Heroes Of The Week! (Old School Edition)

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

And now to this week’s episode . . .

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

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

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

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

Image credit: YouTube

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

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

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

Robert Williams

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Heroes Of The Week! (Lampoon Edition)

Top 10 Funniest Superheroes and Villains | WatchMojo.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hey, what’s Perlman doing in November?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Did I miss anything?”

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

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

Peace.

 

Heroes Of The Week

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

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

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

Imma dedicate this week to my friend Martin.

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

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

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

They’ve accomplished so very much already.

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

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

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

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

I choose that door.

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

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

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

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

It’s all that should ever matter.

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

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

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

View image on Twitter

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

TOPSHOT-US-POLITICS-POLICE-JUSTICE-RACISM

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

police join protests

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

UPDATED:

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

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

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

Heroes Of The Week

Today's Real Heroes - Focus Financial Advisors

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

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

And now for our heroes . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Because they can.

 

 

 

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Edition of Heroes

Embed from Getty Images

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Truth isn’t just stranger than fiction, it’s dumber too

You know that scene in every other action movie, where the protagonist turns to no one in particular and says “You just don’t get it, do you?”. After which a terminally ill sounding musical score draws the curtains on a formulaic ending? That’s how most of us are low riding this pandemic through the springtime, as we ponder how in the hell some people can fuck up a glass of water’s worth of logic.

Oscar Wilde once said of the truth that it’s never pure and rarely simple. Hell if he wasn’t onto something . . . .

  • Social distancing equals six feet. It does not mean you ride up on my ass in the grocery store checkout line. I mean, if you’re gonna get that close to me? I need flowers and a nice dinner first.
  • I haven’t watched the wildly popular The Last Dance on ESPN yet, because I cut out cable in January. But I have an idea for all the sports ‘journalists’ opining on whether Jordan would make it in today’s game or if LBJ would make it back in the ’90’s. Pray for live games, because y’all can’t figure your way out of a paper bag without em. Jordan and LBJ would excel in any era, because they would be products of . . that . .  time. Greatness is an adaptation,  so please stop snow-globing these hypothetical scenarios.
  • The vacuum of leadership in Washington got me to thinking on Doris Goodwin Kearns’s book, Team of Rivals. And so when I read how Mitch McConnell wants the Senate to get back to business so’s he can hold confirmation hearings for federal judges, because he wants to lay conservative brick? While at the same time bemoaning his lack of suction in the most recent virus-response bill? Well now, M&M doesn’t have a clue as to how out of touch he looks. What I would give for Abe Lincoln to get five minutes in a room with this guy, just so’s he can set him straight on what strength and vision is supposed to look like.
  • So we’re straight on this “opening the country” business. There’s gonna be some deft maneuvering necessary by state and local leaders. One researcher told the New York Times that if the pandemic were a baseball game, “it would be the second inning”. So yanno, plan accordingly.
  • And because we don’t have enough to worry about, now comes word that Asian giant hornets have landed in the states. Also called “Murder Hornets” (how charming), these winged fuckers decapitate honey bees and pose a serious danger to humans. I mean . . . what’s next?
  • Nicolas Cage is going to play the Tiger King himself, Joe Exotic, in an eight episode series coming soon. I have two questions: Number one, do we really need this shit? And my second question is, where can I watch it?
  • Kate Beckinsale is in love. Get back to me on Friday with how it works out.
  • It appears Fifty Cent and Oprah are feuding. And apologies to Mr Fifty, but I highly doubt Oprah is aware of it.
  • Todd Bridges was trending on Twitter over the weekend, and no . . not because he’s dead. It seems his role in a Little House in the Prairie episode like, a hundred years ago, captured the imagination of the Twitterati. Which has me wondering, when they were trying to come up with a name for the site, why didn’t they just call Twitter “Slow News Day”? Makes more sense.
  • I don’t know what’s more concerning to humankind: COVID-19, or the fact that Kristin Cavallari and Jay Cutler are parents.

And coming up in next week’s news cycle of What in the Blessed Hell . . .Trump insists he uses Cialis for high blood pressure. Fox News touts heroin as a possible COVID-19 wonder drug. And the New England Patriots are decommissioned by the NRC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heroes Of The Week

Protests erupt again over coronavirus shelter-in-place orders ...

The image stapled to this week’s homework assignment is a sign of the times. It’s where we currently find ourselves in a country that could not wait to politicize a dark moment in world history. We do not receive our grace period this time, nope. Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling this post. But it still happens, because it’s Friday.

And thanks to Frank, I had a way in. So a big thank you goes out to the scientists and doctors and nurses and EMT’s and all medical personnel for showing us what humanity is supposed to look like.

The Browns' new uniforms are a sign they're making good decisions ...

Shout out to the Cleveland Browns, who might not do much winning on the field (Sorry Browns fans, but you know it’s true) but who are winning big off of it. The team unveiled some new uniforms last week, after which they announced that all net proceeds from  uniform sales will be donated to COVID-19 relief efforts in the Cleveland area. Lots of teams have gotten fat on their threads count, but these guys are making sure to give something back.

Keeping Up With The Kardashians: Kylie Jenner opens up to Khloe ...

What you’re about to read, well . . it doesn’t happen every day. The Kardashians have arrived at this Friday spot, and there’s not a whit of satire in the doing. And it’s thanks to Khloe K and the most fruitful shopping trip the reality family has had in quite some time. It seems that she has been frequenting groceries all over Los Angeles and paying the tabs of the elderly customers. She’s also provided gift cards for more than two hundred employees during her goodwill missions. And last month, little sister Kylie donated $1 million to the purchase of protective gear for first responders. These gals are putting their money where a lot of politicians mouths are, and good for them. Good for all of us, really.

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One minute, Bevin Strickland of High Point, North Carolina was sitting on her sofa watching constantly changing news reports about the coronavirus and the next? She was right smack dab on the front lines. This forty seven year old nurse is working at Mt Sinai in Queens, New York; which just so happens to be ground zero for the state’s coronavirus outbreak. She is currently working with the sickest patients, and if that wasn’t enough, she’s planning on donating every penny she makes (after expenses) to the Mount Sinai support staff.

“Somebody’s gotta help,” Bevin said. “What if we all said we couldn’t handle it and we couldn’t do it? You know, what if everybody said that?”

This woman is what my Friday episodes are all about.

(And a big shout out to Frank for gifting me this story).

Jeanna Barbieri works as an ER nurse at Lowell General Hospital in Massachusetts, but she’s been moonlighting recently as a guardian angel. Barbieri figured her way around the no-visitor policy at Lowell when she began bringing in family photographs for the patients. And what started out as a simple idea, grew.

“Just to see how excited they were to have that piece of comfort with him, it made me realize I want to do more of that,” Barbieri said. “I never imagined in a million years it would turn into anything other than a small project.”

Well, grow it did. With a dedicated email address and a social media hashtag, #picturesforpatients, Jeanna has made twenty two photograph deliveries thus far. And this labor of love isn’t just helping the patients through this trying time, it’s been a Godsend for the medical staff as well. It’s like leaving a light on, to let them know the world is still there.

French lab scientists working on potentially infected patient samples at the Pasteur Institute in Paris in February.

This week’s wrap isn’t gonna focus on one particular individual, but rather, on the countless heroes around the world who are busy putting their knowledge, skills and passion to the ultimate test. Read this article from the New York Times if you can, because it focuses on the peeps who don’t get the pub they truly deserve. The scientists, from around the globe, who have forged an impenetrable alliance inside these tenuously political times.

“I never hear scientists — true scientists, good quality scientists — speak in terms of nationality,” said Dr. Francesco Perrone, who is leading a coronavirus clinical trial in Italy. “My nation, your nation. My language, your language. My geographic location, your geographic location. This is something that is really distant from true top-level scientists.”

That’s because patriotic ideals ain’t gonna save us now, or provide hope in the event another outbreak truly is on the horizon. But science will eventually find a way, because there are no walls or borders keeping it from its appointed task. See, these folks have a very different agenda. They’re not running for office or anointing themselves as patriots on some Op-Ed cable show and they don’t have a late night monologue with which they can introduce themselves. They answer not to one person, but to every person.

All of us.

 

All That Flitters Is Not Gold

I think it’s important to see the good in things. But it’s not a spiritual deal breaker if you can’t bring yourself to do so all the time. Because as with everything in life, there is context.

Take for instance, Trump’s daily press conferences, which feel as if they’re being underwritten by the WWE. COVID-19 has King Minus back at the podium after an extended break, because yanno . . the pandemic didn’t have enough polarity as it was. I call it Kerosene Theater, because to call it absurd would be a disservice to Samuel Beckett. Tuning in will kill your brain cells faster than a batch of OG Kush, unless Anthony Fauci happens to make the scene. I only wish word bubbles were a real thing, because Fauci’s thoughts must read like a George Carlin skit. 

If you’ve been in a coma since 2016, check out one of these pressers, because it will let you know what’s been going on in a nutshell (emphasis on nut). When I think about where we are as a country, the Janis Joplin song Me and Bobby McG gets to stepping through my brain . . .

Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose. 

No shit JJ.

Seriously, if the Declaration of Independence were signed in 2020, it would happen in a shopping mall. Such is the skewed variation of truth we’ve come to accept. Not to mention an indivisible pledge that once promised liberty and justice for all. Truth got sample sized in the Clintonian Era, Liberty became incorporated in the W years and Justice is currently getting bumper stickered into obsolescence by brand-mothers and freedom fighting fathers who are on a mission from God. No, not the God mentioned in The Blues Brothers- who was all about R&B, car chases and lying to your hot girlfriend. Nope, these new age defenders of the constitution believe in wearing their guns and developing a portal that delivers them back to 1955, tout de suite. Their plan is to bottle up all the great shit that was going on back there and bring it here, after which they’ll crop dust the fuck out of us.

So it’s no surprise, given the political climate change we’ve experienced over the last three and a half years, that we have groups like Ammon Bundy’s Liberty Rebellion rising up through the cracks, everywhere. From Idaho to Islip and the Twin Cities to Tampa Bay, these peeps are storming government buildings with the goal to take back their freedom of movement, coronavirus be damned. And so what if the US has three quarters of a million confirmed cases and more than forty two thousand casualties. Give us beaches and Applebee’s or give us death!

They vow to go all Rambo on COVID-19 with a game plan that’s simpler than Paris Hilton’s diary. They insist that we must get back to business as usual . . or the virus wins. Mind you, it ain’t gonna be easy to win this particular war on terror since the virus doesn’t have an accent or run a convenience store. Hell, we might actually have to depend on science to see us through.

The protesters are trying to high-jack common sense by insisting that our freedoms are in great peril as a result of the quarantine, whilst never minding the grim tote board. They’re a blight to the legacy of founding fathers who endeavored for the greater good and understood that democracy is not a win at all costs theorem. It’s actually much more advanced than that kind of box-score logic. Because it asks us to aim our differences in a general direction, so that we may arrive at an eventual consensus.

Instead, these peeps shout down the truth of the matter, which is that the quarantine works. They ignore the fact that when large groups have gathered together since the virus began to spread, bad things followed. And not for nothing, but quoting Jefferson in relation to the current pandemic is akin to slapping a number on the side of a team of oxen and thinking they could win the Daytona 500.

If you come across one of these Fox News patriots, ask them to double down on the six foot social distance rule. And then be sure to let them know the man who penned the Pledge of Allegiance- Francis Bellamy- was in fact, a socialist.

Marty McFly called. He wants his time machine back.

Heroes Of The Week

Meet the Heroes of the Front Lines of the Coronavirus Fight | TIME

Another week, another six degrees of non-pharmaceutical separation. And while we continue to affix ourselves to the new normal, we hold to the light at the end of this long and strange trip. Because, we can.

And now to the heroes, who just keep showing up . . . .

John Krasinski, David Ortiz announce Red Sox tickets for life to ...

I kick things off with those stinking Red Sawx from up Boston way, who are busy winning off the field these days. David “Big Papi” Ortiz and John “The Office” Krasinski recently presented a group of healthcare workers from Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center with Boston Red Sox season tickets. For life. This is no small deal, considering that Krasinski has been on the waiting list for sixteen years himself. But according to Ortiz, it’s the least they could do for the people who put their lives on the line every single day. Even this Yankees fan can agree with him on that one.

Coronavirus: Clippers owner Steve Ballmer to donate $25 million to ...

Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer has a knack for drawing up a winning formula. He tripled sales at Microsoft after taking over for Bill Gates, and then he threw his elbows into the Association and turned an also ran franchise into a title contender. He’s got the knack for drawing up winning game plans, and so his pledge of $25 million to coronavirus aid and vaccine research is good news at a time when we really could use some.

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The restaurant industry has been hit hard and yet I read stories all the time about how restaurateurs are making it through with equal parts guts and guile. But this next story, well . . it brought me to tears. Five chefs out of Detroit decided to pool their unused stocks and come up with dishes for the city’s homeless population.

“I didn’t want to see that product go to waste,” Explains Chef Maxcel Hardy of Coop Caribbean Fusion. Which was exactly what was going to happen after he was forced to shut his doors. So Hardy began by distributing the unused food to his staff, but he found there was plenty more where that came from. So he got together with four other local chefs and they dished up a life changing idea. To feed those who will otherwise go without. 

Compassion is one ingredient society cannot afford to run out of.

War veteran Captain Tom raises millions for health workers | News ...

Tom Moore is celebrating his 100th birthday on April 30th, and he’s currently in training for the day in which he makes it to the century mark. The Captain was born in West Yorkshire, England and has always been an active fella. Moore trained as a civil engineer before enlisting in the Army during World War II. He achieved the rank of captain and traveled to locales such as India and Burma while in the service. And now, more than seventy years later, he’s at it again.

He had the idea to complete one hundred lengths of his garden in Bedfordshire and raise some money in the doing. Moore was looking to raise one thousand pounds to benefit the charities of the National Health Service of England, as his way of saying thank you to the staff for treating his broken hip. When word of his fundraiser got out, donations poured in. And with less than two weeks to his big day, Moore has completed the one hundred lengths and smashed his target goal . . by more than twelve million pounds. One thing is certain . . this kid’s got game! (A big thank you to Cathy from Facebook (Via Dale) for this get.

Teacher stunned by response to quarantine video: 'I can't believe ...

Kathleen McColaugh is a Spanish teacher at Addison Trail High School in Addison, Illinois. Like teachers across the country, McColaugh’s classroom has gone virtual since schools were shuttered as a result of the pandemic. And while the new normal presents its fair share of challenges for teachers and students alike, she’s making sure to keep the social alive and well in spite of the distance.

Teacher decided to have some fun with her virtual class recently by speaking in code, and it went something like this . . .

“Just to let you know, the McColaugh family, we’re all here together in the house, and we are having a great time!” she said while holding up a sign that read “Help!”

But she wasn’t done there, nope.

“Everyone here is just wonderful. We’re getting up every morning and we’re just so fortunate with how well we all get along, and we’re just spending so much time together, it’s just been really great” McColaugh continued, after which she held up another sign that read. “They are here, they can hear me.”

And so it went, as the kids howled in delight at this unexpected break from their studies, not to mention a much welcomed vacation from worrying over what comes next in a world that continues to deal up more questions than answers.

It was the kind of connection that told the distance to play hooky.

 

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.