Heroes Of The Week

For this week’s episode, I was fortunate enough to have been gifted all the stories by my peeps- bloggers and posse alike. So this Friday feels very much like that bodega tucked into the corner of the neighborhood. The one that’s filled with every kind of something and familiar faces that ensure the lights will stay on for a mighty long time. 

Here’s their lineup . . . . 

This first story is brought to us by Dale, who actually delivered up a two for one special. Demetrius Harvard came up zeroes after tossing construction debris onto the subway tracks at 14th Street and 8th Avenue Station in Chelsea this week. As a result, he was charged with reckless endangerment, criminal mischief, assault and criminal trespass. These crimes caused a train derailment that could have resulted in tragedy if not for a “heroic crew” that was able to stop the train and deliver the 135 passengers on board to safety. When it comes to acts of heroism, the Big Apple’s inhabitants don’t need Spiderman’s help. They got this. 

Good Samaritan Rikien Wilder, 44, who jumped into the tracks to remove debris and detained suspect Demetrius Harvard.

And a big thank you to LA for her shout out on the train derailment story. She told me to look up Rikein Wilder for this week’s episode, and I’m glad I did. 

Wilder was on the platform when he witnessed Harvard dumping debris on the tracks. He navigated a set of stairs that led to the tracks and removed some of the debris before the train reached the station; his actions helping to prevent a derailment. He then ran upstairs to alert transit workers before returning to the platform to find Harvard at it again. This time Harvard was successful in his attempt to derail a subway car, after which Wilder gave chase and caught him, pinning him down for fifteen minutes before authorities arrived. MTA Chairman Pat Foye said our hero “exemplifies the best of New York,” and I would simply add this. Rikein Wilder exemplifies the best in all of us. 

Next up on the docket is a beauty of a get from Frank. In his words, “This nomination is so odd that it’s good. For me, no hero – but a collective that came together for something out of the ordinary.” And with all due respect to the Cincinnati Kid, Imma disagree with his assessment. Because every simple act of kindness behaves as spiritual fuel, and Lord knows we live inside a time when our tanks are in constant need of a fill up. I’ll let the video do the rest of my talking on this one. Enjoy. 

Pregnant Woman Jumps Into Ocean To Save Husband From Shark Attack

My pal Jen says we can call it a wrap when it comes to dishing up the Wife of the Year award, because Margot Dukes-Eddy has it in the bag after what she pulled off in the Florida Keys recently. Margot and her husband Andrew were enjoying a day on the water with their family when he decided to take a swim. No sooner had he moved into the water than a nine foot bull shark attached its razor sharp teeth to his shoulder. Margot dove in and was able to remove him from the water and while doctors are saying he still has a fight ahead of him, it’s almost a certainty he wouldn’t have made it out of the water alive if not for the quick actions of his wife. Who . . oh by the way, happens to be pregnant. Let’s hope these two kids will be recounting one hell of a fish story fifty years from now. 

Dak Prescott made NFL history during his amazing performance in the  Cowboys' comeback win - Blogging The Boys

Leave it to my compadre Big Papi to find his way into this week’s episode, unwittingly. He was chatting up his Dallas Cowboys recently when he made mention of Dak Prescott’s heroics on the field before segueing into the quarterback’s recent statements about mental health. And then I went to look it up and here’s an excerpt. 

“All throughout this quarantine and this offseason, I started experiencing emotions I’ve never felt before,” Prescott said. “Anxiety for the main one. And then, honestly, a couple of days before my brother passed, I would say I started experiencing depression. And to the point of, I didn’t want to work out anymore. I didn’t know necessarily what I was going through, to say the least, and hadn’t been sleeping at all.”

Depression isn’t a topic I feel quite so courageous about delving into all that often, so I appreciate someone like Prescott. Because for all the critics out there who believe that sports should stay in its lane, its guys like him who are able to shine a light on matters that have been kept in the dark for far too long. 

More than three and a half million Americans live with depression, and those numbers are rising. It does not discriminate and it is relentless. So when we hear an athlete such as Prescott open up about his own mental health issues, it might be easy for some to dismiss him as an anomaly since “he has it all” and so really, what does he have to be depressed about? 

Well, check out this list . . .

Kevin Love, DeMar DeRozan, Brandon Marshall, Michael Phelps, Imani Boyette, Amanda Beard, Justin Duchscherer, Allison Schmitt, Ricky Williams, Jerry West, Serena Williams, Ronda Rousey, Delonte West, Dwayne Johnson, Terry Bradshaw, Joey Votto, Ian Thorpe, Andy Baddely, Ricky Hatton, Dan Carcillo, John Kirwan, Shea Emry, Andrew Jensen, David Freese, Larry Sanders, Oliver Bone, Frank Bruno, Jack Green, Michael Yardy. 

These are just some of the names you’ll find when you go looking for famous athletes who’ve reached the pinnacle of their professions. And every single one of them battles depression on a daily basis. 

There but for the grace of God, you keep on. You find a reason to wake up and to keep up and most of all, you find a reason not to give up. But don’t tell me there’s not some kid out there who can’t learn from the experiences of these athletes. And maybe, just maybe, it becomes their lighthouse in the storm. Because when a guy like Prescott speaks up the way he did, no, it’s not about the games. 

And that’s the point. 

 

 

 

 

Heroes Of The Week!

Brett Favre: 25 Greatest Moments of His Hall of Fame Career | Bleacher  Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights

In spite of climate change, Trump attrition, social unrest and oh yeah . . a global pandemic, the NFL is getting its game on once again. There will be story-lines aplenty as we’ll have kneeling players, canned crowd noise, demonstrations and more playoff teams. Tom Brady is now retired and living in Tampa while Cam Newton will do his best Darth Maul impersonation in the hopes of keeping the Evil Empire relevant. Because of the disparity in COVID rules from state to state, some teams will host fans at limited capacity while other teams will have no fans in attendance. The silver lining in this playbook is that Philadelphia falls into the latter category. Sorry Eagles fans, but you still suck. 

And now for a special Tuesday lineup . . . 

Bella Witt, 50 Yard Challenge, Three Hills

Imma start on the positive side of the equation this week, thanks to Dale’s chime about a young lady from Alberta, Canada. 14 year old Bella Witt is going the extra yard this year, fifty times over. She’s taking on the 50 Yard Challenge, in which she will mow fifty different yards in her community. The volunteer movement was started by Rodney Smith, Jr of Huntsville, Alabama in 2015. Those who sign up can tend to their neighbors lawns in a variety of ways- from mowing them to raking leaves and even shoveling snow. The kids get a different colored t-shirt for every ten lawns they complete until they achieve their ‘black belt’ status once they’ve gone fifty strong. 

“Since COVID-19 there hasn’t been a lot to do here and I thought why not help people,” explained Witt. “There’s so much going on right now and I just want to be a blessing to people who have a hard time.”

Oh Bella, you are a blessing to us all. 

Marjorie Taylor Greene wins Georgia's 14th district runoff - AxiosOn the flip side, we have Marjorie Taylor Greene diluting the gene pool down in Georgia. The Republican is running for Congress, and she’s got a lot of Trumpian ideas at the ready. Her newest gem? A claim that forcing boys to wear masks is “emasculating”.  Never mind that more than half a million American kids have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and there’s been a 16 percent increase in these cases since mid August. 

How’s about we fit Green with a duct taped mask? 

Last week marked the nineteenth anniversary of the most devastating terror attack on US soil. So it’s worth remembering in these trying times that if we take the uniforms for granted, we do so at our own peril. The boys at the FDNY came through again recently when they tackled 53 year old Daniel Biggs; who just so happens to have a rap sheet a mile long and was intent on adding to it. As he was riding his bike along the sidewalk in Bedford Stuyvesant, Biggs decided it would be a good idea to punch a sixty year old woman in the face. Two problems: One, it’s assault. And two, he did so right in front of a firehouse. So needless to say, Biggs didn’t get very far before he was brought to the ground by New York’s Bravest. 

These guys ain’t quitting on us, and the feeling is mutual. 

Imma wrap up this special Tuesday edition with a belated tribute to a couple of legends, who gifted the world their immense talents in two different arenas. 

Trailblazing Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson dies - REVOLT

John Thompson changed the landscape of college basketball forever. Before he got to Georgetown, the team was an also ran, having just finished out a 3-23 campaign. Within three seasons, Thompson had them in the tournament. He built a national powerhouse in the eighties, winning a national title and reigning supreme over the Big East conference. But it was the impression he made with his kids off the court that will stand the true test of time. When star center Alonzo Mourning and another player were said to be running with associates of reputed drug boss Ray Edmond, Thompson called for a face to face meeting with him in his office. At the meeting, the coach proceeded to get in Edmond’s grill, informing him he was to have no further contact with any of his players. Edmonds never did associate with another Hoyas player after that meeting. When the news of Thompson’s passing came down, his former star point guard Allen Iverson credited Thompson with saving his life. Interestingly, Thompson was supposed to have been on the United Airlines flight that crashed into the Pentagon, but his place was cancelled. He made these last nineteen years count. 

Chadwick Boseman didn't just play icons. He was one. | National News |  martinsvillebulletin.com

Whereas the inimitable Mr Thompson climbed every mountain set in front of him, there is a profound sadness to the passing of Chadwick Boseman because he had so many more mountains left to climb. In his all too brief career, Boseman wrote and directed several plays and appeared on a couple television shows before scoring a role that would put him on the map for good. 

His portrayal of Jackie Robinson in the movie 42 got the attention of Hollywood moguls and moviegoers alike. Rachel, the widow of the iconic ballplayer said watching Chadwick immerse himself in the role was like being introduced to Jackie again. And from there, the world showed up at his doorstep and Boseman was more than ready to take it for a spin. He played legends like Thurgood Marshall and superheroes like the Black Panther. He was box office magic with a screen presence that promised Oscars, as in plural. But while the world was busy gifting him the much deserved rewards of his chosen craft, life was busy taking him away from us even if we never saw it coming. In 2016, Boseman was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer. He never shared this fact with the outside world, and he kept working throughout. He starred in several more films while undergoing chemotherapy as well as multiple surgeries. But it was a race he was destined to lose when the cancer returned this year. And it doesn’t make one damn bit of sense that he’s gone before he even really got started. That forty three years becomes the end instead of another beginning. 

There’s no song I could attach to this, because truthfully I didn’t come into this post expecting it would take me here. And now it doesn’t feel right, to put these final thoughts to music. So instead, I’ll place a picture of Boseman’s visit to St. Jude’s Hospital in 2018. Right in the middle of his stoic battle, he took some time for the kids, his fans. And this picture, I don’t know why but it fills me with peace. 

Sometimes there is music in the silence. 

Inside Chadwick Boseman's Emotional Visit to St. Jude's | PEOPLE.com

Heroes Of The Week!

30 Funniest Parks and Rec Quotes of All TIme | Best Life

As we inch closer to a national election that feels as if it was written by Judd Apatow, I thought about petitioning for a recount on my last Heroes episode. And then I realized that I didn’t actually use a political theme for the post, so never mind. And for the record? I’m voting for Bobby Newport in November. I’m half serious about that, and as Bobby would say, the other half is serious too. 

So now that I’ve gone two straight Heroes episodes without having talked politics, and my reward is an actual theme to gift you this week. The lovely Dale is playing Luke Skywalker, seeing as how she sent me three heroic stories this week. While I pick up the slack for Darth Vader by supplying the zeroes. I know, shocker!

And now for this week’s lineup . . .

The Yankees And Rays Absolutely Hate Each Other And It's Fucking Awesome |  Barstool Sports

Up until this moment, the Tampa Bay Rays have been that other team in every baseball movie. They’re a monochrome curiosity that is good enough to take the champion fifteen rounds, before getting steamrolled by the closing credits. But now they have a club with a legitimate chance to win it all, and so maybe their manager Kevin Cash should start behaving as if he’s been here before. The Rays skipper got all bent out of shape after Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman threw a a hundred mile an hour missile at his player’s head. Cash and his team have every reason to be pissed, but then he went and said this . . .

“Somebody’s got to be accountable,” Cash said. “And the last thing I’ll say on this is I got a whole damn stable full of guys that throw 98 mph. Period.”

How about you make the MLB do it’s fucking job. Make sure they hold Chapman and the Yanks accountable. But an outright threat such as the one Cash threw out serves no good purpose. If he’d chosen his words wisely, the onus would be entirely on the Yankees, but Cash went minor league instead. That’s a shame. 

Like any responsible homeowner, Dave Phoxe of Salt Lake City, Utah does what he can to keep his home and family safe from harm. He installed a security camera that syncs to his phone, alerting him to any uninvited guests who make the scene. So when he discovered that a little kid was using his driveway as a racetrack, he could have stormed outside and told the kid to scram. But Phoxe had a better idea. And so he made his driveway into a racetrack, drawing a lane that zigged and zagged to a finish line. Something tells me he’s got one hell of an encore for the kids who play on his lawn when he’s an old man. 

Clay Higgins says on Facebook that armed demonstrators 'won't walk away'  from Louisiana protests | News | theadvocate.com

Congratulations to Clay Higgins, the U.S. Representative out of Louisiana’s third district for taking the prize as biggest asshole of the week. No easy task these days, and yet Higgins makes it look easy with commentary that would make a serial killer wince. 

Higgins hopped on Facebook this week (This is what’s called foreshadowing) and proceeded to shit his feelings into the virtual world. His topic of conversation in this instance were the armed protesters showing up across his state. And for those of you with an allergy to ass hats with Rambo fetishes, you might want to move on to the next story, because the following is a sample of his rant. 

“I’d drop any 10 of you where you stand,” Higgins began, before continuing with “Nothing personal. We just eliminate the threat. We don’t care what color you are. We don’t care if you’re left or right. if you show up like this, if We recognize threat…you won’t walk away.”

I mean, where do I begin? Okay, maybe with an observation that goes something like this: Old Clay wasn’t posting shit like this on FB when white kids in PBR caps were walking through Wal-Marts fully armed. So yanno what I always say . . . there is that. 

Tom Seaver, greatest Met ever, dead at 75

Okay, so I lied. Imma dish up a tribute to an all time great who was a hero to every Queens kid back in the days of bell-bottom jeans and 8-track players. Tom Seaver blessed the game of baseball in myriad ways over a career that spanned three decades and five cities. He won 311 games to the tune of a 2.86 ERA in that space of time. He snagged Rookie of the Year honors in 1967 and was the ace of the Miracle Mets World Series team in ’69. He was a Cy Young winner three times over, an All Star twelves times and he pitched a no hitter as a member of the Cincinnati Reds in 1978. But as a man, he contributed even more than that. He was an ambassador whose grace, wisdom and experience has left a lasting impression on the game he loved. They really don’t write them like Tom anymore. 

Okay, for this last story Imma do things a little differently and just let author Shaka Senghor take us home. In his words. Because I could not have said it any better than he did on his Facebook post.

Last Friday night I was standing outside of a barbershop in Cincinnati, Oh,with a small group of mostly black men, when this officer walked over to a group of us. He looked around curiously and said “I don’t see a car blocking an intersection” while shaking his head. I asked him what was he talking about. He said someone called and reported that we had a car blocking the intersection. He paused for a minute and shook his head again. In that moment we both nodded and acknowledged what had just happened. Someone basically saw our group and made a false report. I asked him how long he had been on the job and he said 10 months. He asked what we were doing at the barbershop and so told him about the barbershop challenge Men of Courage and Ford Fund has sponsored. I asked if he wanted to come inside. He said he wanted to, but didn’t want to spoil the fun with his presence. Again we both nodded and acknowledged the reality of distrust between the community and police officers. I offered to take him inside so he could meet the owners and establish a relationship. I told him that someone has to take the first step to healing these relationships. He said he wanted to, but was unsure of what the reaction would be. I told him it would be cool and that Jerome Bettis and a host of other amazing people were inside. He lit up like a light bulb and said “No way The Bus is in there”, with a kid like smile. I said hold on, I’ll grab him and have him come out. Jerome Bettis came out and the officer stood there with his mouth agape before saying “if my dad was still alive he would be so excited, because you were his favorite player”. We all stopped and sat in the moment before they went on to take a selfie together. It was one of those moments that reminded me of our humaneness, our frailties and our similarities. In that moment we were all just men navigating the world without the mask we are taught and trained to wear. I could have taken my offense to the call out on the officer and accused him of being a racist cop. He could have believed the caller and acted based on stereotypes about black men in groups. But we chose to just see each other and talk like humans. It’s ultimately a decision we can all make. When he lit up like a kid at seeing his dad’s sports hero, I saw a little boy and the uniform no longer mattered. We can collectively choose to see beyond the uniforms we all wear.

It’s not easy and there is a lot of work to be done, but if we can at least start seeing each other, I believe things will get better.

 

 

 

 

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly and More – AKA Heroes – of the Week

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) - Rotten Tomatoes

Marc has asked me to fill in for him this week for the weekly (mostly) heroes post and I humbly accepted.  Was I wrong to change the title this week?  I felt if he trusted me with this, he had to know he might be taking chances, right? Besides, I am fairly certain he knows I would not dare to go too far outside the box (even while I am fairly certain he’d also be totally cool with it if I did – he, himself being cool like that).

So. How to really start this thing properly? Just plunge right in, right?

THE GOOD

canada goose with explosive

This one could have been a mix of good and evil but since we don’t know who did such an evil deed, we shall focus on the beautiful people who came to the rescue.  Who in their right mind would strap a Canada goose with a firecracker, by using tightly wound duct tape, then light it and, leave it?   John DiLeonardo, who happens to be a member of PETA and LION (Long Island Orchestrating for Nature), found the poor bird at Silver Lake Park in Baldwin, N.Y. and surmised that it must have freaked out when the firecracker was lit and run into the water (since the wick was wet). Can you imagine? I can’t.  DiLeonardo brought her to the vet after he removed the firecracker.  Once she was deemed okay, they brought her back to the lake. I hope they catch the ones who did this before they try it again.

THE BAD

Okay, I can’t help it, this doesn’t really belong here because they are not really zeros but are definitely nuisances. I couldn’t help but share this silly story of emus, Carol and Kevin, wreaking havoc at a local pub in Yaraka, Queensland, Australia (population 18) – to which they have since been banned.  Bloody birds figured out how to climb the stairs and go in, steal food right off of people’s plates; and that’s besides pooping at will and reaching over the bar to get what they can.  Did you know that emus run forward but look behind them as they run so they crash into everything? Tourists staying in the nearby trailer park best watch their coffee, the emus will drink the cup dry without spilling a drop. So far all the owners have had to do is cordon off the steps but eventually, the birds will figure out they can pass right under…

THE UGLY

This story is brought to you by none other than Marc himself.  He probably figured I’d be too nice to find some zeros on my own.

Rep. Sean Roberts, an Oklahoma lawmaker, must have been hiding under a rock and missed the importance of what’s going on around him.  He is threatening to rescind the tax break for the Oklahoma City Thunder if players kneel for the national anthem in the NBA’s bubble.  Wake up and smell the coffee, Roberts.  The Black Lives Matter movement has nothing to do with “Marxism” and trying to “destroy nuclear families”, you nimrod.

THE ENTHUSIAST

After that previous story, I had to share this for all you sports fans out there who are so excited to be seeing your favourite sports on TV – even with the canned “fan noise” and cardboard cutout stadium dwellers. Seriously, I need to find out if the players are welcoming the fake that they have been given to encourage them to play.  This guy is happy to see his team score!

THE EXCEPTIONAL

And finally. If this story doesn’t hit you in all the feels, there is something missing in your heart.

What do you do when you are locked up in your Gwinnett County Jail cell and see one of your guards in distress? Watch him die or spring into action?  Terry Lovelace, Walter Whitehead, and Mitchell Smalls sprang into action.  These three men noticed that Deputy Warren Hobbs did not appear to feel well during his rounds. They began to keep their eye on him.  When Smalls saw Hobbs acting like he was gasping for breath then fall to the ground, cracking open his head, he did what he could:  He banged on his cell door to get his fellow inmates to join him in trying to wake him up.  It worked. All 60 banged and yelled his name over and over until Hobbs came to and managed to pull himself up and press the button to open Lovelace’s and Whitehead’s cells. These two rushed out, one using the desk phone the other his radio to call for help.

As Whitehead, “It scared me. I don’t care if it’s a police officer or whoever it was. I will do whatever I can to save a man. I don’t want anyone to die.”

Thanks to their quick action, the Deputy is now home recovering from his heart attack.

And that’s what it means to be a human being.

 

Heroes Of The Week!

Abraham Lincoln Quiz | Britannica

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

And now to this week’s lineup . . .

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

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

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

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

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

bridger-walker-41

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love matters.

Heroes Of The Week! (Yankee Clipper Edition)

 

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

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

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

Here’s my lineup ‘o the week . . .

Grant Imahara | Keppler Speakers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heroism is a restless verb.

 

 

 

 

 

Heroes Of The Week!

 

Tunis Campbell (1812-1891) | New Georgia Encyclopedia

(Tunis Campbell- 1812-1891)

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

Let’s plate it, kids . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

The Green Screen Side Of The Moon

One minute I was pondering how we got here from there, and the next I was arriving at the intersection of Jesus and Caramba. The someplace else I dialed back to was 1980. Okay . . maybe it wasn’t the age of innocence. It was inside a time where disco was on life support. We staggered over the edge of a decade replete with post-moon landing meh, and life without torch song heroes named King and Kennedy and life with Nixon. Before Watergate sent him away in a helicopter. And Vietnam. And Kent State and the hostage crisis and inflation and race riots . . .

But if you were to fix 1980 into a lineup of comparables, welp . . 2020 would be the El Chapo to their Sonny and Cher. We took their Paradise Lost and we doubled down into a Full House of Horrors. Their dearth of heroes became our reality television. Their Watergate became our daily trend, where “gate” gets caboosed to the latest scandal as if it were a wicked smart ensemble piece. Their Vietnam became our patriotic mission to spread truth, justice and the American way by co-opting the best laid plans of our Founding Fathers into a drive through dominion where branding is our inalienable right. Kent State became Columbine and Flint, Sandy Hook, Marjorie Stoneman and Las Vegas, and then things got worse when those days no longer shocked us. Their hostage crisis became our Oklahoma City and September 11th, and Boston. Their inflation became our great big heist. Their race riots, well . .we kept that tradition going.

There was plenty of promise to the way things started off, with a bunch of college kids beating the Russians in ice hockey. We couldn’t have imagined that our sports would morph from that quaint little Norman Rockwell moment into a bread and circuses cinema. And then Reagan lied to us about a shining city upon a hill. And George H. had us focusing on a thousand points of light instead of the stupid economy. Or is that the economy stupid? We got lost in the shroud of the cigar smoke from the Clintonian Era, and while we were busy trying not to inhale, an election went into overtime with the Supreme Court serving as referee. And then W became a four letter word before stepping up inside the darkest days . . before turning back into a four letter word.

The rear view tells me it’s been a hot minute since those days were busy happening. And here we are, the numb OG’s of a feckless age where the modern day proverb- Shit Happens- is mired in the muck of our everyday existence. And this isn’t to say that our mast is hurtling to the edge of the world and that all hope is lost. But . . . . damn!

So this is where the voices in my head make their money. Because yanno . . the questions I get to cooking up possess the kind of riptide that circumnavigates all the logical conclusions we’ve been taught to abide to since grade school. And either I’m Randall McMurphy on a stick or there is something happening here, even if what it is ain’t exactly clear.

Because I really don’t know what to make of this place we currently reside inside of. Are we a miserable scrum of beastly conclusions to which there is no honest to goodness fix, outside of a runaway meteor? Is the global script we’ve been reading from ever since fire led to the invention of the cheeseburger one big lie?  Is this nothing more than one great big romantic tragedy in which the lovers (that’s us) are destined to lose in the end?

When Higgs met boson inside that celestial tryst and then mass showed up nine months later, was Trump destined to be President from that very moment? Was race supposed to be the great divider in perpetuity? Was Joe Exotic supposed to be the elixir to a global pandemic? And is it too late to call for a cosmic rewrite?

Hunter S. Thompson called.

He wants his fever dream back.

Heroes Of The Week! (Old School Edition)

Pop Art

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

And now to this week’s episode . . .

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

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

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

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

Image credit: YouTube

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

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

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

Robert Williams

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Heroes Of The Week

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

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

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

Imma dedicate this week to my friend Martin.

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

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

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

They’ve accomplished so very much already.

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

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

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

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

I choose that door.

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

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

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

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

It’s all that should ever matter.

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

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

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

View image on Twitter

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

TOPSHOT-US-POLITICS-POLICE-JUSTICE-RACISM

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

police join protests

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

UPDATED:

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

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

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