Heroes Of The Week!

It’s never a bad time to be saying Hello Dolly, so thank you to the lovely Dale for this latest get on the legendary mistress of all things melodic. The country music legend is headlining this week’s episode because she represents that light at the end of the tunnel I’ve been writing about for . . get this . . . almost a year now. Yeah.

This week, Dolly received a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine she had been so instrumental in bringing to market. The money mama didn’t get preferential treatment for helping to fund research though, seeing as how she had been waiting on it since December. But no matter, because when it was her turn to go under the needle, she was there with bells on. And a song to boot. She sang a little rebooted ditty for the occasion, a down home take on her classic “Jolene”, subbing it with . . you guessed it, vaccine.

“I’ve been waiting a while,” Parton said. “I’m old enough to get it and I’m smart enough to get it.”

Bless her heart. No . . I mean it. Bless her heart.

Drew Brees' Intense Work Out, and New Hair, SparkReturn Rumors

This ain’t necessarily heroic or zeroic (a word I can only use on Fridays) but I feel it must be mentioned here, since it leans more to the latter. I’ve had the shits of this current trend among athletes who post vague messages on social media instead of just coming out with it. Two quick examples are Deshaun Watson tweeting “Loyalty is everything, don’t you EVER forget it” to the Texans when “Get me the fuck out of here or I will sit!” would have done just fine. And then there’s Drew Brees’ trainer posting a video of the quarterback pushing a weighted sled, hinting that maybe Brees ain’t done quite yet. Why not something like “I pretty much suck now but I’m coming back to make another thirty million . . somewhere, . . next year!” instead? Stop acting like mall girls, and just get to the point fellas!

Creighton's basketball coach used a racist and dumb analogy after a loss - SBNation.com

Creighton basketball coach Greg McDermott is the latest smart guy to say a dumb thing. Following a recent loss, McDermott implored his kids to stay the course with a Knute Rockhead pep talk that went exactly like this.

“Guys, we got to stick together. We need both feet in. I need everybody to stay on the plantation. I can’t have anybody leave the plantation.”

There are a million right ways to rally a team, and somehow coach still screwed the lesson plan up with this one. But credit his team for not asking him to resign, because the narrative would’ve been twisted into how the athletes have too much power in such matters. And then we’d have lost the chance to ask why the millionaires club of collegiate coaches has been given so much of it.

Alex Trebek muskox

Dale is at it again, gifting us with this next story about the late Alex Trebek. When she asked if maybe it was too soon for another Trebek story, I told her “If Kyrie can go back to back on these pages, so can Alex”, because of course he can. And will.

The image above shows Trebek visiting a muskox farm in Palmer, Alaska. Trebek became involved with the non-profit organization more than thirty years ago after its former executive director reached out to the game show host upon learning that the muskox was his favorite animal. Thus began a relationship that would last more than thirty years, with Trebek visiting the farm on several occasions. Aside from financial donations, Trebek also made certain to sign every adoption certificate for the Friends of the Musk Ox program. He became known as the “herd godfather”, and for good reason.

To all God’s creatures great and small, Alex Trebek always provided. Tell you what, the Angels have one hell of a lineup with that guy batting cleanup.

We head to the Windy City for this capo de tutti capper of a story that got all tangled up in my feels when I read it. It’s the story of a man whose passion is coffee but whose purpose colors way outside those lines.

Pete Thomas runs Pilot Pete’s, a coffeehouse that has been voted Chicago’s best cuppa a few times over, which is impressive as hell considering how serious those peeps take their java. And that would be plenty ’nuff for most business owners, but not so much with this guy. Because to his way of thinking, success is a light meant to be shared.

So he gives his time to a homeless population whose concerns go far beyond masks and limited capacity seating and vaccines. Pete Thomas comes bearing gifts . . from coffee and water to pastries and blankets and coats. Anything they need, he’s got their backs. (I dare you to watch the above video without shedding a tear).

His mom says this is the same kid he’s always been. Inclusive and compassionate and yearning to make a positive difference in all the places that need it most. And for all the unfair things this world throws at us, here’s proof of God’s existence. I mean, he gave this magnificent mama a daily front row seat to the harmony of a soul she helped write into being.

Stories like this remind me that the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t the only light we have, not by a long shot. And maybe all the vicious haymakers the fates have been handing up to a great big world full of true believers doesn’t stand a chance after all. Not when we have people like Pete Thomas on our side.

It reminds me of a scene from a favorite show of mine from back in the day. It involved a band of misfit souls getting pinned into a corner in what looks to be their last stand. Left to the darkness of a wicked fate, with little chance of finding their way out, their fearless leader, Sheriff Rick, lets them know what he thinks of those wicked fates.

They messed with the wrong people.

Standing In Line With The Voices In My Head

It took me more than fifty years to figure out that habits don’t necessarily have to be wrong in order to be enjoyed. Yeah, I know all about the value of good habits but I can’t say I miss them since, well . . . I haven’t really had ’em. But seeing as how I’ve cut bait with some not so good ones, that can be considered a good habit, can’t it?

I had time to ponder such things as I was spending half a day in a grocery store checkout line. Okay, it was only about twelve and a half minutes, but when you’re as impatient as I am, it’s really the same difference. I should be thankful for the supermarket interlude since it allowed the voices in my head to braise some thoughts and add some spicy logic to the mix. Here’s what I cooked up . . .

  • I don’t consider impatience to be a bad habit, but I’ll put it here since certain people do. And I can’t help it if those certain people possess the urgency of a slug.
  • Understanding, or lack thereof by yours truly. (See above).
  • I used to miss smoking, like . . all the time. Now I only miss it in contextualized renderings that rarely have anything to do with reality. Like for instance, if a zombie apocalypse ever happens . . Imma be stocking up on nicotine for the end. And then I’ll get to smoking the fuckers till I arrive there.
  • Back in the day I used to drink several times a week because, truth be told, it was part of my brand. I was a really good time with a few drinks in me. Problem was, the good time had no boundaries and I usually woke up in the morning with more sins to account for than the Lannisters. But with age, and hospital visits, comes wisdom. And now I partake once a week. Twice if I’m being really inconvenient with the truth. Turns out that wisdom? Ain’t nearly as much fun.
  • There was a time when I used to believe there was nothing better than a smoke riding shotgun with my drink. Hell, I still believe that. I just don’t marry the two any longer since I possessed not a wit of moderation in the coupling. Turns out that wisdom? Well, you know . . .
  • Back in the day I used to go to sporting events all the time. A handful of baseball games, an NBA game or two, even some football and hockey tossed in the mix. Fast forward to 2021 and it’s been a hot minute since I attended a live game. Why do I mention it here? Because I’ve come to realize that attending sporting events is a bad habit in this day and age. You’re usually paying way too much for much too little when watching on TV makes so much more sense.
  • Political debates have become a bad habit, so I’m glad I kicked it to the curb back in the Clintonian Period. It’s easier to order a roast beef sammie at a vegan restaurant than it is to achieve a peaceably agreeable political debate. Believe me, I’ve tried . . . on both counts.
  • Cursing used to be a real bugaboo for me. I’m sorry, I don’t know what the blessed fuck got into me, using the term bugaboo . . .
  • Pain pills were my bad romance once. Damn me for leaving them.
  • I save running for last, since it’s my best habit. I’m thirty years in, having taken up skiing as my gateway drug before experimenting with a couple jogs, after which I was hooked. And while it ain’t ever gonna stop me from missing a starched martini served up with a fresh pack of smokes, I do so enjoy the supple Zen it provides, sans the sticker shock attached to those daze of yore. So as it turns out, the habit I’ve clung to the longest happens to be a good habit.

Who knew?

Heroes Of The Week!

Imma hit the ground running in this week’s episode by venturing into Gene Roddenberry’s backyard, a place no man has gone for at least the last half hour. The final frontier of space will achieve two positive outcomes for yours truly; it will keep the treads on my Nikes pristine whilst ensuring that my carbon footprint doesn’t get brought up on charges.

And you can blame the lovely Dale for dishing up an assist on this one. She sent me this article featuring NASA Engineer Farah Alibay, a little girl at heart whose wild side got saddled with a dream when she was still learning to drive . . a bike. “My earliest memory of falling in love with space is watching Apollo 13 when I was 8 years old. . . What fascinated me was not only the vast expanse and dangers of space, but that teams of engineers rallied together to solve what seemed to be insurmountable problems,”

This Montreal born chica studied Aerospace Engineering at the University of Cambridge, where she earned her Masters before accepting an internship to the NASA Academy. That’s where she found her calling in robotic planetary exploration before moving back across the pond to MIT where she pursued a PhD in Systems Engineering. The rest is busy making history on Mars, as Farah is a part of the brilliant team of minds whose passion led to a rover named Perseverance going where no man . . or woman, had gone before.

Where some see stars inside the blanket of night, Farah sees open roads.

There was a time when hockey was prize fighting on ice. Nowadays, it’s rare to see two players drop gloves. But this week Marcus Foligno of the Minnesota Wild faced off against San Jose Sharks Nikolai Knyzhov, with Foligno choosing common sense over caveman. Even in the homogenized version of the NHL, the dude has fixed his share of knuckle sammys, but when it became apparent that Knyzhov was never gonna be mistaken with Canelo Alvarez, Foligno waved the refs over to break things up before the kid got hurt. Heroic? Nah. Cool? As the sport he plays.

peter-oppegard.jpg

As proof that the real ballet on ice has its share of brutes, I give you Peter Oppegard. He’s a former Olympic bronze medalist who later won acclaim as a figure skating coach before 2020 happened. And the allegations of abuse being thrown his way are every bit as ugly as the year they came out of. He’s coached up ten national champions, while also scoring a “Choreographer of the Year” award as well as “Coach of the Year” honors. And then Lombardi turned into a great big lout as one story after another came to light regarding Oppegard’s coaching ‘methods’,  which included biting skaters as well as throwing hot drinks on them. It’s the latest reminder that competitive sports needs to continually upgrade the network of safeguards in place, seeing as how the heart and soul of its young athletes lay in the balance.

Father John Ubel is auctioning off his 50 most valuable baseball cards

Speaking of cool sports, I move to the world of baseball card collecting with this next story. The woebegone hobby out of another time experienced a boom inside the age of COVID and Father John Ubel of St. Paul Minnesota could have cashed in, seeing as how he owns a sweet stash. Ubel’s impressive collection of vintage sports cards; with names like Terry Bradshaw, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Jackie Robinson and Nolan Ryan comprise but a handful of the more than 2,000 cards he’s collected over the years. But instead of profiting for himself, he’s hoping to raise $25,000 by auctioning them off, with all the profits going to the Aim Higher Foundation– a scholarship program for low-income students, where Ubel serves on the board. On the website, the auction is referred to as “Hitting It Out Of The Park” and I gotta believe Babe Ruth just tipped his cap to that one.

Restaurant owner Adolfo Melendez spent $2,000 of his own money to help other restaurants in his Wisconsin community.

Adolfo Melendez considers himself to be one of the lucky ones. The owner/operator of El Mezcal in Steven’s Point Wisconsin has navigated the myriad obstacles thrown his way over the last year while keeping his doors open and his clientele coming back for more. But many of his competitors haven’t been quite so fortunate, and so Melendez decided to help them out. Yeah, you read that right. He took $2,000 of his own money and bought gift cards to competing local restaurants that he will raffle off to his customers.

The lifeblood of every small business can be found in the people who open the doors for their community every single day. And so Melendez figures that the best way to go about achieving a healthy bottom line going forward is to look out for your neighbors when you have the chance. What a concept.

‘People must stop focusing on the symptoms of hate, that’s like putting a bandaid on cancer’ ... Daryl Davis

We began with space and we’re gonna finish things up in that very same place, with yet another hat tip to Dale for this keeper. This one ain’t about space exploration but rather, the space between. It’s where things like dimension, substance and humanity are replaced with a weeping void of hate and ignorance. And it’s the kind of history that gets planted in the darkness over hundreds of years and scores of generations to right here and now.

It’s estimated there are over 1,000 active hate groups in America today, causing musician Daryl Davis to lament that “Our ideology needs to catch up to our technology,”. But don’t take this statement to mean he’s giving up, because Davis doesn’t know that song. The pianist who’s played with luminaries such as Chuck Berry, BB King and Jerry Lee Lewis has been penning a different kind of song for almost forty years now.

This journey began in a bar in Frederick, Maryland back in 1983 when Davis got into a conversation with a man he would come to learn was a member of the KKK. That conversation changed his life, and ever since then, he’s made it his mission to change minds. With words, audaciously positive ones that seek light where the darkness has prevailed for far too long a time.

Davis has been meeting and befriending Klansmen ever since, and while he admits that some are beyond his reach, many have proven much more pliable than that. The point is, the courage behind his convictions possesses the kind of value that can span the canyons of separation that still exist in too many places. And he’s come to learn that there’s something much worse than losing, and it’s the idea that we don’t even try.

I just have to say, I read this story three times and I have it bookmarked so that I can go back and read it again whenever I feel, as SB likes to say, like I’m a quart low. Because for all the people, places and things that will try to steal your soul, I’d place a million dollar bet they’re vastly outnumbered by all the things that will replenish it. And so Melville, Martel, Twain, Wilde and Poe share the bookshelf that’s tucked inside a file on my computer, with Daryl Davis. A remarkable man whose spirit would give the Perseverance a run for its money. Because he’s not just imagining a better way, he’s doing something about it.

In the words of Martin Luther King, Davis hews out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.

Magic Dance

Howard Beach, 1983: Liz fumbled across the night table until her index finger was strumming the snooze option on the alarm clock radio. She lay still as the dead, as if by doing so she might stave off the day that was dripping into her brain like tiny beads of water from a faucet. She rose when the morning news broke through the darkness and switched off the alarm clock before moving into the bathroom.

“Fuck . . ” She said, examining the tiny shadow of a curl on her face. A virgin wrinkle. Her mother had taught her the value of pretty faces and gin martinis; a disharmonious combination that would end up stealing the elasticity of Mary Austin’s youth until she concluded that life was no longer worth living, and promptly moved to Long Island.

The chime of the rotary phone in the living room brought Liz back to present day. She ran to its bleating hum like a lovesick Lizzy Borden, craving that melodic timbre that was silk to her senses, even if she wanted to murder the sweet talking sonofabitch.

“Hey funny face,” Danny said. He lifted the moniker from an Audrey Hepburn flick they’d taken in at the Regent Theater in Soho on the day they fell in love.

“A Saturday, Danny? The fuck . . ”

“Half a day, and then we have a hot date at Don Peppe,”

“I wanted a hot date this morning and I got the fucking cat, okay?”

“Okay, forget Don Peppe. Makeup sex, pizza and beer,”

“Uh, no . . you don’t get to cheap out after standing me up. And morning sex beats makeup sex, every day of the week,”

“Debatable,”

“No, what’s debatable is whether you’re getting any tonight,”

“That’s harsh,”

“It’s why you love me. Get me some cheesecake from Eileen’s on your way home,”

“Done. I’ll be home by three,”

“That’s a half day?”

“Yanno, some day when we’re summering in the Hamptons and you’re drinking gin martinis at noon and having sex on a king sized hammock, you’re going to look back on this time and wonder what all the bitching was about,”

“Well now, that depends on the gardener . . .”

“Cheesecake as per your wish good looking,” Danny said.

“I hate you,” Liz replied.

“Hate you more, see you at three,”

Liz turned to find her black cat, Thin Lizzy, tossing daggers at her.

“I don’t need your shit right now sister, so you go tell it to the old man when he gets home,”

She moved to the kitchen and cranked up her coffee maker before delivering up some Al Green on her turntable as the intercom came to life.

“Yeah?!”

“Buzz me in! Buzz me in!” It was her best friend Maria. Liz unlocked the door and poured two cups of coffee, fixing hers up the way the old Cubans did, with enough sugar to send her into a diabetic coma.

“I hate my fucking life! More later . . I gotta piss!”

Maria was what happened when sound got pregnant with fury’s baby. The two of them had been friends since grade school, and Liz was thankful for the fact every single day. To know there was someone in the world more fucked up than her, it was a priceless thing.

“Coffee . .”

“Kitchen, I didn’t add anything to it since I don’t know what your mood is,”

“Bitch knows me!”

“So why does life suck today?”

“Never mind, but okay. Remember Richie Mancuso from high school?”

“Probably not,”

“Sweet black Riv? We went double dating after ditching the prom? You passed out in the front seat and he banged me in the back seat?”

“Oh shit, the guy I thought was too good looking to be straight!”

“Him. Well, we went out last night. He’s a used car salesman now,”

“God, I am so proud of you for moving on,”

“So we’ve gone out twice, he’s banged me twice,”

“When’s the wedding?”

“That’s just it, the fucking guy’s married!”

“It’s just so strange, Mar. A used car salesman . . . who lies,”

“I know! How did you get so lucky, meeting a handsome guy with money?”

“Easy. His childhood was as messed up as mine, Get this, his mother confessed to me that Danny’s father? Ain’t his father,”

“Get the fuck out!”

“Yeah, she pulled me aside at her birthday party last week to tell me this. She was totally wasted so of course I had to confirm it by calling her a couple days later. Turns out, she was messing with a family friend and the next thing she knew . .”

“Danny,”

“Yep. And it makes sense. They’re blonds, can’t grow facial hair to save their lives. I saw pictures of this guy . . has a Robert Redford thing going on. So no complaints on my end,”

“Do you have any weed?”

“Utensils drawer in the kitchen . . .”

“How’s the painting going by the way?”

“Eh, I sold a couple pieces last month at that art gallery in Brooklyn,”

“That’s awesome!”

“Maybe. But it was to the same guy, and I think he only bought them because he wants to sleep with me, so there’s that,”

“Does he look like Robert Redford?”

“More like Robert Redford’s accountant. Toke, por favor,” Liz said.

“Does Danny know? About his old men?”

“Are you nuts? He still thinks his mom was a virgin when she met his . . . when she met Carl,”

“Well when I have kids, they’re gonna know their mother had a good time when she was younger. Lying about your past bites you in the ass, always,” Maria said.

“I’ll make sure to remind you of this when you’re boring the shit out of them with stories of your time in the convent,” Liz smiled.

“Why does love have to suck so much Liz?”

“Because it knows we’ll keep coming back for more . . .”

Good Housekeeping: Magic Dancing, Show Lists and Super Sunday’s Best

Imma do something I don’t believe I’ve ever done here on Sorryless and put Tuesday to its proper use with some housekeeping.

As you know, me and Dale had a great deal of fun with our Rushmore Series. And as so often happens, from that idea came others. This past Sunday, I might have hit on one of those others. It was supposed to be a stand alone post about a girl named Liz from Magic Dance. And then Dale asked if perhaps this might become a series. And so of course it got my mind working overtime. And speaking of overtime, with apologies to the re-worked 5-9 side hustle musical spill that made the scene this weekend, it only made me go looking for the first and best original song. Love that Dolly.

Anyways, yeah . . more Rushmore references. Go Dolly!

As for the official title of the Sunday series, I think Imma go with Magic Dance. It has legs to stretch in the form of a weekly jaunt, but please don’t ask me where it leads because the truth is, I’m only halfway through my second installment. But I have plenty of ideas jotted down, so stay tuned.

I’m always happy to take any suggestions you guys throw my way for a Friday shout out on Heroes. You can send them to my email or just put them in the comments. Either way works for me, and I’ll go read up on what you gift me. And as always, mochas gracias to you all for making Fridays such a fun place to be.

So . . Heroes on Fridays and Magic Dance on Sundays. Which leaves my Tuesdays open to whatever I feel like making ’em. And now that my blog housekeeping is out of the way, how’s about a short list of shows I dig on, with a couple that I really don’t? Sure why not . . .

The Wire- I finished this one a short while ago and I miss it every day since. Back in the day, a friend proclaimed this to be the best show on TV. Like ever. I shrugged it off as mere hype . . until now. Let’s just say it’s on my short list of favorite shows I’ve ever watched.

Hollywood- This mini-series on Netflix might be the worst show I’ve ever tuned in to. If given the choice of being water boarded or having to watch a full season (I think we lasted two episodes?), Imma drink up.

Cheers- I went back last year and watched the full series, seeing as how I had dropped the habit after like five seasons back in the day. I find it to be one of the best shows ever made. The setting belies all the many issues it took on, without being preachy in the least.

The Office- If 2020 was good for anything, it was binge watching shows I’d lost touch with back in the day. It’s pure genius, but I doubt it would pass muster in these overly sensitive times.

The Boys- I dug the first season, so I was excited to hear they were coming back. And then I lasted exactly one episode of Season 2. Meh. Maybe I’ll venture back to see if I was wrong about this.

Mr Robot- This one is strange. I loved the first three seasons, but after tuning into the first episode of the fourth and final season, I was less than impressed. As with The Boys, maybe I’ll tune in to see if it was simply a slow start.

Queens Gambit- Anya Taylor-Joy is why I got hooked on this story about a chess prodigy. It’s one thing to play a character who’s off their rocker and it’s a completely different thing to play a character who harnesses that rage, keeping it just below the surface. Taylor-Joy’s performance carries the day. And it got me playing chess again, so there’s that.

Reckoning- Ugh. That’s it . . just ugh.

Flack- My favorite new show of 2021. It joins Dead to MeGoliath and The Politician as the show I look forward to. Smart and fast moving dialogue, scenarios that make you go “Damn that’s wrong!” and a sexy ensemble? What is NOT to love?

As for Super Sunday’s best? My cats Jack and Wednesday got off to a dubious start by picking the Chiefs. Somewhere in the heavens, Mr. Speaker is shaking his head in disgust, seeing as he was 6-1 in Super Bowl picks. Regarding the game itself, we got Brady moving to Florida not to retire but to win another Super Bowl. And maybe it didn’t hurt nearly as much as the other ones because New England was watching right along with us Dolphins fans. But while Mahomes suffered his worst defeat as a pro (which is unbelievable in its own right seeing as he’s been in the league three years), he makes Caravaggio out of broken plays like few others ever could.

I tuned in to the second half with my frosty sidekick and some personal pan nachos, and so I missed the halftime show and most of the commercials. Of the ones I did catch, The Boss won my vote for the time being with his way back Jack Kerouac.

As for next year’s Super Bowl prediction? I have that other Florida team, the Miami Dolphins taking on the Matthew Stafford led Los Angeles Rams, who become the second straight team to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium. The road team Dolphins pull it out with a field goal at the gun 33-31. After which Robert Kraft moves the Patriots to the Sunshine State in a last ditch attempt to break their Super Bowl-less streak at three.

The News From Someplace Else

The Paisley Park Cafe was that spot every town has. The place where faces got fixed to the names and all manner of business was conducted. Liz Austin was the proprietor of the bookstore/coffee shop/city hall. A runaway bride from New York City who skipped out on her adulterous stockbroker husband for the wide open road. She left the only city she’d ever known with thirty grand in a savings account, a suitcase and a New York Yankees baseball cap. After retrieving her ’66 midnight blue Mustang convertible out of storage, she left behind a Dear John note in the form of divorce papers and went Sally Ride.

She settled in Vegas, working as a dealer at the Bellagio and almost getting married more times than she was comfortable admitting. She made a small fortune by investing in Apple stock and then doubled down on Microsoft. With her first million in the bank, she went looking for peace of mind and found it in the kitschy little town of Magic Dance, Arizona. It had been ten years to the day that she’d bought a two story brick home in the center of town and converted it into a retail space on the first floor with a living area upstairs.

Every bit as frugal as the college girl who’d dined nightly on Ramen, she was cursing herself for it now as she slapped her Goldstar upside its faux wood paneling and muttered her most crude Japanese when the 13″ inch color television didn’t respond positively.

“Kuso . . .”

“What kind of nonsense you fixing that pretty little head on now?”

It was Chantal Du Bois, the comely middle aged widower whose reputation in Magic Dance was the stuff of legend. She’d made the scene five years earlier, circa a small town in St. Anne Jamaica by the name of Moneague. The forty fifth official resident of the town was also the first black resident in its fifty seven year history. No sooner had her heels touched down than she was rumored to be canoodling with the unhappily married Sheriff, making short work of the failing marriage and thus becoming the unofficial deputy.

“Queen Bee!” Liz smiled. Everyone called Chantal by this sugary royal moniker which spoke to her matronly presence.

“I’m trying to wake up this lazy ass thing,” Liz complained.

“Maybe it’s time to upgrade. What year is that old thing anyways?” Asked David Rockfield, between sips of his Cafe con Leche.

“1983 . . . first thing I bought when I moved away. After which I ignored it while collecting broken hearts,”

“Yours or theirs?”

“It was a close call,” Liz replied.

“Well, age doesn’t do us many favors and I’m fairly certain TV sets share this regrettable shortcoming,” David opined.

“You would think it could accommodate me when there’s news being made someplace else, yanno?”

“What does that mean? Kuso?”

“It means shit in Japanese,”

“Excuse you very much, girlfriend. Ya gonna cut ya mouth on all those sharp words,” Chantal said.

“I know mama, but it’s my home remedy for when the fates conspire to go pee pee on my Oui Oui,”

“Pretty young thing like you cursing? It’s like taking a crayon to da Mona Lisa,”

“Uh, what part of Liz have you been willing to overlook all these years?” David laughed.

“She’s too beautiful for that kinda language . . .” Chantal winked.

“Liz, the goddamned paper!” David whined, pointing to the September 10th date on The Arizona Republic.

“Excuse me, young man?” Chantal frowned.

“Sorry baby, but I like my news to be served up with an umbilical cord, thank you very much,” David said before leaning in for a kiss.

“Oh Sheriff, ya make my knees do the crazy little thing . .”

Chantal’s laugh filled the room with music. Liz often joked that having Chantal as a regular did more for her business than advertising ever could.

“Alright ladies, I’m off to see the Wizard,”

“When you see him, ask him for a new television set for me, will you?” Liz asked.

“So what is this business about something going on someplace else? Honey, there’s a whole lot of something going on someplace else, no mattah where you standing,”

“It was a plane crash in New York, what a horrible thing. It got me thinking about how long it’s been since I left. Eighteen years . . .”

“Well then, you might have to find ya way back. Don’t let dat man be an excuse for not going back,”

“I don’t think he mattered to me. When I left it was kinda like Thomas Wolfe was riding shotgun in my head. I never looked back.” Liz explained.

“You nevah mind that news from someplace else for now okay?” Chantal said as she turned the set off. “And could you bring me some of that magic nectar of yours, sweetness?”

“On it!”

“Darlin, you are a direct line to the stars,”

“You’re my spiritual poetess, you know that?”

Liz shook off the ominous feeling that was working its way into her bones. She delivered a righteous spill to Chantal, fired up the turntable and laid the needle onto some Queen as the morning sun meandered up the walls. She stepped outside for a smoke, her eyes venturing into the cloudless sky above as her mind wandered back home as if by divined by cosmic wings. She closed her eyes and prayed that the day wasn’t as irretrievable as it seemed. And maybe it was the coffee tap dancing on her synapses and maybe it was the nicotine surfing through her blood stream, but her eyes were carrying her now. She flew across that cloudless sky, shouting at the world below to stop running away from her even though she knew it was hopeless. It was gone from her, the world she once knew.

Stolen by the news from someplace else.

 

Heroes Of The Week!

How HBO's 'Watchmen' Captures the Spirit of the Graphic Novel | The Mary Sue

Welcome to the intersection of Friday and good times, as we get ready to raise the roof with yet another roster full of mostly good, with just a touch of grumble. The former allows us the inspiration that is oftentimes found in the most hard to reach places. The latter provides us the necessary perspective by letting us know that the journey has obstacles, but that they won’t alter our destination. Not one bit.

And now to the lineup . . .

Chick-Fil-A manager speeds up drive-thru vaccine line in South Carolina

First up is yet another front line worker who was called upon to serve, and rose so far above the occasion, the FAA should’ve been called in. A vaccination program being conducted at Seacoast Church in Mount Pleasant, S.C. ran into computer issues, resulting in massive delays to their line. So Mayor Will Haynie called in a guy who knows how to work lines like nobody’s business. His name is Jerry Walkowiak and he’s the manager at the local Chick-fil-A. He was able to cut the wait time from one hour to fifteen minutes.

“He actually got there before I did,” Haynie says. “He was standing there. He was moving people along.”

That’s what’s called thinking outside the Styrofoam box.

Hockey game breaks out after 40-car pileup outside Montreal

Dale from A Dalectable Life has solved the riddle with this next story. You know why Canadians are renowned for their world famous ‘nice’ gene? Because you can’t spell nice without the ice. And so what do a bunch of motorists do when they’re stuck in traffic on Highway 40 outside of Montreal? They start a pickup hockey game, of course!

A 75 car pile-up closed the road for several hours, so rather than sit on their hands and listen to Welcome to the Jungle twenty seven times, they took to the ice and dropped puck. With nowhere to go and all day to get there, these peeps made a stretch of frozen road their own personal Montreal Forum (Sorry, but it’s always going to be the Forum to this American).

Let this be a lesson to you, kids. When life hands you lemons, grab your hockey sticks and play.

Juliana Carlos aka Courtside Karen Calls LeBron a P*ssy, Says She's 25 and Not a Gold Digger Even Though Her Husband is 60+ | BlackSportsOnline

We head back to the Association for this classic, and nope, it’s not Kyrie again. This next story involves Juliana Carlos. You might be asking who? And you’re not alone. I’m STILL wondering who in the hell this woman is and I READ the article. She’s a pseudo-curiosity who appears on Real Housewives of Atlanta, and really, can someone please explain to me what purpose these shows have? I mean, other than keeping P.F. Chang’s in business?

So Ms. Carlos and her husband started hurling obscenities at Lebron James when the Lakers were in town this week and that right there is her claim to fame; being included in the same sentence with Lebron James. To her credit, Carlos has since apologized. Like, a real deal apology where she owned her shit. But since I wasted thirty seconds of my life reading this article, I figure you guys can too.

Stacy Milrany and her Little Free Art Gallery.

Thank God for art, and artists. Without which, the world would be a monochromatic wasteland befitting Orwell’s worst nightmares. Stacy Milrany is proof of God’s existence, in loving color. The Seattle artist has taken to gifting her neighborhood of Queen Anne with a miniature art gallery. Her first “show” was in December, with a painting she titled “Cat Hair”.

The idea was inspired by the Little Free Library, which offers book-sharing boxes. Milrany’s gallery is also an interactive sharing space where people from the neighborhood can connect. She says the idea was born out of a need to fill the void left by a pandemic. Neighbors are encouraged to take art if it speaks to them, which they have done. Others have left art, even though it is not a requirement to do so. In a month’s time, more than 100 works of art have gone on display.

One of Milrany's own pieces, titled "MLK," featured in her mini art gallery on MLK Day.

“It makes me feel like I’m helping in some kind of way, especially at a time when loneliness multiplied in the past year because of the pandemic,” Milrany says. “It’s getting people to go out to see what their neighbors are contributing, and people who put their own artwork that gets claimed know somebody has enjoyed their little masterpiece.”

Van Gogh believed that great things are accomplished when small things are brought together. There’s a neighborhood in Seattle that’s proving him right.

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I’m icing the top of this too cool for school cake with Katalin Karikó. And if you don’t recognize the name- I didn’t- it might be time to read up. Because it’s in thanks to the dogged persistence of this biochemist that there is a COVID-19 vaccine.

When Karikó arrived in this country, she had $1,200 to her name. As with so many immigrants, she also had a dream. It was the kind of dream that only gets to stepping once you roll up your sleeves and put in the time to achieve it. Brilliance is nothing without persistence, and when you add compassion to that mix, well, that’s where people like Karikó come from.

She spent decades developing mRNA and RNA technologies that have become the foundation for countless life saving treatments. As a result she’s received more than 12,000 academic citations.  But this senior vice-president of  the German pharmaceutical giant BioNTech didn’t get to regale in a cupcake party procession to get to this day.

In the mid-eighties, she transferred to Penn University to continue her research. It should have been the next big step in her journey but instead it became a period fraught with so many obstacles that she began to doubt herself. The research she had made her life’s work was considered too risky, resulting in one failed grant application after another. She spent ten years trying to break through that wall and her reward? She was demoted. Shortly after the demotion she was diagnosed with cancer.

Things began to take a turn when she found a kindred soul in Drew Weissman and she was finally able to receive a patent for her mRNA technology in 2012. After butting heads some more with the suits at Penn, she took a job with BioNTech, For all her brilliance, persistence and compassion, she might have a Nobel Prize waiting for her at the end of all this but she’s not content to celebrate until the pandemic goes rearview. And so this is the part of the story where yours truly is going to editorialize just a tad bit by pointing out that the vaccine for COVID-19 was brought to market by immigrants. Immigrants whose allegiance is not to any one country, but to the world.

What a concept.

 

 

 

 

 

The 4th-ish Annual Sorryless Super Bowl LV Preview?! (Results May Vary)

Myth-busting Patrick Mahomes vs. Tom Brady: The five worst Super Bowl 55 narratives for Chiefs-Buccaneers | Sporting News

In the week leading up to the big game, Tom Brady announces he’s a vampire, after which author Stephenie Meyer offers to write a three-part life story. The Chiefs file suit, claiming European products are superior to American made- thus giving Brady an unfair competitive advantage. The Bucs counter by asking for Mahomes to produce his birth certificate, claiming he is actually a Martian. The Chiefs quickly drop their suit as a result.

League news goes heavy metal throughout the week, with one standout headline after another.

  • Texans QB Deshaun Watson is traded to CBS where he will star in a reboot of a long running series on the network. When he asks which series it will be, his agent replies “It’s Elementary, my dear Watson,”
  • Aaron Rodgers announces he is retiring from football so he can host Jeopardy and drink scotch. Simultaneously.
  • The Jaguars announce they will be moving to London, but are rejected. “We already have football teams that kick the ball around and don’t use their hands,” explains Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
  • The Los Angeles Chargers are bought by the Kardashians for $2.6 billion. Their name is changed to the Vuittons and they are relocated to a more spacious locale: The Kardashians’ backyard.

The game is being billed as the sexiest matchup since Brad Pitt and Angelina’s first date. And the first thirty minutes live up to exactly none of that hype. As the half comes to an end, Tony Romo is shocked by the scoreless tie and remarks “Nobody saw this coming!”. To which Jim Nantz replies, “That’s what she said” and is promptly terminated by CBS which puts out a statement decrying the remark. The network assures its viewers that degrading remarks about women will not be tolerated. The halftime show’s opening act then begins its set with “Bitch goes down for a dollah”, after which the Weekend takes the stage and performs for exactly that long.

When the teams take the field for the second half, it’s Tuesday afternoon and Mahomes is still AWOL. So is the Chiefs offense, which accumulates minus 81 yards and is trailing 2-0 after the referees chip in to buy Tom Brady’s team a safety. Brady promises the officiating crew seats in his cabinet when he becomes President.

In the fourth quarter, Tampa Bay scores twice; first on a twenty eight yard pass from Brady to Julian Edelman. The referees come together to review the play after KC objects to the fact that Edelman does not play for the Bucs and is actually seated two rows up in the north end zone. The call stands and less than a minute later Brady is sacked and loses the football before he can pull it back in. Nonetheless, after another review Brady is awarded a touchdown for pain and suffering in what is deemed the “What the Tuck Rule”.

Kansas City replaces Chad Henne with actor Ryan Reynolds. Andy Reid will later admit he didn’t realize Reynolds was even on the roster. “He’s a great locker room guy and he always brings donuts in, so I wasn’t asking any questions,”. Reynolds then proceeds to throw for 311 yards and three touchdowns before accepting a lucrative offer to become the Green Bay Packers new quarterback.

Tampa Bay storms back and leads 37-21 with thirty five seconds remaining. On the cusp of winning his seventh title, Tom Brady takes the snap and is about to kneel down when he breaks his hip. The Chiefs recover and call a timeout. As Henne runs back onto the field, Mahomes makes an appearance. He explains that someone placed a tire spike in the parking lot of his hotel, blowing all four tires. “It only took AAA eight hours to respond, which is record time for those guys . . .”

Bill Belichick produces tape from a spy-cam he installed in the parking lot that reveals the culprit bears a striking resemblance to Tom Brady. The quarterback denies all charges, claiming he was in his cryogenic chamber at the time of the incident. Commissioner Roger Goodell settles “Deflate-Gate 2” and “Spy-Gate 3” by removing the Chick-fil-A concessions from both the Patriots and the Buccaneers home stadiums. The inimitable Jason Whitlock will later opine, “Brady and his former coach now have more gates than a posh California suburb,”.

Mahomes enters the game and promptly throws a forty two yard touchdown strike, after which the Chiefs complete a two-point play to close the deficit to eight. The KC wunderkid then recovers the onside kick himself and delivers yet another forty two yard score. He follows this up by running in the two point conversion to tie the game . . . with his eyes closed, while running backwards, and reciting poetry. In Mandarin Chinese.

The Super Bowl goes to overtime and the Chiefs win the toss. Mahomes tosses his third forty two yard score in as many throws and Kansas City becomes the first team to win back to back titles since Brady and the Patriots accomplished the feat in 2004. The Bucs ask for a recount. Brady asks to be driven to a blood bank. Chiefs coach Andy Reid asks for a double cheeseburger with fries and a Coke.

Heroes Of The Week! (Super Bowl Edition)

Patrick Mahomes Is Conquering the NFL - WSJ

Can you believe January is almost gone? It just goes to show, time flies when you settle into a normalized way of doing business. Unless you’re one of those fun bunch investors who didn’t pass go with Game Stop stock until it went Yahtzee. And for their next trick, a Reddit group is going to buy the Green Bay Packers and sell Aaron Rodgers to Fox Sports.

Let’s get to the lineup . . .

We begin with the floor of this week’s episode and it comes out of Seattle. The Seahawks football team has offered yet further proof of just how out of touch the NFL still is when it comes to domestic violence. Their offensive lineman Chad Wheeler was arrested this week and charged with felony assault after strangling his girlfriend to the point where she lost consciousness. When she awoke, he expressed dismay at the fact she was still alive. The Seahawks response on Twitter? Nothing short of sickening.

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To be “saddened” rather than disgusted? And later to reference the fact that Wheeler is diagnosed as bi-polar by giving out a phone number? No and hell no. On that second count, his diagnosis has nothing to do with the criminal act he perpetrated on a defenseless woman. So let’s stop taking any team’s word for it when they promise to do right by families and women. They’re a corporate enterprise interested in their bottom line, and so once Wheeler has done his time, he’ll be a free agent. Remember that.

NFL Network's Nate Burleson talks Chad Wheeler arrest on air - Sports Illustrated

Conversely, big props to Nate Burleson of the NFL Network for going off script during a recent telecast and mentioning the Wheeler incident. It wasn’t a part of the show, until Burleson made it a part of the show. This wasn’t a small deal, to break from football talk on the league’s network and tackle a subject the league is still fumbling.

“It was heavy on my heart. As I was going through the show, I thought, ‘We haven’t touched on it and it’s been a couple of days.’ I wanted to make sure we handle every situation like this the same across the board,”

It’s a big deal, and it took a big man to stand up and not be silent. Thank you Mr. Burleson.

Vegan NBA Star Kyrie Irving Buys George Floyd's Family a House | VegNews

Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets has made it a three-peat at Heroes, becoming the first individual to make three straight appearances. Only this time, it’s for all the right reasons. He recently bought the family of George Floyd a home. The dude gives a lot of himself to others without advertising it and so of course he downplayed his beautiful deed by calling it his “service” to those in need. I call it a young man’s best self showing up when others need it most.

Reports: Gary Andersen headed back to Utah State

Head coach Gary Andersen was fired by Utah State last November, with $2.7 million remaining on his contract. Which meant coach was looking at a cool nine hundred thousand graham crackers a year for the next three years to not coach the Aggies. He could’ve booked passage on a month long cruise, or taken a European vacation, or even splurged on a couple court-side seats to a Lakers game. Instead, he told the school to keep their money.

“Waiving my contract is the correct decision and enables the young men and the program to move forward and concentrate on the rest of this season,” Andersen said. “Coaching is not about the mighty dollar. It is about teaching and putting young men in a position to succeed on and off the field. Success comes when all parties involved are moving in the same direction.”

Heroic? Probably not. Stoic? Absolutely. And with public institutions feeling the crunch nationwide, Andersen has done his part. (Big thank you to Frank “Beach Walks” Angle for this get).

6-Year-Old Lily Adeleye is the Youngest CEO to Have Products on Target Shelves

Dale over at A Dalectable Life chimed in with this beauty of a story about a CEO who’s got product on the shelves at Target. Oh yeah, and she’s all of six years old.

Lily Adeleye runs Lily Frilly, a girl’s fashion brand. Being Boss Lady runs in the family, seeing as her mother Courtney runs a haircare company called The Mane Choice. But this adorable young lady didn’t just want to help mom. She wanted to BE mom. And so the dreams of a child have been realized in a way that many adults will never attain. Which just goes to show what happens when you parent your children to follow their dreams.

I’ll wrap this puppy in a shiny bow-tie with a story that provided that light I was talking about just last week on these pages. I’m including the video because I figure it’s best to deliver this kind of story where you can read it and hear it and see it, especially that. And maybe it’s selfish on my part. Maybe I need to cover myself in this kind of good thing because truth be told, my cynical side can behave like a grizzly bear after fasting.

A handful of health-care workers in Oregon were in a bind. They were on their way back from a vaccination clinic when their ride came to a standstill on a snow covered highway. They had six vaccines in tow that were about to expire so they decided to run an impromptu clinic right there. They went from car to car, offering a free vaccination to anyone who wanted it until they had administered the last of their stash, with an ambulance on hand to make sure it all went off without a hitch.

Now, six vaccines may not seem like that big a deal in the grand scheme of things. But I’m sure there are six individuals out there right now who slept a little bit better as a result of this goodwill drive-through. Good is always a work in progress, made up almost entirely of divine patience, brick by beautiful brick, in the quiet of our everyday lives.

That’s how the grand scheme of things gets built.

 

Let’s Have Fun With Words!

16 signs that really shouldn't be spelled wrong · The Daily Edge

Bradyfullitis: A moderate to serious condition that affects the central nervous system. This comes about as the result of extended periods of exposure to Tom Brady. This condition affects more than ninety percent of the American football viewing public, with the exception of Tampa and New England. 

Electoral Dysfunction: A sign of a psychological dysfunction which is the result of acute megalomania. Symptoms include an inability to face reality or deal with its consequences. Those who suffer from this malady will create scenarios in which they imagine they have won an election they actually lost quite handily. Those most susceptible to contracting the sickness are Caucasian, entitled and delusional.

Kardashian-isms: Phrases that have no basis in self-awareness. Some examples (but are definitely not limited to). ” I’ll cry at the end of the day, but not with fresh makeup” and “The bigger the hoop, the bigger the ho”.

Swifteritous: The inability of a pop singer to come up with lyrics that do NOT involve an ex. 

Applebees-wax: Listening in on another person’s conversation while seated at a chain restaurant.  This comes about as a result of having to wait on your order for an hour, after which it’s too late to take your business elsewhere.

Wine-ification: The ability to rationalize your way through an entire bottle of wine. Those who engage in this behavior reason that once the cork is popped, the contents will go to waste unless they are properly imbibed. 

Google-octomy: Removing the urge to consult a search engine for answers. This procedure is oftentimes temporary in nature. 

Twitterology: The language of regret. Said to occur when a high profile personality hits “Send” on a particularly controversial topic. This behavior is immediately followed by a public relations created apology which begins with “If I offended anyone . . .” .

Campbelling: When a head coach plagiarizes “Dawn of the Dead” at his introductory press conference in order to show how tough he is. This will be followed by, you guessed it, more inept football by the Detroit Lions. 

Joe Exotica: Art that is intended to arouse an individual’s desire for trashy, exploitative nonsense. And yes, I watched all eight episodes . . .