Heroes Of The Week! (Casual Friday Edition)

Macy's Thanskgiving Day Parade 2012: Helium is wasted in floating parade balloons.

Welp . . . I couldn’t go with Black Friday Edition on account of the fact the retailers have gone and screwed that up in the recent past by opening on Thanksgiving night. Of course, this year they got religion . . on account of COVID. So Imma go with a more casual flow to this week’s episode. And with twenty eight shopping days until Christmas, methinks it’s a good idea to take a chill day before our shopping boots really get to stepping.

Big thank you to Frank “Beaches” Angle for riding shotgun with me last week. Of course, going solo means I have some zeroes to go along with the good stuff. But that’s alright because, just like in the movies, the good guys win in the end.

Now to our heroes . . .

I’m starting things off with Green Shirt Guy. And if you don’t know who that is, then do yourself a favor and watch this video. His name is Alex Kack and he’s a twenty eight year old field organizer from Tucson, Arizona. He went viral after video footage caught him having a good laugh during a city council on immigration. He was reacting to the mindless rant of an anti-immigration protester when his fifteen minutes of fame came calling.

“There’s a side to it that’s not funny, especially in light of El Paso,” he said. “But when you’re sitting there and your confronted with a level of absurdity and insanity, what else are you gonna do?”

Kack says he plans on keeping his green shirt. And hopefully he keeps that sense of humor as well. We need it right about now.

Big props to a recent hero, Alex Smith. The Washington quarterback not only made it back to the field after almost losing his leg a couple years ago, but he’s kicking some butt. He threw for almost four hundred yards last week, and he helped lead Washington to a victory against the Cowboys yesterday that lifted his team into first place. Just . . . wow.

Not for nothing (because that’s what it’s worth) but what in the hell happened to “America’s Mayor” Rudy Giuliani? Dude should have remained in the private sector, because once he went high profile again, he quickly turned into the Penguin. Seriously . . . DC Comics is suing him for identity theft. But I guess that’s what happens when you join forces with the Joker.

And what’s the deal with Rudy’s boss taking credit for the Dow hitting 30 K for the first time? Does he not remember predicting the market would crash if Biden was elected? Huh? Hmm? Huh?

Ryan Shazier walks out to announce Steelers' draft pick

Ryan Shazier was busy living his dream until a spinal cord injury in a December 2017 game against the Cincinnati Bengals changed everything. The former linebacker was given only a twenty percent chance of ever walking again. He pushed back on that daunting outlook and less than six months later was walking up to the podium to announce the Pittsburgh Steelers pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

“My injury has helped me see firsthand what the SCI community goes through every day and the inequities people face when it comes to getting the care they need,” Shazier said. “I want to be there for people who are going through similar struggles, including their caregivers and families.”

Over the last three years, this former member of the “Steel Curtain” has shown plenty of steel off the field. This week he announced that he is starting a non-profit organization: The Ryan Shazier Fund for Spinal Rehabilitation. In his words, it’s one step at a time to a better tomorrow. His courageous example will help to lead the way.

Dogs are man’s best friend, so it was only right this guy returned the favor. He went in the water and extricated his puppy from the jaws of an alligator. The part of this video that’s most impressive is how he opens the gator’s jaws while it’s between his legs. I mean . . courage AND concentration.

Seriously! The gator is BETWEEN his legs . . . thisclose to his business! Okay I’ll stop . . .

Michael J. Fox Details Crisis Of Optimism In New Memoir, 'No Time Like The Future' | Here & Now

And now for a double tapestry of righteous brought to us from the lovely Dale over at A Dalectable Life.

First up is that much loved Canadian(?) Michael J. Fox. He’s penned a new memoir titled No Time Like The Future, in which he goes deep on his darkest moments. Specific to this was 2018 when doctors found a tumor on his spinal cord. Though benign, doctors believed it was too risky to operate, and that it would eventually lead to him not being able to walk. He was able to find a doctor who removed it successfully, after which he spent much of the year learning to walk again.

Things did not go well.

“I squandered it by going too fast down a hallway and turning into the kitchen, slipping on a tile and crushing my arm,” says Fox, who couldn’t reach the phone to call for help. “I had to get my arm rebuilt.”

It was in that moment where Fox thought to himself “I’m out of the freaking lemonade business,”. And yet he found his way from there to here. With a new book, a new outlook and a perspective that will serve to help others. In spite of all the valleys he’s been made to journey through, he says he is still so thankful for everything he’s got.

Is it any wonder me and Frank try and steal this guy every chance we get?

And a belated congratulations to Kim Ng, the first female general manager of a men’s team in the history of major North American sports. From the White Sox to the Yankees to the Dodgers, Ng has paid her dues over a thirty year career. Next up? I want to see Becky Hammon score a head coaching gig in the NBA.

Dolly Parton, who in April donated $1 million to Covid-19 research, is listed among sponsors who funded research for the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine.

As for the B side of Dale’s two-fer, we have Dolly Parton. She wasn’t just tapping her toes, hoping the pandemic would miraculously disappear by spring, nope. In April she donated $1 million to coronavirus research. Money that helped to fund Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. Her name appears in the preliminary report for the vaccine, but she was never looking to draw attention to herself. All she wanted was to help, and she called on others to send what they could to the research team at Vanderbilt University.

She believed it was the time to “open my heart” in order to help others. But you know what really helps that process along?

When your heart was right there all along.

And the following video is why I am going to miss Conan. One of the many reasons . . .

Pat Sajak told a Wheel of Fortune contestant that he was “ungrateful” and Twitter went nuclear. And in other news, I just cut my toenails . . . .

Imma send y’all into the weekend with the story of Grover Wilhelmsen. He’s a retired music teacher who was stricken with COVID-19 this fall. The virus moved into his lungs and impeded his ability to talk. So Grover took to passing notes to the nurses tending to him before coming up with a better idea. He got his wife Diana to bring his violin to the hospital so he could play them a song, as his way of saying thank you.

And in the music shined a light for the people who have had to work through so much darkness. His gift of love and thanks, in keeping with the season. The gesture shows us that gratitude is more than appreciation or a reciprocal kindness.

It’s a gift.

Heroes Of The Week! (The Dynamic Duo Edition)

reddit: the front page of the internet | Batman illustration, Robin comics, Batman robin

For this week’s episode, I’ve invited Frank “Beach Walks” Angle to ride shotgun with me as we deliver up a roster of righteousness. We’re still trying to figure out who’s Batman and who’s Robin (I’m Batman), but in the meantime, let’s just say we have a sweet supply of feel good coming at ya. And of course, seeing as how Cincy is sooooo glass half full (must be all those refreshing walks of his), Imma be peach positive in all my entries. This duo rocks!

Now to our heroes . . .

My Project: Goldie Hawn and The Hawn Foundation - NBC News

Goldie Hawn is proving once again that beauty is so much more than skin deep.

For the last sixteen years, Hawn’s MINDUP Program has been helping students deal with anxiety, stress, anger and depression. Schools that have instituted her mindfulness program have seen a dramatic improvement in the mental health of their students and the numbers ain’t lying: 86% percent of users say the program has helped them achieve more positive outcomes while 83% say it has led to an improvement in their social skills.

And now Hawn has introduced a way for these children to cope with the isolation and uncertainty that has come with a global pandemic. She’s partnered up with Insight Timer- a meditation app- to offer five minute exercises called “brain breaks” that help the kids maintain focus while alleviating their stress levels.

“During this time of uncertainty, children are affected negatively emotionally and are facing symptoms of stress and anxiety,” says Hawn, the 74-year-old founder of MindUP. “Our program helps address these issues by creating mental fitness and emotional stability.”

For one thing, the girl is making seventy four the new Wow! But more important to her, and to the world around her, is the positive difference she is making every day. In a world of superficial, there do in fact exist superheroes.

Remember back in the early days of this pandemic when people were singing in their windows and baking breads and learning to sew again for the very first time? Well, Scott McKenzie and Jeremy Uhrich- both of whom hail from Huntingdon, Pa.- baked cookies from scratch. This coping mechanism led to a bake-off when Ulrich read McKenzie’s post on Facebook.

The two men invited local front line workers to be the judges as a thank you for all their hard work and dedication.

Well, the event was such a success that the two decided to start up a Facebook page called “Cookies for Caregivers”. The group currently has 299 members the group and has delivered more than 15,000 cookies and cakes to hospital staff, grocery stores and fire departments. Uhrich’s father even got to baking creating his own group in Hershey, Pa.

“There aren’t enough people to thank,” McKenzie said. “Kindness doesn’t have an expiration date.”

So the next time someone pulls out the old standard about how the cookie crumbles? Remind that as to why this isn’t necessarily a bad thing after all.

A New Jersey restaurant with a coronavirus scare stayed open because of the generosity of a neighboring barbershop - CNN

Not everyone likes to play by the rules of this pandemic, so it’s important to note that places such as the Würstbar eatery in Jersey City, New Jersey abide. Even when faced with the daunting prospect of having to close its doors for good, these guys still did the right thing when one of their workers was exposed to the virus recently. They shut down, together. The health and safety of their staff was more important to these owners than money. Imagine that? Giving a damn about people more than your bottom line.

But no good deed goes unnoticed and so when the workers at Virile Barber Shop got word of the restaurant’s plight, they decided to step in and keep the lights on.

“The weather is too nice out to let our neighbors at Würstbar stay closed!” Virile Barber Shop owner Andre Fersa posted. “I’ve taken over the bar and am selling PRETZELS, beer, wine and cider for outdoor seating only. Come on by and support this great staff.”

No whining about medical conditions or how their rights had been violated. Just human beings making the very best of a bad situation in these trying times.

That’s how you define humanity.

And now Imma kick it over to Cincy, who is going to send y’all into the weekend with a selection of stories that will fill your tank with inspiration. Take it away Frank.

Thanks, Marco for the opportunity to co-anchor this edition of Heroes. I’m starting with a young kid in Gaithersburg, Maryland – Cavanaugh Bell – a second grader that gives humanity hope. He started Operation Magic because he thinks big. So big, I wonder what is next. So big, he makes me feel small.

Last week you featured a Cincinnati story about a man adopting not one, but five kids. This week we are crossing the Ohio River to the Kentucky side. Campbell County is where we find Tricia Verst, a high school freshman with a rare chromosomal disorder. She wanted to run cross country. Unsure how to motivate Tricia, coach Toni McKee got an idea, and that’s when senior Sydney McKinney stepped up. Well, here’s the story.

Image property of WXIX television Cincinnati, Ohio

This one is my no-brainer for the week. This story is about 140.6 miles: swimming 2.4 miles, biking riding 112 miles, and running 26.2 miles … yes, one after another. I have volunteered to dance with those with Down Syndrome. One of the reasons it is so rewarding is that many DS people are so positive and appreciative. This story is about Chris Nikic of Maitland, Florida, but a tip of the cap to Dan Grieb, who was with Chris the entire 140.6 miles.

Yes, to my surprise, I’m leading you out with Britney Spears – well – no really – but a cover of one of her songs.

 

Heroes Of The Week!

All due respect to the voters but I think my guy got screwed. Lemme ‘splain.

Imma have to awaken the echoes of 1960 by laying most of the blame on Chicago for having perpetrated this somebody done somebody wrong song. Because I’m sorry, but when a true blue Yankee gets jobbed by a South Sider for the American League MVP? It’s an inside job, brought to bear by Chicago scribes who have to endure another long winter watching the Bears emolliate while the Bulls get eliminated from postseason play after the season opener. Congratulations to the White Sox Jose Abreu . . but my guy, DJ LeMahieu from Bronx strong was the most valuable player in 2020.

What? You thought I was talking about something else?

And now to our heroes . . .

Jeopardy! Host Alex Trebek Death Mourned By Fans, Contestants – Deadline

A sad farewell to Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek, who passed away last Sunday at the age of eighty. I refuse to say he lost his battle with pancreatic cancer because that’s just not true. He fought and he battled and he continued to do his thing through all the treatments and all those long days when his body was telling him to quit. He never did. And while many of us know him best for his masterful stewardship of the classic game show, his life was about so much more than this.

He was a philanthropist and activist whose footprints speak of compassion, dedication and hope. His donations to the University of Ottawa totaled more than 7.5 million dollars; the monies of which help to fund programs in diversity while also allowing the school to bring in speakers from all over the world. This past March, he donated $100,000 to Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission- a homeless shelter in Los Angeles.

When the question is posed, whose life’s work left a positive impact on so many? The answer is, who is Alex Trebek.

Arkansas Police Chief Resigns After Calling for Democrats to Be Executed - The New York Times

Marshall Police Chief Lang Holland out of Arkansas is a real keeper. As in, you can keep him . . please.

Holland makes it just under the wire as a leading candidate for the Asshat of 2020 award (and really, we got quite a list going on). It seems that Lang ain’t down with the election results and he voiced his hateful opinion about it recently. He called for the “death to all Marxist Democrats!” whilst saying the likes of Hilary, Obama and Pelosi should be drawn and quartered. For our Republic . . of course.

Holland was fired from his post, but it’s only a matter of time before he’s got a viral podcast going.

NBA's Trae Young Buys Lunch for Atlanta Election Workers, 'Thanks for All You Do'

The Atlanta Hawks young point guard Trae Young has game, on and off the court. On Election Day, Young bought lunch for all the poll workers at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. His home court served as a polling place and the kid wanted to make sure the folks putting in the long hours in the name of democracy were taken care of. Thanks to his great good work in establishing the voting rights advocacy group More Than A Vote along with LeBron James and Phoenix Mercury point guard Skylar Diggins-Smith, more than 10,000 poll workers were recruited for the 2020 election.

Young is putting the A plus in the ATL. Go Hawks!

Haylee Whiting, 10, and her mom, Samantha Whiting, have raised nearly $50,000 to give their...

10 year old Haylee Whiting is lucky to be alive. And the harrowing story she will tell her kids one day will begin with the name of Kevin Cozzi.

The Whiting family was busy enjoying their last vacation day in Monterey, California as Haylee swam along the shoreline. Her mother says she had just finished telling her daughter to come in closer when a riptide swallowed her up and began taking her the wrong way. And in those horrible slow motion moments, a family’s joy turned to panic. And that’s where Cozzi made sure the day wouldn’t end in tragedy. He and his fiancé were strolling along the beach when they heard Samantha Whiting’s cries for help.

A competitive swimmer since the age of three, Cozzi jumped into the water and pulled Haylee close to shore until a lifeguard could get to her and bring her the rest of the way in.

Family raises nearly $50,000 for good Samaritan who saved daughter from rip tide

As it turns out, Kevin and his fiancée had postponed their wedding due to (you guessed it) the pandemic. And so mother and daughter knew what they had to do. They got to stepping on Facebook and then they set up a GoFundMe page for the couple raising almost $50,000 to cover the cost of both a wedding reception and honeymoon.

A new wedding date was set for the fall of 2021, and a grateful family has already marked their calendar.

This Gay Foster Dad Adopted 5 Siblings To Keep Them Together

“Home isn’t where you’re from, it’s where you find light when all grows dark.”

-Pierce Brown

As we unwrap our brains over this month’s events, it’s easy to forget how life is expert at stealing away the most important things. More important than brands, reputations, ratings or elections. Those are minute details in the grand scheme of this place we call home. Robert Carter knows this firsthand. He’s one of nine children who was separated from his family and placed in a foster home when he was twelve years old.

“I didn’t eat for a week,” Carter says. “I didn’t know where my family was. I didn’t know if I would ever see them again. It was traumatizing.”

He didn’t have the traditional family life, with a mother and father and Sunday dinners and pancake breakfasts. When he was ten years old, he was stealing food for his siblings because he says “that was the only way we’d eat,”. So his being placed in a foster home was simply the next chapter in a life that was collapsing all around him.

Last December, Carter became a foster parent to three boys. Soon after, he reunited them with their two sisters. “Everybody was just crying and hugging and not wanting to let go,” Carter recalled. “In that moment, I knew I had to adopt all five.”

In the early going, he says the kids would huddle together at night for fear they would be ripped away from each other again. But in time, they got used to sleeping in their own beds. And yes, they came to understand Sunday dinners and pancake breakfasts. Five kids . . . really, six if you include the twenty nine year old who gets to experience these things for the first time as well.

On October 30th, a family was born in an Ohio courthouse. It was built on the hard wrought experiences of a man who never forgot where he came from and five shining little lights that remind him of a time when the future was not so bright. So needless to say, there was a ton of whooping and hollering going on when this party of five was declared his, for good and forever. And a courtroom became the center of their universe, their one great big hug of everything.

And Robert Carter, he’s taken to this whole Dad thing like a pro because as all that love was going on, he needed to find himself a quiet spot so he could think about how it all came together. From there to here. He made way for the courthouse bathroom, each step delivering him from that scared twelve year old boy to this big hearted man who got busy making a house a home.

He closed the door behind him, and in the quiet, he cried.

 

 

Bound To The Light We Possess

That title is a play on a Lincoln quote I came across recently, and which became the inspiration for this post. I wanna think Honest Abe might have chuckled when the news came over the wire that the United States government had filed for divorce from the Trump brand. And seeing as how Abe was a master of the timely anecdote, there’s little doubt he was doing his thing deep into the night with all those better angels. Maybe he would have opined on 45 with something to this effect . . .

“That man is no more patriotic than a grizzly in search of his next meal. Both are accorded voracious appetites, whose intent is not to do right by the populace, but rather, to consume them . . .”

After which Abe probably got to throwing down memories of all those grand dreams he once rolled up his sleeves for, dreams of a republic whose might was a matter of consensus rather than division. And to which his tall, lumbering frame gave chase until a bullet stole the extraordinary man away before history was done with him.

All I know is that, over the last four years I’ve mostly gone AWOL when it comes to writing about anything that rhymed with politics. Oh sure, I touched on it here and there, but my literary taste buds weren’t digging the flavor. Trump had effectively laid kryptonite inside my satirical wiring because the truth of the matter was . . how could I possibly parody a parody?

And it wasn’t the only thing I lost my taste for inside that time. You asking for a short list? Really? N’kay . . . .

  • Visiting Washington D.C.. I was never crazy about driving around the place, seeing as how it’s the town of a million road signs. But the museums and eats and all that great, big history of us? Worth it, until . .
  • State of the Union speeches. Thanks to YouTube, I worked backwards since 2017.
  • Visiting New York City. You know what’s worse than rush hour traffic? Trump hour traffic.
  • The color orange
  • Chucky movies
  • Hot air balloons
  • Red hats
  • Talking about most anything political, with anyone.
  • The O’Jays. Well, not all their righteous works of course . . but one song in particular that I do love quite a lot.

So now we get seventy two days worth of Shakespeare by Trump apologists who will be white knuckling their resumes in search of the next unreality show now that their gigs with the soon to be former Boss of all bosses are coming to an end. They’ll condemn the very same extra inning affair many of them were applauding back in December of 2000. They’ll blame poll workers for counting legal votes and they’ll blame COVID and if all else fails, they’ll blame the Chicago Bears offense since that’s where all else goes to fail.

And none of it will matter as much as the seventy five million pink slips, and counting, who said “Thanks but nah” to another four years of recumbent hiking through the wilderness of 1956.

As for the Don, there’s no chance he goes quietly into that dark night, even after inauguration day seals his artful deal for once and for all. Never mind that he’s still never won a political race against someone not named Hilary. And never mind that he got boat raced by a Washington lifer in Joe Biden, whose lifetime achievement award speech is going to have a massive rewrite coming. This outcome is just a bad day at the batting cages for Trump, who has a promotional machine that will allow his bluster to keep doing bad things to our good senses with book deals and cable deals and rallies . . because, ‘Murica. He ain’t going away, he’s just moving to the other side of the wall now.

Lincoln called. He wants his hat back.

Heroes Of The Week! (Post-ish Election Edition)

The Place of Abraham Lincoln in History - The Atlantic

Is it over?

Can I come out now? Is it safe?

I don’t know . . I’m not trusting this, as much as I want to trust it. Not yet. I keep thinking Pennywise is gonna jump out and yell “Psyche!”, after which he hands me a red hat that I must wear in order to step outside. And so, Imma get right to the business at hand today. No pontificating, no postulating and no more chasing waterfalls. I will take a hot second to say muchas gracias to Cincy for filling in last week and coming up stellar . . as per.

Now to our heroes . .  and today? they’re all heroes . . 

Quick shout out to Washington football coach Ron Rivera, who recently completed his last round of cancer treatments. And this video is provided in order to show you that what the peeps at Inova Schar Cancer Institute do, isn’t a job to them., They gave Rivera a beautiful sendoff, honoring one of the good guys in such a special way. Stay well coach.

ImageJon Lester is a freshly minted free agent, formerly the lynchpin southpaw for title teams in Boston and Chicago. And I always disliked him very much for wearing the wrong laundry, but hey . . it’s all about respect. And after his latest stunt, I am pushing for his automatic entry into the Hall of Fame. It seems Lester bought $31,000 worth of beer at four different Chicago bars as a thank you to Cubs fans for all their support over the years. He added a cool $16,000 in tips for the staff members as well. Unless he signs with Tampa, I’ll actually root for him next season.

Coronavirus New York City: Strand Bookstore closed, lays off most of staff after coronavirus crisis cripples business - ABC7 New York

Like so many businesses across the country, and the world, the Strand bookstore in New York City has been hanging on for dear life since the pandemic took hold this past winter. With revenue down more than seventy percent, things looked bleak for this book lover’s paradise. The New York institution has been around since the Murderers Row New York Yankees swept Pittsburgh in the 1927 World Series, but inside the meanest of seasons, this really did feel like the end of the line. And so when owner Nancy Bass Wyden went on social media to let its customers know how dire the straits were . . they had her back. Last Saturday, the flagship store enjoyed its best October sales day, ever. And yes there is still a long way to go before we get to that light at the end of this long, dark tunnel. But as the Babe would most certainly agree, history is achieved one win at a time.

Just because we understand our politics to be dirtier than an FDR martini doesn’t mean it has to be that way. Spencer Cox and Chris Peterson are ditching the spectacle that has become professional wrestling in sharp suits. The two gubernatorial candidates out of Utah actually brought civility into the arena in their race. The audacity!

For this last jig, Imma go back to Tuesday for a hot moment and mention what happened on that historic day. Sort of.

November 3rd set records for voter turnout, and in one fell swoop we came to understand that no one person will ever be able to boss around this place. And hey, I’m not willing to go back down any of the roads we just came from by going point for point on the particulars. I just want this day and tomorrow, and the next day to feel differently. I want hope back. I want less divisiveness. And maybe that’s a fool’s wish, and I really don’t care, because I know for a fact there are plenty of people out there who believe in this fool’s wish. And what’s more, they are doing something about it.

Take Pizza to the Polls for instance. The non-profit was a forward march of volunteers with a mission; to deliver grub to voters who were standing in long lines to do their civic duty. Don’t let the name fool you. These peeps delivered everything from burgers to empanadas, sandwiches to donuts and cookies. More than a million times over to more than 3,200 polling sites in the lower forty eight.

“Food can be a major mood-shifter for people who have been waiting for hours to vote or who have been volunteering to ensure the process runs smoothly,” Says Pizza co-founder Scott Duncombe. “We’ve seen people get really excited about our deliveries—and some have even told us that it was the boost they needed to stay in line.”

Where do we go from here? Hell if I know. But we do have to keep on moving from here, so let’s make the here a better place to journey from. Let’s try and do a better job of respecting our differences . Let’s make America graceful again.

Oh come on, I had to.

 

 

Too Early To Tell

Is there something happening tomorrow?

I kind of had the idea that Tuesday was going to be a big deal when the late, great Brett Favre dropped it like it was haute last week, mixing politics with sports in his endorsement of The Incumbent. It was ironic seeing as how Favre trashed the idea of mixing sports and politics when it wasn’t his guy. But that’s the kind of shit I’ve come to expect from too many people on too many sides in this day and age of unreason.

Still . . Tuesday isn’t ringing a bell, excepting maybe for Tacos®. But since I tend to reserve my taco intake for weekends, where it can be immersed in a sexy tango with adult beverages, Imma go nolo to that contender.

taco tuesday Memes & GIFs - Imgflip

Maybe it’s the fact that Tuesday is the busiest day of the week when it comes to job applications, seeing as how most applicants are properly recovered from their weekends. And it also happens to be the most productive day of the workweek since it sits peacefully between Monday and hump day, which are notoriously hung over. But this seems boring, and America hasn’t done boring since Jim Belushi left prime time television.

Devil’s Night was vanquished by All Saints Day, again. And there’s no tie breaking tilt on Tuesday, that I know of. And as a Halloween/Darth Vader/Yankees fan . . I’m pretty sure I would know.

Aimee Mann broke up with ‘Til Tuesday more than thirty years ago, so . . nope.

There’s no professional football on Tuesday, well . . except for this year when the Titans had to play on Tuesday because . . . COVID. There’s no college football on Tuesday because . . . COVID.

Fat Tuesday is wrought with melancholy, since it happened back inside the time before . . yanno. And Thin Tuesday doesn’t happen until December 26th, when we commit to losing all that holiday weight. After which we recommit to losing it on January 1st-ish.

Oh, wait . . wait! I got what all the fuss is really about! Are we actually having our Spaghetti Tuesday on a Tuesday this week? In honor of the late, great Scott Wilson? And if not, why not?

Hershel Greene on Twitter: "Spaghetti Tuesdays every Wednesday #TheWalkingDead… "

Or is this about the end of days being all dressed up with somewhere to go? Is that why peeps are knocking at my door on a Sunday, when it’s clearly not to warn me that the apocalypse is nigh and to stock up on prayers and porn? Because from the looks of it, all that talk about going to hell in a handbasket is starting to look prescient. Sure it took a few hundred years, but hey . . it still counts.

I mean, half the world is under lockdown or curfew. And the other half can’t even afford to enjoy their time under the influence because they’re preoccupied with coronavirus, wildfires, earthquakes, hurricanes, Block Editor, murder hornets, riots, shootings and Netflix raising their prices. That’s a metric ton of shit to be happening in a decade, much less a calendar year.

And yet, here we are . . with tomorrow having already happened on some far away planet inside some other universe. And I wonder how it all turned out. And I wonder if there is mercy to be had in that far away place, or if this is all just working itself into some lost paradise sequence of events that leads to the eventual demise of humanity?

Now that would be huge . . .

 

 

Earnest and Julio Down by the Schoolyard

Oscar Wilde: The Unrepentant Years and Oscar's Ghost review – Wilde after prison | Books | The Guardian

Everything is going to be fine in the end. If it’s not fine, it’s not the end,”

Oscar Wilde

I think old Oscar would’ve loved growing up inside this time. After all, it’s the end of the world every single day, with an addendum attached that foregoes last rite status until such time as all current liens are settled, with marble caked interest. To a pen as sick with irony as his, Wilde would attest to our hubris whilst wondering whatever happened to the humble pie of Lincoln. He’d challenge political heavyweights to televised swordfights. He’d regenerate tired old Reaganisms in next gen form to piss off Republicans and Democrats alike. He would ask aloud how satire became the province of reality show stars and brand mavens whose sole purpose is to vaporize our brain cells, after which he would remark that alcohol was a much better idea.

He’d write for the New Yorker whilst doing side jobs with the Coen Brothers and being a regular on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. And then of course he would opine on the political ramifications of our upcoming national election by hosting a PPV event at Radio City; which he would bill as “Extraordinary Rubbish And Entirely True!”.

Ignominious tidings would follow, with daily mentions of his debauchery that would stun and titillate the masses. From snapchatting irreverent haikus with the Pope to crashing White House galas to bedding J. Lo. And A-Rod. Both. Of course.

And to it all he would shrug, all tethered to his Cohiba with ready made anecdotes for every single one of the sordid revelations. The masses would adore and condemn him, the media would be much too afraid to cast harsh judgement on account of all the inside dope he possessed on them. And a little town in Iowa would rename itself “Wilde” in honor of the “. . . greatest American who wasn’t. . .” . Among the ceremonial attendees would be John Waters, Dave Chapelle and Cher.

Once the smoke cleared- which means to say, before Oscar could be relegated to a syndicated curiosity, he’d retire to Key West and write a book while threatening to run away to Cuba for irony’s sake. And then he would negotiate a deal with CNN to broadcast live from the hull of his “last unearthly home” on the condition that he could drink Martinis on the air. And CNN would agree, because Oscar’s slur is better than most talking heads very best stuff.

He’d have a sixty foot Clipper made of red cedar from Washington State; replete with a mahogany wet bar below deck and a pinball machine signed by Pete Townshend. From a turntable, Toscanini, Verdi, Bach and Tupac would pitch fastballs as Wilde punched at the moon to steal his latest tale. His two adoring pit bulls- Hendrix and Patton- taking their nightly spots at bow and stern, respectively.

Strangers from every kind of place would sneak inside the sleepy marina from time to time, just to get a peak at the madness. If they’re lucky, they get to see Oscar treating the kids to some Dulce de Leche or chorizo with Manuka honey as he sips on a liquid solution. When he retreats, he writes about Creole gangsters and Jacobin cultists, while deliberating on how faded denim jackets should’ve been a sign that the Russians were going to win.

This journey into relative solitude would come about as the result of his unwillingness to end up a spent cog in a pinwheel. Adopting the examples of Ali and Picasso, he would bob and weave through colorful stages because he is a man who does not wish to be immortalized for having burned out when he can reinvent his heavyweight paintbrush to a more circuitous advantage.

He would ponder extravagantly as to why it is that humanity can be so connected and yet, so very much alone. There would be moments where he ponders a disappearing act in the vein of Elvis and D.B. Cooper. His senses- common or otherwise- thinking better of it since he figures the world is too damned interesting to leave behind when he has Bill Murray’s cell phone number.

I can imagine old Oscar standing on deck as his thoughts scream the stars to life and rile the tides. And then he calls Hendrix and Patton to dinner and reads them poetry by candlelight. His tongue draws out the love affair between a maiden and a shepherd as salt air heaves its blanket to cover them for a restless journey into day.

Like a prayer, everlasting.

Heroes Of The Week!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Hero Quote Of The Week! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Hero YouTube Video Of The Week! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lives there.

The Automattic Price Of Change

The more things change, the more it means that someone is trying to convince you their way is better.

With the new changes now put into effect by the powers that be at WordPress, my days as a blogger appear numbered. I say appear because Imma try and be cool with the maladjusted back door profit I’ve been learned that gets me a Botox version of Classic Editor. So long as I have this reasonable enough facsimile, I’ll stay put.

But if this improper impostor to the real deal, old school rule gets junked in favor of that full metal Block page, I’m going to close up shop. I’m giving y’all the heads up in that event, but I will keep you in the loop either way.

In the meantime, I’m gonna be writing up something called The Last Post, which will serve as an homage to my (yikes!) fourteen years worth of blogging on the WP platform. I’ll keep said post in my draft folder in the event things go Defcon.

Hopefully the powers that be do not end up pulling on what for many bloggers will be that last straw, but it never hurts to have an exit strategy.

Alls I can say about Block Editor is that I’ve studied how it might be able to help me write my thoughts on virtual paper and I’ve come up empty. The format accords itself just fine to the intended audience, but for someone who wishes to scribble madness onto a cocktail napkin like yours truly? Nope, not so much. Block took that cocktail napkin and made origami. It replaces inspiration with perspiration, flow with four letter words and writing with something else entirely. Hell, I’d be okay with a pay for play method on this transaction, seeing as how I’m already locked in to an annual subscription. Gimme Classic for twenty bucks a year more? Fine. And you can call me a dinosaur while you take that change and buy yourself a a Venti victory cup of java, Matt Mullenweg.

Of course, I realize WordPress doesn’t give a wit about me, and that’s cool since I wasn’t asking them to. They’ll lose others just like me, and we’re nothing but the same, basic difference to them. As long as the changes don’t end up New Coking their brilliant asses, they’ll forge ahead into their five minute destinies before being replaced by someone younger and cheaper. It’s the circle of life.

I’ll be just fine come what may. I’ll keep on reading up the blog neighbors who invited me inside their picket fences and I am most grateful for having made your acquaintance. As far as blocks go, yours will always be worth the stroll.

WordPress wants me to know why I should be using Block Editor and it has everything to do with their best interests rather than mine. So it feels good to say no thank you to that kind of self serving change, seeing as how the world peddles this kind of aggrandizement on the regular.

Change is a part of life, but when it makes people feel marginalized, well . . that’s not the kind of progress I will sign up for. And if it comes down to their way or the highway, I’ve only got one thing to say.

I’ll take my coffee to go.

Heroes Of The Week!

Superman Becomes a Star/Superheroes Take Over the World

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

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

So let’s get rolling . . .

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

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

Alex Smith - Wikipedia

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

Joe Montana and wife rescue grandchild from attempted kidnapping

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We give it everything we have.