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.

 

Heroes Of The Week

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

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

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

Imma dedicate this week to my friend Martin.

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

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

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

They’ve accomplished so very much already.

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

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

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

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

I choose that door.

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

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

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

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

It’s all that should ever matter.

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

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

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

View image on Twitter

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

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

police join protests

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

UPDATED:

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

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

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

Heroes of the Week – With Guest Host Dale

What makes a hero? - BBC News

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the full story, here.

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Heroes Of The Week

Today's Real Heroes - Focus Financial Advisors

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

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

And now for our heroes . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Because they can.

 

 

 

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Edition of Heroes

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Heroes Of The Week

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

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

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

Thankfully, we got heroes . . .

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

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

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

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

BC Boy Turns Lemons into Laughter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amen to that.