Heroes Of The Week!

 

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

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

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

Now to the lineup . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s love, actually.

 

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

Super Santa Claus - Imgur

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s to the light.

Heroes Of The Week!

Captain Kirk's chair | Krista Lynn Campbell

Welp kids, only forty six more shopping days until the inauguration and less than a month to go before we turn the page on 2020. As far as Christmas, it’s been moved to March 17th of next year in an effort to err on the side of caution. Okay, I made that last part up. But yanno . . it can be argued (by yours truly) that St. Patrick’s Day is Christmas for spring time. And maybe I’ve lost that argument every single year but for the life of me, I can’t remember!

Enough of the shenanigans (pun intended), let’s get to our heroes . . .

Padres Outfielder Tommy Pham Sues San Diego Strip Club | San Diego, CA Patch

The Naked Truth:

You would think after hitting .211 last season that Tommy Pham of the San Diego Padres would be camping out in the batting cages for a get back season in ’21. Nope. Instead the outfielder decided to get his licks in at a strip club. There’s an old saying that nothing good happens after 1 am. When you add a strip club to the mix, you might as well make reservations at the ER, just in case. So when Pham suffered “catastrophic injuries” when he was stabbed in the back during an altercation at Pacers, well . . who knew? Now Pham is suing the nightclub for negligence. Maybe the Padres should countersue Pham for not having a clue.

Mom buys groceries for families in need in her community after spur of the moment decision - ABC News

Soul Food:

Brandy Bisson nails the landing when it comes to paying it forward. The Concord, New Hampshire mother of three wanted to do something for a community that had done so much for her and her family. After throwing her seven year old son Thomas a birthday parade, with gifts included, Brandy felt it was only right to return the favor. So she laid out six hundred dollars to pay the grocery tabs for eight strangers. And last week, she bought Thanksgiving dinner for two families in Manchester.

“With the pandemic and everything and all the election stuff, I just wanted to bring smiles to people’s faces,” Bisson said.

She’s bringing back the social to the distance between us, one meal at a time.

Salem Nurse Put On Leave For Anti-Mask COVID TikTok

You Can’t Mask Stupid:

Ashley Grames is an oncology nurse from Salem, Oregon and she wants the world to know that she doesn’t much care for the COVID-19 Rules when she’s not donning scrubs. No . . really. She took to TikTok with a video in which she lip-synched “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” in a rambling boast party. No. Really.

“When my co-workers find out I still travel, don’t wear a mask when I’m out and let my kids have play dates,” the nurse wrote in a caption accompanying the video, which has since been deleted.

More than a quarter of a million peeps tuned in, after which the hospital’s Facebook page was flooded with complaints. Thanks to the heads up, Grames has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into the matter. And once they reach the slam dunk conclusion that Grames’ behavior is both arrogant and downright dangerous in a state that has endured a spike in coronavirus cases recently, this ninny of a nurse won’t simply be maskless. She’s probably going to be jobless too.

Hunks With Hearts:

The business plan for a moving company like College Hunks would seem just a tad bit limited, seeing as how they mostly appeal to one half of the population. But these guys aren’t just a bunch of pretty faces, not when their priorities are this . . . . wait for it . . . buff and polished.

They’re stepping up for victims of domestic abuse and have already completed 100 free moves for those who are looking to remove themselves from an unsafe situation. This service has become all the more important as victims of abuse might feel trapped due to another series of lockdowns that have gone into effect across the United States and Canada.

“As a purpose driven, socially-conscious organization we’re always looking for ways to positively impact our communities—in this case, particularly for those who feel powerless in unhealthy home situations.” Says co-founder Nick Friedman.

The company has also provided trucks to help in the transport of COVID-19 supplies and medical equipment, as well as relocating beds and goods to hospitals in need and delivering water to healthcare workers. And oh yeah, they also donate two meals for every completed job to the organization Feeding Children Everywhere. To date, they’ve delivered over one million meals.

That’s what I call a move in the right direction.

Mark Dunajtschik's lifetime achievements have been honoured. Photo / supplied

The Big Give:

Last up today is Mark Dunajtschik. This former prison camp survivor who was forced to flee his homeland of Yugoslavia at the end of WWII knows full well how destructive hatred can be. Which is why he has dedicated his life to building compassionate pursuits.

The eighty five year old real estate developer from New Zealand is a living definition of what “labor of love” is supposed to look like. Because while he’s one of the wealthiest industrialists in the country, his influence really shines through when you start talking about his many philanthropic ventures, which include financing the country’s Life Flight Trust helicopter rescue service.

In 2017, he gave $50 million to the construction of a new children’s hospital in Wellington. This wasn’t simply a donation, but a hands on effort.

“By utilizing my expertise as a developer we would be able to produce more real estate than if we were to just write out a cheque and leave the bureaucrats to build it,” he says.

With the exterior of the building having been completed this summer, the project is on schedule for a 2021 opening. And it was all made possible by a man who knows the evils of this world first hand and has committed a lifetime to fostering that special something we need most of all.

Hope.

Heroes Of The Week! (Casual Friday Edition)

Macy's Thanskgiving Day Parade 2012: Helium is wasted in floating parade balloons.

Welp . . . I couldn’t go with Black Friday Edition on account of the fact the retailers have gone and screwed that up in the recent past by opening on Thanksgiving night. Of course, this year they got religion . . on account of COVID. So Imma go with a more casual flow to this week’s episode. And with twenty eight shopping days until Christmas, methinks it’s a good idea to take a chill day before our shopping boots really get to stepping.

Big thank you to Frank “Beaches” Angle for riding shotgun with me last week. Of course, going solo means I have some zeroes to go along with the good stuff. But that’s alright because, just like in the movies, the good guys win in the end.

Now to our heroes . . .

I’m starting things off with Green Shirt Guy. And if you don’t know who that is, then do yourself a favor and watch this video. His name is Alex Kack and he’s a twenty eight year old field organizer from Tucson, Arizona. He went viral after video footage caught him having a good laugh during a city council on immigration. He was reacting to the mindless rant of an anti-immigration protester when his fifteen minutes of fame came calling.

“There’s a side to it that’s not funny, especially in light of El Paso,” he said. “But when you’re sitting there and your confronted with a level of absurdity and insanity, what else are you gonna do?”

Kack says he plans on keeping his green shirt. And hopefully he keeps that sense of humor as well. We need it right about now.

Big props to a recent hero, Alex Smith. The Washington quarterback not only made it back to the field after almost losing his leg a couple years ago, but he’s kicking some butt. He threw for almost four hundred yards last week, and he helped lead Washington to a victory against the Cowboys yesterday that lifted his team into first place. Just . . . wow.

Not for nothing (because that’s what it’s worth) but what in the hell happened to “America’s Mayor” Rudy Giuliani? Dude should have remained in the private sector, because once he went high profile again, he quickly turned into the Penguin. Seriously . . . DC Comics is suing him for identity theft. But I guess that’s what happens when you join forces with the Joker.

And what’s the deal with Rudy’s boss taking credit for the Dow hitting 30 K for the first time? Does he not remember predicting the market would crash if Biden was elected? Huh? Hmm? Huh?

Ryan Shazier walks out to announce Steelers' draft pick

Ryan Shazier was busy living his dream until a spinal cord injury in a December 2017 game against the Cincinnati Bengals changed everything. The former linebacker was given only a twenty percent chance of ever walking again. He pushed back on that daunting outlook and less than six months later was walking up to the podium to announce the Pittsburgh Steelers pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

“My injury has helped me see firsthand what the SCI community goes through every day and the inequities people face when it comes to getting the care they need,” Shazier said. “I want to be there for people who are going through similar struggles, including their caregivers and families.”

Over the last three years, this former member of the “Steel Curtain” has shown plenty of steel off the field. This week he announced that he is starting a non-profit organization: The Ryan Shazier Fund for Spinal Rehabilitation. In his words, it’s one step at a time to a better tomorrow. His courageous example will help to lead the way.

Dogs are man’s best friend, so it was only right this guy returned the favor. He went in the water and extricated his puppy from the jaws of an alligator. The part of this video that’s most impressive is how he opens the gator’s jaws while it’s between his legs. I mean . . courage AND concentration.

Seriously! The gator is BETWEEN his legs . . . thisclose to his business! Okay I’ll stop . . .

Michael J. Fox Details Crisis Of Optimism In New Memoir, 'No Time Like The Future' | Here & Now

And now for a double tapestry of righteous brought to us from the lovely Dale over at A Dalectable Life.

First up is that much loved Canadian(?) Michael J. Fox. He’s penned a new memoir titled No Time Like The Future, in which he goes deep on his darkest moments. Specific to this was 2018 when doctors found a tumor on his spinal cord. Though benign, doctors believed it was too risky to operate, and that it would eventually lead to him not being able to walk. He was able to find a doctor who removed it successfully, after which he spent much of the year learning to walk again.

Things did not go well.

“I squandered it by going too fast down a hallway and turning into the kitchen, slipping on a tile and crushing my arm,” says Fox, who couldn’t reach the phone to call for help. “I had to get my arm rebuilt.”

It was in that moment where Fox thought to himself “I’m out of the freaking lemonade business,”. And yet he found his way from there to here. With a new book, a new outlook and a perspective that will serve to help others. In spite of all the valleys he’s been made to journey through, he says he is still so thankful for everything he’s got.

Is it any wonder me and Frank try and steal this guy every chance we get?

And a belated congratulations to Kim Ng, the first female general manager of a men’s team in the history of major North American sports. From the White Sox to the Yankees to the Dodgers, Ng has paid her dues over a thirty year career. Next up? I want to see Becky Hammon score a head coaching gig in the NBA.

Dolly Parton, who in April donated $1 million to Covid-19 research, is listed among sponsors who funded research for the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine.

As for the B side of Dale’s two-fer, we have Dolly Parton. She wasn’t just tapping her toes, hoping the pandemic would miraculously disappear by spring, nope. In April she donated $1 million to coronavirus research. Money that helped to fund Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. Her name appears in the preliminary report for the vaccine, but she was never looking to draw attention to herself. All she wanted was to help, and she called on others to send what they could to the research team at Vanderbilt University.

She believed it was the time to “open my heart” in order to help others. But you know what really helps that process along?

When your heart was right there all along.

And the following video is why I am going to miss Conan. One of the many reasons . . .

Pat Sajak told a Wheel of Fortune contestant that he was “ungrateful” and Twitter went nuclear. And in other news, I just cut my toenails . . . .

Imma send y’all into the weekend with the story of Grover Wilhelmsen. He’s a retired music teacher who was stricken with COVID-19 this fall. The virus moved into his lungs and impeded his ability to talk. So Grover took to passing notes to the nurses tending to him before coming up with a better idea. He got his wife Diana to bring his violin to the hospital so he could play them a song, as his way of saying thank you.

And in the music shined a light for the people who have had to work through so much darkness. His gift of love and thanks, in keeping with the season. The gesture shows us that gratitude is more than appreciation or a reciprocal kindness.

It’s a gift.

Heroes: A Frank Edition

Greetings to Marc’s Peeps. Frank here, formerly of A Frank Angle but currently at Beach Walk Impressions. Last week Marc asked me if I could do the next edition of Heroes. Of course, I agreed. Shortly thereafter, a family health issue developed, and time got away from me – then yesterday evening’s oh-shit moment arrived. Fortunately, I had some bookmarks. So here goes.

Embed from Getty Images

 

Marshall Helm (of Salem, Illinois) is a Vietnam veteran, a grandfather, and a person battling cancer. He walked his granddaughter to her stop, and after she boarded, the bus driver directed his attention to the smoke coming from a nearby house. He ran to the house and found flames in the garage. He opened the door, raced past flames, and his shouts awakened the sleeping homeowners. All safely escaped through the backdoor. The house is gone, but lives are safe. Just an example of a person with a sense of duty to others. Thank you, Mr. Helm.

 

Orion Jean (of Ft. Worth, Texas) decided he wanted to make the world a better place by spreading kindness with a message of wanting everyone to know that they are loved. Orion won the National Kindness Speech Award prize of $500 – and he takes the money to buy toys for hospitalized children. THEN, some community members pitched in. Now, Orion’s “Race for Kindness” has a goal of snack bags for a needy 100,000 people by Thanksgiving. For the record, Orion is 10 years old. I like this interview with him, plus I get to see one of my fav news personalities.

 

The Story: COVID-19 has impacted the world in 2020. On top of that, Californians and others in western states have been dealing with devastating wildfires. Berry Creek is a small, rural community of 1,200 people in California’s hilly, forested terrain. While Berry Creek volunteer firefighters fought the fire and helped residents evacuate, a fire destroyed the fire department station and the homes of six of the seven volunteer firefighters.

The Rest of the Story: Meanwhile, back in 2018 the father-daughter combo of Woody and Luna Faircloth started a nonprofit to supply RVs as temporary shelter for people who lost homes to the 2018’s massive Camp Fire. Today their organization is now known as EmergencyRV.org. Once they heard the news about the Berry Creek firefighters, they sprung into action to deliver RVs to shelter those who lost their homes. Although temporary, they now have a place they can call home. Who are the heroes? You decide. I couldn’t find a video of this story, but here’s an article.

Embed from Getty Images

 

Here’s one for the season – but more of a feel-good story than something heroic. Then again, Abigail, Theo, and Benny (of Salt Lake City, Utah) are hero candidates. No doubt in my mind that kids get what relationships are supposed to be much more than adults.

 

Fortunately, heroes are not by societal biases as age, gender, race, sexuality, religion, and nationality. Thanks to those mentioned here, in past editions, editions to come, heroes not mentioned, and all those who do it as a regular job.

To take you into the weekend, here’s a song for you and all the heroes. Mainly because I like the song. Besides, the images are wonderful. Have a great weekend, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch. PS: Don’t forget about your clocks this weekend – well – those who have to make an adjustment.

Heroes Of The Week!

Abraham Lincoln Quiz | Britannica

Just a quick bit of housekeeping before I dive in to this week’s lineup of hits and misses. Marco will be going on a brief hiatus from the shop, say about two weeks worth of slinging some hibernating hash? And in the interim, I gots me a couple of All Stars who are going to make sure you don’t miss me one lick. The lovely Dale will be filling my roster spot next Friday and the inimitable Frank will bat for me the week after that. Make sure to show them some love.

And now to this week’s lineup . . .

Chiropractor may be able to crackdown on NFL head, neck injuries ...

My first entry isn’t really a story at all. I simply want to give props to the professional athletes from all over the map who have opted out of their respective sports this year. These guys are dishing up the truth when they tell us they’re dubious as to how safe their leagues can keep them. They’re putting the interests of their families and friends ahead of an entire calendar year of work, which is no small thing when you consider how brief the average career of a professional athlete is. I’m not going to name any specific player because I don’t want to leave anyone out; they’re all important. And what they’re doing is righteous. Yanno, I guess that is a story unto itself.

Get the he-- out of the country': Mike Ditka slams NFL players who ...

And on the flip side of that coin we have Mike Ditka. The former coach of Da Bears went on the attack recently. His target? All those kneeling players. Taking a page from his boy Trump’s handbook, Iron (Head) Mike says that if those guys can’t stand for the national anthem, then they’re free to get the hell out of the country. But I have a better idea. Why doesn’t he leave instead?

Next up is a two for one story brought to us by Dale over at A Dalectable Life.

bridger-walker-41

You won’t find six year old Bridger Walker in the next Avengers movie, but that doesn’t mean the little guy ain’t worthy.

On July 9th, the Wyoming boy came to the rescue of his four year old sister who was being attacked by a German Shepherd. He says that “if someone had to die, I thought it should be me,” and if that sentence doesn’t shake you to your core . . then you may not have a core. As a result of his heroic act, Bridger suffered significant damage to his face that required ninety stitches. But he says he would do it all over again for the baby sister he loves more than anything in the world.

When Bridger’s aunt posted the story to Instagram, it caught the attention of none other than Chris Evans, who plays Captain America in the Avengers series.

So Evans responded to Bridger with this: “I read your story, I saw what you did. I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of this over the last couple of days but let me be the next one to tell you. Pal, you’re a hero, what you did was so brave, so selfless — your sister is so lucky to have you as a big brother. Your parents must be so proud of you.”

And then Evans sent Bridger his very own Captain America shield. After which Evans’ pals got involved too. Mark Ruffalo (The Hulk) reached out, as did Tom Holland (Spider Man) and they let the kid know what an inspiration he is to all of them. Even Anne Hathaway chimed in by saying that while she’s not a part of the Avengers, she knows a superhero when she sees one.

So the next time you see these guys in the theater? You’ll know whose script they’re working off.

I’m putting a bow-tie on this week’s episode with a beautiful story that is brought to us by the lovely Monika over at Tails Around The Ranch. It’s a story whose perspective has great value inside the world we currently inhabit.

Tommy Rhine has been running a shoe repair business in downtown Denver for more than forty years now. With the COVID-19 outbreak, Rhine’s business suffered so badly that it looked as if it would have to close its doors for good. It just wasn’t fair. Here was a guy who made a city feel like a neighborhood, who has greeted every working day by providing his customers with a primo job and a smile made just for them. Monika remembers bringing in her high heel shoes to Tommy when she used to work downtown. She says “I’m convinced he often gave the shoes a good buffing so they would look new,”.

Rhine had no luck in securing a business loan in order to keep his place going, and just when things were looking their worst, his community showed up, the way he’s been showing up for them for the pasty forty years.

The only form of promotion Rhine had to his name at that point came from a sign his son had placed in the window of his father’s shop that read “Black Owned Business”. It was a sign that was meant to at once curtail any possible vandalism by protesters while also being a way to attract business to his struggling enterprise. And while Tommy is not involved in the current day struggle for equity, he well remembers a time back in the sixties when he fought the very same fight.

That little sign in the window, it ended up changing everything. Ryan Warner of Colorado Public Radio tweeted an image of it, and the response was immediate. So they set up a Go Fund Me page for Tommy and now those forty years in business will get a few more added on to them. He’s getting donations from all corners of the map and customers who are bring in their shoes to him whilst featuring him on social media as well.

Tommy didn’t have a fat cat bailout to rescue him. What he got instead were neighbors and friends and strangers who appreciate the heart and soul he brings to his craft and want to make sure he keeps on keeping on. In a world where it seems as if too many people are out for themselves, here’s a story about showing up and giving back and appreciation. And it tells us the blessed truth of our humble existence.

Love matters.

Heroes Of The Week! (Yankee Clipper Edition)

 

The classic DiMaggio swing. He was perhaps the greatest right ...

It’s the middle of July and it feels as if we’re living inside a snow globe whose lyrics were birthed by the Smashing Pumpkins, Erasure and Prince. Only, it doesn’t feel nearly as depressingly romantic as all that. The great Joe DiMaggio’s consecutive games hitting streak reached its fifty sixth (and final) chapter on this day back in 1941. And he really does feel that far away.

But hey! At least we have the national election to look forward to in November. . . okay, forget I said that.

Here’s my lineup ‘o the week . . .

Grant Imahara | Keppler Speakers

A posthumous mention is necessary after the passing of Grant Imahara. An electrical engineer, model maker (Whose work was featured in the movies Star Wars, Jurassic Park and Terminator) animatronics specialist and all around great person who is gone from us much too soon. Imahara died from a brain aneurism at the age of 49, but he leaves an indelible footprint that will resonate for generations. My kids loved him on MythBusters, and so did many of their friends. Because first and foremost, he was a teacher. His passing is a theft of the cosmos.

Critics At Large : Neglected Gem: Moon Over Parador (1988)

The current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue doesn’t usually make the scene here only because if he were to make it for every stupid shit thing he does, he’d be showing up every week. But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention his latest clueless rant. This one claiming that the coronavirus is, in fact, a hoax. He’s crying foul on the democrats, the media and everybody else who is out to get him by insisting all those things he said about the virus in the early going? Well . . he didn’t actually say them . . even though he did say them. Meanwhile, the nation has over a hundred thousand confirmed cases of COVID-19 . . . and nobody is steering this ship.

Ted “Green Eggs” Cruz is another dunce who could be a weekly feature on here. Instead, I’ll just mention how he went mask-less on an American Airlines flight recently. Remember when we used to fear Al Qaeda?

Phillip Blanks of Phoenix, Arizona can spin you a tale or two about his glory days, back when he was playing college football in Mission Viejo, California. But it’s fair to say the former Marine never made a catch like the one he made recently. The twenty eight year old was right where he needed to be when a third floor apartment became engulfed in fire. As he rushed over to help, he saw the mother of a toddler summoning others over so she could drop her three year old boy from the balcony to save him.

“He was twirling in the air like a propeller,” Blanks said. “I just did my best. His head landed perfectly on my elbow. His ankle got twisted up as I was diving. The guy who was there with me — it looked like he wasn’t going to catch him. So that’s why I stepped in . . ”

Blanks deflected any praise by saying the boy’s mother was the real hero for having died while saving her children. Humility may be hard to come by these days, but this young man provided.

Naya Rivera, the former Glee star, is yet another talent taken from the world too soon. But now comes word that she saved her four year old son Josey before drowning. Those closest to her were not surprised, because being a mother mattered more than anything in the world. Only the good die young.

I’ll keep this brief by providing the video tussle between Florida Representative Anthony Sabatini and CNN’s Brianna Keilar. Because it speaks to how people like Sabatini have politicized life and death to such a degree that we now are faced with a Mandela Effect debate that completely ignores the horrendous toll COVID-19 has perpetrated on our country.

Roux, an adopted a Belgian Malinois, alerted her owners to the neighbor's house being on fire in Franklin.

I wrap things up with the story of a He-Roux from Franklin, County Tennessee.

Okay, I’m playing on the name of this beautiful three year old Belgian Malinois whose name is Roux. But on the night of July 4th, this little lady was all business. It was some time after ten p.m. when Roux began barking furiously and scratching at her front door. When her owner, Jeff LeCates, opened the door to investigate, he quickly discovered what she was talking about.

Their next door neighbor’s home had become engulfed in flames, so this dynamic duo got to stepping. They woke the family of three, and their pets, and were able to get everyone out of the house safely, after which Jeff took a garden hose to the fire until firefighters made the scene. In an interesting twist of fate, the woman who lived in the home is a dog groomer who helped arrange for Jeff to adopt Roux. So in effect, it was a decision that would end up saving her life.

As for Roux, she doesn’t much care for the kudos when kibble will do just fine. Hugs, those work too. She doesn’t consider herself a hero and she doesn’t expect anything in return. She simply did what needed to be done inside the most desperate of moments, and she would do it all over again. Every single time.

Heroism is a restless verb.

 

 

 

 

 

Heroes Of The Week!

 

Tunis Campbell (1812-1891) | New Georgia Encyclopedia

(Tunis Campbell- 1812-1891)

As we draw ever closer to a national election no one seems aware is going to be taking place in the fall, I’m rocking some news we shouldn’t be ignoring. Of course I’m still digging on the yin and yang of our weekly trend, so you’ll pardon me for letting the mulligans swim right alongside the magnifique? Coo . . .

Let’s plate it, kids . . .

Boomer Esiason on GHS: Chiefs opening a lot of eyes around league ...

First up is radio gas bag Norman “Boomer” Esiason. The former NFL quarterback who almost beat Joe Montana in a Super Bowl back in the day (proving that anything is possible) always manages to outdo himself when it comes to saying stupid shit. Boomer recently speculated as to whether big time college athletes were getting COVID-19 on purpose, so they’d be good to go for the fall. This is where I’m supposed to expound on how out of touch guys like Boomer are, but hey . . he did it for me!

They bonded over lox and bagels and music, then Covid-19 hit. Now ...

DOROT is a non-profit organization that serves as a bridge for an aging population. It fosters connections, which is a precious commodity these days. Ben Goldstein is a thirty year old volunteer for DOROT, and he’s Zoom pals with Robert Brajer- an 82 year old Holocaust survivor. They talk about everything from politics to pop culture while chowing down on lox and bagels. Brajer says it helps to know he’s not alone, and Goldstein gets a regular history lesson. That’s called win meeting win.

Stephen Jackson defends Eagles' DeSean Jackson over anti-Semitic post

And not for nothing, but DeSean Jackson might have done well to educate himself before posting to social media. Jackson did apologize for his antisemitic comments, and yet that didn’t stop Stephen Jackson from doubling down (you read that right) on the subject. The ignorance shown by these two men serves no good purpose as society continues to struggle with the divide created by prejudice. They know better, and society deserves better.

This next story is a twin bill of the forgettable being cut off at the pass by a fantastic response. I’ll begin with the former . . .

Michael Lofthouse is the CEO of Solid8- a cloud computing firm out of San Francisco. But it’s not his expert acumen that is getting talked about these days, but rather, his Trumpian outburst at Lucia Restaurant in Carmel Valley, California on July 4th. His ignorant fuse got lit when a family had the audacity to celebrate a relative’s birthday with song. Lofthouse told them to get lost, but he didn’t stop there. After flipping them the bird, he followed it up by calling one member of the clan an “Asian piece of shit,” and following that up with “You fuckers need to leave!” before finishing his vitriolic rant by exclaiming that “Trump is going to fuck you!”. And it proves to me how wrong I was to think my vote doesn’t count come November. Because that opinion will ensure more of the same . . .

About Gennica Cochran, the lady who raised her voice against ...

So thank God for Gennica Cochran- a server at Lucia- who stepped in to diffuse the situation by telling Lofthouse to hit the bricks. Cochran didn’t hesitate to let this asshole know that he had to leave, immediately.

“I felt very protective of them,” Cochran said. “You don’t come in here and say those kinds of things to people. Especially people feel so raw coming out of quarantine. Most of these people, this is the first time that they’ve been out to dinner, and then you have someone attacking them, it was just no, no, I don’t have time for this.”

Go Fund Me pages for Cochran have sprouted up all over the place as a result of her actions. Like flowers, replacing the weed she pulled out.

Shawn Dromgoole and people from nearby neighborhoods who participated in "Walk With Shawn."

This last story was brought to us by Monika over at Tails Around The Ranch. And it is the kind of story that helps us to see the forest through all these wicked trees. Because to appreciate the differences rather than vilify each other is how we grow those trees that help us breathe in a better reality.

Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Shawn Dromgoole felt like a stranger in his own hometown.

“Once upon a time that entire neighborhood was our family,” Dromgoole says. “Years later property taxes ran our people out of the neighborhood, they moved out and new people moved in and all of a sudden we didn’t belong. We knew none of our neighbors, which is okay unless you’re a Black American.”

After Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed while jogging in Glynn County, Georgia, Shawn says he was afraid to even go for a walk through his neighborhood. Imagine feeling as if you’re a suspect . . like, all the time. And so Shawn posted these thoughts on social media, and then his neighbors? Well, they showed up.

Hundreds of people in Nashville are now joining the Walks With Shawn.

To think how a simple post grew into Walks With Shawn, in which hundreds of people from the area do just that. And to think of the impact one young man’s life has had on the community around him. One voice, leading a thousand feet into the kind of movement that has branches. Strong ones.

Shawn Dromgoole and his mother,  Lynetra Dunn, on one of their walks.

And so now, Shawn is planning on taking this idea on the road. He wants to walk the same streets in Georgia that took the life of Ahmaud Arbery. And Miami Gardens, Florida, where Trayvon Martin was shot and killed. And Cleveland Ohio, where Tamir Rice was stolen by a bullet before his life even got started.

This is a story about how fear drove one young man to find his purpose in life. And what he came to learn was that the differences in us do not require fences or walls. We are better than all those many ugly places we have been witness to over the past few months, and years, and lifetimes.

“I want people to realize that everyone is someone’s neighbor and we don’t need to be harming each other because of preconceived notions and biases.” Shawn says.

It’s time to walk the walk, for all of us.

 

 

 

 

Heroes Of The Week! (Old School Edition)

Pop Art

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

And now to this week’s episode . . .

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

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

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

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

Image credit: YouTube

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

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

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

Robert Williams

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Heroes Of The Week! (Lampoon Edition)

Top 10 Funniest Superheroes and Villains | WatchMojo.com

This has been the year of living dangerously, and we’re only at halftime. So I thought you kids might appreciate a variant on the tried and true Friday episode. So Imma kick it up with satire, because it’s my middle name. Maybe not my mama given one, but hey . . it still counts.

And now for our . . . umm . . . heroes?

Workers repair the cracked glass panel on Gatlinburg's SkyBridge on Tuesday morning.

Clueless Joe- As I mentioned in my last post, I’m not missing sports all that much. It would be nice to catch an occasional game or have something to talk about . . but the diversion was answered with a Johnny Come Lately of new kid in town alternatives. And besides, you know what I really don’t miss? Fans. Because more often than not, they’re doing stupid shit. And so of course we had an example come to us from Gatlinburg, Tennessee this week . . and he’s a baseball fan.

I’m guessing he’s a baseball fan by the slide he attempted into home plate. Which may or may not have been Soto, but for the fact he wasn’t on a baseball diamond when he did it . . . he was on a glass sky-bridge. Because I don’t know about you but I always wanted to throw my body onto a piece of glass that sits a hundred and fifty feet above the ground. So of course the slide cracked a glass panel and the bridge was closed for repairs as a result.

If this schmo had been a football fan, the Darwin Awards would have been crowning another champion right about now.

Mannequins are placed in spectator seats to cheer South Korea's football club FC Seoul team during a match against Gwangju FC, which is held without fans due to the coronavirus disease

Take me out to the Doll Game- The next story is a month old, but it’s the gift that keeps on, uh . . . giving.

The South Korean soccer team- FC Seoul- was issued a red card in the form of an $81,000 fine for filling their fan-less stadium with sex dolls rather than mannequins. Sex doll , social media users noticed the substitutions, after which the team claimed it was all a “big mix up”. The team’s soccer league responded by claiming the team “could have easily recognized their use using common sense and experience”. And I really wish the team would have responded to the league’s statement but I guess it would have been too easy.

Reports that thousands of single guys converged on the stadium upon hearing about the fans in attendance could not be confirmed . . .

Cruz engages in flame war with 'Hellboy,' in tweetstorm that ...

Ted and Hellboy’s Excellent Adventure- Remember the good old days when the idea of Ted Cruz in the Oval Office was the most frightening prospect imaginable? Yeah, I know the current occupant makes it difficult to remember much of anything, but rest assured that Ted is always happy to remind us.

Senator Seuss decided he was going to chirp in on a Twitter battle between a Florida congressman and actor Ron Perlman. Predictably, the shit got stupid

“Listen Hellboy,” Cruz wrote, “You talk good game when you’ve got Hollywood makeup & stuntmen. But I’ll bet $10k – to the nonpolitical charity of your choice – that you couldn’t last 5 min in the wrestling ring w/@Jim_Jordan w/o getting pinned. You up for it? Or does your publicist say too risky?”

That would be the same Jim Jordan who has been accused of covering up sexual misconduct allegations against Ohio State wrestling team physician Richard Strauss while serving as the assistant wrestling coach for the Buckeyes back in the nineties. The fact that Jordan is a U.S. Representative for Ohio’s 4th congressional district these days is not a shocker. Neither is the idea that Cruz would tag team Perlman by referencing a guy who was involved in a scandal involving sexual misconduct.

The two went back and forth before the former Beauty and the Beast star pinned Cruz down by telling him to leave Jordan home and include McConnell in the steel cage match instead. “All we need is a time, place and a few EMT’s standing by . . .” He tweeted.

Hey, what’s Perlman doing in November?

(If you’ve got a minute, read this piece by Gene Collier of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.)

Two things about the video above, and I’m really kinda serious. For one, why isn’t this a sport? I would definitely watch it on TV for a good three to five minutes. And for another thing . . . the world record is sixteen ping pong balls bounced into a pint glass in one minute. I think I could do this.

Hell, it’s as close as I’m ever going to get to challenging a world record, so there’s that.

Conversely, here’s a world record I have absolutely no chance of breaking . . .

Daniel Thorson outside the cabin where he just finished a 75-day silent meditation retreat at the Monastic Academy in Lowell, Vt.

In my best for last, Daniel Thorson gets the Capo di tutti Capper slot this week for doing absolutely nothing and being oblivious to what is going on in the world. And no, he ain’t running for office . . .

Thorson decided to go all Walden Pond on the world back in March by venturing up to a remote Cabin in Vermont for seventy five days. During which time the world was placed under house arrest, toilet paper replaced gold and platinum and face coverings became haute stuff.

When he made his way back to civilization on May 23rd, he took to Twitter with a query that has become a charmingly inimitable punchline for his friends and family.

“Did I miss anything?”

I know there are those among us (yours truly) who envy his blissful ignorance of our COVID-19 encrusted world. Because it speaks to the peace of mind that was ripped away from us all the way back there. After which the universe got busy reminding us that the the simplest conclusions are oftentimes turned into monolithic equations. And so yanno, taking a deep breath and just being? It’s a priceless commodity.

To borrow from the rock band Sublime, I don’t practice Buddhism and I ain’t got no crystal ball, but if I had a million dollars, I might just spend it all on the rent up at Thorson’s cabin. Tucked into the deep embrace of a Vermont landscape where the amenities possess that thing we need most of all right now.

Peace.