Heroes Of The Week!

Super Man

Imma try something new this week with my Heroes entry by giving y’all briefs on my heroes and zeros rather than prattling on. I got the idea after reading an article which claimed that readers tend to lose interest if they have to read more than a few paragraphs on a given topic. I forget what the rest of the article said, but I was duly inspired to exercise brevity. I’m sure there will be instances where I will prattle on. Take this explanation, for instance . . .

Mother Nature- The balls on this chick. There was snow in New England this week. Not the movie set Styrofoam shit either. As Lou Gramm opined, head games . . I can’t take it anymore!

Favorite headline from the Globe, or The National Examiner- “It’s not Harry’s Baby!”. Personally, I would have gone with Royal Flush! or Check Mated! But whatevs.

Wise beyond her years- I’ve been a critic of Team Process in Philadelphia, because I think any professional organization that soaks its fans for half a decade and then dresses it up in analytics should be brought up on charges. But the Sixers are fun, and Joel Embiid crying on the court after losing to Toronto touched me, okay?

Leave it to a nine year old Sixers fan named Olivia to sum things up best of all.

Readers ain’t writers (Spoiler Alert)- Palenty of Game of Thrones fans went carazy over how last week’s episode went down, so lemme simplify for the simpletons. Jaime proved you never outrun your past. Dany predicted how this was going to go down ages ago. And all those innocents? Picked the wrong kingdom to buy a house in. War ain’t tidy, kingdoms are won on equal parts guile and brutality and if you want a happy ending, go to Friendly’s. That is all.

A long time coming- Pete Sabedra waited a long time to earn his high school diploma. More than seventy years, in fact. When Pete was in the eighth grade, he had to drop out of high school to support his family. After serving in WW2, he received his GED.

Fast forward to now, where the 92 year old Sabedra was presented with a diploma during the awards ceremony in which his grandson Kace received his diploma. He was named an honorary member of the class of 2019. The moral is, it’s never too late.

Favorite headline from the the National Examiner, or The Globe-
“Betty White’s Wild Life!- Cocktails, Close Friends and Hot Dogs” My God, what a hedonist she was!

When jokes go South(west)- During an hours long maintenance delay on a recent Southwest flight, a passenger’s innocent joke got serious. Quickly. As attendants were handing out water, a passenger remarked “They should be handing out vodka, we’ve been waiting so long,”. Rather than let the joke die a cornhole death, an attendant shot back at the passenger and then informed authorities of an unruly passenger.

The plane did a u-turn and the passenger was removed from the flight, to the protests of all the passengers who had witnessed the exchange. Hopefully, this attendant will visit the website peoplewhoareeasilyoffendedbythestupidestshit.com.

Uncommon strength- Journalist Jayson Greene has written a book Once More We Saw Stars. It’s a memoir which details the anguish of losing a child. Greene and his wife Stacy lost their two year old daughter Greta in 2015 when a brick fell from an eighth story windowsill and struck her in the head. She died the next day.

Greene’s book is filled with painful, sobering images. But it also speaks to the crumbling infrastructure of New York City, and the desperate need for action so that this does not happen to someone else. It always amazes me to find people like this, who contribute to humanity in the face of unspeakable loss. God bless them.

Boycott Alabama- Of course, I ain’t ever visiting the place to begin with. And I don’t know too many folks who are. But it’s time to strike back at legislators who recently signed an abortion bill into law that truly belongs in the dark ages. Shameful.

Favorite headline of the week from the New York Post- “Here Cons The Bride”- ‘Husband’ sues car heiress for faking their wedding

All heroism is local- One minute Duana Owens was sitting outside a Wells Fargo branch minding his own business, and the next he’s getting a Sorryless mention.

Owens watched a man enter and then rapidly exit the bank, brandishing a hatchet on the flip side no less. Undeterred, Owens sprang into action. He ordered the culprit to lower his weapon and to get on the ground. After a few tense moments, he did as Owens had instructed. “(Police) said they really couldn’t find too many citizens like me,” Owens said proudly. No kidding.

Welp, that’s a wrap for this week. Apologies to those who never made it out of the green room, like . . . NYC Mayor DiBlasio turned Presidential candidate #714, the troll who wished cancer on talk show host James Corden’s kid and as always . . Chancellor Trump.

Heroes Of The Week

You say Twitter, I say Twatter- This garden variety weed of social media is Darwin’s gift to the technological world. And this week’s “Dumb Shit People Say On Twitter” award goes to . . .

Those imbeciles who trashed Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s beau, referring to him as a ‘bin raccoon’. One of the Twitterati exclaimed in mock horror, “THIS is what AOC’s boyfriend looks like?” . . . After which, I have to think their kindergarten teacher took away their phones.

Riley Roberts and AOC keep things pretty quiet and chill for a reason, this one. But the web developer loves his girl, is fiercely supportive of her and is loved by her mama. So apologies to all those twits who trashed his look for my blatantly mean response but . . .

Who gives a blessed fuck what you think?

And now for a Frank Angle on a few of the week’s heroes. Cincy, from AFrankAngle hit me with a double mint of good stuff this past week. Here then, his twin bill . . .

Back to the Future- Nineteen years ago, DerMarr Johnson’s future was so bright he was investing in Ray Bans and sunscreen. His was the mad game skill set that perched itself inside the NCAA’s “One and Done” system whereby high school stars use college as a revolving door in order to hone their games and get some much needed national recognition. A spring board for the starry studs, with the emphasis on court work over school work.

Johnson attended the University of Cincinnati for his requisite cup of coffee, leading the Bearcats to a 29-3 record before being upset in the second round of the NCAA tournament by Tulsa. It was a blip for the kid whose game was going places, as proven by his being selected sixth overall in the NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks. It was all right there for Johnson; NBA stardom and generational money that would keep him in Ray Bans forever.

And then his first two seasons didn’t produce the takeoff many scouts had predicted. And then he was involved in a car accident that almost left him paralyzed, and then forever started getting lost. Johnson did play again, but most of his service time was spent on the fringes- some spot duty on various NBA teams followed by playing overseas and in developmental leagues.

Johnson never found his star, but this past week all that adversity felt a million light years away when the thirty eight year old earned a degree from UC. He wants to coach, and in order to do so, he needed a degree. So he went back to the classroom, for real. And now he’s got a bead on taking the court once again. Different seat, but it still counts for lots.

“Life is short. My life was almost taken my second year in the NBA. You don’t take anything for granted. You take advantage of all your opportunities,’’

I take back what I said about Johnson not finding his star. He’s simply chasing a different one now.

Running Down A Dream- Shaquem Griffin was born with amniotic band syndrome. The condition occurs when amniotic bands constrict the flow of blood to digits, arms and legs and impair their development. Griffin’s left hand was compromised during childbirth, leaving him in excruciating pain as a toddler. His parents made the heart wrenching decision to amputate his left hand after finding him in the kitchen attempting to cut it off himself.

It never stopped Griffin from visiting all those places in his childhood dreams. He starred in track, baseball and football in high school. He played alongside his brother Shaquill at the University of Central Florida. Among his many achievements, Griffin was named the defensive player of the year for his league in 2016; and in 2018 he scored MVP honors at the Peach Bowl, capping an undefeated season for UCF. In April of 2018, he was selected in the fifth round by the Seattle Seahawks, where he would play alongside his brother once again.

Griffin never forgot where his dreams came from, and so when he heard the story of ten year old Izzy Turkington, he sprang to action. Turkington was born with quad congenital limb differences. He was fitted with prosthetic devices for his legs as an infant. In conjunction with the Challenged Athlete Foundation, Griffin fitted Izzy- who plays several sports himself- with prosthetic runners.

Because Griffin understands as well as anyone that disabilities are not roadblocks to success, they’re simply the challenges you overcome to get there.

The Days of Whine and Poses- The NBA has become a league of girly men. Players are knighted by shoe contracts rather than their achievements on the court. Ya got Kyrie Irving wanting to be Batman when he’s a Robin. The Rockets ‘auditing’ referees calls and deciding they should have won last year’s playoff series against Golden State, which is shamefully weak. There’s Joel Embiid, who has more maladies than a hypochondriac proof reader for WebMD.

It’s quite obvious Michael Jordan has nothing to worry about.

As for the final entry for this weeks Heroes post, it goes to a place I’ve visited too many damned times.

Eighteen year old Kendrick Castillo was all set to graduate from STEM School Highlands Ranch next week. His interests included Computer Information Technology and he wanted to study electrical engineering in college. He was looking forward to this weekend, when he would compete in a “Rods and Robots” event at the school.

Kendrick had done such a great job interning at a manufacturing company that they gave him a part time gig. Post-graduation, he had several internships lined up, because companies wanted in on his smarts. With each passing day, his tomorrows were becoming more limitless.

And then someone walked into Castillo’s classroom with a gun on Tuesday and then the kid lunged at the shooter, saving his classmates by taking a bullet. And then all those tomorrows became the latest theft in a long and hopeless wound of school shootings.

Just like that, gone was the idea of everything. Replaced with stories that will never be told, memories that will never be made, and a life that comes to an end just as it was busy getting started.

His father is left to wish that his son would have run and hid, but he admits that wasn’t his way. Kendrick wasn’t the type to back down, he wasn’t afraid of the world he had grown up inside of. A world where kids go to school and never come home. A world where days like Tuesday have achieved a sick normalcy.

A world gone mad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heroes Of The Week!

In the news this week, AG William Barr says his leaps are sealed. Facebook promises that its lips are sealed as far as our privacy is concerned, maybe. And if you haven’t seen Endgame yet? My lips are sealed . . since I haven’t seen it either.

Commander In Tweets: There would seem to be a lot of business to attend to as President. You got your daily briefings full of imminent attacks on US soil. You have to sign off on legislation that affects hundreds of millions of lives. And even your burner cell phone number has been compromised by your party rivals.

Of course, President Taj doesn’t have to worry about these things. He doesn’t read briefings, after all. And any legislation only affects him. And hey . . attacks on US soil will be a thing of the past once that wall is finished.

So with all that time on his hands, Trump can tweet. Lots. Which is what he did the other day when it was announced that Joe Biden had received the endorsement of the International Association of Fire Fighters- a 300 hundred thousand member union. In less than an hour, Trump retweeted more than sixty tweets from firefighters who pledged their support to Trump. No word on whether Trump’s firefighter fans were legitimate replies or more fake views.

I checked out the billing for Woodstock 50 and the first name I landed on was Miley Cyrus. So needless to say . . the original has nothing to worry about. 

A Matter of Love: Kevin Love sharing his thoughts on depression recently didn’t get much play. Because he wasn’t changing teams or flipping bats or birds or small children. But rest assured the Cavaliers forward is authoring a pretty important story.

Love talked about his life with depression recently, admitting how anxiety has a stranglehold on him at times. Here’s a hulking physical specimen confessing that he once thought he was going to die during a game. Because that is how depression works. No one is safe from its clutches, no matter the size, strength or bank account. We need more dudes like Love and DeMar DeRozan who are willing to share their struggles inside the macho culture of big time sports.

Hey Kevin? We love you.

I wonder how professor Urban Meyer’s “Leadership and Character” class is going at Ohio State? I bet the section involving those thirty one player arrests during his six years as head coach of the Florida Gators are worth the price of enrollment . . .

They don’t call it “The Shield for nothing: The NFL will never be confused with a league that gives a shit about people. Here is a league that paid experts to refute the link between football and CTE, in spite of the mountains of evidence that exists. This is a a league that is more comfortable with a scumbag like Tyreek Hill in its fraternity than a gay player.

Hill is a serial physical abuser whose uniform should be orange, but hey . . he can run and catch so that counts for much more with the Kansas City Chiefs. You may remember they were the team who drafted Kareem Hunt- who was suspended and then released after videotape showed Hunt assaulting a young woman in a club.

In an audio recording that was making the rounds this week, Hill was heard talking to his baby mama about how his three year old son suffered a broken arm. Which may or may not have been the result of Hill beating on him. And when his fiancee told Hill the boy was terrified of him, he replied chillingly, “you should be terrified of me too, bitch,”

Tyreek Hill should never, ever play another down in the NFL. Maybe Roger Goodell should grow a pair by taking action. Now. The next time a team like the Chiefs takes a chance on a player with Hill’s rap sheet, take away all their picks for one NFL draft. Half a dozen chances, and he should be out. But he’s more than welcome to go ply another trade. His resume is super impressive considering he went to three colleges! Of course, he never stayed in any of them very long seeing as how he couldn’t keep his hands off a woman.

Maybe one of his five minute alma maters can hire him to clean toilets.

I feel like this asshole in a Dodgers uniform is a perfect representation of America’s current state. I just do . . .

Nanook to the rescue: Twenty one year old Amelia Milling is an adventure junkie who gets her fix through traveling. The twenty one year old college student from Tennessee is deaf, but that didn’t slow her roll one bit when she decided to tackle Crow Pass Trail in Alaska. By herself.

The dream hike turned nightmarish when her hiking poles snapped and Milling found herself hurtling down the side of a snow covered mountain. She fell more than three hundred feet before crashing into a boulder; the impact of the crash catapulted her another three hundred feet, leaving her bloodied and dazed.

Enter Nanook, a seven year old husky who knows his way around rough terrain. Amelia initially thought Nanook was a wolf, but then spotted a silver, bone shaped tag around his collar that read “Crow Pass Guide” and included his owner’s address.

The husky led her back to the trail and then stood guard outside her tent that night. The next day, he saved Amelia from the icy waters of the Eagle River crossing. The ordeal took fifteen minutes but Nanook was finally able to pull Amelia from the river, after which she pushed the SOS button on her Spot Device. When state troopers found her several hours later, she was wrapped in a sleeping bag with her hero curled up beside her.

Nanook

 

“Nookie”, as he is called by his owner, was named an honorary Alaska State Trooper for his actions. Turns out, he loves to travel every bit as much as his new pal Amelia, so he has now been fitted with a GPS beacon on his collar.

Eat your heart out, Superman.

 

 

Heroes Of The Week! (NFL Draft Edition)

Be forewarned, this edition of Heroes is different. It begins with a couple odd ball political stories, after which I’ve tucked my NFL draft notes into a block quoted sandwich; for those readers who consider sports to be a deep fried nada tostada. Although you non-sports fans might wanna check out the YouTube spill I included. It’s good stuff.

Alas, no happy ending this week, because sometimes that’s just how it goes.

Cell block the vote!: Bernie Sanders set off a shit storm the other night when he said that all prisoners should have the right to vote. Even terrible people, like murderers, rapists and yes . . the Boston Marathon Bomber. And I cringed when I read this, because Dzhokhar Tsarnaev killed three people and injured two hundred and sixty four others. And then he shot and killed an MIT police officer and stole his gun.

And making certain that no dubious idea goes unpublished, his Democratic counterpart Alexandra Ocasio Cortez doubled down by supporting the idea of allowing prisoners the right to vote.

And I have to think, maybe they didn’t get the memo that 2020 is a fairly important election. For their still fractured party, sure. But even more important than that, for the entire country. And call me silly, but this idea of theirs ain’t gonna play well in most of the other forty eight not named Vermont or Maine.

We are getting closer and closer to an eight year Trump run, because to paraphrase an old baseball adage. You can’t win an election in the early going, but you can lose one.

Stay in school, kids: Lara Trump studied at NC State, after which she attended the French Culinary Institute. But maybe she should’ve stayed in school and yanno . . enrolled in a couple history classes. Because Lara had some things to say about Germany’s dark past. But no . . not that dark past.

According to Lara, the downfall of Germany came when they admitted more than a million Middle Eastern refugees into the country in 2015.  The comment provided no context as to why these people were migrating to Europe; which had to do with conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Immigration isn’t a one size fits all policy. Lots of shit happens in between the influx and the debate. Using Merkel’s decision as Trump’s template is a false equivalent. Lara also didn’t mention the right wing nationalism that has sprouted up since the refugee crisis in 2015; and that’s a pretty big miss considering Germany’s dark past. Yes . . that dark past.

Saving Easter: Martha Isbell was on her way to Mass on Sunday when her car tire popped. It isn’t known whether Isbell owns a AAA card and it doesn’t much matter, because a former student of hers spotted her pulling off the road and pulled over to assist.

Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard may not have been Isbell’s prize pupil in her biology class, but he held a special place in her heart just the same. The self professed class clown was all business on Sunday morning; fixing her tire and saving Isbell’s father- who is battling stage four cancer- the trip out to assist his daughter. And she made it to Easter Mass on time.

So I guess the question is, can you give out an A plus retroactively?

The NFL Draft is the biggest, richest, funkiest job fair in the world. And the best part of it all? Everybody is an ‘expert’ . . in guess work.

The Arizona Cardinals ain’t ever won a Super Bowl, and they keep showing us why. They made history (the wrong kind) by taking a quarterback in the first round for the second year in a row. Maybe this works, but even if it does, they’re still no closer to winning a Super Bowl. As far as the league’s biggest punchline goes, the Cleveland Browns are off the clock.

The Baltimore Ravens win the weekend: Well, where it matters most. See, they invited 13 year old Mo Gaba to announce their fourth round choice. Gaba, who has been blind since he was nine months old, will read the pick in braille. Last month, it was learned that his cancer has returned for the fourth time. Lord knows he’s already faced one too many hard roads, so bravo to the Ravens for giving him the red carpet treatment.

I am in deep love with the Miami Dolphins pick of Christian Wilkins. The dude brings everything my team needs- big talent, big attitude and he can break out the James Brown and do THIS! I think they got this one right.

Hey . . remember how I walked back my Jon Gruden smack talk a few weeks ago? Well, I was right the first time. Gruden is more overrated than Trump’s hands.

The Pittsburgh Steelers did good. How do I know? Because unlike the Cardinals and Jon Gruden, they’re a perennial contender in large part because of the work they do this time of year.

The New York Giants ain’t gonna win another Super Bowl for a long, long . . long time. Book it.

I rarely get too serious with my heroes edition, but I couldn’t ignore the execution of John William King on Wednesday evening in Huntsfield, Texas. King- an avowed white supremacist- was one of three white men convicted in the torture and death of James Byrd in 1998. The Jasper, Texas murder made national headlines for its shocking brutality. Byrd, a black man, was offered a ride home by the men who then proceeded to beat him before chaining him to the back of a pickup truck. Byrd was dragged for miles while still alive before being decapitated.

Lawrence Russell Brewer was executed in 2011 and Shawn Allen Berry is not up for parole until 2038.

King never once expressed remorse for the horrendous crime, instead taking great pride in what he referred to as “making history”. He also tried to incite a race war while in prison. And so when he was injected with a lethal dose of pentobarbital at 6:56 p.m. on Wednesday evening and succumbed to the injection twelve minutes later, the world lost an evil person. And hell gained one.

James Byrd Jr. would have turned seventy years old next week. In the nearly twenty one years that have passed since his murder, the matter of race and race relations has grown increasingly more complicated. Jasper, Texas remains a town very much divided. You need look no further than Byrd’s final resting place, which was fitted with iron bars after having been desecrated.

So when Presidential candidates start railing on about how felons deserve the vote and a President advances policies threatening to those who don’t ‘look’ like us . . I can’t help thinking about what a disservice it all is to James Byrd Jr.

The man can’t even rest in peace. Because racism doesn’t take a day off. It just keeps punching the clock and showing up for work. Any let up, and we lose another day to its insidious creep. It’s a constant reminder that sometimes, you don’t get the feel good story to wrap things up.

Sometimes the happy ending is impossible to come by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heroes Of The Week!

This week’s Heroes entry is slightly more hushed than previous episodes. Maybe it’s the season, I don’t know. I was tossing with doing an abbreviated version but then the stories took the wheel and before I knew it . . I had myself a traditional five spot. And so it is . . .

Like Father, Like Son: When Aric Tegtmeier took the stage today at his graduation ceremony, it was the culmination of a lifelong dream. For him, and for his father too. Aric officially entered the brotherhood of the FDNY at the age of twenty four. He will be assigned to the West Farms section of the Bronx, a short distance from Ladder 46 where his father served. Paul Tegtmeier was thirty nine years old when he joined the department- just under the age cutoff for new hires.

Paul was forty one when his company was called to the World Trade Center in 2001. He was one of 343 FDNY first responders who answered the call, and never came home. Aric was six when his father was lost and he says his dream of wanting to follow in his footsteps only grew stronger after  September 11th.

Now Aric will take the place of his old man, almost eighteen years removed from the day when his life and the lives of so many were changed forever. When all those bumper sticker proclamations of never forgetting began getting lost in the rear view, there were plenty of sons and daughters just like him who were abiding. They never forgot the one true thing, and they never will.

Mueller Report, Schmueller Report: Much ado about bupkis, and I’m not surprised. Seeing as how the report contained more redactions than an Applebee’s menu, what were we supposed to gain from this? Will the calls for a ‘free range’ report ever be taken seriously? Or will our children’s children have to wait to find out the what’s what on Trump and his bed mates?

Oh, and having Attorney General James Barr dish up sonnets in the lead up to the release of the report is some extra crispy bullshit right there. But once again, it’s a matter of being told our eyes and ears are deceiving us. That we are the ones in the wrong if we don’t go along with the party line.

Columbus Day!: I do understand that to celebrate the Columbus Blue Jackets‘ victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning is mostly counterproductive. Both teams are more of the same as per the expansion era Americanization of a Canadian sport. But . . . at least Ohio gets four seasons. That’s a rule of mine. If the city gets snow, it can get hockey. Florida should stick to trying to get football right, because it’s doing a shit job of it right now.

A Disney Cruz: Remember how Ted Cruz was supposed to take the reins from the crumbling GOP after Trump laid waste to the other front runners during the primaries? And remember how that never happened? You know why?

Because Ted Cruz is a schmuck.

I guess old Ted was sick and tired of having been rendered a Trivial Pursuit question. And really, in today’s politics? Making the news is all that really counts, so mission accomplished. Cruz decided to throw some shade at Disney after the company announced it was donating $5 million dollars to help rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral. Proving that no good deed goes unpunished, Cruz sent out a tweet that would’ve had Mickey throwing down both middle fingers.

“Wonderful! Will we see Disney princesses in the new stained glass?

Of course, Ted would have had to read up on the fire which ravaged this sacred cathedral in order to learn that the stained glass windows were saved. But hey . . why do your homework when making machine gun bacon gets you elected?

It’s a good thing we carry with us the hope that the good days will outweigh the bad ones, and that loss will be served with rebirth. When the horrible truths of the world bring us to our knees, it’s important to have faith in something . . in someone.

Father Jean-Marc Fournier is the chaplain of the Paris Fire Brigade. As fire laid waste to the roof of Notre Dame Cathedral, Fournier insisted on re-entering the structure in an attempt to retrieve some of the priceless artifacts housed within.

He was joined by a group of rescue workers who formed a human chain in order to save the Crown of Thorns- believed to have been worn by Jesus during the crucifixion- and the tunic of Saint Louis which was worn by King Louis IV when he brought the crown to Paris.

Fournier has a resume of doing this kind of thing. He served as a military chaplain in Afghanistan before joining the Fire Brigade. In the aftermath of the 2015 Bataclan terrorist attacks, he helped to evacuate the victims. He also gave absolution to those lost in the attacks.

Holy Week always feels quiet to me, but never more so than after this trying week. That hush of appreciation for the mysteries that might hold answers, it speaks to me this time of year. And I do hold to the idea that all is never lost.

Only misplaced.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ashes To Ashes

FRANCE-FIRE-NOTRE DAME

Robert Louis Stevenson once said that mankind is never so happily inspired as when it made a cathedral.

And so it was that in 1163, more than a hundred and fifty years before the world would come into full bloom with the dawn of the Renaissance, hope was risen with the first bricks of a timeless symbol that would come to define a city, a nation and the world it would grow up inside of.

The name possessed a gravitas and evoked reverence the world over. It was a symbol which transcended religion. The underpinnings of this wondrous creation of man was a muse to pilgrims and painters and poets and the dreams they had in common.

Deep within the womb of this timeless place, history was birthed countless times. Henry VI was made King of France here, and later, Napoleon was named Emperor inside its confines. And in the early 20th century, Joan of Arc was beatified inside the cathedral by Pope Pius X.

Our Lady of Paris survived the French Revolution as well as two World Wars. And when its health was failing in the nineteenth century, Victor Hugo’s book “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” helped usher in a revitalization effort. The medieval spire, which had been removed a century earlier, was rebuilt.

The significance of that spire is testimony to the efforts of a group of people who ventured back inside as the fire was laying waste to the roof of the cathedral. A group of public servants and firemen formed a human chain and retrieved several priceless artifacts, including the Crown of Thorns- believed to have been worn by Jesus on the cross- and the Blessed Sacrament. The roof, constructed from 5,000 oak trees by more than a thousand men, could not be saved.

It was sometime around 8 p.m. when the spire was taken from the world in a heap of ash. A symbol of hope and faith, stolen away by the flames forever. And as the sun set on the city, our Lady of Paris said goodbye to the world.

And Jesus wept.

Heroes Of The Week!

Heroes April 5

Girl Power Gone Wild!- Alright, I didn’t see Captain Marvel and I ain’t planning on it. But I still think it’s pretty cool shit that Anna Boden became the first female to direct a live action film that grossed 1 billion dollars worldwide. This, coming on the heels of an $820 million dollar haul for Wonder Woman just goes to show that the girls ain’t interested in being window dressing in the superhero universe. These straight cash home girls are leading the way.

Say it ain’t so Joe: A second woman has come forward with damaging allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden, and to borrow from the immortal Yogi Berra . . it’s getting late early. I ain’t gonna say much just yet, as the details keep trickling out. But needless to say, this mucks up the murky waters of the 2020 Presidential race even more.

Standing in for the Oakland Raidahs this week . . the Arizona Cardinals- Last week I trashed the Raiders and their field boss Gruden as hopeless gypsies without a clue. And then I read a piece by football writer Peter King in which Gruden was very critical of himself for trading his best player last year. His big return on that trade was hailed in some corners- not mine. But the bottom line is, the Raiders weren’t gonna pay up, so Gruden swung a deal. All things considered, he done good. Even if he will probably never draft a player like the one- Mack- that he traded away. And even if I do not agree with bringing in Antonio Brown- a diva who killed the Steelers clubhouse and who is on the wrong side of thirty. And even if I detest the signing of Vontaze Burfict, who is a thug. But . . . maybe I was wrong about Gruden . . I hope so. Time will tell.

That said, the Cardinals take the reins from Gruden’s Raiders for being so transparent as to how they plan on drafting a quarterback with the first pick in this year’s draft- a year after drafting a quarterback with their first pick just last year. Thereby giving themselves zero negotiating leverage. Thereby continuing the tradition of being a dumpster fire of an organization. The Cardinals score a zero, for pilfering the money of their long suffering fans and giving them dog food in return.

Fox News did a thing. Again . . .

Holly’s Healthy Bank Account- The city of Baltimore isn’t an easy gig for any Mayor. You’ve got a police force that went on record as mailing it in. You’ve got a crisis in the inner city that requires daily mediation in an attempt to cultivate a better future . . or a future at all.

Which makes Mayor Catherine Pugh‘s back room deal with Kaiser Permanente even more repugnant. In 2017, the healthcare behemoth scored a contract to provide coverage for city employees. Two years earlier, Kaiser had paid Pugh $114,000 dollars for 20,000 copies of her book “Healthy Holly”. Pugh was a member of the city’s spending panel at the time.

The Baltimore Sun pieced it all together and recently came forward with the smoking gun. Pugh is currently on leave with pneumonia. Meanwhile, the city burns. Large swaths of previously blue collar working class neighborhoods have fallen into severe poverty levels. For most inhabitants, a college education is a pipe dream. Crime is way up and employment is booming, if you deal drugs. And even the drug dealers are simply getting by in order to make ends meet. Not to mention, the city’s population has dipped below pre-World War I levels.

Pugh’s failure to serve the best interests of her constituency should result in a doctor’s note to take a permanent leave of absence.

How ‘swagger’ got murdered- The term is so miserably overused in sports, and incorrectly at that. Swagger is one of those plug and go snack words that bastardizes an original concept whilst masquerading as propers. It’s meant to convey epic confidence, but the recipients are usually the lousiest of the lousy. Dudes like Antonio Brown, who savaged people’s reputations in order to get his way. And Jalen Ramsey, who talks like a champ but couldn’t lead his team out of last place.

Manny Machado and Conor McGregor are synonymous with the term swagger, according to sports commentators who’d rather chum up than do their jobs. But the truth is, Machado is one of the dirtiest players in the MLB, and a bum. McGregor is a washed up hoodlum who should just rent space in a jail cell. Recently, he tweeted an ethnic slur about his rival’s wife. Next week it’ll be something else.

Memo to sports peeps. If you want to know what swagger looks like? Watch an old Clint Eastwood flick and shaddup.

A gal walks in a shoe store . . .- Addy Tritt got herself a deal on shoes, and before you think I’m dredging up a cliched Carrie Bradshaw joke . . . read on.

The twenty five year old master’s program graduate at Fort Hays University knows how to wheel and deal for heels like nobody’s business. When she got word that Payless Shoesource would be closing all its stores, she got to stepping. She toed the line of an expert liquidation shopper by going light on the cash and hard on the savvy.

The score? 204 pairs of shoes with a retail value of more than $6,000 hush puppies. For $100 dollars. 

Here’s the thing. She doesn’t have a master closet or a storage unit, and she won’t need one. Most of the shoes she purchased are for children, and no . . she doesn’t have kids. See, Tritt wasn’t playing for keeps when she went on her shopping spree. She donated all the shoes to the Nebraska flood victims. Because that’s what a good deal looks like to her. It’s the kind of bargain that transcends economics. A simple lesson that can be summed up in a single word.

Priceless.