The Rundown

Russia to develop a new 'doomsday plane'

Vlad Putin was all set to roll out his Doomsday Plane at Moscow’s Victory Parade on Monday but the flight was grounded because of weather. The modified plane, referred to as the “Flying Kremlin” would house the country’s leadership in the event of a nuclear event. The plane has no passenger windows in order to protect its passengers from the after effects of a nuclear blast and it can be refueled in mid-flight, allowing the power brokers to remain airborne.

Sounds impressive, right? Okay, now let me repeat what happened to this powerhouse last week. A plane that was built to endure the effects of a nuclear event . . . was grounded because of rain.

The Wicked Witch of the West called. She wants her punchline back.

A Pill Available in Mexico Is a Texas Option for Abortion - The New York  Times

The insufferable hypocrisy of American politics is coming home to roost.

Scores of women along the southern border of Texas have been scouring pharmacies in Mexico for abortion pills since the state whose motto is Friendship passed a strict anti-abortion law last September. To make matters worse, we’re talking about unregulated pharmacies here. Sadly, these women are not privy to the options afforded all those holy rollers who want to flip the script on Roe v Wade. Because for all the proselytizing these peeps dish up, they’re going to play a game of hush when it comes to them and theirs. They’ll find the avenues that privilege affords them and to hell with everybody else. It brings to mind the words of Sister Joan Chittister in an interview with Bill Moyers, when discussing the truth of abortion.

“I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.”

That says it all right there.

Patron the mine-sniffing dog is capturing Ukraine's hearts

Hail Patron! This two and a half year old mine sniffing Jack Russell Terrier who is my Hero Of The Week! here at The Rundown. The dude is so much more than just another pretty face, as evidenced by his prolific resume when it comes to saving the day. Patron has sniffed out more than 200 (You read that right) explosives since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began.

For his tireless efforts in saving lives and educating the civilian population, Patron was awarded a medal for “Dedicated Work in the Ukraine Army.” He’s got a trophy case and an online following and that’s all well and good. But all he really cares about is doing the job, every single day. Because in life, some may want to write the lessons and others may want to teach them. But the ones who change the world?

They live them.

New Mexico | Bureau of Land Management

It’s Day 37 of the raging wildfires that have engulfed 237,000 acres in New Mexico while enlisting more than 1,800 fire and rescue workers to battle it and officials say there is no end in sight. The devastation began when two smaller fires merged and laid waste to more than fifty square miles in one day.

High winds and drought ravaged forests have pushed these men and women to the brink, but somehow they’ll keep moving. They will always have a reason to keep fighting back, because that’s what service looks like.

God bless them all.

Long-shot Rich Strike wins the 148th Kentucky Derby - CNN

80-1 underdog Rich Strike won the Kentucky Derby last week, and I was grateful to have the space of a week’s worth of time to deliver up this news. Because in horse racing, every result is a dubiously fitted fairy tale these days. The sport is rife with rich creeps who are expert when it come to writing up regrettable endings to feel good stories. But for now? Rich Strike turned the gambling books upside down and shook their pockets clean.

Okay, so the trainer Eric Reed has come under fire for some coarse things he may or may not have tweeted about Vice President Kamala Harris. And jockey Sonny Leon was suspended for careless riding in the race before his Derby win. But so far, no evidence has been presented that someone doped this beautiful creature.

It’s probably safe to celebrate the upset win now. Probably . . .

Corrections Officer Vicky White, who helped inmate Casey White escape, died from self-inflicted gunshot wounds: authorities - ABC7 Chicago

“On the Run with the Whites” is the working title for that guilty pleasure limited series that will be coming to a streaming service near you (And maybe it won’t be Netflix after all, but I’ll get to that in a moment).

Because the worst? Happened.

Okay, not the worst, since Casey Cole White fought the law and the law won, catching up with the runaway couple in Evansville, Indiana after a nearly two week manhunt. And now the man who fatally stabbed a fifty-eight year old woman in 2020 is no longer a menace to society.

Vicky White wasn’t going out like that. She knew she was facing hard time and so she put a gun to her head and pulled the trigger. And now the network vampires won’t get their day in court with a woman who threw it all away for fleabag hotels with shitty room service. Instead we’ll get the fictionalized version of these two.

You can put money on it.

Netflix Q4 Earnings: Why The Stock Is Tanking - MavenFlix - TheStreet StreamingBut don’t go putting any money down on Netflix, because they’re looking a hell of a lot like Rocky Balboa in Rocky III. And the other streaming services are Clubber Lang, intent on teaching the former champ a lesson in humility. Netflix stock has plummeted by 75% in just the last six months and the memory of their pandemic mighty has given way to plugging leaks with measures that won’t promote the growth they have come to expect. It happens to every heavyweight champion sooner or later.

Netflix got punched in the mouth. Now we’ll see how they respond.

I began this week’s episode in the air, and that’s where I’m gonna end things. The only difference being, Vlad ain’t got his hands in this mix so yeah . . it’s a story that worked out beautifully.

You know the action movie scenario where the pilot loses consciousness and one of the passengers is called on by air traffic control to land the plane even though they have no blessed idea how? Welp, Darren Harrison is the passenger I’m talking about and guess what? He actually lived to tell that harrowing tale.

Harrison was on board a single engine Cessna Caravan that was headed back to Florida after a Bahamas jaunt when the shit hit the fan or in this case, the propeller, when the pilot became incapacitated. It was a Jesus take the wheel moment with the only problem being that in spite of his beard, Harrison ain’t that guy.

This was the intersection of heaven and earth and the guy who had no idea how to fly a plane wasn’t ready to let the cosmos have the last word. Not so long as he had a chance to grab that winning lottery ticket more commonly referred to as terra firma. And then he was becoming fast friends with Robert Morgan, a certified flight instructor with over 1,200 hours of flight time. And then Harrison was focused on an A+ from his teacher, since the results of this particular excursion were pass/fail.

Morgan summoned every bit of his calm and cool and he gave a master class to his new pupil whilst pulling up images of the plane he was shepherding and also coordinating with Palm Beach International for the emergency landing. Which happened, without a single other hitch. After which Harrison got to thinking on the miracle of life. No, not this one. The one that will be happening later this year when he becomes a father.

I bet you he nails that landing too.

 

The Rundown

The Enormous Consequences of Overruling Roe v. Wade | Time

Nothing is sacred.

Lost in the hue and cry of the Supreme Court’s initial draft to reverse Roe v Wade is the fact that someone leaked these inner workings, including Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion on the nearly fifty-year old decision. This isn’t business as usual, far from it.

Don’t get me wrong, I vehemently disagree with Alito, whose rhetoric was filled with the kind of thinking that got us 2016. This idea that a woman’s right to an abortion shouldn’t be federally protected is as much of a breach of the public trust as the fact that someone decided to share it. I don’t agree with the leaking just the same as I don’t agree with Alito or his four other conservative compadres. Because it speaks to just how far we have fallen as a society, on both counts.

We keep waiting for better but we keep getting worse.

No Mow May' Gives You a Reason to NOT Mow the Lawn: Leave the Weeds to Feed the Bees

If you’re like me, the thought of mowing your lawn is right up there with dentist appointments and doing your taxes. Welp, now you can take the rest of the month off from those duties if you so choose thanks to a really great cause that will serve to help your local bee population. We are smack dab in the middle of “No Mow May” and as the kids would say, I am here for it.

By cutting this chore out (pun intended) of your May calendar, you won’t pillage a bee’s village of dandelions, clover and violets, thereby giving them ample time to grub and in turn grow their colonies for the coming summer months. So if your next door neighbor accuses you of being lazy, just tell them it’s all about bio-diversity. And if that doesn’t work, tell them to buzz off. (Big thank you to Dale for this bee-licious get).

When it comes to the defamation trial involving Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, I feel as if you can add a “Way” to the acronym TMI. Please make them stop.

Cheers to the Toronto Blue Jays . . . fans. You didn’t think I was gonna dish props to my beloved Yankees’ young and ridiculously talented rivals to the North, did you? Of course you didn’t. But when it comes to their fan base, I can bring the love because well . . they started it.

Missing Alabama inmate, corrections officer had 'special relationship': Sheriff - ABC News

It’s been almost a week since Corrections Officer Vicki White and inmate Casey White went on the lam in Alabama. On a completely related note, Lynyrd Skynyrd called and they want their song (all of them) back.

Anyways, officials have concluded the two were in cahoots and needless to say, her fellow officers are shocked and devastated. It’s an all around bizarre and regrettable story and you know what my takeaway is? Jon Hamm will play the inmate in a movie with the over/under on the release of the streaming masterpiece being two years.

You’re welcome.

Someone rushed the stage during a Chapelle appearance at the Hollywood Bowl this week, attacking the comedian before getting his ass beat by security. After the episode, Chris Rock comforted Chapelle on stage. You cannot make this shit up and really, why would you? 

Dodgers drama looms as no one 'wants to stand' with Trevor Bauer

Trevor Bauer is a major league pitcher with a million dollar arm (Actually, it’s a $102 million dollar arm) and not much else going for him . He’s been on the bench since last July after MLB suspended him over allegations of physical and sexual assault by a San Diego woman. Since the suspension, two more women have stepped forward with their own stories to tell. So Bauer becomes the latest major league creep to get found out but this time there’s a twist. The league office handed down a 2 year suspension at the conclusion of their investigation. That’s some heavyweight shit crashing down on the prime of his career and hopefully it’s a message from the league that enough really is going to be enough.

You listening Roger Goodell?

You know what the difference is between your drunk uncle and all those so called NFL “Draft Experts”? Neither do I . . .

I want to thank Frank “Beach Walks” Angle for filling in last week here at Sorryless. And as it turns out, there’s just a little bit more Cincy where that came from. Yesterday he sent me the amazing story of Denis Estimon, whose family immigrated from Haiti when he was in the first-grade.

In high school, the young man started a student group called “We Dine Together” with the idea being to give every kid a chance to belong. As a boy living in a new country, he had to overcome a language barrier and a completely uprooted existence. He understood first hand the challenges of feeling isolated and alone and he wanted to do something about it. So he did.

In a world that seems to provoke the sum of all our many fears on a daily basis, it’s important to remember just how much a simple kindness really can mean. The world is a complicated place, full of hits and misses, rights and wrongs, wins and losses. So the idea is to add to the win column, best we can, however we can. And it helps to know that beautiful outcomes are entirely within our means, because that’s how kindness works.

It’s a choice.

 

 

 

The Rundown

Pope Francis Calls for Peace on Easter | Time

Pope Francis looks out over St. Peter’s Square where more than 100,000 pilgrims gathered to hear his speech celebrating Easter Mass. The Pope prayed for peace in Ukraine while praising all of the people around the world who have opened their hearts and minds, their wallets and their homes to aid refugees of the war torn country. He called these acts of charity a sign of the hope that still exists in humankind.

Imma be taking a break for the rest of April, and while I would love to tell you that today’s post will be all sunshine and rainbows, of course I can’t. That’s not how the world operates, and it’s not going to do us any good to pretend. So instead, I’ll chase all the shower-soaked stories with the flowers we grow when we rise above.

Let’s get to it.

Five to split $50,000 reward in New York subway shooting case

Gun violence is our national seal, but if you’re looking for more urgency from our elected officials when it comes to enforcing tighter gun restrictions, good luck. Why should they be bothered when they can hide behind the fact that a majority of the population is just fine with the status quo? So we’ll keep getting stories like last week’s shooting on the northbound N train in Brooklyn, where Frank Robert James opened fire on morning commuters. James was wearing a gas mask and was carrying two smoke grenades, gasoline, a hatchet, fireworks and a Glock 9-millimeter handgun. At the conclusion of his rampage, ten people were shot and twenty-nine were injured, after which the shooter fled the scene.

Pregnant Brooklyn subway shooting victim recalls 'death trap'

Time stood still on that subway platform as people lay bleeding and dazed while others came to their aid and a few others gave chase. Inside the shroud of smoke and madness, unarmed civilians didn’t sit by and let James go. They tried to stop the man responsible for shattering their sense of normalcy. Ordinary people came together to make the kind of difference that doesn’t pretend away all the forgettable endings this world has to offer. They had a better idea than all those who cower in silence when action matters more than ever before. They didn’t accept what they were given.

Neither should we.

Elon Musk offers to buy Twitter, take it private | Fox Business

Elon Musk’s love affair with Twitter is like something out of a sordid Netflix documentary. You know the plot; Boy meets social media giant, they hook up and pledge their love for each other. And then things start going off the rails and the next thing you know, boy is stalking social media giant and things go from bad to hearse.

Musk agreed to join the board of directors for the San Francisco based company, and then he reversed course. And then he made a bid on the company he already owns 9 percent of. His offer of $43 billion didn’t go over well with the company’s major investors who cried bullshit over what they consider a lowball offer. They also ain’t digging on Musk’s contention that the social media giant has grown stagnant.

Meanwhile, Tesla investors are growing fidgety as they consider what a successful close by Musk would mean for their earnings. And Twitter employees think he’s just playing hit and run with their stock. And let’s not forget free speech advocates who fear what an unhindered Musk might do with an enormous thought engine like Twitter.

Like I said, look for this drama to end up on Netflix.

This is a crazy, unjust attack': Pink Floyd re-form to support Ukraine | Pink Floyd | The Guardian

Few things in life are forever, other than McDonald’s French fries, protest songs, the Simpsons and rock band divorces. But what happens if you took two great tastes that ended up tasting great together?

Pink Floyd did just that when they got (most of) the band back together again to create a song protesting the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The title of the song is Hey Hey, Rise Up and it’s the band’s first new track in twenty-eight years. David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Guy Pratt join Nitin Sawhney, with Andriy Khlyvnyuk of the Ukrainian band Boombox contributing vocals. Gilmour describes the song as a show of anger at a superpower invading a peaceful nation.

Big props to the band for letting Ukraine know there is somebody out there.

Here’s to Duke, a three-year old mixed breed whose long strange trip from Kosovo to the states almost didn’t happen.

Of all the Army bases in all the world, this handsome pooch walked into Sergeant Kelsey’s unit looking for some grub. And from there a friendship grew, one day at a time, one meal at a time, with lots of tail wagging and hugs to go around. And it got to where Kelsey decided that maybe it was time for the dog he coined with the name Duke to find a forever home with him.

And then one day, Duke stopped making the scene. When he was found several days later, Duke had been shot and was in rough shape. Paws of War- a New York based charity- sent an emergency veterinary team out and saved the dog’s life after which the Alamal Foundation provided foster care for him during his recovery.

These days, it’s all cake and war stories for Duke. But mostly cake.

It’s easy to believe the end of the world is circling our cosmic drain. We have plenty of reasons to start pricing compounds in the middle of nowhere, what with all the madness has seeped into our everyday.

Think about it. We don’t even slow the news crawl down for mass shootings unless there are a significant number of casualties, and even in those instances, we don’t stay with it for very long. The idea of world peace is a meme. Diplomatic efforts are oftentimes a preamble for bad shit on the horizon. And maybe it always has been this way, but God knows the price to be paid gets higher with each new laundry bill.

If you’re looking for a sacred patch of grass to rest your weary head on, we ain’t supplying. Not in a world where terrorist attacks become political capital and a virus that has claimed more than six million lives is believed by many to have been nothing more than a hoax. How do you even respond to that without screaming?

When did the world become one great, big hostile takeover? And how do we respond without losing our sanity? How can we trust ourselves when surrounded by so much doubt? Why do we insist on sticking to the blueprint of Rudyard Kipling, who preached patience and love in the face of an unrelenting storm?

Because maybe he understood full well that the stuff we don’t know is the stuff we can still do something about. The proof showed up last week, in a Times Square subway station of all places. And it filled that unforgiving minute Kipling once wrote about with a song that lets us know hope ain’t done with us just yet.

Not even close.

But wait . . .  there’s (one) more!

My Polonius Has A First Name

Cop Rock,' The Most Infamously Awful Show In TV History, Is Finally Coming  To DVD

I’ll be posting the last Rundown of April early next week. For now, Imma preempt the regularly scheduled programming to bring you something completely stupid. I mean different.

Both.

As Newton Minow is my witness, my television habits weren’t always a lost cause. As a boy, I rather enjoyed the snarky resilience of James Garner in The Rockford Files. I crushed on the comedic genius of I Love Lucy. And then I chased that with Newhart, Moore, Franklin and Burnett. And I was socially conscious, even if I didn’t watch Good Times or The Jeffersons or All In The Family for any other reason than I loved those shows. 

And then adolescence came calling and my sophisticated palette was replaced with a vagabond warrior of the airwaves whose mission it was to kill my brain cells without using illicit drugs. So while I would love to blame the insidious nature of streaming services for obsessing my compulsions, Imma fess to my own mess, considering my long and sordid history when it comes to the entertainment I consume. Want proof? I watched a couple episodes of Cop Rock back in the ’90’s. Or, a couple more episodes than the family of the show’s creator, Stephen Bochco, watched. Clearly, I put the boob in tube.  

Since my therapist isn’t cool with me recording our sessions, I enlisted the Corleone family to dramatize the time I brought up my television viewing to her. 

As far as shows are concerned, I don’t do medical dramas or family dramas or best friends for life dramas. You know why? Because personally, to do so would be masochistically redundant, that’s why. 

  • Minute To Win It- Imagine a game show written by drunk people. With Guy Fieri as host. 
  • Hardcore Pawn- A reality show featuring a family run pawn shop in Detroit. More staged than a Ted Cruz breakfast on the shooting range. Dumber too.
  • Joe Millionaire- I took the wayback machine to retrieve this gem from the early 2000’s for a reason. Because I watched this one with my kids and somehow, did not receive a visit from child services.
  • Cooking With Paris- Ms. Hilton in the kitchen will never be confused with a Julia Child special.
  • The Punisher- Not completely horrible, but if you were to create a Superheroes League Division, this show would be the Baltimore Orioles.
  • The Tiger King- The streaming equivalent of voting for Donald Trump. 
  • Rock of Love- 25 women compete with the prize being Poison lead singer Bret Michaels. I watched this without having a gun to my head. 
  • The Ultimatum: Marry Or Move On- So THIS is what purgatory looks like! 

You’re probably thinking my movie diet can’t possibly compete with that level of stupid. Actually? This is where things really get nuts.

If you make the regrettable decision to keep on reading, you have to promise me you won’t judge. Okay . .  who am I kidding? Of course you can judge me. Hell, I would be disappointed if you didn’t. 

  • Killer Sofa- If you’re under the impression this was a documentary studying the link between obesity and television viewing? Nope. This is a movie about a killer sofa. 
  • Power of the DogOf fucking course Imma mention this flick. It wasted the talents of a star-studded roster- Jane Campion, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons and Benedict Cumberbatch. And then it hid behind a losing personality by showing up with a stunner on its arm- in this instance, the backdrop of New Zealand. And none of it mattered because I’m dumber for having spent a couple hours in its company.
  • Bolero- Bo Derek was in it, okay?
  • Showgirls- Yep.
  • Catwoman- If you’re sensing a trend, welp, this is what happens when a guy doesn’t dig on porn.
  • Birdemic- I think the writer James Nguyen was trying to pay homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. I think it’s a very good thing Nguyen is a writer and not a brain surgeon. 
  • Cats- Oooooookay, I’m no longer in denial. 
  • Jason X- The tenth installment of the Friday the 13th franchise in which Jason goes to space. Yes, you read that right.

I could go on but instead I think I’ll heed the advice of that Polonius fellow I mentioned in the title to this post. The dude believed that brevity was the soul of wit. Which is one of my all time favorite Shakespeare quotes, even if Hamlet didn’t think so since he ended up killing the guy. 

If only Shakespeare had been a screenwriter.

 

 

 

 

The Rundown

Jackie Robinson's final words send powerful ripples decades later | Sporting News

Next week will mark the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s first game as a Brooklyn Dodger. When he stepped out of the dugout and onto the grass of Ebbet’s Field on April 15 1947, Jackie took on sixty-seven years of segregation in major league baseball. His journey transcended the sports world and it served notice to everyone who insisted on looking in the rear-view mirror to find the greatness of America. He proved that we find the best in ourselves by moving forward.

When asked about his decision to bring Jackie Robinson to Brooklyn, general manager Branch Rickey said that “Some day I’m going to have to stand before God, and if He asks me why I didn’t let that Robinson fellow play ball, I don’t think saying ‘because of the color of his skin’ would be a good enough answer,”.

That quote always gets me.

Volodymyr Zelensky urges UN to condemn Russia, take action on alleged war crimes

President Zelensky says Russia is preparing for a “new bloody wave” of attacks in eastern Ukraine and made an urgent appeal to NATO for more weapons. The idea of any substantive inroads being made as far as peace talks between Russia and Kyiv grow more dismal with each passing day. Local officials have warned civilians that this will be their last chance to leave as Russian forces tighten their grip on the border. More than 5,000 civilians have been killed in he port city of Mariupol, with Mayor Vadym Boichenko calling it the new Auschwitz.

The owners of a sprawling nature resort tucked deep in the pine woods of British Columbia are taking the news out of Ukraine to heart by opening their doors to the country’s refugees. Their goal is to host 100 people on their 81 acre property which was formerly known as the Grouse Nest.

Their new Name? The Ukrainian Safe Haven. Refugees will be provided with all of the essentials as they attempt to piece their lives back together. Inside the darkest of times, perfect strangers are making good on a refrain that never goes out of style.

Home is where you hang your heart.

I would love to tell you my Netflix habits have gotten smarter with time. I really would love to tell you that. Alas, when my evening fare consisted of The Ultimatum: Marry Or Move On, it seems I am a lost cause when it comes to educational nourishment in my streaming diet.

If Tiger Woods Tees Off At The Masters, He'll Be Playing To Win | FiveThirtyEight

It might not be the popular opinion of golf geeks or sports talkies but I’ve had my fill of Tiger Woods.

In present day, he is arguably the greatest golfer of all time but in 2009 there was no argument. Back then he was destined to surpass Jack Nicklaus for the title belt before his star crashed, literally and figuratively. We came to learn he was even more prolific as an adulterous jerk than he on the links. His personal life and his career spiraled from there as a result of his self-destructive arrogance, but you’d never know it from listening to the talking heads gush about his return to Augusta this weekend. They wax poetic on the former king of the sport as if he wasn’t the sole reason for his demise. I’m sorry, but Tiger Woods ain’t giving me a reason to watch the Masters.

In fact, he’s giving me yet one more reason not to.

Eric Church is a new age country singer and I never planned on knowing that much about him. And then he canceled a concert last weekend so he could attend the Final Four and watch his beloved UNC Tar Heels and I felt as if I knew too much about him. He is trying to mend the fences by staging a free concert now but I have to wonder how many people will decide they don’t want to go back to Church. You knew I was going there, right?

NEA statement on Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's Senate Judiciary Committee vote | NEA

The Senate yesterday confirmed the nomination of Ketanji Brown yesterday by a vote of 53-47, making Brown the first black woman to serve on the highest court in the land. This result was as bi-partisan as things get in these times with three Republicans crossing the aisle to ensure the confirmation. It’s a much needed win for Biden as well with the mid-term elections just around the corner.

Father Says Homeless Man Saved Daughter And Her Friends During Sacramento Shooting – CBS Sacramento

Last weekend proved once again that we have no rock bottom.

When it comes to supply chains, there is no disruption when it comes to the carnage humankind is capable of. There is no line we will not cross, no sacred place we will not desecrate. Saddest of all is the realization that people killing people has become a routine part of our everyday.

Tim Langer doesn’t own a television or a computer and he doesn’t get to read the newspaper all that much. You can excuse his ignorance when it comes to our other pandemic seeing as how he is living on the streets. His ‘home’ is a tiny space off K street in downtown Sacramento, where he is invisible to the rest of the world most days. And then an eruption of gunfire roused him from his sleep, thrusting him from the shadows and directly into the line of fire. That’s when he came across a couple of panic stricken young women and he made sure they would live to see morning.

“From what I could see, the state of war, I was just trying to calm them down and keep them reassured that everything was going to be all right.”

When faced with a moment where actions mattered more than words ever could, Langer made his way through the darkness that was busy stealing six more souls. He placed himself in harm’s way, shielding the women with his body as he raced them to cover. And to that never ending pit of hopeless outcomes that was hunting for more lives to take his message was a resounding one.

Not today.

The Beatrix Kiddo Invitational: Volume Uno

Beatrix Kiddo - Kill Bill Digital Art by Zapista OU

My first dalliance with an Invitational post came about thanks to a vision I had whilst partaking of Marlboros, martinis and oxy as I watched The Departed. In the luminescent halo of smoky observance, I found Vera Farmiga’s likeness staring back at me and that’s when the mystery of it all became the history of it all.

It was a religious experience that would never be replicated . . . until another idea rolled up on me just recently. The fingerprints of this provocation can be traced to a summit with apple pie moonshine and Guinness; the medicinal qualities of which provided me a time-released muse with the hemi of a semi.

And so, I present to you the Beatrix Kiddo Invitational. As in badass with a capital Boom! This compilation of badasses only includes fictional characters of stream and screen since the turn of the millennium. So apologies in advance to the luminaries of the badass industry- Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee, Dirty Harry, Pepper Anderson and the Mod Squad, among so many others. They were the original masters of ass-kicking legend

Our invitational is all about handing out propers. There is no particular order because let’s face it, badasses don’t stand in line.

They make their own.

The jacket of Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) in No Country For Old Men | Spotern

Do you know why Anton Chigurh is a badass legend? You might think it has to do with his hopped up grasshopper relentlessness . . . his DIY skills when it comes to removing shrapnel from his person . . . or the business of his inner evil bloodhound. Oh yeah, and he walked away from a crash in which he gets t-boned, with a bone sticking out of his arm. No doubt, its an impressive rubric of badassery. But the reason he’s a legend is because he sports a Dutch boy haircut in No Country For Old Men and not a single mention is made of that fact.

Everyone but Daniel Craig Wants Another Daniel Craig Bond Film | Vanity Fair

Daniel Craig as James Bond. Because he took the evergreen enterprise and he went where no Bond had gone before. He’s the most prolific drinker in the Bond series, which is pretty fucking impressive when you consider that his deadlines are quite literal. Craig’s Bond is equal parts Jack Bauer and Cary Grant. Add to that, his rendition of the character was honored at the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic games in London when a stuntman parachuted into the stadium. A little shaken but not stirred.

Marvel's Jessica Jones: season two will explore fall-out from Kilgrave murder | Radio Times

Kilgrave is the antagonist in Marvel’s Jessica Jones, and when it comes to villains he is one of my all timers for a reason. He’s a snappy dresser with a murderous glacier of a heart, and he provides the witty banter of a Shakespearean gangster. If you’re looking for a fighter, he most certainly ain’t that. Nope, he wins by controlling people’s minds like a televangelist on commission. A badass with a brain is a very dangerous thing.

What Makes Heath Ledger's Joker the Perfect Villain in The Dark Knight Video

Heath Ledger’s turn as the Joker in The Dark Knight is the stuff of legend. The late actor gifted bat fans with a master class in badassology, and he transformed Christopher Nolan’s franchise in the process. Ledger reprised a role made famous by guys like Caesar Romero and Jack Nicholson and made it his own, entirely so. Rumor has it when veteran actor Michael Caine first met the Joker on the set, he was so terrified that he forgot his lines.

Now that is badass.

The Walking Dead' Season 6 Finale: Negan Arrives, and Then... ? - The New York Times

There was a time when The Walking Dead was appointment television for yours truly. By the sixth season, I was seriously considering a divorce until it came to my attention that Jeffrey Dean Morgan had been cast as the show’s next villain.

I reconciled.

Negan provided me with a reason for staying, even if his coming out party turned a lot of fans off. Welp, those peeps must have forgotten the context of a zombie apocalypse where diplomacy will get you skewered. And okay, yes, perhaps our boy was a little over the top when it came to the business end of his barbed wired baseball bat named “Lucille”. But I know one thing for certain; a more tempered Negan wouldn’t have made it all the way to the end of the show’s eleven year run. And while he has changed a ton in the ensuing years, he never lost that swing.

Welcome to Pee-Pee Pants City. Population: Me.

 

The Rundown- April 1st Edition

FUNNY SIGNS | Learn Hot English 230 | Pocketmags.com

I caught some flack (not named Roberta) for last week’s downer of an episode, which I didn’t think was all that dark . . but whatever. I do understand these are tough times we’re wading through, and so in honor of the day that makes fools of us all, Imma fool ’em right back.

My regularly scheduled programming will return next week with more stories of death and destruction, as well as how to write off that purchase of Madden NFL 22 as a business expense. But for this week, we make party.

Welp, let’s get to it.

Hillary Clinton to voice 'Into The Woods' role in Little Rock

She’s baaaaack!

No, Hilary Clinton isn’t running for office again, no matter how hard Sean Hannity prays for that ratings winner. And seeing as how she has an allergy to winning elections against anyone not named Rick Lazio, it’s probably a good thing for whatever is left of the Clintonian legacy.

Instead Ms. Clinton will voice the role of the Giant in Stephen Sondheim’s adaptation of Into The Woods. In the role, she plays the vengeful widow of the giant Jack slayed in his climb down from the beanstalk. Hilary says she prepared for the role by poring over footage of interviews she granted during her time as First Lady.

Rick Madeira, of Fall River, Mass., rides an electric unicycle Monday, March 14, 2022, in Fall River, Mass. Madeira, who has taken to riding his electric unicycle to work, saving on gas and cutting his commute time in the process, says he has the answer for those upset with high gas prices. Madeira's Gotway Nikola Plus electric unicycle, with no seat or handle bars, just places for his feet, can go 70 or 80 miles on one charge, and reaches speeds of up to 40 mph. (Colin Furze/The Herald News of Fall River via AP)

Rick Madeira of Fall River, Massachusetts has come up with the solution to rising gas prices, and while it won’t get him an invite to the White House, I’m sure Jimmy Fallon’s people will be in touch.

Madeira rides his electric unicycle to work and he says it has cut his commute time in half- from eight minutes to four. I’m not sure how an eight minute commute inspires an individual to hop aboard a ride with no seat . . . or windshield, or handlebars, or doors or air bags. His Gotway Nikola Plus can go up to eighty miles on a single charge, and reach speeds of 40 mph. “It’s just more convenient, and it’s obviously more fun,”. If you characterize the possibility of becoming road pizza as fun, you probably hail from New England.

As fun as this looks, I’ll stick to horses.

Coach K retirement: How many Final Fours has Duke's coach been to? - DraftKings Nation

March Madness has almost struck midnight and once again, the tournament that bills itself as the place where Cinderella balls out . . . ain’t that at all.

Okay, props to the Saint Peters Peacocks out of Jersey City for making it to the Elite Eight this year. And big props to the U, as the Miami Hurricanes came up just short of their first Final Four appearance in school history. But in the end, as happens every single year, the bluebloods dominate the final weekend. For all the manufactured upsets in which teams are seeded on a mostly subjective scale, this sport has become a bettors paradise and little more. When the only familiar names in a sport belong to the head coaches, what do you expect? And I’m not just venting because Imma come up short in my office bracket.

But it doesn’t hurt.

PS- Imma be rooting for Coach K to go out on top.

Carrot Top Tickets - StubHub

April 1st BREAKING NEWS . . . .

Former President Donald Trump announced this week that he will not run in the 2024 Presidential election, while offering an apology for his boorish behavior over the last half century. He also accepted full responsibility for his role in last January’s riot at the Capitol and promised to be totally cooperative going forward.

“Also, I lost the election to Joe. Actually, he didn’t just win, he kicked my ass. I was embarrassed so I made up this huge lie about how the presidency was stolen from me. It was really a gag, because who in their right mind would really believe that shit? I was pulling stuff out of my ass . . from vote dumping in the middle of the night to corrupted servers to an army of the dead showing up . . . I didn’t expect many of my followers to play along, but then they all did!”

He spoke to reporters before his morning round of golf, which he lost resoundingly, after which he filed suit to have the results overturned.

Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty (TV Series 2022– ) - IMDb

I dove into Winning Time with tempered expectations, considering how fictionalized accounts of real life events seldom bear any resemblance to the original. And for the first couple episodes, I was right. It was a kitschy dip into the shallow end of sports lore and it was good enough for me. The casting is spectacular, with Quincy Isaiah shooting his shot as Magic Johnson and nailing it. Jason Clarke as Jerry West is inspired, as is DeVaughn Nixon’s turn as Norm Nixon- the point guard who preceded Magic’s Showtime Lakers. And okay . . . John C. Reilly does a great job as Dr. Jerry Buss, even if I can’t extricate Talladega Nights  and Stepbrothers from my brain when I watch him. But that’s a me problem.

And then the show began dishing up revelations that moved the needle. Gems like how Pat Riley wasn’t always the coolest cat in the room, and how Magic’s ascendance was hard earned and how a little known offensive genius named Jack McKinney was responsible for ushering in the up-tempo style of play that transformed a franchise and the league.

Good stuff.

Oscar Statuette | Oscars.org | Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

The 94th annual Academy Awards was held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday night. With three hosts proving unable to carry the load of one solid emcee, the show was proving to be a rudderless waste of time.

And then it happened.

In a shocking turn of events that left the audience buzzing, The Power Of The Dog did NOT win the Oscar for Best Picture. And thank fucking Christ for that because it would have been a complete mockery of the event. Imagine the memes on social media? The wall to wall coverage all week long? Yikes! When you consider all the great Oscar winning films of the last century, the idea that Power would have joined that legendary list is, well, how do I put this nicely?

It would have been a slap in the face.

The Rundown

An orchestra gathers in a town square to perform in a protest.

The Lviv Symphony Orchestra and Mikola Lisenko Music Academy have been holding open air concerts in the center of Lviv to protest the Russian attacks. Kahlil Gibran wrote that music is the language of the spirit, and as the people of Ukraine are proving every day, their spirit is strong. (Photo courtesy of The Atlantic). 

This is not the time to brand Vladimir Putin an 'evil madman' | Russia-Ukraine war | Al Jazeera

The theater of war was drowned out by Vladimir Putin and his old Soviet cronies, who amped up the rhetoric this week. As if death and destruction were not enough, why not double down with the kind of provocative talk that will take things from worse to catastrophic?

Putin feels as if he was screwed over by a regime in Ukraine that didn’t just want the keys to its own car, it wanted to drive it too. For all his tough talk, Vlad’s war isn’t exactly going according to plan thus far because wars never go according to plan. So why not harp on his old nemesis to the west . . . Us. Because when a bully isn’t getting his way, create a diversion by bemoaning the failures of his predecessors. And push the nuclear chatter to the center of the table in a gambit that nobody wants to be all in on.

I’m beyond sick and tired of this asshole.

New Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson will get away with this

The odyssey that is former Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson’s football life let him off the hook this week when the Cleveland Browns made him the highest paid quarterback in the game. Watson had spurned the Browns in trade talks only days earlier and it seemed nothing was going to change his mind. Until $230 million fully guaranteed somethings did.

Watson was benched for the entirety of the 2021 season after twenty-two women filed civil suits accusing him of lewd and coercive sexual behavior. And none of that mattered once a Texas grand jury decided that no criminal charges would be brought against him, because that’s when the feeding frenzy for his services really got going. No less than six teams were in the race, never minding this sordid mess because big league sports always has room at the table for another bad act, so long as he can still produce at a high level.

Not to be outdone, the Miami Dolphins made Tyreek Hill the highest paid wide receiver in the game on Wednesday after acquiring him in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs. So now my club has a high profile bad guy with a record of domestic abuse, but so what? We’re contenders!

The powers that be at the league office know we ain’t buying their tired old company line about how the league is one big, happy family and about how much they value women. But it doesn’t matter, because they have pockets that are deeper than the Mariana Trench and a legal team large enough to have its own zip code.

As a sports fan these days, you best wear shades.

'Halloween Kills' review: old school slasher sequel makes a bloody mess

I used to believe Godfather 3 was the most egregious shit ever taken on a movie franchise, and then they issued the Coda and I made peace with it, for the most part. And while I ain’t ever gonna compare Michael Corleone with Michael Myers, the latter has had an impressive run in his own right. Which is why the people responsible for Halloween Kills now own the award for most objectionably egregious sequel in the history of ever. The film is an abject disaster, and if you didn’t know any better, you’d swear the writers had intended for this to be a spoof of the original. Embarrassing.

Madeleine Albright, first female US secretary of state, dies - CNNPolitics

Madeleine Albright, who became the first female secretary of state under President Bill Clinton, lost her battle with cancer on Wednesday.

Ms. Albright was the daughter of Czech refugees who were forced into exile after the Nazi occupation of her country in 1938. They fled to Britain a year later, having no idea of the horrors to come. They survived the German Blitz before moving to the outskirts of London until the end of the war. Madeleine was schooled in Switzerland for a brief period where she learned to speak French, but her family’s return to their home was short lived when the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia took control in 1948. As a press attaché who opposed communism, her father sent them to America.

From a young age, Albright was a lesson in what Ellis Island means: She believed in the principles of democracy while never taking for granted the freedoms it offers. She was witness to how despots rise to power with manipulative language whose power lies in the fear they can spread.

Madeleine Albright was 84.

First Look: D Light Café & Bakery Opens In Adams Morgan | DCist

There are so many stories of people from around the world contributing to the people of Ukraine: from grass roots fundraisers to booking rooms with no intention of filling them. And here’s one more, because when I get tired of the way the world so oftentimes works against itself, these stories bring me back to a better place.

Anastasiia and Vira Derun moved to this country from Ukraine with the same dreams as so many who have come before them. To make their own special footprint in a country of immigrants. In October of last year they realized their dream with the opening of D Light Café just outside the nation’s capitol. And less than two months later it was up in smoke, literally, when a fire shut its doors. But thanks to a GoFundMe campaign the sisters were able to re-open last month. Right before the Russian invasion changed everything, yet again.

They have spent many a sleepless night since the war began, staying in touch with their family back home as best they can. “We don’t have the power to help them. We cannot visit. They cannot come here. I’m literally watching the news every five minutes just to keep myself updated. What’s going on? Where’s the army moved to? It’s this situation where we look at unknown things and we just pray. That’s the only thing we can do right now.” Anastasiia says.

They started taking donations and well, it’s proven to be their sunshine in the middle of this raging storm. To date they’ve raised more than $7,000. Every morning you can find people lining up outside the small bakery in Adams Morgan to buy pastries and to make donations and in many instances, both.

“We have a lot of Russian people coming in and supporting us, which is so wonderful because we understand that this is not between people—it’s between political individuals” she says. “I want everyone to understand that Ukraine is a country. It’s not part of Russia or part of Europe. We are a nation who has our own culture, our own values.”

I gotta tell you, when I went digging for a feel good story this week I had no doubt I would find plenty of them. Because I always do, because they are always there. This week it was people singing songs in the square and booking vacations they will never take and sending letters and money and clothes across the oceans to complete strangers. Because in the middle of the worst of times, love always finds its way. And so when I learned about these two sisters, I knew I had my story.

It was a piece of cake.

 

 

 

The Rundown

What pundits are saying about Zelensky's address to Congress | TheHill

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed our Congress this week, appealing to our elected representatives for more aid and weapons. He also called for the US to institute a no-fly zone over Ukraine. President Biden is making good on the first two requests but thus far has refused the third. The reason for his refusal is simple; it will push NATO forces and more specifically, the US from the sidelines and into the middle of this war, inextricably.

It’s a hell of a thing to watch people suffer and know that we could do more, but at what price? A ramped up escalation that pits us against Russian forces? Even if that scenario doesn’t lead to a nightmarish conclusion involving nuclear missile strikes, it most certainly draws us ever closer to a not so fictional midnight.

It’s vital that we weigh our responses to both Putin and Zelensky at this point in the conflict, seeing as how the wrong move could not simply heighten tensions, but throw them over the cliff. And in a sea of horrible possibilities, we sure as hell don’t want to introduce yet another one.

I love Bono, but his poem to Ukraine on St. Patrick’s Day will not be remembered in the same vein as The Joshua Tree. Just saying.

The Windy City celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of one of the most unique St. Patrick’s Day celebrations going. Back in 1962, a few chaps from the Chicago Journeymen Local Plumbers Union were making merry on the Holy Day when the spirit(s) of the 17th prevailed against their better judgement. So they dumped 100 pounds of dye into the Chicago River, and the rest became local history. The moral of the story? Believe in the magical qualities of mayhem.

The Batman (2022) - IMDb

Marco’s Micro-Movie Review- The Batman feels like David Fincher dreamt it up after a really bad breakup; dark and gloomy with a unrelenting hopelessness that saturates the (too long) three-hour caper. Solid performances all around, but none better than the Riddler- played by Paul Dano- whose wicked ways don’t just cross the line. They torch it.

Look: Tom Brady Has Message For Manchester United

Well, shit . . .

Rainy days and Mondays usually get us down, and this kid is no different. And kudos to him for going all Hamlet with his feelings rather than just bottling them up, because lets face it, that shit’ll kill you. Letting it all hang out is the way to go. And not for nothing, but he should be expecting a call from Ron Howard any day now.

Tom Brady news that I actually found interesting? Someone bought Tom Brady’s final touchdown pass for $516,628  . . . just hours before Brady announced that, well, it wasn’t going to be his final touchdown pass after all. And now I don’t feel so bad about that loan I made to my pal Fat Tony when he wanted to get into bookmaking.

Hyperion Horses for Sale | Hyperion Stud

The Fed announced this week that it will raise interest rates, with more hikes to come over the course of 2022. The full-court press is in response to a consumer price index which came in at an eye popping 7.9 percent in February, its highest level since early in the Reagan administration. They’ll keep raising rates with the hopes of getting the economy to chill for a tad, but this strategy is likely to butt heads with the supply chain issue we’ve got going on so . . . . I’m pricing horses as promised. I found a beauty in Maryland, one owner. She’s a retired grandmother who only rides the horse to and from church on Sundays.

15+ Of The Best & Funniest Daylight Savings Time Memes

The Senate passed a bill this week that would call for a year-round daylight saving time. No more messing with the clock every fall, the clock would remain stuck where it is now. And not for nothing, but it’s an idea whose time has come. Okay . . that was worse than Bono’s poem, sorry. The House still needs to sign off on the bill, after which it would go to President Biden . . . because he has nothing else to concern himself with these days.

A volunteer’s work is never done, and thank God for that.

The latest evidence that hope and love are the most valuable commodities on the market comes to us from Siret, Romania. That’s where 7-year old Arina and her family are living right now after fleeing Ukraine for a refugee camp that is located almost six hundred miles southwest of their home. More than 2 million people have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on February 24th. More than 85,000 of them have found a safe haven in Romania.

When a psychologist at the camp learned that Arina was celebrating a birthday, he made sure there would be a cause for celebration. After which a lot of people with a lot of really important things to tend to made it happen. Because in that moment, the most important thing in the world was to make this beautiful child smile. Hell, it wasn’t just important to them, it was everything.

It became the kind of moment that possesses a language all its own, one known to the dreamers and lovers and fools of a world who still believe in the best of humankind, after all of this. As they sang to her, they achieved that smile they had been searching for since tomorrow got lost. And as a peaceful snow fell through the thick of night, it was as if the heavens were looking down in applause.

Happy Birthday Arina.

The Vera Farmiga Invitational

In a Look Designed By Her Best Friend, Vera Farmiga Lit Up The Many Saints Of Newark Premiere | Vogue

It’s been a while.

Vera called me up the other night to let me know she wasn’t digging the while it’s been. Then she let me know, in no uncertain terms, that I best deliver up a bevvy of babes for the cause. And yeah she’s right, it has been a hot minute since I last put pretty to paper, so I told her not to conjure up any spells on my ass and that I’d get to work immediamente. And then I woke up. And even though it was only just a dream, I was duly inspired to turn up the heat.

The above snapshot was taken before the premiere of The Many Saints of Newark, and it’s the only worthwhile thing to come out of that flick. So thank you to Vera for the wake up call, and thank you to all the lovelies taking the stage today.

How Far Will Beth Go in the 'Yellowstone' Finale? Kelly Reilly & Cole Hauser Tease 'Wild Finish'

Kelly Reilly- She’s redefined the definition of badass with her turn as Beth Dutton on the show Yellowstone. Her character is the kind of gal who will take you on the ride of your life, after which you’ve got a fifty-fifty chance of waking up in the morning. And believe you me, you’d be crazy not to take the chance. All that, and she’s a Brit to boot. So when she talks about her character on the show, it’s like you have inherited Buckingham Palace . . . and you get to hang from the chandeliers on her every word. If you want the all-inclusive trip to Hot Town, she’s got you covered.

millie brady » High quality walls

Millie Brady- More UK hawt, I mean haute. Okay I mean a lot of both. She plays the fiery hot lady warrior of Mercia in the show The Last Kingdom, but I simply refer to her as Queen Hottie. One, because her character’s name- Aethelflaed- does not do her justice. And two, the title Queen Hottie does.

A former model, she’s only been on the acting scene for eight years but she’s made a name for herself whilst playing strong female characters. For Kingdom, she practiced her own stunts and even kicked it with some martial arts training for the fighting scenes.

God Save The Queen!

Zoe Kravitz's Diet and Exercise Routine Is a Full of Healthy Secrets

Zoe Kravitz- I am pretty certain that on the day that she was born, the angels got together and decided to create a dream come true. I understand that Karen Carpenter said it first, and who knows? Maybe KC had a premonition about this tasty talent who scores a trifecta of sound and stage. She’s a musician, a model and an actress, and really, the girl is anything she damn well wants to be. She’s the latest kitten to don the iconic leather suit in The Batman, and word is her turn as the Catwoman is getting purrfect scores. As if we had any doubt.

When she sets her gaze upon you, it’s lights out, or . . at least you wish it was.

In Conversation With Niamh Algar — Rose & Ivy

Niamh Algar- The Dude referred to her as “the smoke show” in one of his comments to me, and for very good reason. This creamy Irish gal possesses the ability to own any hairstyle she pleases, and not for nothing, but she has the deed on just about all of them at this point in her acting career. And that’s just the bonus round, seeing as how she will come hither your senses with acting chops that won’t quit until you’re begging for mercy.

But really, it hurts so good.

Evangeline Lilly | Lord of the Rings Rings of Power on Amazon Prime News, JRR Tolkien, The Hobbit and more | TheOneRing.net

Evangeline Lilly- This Canadian import is the girl next door, on steroids. Lilly is a hot butter disco song whose religion speaks to the drumbeat of a man’s heart in the prettiest of pleases. It’s hard to believe she’s been setting fire to the silver screen for almost two decades now, which just goes to show that times flies when you’re spinning this kind of honey. Ironically, her acting career took off when she scored a role in the acclaimed television show Lost. From those not so humble beginnings, she has been found . . . and how.

Oh Canada!