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To The Heavens, They Obliged

The History of the Twin Towers Design and Architecture - Bloomberg

“Good Lord . . . there are no words . . .” CNN Anchor Aaron Brown as the north tower of the World Trade Center collapsed.

Something hit the World Trade,” My wife told me as I was shaving.

Of the myriad thoughts that scrabbled through my brain, I never approached the reality of what had just happened. As I listened to the news coverage, describing the event as a small plane crashing into the North tower, I knew this wasn’t true. I’d been to the twin towers and gotten lost inside the mighty shadow it cast on my every step. They were double imaged testimony of man’s ability to dream big and build even bigger; One hundred and ten stories tall and almost three-quarters the length of a football field wide. A twin-engine Cessna would’ve resembled a pock mark on the side of this massive structure.

“It wasn’t a small plane . . no way,” I said.

9/11 documents detail bravery and fear - Deseret News

It was a few minutes before nine a.m., minutes that separated us from a sinister new normal and the worst kind of evidence that our world had gone sick with madness. I listened as the news reports kept getting it all wrong, and I prayed for the uneasy feeling that wouldn’t quit my bones to leave me be.

I stepped outside to take a call from my sister and lit up a smoke as we talked about what we didn’t know as if it meant something. The sky was a pristine ocean of blue that held forever in its mighty reach, as if Andrew Wyeth had paid God a ransom for the privilege. And then those precious minutes stopped separating us from the truth and then the second plane hit the south tower and then that peaceful blue sky went black and then a quiet Tuesday morning on the cusp of autumn became the meanest winter.

Ohio State studying effects of WTC dust on 9/11 first responders

It wasn’t long before Washington was hit, after which every major city across the country braced for the next attack. And then reports of a plane going down three hours west of us, and then the waiting as time got stuck in this insidious clench of hopelessness. By Tuesday night, I feared sleep as the threat of more attacks continued to prevail. And when I woke early on Wednesday, it was as if midnight had visited us and decided to stay.

I walked my kids to school at the end of the week. I felt an intense need to propagate simple moments out of the unseen world, and I was struck with an even deeper sense of humility. I visited the principal to offer my apologies. I had engaged in a heated argument with him on that Tuesday morning when I insisted on picking up my kids from school because I wanted them with me. I remember the exhaustion on the faces of every adult I came across. We couldn’t turn back time, we couldn’t undo all the horrible crimes that had been perpetrated on us. The calculus on a new millennium had morphed into a frightening new reality, where every person, place and thing could be the end of days.

NYC first responders, non-profit rush to save 9/11 tribute - New York Daily News

The weekend was full of shutting out the world around us the best we could, but it was no use. There were calls from my sisters who had just gotten home from Maine and calls to my cousin, who had been in the north tower, and calls to friends who still wanted to talk about the one thing we were trying to get away from but never would.

I went to church that Sunday. It was something I rarely did by that point, but it felt like the right place to be since I was desperate to gain a peace of mind that wasn’t happening in the days since the attacks. The house worked for me in the way I assume it’s intended to work because I prayed as if I had a direct line to Mother Mary’s ear. I prayed for the heroes who were lost and I prayed for the heroes who kept digging for signs of anything at all. I wished for that deep blue ocean of a sky to return those precious minutes back to them . . . the minutes that came before a raging storm stole their forever away. I wished for a different somewhere, a place where that brilliant sky might get to finish its work for their weary souls.

Wherever they were.

Heroes Of The Week!

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

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

Let’s get to our lineup . . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heroes Of The Week!

Justice League: One year on, still an unmitigated disaster | Entertainment News,The Indian Express

Welcome to another brand spanking new episode of Heroes. In this week’s episode, we’ll travel to Montreal, where shelter and love has gone mobile. We’ll read about how a simple note can change everything. There will be unexcused absences and fat suits to ponder on. And we’ll finish things up with a story reminiscent of mice and men.

It’s early afternoon in America. And seriously, why would we ever want to return to the last four years? So let’s get better and smarter. And let’s never imagine ourselves to be greater than the sum of our parts.

Now to our lineup . . .

We have another twin kiss coming to us from the lovely Dale at A Dalectable Life. As if her prize winning photography wasn’t enough, she’s a reporter in the field as well! And first up is the story of a community center in Montreal that is looking out for those most vulnerable this winter season.

michel monette care montreal | News, Videos & Articles

Michel Monette is the founder of CARE Montreal and he ordered twenty make-shift igloo structures- made of foam and insulation that snap together- from the Czech Republic. The igloos provide shelter and warmth to the homeless population that refuse to stay in over-populated shelters, even in the harshest of conditions. Monette says he knew Raphaël André, a homeless man who was found dead in a portable toilet just last week

“I would have really loved if he would have had access to these (igloos),” Monette says, while adding that workers will look to make sure such a tragedy doesn’t happen again by traveling the city, searching for people in need. “It’s kind of us taking the shelter to them, instead of taking them to the shelter,”

Further proof that in an imperfect world, we seek perfection not in absolutes, but in the solace of good deeds.

Who is Flavaine Carvalho? Quick-thinking Orlando waitress saves 11-year-old from his abusive parents | MEAWW

If you want to know what being in the right place at the right time looks like, I give you Flavaine Carvalho. The waitress at Mrs. Potato Restaurant in Orlando, Florida was working her last table of the night when her life intersected with an 11-year old boy. It began when his father forbid him from ordering anything to eat. And then she saw the bruises on the boy’s arms and face.

Carvalho knew she had to do something. So she wrote a note to the boy that read simply “Do you need help?” and held it up so only the boy could see it. On the third try, the boy signaled yes. Authorities would later say the abuse suffered by the boy was nothing short of torture. The parents were arrested; the father charged with multiple counts of aggravated child abuse and the mother with two counts of child neglect.

“This could have been a homicide situation if she had not intervened,” Said Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon.

Thing of it is, Flavaine wasn’t even scheduled that night. She’d been called in at the last minute. Since it was the last table of the night, she was able to pay extra attention to what was going on. Add to this the fact that the family was sitting at the only table in the restaurant where she could have held up a sign without the boys parents noticing.

See something, say something . . save someone.

Kyrie Irving is proving once again that he can't be a No. 1 in the NBA

I’ve got a couple return guests to this spot. And they’re on the same team! First up is Kyrie Irving, who decided to return to the Brooklyn Nets this week. That’s nice of him, considering he’s making north of 30 million cheeseburgers to ball when the mood strikes. In his return to the team this week, he dropped a cool thirty seven points . . but his team lost anyways. To the woebegone Cleveland Cavaliers, no less. Maybe it’s just a blip, and maybe it’s the universe telling Brooklyn that this whole “Three Grows in Brooklyn” super-team idea isn’t going to work as smoothly as they envisioned it might.

Do you think James Harden was wearing a fat suit while playing for the Houston Rockets? – RFM | RatchetFridayMedia

And to Kyrie’s new running mate, James Harden, I say thank you. Because this guy provides quality entertainment on and off the court. The above image shows the pre-trade James Harden on the right with the post-trade Harden on the left. The story goes that he wore a fat suit to get out of Houston. Nutri-system called, they want their prop back!

New Video Details Tense Moments as Capitol Mob Sought Out Lawmakers | FlaglerLive

I’ve always been of the opinion that in the darkest of times, there is light. It’s impossible to see in the immediate aftermath, but it’s always there. And so it is with Eugene Goodman, who escorted Kamala Harris to the Presidential inauguration ceremony on Wednesday in his new role as acting Deputy House Sergeant at Arms.

During the capitol riots two weeks earlier, it was Goodman who single-handedly steered an angry mob away from the Senate chamber. In the last days of an administration that talked about greatness while providing little in the way of it, Goodman taught us all how it’s done. He stood in front of rioters and directed them his way. As a member of the Capitol police, the man took the badge he wore to its most literal and courageous outcome.

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Making America great doesn’t happen with haughty campaign slogans. A nation will never see its best self if it spends all of its time standing in front of a mirror. And it sure as hell isn’t going to happen by pledging a blind obedience to our past. Democracy isn’t about a single person or party, it’s about the will of a people to stand for something. Together. So maybe this is the time in our nation’s history where we stop crying about all the things we aren’t and start building on the many great things we are.

And when the darkness comes, be the light.

 

 

Heroes Of The Week! (The Dynamic Duo Edition)

reddit: the front page of the internet | Batman illustration, Robin comics, Batman robin

For this week’s episode, I’ve invited Frank “Beach Walks” Angle to ride shotgun with me as we deliver up a roster of righteousness. We’re still trying to figure out who’s Batman and who’s Robin (I’m Batman), but in the meantime, let’s just say we have a sweet supply of feel good coming at ya. And of course, seeing as how Cincy is sooooo glass half full (must be all those refreshing walks of his), Imma be peach positive in all my entries. This duo rocks!

Now to our heroes . . .

My Project: Goldie Hawn and The Hawn Foundation - NBC News

Goldie Hawn is proving once again that beauty is so much more than skin deep.

For the last sixteen years, Hawn’s MINDUP Program has been helping students deal with anxiety, stress, anger and depression. Schools that have instituted her mindfulness program have seen a dramatic improvement in the mental health of their students and the numbers ain’t lying: 86% percent of users say the program has helped them achieve more positive outcomes while 83% say it has led to an improvement in their social skills.

And now Hawn has introduced a way for these children to cope with the isolation and uncertainty that has come with a global pandemic. She’s partnered up with Insight Timer- a meditation app- to offer five minute exercises called “brain breaks” that help the kids maintain focus while alleviating their stress levels.

“During this time of uncertainty, children are affected negatively emotionally and are facing symptoms of stress and anxiety,” says Hawn, the 74-year-old founder of MindUP. “Our program helps address these issues by creating mental fitness and emotional stability.”

For one thing, the girl is making seventy four the new Wow! But more important to her, and to the world around her, is the positive difference she is making every day. In a world of superficial, there do in fact exist superheroes.

Remember back in the early days of this pandemic when people were singing in their windows and baking breads and learning to sew again for the very first time? Well, Scott McKenzie and Jeremy Uhrich- both of whom hail from Huntingdon, Pa.- baked cookies from scratch. This coping mechanism led to a bake-off when Ulrich read McKenzie’s post on Facebook.

The two men invited local front line workers to be the judges as a thank you for all their hard work and dedication.

Well, the event was such a success that the two decided to start up a Facebook page called “Cookies for Caregivers”. The group currently has 299 members the group and has delivered more than 15,000 cookies and cakes to hospital staff, grocery stores and fire departments. Uhrich’s father even got to baking creating his own group in Hershey, Pa.

“There aren’t enough people to thank,” McKenzie said. “Kindness doesn’t have an expiration date.”

So the next time someone pulls out the old standard about how the cookie crumbles? Remind that as to why this isn’t necessarily a bad thing after all.

A New Jersey restaurant with a coronavirus scare stayed open because of the generosity of a neighboring barbershop - CNN

Not everyone likes to play by the rules of this pandemic, so it’s important to note that places such as the Würstbar eatery in Jersey City, New Jersey abide. Even when faced with the daunting prospect of having to close its doors for good, these guys still did the right thing when one of their workers was exposed to the virus recently. They shut down, together. The health and safety of their staff was more important to these owners than money. Imagine that? Giving a damn about people more than your bottom line.

But no good deed goes unnoticed and so when the workers at Virile Barber Shop got word of the restaurant’s plight, they decided to step in and keep the lights on.

“The weather is too nice out to let our neighbors at Würstbar stay closed!” Virile Barber Shop owner Andre Fersa posted. “I’ve taken over the bar and am selling PRETZELS, beer, wine and cider for outdoor seating only. Come on by and support this great staff.”

No whining about medical conditions or how their rights had been violated. Just human beings making the very best of a bad situation in these trying times.

That’s how you define humanity.

And now Imma kick it over to Cincy, who is going to send y’all into the weekend with a selection of stories that will fill your tank with inspiration. Take it away Frank.

Thanks, Marco for the opportunity to co-anchor this edition of Heroes. I’m starting with a young kid in Gaithersburg, Maryland – Cavanaugh Bell – a second grader that gives humanity hope. He started Operation Magic because he thinks big. So big, I wonder what is next. So big, he makes me feel small.

Last week you featured a Cincinnati story about a man adopting not one, but five kids. This week we are crossing the Ohio River to the Kentucky side. Campbell County is where we find Tricia Verst, a high school freshman with a rare chromosomal disorder. She wanted to run cross country. Unsure how to motivate Tricia, coach Toni McKee got an idea, and that’s when senior Sydney McKinney stepped up. Well, here’s the story.

Image property of WXIX television Cincinnati, Ohio

This one is my no-brainer for the week. This story is about 140.6 miles: swimming 2.4 miles, biking riding 112 miles, and running 26.2 miles … yes, one after another. I have volunteered to dance with those with Down Syndrome. One of the reasons it is so rewarding is that many DS people are so positive and appreciative. This story is about Chris Nikic of Maitland, Florida, but a tip of the cap to Dan Grieb, who was with Chris the entire 140.6 miles.

Yes, to my surprise, I’m leading you out with Britney Spears – well – no really – but a cover of one of her songs.

 

Heroes: A Frank Edition

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

Embed from Getty Images

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

Embed from Getty Images

 

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

 

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

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

Heroes Of The Week!

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.

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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: A Frank Reprise

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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.

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