The Rundown

Nope, your eyes ain’t deceiving you. I’m changing our coordinates for Fridays with a different title and more diversified content. The new marquee describes the gist of this remade ride as I’ll be providing a rundown of the kitschy, the bitchy, and everything in between. Oh Imma still bring the good stuff, because it’s how this corner bodega came into being in the first place. Only now we’re gonna have a little bit more of everything else. Which is also like a corner bodega, so there’s that.

Let’s get to stepping . . .

Providence is tomorrow’s hopeful breath, and more and more vintners across Napa Valley have taken to finger-painting with Michelangelo by communing with nature in order to keep varmints scarce. Ditching pesticides in favor of raptors, hawks and barn owls, holistic methods have more than doubled over the past decade. As it happens, barn owls are one of the most efficient pest controllers in the world, and they work for food . . hard. The benefits are grape, I mean great . . both. Wineries have learned that barn owls are cost effective, they never call off and they’re not unionized. So that bottle of wine you buy costs less, and a beautiful species thrives. It’s win meeting win.

I’ll toast to that.

Kourtney Kardashian And Travis Barker Just Got Engaged - Capital

With the news that Kourtney Kardashian is engaged to Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, the Kardashian family has now officially surpassed the transportation sector in generating the largest carbon footprint.

This is a story of a girl and a boy meeting a house and falling in deep love. A love as deep as the waters off Newfoundland’s Bay of Islands, where the two-story “biscuit box” was located.

“It was the little green house on the point that I loved… I talked about it to my friends, my family. Everybody knew that my heart always belonged to this house,” Says Daniele Penney.

Beautiful huh? Excepting for the part about the house belonging to someone else and oh yeah, that it was scheduled for demolition. And uh . . did I mention that even if these crazy kids managed to convince the owners to sell, there was the small matter of relocating it across water? Love makes us do crazy things. And so after getting the go-ahead, Daniele and her boyfriend Kirk Lovell made the unconventional move . . . eight hours worth, across the water.

Thing is, moving a house across water is a process. You gotta strip it to the studs, drill holes in the floor in order to allow water to drain quickly, attach it to a frame that sits on a series of flotation devices . . and pray. And even with all that, their dream house was going the way of the Titanic. Until . . . a community flotilla gathered round the house and kept it afloat. After which a cheering section, along with the lovebirds and their 6-month old daughter Harper, gathered to watch the parade make it to shore.

And now that the house looks like it’s gonna pull through, Danielle and Kirk will officially have one hell of a fish story.

Colin Powell, First Black Secretary of State, Dies of Covid-19 at 84 | Smart News | Smithsonian Magazine

In the arena, legacies are a complicated arrangement of unrealistic expectations merging with impossibly difficult scenarios. Colin Powell lived that life for six decades. Born in Harlem and raised in the South Bronx, he was a statesman, diplomat and a four-star general, as well as the first African- American secretary of state. His life’s work will be transcribed by those who never rose or fell like the man whose story gets told. The stars will make up the difference.

Micro-Movie Review of Squid Game- I didn’t want to dig it as much as I did. Think a Hunger Games for adults. It’s potato chips for the dark soul, and you can’t eat just one.

Raiders Rumors: Mark Davis Thinks NFL Is 'Out to Get Him'; 'He Thinks It's a Hit Job' | Bleacher Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights

Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis is changing his story more often than Bernard Malamud these days. After the Gruden emails came to light last week, Davis offered a snarky no comment and capped it off with “Ask the NFL, they have all the answers,”. After which MD got all frisky later in the week by insisting the NFL was out to get him. Using the Gruden saga in order to twist some juice out of a narrative that hasn’t been relevant since Al Davis and the Raiders were a winning ticket is weak. What’s more, it’s nonsense when you consider the league approved the club’s move to Las Vegas, basically saving Davis from bankruptcy. So now Davis is letting us know the club is all about inclusion and diversity, and it only took him three turns to get his response right.

As I watched this video of little Emelia Muddamalle greeting her brothers as they walked home from school, a quote by Gandhi came to mind. If we’re to teach real peace in this world, we have to start with the kids. Amen to that.

John Berry was 15 years old when his mother Janis died. With her unexpected passing, memories became an education to which he held dearly as the years removed more and more of her from his world.

Thrust into the unfamiliar role of ministering posterity, in time he built his nest with the patience of a goldfinch; weaving sunflower petals to sturdy vines until his testament to Janis transformed into a quest: to find the lime green Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme his old man had bought for her in 1971. He searched and searched until he located the man who purchased it from his father: An auto executive who wasn’t interested in selling.

Undeterred, John kept in touch with the man because that old car had become a favorite song of his. “I remember my Mom getting in, putting the top down, putting a scarf around her head and putting her sunglasses on and going for a ride,”

For more than twenty years, John kept at it; checking in with the owner from time to time and making sure he was first in line should the man ever decide to part with the car. There were plenty of times when John wondered if that day would ever come since the owner’s love of cars ran deep, as evidenced by his impressive collection of Buicks, Chevrolets and Oldsmobiles.

Then September happened and John received a letter from the guy letting him know that he’d had a “change of heart”. And just like that, fifty years worth of searching for a missing piece of his life, it was right there.

There’s a garage in Union, Kentucky where a lime green 1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme now resides. It’s got all of its original parts and 42,000 miles on the odometer. In the glove box there’s a pair of Janis Berry’s sunglasses, her comb, a pair of earrings and some maps of trips she’d taken.

The car rides like a favorite song.

Heroes Of The Week!

When Hugh Jackman was almost fired as Wolverine after leaving director, studio head unimpressed with performance | Hollywood - Hindustan Times

Welcome to Friday! Well . . . we’re close enough that I can plant the flag on the weekend, don’t you think? Quick shout out to the lovely Dale for contributing the musical spill today. My roster is shorter this week, because I was getting in the habit of dishing up a weekly five until it occurred to me that it doesn’t matter how many stories I have, but the snap, crackle and pop of the ones that happen upon this place.

Let’s get to it . . .

Star Trek's' Shatner going to space on Bezos' Blue Origin rocket, admires 'remarkable' vision | Fox Business

If you were to ask me what kind of crazy man would venture into space at the age of ninety, I’d have to go with Shatner. Because of course he did that.

Jon Gruden resigns as Raiders coach amid report he sent more offensive emails - The Boston Globe

Inside a week’s time, Jon Gruden goes from mediocre football coach to outright creep. Of course, it wasn’t really a week’s time when you think about it. Because maybe that’s how long we’ve known Gruden for who he really is, but the evidence presented shows that he didn’t just become a racist, homophobic, misogynist ass in a week’s time. Or even in ten years time, if you go back to the dates on those emails. Because we’re not going to pretend 2011 was his initial foray into the kind of hateful language that forced him to resign as head coach of the Vegas Raiders.

Gruden regaled in being the league’s every man. A folksy, tell it like it is ball coach who said all the right things when the cameras were on. And now we learn that his preach was simply a disingenuous reach. And now he becomes just the latest phony to have fallen on his self righteous sword; a man who owes his standing in the NFL community to the same people he denigrates.

He showed us what privilege looks like last week when he shrugged off the email about DeMaurice Smith in which he wrote that the director of the NFLPA had lips “the size of Michelin tires”. Gruden said it was no big deal and then insisted he didn’t have a racist bone in his body before telling everyone he was done talking about it. And he would have probably gotten away with it until more emails surfaced this week.

William Rhoden brought up a good point the other day when he wondered as to the content in the replies to all those emails Gruden was sending.

Stay tuned.

Ohio State football: Ryan and Nina Day continue push for mental health

Not every head football coach at Ohio State makes the zeroes list on my Friday cruise (Yeah, Urban Meyer). In fact, Ryan Day is proving to be a refreshing change from his predecessor. Results on the field and genuine commitment to his kids and the community at large off the field is what Day is all about.

Ryan and his wife Nina have teamed up to create the Ryan and Christina Day Fund for Pediatric and Adolescent Mental Wellness at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. And they got things rolling with a $100,000 donation. They’re also involved with the “On Our Sleeves” initiative to end the stigma associated with mental health. Ryan lost his father to suicide when he was nine years old. He kept this to himself until 2018 when the rash of teen suicides in his community compelled him to speak up and take action.

“Life is all about ups and downs. We all go through ups and downs. When things are well and it’s on upswing, enjoy it best you can. Hug your family, hug your friends, get all you can get. Love it, enjoy it, laugh, have fun,” He says. “But at some point, it is going to go back down, and when it goes back down and it gets hard and it gets tough, you just have to hang on. That’s all you do is hang on because eventually, if you just hang on, it’s going to turn and it’s going to go back up. That’s just the way life works,”

It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you face the day.

Brittany Walters hugs Nyla Covington after she passed along her crown.

Imma finish up with one from Frank “Beach Walks” Angle and just letting you know right from the get, this one comes with a Kleenex alert.

It was a promise Brittany Walters was intent on keeping. On the day her mother A.J. passed away from cancer, her daughter promised to attend homecoming with her father. The senior was on the list of nominees for homecoming queen, and while she didn’t win the crown, she did end up winning the night thanks to that promise.

A.J. Walters, an administrator at Mississippi’s Forrest County Agricultural High School, played the role of Wonder Woman when it came to her little girl. From bake sales to assemblies to games, she showed up. She was that silent partner for her child, ceding the spotlight as Brittany tested her wings on the sky and every single good thing it had coming. When mom left this earth, it was Brittany’s turn to show up.

And then on homecoming night, it was as if A.J. Walters had been granted one more wish from the cosmos when Nyla Covington presented Brittany with the crown she had just won.

“I just felt like it was something that was put on my heart,” Covington said. “It was really just for her, to bring up her day a little bit, and she’d rather have her mom than a crown… but the point was, I was telling her that she was her mom’s queen and I was just letting her know that she was loved by many and especially me.”

Nyla says the crown is Brittany’s to keep, knowing full well the value of this piece is in what it means to her and her family. Because when they look back on all of this, that crown will signify a promise made.

And a promise kept.

 

 

 

 

I’m Such A Baby Cause The Dolphins Make Me Cry

Dolphins fumble away opportunity to make statement, fall to Bills 35-7

They say that breaking up is hard to do.

Check that . . Neil Sedaka sang that song, because it had a catchy tune and nobody really cared to verify the authenticity of his claim. And while I’m not going to call old Neil a liar, he really was. No one called him out at the time because the song went to #1, but it was a lie. Breaking up is easy. Staying broken up? Not so much.

Take the Miami Dolphins. Please. I’ve broken up with this team more times than I care to admit (Twenty-eight), from the Reagan administration to present day. As with any relationship, I’ve experienced my share of ups and downs. Problem is, I can count the ups on one hand. Don’t believe me? N’kay . . .

  • The Dolphins top rated defense reigned supreme in Super Bowl 17, holding to a 17-13 lead over Washington after three quarters. Problem is, they play four quarters in the NFL and Washington took advantage of this fact by scoring 14 unanswered to win it.
  • Wunderkid Dan Marino hit Joe Rose for the go ahead touchdown against Joe Montana’s vaunted San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 19, giving the Dolphins a 10-7 lead in the second quarter. And just when it looked like nothing could stop Miami’s top rated offense, well . . Final Score: 49ers 38- Dolphins 16.

That’s all I got for ups. And do you happen to notice a grotesquely asymmetrical pattern in the two events I listed? In the span of three short years, Miami owned the best defense and then the best offense. Just not at the same time. And when they flipped, they flopped. A solid offense would’ve won them Super Bowl 17 and conversely, a solid defense would’ve at the very least given Joe Montana’s boys a game. But it didn’t happen that way because with the Dolphins, it never does.

When it comes to timing, the Dolphins and their fans are the sporting equivalent of Mia and Sebastian in La La Land. We want to believe in happy endings, but then the season starts. For Dolphins fans who go back even farther than me (All six of them) Miami’s championship bagel currently stands at forty-seven years (I included this season in order to save time).

The team formerly known as the Indians owns the longest drought in North American sports, but whereas their heartbreak reads like Longfellow, ours is more Mapplethorpe. The Lions never win, but at least they don’t pretend to actually . . yanno, want to. The Maple Leafs haven’t won since the Beatles were still together, but they can blame their Montreal neighbors for hoarding all those Cups. What’s worse, we don’t even have a curse to fall back on. Unless you think bad art and fans who leave early to beat the traffic counts.

The current iteration of professional (sic) football in Miami was going to be different, and I believed it completely. Okay, I believed it pretty much. Alright, I wrote a post about it . . so, there’s that. In the post, I imagined Miami making it all the way to the Super Bowl in New Orleans next season with third year quarterback Justin Herbert at the helm.

Problem is, Miami didn’t select Herbert in last year’s draft in spite of his height, his cannon arm and his big numbers. Nope, they went with the shorter, slighter and more injury prone Tua. So while Herbert is going all supernova for the first place Chargers, Tua has underperformed to this point in his young career and is currently on the (shocker!) injured list.

The Dolphins have made picking the wrong guy an art form. They chose Daunte Culpepper over Drew Brees in free agency and then watched as Culpepper crashed and burned before retiring while Brees went on to have a Hall of Fame career which included a Super Bowl win with the New Orleans Saints. They chose Jake Long over Matt Ryan, Ronnie Brown over Aaron Rodgers and most recently, Ryan Fitzpatrick over a guy named Tom Brady.

So at 1-4, I am once again breaking up with the Miami Dolphins. Call me a fair weather fan if you will, but I have better things to do with my time. Like stand in line at the grocery store and watch Season 2 of Mr. Mercedes. And I’ll also be rooting for the Georgia Bulldogs to win it all this year, but not too intimately, since I don’t want to transfer any of that Miami juju to those guys.

I’m getting out while the getting is gravy, since next week the Dolphins play the winless Jacksonville Jaguars. Who happen to be coached by Urban “Magic Lap” Meyer. I’ll be damned if I’m going to watch the Dolphins gift that fuckhead his first NFL win. I mean, getting our asses handed to us by the Bills and Bucs is one thing, but next week would be a bridge too far for yours truly. So I’m out.

Until next year. Of course. Because between now and then they’ll fire a bunch of coaches, hire a bunch of new coaches, draft a couple players with high ceilings and sign a couple of promising free agents. And then they’ll be like Hey baby! And I’ll be like No boo, you can’t keep doing this to me! But they’ll promise me that this time, things really are gonna be different and I’ll believe them. Again.

Love bites.

 

 

 

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?

Tonight We’re Gonna Party Like It’s $19.99

I never quite understood what “if memory serves me right” meant, until now.

When I borrow the term, it means I’m applying a hedge to my guess. I’m slapping a plus/minus to a given year since my memory ain’t what it used to be. I guess it’s true that the more time you blow through, the more expensive it becomes.

October of 2014 was (probably) the last time I considered Halloween parties a good idea. Which makes me an insufferable bore, thereby ensuring my omission from future entanglements. That’s how win marries win without anybody getting hurt in the process. I’m nothing if not a simple Samurai.

Parties have become a perilous excursion for me as it is. Outside of family or close friends, I no longer attend get togethers that require an RSVP. And I’m less inclined to consider one that involves costumes, alcohol and strangers. Except that I am. Considering it. Only because the hostess is fun and not an ex and . . well did I mention she wasn’t an ex?

Of course, this means I have to dust off “Marco’s Party Rules”, to which I’ll employ my power five. . .

The 3 Person Rule- If you can wrangle up three people you would spend a couple hours with, no problemo. This list cannot include the host/hostess since they will be preoccupied. And it cannot include someone who does not drink or someone who drinks too much. And no Scientologists.

Don’t Get High On Your Own Supply- Don’t partake of the bottle you gift. You’re not a Scientologist!

Tunnel Vision- Make certain to focus on the familiar. Dwelling on strange faces will make the evening feel like a Dario Argento flick.

Lie, Humorously- A great way to break the ice is to introduce yourself with a lie. I’m talking devil-may-care shit like “Nah, I don’t know the hosts, I was passing through and saw all the commotion and decided to grab a quick bite!”.

Be Unapproachable- Fuck breaking the ice, it’s better not to engage in the first place. A helpful yardstick is for your personality to reside somewhere between a member of the Taliban and a Sandinista on holiday.

So I’m trying to build a posse for this party, and my recruitment began with Nicole. She’s a farmer’s wife whose hobby is harvesting pollen from honeybees. She clearly lives a dangerous life and I need that kind of firepower for this operation.

“Barry’s definitely going,” She assured me, as if she was selling me a baby blue Cadillac Eldorado, which he most certainly is not.

“He doesn’t drink, he loves Jesus and he’s got a new girlfriend, so . . nope,”

“Is Brandon going?”

“Too young,”

“Jane?”

“Too Catholic,”

“Did you ever think maybe you’re too particular?”

“All the time, but that’s beside the point. What I want to know is, are you going?”

“Halloween parties always feel like a good idea,” She began.

But . . .

“. . but it never works out that way . .”

She’s right of course. Halloween parties are like that summer blockbuster (all of them) that you can’t wait to see, after which you curse yourself for having been born in a country that encourages such atrocities.

So if my memory serves me right, I think I’m busy that weekend.

Heroes Of The Week!

Cool Superhero Wallpapers - Top Free Cool Superhero Backgrounds - WallpaperAccess

I cannot believe we are at the intersection of Get and Down already! This year has moved more quickly than Harry Styles in a Forever 21 store. Not that we’re complaining, exactly. Not when 2021 has been a combustible sequel to the unforgettably forgettable year before. But hey, let’s not dwell on the rearview when the dashboard is knocking boots and the road ahead might yet prove to be yellow bricked.

Let’s get to the roster instead . . .

Grocery delivery, pickup expands at Whole Foods | Supermarket News

This week’s “Oh . . ma Gawd!” prize goes to anyone who was the least bit surprised that Prime has slapped a surcharge of $9.95 to its grocery delivery service. Pissed? That I can understand, but surprised? For one thing, the grocery delivery business model was fraught with obstacles before the pandemic. For another, Jeff Bezos’ promise to make Whole Foods prices more affordable when he bought the company for $13.7 billion four years ago has stalled. And lastly . . oh ma Gawd! . . Prime slaps a price on everything, people!

Food Stash Foundation (@FoodStashFdn) | Twitter

We’re gonna chase those blews away quickaly, by posting a shout out to the Food Stash Foundation for combating food waste. This is an issue that really plucks my fiddle, as I feel that the food we waste on a daily basis in this country is akin to criminal negligence.

Well, I learned something. Our pals to the north have it just as bad as us when it comes to the matter. And food waste seems to be a really big problem in picturesque Vancouver, of all places. I mean . . who knew? Other than the good people at the Food Stash Foundation, who make it their business to know these things and then to do something about them.

They’ll be opening the doors on a “Rescued Food Market” today. For three hours every Friday, everyone is welcome to “pay what you feel” in order to get food out of a landfill and onto dinner tables. The foundation collects food from wholesalers, grocers and farms and delivers it to other organizations. Even still they’re left with a surplus most times and so they needed a place to offload this surplus. Thankfully, they’ve been helped by a new piece of legislation that absolves companies of liability for releasing food that is out of its best by date.

This is great good work without a surcharge.

Javier Folgar is the owner of TOA Waters- a company specializing in bath products. To commemorate the one year anniversary of his business in September, he decided to create a blog post highlighting the year that was. He used the photos from a scrapbook his mother had made for him last Christmas when his company was just a few months old.

Once he’d finished with the photos he packed up his stuff to return the scrapbook to mom, who had a few more additions to make. He placed the scrapbook on top of his car and packed his gear up before heading to mama’s place. So excited was he that umm . . yeah, well . . he forgot to retrieve the scrapbook from the top of his car.

This is where good neighbors make all the difference because no sooner had he stopped for gas than he received a text from one of his neighbors, informing him she had his scrapbook. Most of it. And then a funny beautiful thing happened, minute by minute, hour by hour, neighbor to neighbor. More and more people came forward with the lost pages to this special memento until it was whole again.

“When I think about it, it was very symbolic of how my parents have always looked after me, even as an adult. My mother, without hesitation, even offered to remake that scrapbook for me because she knew how much it meant to me,” Javier says.

Believe in the better angels, because well . . there’s something to that.

If you’re like me, the name Jan Zwartendijk didn’t mean anything to you until you started reading up on what this man accomplished during his time on this earth. But after you learn just a little bit about him, you’ll be thankful that you live in a world that he once called home.

And now, forty-five years since his passing comes a new biography- The Just: How Six Unlikely Heroes Saved Thousands of Jews From The Holocaust. It details how Zwartendijk may have saved as many as 10,000 souls from the Holocaust.

One day he was selling gramophones and lightbulbs for the Philips Corporation in Lithuania and the next, he was a consul. And it was in this position that he dealt with the influx of Jewish refugees from Poland seeking his help. And in his words he began doing “what everyone would have done… if they had been in this position,”.

His humility was exceeded only by his prolific outreach as he would issue 2,139 passport visas to Jewish families for entry into the Dutch Caribbean colony of Curaçao. It was thanks to his signature and an official stamp that so many were saved from certain death. On reading the biography of his life, Stephen Spielberg wrote, “If I had known Jan Zwartendijk’s story before, I would have filmed that.” Which is one hell of a beautifully posthumous honor, and a well deserved one. But in the end what matters more than anything is that 95 percent of the people who crossed his path during that horrific period in our world’s history, survived. And it’s what he would tell you if he was here today. Because it really is the only thing that matters in the end.

His life was three-dimensional scripture, his resonance sewn into the cosmos by actions rather than words. Being soft spoken, reliable and trust worthy may not move the needle for most in this crazy world, but I assure you there are ten thousand people and then tens of thousands more who would disagree.

Here’s to the man whose echoes light those distant stars so that the world may always have light.

If I had the bread, this would be my circus

Roman colosseum 3d model

After having given this some thought . . (Nineteen seconds worth), I have decided that my fandom is more middle of the road than Josh Duhamel at the Academy Awards. I care, but not enough to invest any kind of serious time or money to the situation. Which would make me the perfect owner, according to me.

And if Imma represent, I’d choose the NFL, only because I want to see the inside of Jerry Jones’s secret bunker. Outside of family and college pals, the only peeps who have clearance to this end of the world jungle room are NFL owners, Tony Romo and interns.

My team would hail from Montana, because while I want to see the inside of JJ’s bunker, I ain’t planning on shacking up there in the event of a real emergency. Hell no, I’ll have my own bunker. In Montana. Several stories beneath my compound, which will be an exact replica of the Corleone’s old place.

Team name? That’s easy, the Sentiments. It’s got a rhythm and blues coolness to it, and hey, I take care of my guys. Being a big league athlete who plays in Big Sky Country for a team with a cool ass name like the Sentiments? They’re going to score more dishes than a busboy on Mother’s Day. And as a result, I’ll never have to buy liquor again.

I would call my joint “The Boneyard”, flouting any commercial leashes in favor of the esprit de corps that will provide the requisite connection between fan and player. Because I find the best stadiums and arenas have a dialect known only to the regulars, which is why home cooking is most advantageous.

Also, never utter the word ‘stadium’ around me. If you must reference the locale in which we do business, call it an arena. The term has been bought by winter sports but it will always be the province of gladiators; These palaces are the progeny of a once mighty Europe, where the games people played were far from neat affairs. We ain’t that, but we’re looking to greenlight the production to make it appear as if war is being waged, hell is being unleashed and all that other macho bullshit. Hey, it’s theater in cleats, yanno?

That said, I’m not going to be in the business of hiring actors. So if a player has a social media account of any kind, he best keep it civil and smart. Putting dumb shit out there will result in a one game suspension. Conversely, putting good shit out there will result in fun little bonuses, just because. So . . . keep it coo.

As for the pie I’m slicing? While it’s easy to shake our collective heads at the exorbitant wages granted to those who play the game, well . . it’s a little late to be writing country songs about it. As an owner I must abide by the updated manual or wither on the vine. However . . .players who want a restructured contract a year after signing a new deal will be asked to find trade partners and/or a new agent. I don’t have time for divas or dummies on my roster. Want a little more of the what’s what? K . . .

  • Odell Beckham Jr., who has made a lot of coin off a single one-handed catch . . will never play for my team.
  • Urban Meyer, who is the biggest phony in an industry full of them . . will never coach for my team.
  • There will be no “free concerts” before our home games, even if our TV daddies insist upon it. We’re in the business of football, not music.
  • Safe and affordable parking. Fans shouldn’t be afraid of getting beat up or going broke when they come to our place.
  • Alcohol sales cut off at half-time. Because this ain’t a frat party and “fans” don’t get to escape their miserable lives by wrecking my house.
  • Any “fans” caught throwing shit on the field will be arrested and their name will be posted on our website.
  • So basically . . you best be an actual fan or you will be sorry you came to my place.
  • We have a home uniform and an away uniform . . we don’t have a million different alternate jerseys meant to soak our fanbase out of more of their hard earned dough.
  • When we ain’t playing games, we will rent out the joint to other events . . as per. But we will also loan the place out to schools and charitable organizations, free of charge. If a team is part of the community, it only stands to reason they do community things.
  • Concessions will feature small businesses on a rotating basis. Give the fans local flavor, give local business owners a chance to grow.

My team will be more entertaining than Kung Fu disco, mightier than a Chuck Norris handshake and cooler than Paul Newman. And when Roger Goodell decides to pay a visit, he can buy a ticket like everyone else.

I think Jerry Jones would dig that just fine.

Heroes Of The Week!

Polish Girl With Down Syndrome Sends Painting to Queen Elizabeth and is 'Over the Moon' Receiving a Reply - LOOKWelcome back to another Friday morning surf on the righteous wave that will deliver us to that pristine shore otherwise known as the weekend. This week Imma serve up a menu consisting of five honest to mostly goodness entrees, and when I tell you they couldn’t be more different, I ain’t kidding.

Let’s get our Friday started with 12-year-old wunderkid Wanessa Bąkowska, who scores the marquee for her impressive skill set and spirited conviction. She’s a seriously talented painter whose works appear on a Facebook page her mother has put together for her. And she also happens to be a huge fan of royalty, and so it was that she got it in her head to write a letter to Queen Elizabeth, because she figures if you can think it, why not write it? And that letter went like this . . .

“Your Majesty, my name is Wanessa and I am 12 years old. I live in Poland, in the small town of Lipka . . . I have wonderful teachers and many friends. I have mum Karolina, dad Rafał, brother Alan and sister Nutka. I love them very much . . . I am a person with a disability and Down Syndrome. Nevertheless, I paint pictures. I would like to give you one of them, Your Majesty. The title of this painting is ‘Earth’. Greetings from Poland.”

How sweet is this little lady? Putting herself out there like that, even though the chances that the Queen of England is going to reply are . . oh wait, the Queen of England replied. And here’s her letter . . .

Some people live their lives chasing dreams, and then there’s little Wanessa, who is simply living that dream to its fullest. To her way of thinking, it makes no sense to waste your time dwelling on the odds.

Not when a simple hello works so much better.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez departs The 2021 Met Gala

We can’t blame Trump for the seriously awful reality show that American politics has become. His reign of error was absurdist theater, no doubt about it. But we have more actors where he came from and this week’s “Are you kidding me?” moment was brought to us by Alexandria “Look At Me!” Ocasio-Cortez. Who needs meaningful dialogue and practical solutions when you can just have a photo-op? And so AOC decided it was a good idea to grandstand during the Met Gala by wearing a dress better suited for a DC Comic book. And not for nothing but, NYC is looking to attract more businesses . . not scare them away. The Representative out of New York’s 14th Congressional District best drop the Page Six act and get down to doing the people’s business.

Coronavirus: Texas couple asked to leave restaurant for wearing face masks | CTV News

Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A couple walks into a restaurant and after being seated, a request is made to which they refuse to abide; after which the couple is asked to leave said restaurant.

It happened in . . you guessed it, Texas. But this tale comes with a twist, seeing as how the couple was asked to leave not because they refused to wear a face covering, but because they insisted on wearing one. It was a choice that went against owner Tom Blackmer’s wishes. See, Hang Time Sports Grill and Bar, located in Rowlett Texas is taking a stand “against politics” by playing politics. And so what that Natalie Wester and her husband, Jose Lopez-Guerrero have a four-year old son who has cystic-fibrosis?

And so it is that the ignorant among us continue to insist they’re being patriotic when they’re really just being obstinate little shits. And Blackmer can do whatever the hell he wants, because it’s his restaurant. And I can call his message of patriotism a self-defeating prophecy.

Hey, it’s a free country.

This next get comes by way of the lovely Dale, and it’s about how some peeps in Albuquerque are making houses into homes for those in need. The County of Bernalillo, New Mexico, was able to secure a 30-year lease on a property owned by the Albuquerque Indian Center. With it, they built a gated community consisting of 30 tiny houses.

These houses will serve as a bridge for the homeless, an avenue through which they will reacquaint themselves with community living. The founders modeled it after opportUNITY village in Eugene, Oregon as a place where people can work to get their lives back. “We’re trying to give the villagers some tools that would stand them in really good stead once they do move out,” says resource manager Ilse Biel.

Residents are expected to pay a $30 monthly utilities fee. They must also test clean of any hard drugs and have been sober for at least 10 days before entry. Chores and engagement are a part of the deal, and in return, new dreams start taking root.

Welcome mats are free of charge.

Transplant recipient meets her donor for 1st time, live on TODAY

The awful truth about rock bottom is that it’s not a single episode but rather a series of them. The spiral is not a solitary circumstance, which is what makes it that much more difficult to climb out of.

Twenty-eight year old Gage Tappe of Boise, Idaho knows all about rock bottom. Living with depression, he knows all the many stops it makes along the way to a never ending darkness. Which is why he knew that if he was ever going to pull himself out of the darkness, he was going to have utilize a proactive approach in order to get there.

He found it when he decided to sign up as a donor for the national bone marrow registry. “I felt like my life wasn’t worth very much, so I hoped that I gave myself a chance to put some value to my own life by trying to help somebody extend theirs and continuing to stay on the list… and you have to be alive to do that,” Tappe says.

When he was informed he had been identified as a match, all that darkness gave way to the unmistakable lightness of being. That he might never know the life he impacted did not matter as much as knowing that someone, somewhere had been gifted a new lease on life.

Tia Jensen had other ideas. She was the recipient of Tappe’s life changing donation. After the transplant procedure, she learned that not only had her leukemia gone into remission but so too had her multiple sclerosis- which she had been battling for more than twenty years.

She needed to reach out to Tappe, to meet him and to thank him for giving her back her life. After more than two years worth of phone calls and letters, she was given Gage’s contact information. And after corresponding for a time, they met face to face earlier this month.

“I realized that because of Gage, there’s a lot of milestones that I won’t miss. I’m alive. I’m here. I’m going to get to be with my family, to be in the memories,” She says. She’s teaming up with Be The Match for an online donor registration event in the hopes of inspiring other would be donors.

And that new lease on life? It was a package deal.

 

 

 

 

 

The Annoyances Post (Volume . . Mucho)

You Want Me To Turn Where? On The Annoyances–And Dangers–Of Bad Street Signs – WAMU

Back in the day, I used to pen my annoyances on an almost monthly basis. The hope was that in expelling these inner turmoil ridden snake bites from my system, perhaps I would lighten up. Needless to say, Vietnam was a romantic comedy in comparison. I would love to blame this epic failure of a stratagem on my therapist but we broke up during the second Obama administration, long before I started writing these fuckers up.

Hey, it seemed like a good idea at the time. These posts . . not the relationship.

Anyways, with the goal of self-improvement no longer serving as a hindrance, Imma dish up another edition of “Shit that annoyed me this week!”. If you find yourself playing along at home . . well, I’d seek help immejiately.

Aaron Rodgers- He spent the summer singing songs of woe is me, making State Farm commercials and wondering if his career was in . . wait for it . . Jeopardy. Okay, so his bosses are disingenuous schmucks who made it clear he is replaceable. Wow, like . . that never happened to anyone before.

Vladimir Putin- More insufferable than Chevy Chase, colder than Chrissy Teigen (too soon?) and smugger than a gossip scribe’s twitter page. All that and he rides horseback without a shirt. Who does that? This fucking guy, that’s who.

Jersey Mike’s Subs- No one, and I mean no one in the history of ever has exclaimed “Mmmm, New Jersey makes the best bread!”. It’s not a thing!

Pumpkin Spice- Their attempts to colonize every single food- from Cheerios to Chobani yogurt to Peeps and pancakes and pretzels is bad enough. But their attack on Milano cookies is an act of war.

Cracking my phone screen- Two decades, many phones . . and so 2021 became the year when I went broken china on my screen, and what’s worse? Tupac ain’t around to rhyme it back to life. Jesus, Mary and Martin Cooper . . . why???

Pants with drawstrings- The physics of this seemingly harmless invention is destined for tragedy, and still I return to the scene of this fashion crime. Shame on me.

People who say “What’s on your plate today?”- In a world where most phrases have the shelf life of a mayfly, why won’t this one just die?

Applebee’s commercials- To borrow from Tessio in The Godfather. . for old time’s sake.

The Miami Dolphins- If this sad excuse for a football team that should really be sold for parts were a person . . it would write a screenplay that feels very much like Capra in the magical first act . . and then turns into a Family Guy episode. After which, it punches you in the face . . and then steals your car and your house and your girl and your cats and your dog . . and then takes your identity, leaving you penniless, forcing you to rob a bank which leads to your arrest and conviction and the next thing you know, your cellmate is a three-hundred and fifty pound guy named Stumpy who’s serving two life terms and thinks you have a perty mouth. And then Miami comes to visit you every Sunday . . and he brings you a Jersey Mike’s sub.

 

 

 

To The Heavens, They Obliged

The History of the Twin Towers Design and Architecture - Bloomberg

“Good Lord . . . there are no words . . .” CNN Anchor Aaron Brown as the north tower of the World Trade Center collapsed.

Something hit the World Trade,” My wife told me as I was shaving.

Of the myriad thoughts that scrabbled through my brain, I never approached the reality of what had just happened. As I listened to the news coverage, describing the event as a small plane crashing into the North tower, I knew this wasn’t true. I’d been to the twin towers and gotten lost inside the mighty shadow it cast on my every step. They were double imaged testimony of man’s ability to dream big and build even bigger; One hundred and ten stories tall and almost three-quarters the length of a football field wide. A twin-engine Cessna would’ve resembled a pock mark on the side of this massive structure.

“It wasn’t a small plane . . no way,” I said.

9/11 documents detail bravery and fear - Deseret News

It was a few minutes before nine a.m., minutes that separated us from a sinister new normal and the worst kind of evidence that our world had gone sick with madness. I listened as the news reports kept getting it all wrong, and I prayed for the uneasy feeling that wouldn’t quit my bones to leave me be.

I stepped outside to take a call from my sister and lit up a smoke as we talked about what we didn’t know as if it meant something. The sky was a pristine ocean of blue that held forever in its mighty reach, as if Andrew Wyeth had paid God a ransom for the privilege. And then those precious minutes stopped separating us from the truth and then the second plane hit the south tower and then that peaceful blue sky went black and then a quiet Tuesday morning on the cusp of autumn became the meanest winter.

Ohio State studying effects of WTC dust on 9/11 first responders

It wasn’t long before Washington was hit, after which every major city across the country braced for the next attack. And then reports of a plane going down three hours west of us, and then the waiting as time got stuck in this insidious clench of hopelessness. By Tuesday night, I feared sleep as the threat of more attacks continued to prevail. And when I woke early on Wednesday, it was as if midnight had visited us and decided to stay.

I walked my kids to school at the end of the week. I felt an intense need to propagate simple moments out of the unseen world, and I was struck with an even deeper sense of humility. I visited the principal to offer my apologies. I had engaged in a heated argument with him on that Tuesday morning when I insisted on picking up my kids from school because I wanted them with me. I remember the exhaustion on the faces of every adult I came across. We couldn’t turn back time, we couldn’t undo all the horrible crimes that had been perpetrated on us. The calculus on a new millennium had morphed into a frightening new reality, where every person, place and thing could be the end of days.

NYC first responders, non-profit rush to save 9/11 tribute - New York Daily News

The weekend was full of shutting out the world around us the best we could, but it was no use. There were calls from my sisters who had just gotten home from Maine and calls to my cousin, who had been in the north tower, and calls to friends who still wanted to talk about the one thing we were trying to get away from but never would.

I went to church that Sunday. It was something I rarely did by that point, but it felt like the right place to be since I was desperate to gain a peace of mind that wasn’t happening in the days since the attacks. The house worked for me in the way I assume it’s intended to work because I prayed as if I had a direct line to Mother Mary’s ear. I prayed for the heroes who were lost and I prayed for the heroes who kept digging for signs of anything at all. I wished for that deep blue ocean of a sky to return those precious minutes back to them . . . the minutes that came before a raging storm stole their forever away. I wished for a different somewhere, a place where that brilliant sky might get to finish its work for their weary souls.

Wherever they were.