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Heroes Of The Week!

Darnella Frazier Awarded Honorary Pulitzer For Filming George Floyd's Police Death | Crime News

We begin this Friday episode by sending out a group hug to Darnella Frazier. The Minnesota teen whose video footage of George Floyd’s death led to the conviction of Derek Chauvin. She was our singular song here last month for a reason. Because this young woman rose up and made sure there wasn’t going to be another travesty of justice. She didn’t hesitate to make the ultimate difference and as a result, she is the recipient of an honorary Pulitzer Prize.

Ben Crump, the attorney for the Floyd family, issued the following statement:

“The Floyd family is so pleased to see Darnella Frazier honored for her courageous humanity in documenting the murder of George Floyd . . . We are deeply grateful for her heroism which led to justice for George and sparked a historic social change.”

Big thank you to Dale for contributing this lead off hit for our Friday roster. And stick around to the end, because in a first here at Heroes, she came up with the closing tune to boot. Those Habitantes really are something, eh?

On to Friday! . . . .

This week, Frank is twirling a twin-bill of truly terrific tales. Okay, I might have gotten drunk on alliteration, but I was on a . . . tear. Too much?

First up is the story of a fairy tale wedding day that went up in smoke, until a community came together to rescue it from the ashes, literally. Check out this Steve Hartman special about how “Newlyfleds” Elizabeth and Jake Landuyt had their reception saved by angels.

The Waffle House team raced to make sure Harrison got his cap and gown in time for the ceremony.

The Cincinnati Kid’s capper is all about coming together as a team to get the job done. Which is exactly what the peeps at a Waffle House in Center Point Alabama did when 18-year old Timothy Harrison showed up to work, on the day of his high-school commencement ceremony.

“That’s when I said why aren’t you going to graduation?” said Cedric Hampton, Harrison’s manager at Waffle House. “And he said ‘I don’t want to miss work.’ So I was like, you’re going!”

Turns out the Woodlawn High School senior didn’t have a cap and gown, or tickets, or even a ride to his commencement ceremony which was taking place across town, so he came to work instead. And then his co-workers followed their boss’s lead, determined to make certain the kid didn’t miss his big day. They bought him some threads and then a co-worker rode him across town to procure his cap and gown.

Timothy Harrison said putting on those clothes and then donning that cap and gown made him feel like “a million dollars”. Made possible by a team that’s got a lot more on the menu than just waffles.

They specialize in making tomorrows happen.

Point/Counterpoint: Should the NFL Adopt College Football's Overtime Rules? – BC Heights

Honesty Doesn’t Suit Them: If only NFL and NCAA suits would stop peddling this narrative about player safety being paramount. If only they would just fess up to the driving force behind everything they do. If only it was okay to admit that revenue streams are more important than anything else.

The NFL season will expand to 17 games this season, on the way to an inevitable 18 game season during the next collective bargaining session. And the NCAA will be expanding their national playoff from four teams to twelve. In both instances, this will shorten player’s careers and further water down what made the respective sports special. And the suits will insist this wasn’t about the money, when the fact is, it was all about the money. If only they could admit that money takes precedence without the media bashing them for it while simultaneously sidling up to the trough to collect theirs.

If only.

Imma wrap up this Friday get down with another Super Mama story. And while this woman ain’t snaring a baseball out of mid-air with a baby in her arms, 27 year-old Alyssa DeWitt possesses a very impressive skill set in her own right.

Mama had just arrived at the First Street Beach Pier with her six-year old daughter and two-year old son in tow when she began to rethink her beach day plans on account of the gusty winds sweeping across Lake Michigan. The stay-at-home mom, who also happens to be five months pregnant, threw caution to that wind and made camp by the water when she noticed a group of young girls nearby.

“I happened to look up and saw one of the girls waving her arms towards me and immediately knew something was wrong,” she said. “I got up, pulled my kids out of the water and ran out onto the pier.”

Three girls were clinging to the side wall of the pier, struggling to make it back up. She called 911 but wasn’t sure they could hear her, and there was no time to spare. With no one around to help, she knew the girls were going to drown if she didn’t act quickly, After instructing big sister to keep little brother away from the scene, she moved to the side of the pier and laid down while reaching over to retrieve the girls. Every time it seemed she was making progress, the waves pushed them back.

“My turning point was when one of the little girls looked at me and said, ‘I’m going to die.’ That was it for me and I was like ‘I’m not going to let you die, I’m going to get you out of this water, I promise.’”

The adrenaline rush made all the difference as Alyssa finally pulled them up over the pier wall and to safety. And while she suffered a sprained wrist, we’re happy to report that both mama and child are doing just fine. And big sister is reportedly in negotiations to secure a summer’s supply of ice cream for her part in the rescue mission.

Something tells me she’s going to get it.

Heroes Of The Week!

With summer temps busy cooking up the numbers, I figure on keeping this week’s episode as chill as possible. I do not wish to mess with a thermostat that insists on writing hotter stuff than E. L. James could ever dream of. So we’ll keep it real and righteous and most of all, cool . . .

Now to the lineup . . .

Wear sunscreen . . and comfortable shoes: Daverius Peters thought he had missed his chance. The senior at Hahnville High School in Louisiana had arrived at his graduation ceremony with tomorrow on his mind, and then he was turned away. Problem was, his black top sneakers were in violation of the school’s dress code.

John Butler is a para-educator at the school who was in attendance as a parent that day, but when he learned of Peters’ predicament, he was ready to do whatever it took. After failing to convince the gate-keeper to give the kid a pass, yep . . he did whatever it took. He switched his size 11’s with the kid’s size 9’s and tomorrow got back to business.

“I wasn’t surprised because Mr. Butler is that type of person,” a grateful Peters told The Washington Post. “At school, if you’re having a bad day, he’ll be the one to take you out of class, walk around the school with you and talk to you.”

This journey of twenty thousand more tomorrows began with a single good deed.

Sign Her Up, Padres!: Attention, young ballplayers. Study this woman’s extension, her focus and yes, the fact that she snared that baseball with a baby in her arms. Now, y’all have no excuse, so get back to practicing!

Next Stop, The 2032 Summer Olympics: Chase Poust is seven years old going on Superman. Or is that Aquaman? Well, if you’ll forgive my indecisiveness in this instance, Imma go with both. The little guy was on a boating trip with his father Steven and four-year old sister Abigail when tragedy tried to strike, but was slapped down by the little guy.

When a strong current swept Abigail away, Chase didn’t hesitate in going after her with Steven jumping in in an attempt to save them both. It soon became apparent to the father of two that he wasn’t going to be able to do so. He made the decision to have his son swim for shore while he stayed behind and tried to catch up with the bobbing life-jacket that was keeping his daughter alive.

It would have been easy to panic in this life and death situation, but Chase kept his cool by pacing himself on the hour-long long swim to shore- he took turns swimming, floating and dog-paddling. When he finally reached land, he rushed to the nearest house and called for help.

An hour after that, Steven and Abigail Poust were found more than a mile from their boat, alive and kicking thanks to a boy who can have his pick of superhero outfits, made custom, of course.

missing wallet returned 46 years later

Nothing Is Ever Lost, Only Misplaced: Big thank you to the lovely Dale for this time-capsule classic that took place in Ventura, California. It’s a case of lost and found . . and then found some more.

While working on the remodeling of the historic Majestic Ventura Theater in Southern California, Tom Stevens came across a wallet in a crawl space. He took to the theater’s Facebook page, asking if anyone knew a Colleen Distin. A few thousand shares later and Colleen received a phone call, informing her the wallet had been found.

Last Friday, she met with Stevens to collect her lost wallet, during which they talked about its contents: Poetry, notes, a $200 check, old photos of high-school friends as well as one of her mother who died several years ago. Oh, and a $5 ticket stub from a Grateful Dead concert she attended in 1973 . . . two years before she lost that wallet.

Forty six years removed from the day she lost it, a little part of her world came calling; reminding her of all the good people she once knew, and a certain good person who she has just come to know. And it was thanks to the overwhelmingly positive response to her story that she decided to share it with others. So while you could say that wallet was forty-six years late?

I kinda think it was right on time.

We cap things off for this Friday episode with a couple whose love for each other is just the beginning of the story. Krystal and Patrick Duhaney are true believers whose mission is to share their good fortune with others, by way of Target runs. And yeah you read that right. You see, they’ve taken to stuffing money in baby supplies at Target stores in the Los Angeles area. The tote board stands at $1,000 dollars and counting, upwards.

Baby number three is on the way and it’s reminding them as to how expensive this parent business can be. As a registered nurse and founder of Milky Mama, Krystal and her husband find themselves in a good place financially, and so they decided to pay their gratitude forward.

“We recalled how hard it was for us as new parents to afford some of the basics and we could imagine how difficult it must be during this pandemic,” Krystal said during a recent appearance on the TODAY Show.

This beautiful couple figures out the math of a complicated place by sharing some of their good fortune with others. Because that’s how you grow a world that is in constant need of watering. We get plenty of forgettable on the regular, stuff that leaves you shaking your head in disgust. But then you read a story like this and you find yourself shaking your head for a very different reason. Because stories like this make you realize that sometimes the great big world just needs a hug.

These two are supplying.

Heroes Of The Week! (500th Post Edition)

U.S. navy pilot who saw 'something weird' in the sky welcomes U.S. report on UFOs | CBC RadioOkay, can you tell I’m super excited about the upcoming Congressional UFO report that’s going to prove Mulder was onto something? The above capture, like the current news cycle, isn’t genuine . . but it’s all Obama’s fault for admitting this UFO business really is a thing! And so I have a deal for any aliens who might be reading this Friday edition. Leave us be and we’ll give you Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Cleveland Cavaliers and anything Jim Belushi ever starred in. And to balance the books, Imma throw in Nancy Pelosi, the Detroit Tigers and the original script from Cop Rock.

Let’s get to Friday . . .

White House Butler William "Buddy" Carter Retires After 47 Years

We’re kicking things off with a Cincinnati Special, delivered by our favorite Beach Boy, Frank, who does his thing over at Beach Walk Reflections.

An American Story: When it comes to having his finger on the pulse of a nation, Buddy Carter has achieved a  doctorate level knowledge over the past half century. As a butler on staff at the White House executive residence since the Reagan administration, he has seen it all. I mean that literally. He has suffered Reagan’s corny jokes, he’s served coffee to the Clintons, kept a close eye on W’s pretzel habit and most likely was the treated to Obama’s pipes whenever 44 laid down some Al Green in the hallways.

He was the man with a plan when it came to state dinners, or when a foreign dignitary came calling, or whenever the leader of the free world just needed a moment to vent. He attended the weddings of Chelsea Clinton and Jenna Bush, among many others. He accompanied First Lady Melania Trump to the funeral of former First Lady Barbara Bush in 2018. Such was the bond Buddy fostered with everyone he crossed paths with.

“For 47 years, across 10 administrations, Buddy Carter has been an integral part of the lives of US Presidents, their families and their home, the White House,” said Michael LaRosa, press secretary to First Lady Jill Biden .

Thank you Mr. Carter, from all of us.

QAnon Convention: Michael Flynn Backtracks, Denies Suggesting US CoupCoup Coup For Cocoa Puffs!: What if I told you a former National Security Advisor of the United States advocated a military coup? Well, if he was a democrat, Mitch McConnell and the Gang That Can’t Shoot Straight would demand he be locked up . . immejiately. But seeing as how Michael Flynn is Trump’s errand boy, they’ll probably run him for President in 2024 . . .

Lost Footage from “The Revenant”: Hailey Morinico’s “To Do List” for the Memorial Day weekend . . .

  • Grocery shop
  • Fire up the grill
  • Fend off an Apex predator

About that last item on the checklist . . the 17 year old from Bradbury, California nailed it. More specifically, she nailed a big ass brown bear . . get this . . who was toting her cubs. Which goes against every rule Ranger Smith laid out in his diminutive tome, “Don’t Fuck With Bears”.

However, this particular brown bear mama was going up against a fairly tenacious dog mama, so there was that. And the video serves as the tail of the tape in this knockout upset of the week, as Morinico came to the rescue of her fur children by doing what Leonardo DiCaprio? Couldn’t.

Jim Kelly, Class of 2002 | Pro Football Hall of Fame Official Site

I’m only excited because this shit happened in the eighties: After thirty-five seasons on the shelf, the USFL will make its return next spring. The original version was fairly successful as a spring football league, until they attempted to move to the fall . . which is owned by another well known pigskin property. The USFL will compete with the XFL for viewers, but if the former is half as much fun as it was in its three seasons of play, I’m betting on vintage for the win. Which means they’ll last a season to the XFL’s three weeks . . .

I wasn’t going to include this next story because the look of dejection on this homeless woman’s face in the above video was too sad for words. But you know what? If my Fridays are about mining the gamut, then it really is about the every single thing of a world that makes us rejoice one day, while bringing us to our knees the next.

And what’s more, it’s how I’m signing off on this episode . . .

Officer Conner Hjellming of the La Crosse Police Department was responding to a police call regarding a shoplifting incident at a Walgreen’s store back in December when compassion took the wheel. What he found was a young woman at the breaking point. She wasn’t stealing candy bars or cosmetics, she was stealing a pair of gloves and a hat to keep warm in the sub-freezing temps. So Conner let her have it. The gloves and hat, I mean. While warning her to steer clear of the store from now on, he paid for them. And so Connor’s job description, in which he promises “To Serve and Protect”, well . . mission accomplished.

And if you’re an alien reading this Friday episode, Imma give it to you straight. Don’t let the fact that we’re treating this beautiful place like a cosmic ping pong table fool you. Because inside this seemingly hopeless cause, this lost paradise of dreamers and this playground of schemers and this chain of fools, there is love. There is so much of the stuff that it could fill the oceans and the lakes, and the rivers and the streams and the kitchen sinks of every living soul. That’s 326 million trillion gallons of the stuff, for your information.

And maybe that’s what you’re here for. Maybe you figure we’ve screwed up our chance, so why not take our dibs. I’d like to think you’re so far advanced that conquest doesn’t rate, but who am I to know for certain? And it doesn’t matter anyways, because I’ll take the look on that young woman’s face when she realized that there was someone out there who actually cared enough to make the day she was walking through just a little better. And just so you know?

We have more where that came from.

 

 

Heroes Of The Week!

Rains Drench Migrants Crossing Rio Grande River Into United States | Top News | US News

A migrant mother from Central America seeks asylum after crossing the Rio Grande into the United States- Photo courtesy of Reuters

Wherever you stand on the immigration issue, it’s important to remember that it is about people. The front lines are comprised by uniforms who are paid to do a job no matter what, and those who simply want a chance at a better life. The suits and the loud mouth talking heads will turn them into numbers, but they are not numbers. Let’s stop pretending we wouldn’t do the same thing in that mother’s situation.

Let’s get to Friday . . .

a person jumping up in the air: Davison senior Bradly Rainwater clears the bar in the Pole Vault Monday, May 17, 2021 at Lapeer High School. Rainwater was born blind and uses step counts and a specialized track to aid him in competition.Bradly Rainwater of Davison High School in Lapeer, Michigan makes it a point to touch the sky on a daily basis. The senior track and field star comes from a long line of pole vaulters, and he’s done the family proud with his exploits: This year alone he’s won three events while finishing second-place in another four. His personal best is a 10 foot jump, which he’s accomplished twice. Impressive stuff made all the more so when you learn that Bradly has been blind since birth.

“He’s a pretty remarkable kid,” says coach Michael Crongeyer. “I’ve been competing and coaching for over 20 years and he’s the first (blind pole vaulter) I’ve seen. We think he’s the only one in Michigan to be a blind pole vaulter. It’s very rare,”

The kid is sporting a 3.5 GPA and plans on attending Spring Arbor University in the fall, where he’ll major in psychology and music. He says he might even try and make the track and field team, because why not? And his goal for the regionals coming up in June is to jump 11 feet . . . which would qualify him to vault in college.

I wouldn’t bet against it.

(Gracias to Frank “Beach Walks” Angle for this sky-high get.)

I’m all for fan involvement in a sporting event, excepting for the Tampa Bay Rays . . whose fans rarely show up at all. But here’s the thing. Fans ain’t the story, they’re simply the accompaniment to the story.

This week saw two separate incidents where fans behaving badly became the story. The above image shows Russell Westbrook of the Wizards being restrained after a Philadelphia fan dumped popcorn on him. In the image below, a New York Knicks fan spit on Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks.

Trae Young Won't Press Charges Against Knicks Fan That Spit on Him | BlackSportsOnlineBoth of these fans ass-hats were escorted from the respective arenas and were banned for life. Which is great, but not enough in my opinion. Charge them, even if the charges won’t go anywhere. Hell, they should be doing community service. Say . . 5,000 hours worth of it.

Hey, I was gonna say give the players a minute alone with these degenerates, but there’s been enough line crossing for one week.

To paraphrase the Hal David classic, what the world needs now . . is ducks, sweet ducks. More specifically, rubber duckies.

That’s how Jim Preston of Menlo Park, California is going about it. He’s been delivering up messages of inspiration to his neighbors for several months now, and he pens them in rubber duckies. Everything from “Be Kind” to “No Fear” to . . requests. The man will even take requests, I mean . . . can you imagine living next door to a guy who can double down on your sunshine intake? Sign me up!

When the COVID-19 lockdown made celebrations harder to come by, Jim provided his neighbor Locke Anderson with best wishes for his sixtieth birthday. So yeah, you can keep your mountains and oceans.

I want what this guy is supplying.

An Honor Long Overdue:' After 70 Years, Ranger Legend Ralph Puckett Receives Medal of Honor | Military.comCongratulations to Ralph Puckett, who was presented with the Medal of Honor by President Biden last week. It is the highest award you can receive and it was a very long time coming for a man whose deep-seated belief in service to his country mattered more than anything else, and still does. Puckett never expected a thing in return. When he received his invite to the White House for the ceremony, he cracked “Why all the fuss? Can’t they just mail it to me?”.

On November 25, 1950, Puckett was serving as a first-lieutenant when he led a company of 51 US and nine South Korean soldiers into battle against several hundred Chinese troops. Puckett’s men were able to capture and hold Hill 205- a strategic point overlooking the Chongchon River in Korea.

During the ceremony, President Biden referenced the Colonel’s response to his invite by saying, “Col. Puckett, after 70 years rather than mail it to you I would have walked it to you,”

Nice comeback, Joe.

HeroHomes completes 4th home for a veteran | News | loudountimes.comImma wrap up this week’s episode with a story of struggle and redemption, and a man whose life’s journey bears a haunting resemblance to the Robert Frost poem; because it has been lovely, dark and deep. And for veteran Vainuupo “AV” Avegalio, the beauty of it all has been a hard earned thing.

The retired US Army veteran served his country proudly, but as with most veterans, the next chapter of his life proved to be an epic challenge. Having experienced the polar opposite of normalcy for more than a dozen years, he found it damn near impossible to wrap his head around life as a civilian.

“Military life was both a blessing and a curse. It took me to places I could have only dreamed of growing up on the Samoan Islands. I witnessed horror, destruction, merciless acts of inhumanity. I saw acts of gallantry and heroism. I sent and welcomed many good friends home. I was shot at by enemies. I was spit on by the people we fought to protect. Through 12 years of service and even today, a battle deep within me grew stronger with each breath and every thought, a battle with myself.”

After leaving the military, Avegalio struggled to find purpose. He found it in the arts, with poetry and painting. It was his conduit, a shared language he could share with a world that seemed so foreign to his senses. He volunteered at correctional facilities and worked with at-risk youth, all the while living in his car. He traveled the country this way, conducting workshops with the money he received from the Army.

Life caught up with his beautiful soul and the fates had a big fat IOU at the ready in the form of a brand new house for Avegalio. It was all made possible by HeroHomes, a non-profit organization that gives veterans the ability to live independently. Add to that AV recently made his big screen debut in the HBO documentary We Are Not Done Yet.

This turn of events has led Avegalio to . . you guessed it, pay it forward. He plans on using the basement of his new home as an art studio so that he can continue to do his great good work, for others. It’s what he knows.

He has promises to keep, and miles to go . . . lots of them.

Heroes Of The Week!

 

A woman kneels down to light a candle among thousands of other candles arranged in a courtyard.A Czechoslovakian woman lights a candle at Prague Castle to commemorate the almost 30,000 lives lost to the coronavirus. (Courtesy: The Atlantic)

We dredge too much of our existence in possessive terminology that inevitably collapses into a scrum of agitated verbs. After which we grab a side and hunker down to fight for an idea called ownership. Thing is, for almost fourteen billion years, this cosmic fastball got along just fine without us. So as much as we like to believe we own the joint, the only thing we really own is our ability to find our place inside it.

It’s what I think about when I look at all those candles. Because I can’t dismiss those lights as someone else from somewhere else. What I see is the pain, struggle and the strength to overcome that we all share. Every someone from every someplace . . everywhere.

Let’s get to Friday . . .

It's been 42 years since the Maple Leafs faced the Canadiens in the playoffs: Meet the last Toronto goalie to do it – The AthleticOh! Canada? . . . The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens got their postseason puck on last night, for the first time since . . are you sitting down? The Carter administration. Those dynastic Habs swept the Leafs in ’79 on their way to their fourth Stanley Cup of the Scotty Bowman era. And while Bob Gainey and Guy LaFleur and Ken Dryden ain’t walking through that door, for one night, the Habs awakened the echoes.

Chinese player Tan Zhongyi (left) shakes hands with Anna Muzychuk (right) of Ukraine at a championship in Iran

The Queen’s Gambit: (Hat tip to the lovely Dale for this one) Anna Muzychuk of Ukraine reached the summit of the chess world back in 2017 when she won the top spot in two disciplines of the game; Rapid, where each player gets 15 minutes to complete their moves and Blitz, where players get 10. She had realized her lifelong dream of becoming a grandmaster at the age of thirty-one.

And then she gave it all away.

Muzychuck ceded her world titles when she decided to boycott the Women’s World Speed Chess Championship that was to be held in Saudi Arabia. At the time, she spoke of how she refused to be treated like a “secondary creature” in a country that is still playing catchup with the rest of the world when it comes to their treatment of women. When given the chance for fame and fortune, she chose her principles instead.

That’s one hell of a checkmate.

January 6 commission vote: Prospects bleak that 10 Republicans would buck McConnell

The Great White Nope: If you’re searching for the antonym for backbone, look no further than the GOP. Yes, for the second week in a row, the party about nothing has scored a spot in my lineup. You can thank Mitch McConnell for this entry, since he’s the voice that is looking to put the kibosh on a bill that would establish a commission to investigate the events of January 6th. His argument is that investigations are currently ongoing and so the commission’s work would be duplicative. Okay fine, but would he feel the same way if the insurrectionists had looked and voted differently? Just asking . .

This kindness thing really does matter: Imma dish up a before and after pic for this next story, because it goes to show just how far a kindness can travel. And this particular random act of kindness was provided by a man named Ian. He was walking along, minding his own business when he came upon Natalie Fernando attempting to calm her autistic child Rudy, and not having very much luck doing so. Mom and kid love to take walks along the water, but kid ain’t so crazy about the return trip. And on this day, he wasn’t having it, which resulted in a meltdown. Which soon resulted in nasty stares by passersby who haven’t a clue as to what mother and child go through on a daily basis.

Enter the man named Ian, who didn’t hesitate to communicate with Rudy. I mean, the guy really wasn’t sure it was going to work but he knew the try was a damn sight better than simply walking by. So he lay on the ground and Rudy . . he listened. No words needed to be exchanged, because in that moment, kindness was speaking.

The “After” image speaks to what happens when you take a breath and consider what someone else might be going through. Imagine how much good we can create if we stopped thinking about ourselves for a moment. If we stopped feeling inconvenienced by someone who harshes our mellow, and instead considered that maybe they never get to feel that kind of mellow at all.

The best chances involve kindness.

A Hero On Mount St. Helens: Remembering David Johnston – Rosetta Stones

My final story for this Friday episode comes to us courtesy of Eilene at Myricopia, and it  involves geologist David A. Johnston.

Johnston devoted his life to the study of volcanoes, but his legacy goes far beyond that. He believed it was his duty to put himself at risk if it meant protecting the public from natural disasters. It was thanks to the tireless efforts of Johnston and his peers that authorities closed Mount St. Helens to the public ahead of the eruption, saving thousands of lives in the process.

As was one of the lead scientists for the United States Geological Survey monitoring team, he was manning an observation post six miles away from the mouth of Mount St. Helens on the morning of May 18th, 1980 when the volcano erupted. His was the first radio transmission of the eruption. They would be his last words, after which this brilliant mind was stolen away, his body never found.

David never got to tell his grandkids what it was like to be there on that day when Mount St. Helens erupted because he was busy making sure that others would get to tell that story to their grandkids. His bravery is the kind of gift humanity does not deserve, but also must never forget. Because it’s his legacy that feeds our will, to be better and to do better. And forty-one years removed from the day he was lost, his footprints still resound.

He was thirty-years old.

 

 

 

 

Heroes Of The Week!

An artist stands in front of a large mural of the face of a young person wearing a mask.

Brazilian graffiti artist Eduardo Kobra completing his mural Coexistence-Memorial of Faith for All Victims of COVID-19

As for the week that was? It was partly spring-like with a predictable amount of nonsense thrown in for good measure. Aaron Rodgers’s future might be in Jeopardy, Florida signed into law new voting restrictions, with Texas close behind, and McDonalds still won’t honor my request to bring back the Patty Melt.

So, it’s a good time to get started on the weekend by launching into another episode, and . . . here . . . we . . . go! . . .

Dropping the mic with class: I am no longer in the same space as Liz Cheney, politically speaking, but her impassioned speech the other night before Congress deserves a special mention today. Because it speaks to how we are supposed to behave in a democracy. Our union is tenuous because consensus has given way to contention, dialogue has given way to vitriolic disagreement. Her ouster proves that her party is intent on drawing a line in quicksand.

What Is Happening to the Republicans? | The New Yorker

Like a termite that’s choking on the splinters: The Republican party hitched their star to Trump in 2016 because they had become the political equivalent of Seinfeld; they had become a party about nothing. In the five years since then, they’ve done little to change this fact. And now they have a vengeful former President intent on delivering death blows to those GOP members he believes did him dirty. The loudest voices are the ones driving this party bus right over the cliff, and they’re turning the GOP into a self-destructive prophecy.

Two-way star Shohei Ohtani pitches gem, plays outfield, makes history in Angels' loss to Astros - CBSSports.com

The Shohei Kid Strikes Again: The California Angels have themselves a bona-fide rock star sidekick to go alongside baseball’s best player, Mike Trout. Shohei Ohtani’s magic was on full display the other night against the Houston Astros. He pitched seven innings, allowing one run on four hits while striking out ten. He also singled once in four plate appearances while remaining tied for the league lead in HR’s with 10. The last time the majors saw this kind of two-way excellence? Woodrow Wilson was President, and a fellow named Babe Ruth was doing it . . for the Boston Red Sox.

18-year-old Joshua Nelson standing with Katie Krodinger and Lenell Hahn, shows off the scholarship given to him by Southeast Missouri State University.

Too Cool for School: Joshua Nelson’s dream of going to college was busy figuring itself out a long time ago. The senior at St. Charles West High School is a member of the National Honor Society, the National Society of Black Engineers and the Black Student Union. Outside of the classroom, he’s also the President of the school’s Multicultural Achievement Council (MAC). It’s a program that helps underrepresented kids get ready for college and a career. Nelson also plays on the varsity basketball team and is a tutor for kids at the Boys and Girls Club.

So with the future squarely in his sights, he had taken to saving up some money for the next chapter of his life. And then he got the call. He had scored a full ride to Southeast Missouri State University. He was one of only five applications to received the President’s Scholarship.

And so with the $1,000 he’d been saving up for college . . of course he decided to pay it forward. And he’s hoping that others will help match his starting donation so that more students can be provided with assistance in achieving their dreams. Because while some people believe that creating wealth is an individual pursuit, Joshua Nelson sees it differently.

Dreams should be shared.

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
-Nelson Mandela 

When you look at the above image, you cannot help but think that tragedy ruled the day. And if not for Jonathan Bauer, you would have been right.

A five-car pileup on the Route 90 bridge over Maryland’s Assawoman Bay sent eight people to the hospital, and yeah . . that truck. Dangling precipitously over the edge, the collision ejected a toddler into the bay waters. Jonathan and his teenage daughter Ava came upon the pileup and that’s when dad went superhero. After making sure his daughter was good, he moved to the guardrail and found the toddler floating on her back. When the waves turned her over, Jonathan jumped into action. Literally.

The man with a fear of heights took the forty foot plunge into the water and held to the toddler while patting her back until he had opened her airway. A couple of nearby boaters then got them to shore, after which the twenty-three month old was airlifted to Johns Hopkins where she was evaluated and later released. She’s expected to make a full recovery.

Like any superhero worth their cape, Bauer didn’t stick around for the photo-op. He was plenty fine with knowing he had done his part to avert certain tragedy. His neighbors and friends? They had something else in mind, and so Bauer and his daughter Ava were re-united with the boaters who had joined in the rescue, as well as the first responders who arrived soon after. The Mayor saved the morning for him and Bauer even got a plaque. But the best reward of all?

A little girl turns two later this month.

 

Heroes Of The Week!

Another week, another episode of the good, the bad and the dyno-might! And if you’re showing up here on the regular, you’ll see where I occasionally go rogue inside this rose garden. And that’s because my weekly episodes ain’t searching for heroes. Nah, this aircraft endeavors to find the best in all of us.

I think we all get it, the fact that Superman ain’t walking through that door. We get every kind of something hitting our grills on a daily basis and somehow we are able to navigate our way home anyway. Because the good stuff compels us to figure out better conclusions, in the same way the not so good stuff does. And in the end, it leaves us with the realization that the sunny side can’t push us to do good things and the dark side can’t bury us. In the end? It’s up to us.

Let’s get to the roster . . . .

Hitting 'Em Where They Ain't | The Market Cyclist

An ode to Wee Willie Keeler: Vintage hat tip to the Texas Rangers Joey Gallo, who figured out how to beat the dreaded shift. There’s no need to ban it if you simply play fundamental baseball . . who knew? With MLB players all caught up in launch angles and exit velocities in a feast or famine philosophy, stuff like hitting the other way, bunting and sacrifice flies has gone the way of pepper games. So it was refreshing to see Gallo beat the shift against the Angels recently by laying a bunt down the third base line. He could have walked to first base. For one blissful moment, sanity returned to the MLB.

Josh Duggar granted release but not allowed to return home in alleged child sex abuse image case

“19 And Counting” takes on a whole new meaning: I have to ask. Does the Mama Duggar catchphrase about giving birth to a freshman class pertain to her son’s criminal perversity? Was his hard drive a part of God’s plan too? Yes, any chance I get to slam these sanctimonious Baptists, Imma take it. As for Josh, he best hold onto the soap, never fall asleep and take his meals in solitary.

Get Off My Lawn! And Other Grumblings About Sports Today | NCPR News

A priceless beef: A grateful shout out to the octogenarian I stepped in front of the other day at the grocery store. In my defense, I wasn’t sure whether he had fallen asleep while standing up, so I walked in front of him to grab my shopping cart. In his defense, I didn’t excuse myself when doing so. But it all turned out fine when he came to and then proceeded to give me shit by shouting “That’s the problem with the younger generation!”. Needless to say, I was flattered. So I said a simple thank you before bidding him adieu.

Same time next week old timer? God, I hope so.

Officer Clarence; the nations first Police Comfort Dog at the Capitol Rotunda - Album on Imgur

All Creatures Great and Small: This is Clarence, an eleven-year old Saint Bernard who, with some help from his four legged pals, was able to achieve the impossible. They brought Republicans and Democrats together. Yeah, that’s no typo, it actually happened when Congress passed a bipartisan bill that will provide comfort dogs for first responders. Clarence earned his Angel First Class wings a long time ago, having visited Sandy Hook, Las Vegas, the Boston Marathon and the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh; providing a moment’s peace for the officers called to the scene of some of the nation’s worst tragedies. As an officer for the Greenfield Massachusetts Police Department, he’ll provide comfort and peace to uniforms and civilians alike. Wherever the need arises, he’ll be there.

And now he brings his friends.

Stranger surprises twins with gifts, a puppy after wish-list balloon to Santa found 650 miles away

When you wish upon a star: Props to LA for bringing us this story, which will send us off into the weekend with plenty of sunshine for the ride.

How many of us remember what it was like to believe in Santa Claus? It was a magical time inside the myriad confusion, angst and fears we had about the great big world. The idea of a jolly old man and a sleigh pulled by reindeer was our mobile snow globe. Our belief existed within the province of magic and infinite possibilities.

Letizia Gonzalez wants to raise her two little girls to believe in that place. And the want is even stronger after the last year and a half we’ve spent in a purgatory filled with plenty of that confusion, angst and fear. So mama brought her girls together and created a dream for them to hitch their little stars to. She tucked the Christmas wish lists of the twins- Luna and Gianella- into a pair of balloons and then the three of them released them to the skies above.

The twins' Christmas wish lists.

“It was important doing something special for my girls because of the hard year we had during the coronavirus pandemic. I wanted them to feel like 2020 was another year spent with mom making beautiful memories,” Said mama.

And that’s when Santa Claus made the scene, and his name is Alvin Bamburg. He spotted those two balloons and when he went to collect them, that’s when magic happened. He wondered where the Christmas wish lists had flown in from so he took to social media and posted them. It wasn’t long before Letizia Gonzalez came across his post and well, Christmas was happening all over again.

Two balloons filled with dreams departed from Liberal Kansas and landed in Grand Cane, Louisiana . . . 650 miles away. And if you forgot what it feels like to believe in Santa Claus, listen to what happened next.

Bamburg’s family and friends and co-workers began sending gifts to Luna and Gianella after reading the posts. Alvin and his wife Lee Ann started face timing with the Gonzalez clan as well. And then in April, the couple made the six hour drive to Kansas to deliver one last present.

Luna and Gianella with their puppy, Max.

A dachsund puppy the girls call Max.

“There’s so much sadness in the world right now . . .” Alvin says. “It’s really not hard to spread kindness, and you can never underestimate the impact even just a smile will have on someone’s day.”

The best in all of us should be on everyone’s wish list.

 

 

 

 

Heroes Of The Week! (Oscar Do-Over Edition!)

Chadwick Boseman: Ma Rainey's Black Bottom trailer shows final film made before star's death | Ents & Arts News | Sky News

I’ve been perusing my earliest Heroes ventures, which read more like gentle nudges of penmanship wrapped in sardonic wit. They were pithy little beasts whose fantastic was still in transit. These episodes didn’t go optimum until y’all fed the comment pool with ever more interesting ideas, anecdotes and thoughts. So thank you for helping Fridays grow, and the end song? It’s what I think of you.

Alright, this week is Oscar themed, seeing as how the annual gold gitting gala was an entirely forgettable calamity of errors and omissions. To borrow me some Bono, we’re stealing it back this week.

Let’s get to the awards . . .

angry little Matt Gaetz statue image 0

The award for Lolita goes to . . . 

Matt Gaetz (Marco, Producer) Whose indecent proposals would be the lead story, every morning, on Fox and Friends if he was a democrat. This bobblehead is the poster boy for the “Do as I say” hypocrites who get all holier than thou six days a week and then show up to church on Sunday to network more of their dirty laundry. He preached the need for “decorum” in ostracizing Nancy Pelosi’s stunt at the 2020 State of the Union but was plenty fine inviting a Holocaust denier to the event a couple years prior. He defended Kyle Rittenhouse after the 17 year old shot and killed two people and injured another during a protest of the Jacob Blake shooting in Wisconsin. He voted no to a human trafficking bill because well . . he would’ve been implicated! The charges against this asshole were so radioactive, even Trump could not defend him. If that doesn’t rate as a Holy Shit!, I don’t know what does.

The award for Toy Story goes to . . .

A group of Arizona cops, the Tempe Officers Association and Walmart (Dale @ A Dalectable Life, Producer) When thieves stole four-year-old Gerald Philbrook’s favorite tractor (I mean . . seriously!), it was the men and women in blue who stepped up and made things right. After reading Peter Philbrook’s account of the theft of his son’s ride on his Facebook page, officers carried out a search which proved fruitless. So they coordinated with the good folks at the local Walmart and purchased a replica John Deere tractor for little Gerald, complete with a personalized license plate. Here’s to the good guys. All of them.A rare cancer forced him to give up baseball. He returned for a final game to pitch a no-hitter. | WNCT

The award for The Natural goes to . . . 

Eighteen-year-old Walker Smallwood of Dixie Heights High School (A Frank Angle, Producer) At fifteen, Walker was diagnosed with bone cancer. So he hung up his cleats and fought, hard. Three long years filled with surgeries, chemo cycles and treatments until the day arrived when he got the news that his cancer was in remission. To celebrate, Walker wanted one more chance on the mound, for old time’s sake. He figured on getting out there for an inning, and so he did just that. But wait, there’s more. Or should I say, less.

Both.

Walker pitched a hitless first inning . . and a hitless second inning . . . and yeah, a hitless third, and fourth and before he knew it, he’d gone the distance, striking out nineteen and pitching a no-hitter.

“I definitely appreciate everything more and now I just get to look back and be thankful.” Said Walker. ” I mean, every time I wake up, I’m happy. I know that tomorrow it can all be over, but you’ve just got to enjoy whatever you have that day.”

Ray Kinsella couldn’t have written a better ending.

The award for Funny Girl goes to . . .

Aparna Nancherla (Marco, Producer) She talks about anxiety and depression the way it needs to be talked about. With comedy. Because we consider it to be our best medicine.

Climate Activist Cleaned Up Litter at a Canyon for 589 Days Straight | PEOPLE.com

The award for Into The Wild goes to . . . 

Edgar McGregor (A Frank Angle, Producer) When Edgar made up his mind to clean up one of his favorite hiking trails, he figured it was probably going to take a weekend. His innocent climb began as he took his first steps through Eaton Canyon in Southern California with the sun as his partner and a dream in his back pocket. And then it hit him that maybe this dream of his was going to take a little longer than he’d bargained for.

His labor of love was an equally distributed enterprise that bled through one calendar year and then a lot more than that. And when he finally settled up with Mother Nature, he’d gone 589 consecutive days; picking up trash in every kind of weather until he’d collected something in the neighborhood of . . . get this, 15,000 pounds. 

This humble journey took on a life of its own, inspiring people around the globe to clean up their favorite hiking trails and parks as well. It was as if the man took that dream out of his back pocket and paid it forward to the whole wide world.

Now that’s a stimulus check.

She's Starting College at Age 12, With Plans to Be a NASA Engineer

And for our last presentation of the evening, the award for A Star Is Born goes to . . .

Alena Analeigh (Dale @ A Dalectable Life, Producer) There are four billions stars in our galaxy alone, and twelve-year-old Alena is busy writing her name into that deep blue silk with dreams that promise to lasso the moon. Her vision of the world has always been that it’s a nice place to visit, but she’ll never want to live here. Since she was knee high to a Rover, she’s dreamt of learning more about all the places she could not touch; which is something you’ll find in the DNA of every great explorer.

Already a high school graduate, next month she’ll be attending Arizona State University via remote learning. She’ll be pulling a double major in astronomical/planetary science and chemistry with the goal of becoming a NASA engineer by the time she’s 16. Which isn’t your typical teenage game plan, but yanno . . she’s not going to be typical. At anything.

“I’ll be driving one of those future space mobiles by the time I graduate college,” she says. And she’ll carry forever in her hands, where it will be nestled safely to a boundless passion and a brilliant mind.

It is in the smallness of humankind that we find our nobility. To crease the mysteries and loose impossible answers out of the mighty darkness is where fears get settled and history gets made. And to this end, the fiery spirit of a young girl’s dreams to visit the unfound places and to write them into being provides all of us with a sense of wonder. But more than that, it fills us with a precious faith.

For our world, and all the worlds to come.

Hero Of The Week

Portrait of a Hero: Darnella Frazier” by Rebecca Lazinger | Portrait painting, The art of storytelling, Colorful art

Darnella Frazier was seventeen years old when she recorded the last nine minutes of George Floyd’s life.

She woke up on May 25th, 2020 with the typical hopes and dreams of a teenage girl whose tomorrows possessed the quality of pristine musical notes ready to be born to sound. And that’s when history came calling on her with the expectation that she do more than simply bear witness to yet another senseless tragedy. That’s when history asked her to come of age, ready or not.

Darnella Frazier answered the call.

Walking to the store with her little cousin, she was introduced to George Floyd during his final moments on this earth. By the time she came to know the man, his fate was being decided by a Minneapolis police officer by the name of Derek Chauvin. In his nineteen years on the force, the veteran officer had been the recipient of almost as many complaints against him, with eighteen such cases being lodged. His penchant for being aggressive and combative resulted in two disciplinary actions, but it didn’t keep him off the streets. His career was underwritten by a mindset which holds that every person in uniform is beyond reproach, even when the facts say otherwise.

A narrative peddled by the law and order talking heads dismissed George Floyd out of hand. They painted him as a small time crook not worth our thoughts and prayers and they disparaged his name before he was even in the ground. A half century removed from that march on Selma and this was the best we could do? A black man pinned to the ground until he stopped breathing because he allegedly tried to pass a counterfeit twenty dollar bill while a President whose brand was screwing people out of millions campaigned on a platform that called for more of the same.

The truth was found in the camera phone recording of Darnella Frazier. A truth that could not be dismissed out of hand or disappeared. At seventeen years of age, this young lady produced one of the most important pieces of film in the history of American jurisprudence.

Life will never go back to what it looked like before Darnella stopped on that Minneapolis street corner in front of Cup Foods Grocery and pressed record. She knew she had to do something, because it just as easily could have been one of the men in her life pinned under the knee of Derek Chauvin. And yet, this heroic young lady provided heart breaking testimony at the trial in which she admitted to wondering if maybe she could have done more.

“It’s been nights I stayed up apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life,”

The sad truth is that she would have been risking her freedom and maybe even her own life if she had done so. She did everything she could have done because there’s little chance Tuesday would have ended with Derek Chauvin being found guilty on three counts if not for the evidence she provided. She is the angel of a broken dream who provided us with light when darkness was prevailing.

That’s what heroes do.

 

 

Heroes Of The Week!

Cancer Survivor, 8, Breaks Girl Scout Cookie Record | PEOPLE.com

Move over Wonder Woman, you got company.

Eight year old Lily Bumpus of San Bernardino, California is a cancer survivor . . and if you’re having a meh day, just take that in for a moment. Eight years old and a cancer survivor. That there is perspective on the meh-est of days, don’t you think?

Lily was born with Ewing sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. She began receiving adult treatments for the disease at the age of three months old and has been cancer-free for the past seven years,. She’s been a warrior for those who fight this horrible thing ever since her feet started moving forward.

As a Girl Scout, she made it her goal to sell 5,000 boxes of cookies, with a portion of the proceeds going to her fellow warriors. And then things started rolling, and she upped that estimate to 20,000 boxes as a result, which she also scaled with ease. Her final tally? 32,484 boxes of girl scout cookies.

I’m thinking the Justice League best make room for another warrior princess.

Suspected mafia fugitive arrested after police saw his YouTube cooking videos - CNN

Marc Feren Claude Biart is carrying around a severely overcomplicated name, but that’s not why he made my zero list this week. Biart is a good fella . . as in, he’s a goodfella. As in, he takes some nostra with his cosa . . but that’s not why he made my zero list either. Hey, I have a soft spot in my heart for wise guys. No, he’s here on account of having blown his cover whilst on the lam. Boss Biart was hiding out in the Dominican Republic, sipping on gin and juice and living an otherwise clusterfuck-free life . . but that wasn’t enough for the guy. Nope. His love of Italian cuisine inspired him to start his own YouTube cooking channel . . and while he was careful to hide his notorious drug smuggling mug, he wasn’t so careful about his distinctive body art . . and that’s what got him nabbed.

John Gotti called . . he wants his mafia back.

I feel like I’m forgetting someone. Like . . some asshole I was supposed to rail on this week. First name Matt, last name . . whatever derogatory term you feel like using. But I can’t quite place him . . just yet.

Marjy Stagmeier knew she wanted to be a landlord when she was all of eleven years old. The inspiration came to her after being crowned Monopoly champion of her sixth grade class. But really, it’s the game of life where she has done her finest work in the years since.

After graduating from college, the Georgia native began investing in affordable rental communities. She recognized that many of her tenants were in need of social services, so she founded a non-profit that provided on-site services to those families. Her goal was to make sure her tenants could not only afford their monthly rents, but that they would be able to save up enough for the next step: Home ownership.

Even at below market rates, some tenants were struggling to make ends meet. So it was a stroke of good fortune that she crossed paths with Bill and Melinda Gates and Matthew Desmond, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Evicted. The thing about good luck? You gotta be working your way in its direction in order to cross its path. The meeting was a revelation, inspiring her to build a resource network for these families.

When COVID-19 made matters worse, Stagmeier’s non-profit- Star C- launched a GoFundMe campaign to the tune of $50,000. And got it. Oh . wait . .  there’s more. Cobb County got wind of her efforts and donated $1.5 million of their federal stimulus funding. Other municipalities followed suit and as a result, more than $9 million dollars has been raised. The monies will help more than 3,000 families avoid eviction.

And here we are, with yet another story about how a complicated patchwork of business and government was somehow able to come together and get something done. Something really, really worth getting done. Just like that.

This is what winning looks like.

Remembering Jackie | Baseball Hall of Fame

I am wrapping up this week’s episode with a love letter to a great American hero. A man whose value was felt far beyond the fields of play, and whose courage helped push the civil rights movement to the forefront in this country. Decades before the moon landing, Jackie Roosevelt Robinson took his one giant leap for mankind.

Yesterday marked the seventy-fourth anniversary of Robinson breaking the color barrier of Major League Baseball. On April 15th, 1947, he stepped onto the hard green grass of Ebbets Field against the Boston Braves. Only 26,623 fans showed up to witness history, but I’m willing to bet millions more would claim to have been there as time went on. Such was the impact Jackie possessed by taking up the challenge handed him by Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey.

Born to a family of sharecroppers, his parents gave him a middle name that paid homage to former President Theodore Roosevelt. And it was as if that simple gesture forged a mystical alignment whose spirit prevailed on our better angels. They raised a son who would take on the centuries old establishment of racial division. Because Jackie Robinson’s boundless courage didn’t simply open up baseball to men of color, it provided a wake up call to the country.

Almost three-quarters of a century removed from that day, it feels as if we have lost our way and in so doing that we’ve done a disservice to the memory of this great man. We have become a tale of two countries, rife with margins whose roots do not give a whit about fairness and equality.

It’s fair to doubt the road ahead, but it would be a mistake to stop walking it. Because adversity doesn’t lessen the impact of our steps, it only serves to strengthen them. Jackie taught us that. He didn’t quit when teams padlocked their gates when his minor league club- the Montreal Royals- came to town. He didn’t give up when his own teammates refused to play with him, or when his own fans screamed hateful epitaphs at him. And when writers referred to this man who served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army as the enemy, he didn’t stop jogging out to second base.

He will always be our true north.

 

 

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