The Rundown

PHOTO: In this satellite image taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite, and released by the agency, shows an undersea volcano eruption at the Pacific nation of Tonga, Jan. 15, 2022.

A tsunami advisory was issued for the west coast this weekend after an underwater volcano eruption on the island of Tonga, Because the west coast doesn’t already have enough shit to deal with  . . from earthquakes to mud slides to really ugly basketball. Officials were quick to point out that an advisory is not a message of impending doom. It’s more like Sheriff Brody telling everyone to get out of the water until further notice. Instead of a great white shark sighting, this warning concerns strong currents and waves that are way scarier than any fish.

Let’s get to the rest of the week . . .

Chris Evert: did somebody say icon #1? - Roland-Garros - The 2021 Roland-Garros Tournament official site

Before I knew anything about tennis, I knew Chris Evert. It was as if the girl next door just so happened to be one of the best tennis players in the world. For more than three decades, Evert was the headliner in tournaments around the world. From her on-again, off-again love match with Jimmy Connors to her epic rivalry with Martina Navratilova, she ushered in the new age of tennis; she was a television celebrity while collecting eighteen grand slam titles along the way.

But it was her grace in victory and defeat that separated her from all the tennis brats. And so, when the news came down this week that Evert has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, it became one of those moments that makes you want to scream at the unfairness of it all.

Instead, Imma hope and pray that the girl next door has one more big win left in her.

2022 College Football National Championship: Stetson Bennett rallies Georgia past Alabama, wins first national title since 1980 - The Athletic

The Georgia Bulldogs made good on my prediction by winning the national title over those CFP regular attendees from Alabama 33-18 on Monday night. Okay, so I predicted the Dawgs would win it all last season, but I ain’t about to get stuck on the details in the afterglow of the school’s first football crown since Jimmy Carter was still in office.

It’s been a sports year to remember in the Peach State, with the Hawks making it all the way to last season’s Eastern Conference Finals, the Braves winning the World Series and Kirby Smart’s bunch vanquishing Emperor Palpatine and the Crimson Death Star.

And now the Falcons will try and . . . oh, never mind . . .

How To Get A Free Arby's Milkshake With The Diablo Dare Sandwich For A Wild Combo – DNyuz

When a fast food joint not named Popeye’s introduces a spicy sandwich to the menu, you best dial up your gastroenterologist so they can talk you off the toilet. Since I don’t feel like contributing to my doctor’s Aruba trip this year, I’m giving the Diablo Dare sammie from Arby’s a hard no. For those of you fool enough to try it out, you’ll get a free milk shake for your trouble.

Worst last meal ever.

Coronavirus: Diagnosis and Testing of COVID-19

The White House announced that we will soon be able to test ourselves for the Coronavirus in the privacy of our own homes. If you’ve got health insurance, you’re entitled to eight free COVID at-home tests.  Now, millions of Americans will be sticking foot long swabs up their noses and I gotta ask.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Six Feet Under - Rotten Tomatoes

It looks like Putin is up to his dirty tricks once again as Russia prepares to wage a “false flag operation” in Eastern Ukraine. Basically, it means that Russia will stage an attack and then blame it on Ukraine, after which they’ll invade under the pretense of stabilizing the region. And if you’re wondering why I pasted an image of Nate and Brenda from Six Feet Under? 

Because it fits.

They Were Babies and They Needed Help': Woman Sees 3 Kids Fall Through Icy Pond, Jumps in, Saves Them—No Hesitation

One minute, Dusti Talavera was chilling in her crib watching TV and the next, she was risking her life in what will no doubt be a Lone Star 911 episode at some future point in time.

As three kids played outside of her Denver apartment complex, Ms. Talavera kept watch to make sure they didn’t do anything crazy. But seeing as how the kids were 4, 6 and 11 years of age, and they were busy digging into a winter wonderland, what were the chances they were concerned with playing it safe?

So when they ventured out onto a man-made pond that promptly collapsed them into the icy waters below, Talavera got to stepping. She said it was pure instinct that guided her and that before she even realized it, she was standing on the middle of the pond, because “They were babies, and they needed help,”

That’s what happens when your best self answers the bell. You don’t flinch when faced with impossible odds, you don’t back down when summoned into harm’s way, you don’t wait for a hero to show up. You become one. And so she ran outside and navigated the tenuous sheet of ice, pulling two of the kids to safety before the ice broke once again and delivered her into the pond.

Unable to pull herself out, she kept the unconscious six-year old girl’s head above water while her teenage cousin found a rope that she used to retrieve them. After which deputies from the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office arrived on the scene and began performing CPR until she was resuscitated.

All three kids are going to be alright, thanks to Dusti and a brave sixteen-year old boy. Three young lives get to stay crazy and wonderful, and okay, maybe it wouldn’t be the worst idea if they kept more to the latter than the former until everyone catches their breath. There’ll be plenty of time to merge crazy with wonderful, now.

I did a little simple math and when you really think about it, hundreds of years were saved on that pond. If these kids live a full life, replete with kids and grandkids, that’s hundreds and hundreds of years worth of history that didn’t get lost to the depths. Hundreds of years and thousands of places and millions of moments.

Just like that.




The Annoyances Post! (My Therapist Is On Vacation Edition)

The Rundown has been preempted so that I can bring you an unfiltered, unfitted and unfettered mess of thoughts that have been squatting in my cerebrum. I was afraid this might happen if I ran out of Cinderella 99, so I’ll chalk this unexpected voyage up to living and learning. You can catch this week’s episode of The Rundown on Sunday.

Until then, here’s something less thought provoking . . .

  • Mario Lopez seems like a very nice person, but I can’t take him seriously when he uses words like “Cute”, “OMG” and “Yay!” in any sentence, much less the same fucking one. Listen, I ain’t down with the bullshit Hemingway methodology of machismo, but . . . if you got any testosterone in the tank, you can’t be riffing like Doc McStuffins.
  • They had to make another Joe Millionaire? Really? You know what the twist is in this show? That they made another Joe Millionaire.
  • AOC goes mask-less in Florida, Warren Davidson compares vaccine protocols in the nation’s capitol to Nazi Germany and the investigation concerning Matt Gaetz’s alleged sex trafficking is heating up. As if the Founding Fathers weren’t dead enough.
  • For the last time, Circus Peanuts are not fit for human consumption. If you disagree, you best get help for your blue pill addiction.
  • How the hell does Rob Lowe still have hair like that? I mean, without having to scalp somebody?
  • I think we can all agree that adjectives can be used for good or evil. So if you call someone ‘fantastic’ or ‘zealous’, congratulations on being a righteous human being. But if you refer to someone as a ‘national treasure’ and her name ain’t Betty White? Be assured, you are on my watch list.
  • Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross cycles through head coaches the way Kim Kardashian cycles through love tonics. He fired Brian Flores this week, never minding the fact this dude coached the hell out of an incredibly flawed team. Never minding the fact Flores didn’t lose his team when it sank to 1-7. Never minding that Flores was 4-2 against the great Belichick as Miami boss. That’s a shit ton of never minding, but it’s what Ross does. And now he goes looking for his seventh head coach since buying the team in 2008. Ross blathered on about how Flores was difficult to work with. You know who else is difficult to work with? Bill Belichick.
  • Renn Hawkey won Love Powerball, but I betcha he wouldn’t know Jane Austen from Steve Austin. A very trusted source provided me with this information . . .
  • Applebee’s stole the Cheers theme song now? Oh. Hell. Nope. (Psssst! That’s called foreshadowing).
  • MLB owners and the player’s union got together yesterday, and the only peeps happy about this fact are the caterers. The owners are intent on keeping their payrolls young and cheap for as long as possible while the players argue the suits are manipulating their service time. You’d never know the MLB pulled in more than 3.5 billion last year, but it happened. To quote Nino Brown, money talks and bullshit runs a marathon.
  • When someone begins with “Nobody asked me . . .”, shut any further nonsense down by finishing the thought with ” . . . and we are all the better because of it”.
  • I have a sneaking suspicion Power of the Dog is gonna roll this year’s Oscars. And good for everyone involved, really. But I saw it and I’m still waiting on a time refund from Stephen Hawking.

Welp, that’s a wrap for this magical mystery tour. If you made it all the way to the end, please let me know what you were drinking, smoking or ingesting in the comment section below. Remember, to err is human but to annoy is unforgivable.


The Rundown

Jack Frost got his lazy ass out of bed this week, bringing actual snow to the east coast! Apologies to commuters and homeowners for that exclamation point, but I think winter needs to start behaving more like a mortician with dandruff; as in cold and flaky but nothing too wild.

The week began with winter storms meandering their way from New Jersey down to the Carolinas and stretching as far west as the Gulf of Texas. It delivered up a sequel with a “bomb cyclone” that slammed Buffalo and is working its way down the eastern seaboard. And okay . . I had to find a dramatically appropriate way in which to plant a favorite word of mine into the opening: Meander . . . it’s one of those very perfect words.

I’m shameless.

Hockey Fan Spots Cancerous Mole at Game and Delivers a Lifesaving Note - The New York Times

The lovely Dale gets the game winning goal for this next story . . .

Nadia Popovici is a big fan of the Seattle Kraken hockey club, and that’s not great. But every single other thing about this young woman just so happens to be.

While attending a game in Seattle between her team and the Vancouver Canucks, Popovici spotted a mole on the back of Brian Hamilton’s neck that alarmed her. Hamilton is the assistant equipment manager for the Canucks whose life was about to be saved by a med student who needed to warn him about it. Which is what Nadia did by pressing her phone against the plexiglass with a message about the possibly cancerous mole. She urged him to see his doctor, ASAP.

Well, Hamilton followed this future doctor’s orders and as it turned out, she was right. A cancerous mole with type-2 malignant melanoma was removed from Hamilton’s neck; if he would have let it go another few years Hamilton says ” . . I wouldn’t be here,”

When the team reached out to Popovici to thank her for the life saving gesture, she was sleeping after having worked overnight as a crisis intervention specialist at a suicide prevention hotline. (I told you every single other thing about her was great). And so she was treated to a game, gifted $10,000 from both teams and Brian Hamilton will serve as her official Uber driver in perpetuity. I made that last part up. But he would do it.

Frank Capra probably wishes he was around to write this one up.

Major Matrix Revolutions Character Confirmed for Resurrections | Den of Geek

I wanted to love The Matrix Resurrections. Okay, maybe not love it but like it very much? Yes, I really did. But alas, I really didn’t love it or like it or need to have spent two and a half hours watching it. The only reason I did was because if Keanu Reeves ran for President, I’d vote for him. Yeah, I know he wasn’t born here, but seeing as how we’ll let anyone in the Oval Office, I think it’s time we started ordering out.

Antonio Brown goes shirtless, leaves Bucs-Jets in bizarre scene

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me four times with each instance being dumber than the last? You must be the NFL. Because Antonio Brown has found his getaway driver in Roger Goodell’s league. How else to explain the myriad chances he’s torched in the past three seasons, from Pittsburgh to Oakland, New England to Tampa.

In addition to all that nonsense, Brown has been involved in civil as well as criminal charges, ranging from burglary to assault and rape. Oh yeah, and he faked a vaccination card, which happens to be a federal crime. So while I empathize with anyone who suffers from mental illness, I do not suffer nor sympathize with opportunists who are given every chance, afforded every benefit of the many doubts and spoon fed a lifeline, numerous times.

Brown and his agent are busy drafting a narrative to explain his Tragic Mike act, in which he quit on his team in the middle of a game last Sunday. They’re claiming he was injured and his coach was trying to force him back in the game. Even if true, it doesn’t excuse this asshole’s many splintered adventures. At all. If Boss Goodell wants to start earning some of that $40 million birthday cake he’s taking home, it’s time he tells Brown and his peeps to hit the bricks for good. Sure, the NFLPA is going to push hard against that kind of decision, and they’ll win that fight. Just so long as they go on record as having let AB back in again.

That way, when AB ends up killing himself or someone else, we’ll know who to thank.

End-of-life': Old BlackBerries no longer work from Tuesday | The Guardian Nigeria News - Nigeria and World News — Technology — The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News

Tuesday marked the end of an era as the BlackBerry now sleeps with the fishes, officially. Its legacy software was decommissioned on January 4th, rendering the former champion to paperweight status. In 2010, it was lording over market share as the top smartphone platform, but that all changed by 2013 when boom went bust. Because in the world of tech, a year is akin to a road trip through Westeros.

The BlackBerry joins the Walkman, phone books, carpet sweepers, toasting forks, pay-phones, VCR’s, answering machines, car lighters, alarm clocks, movie rental stores and the Cleveland Browns as stuff that is no longer relevant.

"Will you take care of Boomer?" John Burley asked his nurse, Jennifer Smith. And she said, "Of course, John. I will find Boomer and take care of him for you."

For health care workers, the last couple years have been akin to a jaunt through Cormac McCarthy’s tool box. But they keep on swinging away, challenging all the wicked curveballs humanity throws at them. Because while it’s the job that pays the bills, it’s the calling that steadies their steps into the unknown. These peeps are as well acquainted with the truth of our times as any group: The night is dark and full of terrors.

Jennifer Smith is a nurse at Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Rome, New York, and she’s batting cleanup in God’s lineup. John Burley is one of her patients, and he can attest to this. Last month, he put in a frantic phone call to Smith, telling her that his dog Boomer had been taken to the pound.

When Burley moved from Arkansas to upstate New York, he had no support system, having left behind all his family and friends. So when he was hospitalized with pneumonia and lung problems, Boomer was removed from the apartment. John immediately dialed up his favorite nurse in a panic and she went into action, scouring the area until she was able to locate the pooch at the Rome Humane Society

Dog and Daddy were re-united, with Boomer coming in to visit his old man in the rehabilitation wing of the center on the regular. He spends the rest of his time at Smith’s place until Burley is discharged.

“There are just so many worries in the world right now. If I can take one worry away from John, that’s the least I can do,” Smith said. “I can’t cure diseases. I’m not a miracle worker . . . I made a promise to John to take care of Boomer. I will take care of him as long as he needs me to. John knows that. Right now the focus is on John getting better and taking it one day at a time.”

The night doesn’t stand a chance with people like her on our side.



The Rundown

40 Funny Quarantine Signs By People Who Haven't Lost Their Spirits Yet | Bored Panda

You can’t look back at 2021 without noticing the hump it was toting around, with that big fat trouble making asshole called 2020 screaming in its ear. So if you came here looking for me to romance the stoned ages of this twin-bill that keeps on taking, I ain’t got T.S. Eliot to compare notes with. But . . . (Editor’s Note: I love big buts and I cannot lie), there was plenty of good feeling to buoy our swim to the shore.

Okay, maybe not plenty, but enough . . definitely enough. Should I shush up and get down to bi’ness?  N’kay . . .


Imma start with the lovely Monika over at Tails Around the Ranch, who put the biscuit in the basket like the great Joe Sakic by leading things off with this one. Yes, I choose to copy and paste it, because I can’t do better than this and that’s okay.

Elected in 2020, 39 year old David Ortiz made history as Colorado’s first bisexual as well as disabled legislator to serve in the Colorado General Assembly, handily defeating his opponent 55-44%. In 2012, Ortiz survived a helicopter crash in Afghanistan while serving as a pilot in the U.S. Army. The accident left him paralyzed from the waist down. Following his recovery at Craig Hospital (a neuro-rehab and research hospital specializing in spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries, Ortiz worked as a lobbyist for veterans and behavioral health issues through the United Veterans Committee. Representing the communities of Littleton and parts of the city of Centennial (in the Denver metro area), Ortiz was the prime sponsor of 24 bills during the 2021 legislative calendar, offering more than any other freshman House representative. Among his sponsored bills is HB21-1110, which adopted the public accessibility standards established in the American with Disabilities Act into Colorado state law despite being unable to speak from the podium because of the assembly’s architectural design and his need for a wheelchair. While a beautiful capitol building, it had never been fully assessable to the handicapped with its many stairs/levels. Various updates to accommodate Ortiz were made earlier in the year to the 130 year building but he was still unable to address the body from the speakers podium. It’s nice to see that progress is being made to permit full access for all Colorado citizens…be they constituents or legislators.

See kids? When you open your hearts and minds to what is possible and stop dwelling on the business that ain’t your business . . . great things will happen.

Betty White Preps for 99th Birthday, Says 'Sense of Humor' Keeps Her Young |

We said goodbye to legends in every field in 2021. From Hank Aaron to Colin Powell, Larry King to Stephen Sondheim, Bob Dole, Olympia Dukakis and Cicely Tyson. So many luminaries whose contributions were always going to live well beyond their mortal years, even if they made us believe otherwise. And then in the last breaths of the year, we lost John Madden and Betty White to the blanket of stars above us, and it makes me think that the term legend might be too impersonal of a word to use for these people. Because they were so much more than big names on a marquee. They were passionate teachers and earnest souls who made the world that much better while they were here. And I’ll tell you something else I believe. They didn’t leave the room.

They simply changed seats.

Promising Young Woman — Carey Mulligan turns toxic avenger | Financial Times

And speaking of legends, Nomadland took home Best Picture honors at the Oscars, with the great Frances McDormand leading the way. So, you’re probably wondering why Carey Mulligan’s pretty mug is staring at you and I’ll get to that in un momento.

Saying Frances McDormand isn’t deserving of an Oscar is like saying Ted Williams didn’t earn his batting titles. And it’s not by accident that she has three of these statuettes now, which is one shy of Katharine Hepburn, and I’m pretty sure Frances has her own (well deserved) parking space outside the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. But Carey Mulligan pitched a perfect game in her turn as Cassandra Thomas in Promising Young Woman and last I looked you can’t do better than that.

That is all.

Braves win World Series 2021

In sports, 2021 was more Groundhog Day than Heaven Can Wait.

Nothing against Tom Brady, but I’d sooner give myself a Siracha enema than be subjected to another episode of King Pretty Boy claiming football’s Iron Throne. And then the Lightning match his royal flush by hoisting a Stanley Cup and turning Tampa into “Title Town”? Yeah, fuck that. And Ho met Hum when Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide ended their two-year long national championship ‘drought’ by beating Ohio State last January. In basketball, the Milwaukee Bucks won it all. I’m not gonna lie. I watched them win and I still had to look it up when I wrote this, because I’d already forgotten.

Which makes the Atlanta Braves my favorite sports champions of the 2021 seasons. By default. Which, you guessed it, still counts.

Britney Spears' Lawyer Quits Controversial Conservatorship – Deadline

2021 didn’t promise us a rose garden. Nonetheless, there was plenty of bloom to go along with all the gloom and doom scenarios. Like for instance, Britney was finally freed . . and no, I’m not being sarcastic about this. It’s a good thing because she’s a good person and I really believe that.

The Rising Heroes of the Coronavirus Era? Nations' Top Scientists - The New York Times

And not for nothing, but science keeps leaping and bounding into the later rounds of the coronavirus. The world’s biggest brains are harnessing their powers in order to make better tomorrows for everyone. There are constant studies being conducted as more and more vaccinations are administered which means, yes, there is a way back.

Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover - NASA Mars

With the historic landing of NASA’s Perseverance on Mars, humankind has moved that much closer to realizing the dreams of Mulder and Scully and every single person who ever lived out of an RV in the desert. And I have a question. Will Mitch and his GOPeeps be as hostile towards space aliens as they are with human beings?

American bison - Wikipedia

In 2021, we learned that not all of God’s creatures have been lost in the vortex of human progress. Blue Whales and Bald Eagles join Peregrine Falcons, Galapagos Giant Tortoises, American Bisons, California Condors, Giant Pandas and Steller Sea Lions in a comeback for the ages. In the box-score that matters most of all.

You notice how we treat a brand new year with such reverence? We pile all of our hopes and dreams into this sweet new ride and then we drive it out of the showroom . . . and proceed to devalue the shit out of it over the next twelve months. But I think we’re missing something if we were to let our story end right then and there. I think we lose the essence of who we are when we believe ourselves prisoners to some lost horizon that never existed in the first place. We, are more than that.

Last year, there were a million moments of inspiration that helped to create things that will provide thrust to a million future dreams. And there were first teeth and first steps and first words and first ideas and first loves and first journeys . . . and another million such places that help steel the soul against all the many bitter losses. Because the firsts are what feeds our advance into the future. It shows us that here, right here and now, is where the ride begins.

The rest is up to us.






Here’s To A Cup Of Kindness

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice

-T.S. Eliot Four Quartets

The Rundown will be posting this Sunday, but for today, here’s wishing you a very happy and healthy new year. May 2022 go down much more pleasantly than the last couple of years, and may the language be kinder.

Peace and good things

Finding The Reason

The holiday season is when the past merges with the present. The leaves of this continuum tree get rolled into an obscenely thick cigarette that achieves a curiously satisfying high or a precipitously dangerous low. And somewhere between the merry and the menacing and the caroling and the crashing is where I tend to camp. The co-mingling of two wholly different mindsets is my default gateway; the holidays just add a heaping tablespoon of crushed red pepper to the equation.

And then Monday happened.

Missed Call

I get that message countless times over the course of a day. No big deal. And then I saw the name attached belonged to my daughter.

“Hey, what’s up?” I said, keeping it cool even though I wasn’t feeling cool in the least.

In a sad statement of the world we live in, when I heard her trembling voice, I immediately thought there had been a shooting at her workplace. My mind ran through a half dozen frightening scenarios, and then she let me know what was what and an entirely new collection of frightening scenarios ensued.

“I’m on my way to the ER . . . I’ve got abdominal pains that won’t quit . . I . .”

“You’re on your way to the hospital?”

I cursed myself for cutting her off before letting her finish. Then I dropped everything and skipped. The drive to the hospital seemed impossibly surreal, as if I had ventured off the pages of a neat and tidy script and into a fractured ramble of misbegotten that lacked all reason. The rhythm of the day had become disjointed and foreign, as if I’d broken out of a snow globe.

I’m pretty sure Dante Alighieri penned a divine piece of hate mail to hospitals back in the Middle Ages, and he wasn’t kidding. As I navigated the labyrinth of negative space, my brain constructed battlements to stanch the desperate chorus of sounds that raged like wildfire.

Arriving at her side, I compiled all the 411 from the nurse and my daughter and then came to the unprofessional conclusion that she was suffering from appendicitis. Imagine Marjorie Taylor Greene, without the manly conviction. Of course, this diagnosis wasn’t helping my daughter any and neither was the morphine for that matter.

When her CT scan came back inconclusive, I retired from the field of medicine and resumed my paternal obligations; in other words, I became a royal pain in the ass to anyone wearing scrubs. The ultrasound results effectively shut my ass up.

“She has a rather large cyst on her ovary. . .” The doctor began, as if he was reciting the special of the day whilst taking our drink orders.

You know what happens when you attempt to quiet the worst case scenarios that run through your head when you receive bad news? Welp, they run faster and they scream even louder is what happens. Before the doctor could finish scaring the fuck out of me, I’d done it my damn self. And then they served her up another round of morphine that ended up being as useless as the first.

It was a couple hours and an ambulance ride to Women’s And Babies Hospital before the nurses gathered around to prep her for surgery. And for what felt like the millionth time that day, I told my daughter that everything was going to be alright. Only this time, I was finally believing it. And then I kissed her on the forehead before leaving the room.

“You’re my favorite child. Just don’t tell your brother . .”

“He knows,”. She replied, not missing a beat.

The apple, dropping right off the branch and letting me know the universe wasn’t just listening, it was offering a little sage advice: Be grateful for the good times you get to keep, and hold onto them as if you’ve been gifted magic.

It was twelve hours removed from my daughter’s phone call before the surgeon came out to let me know they had removed a balloon sized cyst that had lodged between her fallopian tubes and her ovary. The intense pain my daughter had been experiencing was the result of the cyst forcing her ovary to twist on itself. The surgery had gone pristinely, as if God had tucked his present under our Christmas tree.

While I waited for the green light to be reunited with my daughter, I put in my twentieth call of the day to Dale and I let her know the color was returning to my knuckles rather nicely. We spent the next few minutes exhaling for the first time all day as the clock drew ever closer to midnight. And then I called Big Papi to let him know why I had been incommunicado.

He took the news quietly and then cursed at the idea that someone so young and healthy might have to deal with a body that barks back at them. Of course we know full well that life doesn’t give a fig about pretty faces or the date of birth on your driver’s license. But his rant was all about love, and I appreciated it. Because like me and Dale, he has that parental gene too . . the one that screams for the great white shark to come get us and leave the kids the fuck alone.

“But she’s going to be fine, man. You got your Christmas gift,”

He’s a poet when he wants to be.

The Rundown

At least 50 likely dead in Kentucky alone after tornadoes hit central and southern US, governor says

Tornadoes swept through six states last week, leaving behind a trail of devastation from Mississippi to Illinois which resulted in seventy casualties. There were thirty separate tornadoes, in December.

Entire communities were wiped away in moments when a polar air stream crashed into unseasonably warm temperatures across the region, triggering a series of vicious twisters that left thousands without homes and had local and state agencies scrambling to provide relief before FEMA could arrive.

“The level of devastation is unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” Said Kentucky governor Andy Beshear.

Derek Chauvin pleads guilty in federal court to violating George Floyd's civil rights | Connecticut News |

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin changed his not guilty plea this week, admitting that he had in fact violated George Floyd’s civil rights. Yanno . . by placing his knee on Floyd’s neck until he lost consciousness. Before you go sending Chauvin a Christmas card, understand that he might have done so in order to spare himself another trial in which a life sentence was possible. As it is, he’ll probably be out in fifteen years with good behavior.

Leave it to Cincy to bring some goodness to the roster this week, with the story of a Secret Santa whose sleigh touched down in a place light years away from the North Pole. But you never would have been able to tell the difference, what with all the Christmas spirit that was going on. This three minute video redefines what wealth truly means. What a story.

Urban Meyer fired by Jacksonville Jaguars 13 games into disastrous stint | Jacksonville Jaguars | The Guardian

Yesterday morning, it occurred to fans and sports analysts alike that yanno . . . this Urban Meyer may have been a bad guy all along. But rest assured, it took 2-11 to come to that conclusion.

I saw him for the bad guy he was years ago (right here!). And that was before he hired a racist punk strength and conditioning coach named Chris Doyle . . it was before he brought in Tim Tebow, a failed NFL quarterback, to play tight end for five minutes so Urban could play his Jesus card and show everyone what a loyal guy he was . . . it was before he let his team fly home after a game in Ohio so he could go to his bar and play grab ass with a woman who was not his wife . . it was before he called a coach’s meeting where he let his guys know he was a winner and they were all losers . . . it was before he kicked his place-kicker in the leg, justifying it with “I’m the ball coach, I’ll kick you whenever the fuck I want!”. The fact Josh Lambo told team officials about this in August and it only saw the light of day this week is another story for another time.

Truth is, it took 2-11 before Urban Meyer became the bad guy he’s always been. Those thirty-one arrests of Florida “student athletes” when Urban was head coach weren’t enough to convince people. In fact, Meyer’s long and sordid history of aiding and abetting known criminals while at Florida and later at Ohio State wasn’t enough to convince all these fans and sports talking heads that Meyer was a bad guy. Because winning was his brand before he shit the bed in the NFL, and that fact mattered more than the safety and well being of the female population on two college campuses. And if we were to flip the script to where Jacksonville was 11-2 this morning . . .

We wouldn’t be having this conversation.

The lovely Monika is making the most of her turn in this week’s line-up with the story of a simple walk in the woods that helped re-unite a WW2 veteran with several personal items he lost in Eastern Europe. Which is truly remarkable on the face of it but so much more so when you consider that he lost these items, are you sitting down? 76 years ago.

A Czech reporter found them while using a metal detector in the woods around Prague. Realizing the importance of the lost possessions, he took to social media, posting images and asking for help in the search for the owner. He got it when a Grand Junction Colorado resident was able to track the items to Joe Esquibel, a US Army veteran.

Just when you think the world is flat, you find the flavor.

Danny Stewart, Kevin and Pete Mercurio in 2019.

Twenty-one years ago, a family history was busy being written into existence in a New York subway station. That’s where Danny Stewart found a baby boy wrapped in a sweatshirt, after which he called his partner, Pete Mercurio to let him know he was going to be late for dinner.

From there, it was as if God was writing the script. After handing the baby over to the state, a city-wide search for the parents was conducted with no luck. The two men had already decided they wanted to be a part of the kid’s life for the long haul, no matter what. They had no idea how prescient their mindset would prove to be.

In December of 2000, the couple became foster parents to Daniel Ace Doe and two years later, they became a family. Officially.

As far as parents go, you’re talking blue-ribbon best with these two men. They shared everything they knew with their little guy, and when he asked about the judge who had fast-tracked the adoption process, they arranged a meeting. In 2020, Pete wrote a book about how it all began titled “Our Subway Baby“. Kevin is now 21 and a senior at Swarthmore College. He also happens to be living proof as to what good parenting is all about.


“We’ve always told Kevin from a very young age that he was left out of love, so that he could be found and cared for. We never used the word abandonment or abandoned. We said she left you where you could be found by us.”

I look at the above image and I can’t help thinking that God was cradling the three of them in his infinite grace whilst hushing the screaming mess of a world that ain’t always the most compassionate of places. On top of that rock is where heaven got to have the last word, by letting the world see what matters most of all.

And always will.

The Rundown

Soccer players compete on a field during a snowstorm.

The above image comes courtesy of The Atlantic, and no . . this isn’t the North Pole League. It’s from a game played in Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England recently, between Manchester City and West Ham United. And what really muttons my chops is that I won’t step foot outside for a run when the ground resembles Tony Montana’s coffee table, but these guys? Ain’t no thing at all.

Promising Young Woman': Film Review - Variety

Movie Review Of The Week- I’ll start by saying, this isn’t a micro-review, this is a legitimate spill, because Promising Young Woman didn’t give me a choice in the matter. It offers up the kind of social commentary that smacks you in the face. It’s teaching without the preaching. Its stylistically entrancing with a substance that makes you feel as if you just read one hell of a book. The characters possess a biting dynamism, the dialogue provides a snarky heft and the music is ironically subversive.

Carey Mulligan plays a broken young woman whose path has been forever altered by a crime that went unpunished. Her life thus becomes a call to high heeled vengeance, and she gets to kicking early. Her character may dress like Britney, but she does her business like Bronson.

You might question her methods, but you cannot fault her given the madness of a world where rape culture is a matter of course and “He said” trumps “She said”, even in a Me Too world. I found myself rooting for her, praying for her and most of all, mourning the realities this brilliant script brings to the fore. From start to finish, it’s the kind of movie that will have you thinking long after the credits roll.

It also happens to be the best movie I saw this year.

Former Yankee outfielder Clint Frazier is taking potshots at his former team? He should be thankful the Cubs picked him up, considering he’s a lifetime .239 hitter with little power. After being given bucco chances to be the answer in the outfield, the Yanks cut him loose after he hit a paltry .186 last season. If Clint really wants to find someone to blame, he should look in the mirror. 

Mike Moffitt and Gladys Hankerson finally met in person after 20 years of friendship sparked by Hankerson dialing the wrong phone number.

For anyone who’s ever dialed a wrong number, this story is for you.

Twenty years ago, Gladys Hankerson of Delray Florida put in a phone call to her sister in Maryland. Welp, her fingers took the wrong walk and she reached a man by the name of Mike Moffitt, who lives in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. And while that may have just been that, it turned into something else entirely.

Before too long, Gladys had ‘misdialed’ the number again . . and then she kept right on doing it until a friendship was formed between the two. They stayed in touch, checking in on each other and sharing stories about their families and their lives. And then over the Thanksgiving holiday, these phone friends met for the first time; more than twenty years after their first misdirected hello.

“There are incredible people in this world that are a wrong number phone call away.” Says Gladys. Trust her on this one.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh to donate any bonus he earns to athletic department employees hit by COVID-19 cuts -

A gold and maize shout out to Michigan Wolverines football coach Jim Harbaugh. His team exorcised a pantry full of demons over the last few weeks; first by knocking off their bitter rival Ohio State Buckeyes, who had lorded over his team for the past decade. They doubled down by crushing the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big 10 title game to clinch the conference championship and secure a berth in the college football playoffs.

But he’s not here for any of that, impressive as it was. Nope, coach Harbaugh makes this week’s episode for what he did off the field. He’s taking the $500,000 bonus he was due for winning the conference crown and he’s distributing it to the Michigan staffers who were forced to take reduced wages during the pandemic.

Chalk up another win for Michigan’s favorite son.

Live stream: Bob Dole lies in state at U.S. Capitol

Former Kansas Senator Bob Dole passed away this week at the age of 98. A man who devoted his life to the service of his country was remembered fondly by both sides of the aisle. A WWII hero and Senate majority leader, he lost to Bill Clinton in the 1996 Presidential election. But the loss cannot tarnish all the many accomplishments that defined his life.

“He was a giant of our history,” Said President Biden.

Jussie Smollett Denies He Staged Hate Attack - Variety

Actor Jussie Smollett was found guilty on five of six felony counts of disorderly conduct yesterday stemming from a false report he filed with the Chicago PD in January of 2019. In the report, he claimed that he had been attacked by two white men; an accusation that ended up being a hoax.

It’s doubtful Smollett will serve any time in spite of the conviction, considering no one was hurt in the staged attack, but the damage has already been done. As I touched on in a Heroes post in February of that year, Smollett’s stunt was condemnable. Why call race into play when there is already enough real life shit to deal with? Shameful.

Meet Georgia's Youngest Certified Farmer -

The lovely Dale has hit one out of the park with the story of little Kendall Rae, who made history by becoming the youngest certified farmer in the state of Georgia. And by young, I mean six years young.

When most girls her age are playing with Barbies, she was attaining her business entity at the state and federal level. She joined a variety of farming organizations and she can now apply for grants and purchase land. Her great-grandmother Laura “Kate” Williams left quite an impression on the young lady; not only teaching her granddaughter how to grow her own food, but impressing upon her the value of such a thing.

Young Kendall began her journey with a monthly gardening club; bringing families together to help her harvest, plant and produce subscription food boxes. She has also helped raise more than $85,000 for young farmers through her speaking engagements. And she hopes to raise $10,000 for an outdoor agricultural science lab. But when asked what’s most important to her? She wants to “make new friends, make new things and inspire other kids.”

Henry Ward Beecher believed that children were the hands we use to take hold of heaven itself. And yanno, I think the old boy was onto something because in an age where adults behave like children, it takes a six year old to show us our better angels.

Personally, I think that’s just peach.

The Rundown

Parents reunited with their children in a grocery store parking lot after the fatal school shooting.

Madness visited Detroit, Michigan on Tuesday afternoon when 15 year-old Ethan Crumbley walked the halls of Oxford High School armed with a 9 mm handgun and proceeded to murder four students, wounding seven others. The gun had been a gift from his father, presented to him on Black Friday, after which he showed it off on his Instagram page. His parents were called into the school on Tuesday morning after he was cited with exhibiting “disturbing” behavior, but he was allowed to stay in school.

And that’s when Tuesday turned into the latest nightmare in a never ending loop. It was covered in much the same way most shootings are nowadays. With a somber shrug and the realization that our elected representatives will provide their circumspect analysis of the situation as they watch Rome burn to ashes. And as if Nero isn’t peddling enough indifference to our latest gun tragedy, there’s this; the circus of news caravans don’t even bother showing up unless the body count is horribly provocative.

And it doesn’t make a damn bit of sense, not any of it. But it doesn’t matter any longer and you know why?

Because its who we are.

I was going to write one story today, about the latest gun tragedy in Michigan. And then SB left me a comment about a man who paid for a woman’s groceries when it was obvious she was struggling. And then something wonderful happened. I found scores of stories about men and women and even kids giving back in grocery store lines across the map.

And so the video above is not the story SB was referring to, but it is the kindness she was clinging to when she told me about the video and said “I wish you could find it,”. Well Madame, I did find it, and it’s everywhere. But this here video, which involves your boys in blue, it’s to say thank you for changing the lineup on this Friday morning. Because there are times when you have to clap back at the darkness that threatens to overwhelm us with two very simple words.

Not today.

Weekly Miami Dolphins Report- The Fins are 4-0 since yours truly declared he was seeking a trial separation from the club. To any members of the organization reading this? You’re welcome. 

MLB lockout official, CBA expiration brings baseball to halt

For the first time since the unforgivable season cancelling strike of 1994, the MLB has closed up shop after talks stalled between the owners and the player’s association. That strike proved to be the beginning of the end for baseball in Montreal. After which Commissioner Bud Selig pimped out the game to steroid cheats to get the fans back. As a result, age old MLB records were trampled over, player salaries soared and brand new revenue streams created caviar cribs for more than half of the league’s teams.

Will this time be different, or will fans have to take out a second mortgage to take in a game? Stay tuned . . .

Overdue book returned to Idaho library after 110 years

Okay, I’m dating myself when I admit to having returned an overdue library book a time or two. But hey, I was never 110 years late in returning a book so yanno, there is that.

That’s what happened in Boise, Idaho when a copy of “The New Chronicles Of Rebecca” made its way back to the Garden Valley District Library, formerly known as the Old Carnegie Library. It was technically due back on November 8, 1911 . . . a year before the Titanic set sail for New York City, but who’s counting? The Kate Douglas Wiggin novel, penned in 1907, would have accumulated a fine of more than $800 if not for the fact that fines are no longer a thing because. . . Amazon.

Dr. Oz is running for the open Senate seat in Pennsylvania? I can only assume it’s because Joe Exotic wasn’t available.

Snow Strands Dozens For 3 Nights In Yorkshire PubImma wrap up this week’s episode by visiting the other end of this mad spectrum of a world we tend to. Because this story is a million miles removed from the hopeless storm of tragic headlines. Listen, it’s pretty fucking easy to get swept up in the undertow of worst-case scenarios in this sink or swim world.

The good folks of Yorkshire, England chose the latter. Literally, figuratively and every other kind of -ly that rhymes with making merry. When several feet of snow fell across the countryside, patrons at the Tan Hill Inn officially became snowbound. 61 strangers were left to make the best of a pretty great situation, considering there was cold beer on tap, plenty of food and an Oasis cover band to keep them warm. And as if that wasn’t enough, they tossed in pub quizzes and movies and karaoke as well and uh . . I did mention all that cold beer, right?

It took three days before the roads were cleared and they were rescued (If you want to call it that), but the memories are going to last a hell of a lot longer than that. But please, don’t take my word for it, check out this weekend review given by one of the stranded patrons on the Inn’s Facebook page.

“We will ALWAYS remember this group of amazing people who came together, and hopefully, in challenging circumstances, enjoyed what we all think was a life-changing experience,”

What may come of simple moments is our divinity. Its truth speaks to what we are when the stars prevail upon us to follow their lead through the storm. And the cold darkness will find no quarter where poetry and song are gathered, because it speaks the language of the depths, so it sinks with the rising sun.

We swim.



The Rundown


95th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Marches Through Manhattan – CBS New York

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade celebrated its 95th birthday yesterday. The world’s largest parade introduced Toni the Bandleader Bear, who was one of six new balloons to make an appearance. Parade goers were treated to a beautiful morning with temps in the mid-thirties and there were no incidents.

With the current state of the world being what it is, consider it a blessing.

At least five people killed after car rams through Wisconsin parade | Colombo Gazette

Because we need to save all the blessings we can find in a world gone mad. And that madness found its way to Waukesha, Wisconsin on Tuesday. 39 year old Darrell Brooks Jr. had a history of violence that included running over a woman with his vehicle earlier this month. His bail was set at $1,000 and he was without within a week. And that’s how a really bad guy, one who shared pro-Hitler memes and called for violence against white people, was able to become even worse.

He fulfilled that evil promise when he plowed into a Christmas parade, killing six people and injuring at least 40 others. And now we’re left to wonder why the system fails us when a complicated world needs it the most. And now we wait for that most sinister of narratives that seems to follow these tragedies.

What’s next?

Micro-Movie Review: With a lineup featuring Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot and the Rock, “Red Notice” was going to be a good time. And it was. 

USFL unveils eight teams for inaugural season in 2022

It has been thirty-five years since the USFL spring football league closed up shop. It had carved a niche in its four year existence and may have been able to stick around if a few of the league owners hadn’t pushed for a move to the fall. One of the most vocal proponents of the move was New Jersey Generals owner Donald Trump, who believed it would expedite a merger with the two leagues. He even won the lawsuit his league filed against the NFL . . in the sum of $1, which was tripled to $3 as per antitrust laws. And that, was that.

Until now.

The league will begin next spring by bringing back eight of their original clubs. While the USFL isn’t likely to lure college stars the way it once did- Hall of Famers Steve Young, Reggie White and Jim Kelly began their careers there- who knows? It might be able to convince Tom Brady to give them a shot . . .

The Miami Dolphins Weekly Report: The Miami Wine Festival will take place this Saturday evening at 7 pm on Lakeshore Drive. Tickets start at $49.

Maj. Ian Fishback, Who Exposed Abuse of Detainees, Dies at 42 - The New York Times

Ian Fishback passed away last Friday at an adult foster care facility in Bangor, Michigan. While the cause of death has not yet been determined, his family claims Fishback’s neurological condition had worsened as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan in the early 2000’s. Fishback was part of the Army’s 82nd Battalion when he first reported the systematic abuse of prisoners by fellow soldiers. It took nearly a year and a half before someone finally listened.

His letter in 2005 to top aides for Senators John Warner and John McCain would result in the Senate passing the Detainee Treatment Act, and later in the year he was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. But while he constantly strived to give back, the ghosts of his past proved unrelenting.

“We know the community supported Ian through his recent difficult times,” the Fishback family said in a statement. “He faced many challenges, and many of us felt helpless. We tried to get him the help he needed. It appears the system failed him utterly and tragically.”

The saddest of truths is that Major. Ian Fishback gave the world so much more than it ever gave him in return. He was forty-two years old.

NASA ready to launch DART planetary defense demonstration mission - SpaceNews

Remember in the late ’90’s when Hollywood made an asteroid of itself with movies that predicted the next big bang in the form of a cosmic rolling stone crashing into our shiny blue marble and how humanity had to devise a plan to show them the door? Welp, maybe those storylines weren’t as far fetched as we thought after NASA launched a spacecraft called DART into space on Wednesday . . because, science!

The purpose of this planetary plunge is to see if we might be able to stave off a blockbuster scenario before reaching the final credits by blowing up an asteroid. By early fall of next year, we’ll lower the boom on Dimorphos- a football-field sized asteroid- and see what happens. If all goes well, scientists might be able to use the data to keep a hypothetical scenario from really happening.

As for Bruce Willis, he was unavailable for comment.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers refuted the ridiculous claim that his toe injury was the result of “Covid toe” by baring his foot for all to see during a press conference. And we can be super thankful that it wasn’t being reported that he had “Covid balls” . . .

Ahmaud Arbery trial verdict: All three suspects found guilty

“They almost got away with it,”

That was the general consensus after three men- Travis and Gregory McMichael and William Bryan- were found guilty in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery. An all white jury didn’t let these guys off the hook, even though local law enforcement officials almost did two years ago. Because the three were not arrested until a video of the shooting from Bryan’s phone came to light . . . several months later. Let that sink in a moment.

The defense used the argument that the men were simply making a citizen’s arrest of a young man who didn’t belong in the neighborhood, and that the shooting was in self defense. Because it seems that frontier justice is back in fashion.

Thank God it didn’t work this time.

13-Year-Old Adeola Olagbegi Used His ‘Make-A-Wish’ To Feed The Homeless

Monika over at Tails Around the Ranch is coming out of the bullpen to be our Mariano Rivera for this week’s episode, with a story about how thanks met giving in Jackson, Mississippi.

Adeola Olagbegi is only thirteen, but he’s already experienced a lifetime’s worth of adversity. Abraham, as he’s called by friends and family, has a rare blood disorder. After countless rounds of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant, Abraham is out of the hospital and ready to take on the world. Or give back to it. How’s about both?

While recovering from his battle with aplastic anemia, he learned that he had qualified for a dream wish from Make-A-Wish Mississippi. He might have wished to meet someone or go somewhere, or be gifted something . . . and let’s just say he went a little bit off script with his request.

You see, Abraham decided he wanted to feed the homeless in his community for an entire year. So be cool LeBron, and maybe some other time Disney World . . the kid’s got his sights set on something much bigger. And once the good peeps at Make-A-Wish got to stepping, “Abraham’s Table” was born. The service will provide free meals to the homeless once a month at Poindexter Park in Jackson, with local business donating the goods.

“My mom always says it’s a blessing to be a blessing, so I just wanted to do something for other people to make it last longer,” Abraham says.

Here’s to the blessings we can count on.