The Rundown

We’re gonna dress this episode up a little differently. Rather than an organized panel of stories Imma provide some ramble on my amble instead. I’ll make like the hot brands and just sizzle my stream of consciousness until it’s done to your liking. I mean my liking. Maybe both. I blame this change-up on the fact I’m currently re-reading Milton’s Paradise Lost, which is as close to an acid trip as I’m ever gonna get.

The Rundown will be taking next Friday off, and nope, Delta had nothing to do with this particular cancellation. I just wanted to clear the runway for Frank “Beach Walks” Angle’s ode to July. I think I speak for Cincy when I ask, where has the fucking time gone? Okay, I was speaking for myself.

Let’s get to it . . . .

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced this week that he won’t be ordering the kiddie vaccine for his state. And I get how there are parents who ain’t gonna dosey dosage with their toddlers. But some will, and shouldn’t the Gov give his people the right to make up their own minds? Rights ain’t pick and choose. Rights are rights. Right? In some alternate reality, DeSantis is lead man for a heavy metal garage band but in this one he’s the front runner for the GOP in 2024. Unless chaos truly is our future and the Seinfeld administration we endured last term achieves re-run status.

With Joe Biden running up the kind of tab that would make a gold club gangsta rapper blush, the seams of our republic are begging for a leader to take the helm. What we’re getting instead speaks to the inflationary cost of hubris, where short change heroes dominate the landscape. And John Wayne isn’t walking through that door, because he was only saving the days when they were make believe.

It seems we’ve lost sight of compromise. We don’t value consensus when winning is the only thing that matters. Even comedy has gone tragic. Like, Dave Chappelle saying thanks but no thanks to having the Duke Ellington School of Theater renamed after him was understandable. The dude and his alma mater had gone fifteen rounds over his comments about the LGBTQ community on a Netflix special, after which he got torched for it. Chappelle says his material ain’t personal but the attacks on him were, so he wants to avoid any further distractions by exiting stage left. They’re going to rename the school the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression and I have to ask. Why not stick with Duke Ellington’s name? Or is that old guy logic?

When smart people say dumb things: Gun rights advocates whine about how pols and celebs have armed bodyguards and so their calls for gun control are hypocritical. Did I miss where these bodyguards were responsible for our mass shooting epidemic?

The danger of our times is that grass roots efforts have been replaced with gluttony. Rights are no longer a collective dynamic, they’re a retrofitted designation. We don’t debate, we square off in the octagon. Our ethos is bought and sold inside a slimmed down power structure that favors the wrong kind of American dream, and the price we’re going to pay for not getting along is coming fast.

Gas pump memes as ludicrous as the skyrocketing prices - al.com

Which is why I thank the goodness of the world every chance I get. And I’m a fool for the stoics who cultivate hope in the now. People like Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov, who put his medal where the money was when he auctioned off his Nobel Peace Prize on Monday. He scored $103,5 million croutons in the doing, which is like twenty-five times more than an auction had ever raised for such a venture. The monies are going to Ukrainian child refugees.

Nobody asked me but . . . Ansel Engort is a home run in the HBO crime drama Tokyo Vice, and he reminds me of Michael Douglas in the ’70’s cop show The Streets of San Francisco. Which is my way of heaping high praise on the young man’s performance.

So there is plenty of good to dig on, and Cincy is helping to provide our walk-off story for this week. It’s about a young man named Miles Copeland whose achievement on the hardwood outshines anything the big leagues have to offer. Copeland is a firefighter for the Toledo Fire Department who also happens to play semi-pro basketball. When referee John Sculli collapsed during a game recently, Copeland showed off the kind of skill set that won’t ever get cut or traded. He spent half an hour bringing a man back to life, because it’s not just something he was trained to do, it was something he was born to do.

Even in the darkest of times, humanity’s got game.

 

 

 

The Rundown

A person runs through a pile of burning embers.

The above image (Courtesy of The Atlantic) is a ritual conducted during the Baikho festival at Gamerimura village, along the Assam Meghalaya border in India. A tribal priest runs barefoot through burning embers in order to show his devotion to God with the only rule being, don’t fall.

Um, not for nothing bub but here in the states, we toss the fireworks into the air. And while I’m not the biggest fan of fireworks, our ritual sure as hell beats putting your dogs through literal hell. Just saying.

Let’s get to the lineup . . . .

Deshaun Watson responds to report he had 66 different massage therapists

The Deshaun Watson saga is seedy cinema at its worst: It has lies, deceit, cover ups and celebrity privilege. Because if you think Deshaun Watson- Payless shoe store manager- is skating on the now twenty-four lawsuits alleging sexual assault and misconduct against him, you ain’t been paying attention. There is still the matter of when he will take the field as a newly minted $230 million dollar quarterback, and here’s hoping Watson gets to sit on the bench for an entire season. After which the league best go after the Houston Texans officials who behaved like pimps in creating a criminally complicit crib for their man. This story gets uglier every day, and sadly, more predictable as well.

Brooklyn firefighter Stefon Douglas was on his way home last Sunday when the fates penciled him into the lineup. Douglas came upon a house fire and he jumped into action, retrieving the breathing apparatus he had in his car from a school presentation he had conducted recently. Without hesitation, he moved into the burning building in his t-shirt, shorts and crocs, and while he wasn’t exactly dressed for the job, he was most certainly made for it.

Within minutes, Douglas had saved a three-year old girl and her mother. He says becoming a fireman was the best decision he ever made. Because of his heroism, I get to end this story with a nod to great literature and even greater men.

Thanks to Douglas, a family tree was saved in Brooklyn.

Top Gun: Maverick IMAX Poster Released

I wasn’t a fan of the original Top Gun movie, but the thirty-six year in the making(!) sequel is a completely ‘nother story. I saw it in IMAX, and I think I lost a few pounds every time Tom Cruise rolled a high number with the G’s. The casting is perfect and while the plot is cream cheesy, who cares when it’s being dished up at Mach 10!

APOPO- Hero Rats

Humanity has often been referred to as a rat race, and there’s a place in this world where the term is being used for good. No, I’m being serious! (For now).

Meet Dr. Donna Kean, a research scientist from Glasgow, Scotland, whose team is harnessing the power of the rat. They’re currently training them to help locate survivors trapped in the rubble of earthquakes. The rats are equipped with microphones and a tracking sensor. They’re nimble, diligent and quick learners and yanno, the more I read about these guys, the more I see the future of a Walmart workforce.

The hero rats are also being trained to detect land mines, and it seems like they’re a natural for this dangerous work. The more I read about these guys, the more I see the future of Congress too . . .

Muchas gracias to Dale for this really coot rat’s tail. I mean tale.

Both.

Michael Caine insists WWII was 'one of the best things' to happen to him | Metro News

Jeopardy! contestant Mazin Omer was chugging right along until he questioned an answer with epic fail-icity (Dear Merriam Webster, this is your free word, and you’re welcome). Omer was asked to identify the image above and he went with rock and roller Mick Jagger. What in the blessed fig pie was this guy thinking? It’s Morgan Freeman!

Welp, that’s a wrap for this week. Apologies to the Dow for not making it out of the Green Room for this week’s episode. That’s what happens when you drop harder than Steven Seagal on a trampoline.

Until next week, this is your host for The Rundown saying good night and good luck?

The Non-Annoyance Post! Volume: WTF?

The Starry Night - Wikipedia

Welp, it was bound to happen sooner or later.

In a world where annoyances are everywhere, I thought I would breathe a little minty refresh into my tired old series by heading in the opposition direction. Don’t expect this kind of thing to become a habit; not with five dollar gasoline, Marjorie Taylor Greene-isms and the Tampa Bay Lightning’s dominance still prevailing over our pizza party. But for now . . . right now?

Mellow it is . . .

  • Tom Cruise movies. I know he ain’t for everyone, but if you’re going to lay down a bill to go see the latest blockbuster, he’s gonna squeeze every penny out of it. I’m a fool for his Mission Impossible franchise, and his Top Gun reprise is a master class in endorphin rushology.
  • Rainy nights

Made up words Memes and Images - Imgur

  • Making up words (See above). Because it follows the same blueprint as my young parent disciplinary methods. As I would tell my kids when they said something they shouldn’t have said: Make certain it’s not mean spirited. And it better be funny.
  • Coca Cola. About once or twice a month I treat myself to an ice cold Coke. And I’m talking the classic. I don’t do diet or sugar free.
  • Vintage juke-boxes
  • Peanut Butter Chex. It’s not really cereal, but it’s still a slightly better idea than a hot fudge sundae. I marry my PB Chex to some yogurt because it’s a taste-bud titan.

Murderers' Row - Wikipedia

  • The New York Yankees ridiculously impressive start. I realize it means little when you consider the MLB continues to disassemble the essence of the sport by making the regular less important. And I also realize Aaron Boone’s teams have a penchant for folding in the most important games. But hey, how else was I going to fit an annoyance and a non-annoyance in the same post? Hmm? Huh? Hmm?
  • An actual good night’s sleep
  • Getting into my jams at the end of the day. Because it means I am officially done with the outside world unless some cataclysmic event forces me to switch back into my street clothes. No, check that, why would I be going outside if there was a cataclysmic event going on? Never mind.
  • Dark chocolate. And the fact that it’s good for you allows me to eat twice as much! What?

  • Nightmares. Nothing serious, like the death of a loved one or another Trump term. But I’m plenty fine ordering any other type of temporal tempura off the menu. Nightmares are free entertainment, and if I’m having one, it means I’m sleeping!
  • The Jack Reacher series by Lee Child. And not for nothing, but the Prime series is a peach accompaniment to the books.
  • Bird song in the morning
  • Playoff hockey
  • My uncanny display of will power when it comes to pizza. I could eat the stuff every single day for the rest of my life. And I realize if I did, that life would probably be over in oh . . about a week and a half. But so far in 2022, I’ve only partaken once. Which has to be my own personal best. And okay . . now Imma be craving pizza. So let’s two say times thus far in 2022, which is still impressive. To me.

Welp, I won’t be doing that again anytime soon but thanks for humoring me until the next Annoyances Post! gets cooking in my mental crockpot. And as Casey Kasem (never) used to say, keep your seat on the ground if you’re coming from the bars!

 

The Rundown

I was writing up this episode last night when I went to reference something for one of my stories and I came upon Smithsburg, Maryland. It’s the latest town on the map of a fractured country to become synonymous with gun violence. It’s how we learn geography in the states these days, and we’re getting really good at it.

For now, Imma share this thought by Martin Luther King, whose writings come to me as if biblical prose; to hold to and pray on in the worst of times.

“It may well be that we will have to repent in this generation. Not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, “Wait on time.”

 

386 Circle Slash Symbol Stock Photos and Images - 123RF

As if the world isn’t already the biggest shit sandwich shop going right now, the CDC announced a new travel advisory for Monkeypox. They’re recommending that travelers wear masks and “practice enhanced precautions”, to which I say . . . Nope. Imma staycation my legs and binge watch the fuck out of anything that doesn’t involve travel. The CDC goes on to say that the risk level to the general public is low but that you should seek immediate medical attention if you exhibit any of the symptoms. They include fever, swollen lymph nodes and pain while swallowing. Oh yeah, lesions on your body too.

I need a few more streaming services anyways . . .

Dave Chappelle Donating Money From Buffalo Show To Shooting Victims – Deadline

Dave Chapelle booked a last minute gig in Buffalo last week so that he could give all the proceeds to the community in the aftermath of last month’s mass shooting that took ten lives. The victims families have a long and arduous road ahead of them, and the only solace they might hold to in these darkest of times is family, friends, faith, and the kindness of others.

Good going Mr. Chapelle.

Former ABC News president helping Jan. 6 committee with presentation of prime-time hearings | The Hill

What’s that? Fox News ain’t gonna provide coverage of the January 6 prime-time hearing? I’m shocked! But no worries, because they’ll be riding tight on the story provided them by Camo Cowboy’s Patriot Page about Hilary killing Hoffa, 8-Tracks and Pet Rocks. And it doesn’t really matter anyway, since CNN and MSNBC will run nothing but trial coverage. They’ll only break in if there’s a high casualty count going on somewhere else. Alas, I realize it’s too soon . . . but it’s also very true.

And not for nothing (because that’s what it’s worth) but House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy now claims everyone is to blame for the riot at the Capitol. As in all 332,403,650 Americans were complicit in the hostilities.

I have an alibi around here somewhere . . .

If you love LEGO’s as much as I do, then this next story is your jam.

Forty-something newlyweds Richard Whetter and his lovely new bride Anne were honeymooning on the Island of Jersey when the worst possible thing imaginable happened. No, they didn’t run into Snooki Polizzi who was on a European vacation. Okay, the second worst thing imaginable happened to the newlyweds. The new Mr. to the new Mrs. lost his wedding ring after a dip in the ocean.

Yikes!

Enter metal detectorist (Yes, it’s a thing) Steve Andrews, who was called into action by a hotel employee. In ten minutes time, Andrews had retrieved the ring and simultaneously extricated Mr. Whetter from the doghouse. After which he gifted the newlyweds with their ring and his calling card- the pic above shows a mini-replica of our hero. He says it was one of the quickest finds he’s ever had.

And it’ll last a lifetime.

5 Tampa Bay Rays players decline to wear LGBTQ Pride-themed jerseys

Who knew the Tampa Bay Rays could be such a political lightning rod? In the same week certain of their players decided they would not wear the team’s Pride Month logo recognizing the LGBTQ community because of their faith, they also got in a skirmish with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. The governor vetoed funds for the team’s new practice facility in response to their support for gun control legislation.

Agree or disagree, the players who begged out on the pride patch weren’t being political about it. It’s just how they happen to feel. The Governor on the other hand, he’s in line to be the next Grand Poohbah for the GOP. And his move is entirely political, in a time and in a moment when we really need our leaders to be something better.

British Woman Who Fled War in '74 Closes Her Hotel to Tourists–Giving Ukrainian Refugees a Home Instead

Nitsa Michael’s family knows of war. Her family fled their home in Cyprus as a result of a Turkish invasion back in 1974, landing in Britain with no lifelines in place. They had to start their lives over in a foreign country and well, they did just that. And Nitsa, who is an 84 year-old great grandmother now, says she never forgot the fear and isolation she felt as a stranger in a strange land.

So when Russia invaded Ukraine this past winter, she decided it was time to close the doors of her family business- the Seaward Hotel. And at the same time, she decided it was time to open her doors.

Both.

You see, Nitsa was getting ready to welcome the tourist season when something more important than the bottom line came calling. Ukrainian refugees were leaving their homes en masse with no place to go and no lifelines in place. They were forced to start their lives over in a foreign country and yes, she understood this. All of this. Too well. And so she had the two things necessary with which to make the kind of difference this world needs plenty more of: The means, and an open heart.

So far she has welcomed twenty-two Ukrainian arrivals and she plans on hosting more. Because it’s never wrong to lead with your heart.

It’s how you find your way home.

Opinion | Robert Kennedy Was My Dad. His Assassin Doesn't Deserve Parole. - The New York Times

Imma go a bit off script but it’s the Kennedys and I’m still a fool for the dreams they once tilled on a soil in dire need of them. Robert Kennedy was felled by a lone gunman’s bullet fifty-four years ago yesterday. A big thank you to Dale for sending me this reminder, from brother Ted’s eulogy to his brother Bobby.

“My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life; to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it. Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass for all the world. As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him: ‘Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.'”

Here’s to the better days we have in us all.

 

 

 

 

American Made

Columbine High School Shooting: Victims & Killers - HISTORY

The image above turned twenty-three years old on April 19th. It shows a group of students standing outside of Columbine High School after Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris laid siege to a student population, resulting in the deaths of twelve students and one teacher. Armed with semi-automatic rifles as well as several pistols and explosives, the teenagers roamed the halls and library of the school for twenty minutes before committing suicide.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department would later release a statement which read in part,

While our community struggles with (the question of why) and grieves those who were lost, we remain united in one hope—that our nation shall never see anything resembling the tragedy at Columbine High School again.

So much for that sentiment.

According to a recent article in The Washington Post, more than 311,00 students have experienced gun violence at school since Columbine, or more than six times the population of Littleton, Colorado for the sake of reference. The article goes on to say that there were more school shootings-42- last year than in any other year since at least 1999. So far this year, there have been 27 school shootings, which puts us on a pace to surpass that horrible mark. And the median age for these cold blooded killers? 16.

We are the culture of violence President Clinton once feared, spiraling downward from our darkest day and arriving at a point in time where grievances settled with guns has become a normative dynamic of our national fabric. Our kids were just taking their cue from the adults, who have moved the terrorist threat stateside. As of June 6, 2022 there have been more mass shootings than days on the calendar.

For all the souls whose tomorrows never came, their memories are being trampled by elected officials who play politics with mental health care and gun rights. After which they insist that the nightmarish tallies are a bigger mystery than the Ark of the Covenant. Meanwhile, we are decades removed from a grisly turning point and what’s even more frightening is the thought that we might be decades away from changing that course.

There’s a passage from Jack Kerouac’s Desolation Angels that reads like a modern day prophecy of this darkly complex age we’re living in. If he was around, I think old Jack would have lots to say about a republic that has lost its legs. And not for nothing, but I kinda think he would have learned the fiddle. For the irony.

“Pretty soon there’ll be a new kind of murderer, who will kill without any reason at all, just to prove that it doesn’t matter, and his accomplishment will be worth no more and no less than Beethoven’s last quartets and Boito’s Requiem– churches will fall, Mongolian hordes will piss on the map of the West, idiot kings will burp at bones, nobody’ll care and then the earth itself’ll disintegrate into atomic dust (as it was in the beginning) and the void still the void won’t care, the void’ll just go on with that maddening little smile of its that I see everywhere, I look at a tree, a rock, a house, a street, I see that little smile– That ‘secret God-grin’ but what a God is this who didn’t invent justice?–So they’ll light candles and make speeches and the angels rage. Ah but ‘I don’t know, I don’t care, and it doesn’t matter’ will be the final human prayer.”

Columbine High School took its name from the state flower of Colorado, a hardy perennial that holds its own against the elements. Its common name is derived from the Latin word for dove. The flower has been important in the study of evolution because of its ethereal ability to adapt. This delicate balance of beauty and strength is living proof that what doesn’t kill you will not only make you stronger, it will make you whole.

Adaptation is equal parts dynamism, cooperation and sheer will. It is not dependent on convenience and it has precious little use for indifference. It wins its future by remembering everything that came before. Whereas humanity skips history class in its bottom line quest for kingdoms, this delicate sweep of colors stays honest to its past.

Hell of a world, where flowers learn the lessons we miss and grow the generations we never get to see. It’s been twenty-three years worth of dying and our country remains stuck in that parking lot in Littleton, Colorado. And in all that time, it seems the only thing we’ve mimicked from the flower that named a school is the art of stillness. Because while this genus has proven expert at growing its future, we went in another direction.

We bury ours.

 

 

 

The Rundown

Uvalde funeral homes overwhelmed — but not alone — in preparing for burialsOutside of this heart wrenching image, I’m going to borrow from our leaders by spending precious little time talking about Uvalde today. I’m not going to ask why it is that our decision makers can be so indecisive on this matter of life and death.

So no talk about Texas. Oh sorry, that was last week. This week is Tulsa.

Don’t you worry, I won’t be rambling on about gun violence or how the long national nightmare of Columbine enters its twenty-third year with no end in sight. I won’t ask how we might actually be able to balance constitutional rights with common sense. But it does strike me as mildly ironic (No, make that downright maddening) that this little mention at the top of my Friday episode is way more than I’ve heard from most elected representatives on the matter. And nope, ‘thoughts and prayers’ do not count.

Let’s get to Friday.

Jackie Robinson opened MLB's doors to people of color 74 years ago on April  15 | Richmond Free Press | Serving the African American Community in  Richmond, VA

I know this story has mold on it by now, but I need to take some time to chime . . .

The White Sox and Yankees got into a scrum a couple weekends back when Josh Donaldson of the Yanks called Tim Anderson “Jackie” as in, the civil rights hero and cultural icon who changed everything Jackie. As in Robinson. On the face of it . . and with zero context, this looks awful, right?

Here’s the filling.

In an interview with SI in 2019, Tim Anderson boasted “I kind of feel like today’s Jackie Robinson”. His ridiculous proclamation was based on the fact that he was going to bring fun back to the game. Oh, and in the same interview, Anderson spoke of how he once called a player “a weak ass f—— n—–,”.  Yeah, that word. The word Jackie Robinson heard every single day. The word that Tim Anderson glories in hurling at others. And because stupid always finds more stupid, Sox manager Tony LaRussa called Donaldson’s reference “racist” and of course Anderson agreed with that.

Was Donaldson being a wise guy? Yes. Was he looking to get under Anderson’s skin by calling him on his shit? Absolutely. But that’s all it was. To call it more than that is about as dumb as, well, I don’t know . . .

Calling yourself the new Jackie Robinson?

When is the Johnny Depp trial verdict? How long jury has to make its decision in the Amber Heard court case

Johnny Depp was awarded $10.35 million dollars in his defamation case against former gal pal Amber Heard this week. The actress received a paltry sum of $2 million. And I didn’t watch a minute of it. Not because I possess a guilt blockage in my dark heart over having watched too much of the OJ trial back in the day. And not because Johnny Depp didn’t deserve the right to clear his name.

Nope, I didn’t watch a minute of this trial because it’s . . . and please stay with me on this . . . It’s not my fucking business. And it’s not yours either. The only people whose business it is were in that courtroom; and it’s them and theirs who have to face the truths and the lies and the accusations.

And them alone.

Hey, some May/December marriages do work and I have proof.

Nine-year old Peanut and three-year old Cashew tied the knot at the San Antonio Humane League last week. It was love at first bite for these two smooch pooches, who met after their respective dental surgeries. So they tied the knot at a mini wedding chapel after walking down the aisle, which was followed with some wedding cake, of course.

Here’s hoping they find furever together.

Platinum Jubilee 2022: How 70 Years of Queen Elizabeth's Reign Will Be  Celebrated | Vogue

I’m not gonna lie, when I first heard about the Platinum Jubilee, I totally would have shit the bed if I had been given a multiple choice question with which to provide my answer.

A) Dolly Parton’s latest album
B) A recipe from Ree Drummond
C) A Celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s ascension to the throne in 1952
D)The name of Kim Kardashian’s next child

If you guessed C, you win. For now. Because I guessed D and Imma stick with my answer because I’ve got a feeling this one might end in a tie.

Marjorie Taylor Greene hostile in testimony over eligibility | AP News

You have to accept the fact that the government totally wants to provide surveillance on every part of your life . . .They want to know when you are eating, they want to know if you are eating a cheeseburger which is very bad because Bill Gates wants you to eat his fake meat that grows in a peach tree dish, -Marjorie Taylor Greene

What’s most frightening is that more than thirty thousand people voted for Ms. Greene in the Republican primary for Georgia’s 14th district. So let’s make sure we’re all on the same sheet of music with this one. Are we going to direct our pointed questions at Greene? Or the people who made her possible?

Hey, I’m just asking what y’all are thinking . . .

Quotes About Guns and Gun Control - Awesome Quotes About Life

I promised I wouldn’t write about Uvalde, or the pandemic of gun violence in this nation that is still going strong almost a quarter century after Columbine. So instead, I’ll leave you with this impassioned speech by Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. The man knows first-hand the horror of losing a family member to gun violence. He was a freshman at the University of Arizona in 1984 when his father Malcolm was assassinated by a militant group called Islamic Jihad.

Malcolm was a college professor as well as an expert on the Arab world who was the President of the American University of Beirut at the time of his murder. It was during a time of civil unrest in Lebanon and Kerr knew the risks, but he considered Beirut to be as safe as any major American city. To which his wife quipped, “That isn’t saying much,”

So in lieu of yet another prepared speech by another elected official whose job it is to stick to this losing game plan of ours, Imma go with the coach today. Because he knows of what he speaks, and he supplies something they won’t.

He actually gives a damn.