Heroes Of The Week!

Floating Flower Garden; 花と我と同根、庭と我と一体 - Single by Hideaki Takahashi, teamLab | Spotify

The above image is of the floating flower garden in Tokyo. Developed by teamLab, the garden is a technological marvel that wraps you up in the magic of nature. It’s a spellbinding tour through an ocean of flowers that rise to the heavens as visitors walk along. It is a place constructed in the now, but whose foundation hails from a long ago quote.

“Heaven and I are of the same root. All things and I are of the same substance,”

The monk who penned this thought explained it thusly. “People these days see this flower as if they were in a dream.” Because in doing so, the dream is malleable, no longer impossible or fleeting. In doing so, the dream becomes ours to keep.

Let’s get to the lineup . . .

Andrew Zimmern tackles food, other issues in new show on MSNBC – Twin Cities

You might know Andrew Zimmern as the humorous bon-vivant whose culinary skills are matched only by his adventurous palette. Many of you might know that Zimmern began his culinary training at the age of 14, graduated from Vassar and was executive chef at several NYC restaurants. What you may not know about Zimmern is that he almost lost that boundless future to drug and alcohol addiction and was homeless for a year.

He got clean thirty years ago at Hazelden Treatment Center in Minnesota, where he volunteers these days. The man who once tried to drink himself to death now lives a life of purpose, giving his time, money and talents wherever he goes. In typical Zimmern-ese, he admits that he doesn’t like talking about all the great good work he does because “there’s no way to talk about doing work for other people without sounding like a real douchebag,”. I mean, what is not to love about this guy?

I have Andrew in my top spot after having read a letter he penned to a friend who recently passed. And if you haven’t read it, oh please do. (Here’s the link).

Monster Mash Cereal on Shelves NOW, New Song Hits Spotify

Okay, this entry crashed the party, but hey, it’s a throwback to my childhood. And since it is October, I’m all about autumnal fixes. I got my apple cider doughnuts from Kauffman’s Orchards, freshly lathered from their apple cider reduction bath and served piping hot. I have every kind of horror movie imaginable parked in my queues and ready to roll. Pumpkins? Got ’em. Haunted attraction on the docket? Probably. And then I found my good old days sitting on a shelf, begging for me to take it home. And while I said no to the come on, I delighted in how it made me feel yesterday once more.

What do you get when you combine a self righteous mutt with a football coach who behaves like a crime boss? Urban Meyer, of course.

It’s been a forgettable start to Coach Meyer’s venture into the NFL, as the once (and I’m thinking near future) kingpin of college football is winless through four games with the Jaguars. But wait, there’s less! Meyer was subpoenaed over the summer for documents related to former strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle. Meyer hired Doyle knowing the guy was radioactive, and not caring in the least because he is Urban Fucking Meyer, after all. Anyone who was the least bit surprised at the Doyle fiasco wasn’t paying attention to all those player arrests that happened during Meyer’s watch at Florida and later on, at Ohio State.

So, I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation for the above video. Yep . . I’m sure of it.

Now, this next story is going to make many of those peeps who have used the dating app Tinder mighty jealous. That’s because Reid Alexander didn’t just find love on the site, he found a kidney too. And no, not the dark web rendition where you wake up in an ice bath hours later.

Reid was diagnosed with a genetic kidney disease called Alport Syndrome when he was 17. By the time he graduated college, his kidneys were only functioning at 20 percent capacity. As a result, he’s been on dialysis ever since. Not that he let the disease rule his life, not in the least. Instead, the Indiana native made a big move to Denver, Colorado. And it was there that he met Rafael Diaz on the dating app. It was love at first sight, and then a whole lot more when Rafael looked into becoming a donor for his new beau.

Rafael became a match for Reid on two counts, so after getting hitched in a small ceremony in April, they went forward with the transplant operation in June. While Tinder is a punchline to some, it proved to be a lifeline for these two love-birds who found everything they were ever going to need in a single swipe.

Take that eharmony.

Y’all know how I liken the grocery checkout line to Dante’s nine circles of Hell; specifically the First Circle, which is officially referred to as the Limbo Department. Which is why I’ll choose the self checkout most days, but not this one.

The Netherlands introduced a campaign called “One Against Loneliness” with the idea being to provide outreach to their elderly population. Companies, organizations and individuals were called upon to get involved, and the grocery store chain Jumbo is doing just that.

Jumbo provides a ‘Kletskassa’ or “chat checkout” in several of its stores. This line doesn’t concern itself with the number of items in your cart. All it cares about is connecting with the shoppers who choose it by engaging them in conversation for a few minutes. There’s no time limit to the chat, because there doesn’t have to be. All that matters is the connection it proffers. And they’ve had no shortage of employees who want to take part in this endeavor, so the success of this small gesture resulted in the announcement that Jumbo will provide chat checkouts in 200 stores by next year.

Colette Cloosterman-van Eerd is the CCO of Jumbo, and she has merged her passion for providing connections for people in order to combat loneliness with her business sense. It’s proving to be a model with plenty of upside.

“Our stores are an important meeting place for many people and we want to play a role in identifying and reducing loneliness. We do this in various ways, including our Kletskassas. We are proud that many of our cashiers like to take a seat behind a Kletskassa. They support the initiative and want to help people to make real contact with them out of genuine interest.”

One of the greatest gifts we can give to someone is our time. When we help someone feel connected to the world around them, it becomes the kind of song that changes the day they’re walking through. If there’s something more valuable than that, it ain’t been created yet. And you know what?

Who needs it?

39 thoughts on “Heroes Of The Week!

  1. Outstanding post, Pilgrim. Loved the story on Andrew Zimmern. He has earned the right to help others. Glad those lovebirsd found happiness and a kidney. Urban Meyer? Haven’t we seen this durtbag before? Like the idea of a discussion checkout. Just not when I’m in line please. Good storys. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

    • Zimmern is a really interesting dude. Here’s a guy who came from his own self inflicted hell, and now he’s doing so much good. Inspiring as all get out.

      On Tinder of all places!

      Meyer is the gift that keeps on taking. What a schmuck.

      Hey, we’ll be in the express checkout line so’s we can get to the bar, huh?

      Thanks Boss


  2. Another home run, Marc. Zimmern’s letter gave me goosebumps. Faith is a commodity that can be difficult to find. It doesn’t just come and knock on your door out of the blue. Kudos to the Chef for persevering and for his gratitude.

    Urban Meyer…ugh…what else can you say. #douchebag Add lousy dancer to his douchery resume.

    There must be something to the Mile High air. My post office deliverer for 13 years woke up one New Year’s and said I’m going to donate a kidney this year. And she found a young woman with a family who desperately needed it. Korrie was a perfect match and both have formed a close bond and friendship. People like that need to be cloned instead of peeps like Meyer.

    Love the Netherlands ‘connection line.’ We need more of that around. Have a great weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a letter huh? I read it a couple times, just to let it sink in. One of the most inspiring things I’ve read in a very long time.

      I called Meyer a dirtbag (maybe worse) in the past and there’s no reason to go back on that. Here’s a guy who presided over programs where abiding by the law was optional. There was the coach on his staff at Ohio State who was beating his wife and Meyer covered for him. Then Doyle. Now this. He’s a bad guy, truly.

      I have read so many stories about kidney donations this year, it’s really something.

      I believe you are right, Ms Monika.

      Happy Weekend

      Liked by 1 person

  3. B

    Another one outta da ball park!

    That floating flower garden in Tokyo. Wow. It must be beyond amazing to experience it in person. That monk knew of what he spoke.

    I had never hear of Andrew Zimmern and now I want to learn more about him. There is nothing like one who has lived his darkest hour and managed to come out of it alive and healthy to give back. They know. And yeah. No need to flaunt the hows that they help others. That letter, though. Beautiful.

    Monster Mash, eh? Those doughnuts sound divine (I’m counting on you, one day…) I don’t got my pumpkins yet but then, they don’t go on the stoop. They go in my oven, then in my soup, muffins, waffles… Looking forward to a horror flick night 🙂

    Urban Fucking Meyer. Here is proof that a tiger can’t change his tripes. Won’t change ’em (apologies to the tigers). What a piece of shit. And you’re right… he’ll be working till he chooses to. Disgusting.

    Yanno, not for nothing, I have said you get out of Tinder what you put in, You want a lay with no last names? No problem. You want friendship? Absolutely. Hell, I’m friends with a couple 🙂 You want love? It is definitely possible. What a beautiful story Reid and Rafael’s is. My goodness. Take that eHarmony for sure (besides the fact they are homophobic, so…)

    Chat Checkout is a brilliant concept. Way to go Jumbo! Such an innovative idea to help combat loneliness. It’s one thing to hook up in an aisle for a chat (thereby pissing off those who wanna pass) but that happens with peeps you know. I really love this idea. And, as John said, as long as I don’t get stuck in it, we good.

    Perfect tune, of course.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Q

      Going! Going! GONE?!!

      What a cool idea they had there. To give the gardens such a heavenly space with technology, it’s novel.

      Really? He’s the crazy dude who eats ANYTHING on that Travel Channel show, not sure if it’s still available. But yes, he has done so much good since he picked himself up and chose a different path. And the letter. . . I mean, seriously.

      They are the best donuts I’ve ever had, which is saying a ton. They’re dangerous though. And the cereal, it was cool to see it. Sort of like when you hear a song from waaaaay back and it takes you to that place again.

      Meyer will always end up on his feet somewhere else (probably college) because he wins. And it just goes to show what matters most to alumni, boosters and college big wigs. Winning trumps all else.

      I don’t think most peeps can provide such an endorsement on that count. I think these two are definitely the anomaly after some of the stuff I’ve heard about the app.

      As for eharmony, I remember spending about twenty fucking minutes filling out their questionnaire and then checking to see my progress hadn’t even gotten me halfway to the end! I ditched it right then and there.

      I can say kudos to those who choose that lane, as I sail on by into my self-checkout lane. 😉

      Gracias lovely!


      Liked by 1 person

      • Very cool.

        I can’t believe I’ve never watched that show. That letter was amazing.

        I will have to trust you on that one – for now. I didn’t even realise it was a cereal! Not that my mother would have bought it if it had been available here. I don’t remember ever seeing it (which doesn’t mean it wasn’t a thing here, too.) And yes. a song, and cereal have that power.

        He will. Because yeah. Bottom line is all the big wigs believe in.

        No, you’re right. It’s not the norm. But it’s not impossible, either.

        I didn’t make it through half the questionnaire either! FFS. Ridiculous. ‘Cides, who needs that, eh?

        Absolutely. There is a lane for everyone. I will only do the self-checkout if I have a few items. Like my aunt says: scan my own stuff? I don’t work here, you do!

        Always, dahlink!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I always take your post to bed to read leisurely. Sometimes I have to read it more than once because there is so much involved. That letter on addiction had me sobbing. No one can know truly what they go through but their wisdom is boundless. A garden in the sky? I love your posts. And yes I love monster mash!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kletskassas. Brilliant. And could be implemented in other settings. Don’t feel like chatting? Go to the regular line. But for those needing some connection (and don’t we all, at some points in our live)? Priceless.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The kidney story, Hazelton and the Monster Mash. We’ll start with the latter. I remember dancing to that song in my Auntie Ida’s basement doing a mean mash potato bop dressed as a witch.

    I read the Hazelden thoughts they post daily and give them 2 thumbs up. I love that he is there probably inspiring more than just sobriety, being as gifted as he is.

    And last but not remotely least, the kidney boys are stellar in my eyes. This is what it brought up. How, and you casually used the term douche bag in the onset of your piece, inspired my train of thought…Donald Trump for instance, could have helped so many people by being more personal with his dough rather than buy one more fucking set of golf clubs. If I ever had that kinda of money, that’s what I would do. Get personal. Kid in Omaha needs a transplant, hey…I’m penning that check. Johnny Depp, though I’d never call Captain Jack a douche bag, could have taken all that let’s kill Amber money, and donated it to a worthier cause. As for you, you just never know Mr. Imma, what someone’s prose might provoke

    I’ll leave you with a Bette Midler joke…a fave of mine…A man drinking at a bar says to the bartender, “See that douche bag over there, I wanna buy her a drink.” The bartender says, “That’s not very nice sir, calling her that.” “The man, now annoyed says again, “I said, I wanna buy that douche bag a drink?” The bartender creeps over and says nicely to the woman in question,”Miss, that man over there would like to buy you a drink,” She says, ‘Great, I’ll have a vinegar and water, on the rocks.”


    Liked by 1 person

  7. Beautiful flower power opening!
    The Andrew Zimmern story is very cool.
    Will you be watching “Tremors”?
    That coach story is annoying, crude, rude, ad infinitum.
    The winner – Tinder! I can’t imagine dating someone from an App. I wonder how often it works out, and how many people turn out to be App holes?
    Hopefully ‘Kletskassa’ , or something as humane will reach N. America. Doesn’t seem likely.
    Love the tune!

    OH… how about “Leviathan” for Hallowe’en?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Isn’t that great?

      Yeah, that letter was simply amazing. So much so that I had to read it a couple of times.

      I’ve seen Tremors before. You?

      Meyer is a scumbucket, and I’m being nice.

      App holes? Only you Resa! Buahahaha!

      I know right? Yeah, the chat checkout seems destined to stay away from our shores. We’re too self-involved for that kind of thing.

      Thank you!

      Hmmm, now THERE is an idea.


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