Heroes Of The Week!

Brett Favre: 25 Greatest Moments of His Hall of Fame Career | Bleacher  Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights

In spite of climate change, Trump attrition, social unrest and oh yeah . . a global pandemic, the NFL is getting its game on once again. There will be story-lines aplenty as we’ll have kneeling players, canned crowd noise, demonstrations and more playoff teams. Tom Brady is now retired and living in Tampa while Cam Newton will do his best Darth Maul impersonation in the hopes of keeping the Evil Empire relevant. Because of the disparity in COVID rules from state to state, some teams will host fans at limited capacity while other teams will have no fans in attendance. The silver lining in this playbook is that Philadelphia falls into the latter category. Sorry Eagles fans, but you still suck. 

And now for a special Tuesday lineup . . . 

Bella Witt, 50 Yard Challenge, Three Hills

Imma start on the positive side of the equation this week, thanks to Dale’s chime about a young lady from Alberta, Canada. 14 year old Bella Witt is going the extra yard this year, fifty times over. She’s taking on the 50 Yard Challenge, in which she will mow fifty different yards in her community. The volunteer movement was started by Rodney Smith, Jr of Huntsville, Alabama in 2015. Those who sign up can tend to their neighbors lawns in a variety of ways- from mowing them to raking leaves and even shoveling snow. The kids get a different colored t-shirt for every ten lawns they complete until they achieve their ‘black belt’ status once they’ve gone fifty strong. 

“Since COVID-19 there hasn’t been a lot to do here and I thought why not help people,” explained Witt. “There’s so much going on right now and I just want to be a blessing to people who have a hard time.”

Oh Bella, you are a blessing to us all. 

Marjorie Taylor Greene wins Georgia's 14th district runoff - AxiosOn the flip side, we have Marjorie Taylor Greene diluting the gene pool down in Georgia. The Republican is running for Congress, and she’s got a lot of Trumpian ideas at the ready. Her newest gem? A claim that forcing boys to wear masks is “emasculating”.  Never mind that more than half a million American kids have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and there’s been a 16 percent increase in these cases since mid August. 

How’s about we fit Green with a duct taped mask? 

Last week marked the nineteenth anniversary of the most devastating terror attack on US soil. So it’s worth remembering in these trying times that if we take the uniforms for granted, we do so at our own peril. The boys at the FDNY came through again recently when they tackled 53 year old Daniel Biggs; who just so happens to have a rap sheet a mile long and was intent on adding to it. As he was riding his bike along the sidewalk in Bedford Stuyvesant, Biggs decided it would be a good idea to punch a sixty year old woman in the face. Two problems: One, it’s assault. And two, he did so right in front of a firehouse. So needless to say, Biggs didn’t get very far before he was brought to the ground by New York’s Bravest. 

These guys ain’t quitting on us, and the feeling is mutual. 

Imma wrap up this special Tuesday edition with a belated tribute to a couple of legends, who gifted the world their immense talents in two different arenas. 

Trailblazing Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson dies - REVOLT

John Thompson changed the landscape of college basketball forever. Before he got to Georgetown, the team was an also ran, having just finished out a 3-23 campaign. Within three seasons, Thompson had them in the tournament. He built a national powerhouse in the eighties, winning a national title and reigning supreme over the Big East conference. But it was the impression he made with his kids off the court that will stand the true test of time. When star center Alonzo Mourning and another player were said to be running with associates of reputed drug boss Ray Edmond, Thompson called for a face to face meeting with him in his office. At the meeting, the coach proceeded to get in Edmond’s grill, informing him he was to have no further contact with any of his players. Edmonds never did associate with another Hoyas player after that meeting. When the news of Thompson’s passing came down, his former star point guard Allen Iverson credited Thompson with saving his life. Interestingly, Thompson was supposed to have been on the United Airlines flight that crashed into the Pentagon, but his place was cancelled. He made these last nineteen years count. 

Chadwick Boseman didn't just play icons. He was one. | National News |  martinsvillebulletin.com

Whereas the inimitable Mr Thompson climbed every mountain set in front of him, there is a profound sadness to the passing of Chadwick Boseman because he had so many more mountains left to climb. In his all too brief career, Boseman wrote and directed several plays and appeared on a couple television shows before scoring a role that would put him on the map for good. 

His portrayal of Jackie Robinson in the movie 42 got the attention of Hollywood moguls and moviegoers alike. Rachel, the widow of the iconic ballplayer said watching Chadwick immerse himself in the role was like being introduced to Jackie again. And from there, the world showed up at his doorstep and Boseman was more than ready to take it for a spin. He played legends like Thurgood Marshall and superheroes like the Black Panther. He was box office magic with a screen presence that promised Oscars, as in plural. But while the world was busy gifting him the much deserved rewards of his chosen craft, life was busy taking him away from us even if we never saw it coming. In 2016, Boseman was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer. He never shared this fact with the outside world, and he kept working throughout. He starred in several more films while undergoing chemotherapy as well as multiple surgeries. But it was a race he was destined to lose when the cancer returned this year. And it doesn’t make one damn bit of sense that he’s gone before he even really got started. That forty three years becomes the end instead of another beginning. 

There’s no song I could attach to this, because truthfully I didn’t come into this post expecting it would take me here. And now it doesn’t feel right, to put these final thoughts to music. So instead, I’ll place a picture of Boseman’s visit to St. Jude’s Hospital in 2018. Right in the middle of his stoic battle, he took some time for the kids, his fans. And this picture, I don’t know why but it fills me with peace. 

Sometimes there is music in the silence. 

Inside Chadwick Boseman's Emotional Visit to St. Jude's | PEOPLE.com

Heroes: The Kids Edition

Hello Friday to Marc’s flock. Frank here as a stand-in to your normal host. Well, he asked me and I agreed. Part of the deal was that I follow Dale. Geez – always a tough act to follow.

Art Linkletter had a phrase, “Kids say the darndest things.” They always have and they always will. However, they also do the darndest things. So much so, adults can learn lessons from their actions.

Avi Gupta is 18-year-old and the reigning Jeopardy Teen Tournament Champion. Toss in his passion as a software engineer, he’s off-the-charts smart – plus has a big heart. The US Food and Drug Administration recently approved his design for a low-cost ventilator. If that’s not enough, the plans are Open Source and he has established a charity to make his design available through the world for people in need. No video, but here’s an article.

Daisy Watt (Norwich, England) is 10. Four years ago she did a painting to bring some cheer to her grandparents during their fight with cancer. Mom noticed Daisy’s surprising talent, then asked Daisy if she would like to paint more as a cancer charity. Long story short, “Mini Monet” has raised over $12,000 (US$) for her efforts.

Taran Tien (Clintonville, Ohio) is 10. As the short report notes that the kid is musically talented – but it’s his heart that matters the most. Several times a week, he sets up in his yard for an impromptu concert playing for tips that will go for the International Rescue Committee supporting refugees across the globe.

But low and behold, this is not my first encounter with Taran. Back in March, I saw this report about what he and his sister did for a neighbor. I didn’t put these two together until preparing this post.

Robbie Gray (Palm Coast, Florida) is nine years old. In his brief time alive, he has been hospitalized several times with brain injuries and passed from one foster family to another. A family adopted Robbie two years ago and they discovered Robbie has a soft spot for dogs at the shelter. Not just any dog – but especially old dogs.

Sometimes it’s best to let the kids do the driving. On second thought, a bad idea. But I’ll give and let these kids show the way by riding shotgun to navigate as I drive on the road of goodness.

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 – 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.

979.jpg

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: A Frank Reprise

Embed from Getty Images

Yanno. I learned something. I must be careful sending Marc suggestions for Friday Heroes because he just may ask me to write about it. He’s one sneaky fella – but hey – because he doesn’t know what’s in his future, what the hell – so be it – here’s another edition of Friday Heroes.

First of all, you’ve got to sit back and watch this one (about a minute) because you will be smiling. Plus, it is proof that people in the UK also have too much time available.

Believe it or not, I found a story about a politician who doesn’t lie or intentionally misleading anyone. Click here to get the full story.

Imma keeping this post to a few stories because the video versions of the stories are a little longer – but they are worth your time.

This weekend is a 3-day holiday weekend in the USA – Memorial Day – the holiday commemorating soldiers who died while serving. I know other countries do something similar. For those needing a salute to fallen military fallen heroes, click here for a rousing rendition of one of my favorite military salutes.

Stephen Wall is an opera singer in Seattle. For those who solely get their news from Presidential Briefings – BREAKING NEWS – this virus thing affects opera because the people involved in the productions plus the audience is more than 10. For not being a plumber, the man has some serious pipes – and he puts them to good use for humanity during these crazy times. This report is worth 7 minutes of your time. Here’s a written story about Mr. Wall.

My peeps know I have a soft spot for genuine goodness – and this story was my top pick of the week. During the housing bubble recession 10+ years ago, 60 Minutes did a story about a man and his two kids that live in a van. I’m not a regular watcher of that show, but I saw and remembered the original story. Dad died and the 2 kids bounced around foster families – but damn – these two kids are making it. She graduated from college and on the Dean’s List – and she’s giving back! Autumn Hope Johnson – you are my Hero of the week. A special shout out to the President of Stetson University who got the ball rolling.

PS: Viewers: Don’t let the speedway beginning confuse you – but it is a cool extra. For those who want to read the story about Autumn, click here.

BREAKING NEWS: Yes kids. . . it’s me, Sundance (Marco). Interrupting this Frank approach to Heroes Friday in order to tuck in a couple stories that were gifted me by fellow bloggers.

First up is Renaissance Man Mark Paxson‘s soulful get. It involves the band Colt Clark and the Quarantines– comprised of a father and his three kids. Every morning, they go into their domestic “recording studio” and record a different song, which they later post to a social media site. As Mark noted in his email, “They aren’t saving the world, they’re just offering up wonderful, clean fun for people to enjoy during these strange, strange times,”

Thing is, when you teach your kids to face the worst of times with a constructive, positive approach, it changes the world. For the better.

And then there’s the lovely Dale who chimed in with a beauty of her own.

When a priest makes it into a meme, the results are usually regrettable . . . until now. Father Tim Pelc of Detroit Michigan figured out an ingenious way to bring Holy Week service to his flock. Pelc took a page from our drive-thru world when he decided to bless his parishioners as they drove up in their cars by using . . . a water gun. The images have become a global sensation, with hits coming from every corner of the world, including the Vatican. The Good Father says he’s happy to bring some much-needed fun to these trying times, and if he can get the job done in the process? All the better.

The man upstairs would be proud.

And now? Back to Butch Cassidy . . .

Thank you, Sundance. It’s been a pleasure working in your sarcasm-free space.

The pandemic has not only increased awareness of the goodness around us, but it has also increased opportunities for goodness. I end this post by saluting the countless many who have done the little things – like making masks to give away to those wanting one – checking on neighbors to see if they are OK or need something – contacting someone out of the blue to say hi and to check if all is well – going to the grocery for someone who isn’t as mobile – and the list can go on. A tip of the cap to those performing the little things that go a long way. May their light continue to shine and spread to others while delivering a sense of hope.

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.

No photo description available.

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.

 

Heroes Of The Week

Nurses are understaffed and frustrated as they battle coronavirus ...

In this week’s episode, Tyler Perry shows why you shouldn’t judge him based on his movies. The Patriots owner becomes (gasp!) King of New York. And a Captain shows us all why standing up for what’s right matters now, more than ever.

Now, to the heroes . . .

Tyler Perry pays for seniors' groceries in Atlanta and New Orleans ...

Tyler Perry movies are like British humor. You either get it or you don’t. And while I definitely fall into the latter category, this dude won me over a long time ago for all the love he spreads when he’s not making movies I refuse to watch. And he was at it again recently when he covered the bill for senior hour shoppers at forty four Kroger’s markets in Atlanta and twenty nine Winn-Dixies in New Orleans. So when it comes to writing the perfect script for humanity? This guy is pure gold.

Rachael Is Donating $4 Million To Covid-19 Relief Through Her 2 ...

Rachael Ray is a brand unto herself, and again . . not a fan. But so what? I have used a few of her recipes and I do admire her tenacious ways, and hey . . she’s big into animal rights. I don’t have to be a fan of an individual to dig that kind of righteous mindset.. And so Ray has made these pages before and she makes it this week following the announcement that she will be donating $4 million bucks to COVID-19 relief efforts. Ray said she thinks it’s important to offset the decline in charitable contributions during these tough financial times, and that she hopes to make a positive difference in the lives of people and their pets. Now that is a recipe I can appreciate.

The lovely Q over at A Dalectable Life chimed in with another beauty this week. Bauer is hockey’s answer to Nike, with more than seventy five percent of the NHL suiting up with their blades. When the league shut down, the company didn’t stop moving. Instead, they turned their attention to the manufacture of face shields– designed to keep medical workers on the front lines safe. Bauer sells them at cost, with any profits made going to charity. Moving forward, making a difference and giving back . . it’s the ultimate human hat trick.

Capt. Brett E. Crozier, who was removed last week from command of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, addressing the crew in San Diego in January.

Susannah is another lovely who dishes up her New York stories on the regular over at athingirldotcom. She shared with me the story of now former Navy Capt. Brett E. Crozier, who was removed from command of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt. His crime? Pushing back on the administration’s claims that they have been doing everything they can for those on board his ship. Crozier refuted those claims and he butted heads with his superiors, and he did it because he knew his men were directly in the cross hairs of a relentless pandemic. As it turns out, the lack of urgency Crozier was concerned about has indeed landed him in quarantine after he became infected. There have been calls to reinstate Crozier once he recovers, but I kind of hope he tells the Navy thanks but no thanks. He deserves better.

Front-page news: Post thanks Patriots for delivering masks ...

This unprecedented moment in our world’s history has created some mind bending moments. Perhaps one of the strangest comes to us courtesy of Bob Kraft, owner of the Evil Empire, uh . . I mean the New England Patriots. The 78 year old Kraft was so inspired by the leadership shown by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, that he purchased 300,000 protective masks for NYC. A tractor trailer dressed in Patriots colors drove them into New York City last week. And when football comes back, we will return to that sporting blood feud of New York vs Boston. But Kraft? Well, he’s exempt.

Mario Salerno, who cancelled the rental payments in April for tenants in all 18 of his apartment buildings, at one of his properties in Brooklyn, April 2, 2020. (Victor J. Blue/The New York Times)

The world has changed, and basically everything that makes up the lives of the eight billion inhabitants on this runaway marble has become an adaptation as a result. And while it’s easy to feel as if Orwell is humming an ominous tune in the green room, I prefer Shakespeare myself. Because while the spring was getting lost in the dark, to ever more dubious numbers and questions and concerns, there lives a song deep inside this thicket of fear and loss.

Mario Salerno of Brooklyn, New York is one of those larger than life individuals who changes the day you’re walking inside of for the better. He’s a neighborhood guy whose presence juts out over the landscape of Williamsburg as if the granite chin of Lincoln over the Black Hills of South Dakota. Salerno is the owner of eighty rental units and when the lock down crept into April, he decided to cancel the rent.

His tenants say it’s just like him to go above and beyond for the people he calls neighbors inside the place he calls home. For his part, Salerno says it’s just about everybody getting through this together.

“My concern is everyone’s health,” He says. “I told them (his tenants) just to look out for your neighbor and make sure that everyone has food on their table.”

I don’t know about you, but this guy incites my inner Shakespeare and brings to mind a favorite Bard quote in which he opines on the mystical construction of life itself. And how we lose our exquisite nature as soon as we are born, only to reclaim it in the tongues of trees, the books in running brooks, the sermons in stones and the good. In everything. He settles the matter by saying that, even inside the worst case scenarios of our best laid plans, we find the stars that brought us here in the first place. And so, when you say your prayers tonight, look deep inside those stars and please, call them by their rightful name.

The great big everything.

Heroes Of The Week- You Edition

This week is yours. When all the reading and the love you give to this spot comes hurtling back at you in the form of a well deserved hug. Pick up this hug, and know that you made it possible. Gracias.

Now for the Heroes you brought to Friday . . .

Image result for La La Land Kind Cafe hires foster kids

Mark over at markpaxson.com decided that Rand Paul probably isn’t going to be worthy of any humanitarian awards in the near or distant future, and he’s probably spot on in this assessment. So when I was doing my casting call, he left a comment in which he said he would get back to me. Erudite chap that he is, he got back to me in no time flat with, as he put it, “Somebody doing something about a frequently forgotten segment of our society…”

It’s a story about the La La Land Kind Cafe in Dallas Texas. The owner, Francois Reihani, hires young people who have aged out of the foster care system. So far, he’s employed nine of these kids. Because Reihani believes it’s about kindness every bit as much as it’s about coffee.

Those are some cool beans they’re brewing.

Monika at Tails Around The Ranch contributed a beauty from her neck of the woods. It’s about some local distillers (She’s quick to point out other states are doing it as well). who have retrofitted their equipment in order to . . . get this all you hand sanitizer hoarders and price gougers . . give the stuff away to firefighters and other first responders. And since I totally plagiarized her comment, I’ll let her tell you why it matters, because she does a wonderful job of bringing it all home.

The state fast tracked approval to make the switch on the equipment. This story really touched me since a few years ago the Town of Lyons flooded and resulting in being completely cut off from in-or-out access to any surrounding areas/towns. They lost their water/sewer plant. It took months for the state to rebuild roads in to repair/replace damaged homes/buildings. To be able to come back and give to their community makes them big-time heros in my book.

Could not have said it better myself, Monika.

Image result for cuban doctors go to Italy

Dale over at A Dalectable Life ain’t just a lovely connoisseur of photography and great eats. She dresses up the written word in sunshine on the regular as well. And she is a voracious hunter and gatherer of feel good news pieces, as evidenced by her many contributions to this Friday edition over the last year and change.

She chimed in with this story about how Cuba recently sent a 52 doctor brigade to Italy in response to the devastating wake of the virus. The communist country has already done the same in a half dozen other countries, as its emergency preparedness is proving to be a model of effectiveness- at home and abroad. According to Graciliano Díaz, the Cuban contingent is committed to this ‘honorable task, based on the principle of solidarity.

It would be nice if every country put its politics aside and followed suit.

John at Fiction Favorites sent me a video to share with you for this Friday edition. It’s Matthew McConaughey dishing up some much needed love for Austin, Texas . . and for all of us. It’s only a couple minutes long, but it’s a virtual hug and “We Got This” that is much appreciated inside these trying times. The dude is quirky, and you know that? That’s plenty fine with me, because underneath all that quirkiness resides a heart the size of the place he calls home.

Alls I gotta say is Alright! Alright! Alright!

Image result for Bay View Wisconsin Dino Parade

And for my last story, I paid a virtual visit to Bay View Wisconsin. It’s a throwback neighborhood sewn into the shores of Lake Michigan. The ancestral lineage of this town speaks to laborers and the community they dreamed for their children inside lifetimes so long removed from here.

That future love paradise came calling recently when the residents of Bay View got together for a parade. But not just any parade, since we’re . .  yanno, living inside the operative social precepts of a moment in time where keeping your distance has taken on a literal form.

So this parade, it took all of these things into consideration in a most prehistoric fashion sense. Their solution was to dress up like dinosaurs and march together, at six foot intervals, through the place they call home. As a way of saying that it’s okay not to be okay with all of this. But it’s never going to be okay to lose our sense of humor, or our ability to figure a way back.

Imma finish this episode off by saying thank you to all my contributors, and to let you know that this idea will become yet another new feature going forward. Because you guys are always telling me how much you look forward to this Friday post, and I ain’t gonna lie. I never saw it coming.

You did.

 

Casting Call For Heroes Fans

Image result for ted williams

If you’re a regular to this joint, then you’ve probably happened upon the Heroes episodes we dish up every Friday for your viewing feel good. You kept things going when I thought maybe it was just a phase. And by you, I mean anyone who looks forward to this little corner of the world when the end of the week comes calling.

You made Heroes a place worth coming to. I simply captained the thing into harbor thanks to your earnest chimes, which behave very much like gold on the dollar when it comes to the keeping on. So . . I don’t do this kind of thing but I figured maybe one or two or three of you might be down with it.

Send me a story that hits you in the feel good and I’ll post it on Friday. You can simply provide the link in your comment and I’ll make sure it gets pub love. Worst case scenario is nobody contributes and Heroes still shows up in the regularly scheduled programming. Best case scenario is I get all the stories I need through you for this week, and if it’s more than five? Well . . I ain’t presumptuous like that, but a boy is allowed to dream.

As for writing, I was practicing my short game this morning. I hope you like.

He remembered back to those nights inside the dusty wings of a very forgettable March. Back into the hopeless design of bad news gone caterwaul in episodic bonfires that left Caesar’s ghost to hemorrhage in its eternal playpen.  The days painted themselves in a haphazard chaste whose vicious prongs were sinking empires across the globe. And so he peddled elixirs in the recitations of Angelou, Wilde, Cummings, Morrison and his personal favorite, Kinsella.

The spoken verses were akin to candles in a church, sacred vows left behind by masters and mistresses of the written word for the sake of prayer. Each syllable a testimonial to the peaceful resistance of words inside a chaotic world. The stories were plush to his fractured brain, and the sound of each word tasted like fruit as it trespassed his lips. And he went on like this, plucking a snippet here and a paragraph there and joining them together in a brilliant quilt whose song redeemed the shadowy fates.

It went like this from March into April and then with May came the first idea that life would begin to take its traditional place setting back. Only now, he had ashes to confer to the winds of change. The world, his world, would prove to be extraordinarily different with each step into whatever came next. Oh sure, it was easy to promise such a thing when the end of the world had seemed an abject patent. All the same, he was aligned to a different star from here on out. And he knew it was impossibly difficult to comprehend, but he had seen the beginning inside the merciless clench of the end.

So it was that a June day found him tucked into a box seat along the third base line, holding to a foot long as his beer lost its froth. The sun shone down like a promise from Jay Gatsby, full of a million different promises. The field was a stained glass portrait of emerald fusing with ivory and caramel. How could he have ever taken such a beautiful thing as an early summer day at the ballpark for granted?

He cried at the thought.

Heroes Of The Week!- Super Bowl Edition

Image result for Storm superhero

I was behind on my news munch this week so I had to run a hurry up offense in order to get this episode nestled onto its Friday morning doorstep. You could say I winged it, and that’s no guac. But I figured out a way to make this a Super edition by including a member of both the Niners and the Chiefs in my lineup. Yanno, in the name of fairness and world pizza.

And now your heroes . . .

Heart of Gold- Richard Sherman is going to be a first ballot Hall of Famer whenever he decides to hang up his cleats, but in the game of life he is already there.

In November, Sherman wrote out a check for almost $7,500 to the Cabrillo Middle School in Santa Clara, California that wiped out all lunch debt owed to the cafeteria. A month prior to that, he wrote a check for over $20,000 to the Tacoma Public Schools in Tacoma Washington to clear all lunch debt there as well. Since 2013, Sherman’s organizations- The Richard Sherman Family Foundation and Blanket Coverage Foundation- have raised more than $1.5 million dollars to provide students in low income communities with school supplies and clothing.

This dude is already super.

A real Life Saver- For all I know, this might have been Timothy Prather‘s first rodeo. But you’d never have known it from the way the nine year old sprang into action to save his little cousin. Timothy was enjoying a night out at the rodeo when his three year old cousin Connor began to choke. Welp, Timothy knew exactly what to do thanks to a first aid poster he’d taken notice of in the cafeteria at Ramer Elementary School in Tennessee. He applied the Heimlich and dislodged the candy from Connor’s throat. This story had me wondering how many adults know how to apply this life saving move.

Image result for Melvin Marlett

Take this job and shovel it- Remember kids, my heroes run the gamut. They don’t need to score the real world headlines to make mine. They just need to show me some kind of wonderful, and when they do it in the quiet? That’s butter. Fed Ex driver Melvin J. Marlett of Manistique, Michigan supplied the flavor recently when he was delivering a package to Jodi LaFreniere. The kindergarten teacher wasn’t home but the motion sensor on her security camera resulted in a notification text, and when she checked out the video footage, there was Marlett . . shoveling her front stoop. Of all the random acts perpetrated in this crazy world, kindness always works best.

 

Commander and Chief- Derrick Nnadi was a hotshot Florida State prospect a couple years back until a forgettable workout at the league Combine left his pro career in doubt. But the defensive tackle worked his ass off to overcome that blip, and now he finds himself sixty minutes away from a Super Bowl ring.

Nnadi’s hard work on the field is in keeping with the great good work he’s doing off of it. The league honored him as the Kansas City Chiefs Community MVP of the Week back in September for providing a shopping spree to the family of one of the victims of the Virginia Beach mass shooting. That’s his hometown, and it’s where his heart will always reside. He’s pretty good at dishing up these shopping sprees to school kids, having done it last summer in his adopted hometown of Kansas City as well.

“As my father says . . we don’t receive . . we give . .”

When the universe listens- Seven years ago, Georgina Laurie had just lost her husband Dennis and life no longer seemed worth living. She slipped into a depression from which it seemed she might not return.

“A year prior to that, I’d had a stroke, so my whole life completely changed and I couldn’t cope with that,” recalls Laurie. “I got really depressed, really down and I really couldn’t see there was a way forward in life for me.

It was on the night when she began thinking about the end of her life that she was able to find a new beginning. She noticed the card for a suicide prevention hotline called Samaritans by her bedside cabinet and gave them a call. She had no intention of being talked down from the ledge her life was balancing on, but that is exactly what happened. So inspired was she, that this grandmother from the UK later made the decision to become a volunteer for the organization. So it was that Georgina overheard a conversation her fellow volunteer Des McCarthy was having with someone who called into the hotline recently. Des was comforting the person on the other end of the line and the words . . well, they brought Georgina all the way back to that fateful night. And that’s when Georgina realized that Des- her mentor and fellow volunteer for the last four years- had been the voice that talked her down from that ledge once upon a time.

There are no coincidences.