having this in their portfolio of health is going to be very important.”

This is how a civilized society conducts its business. Bravo to these good people.

To say I’m not a fan of kids is an understatement. I mean, it’s not like I’m the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. That guy went looking for the little buggers, after all. So it’s entirely the fault of the peeps at CNN that I watched an entire two minute video where little kids offered up solutions on how to extricate the cargo ship Ever Given from the Suez Canal. And I probably ain’t gonna have to dare you to watch it either.

Imma put a bow-tie on this week’s episode with a story that puts Grubhub and DoorDash to shame . . . .

Editor’s Note: The author of this post made light of your online businesses, but he wants you to know he truly appreciates your services. So concerning any future orders he might place, no hard feelings . . . coo? 

While Chef Steve Chu is familiar with take-out orders at his Asian-Fusion restaurant in Baltimore, Maryland, he probably never envisioned fulfilling one like this. But when the owner/operator of Ekiben learned that one of his long time patrons was losing her battle with cancer, he decided to cook up her favorite meal for her one last time. Personally.

Chu, along with his business partner and a restaurant worker loaded up his pickup truck and made way for the parking lot of her condominium where they fired up the grill and cooked up some tempura broccoli. Oh yeah . . did I forget to mention that his long time patron lives in Vermont now? Yeah . . . six hours . . . over five hundred miles . . . and the best damn dish of tempura broccoli. Ever.

The offer to stay for dinner was politely refused, and no payment was taken for the good deed. For Chu, it was about doing right by a customer who had become so much more than a number. It was his way of saying thank you to her for all the times she chose his place to visit. It was his way of giving back to the people who kept him afloat through some pretty tough times. Because sometimes it’s about the journey and sometimes it’s about the destination and sometimes, well . . yeah.

It’s about both.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heroes Of The Week (F#*&ing WordPress Edition)

Thanks to the grab every loose dollar symmetry of the ass hats at WordPress, I’m writing this post from a bookmarked version of the old school classic editor. They’re intent on cockering their spaniels with new toys whilst making us pay for the old news  Come on people, y’all don’t have to chase those of us who prefer the classic version into a bunker, do you?

Now let’s get to the roster . . .

What? You thought I was gonna forget? Nope, it’s not my style to let someone off the hook when they put themselves there in the first place. The above image is what I would pay for the privilege of keeping my classic editor . . if I had a hole in my fucking head. I did some investigating into what a plug-in would cost, with the idea that I’d pluck down a bill if need be to keep it classic. But $300 bucks? (Sorry, I mean $268 bucks?) . . . Nah thank you.

10 Funny, Classy, and Inspirational Wine Quotes for National Wine Day

So a big thank you to wine. All it took was a glass of Cabernet Merlot to chase away the meh feeling WordPress had gifted me. To think, for fifteen bucks all my concerns were swept away . . . just like that. Imma get Robert Mondavi to call the peeps at WordPress and teach them how to make money and keep the customer happy. Both . . .

LeBron James, once a Yankees fan, to become part-owner of Boston Red Sox (report)

Next up is a hero/zero combo for the side pocket and the win. In his latest non-basketball related move, LeBron James became a part owner of the Boston Red Sox. The Lakers forward will surpass $1 billion in career earnings this year, and he’s working his green in the hopes of one day scoring his very own club. LBJ’s career is a multi-verse tale of big wins, on and off the court. So why do I also have this story in my Zero File? Because it’s the fucking Red Sox, man. . . come on!

The mattress a Chicago girl and her siblings used to jump out their third floor window.

There’s an eight year old girl out there whose two little brothers are going to be paying for dinner, like all the time, when they grow up. That’s because big sister saved them from a fire with her quick thinking. As flames engulfed their third-floor apartment, the girl threw a mattress out the window in order to provide a soft landing. Investigators are looking into the cause of the fire, not to mention the whereabouts of the babysitter who was supposed to be tending to the kids while their mother was at work. Yanno, every time one of her little brothers tries pulling some shit, she’s gonna be like “Remember when I saved your little asses from that fire?”. I mean, can you blame her?

Aesop once said that no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. And as far as the peeps in Dauphin, Pennsylvania are concerned, it doesn’t go unnoticed either. They recently took up a collection for their UPS driver, Chad Turns. The goal was to raise $500 for him as their way of saying thank you for all that he does. Last year, while life seemed to come to a standstill for many, Chad never stopped rolling.

“The whole town has had personal experience with Chad,” Dauphin resident Adam Shickley says. “He once thought a package was a gift and there was a picture on the front. My kids were playing outside so he waited until his shift was done and came back to make sure they didn’t see it.”

It’s little things like this that add up on the old cosmic tote board, and Chad Turns has provided his share of them. And speaking of adding up, this fundraiser’s original goal was scaled with ease before settling in at a cool grand. Which the town presented to him, along with a big thank you card, delivered to the man in a much deserved turnabout. It’s yet another reminder that every act of kindness really is essential.

Dick Hoyt pushed his son Rick in the Boston Marathon in 2006. The two competed in that race nearly every year from 1980 to 2014.

I’ve got a melancholy capper to this week’s episode, with the news of Dick Hoyt’s passing.

His was a life straight off the canvas of a Norman Rockwell painting. Hoyt was born in 1940 in Winchester, Massachusetts. The captain of his North Reading football team, he would end up marrying the head cheerleader, Judy Leighton. He served in the Army National Guard as well as the Air National Guard for almost forty years.

Hoyt also happened to be a part of one of the most beloved teams in New England sports history. It all began in 1977 when his son Rick asked his father if they could take part in a five mile benefit race for a lacrosse player who had been paralyzed. It was a revelation whose wake would cause ripples from Hopkinton to Malibu before all was said and done.

Rick Hoyt was born in 1962 without the ability to speak or use his limbs. A quadriplegic with cerebral palsy, he communicated via a computer keypad he tapped with his head. But it was the shared spirit of a father and his son that created a language all its own during that first run, as dad pushed them across the finish line. They would finish next to last, but the dream was just getting started.

Over the next thirty seven years, they would complete more than 1,000 races. Dad would finish first in his age group in the Marine Corps Marathon in 1992, with a time of 2 hours, 40 minutes and 47 seconds. They also completed six Ironman triathlons and later biked and ran across the country. A bronze statue of the father/son team stands near the starting line of the Boston Marathon with a plaque that reads “Yes, you can!”

Sadly, their final Boston Marathon was cut short by the deadly bombing at the finish line in 2013. Remarkably, it was to have been the thirty-second successful run for this father and son team.

They came back the next year to finish what they started.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

peter-oppegard.jpg

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!

Image result for The Boys Starlight

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 . .

Image 1 - Michelob-Ultra-Beer-Can-12oz-A-A

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.

Image result for Dak Prescott helps homeless Dallas residents

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). 

Image result for pierre desir

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.

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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.