Heroes Of The Week!

How To Make A Vesper Martini Fit For James Bond | Londonist

My first order of business this week is to let y’all know I will be away from my WP desk for the next week and change. In the meantime, Imma have a couple posts scheduled. So I had an idea- which I realize is akin to Esther Greenwood being stuck in a phone booth, but suffer me this Bell Jar moment, por favor. You don’t have to leave a comment unless you really, really want to. You can like, you can post a music video telling me how much you miss me, or you can just read it. Whatever YOU wish to do with it, that’s beauty to my senses. And thank you, for any and all of it. Always.

And now the roster . . .

Mookie Betts Dodgers Contract Extension Value Taxes – Sportico.com

He hits for average, he hits for power . . he steals bases . . he makes gold glove plays on the regular. And he wins, much. The dude became the first player to walk and steal two bases in the same inning of a World Series game since Babe Ruth did it, ninety nine years ago. But the magnificence of Mookie is landing here today for what he did for America, yes America! By stealing a base in the World Series, Mookie done won America a free taco on October 28th. And okay, it’s not really a taco since it’s being served up by Taco Bell, but hey . . free still counts! So I just have one question. Is it too late to get Mookie on the ballot?

Jeffrey Toobin suspended from New Yorker, on leave from CNN, after he exposed himself on Zoom call - CNN

It was reported this week that Jeffrey Toobin has been suspended from his gigs on CNN and the New Yorker after he was caught masturbating during a Zoom meeting with staffers. And it seems that Father Superior, the guy who rails on about the peccadilloes of politicians, has a pantry full of them in his own right. And it’s people like Toobin who make it so easy to point to the other side of the aisle and proclaim how full of shit they are. But this goes far beyond politics. This is about a guy who’s gotten away with a closet full of shit for too long a time. In an age where the bad guys are getting found out right and left, Toobin seemingly wore Teflon, until he took matters into his own hand.

El Arroyo in Austin, Texas has taken to panning the pandemic. And really, good for them . . and us. And I wonder if they take requests? Imma call ’em.

bucket-of-balls-tease-material-fd-frame-7580-1.jpg

So thank goodness for Frank “Beach Walks” Angle for bringing the heater in the very best of ways with this next story. It’s proof that every new ending is just a beginning to something else, and it reads as if Kinsella and Capra and Chapin got together on Cloud Nine and came up with the script.

Brian and Carter Robinson were keeping to the father and son tradition of hitting some baseballs at the cages when Dad came across a bucket of baseballs with a note attached, which read as follows.

“Hope someone can use some of these baseballs. I pitched them to my son and grandson for countless rounds.”

The writer’s name is Randy Long, and the sentiment was a bittersweet one. Long was thinking his life had gone Chapin on him, what with his brood having moved to different parts of the map with clans of their own now. So his donation of the baseballs was meant to pass the torch to a young family that was still busy writing their days of Kinsella. But that’s where Capra came in to steal the show.

Because the Robinsons got hold of Randy Long and then one thing led to another and young Carter was asking him if he might want to take in one of his little league games. And that’s when this grandfather learned that young Carter had lost both his grandfathers at a very young age and if you ain’t tearing up by now, okay, you asked for it.

The two of them ended up having a catch together. The end of one chapter in their lives giving way to the one they never saw coming.

And Cloud Nine, damn. Those guys still have it.

And now for a musical interlude, because I can’t get me enough Rush. And this isolation play on Geddy Lee’s tug of the maddening strings gets me high whilst completely sober. What’s not to love?

Seriously . . I listened to that on a loop whilst on my stationary bike, one day after being laid up in bed for ten hours. Music as medicine . . . .

Six California firefighters lost their homes while battling the flames. Days later, a CNN Hero provided RVs for them to shelter them - CNN

The fires ravaging Northern California have added yet another layer of “What next?” to this bitter cake of a year. So it’s good to know there are people like Woody Faircloth who get busy every day thinking up new and better recipes for their fellow humans.

Faircloth is a 2019 CNN Hero recipient, and here’s why he got noticed in the first place. Because when he heard about a group of volunteer firefighters who lost their homes recently- and continued battling the fires anyway- he got to fixing up a recipe for them inside theses worst of times. He did so in the form of delivering RV’s to the displaced heroes through his non-profit RV4CampfireFamily.

With all that got lost in the fire, Faircloth and his family are making sure hope remains.

This 5-year-old wrote a book to help kids battle the stress of the coronavirus pandemic

This has been the year of living dangerously, replete with prospects that frighten even the bravest souls among us. And so you have to imagine what it’s done to the little minds whose bravery isn’t talked about enough if you ask me.

Take Wade Williams as an example. He’s five years old and currently attending pre-school and he’s not crazy about the state of this great big world. So he decided he wanted to create a nightlight for other kids who are going through the same thing and he wrote a book.

“It all started by him saying ‘Dad I really want to help. I really want to help people,” said Williams’ father Joshua Williams.

And just like that, Wade was punching the keys and sharing his mighty so that it may shine a light on anyone who feels as if the darkness is too much. And Seneca the younger would be shimmying in his stoic sandals at the brighter than expected profits of a human race that births souls such as Wade Williams. Because it shows us that compassion is not a paradise lost, unless we make it so. And sometimes from the mouths of babes comes our truest reality.

 

Heroes Of The Week!

Disney theme-park fans request 'Black Panther' attractions - Insider

As we venture into the fourth quarter of this meanest of years, I’ve got a few stories that speak to the not so random acts of kindness that offer us some much needed light inside the storm. And okay, so I tucked a minus into things. But rest assured, it was strictly for contrast. Because I’ve come to know and respect the science of these weekly episodes.

It’s not about unmasking the truth, it’s about respecting it.

McDonald's worker pays for family's meal when mom forgets wallet; mom raises over $35K for him in return

I’m a fool for cool when it comes to names, and so Wyatt Jones was rocking it with yours truly even before I read about his good deed gone viral in Waynesville, Ohio. Jones is a McDonald’s crew member who puts the above and beyond in his customer service. Just ask Brittany Reed, a mother of three who rolled up to the drive-thru window where Jones was working sans her wallet. The frazzled mama explained to Jones that she would have to cancel her order, but Jones was having none of it. He grabbed his own wallet and paid for the order himself.

Reed returned later on to repay Jones, who didn’t want to take her money . . of course. Because to him, the positive difference he was making in somebody’s day was payment enough. And sometimes that is that, and sometimes, well . . sometimes that good deed gets noticed in a big way. Reed shared her story on Facebook, after which she started a GoFundMe page for Jones, which has raised more than $27,000 to date.

“I never dreamed my post would go viral from our little village community page. I was truly just trying to reach his parent and let our community know what a kind hearted young man we had working at our local McDonalds,” Reed says. “I can’t believe people have donated this much money to Wyatt.”

As far as this story is concerned, I’m loving it.

My Hero Quote Of The Week! 

“It’s a struggle. It’s a battle. And I just don’t represent me. I represent all those folks that are afflicted [with cancer], all those people that fight, all those people that have fought.”

-Washington Football Team Head Coach Ron Rivera, who is still coaching while also taking treatments for squamous-cell cancer. (Props to Peter King for this).

Local Sports Talk Host Off-Air After Comments about Kamala Harris, Missouri State

I’ve had about enough of the peeps who have sworn off sports because it’s become “too political”, and Nate Lucas is my rebuttal argument as to why that complaint is full of it. Lucas was a sports radio host in Missouri, whose specialty was retreading sports narratives while mixing in his politics. In September, Lucas took his tired act and went scorched earth when he referred to VP candidate Kamala Harris with an “offensive, sexist slur” according to the station. Turns out, Lucas was plenty fine getting political when he felt like doing so, but I can only assume he’ll stop watching the games now that he’s unemployed . . because sports is too political. Funny how that works.

Greek Athlete Carries Disabled Woman Up Mount Olympus–Fulfilling her Lifelong Dream

Marios Giannakou is used to taking the long way home, with great success. The long distance runner has navigated all the valleys and mountains set out before him- from a 168 mile journey across Al Marmoum Desert to a first place finish in a cross-country race in Antartica. And oh yeah, he’s also climbed to the peak of Mount Olympus. Fifty times.

This guy is winning the day the moment he wakes up in the morning, and it’s not because of the medals or the acclaim he’s earned. It’s because he understands that winning is giving, and giving is life.

So when he heard about Eleftheria Tosiou’s dream of experiencing the summit of Mount Olympus, he got to stepping. After meeting with Tosiou, who has never let her disability define her, the pair was hooked up with a specially modified backpack and a support team. And then they climbed, together, chasing down a dream that has no finish line.

“There is nothing more real than the dream,” said Giannakou.

My Hero YouTube Video Of The Week! 

As far as this special moment between a thespian and his brand new friend goes, there are a few different videos out there. I chose the one whose spoken language I do not understand because I understand the language that counts just fine.

(Note to our Canadian friends, the title of this video is “Stray dog tries to help an actor in a play” (56 seconds running time)

We live in times of great anguish, full of carnival barkers in suits whose currency often times relies on division to keep them electable. And maybe it just seems that way too much of the time and maybe I have a lot to learn, but maybe I’m okay with being rescued time and again by the stories that prove how wrongs can be righted if we just open our minds.

And so the picture above . . I mean, right? The nerve of these two ladies, to somehow forge an alliance from two sides of a fence that would seem impossible to scale.

Cedar Park, Texas is where Marne Litton and Tasha Hancock call home. The two became fast friends when Tasha moved there six years ago and their political leanings did nothing to change that. Because these two came to understand each other not as political lawn signs, but as human beings. Litton is raising a special needs child and she says Hancock has always been there to brighten the most trying of days.

“We want to spread a message of kindness and love during these challenging times,” Litton said. “Tasha and I may not see eye to eye politically, but that doesn’t mean we can’t show love and respect for one another.”

These two made me go digging for a quote that came to mind when I found the capture of them all dressed up with someplace to go, attached to a story that told me I still have much to learn.

We are strong not in spite of our differences, but because of them.

It comes from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who was speaking of his native Canada, but Imma borrow it, humbly and gratefully. Because it frames that capture. Perfectly. Because it speaks to the idea that opinions will keep the cash register chiming, but humanity will keep the lights on.

If I were to break down the story of us into a mathematical equation, rancor equals subtraction while unity stands for addition. And that’s where you’ll find that peaceable solutions are happening . . like, all the time. And sure, they might be harder to find but it’s only because they’re not breaking news-worthy. They exist inside the quiet, because all the best stuff in the world?

Lives there.

Heroes Of The Week!

Superman Becomes a Star/Superheroes Take Over the World

There are officially ninety one days remaining in 2020, not like I’m counting the minutes . . . yet. And I guess the best thing you can say about this year of living dangerously is that Charles Manson isn’t around to say I told you so. 

Not that it’s all bad, really. In fact, there’s a lot of it that’s really been kind of great. And maybe you won’t find it on your cable news networks, or on the front pages of your local newspapers. But no matter, because the good stuff still counts. And apologies ahead of time for the mugshot below, but I think this imbecile resembles the facial composite of our otherwise forgettable year. But no worries, because there’s plenty of pushback to that ugly. 

So let’s get rolling . . .

Man gets 1 year in jail for holding large parties against COVID-19 rules -  ABC News

Shawn Marshall Myers of Hughsville, Maryland was sentenced to a year behind bars for throwing several large parties- in violation of the state’s emergency order. But really, could we add another year? For that hair? . . . .

Alex Smith - Wikipedia

The team formerly known as Redskins ain’t possessing much in the way of positive shout outs. But for their backup quarterback Alex Smith. The former first rounder pick has worked himself all the way back from a devastating leg injury suffered during a game almost two years ago. He underwent 17 surgeries after the injury resulted in a flesh eating disease which threatened his life. Fast forward to now, and he’s made it all the way back. The selfish part of me wishes he would retire rather than risk anything further, but the dude’s heart and soul is the kind of stuff future players should be inspired by. 

Joe Montana and wife rescue grandchild from attempted kidnapping

And speaking of kick ass QB’s, Joe Montana was the epitome of a big game gunslinger in his day; winning four Super Bowls in four tries. But as a grandfather, Joe Cool outdid all of his on field exploits recently when he saved his nine month old grandchild from a would be kidnapper. The incident happened at his Malibu home, where Joe and his wife thwarted the attempt and had the intruder arrested. I’m betting he’d score that as the biggest win of his life. 

Next up, I’ve got a couple of stories that are belated in the telling by yours truly, but no less beautiful in the deeds that were done. 

Justin Gavin is being called a hero after pulling a mom and three children from a burning car.

First up we have 18 year Justin Gavin, who didn’t even have time to put on his cape after he spotted an SUV that had caught fire. He gave chase and finally was able to catch up with the vehicle once it had come to a stop, after which he helped remove a mother and her three children (1, 4 and 9 years old), who had been trapped inside. The Waterbury Police Department honored Gavin with a “Challenge Coin” 

“I hope that when you have that coin it just reminds you of this day and you can reflect back on all the good that came out of this for you and that family that you saved,” said Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo.

There are four people who get to wake up this morning thanks to the actions of this kid. Four stories that keep getting written and one big reason to believe that superheroes are real. 

Hero boxer DeAndre Ware saves fight promoter's life | Atlanta Daily World

DeAndre Ware’s boxing career is currently in a downward slope after his loss to Steven Nelson by TKO in a super middleweight bout early last month. But it was Ware’s actions before the fight even took place that speak to the true value of the man. When Pete Susens- a coordinator for Top Rank Boxing- collapsed during weigh-ins, Ware performed chest compressions that ended up saving his life. You see, Ware also happens to be a firefighter in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio. So while boxing is a passion, his everyday existence is playing out in a ring where the stakes are much higher. And he’s winning. Big time. 

And now Imma dish up a double dose from the Cincinnati Kid over at the blog formerly (and still) known as aFrankAngle. This first story, well . . some of you already know it so I’ll just include the video above. It’s good stuff, so if you haven’t checked it out, please do. 

Derlin Newey, a pizza delivery driver in Utah, hugs the Valdez family after being surprised with a tip of a lifetime.

The second part of Frank’s double shot of good feeling tonic . . . wait for it . . . delivers. The Valdez family are bringing the ‘social’ to social media with a gift they recently presented to a very special person in their lives. Eighty nine year old Derlin Newey is their pizza delivery man- they ask for him every time they place an order. They started recording his deliveries for their TikTok channel @vendingheads because they love the guy so much. 

“It’s insane. Everybody loves him,” said Carlos Valdez. They love the smiles he brings to their faces every time he throws down his signature phrase “Hello, are you looking for some pizza?”

Eighty nine years old and working thirty hours a week because he can’t make ends meet on social security alone. And so the family that’s come to love him decided to ask for donations from their more than 53,000 TikTok followers. They were able to raise $12,000 for Newey. After which they presented him with a great big check, with lots of hugs attached to it.  

“He needed this. I’m just glad we could help him,” said Valdez. “We just need to treat people with kindness and respect the way he does. He stole our hearts.”

It can be so easy to let the cynics win the days, especially these days. But you really don’t have to look very hard to find out just how wrong they are about us humans. Because we’re not doomed. We’re not defeated. We’re not hopeless creatures in a slow march to the end of the sidewalk. We’re more than that, so much more than that. And when the world gives us precious little? 

We give it everything we have. 

Heroes Of The Week!

Abraham Lincoln Quiz | Britannica

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

And now to this week’s lineup . . .

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

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

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

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

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

bridger-walker-41

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love matters.

Heroes Of The Week! (Yankee Clipper Edition)

 

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

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

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

Here’s my lineup ‘o the week . . .

Grant Imahara | Keppler Speakers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heroism is a restless verb.

 

 

 

 

 

Heroes Of The Week!

 

Tunis Campbell (1812-1891) | New Georgia Encyclopedia

(Tunis Campbell- 1812-1891)

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

Let’s plate it, kids . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Heroes Of The Week! (Old School Edition)

Pop Art

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

And now to this week’s episode . . .

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

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

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

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

Image credit: YouTube

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

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

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

Robert Williams

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Heroes Of The Week! (Lampoon Edition)

Top 10 Funniest Superheroes and Villains | WatchMojo.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hey, what’s Perlman doing in November?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Did I miss anything?”

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

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

Peace.

 

Heroes Of The Week

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

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

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

Imma dedicate this week to my friend Martin.

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

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

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

They’ve accomplished so very much already.

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

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

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

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

I choose that door.

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

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

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

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

It’s all that should ever matter.

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

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

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

View image on Twitter

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

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.