Heroes Of The Week!

Cool Superhero Wallpapers - Top Free Cool Superhero Backgrounds - WallpaperAccess

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

Let’s get to the roster instead . . .

Grocery delivery, pickup expands at Whole Foods | Supermarket News

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

Food Stash Foundation (@FoodStashFdn) | Twitter

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

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

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

This is great good work without a surcharge.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If I had the bread, this would be my circus

Roman colosseum 3d model

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think Jerry Jones would dig that just fine.

Heroes Of The Week!

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

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

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

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

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

Not when a simple hello works so much better.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez departs The 2021 Met Gala

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

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

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

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

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

Hey, it’s a free country.

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

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

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

Welcome mats are free of charge.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

The Annoyances Post (Volume . . Mucho)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

To The Heavens, They Obliged

The History of the Twin Towers Design and Architecture - Bloomberg

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

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

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

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

9/11 documents detail bravery and fear - Deseret News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wherever they were.

Heroes Of The Week!

Three-year-old AJ recovering well after being lost for days as NSW police continue investigation | New South Wales | The Guardian

Welp, it’s good to be back in my Friday parking space for the first time in a fortnight. I must kick off the festivities with a tip of my eleven-gallon hat to the inimitable Frank “Beach Walks” Angle and the lovely Dale for doing a bang up job in my absence. Muchas? Meet Gracias . . and take a bow, you two!

We kick off this episode with the story of Anthony Elfalak, a three-year old Australian boy who was found after a harrowing four day search of the family’s rural property north of Sydney.

AJ, as he is called by family and friends is autistic and non-verbal, which made the search for the young boy that much more challenging. The prospects of finding the toddler safe and sound diminished with each passing day, given the more than 700 acres of wilderness that comprise the property. One person described the landscape as a “maze” of canyons, cliffs and bushland.

Thanks to the efforts of police officials as well as a search party of more than 385 people, the massive undertaking had a happy ending when AJ was found a third of a mile from his home. While some feared the worst, the men and women responsible for his safe return never wavered. A paramedic who treated AJ referred to him as a “little survivor”, but we shouldn’t forget the lesson in all this.

It took a village.

ESPN announcers blasted Bishop Sycamore in IMG-Bishop Sycamore blowout

We don’t expect much from ESPN, and for good reason. But they have officially jumped the shark with their latest embarrassment.

IMG Academy- a finishing school for top prospect football players funded by the agency of the same name- played Bishop Sycamore High School on the four-letter network a couple weeks ago. If it was purely a matter of ESPN laying a wrecking ball on high-school athletics in the name of ratings dollars, we’d shrug, since they do that all the time. But this game, it was different. How different, you ask?

Well . . umm . . Bishop Sycamore . . isn’t actually a high school. When real journalists- as in, not ESPN personnel- started asking questions about the alleged accomplishments of the Ohio based school, the ruse was uncovered. It was yet another pay for play scam crafted by their ringleader/head coach Leroy Johnson, who has an arrest warrant out on him for “fraudulent misrepresentation, conversion, and unjust enrichment,”.

As for the game, IMG routed Bishop Sycamore by a score of 58-0, but the good news is that none of the not ready for varsity players was injured in what was a seriously dangerous situation. Add that to the fact that the faux school had played a game just two days before facing off against IMG . . another little fact ESPN somehow missed.

Shameful just doesn’t say enough.

McKenzie Milton, Brian Kelly steal FSU vs Notre Dame spotlight - Sports Illustrated

A quick shout out to McKenzie Milton for achieving what many believed impossible in a game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish last weekend. Milton is the quarterback for Florida State these days, but in his last football life with UCF, he suffered a devastating leg injury that put an end to his playing days.

Milton didn’t see it that way, and almost three years later he was back on a football field, completing a 22-yard pass on his first attempt. His team came up short on the scoreboard, but Milton was the biggest winner of the night just by showing up. At the time of the surgery that would save Milton’s leg, his surgeon said the hope was that one day the kid would be able to walk without pain. “Anything above that would be a bonus,”

Dr. Bruce Levy was there on Saturday night for the bonus round.

Peter Mutabazi now shares his home in North Carolina with four kids and two dogs.

The lovely Dale is chiming in with two stories this week, one of which serves as the capper to this episode. Imma start with this tale about a foster dad who brings a new and wonderful meaning to the idea of a full house. And not for nothing, but he’s loving every moment of it.

Peter Udabazi ran away from his home in Uganda when he was just ten years old. He fled an abusive father and lived on the streets for a time until someone took him in. It was a lesson he never forgot, and he vowed to give back in that very same way one day should the opportunity arise. After moving to the states after college, he went to work for World Vision- a non-profit organization that helps children. In 2017, he became a foster parent and in the time since he has fostered more than a dozen children.

It was 2018 when he met Anthony- an 11 year old boy who had been abandoned by his adoptive parents. And that’s when the lesson he had carried with him, all the way from Uganda, showed up. “Anthony would always ask me, ‘Hey Dad, when will I be officially adopted?'” Mutabazi said. “And of course, with foster care you never know when.”

In November of 2019, it became official. After which COVID happened to the world and Peter witnessed another dilemma taking place at agencies across the country.

“With foster care, they are overloaded with kids and I could not imagine a kid wanting a safe place to be loved in the midst of this . . . I could not say no,” Mutabazi said. So he had to find a way to give more. Because people like Peter always do. And so, as of this publication, the Mutabazi household is now home to four kids and two dogs . . and counting.

It’s a stay tuned kind of deal, but nobody’s complaining.

Frank “Beach Walks” Angle sent me this next story and I’m going to provide the link (right here) since I wasn’t able to fetch the video for it. The video above is from a GMA piece that ran shortly after one of the deadliest mass shootings in Greater Cincinnati.

Whitney Austin is a mother of two who became a casualty of gun violence on September 6th, 2018. As she was walking to her job at Fifth Third in Cincinnati, a gunman opened fire; killing three people and wounding two others, including Whitney, who was shot twelve times and yet, somehow survived.

She refuses to call herself a victim though. She started Whitney Strong as a way of educating others while pushing for legislation that could help stem the tide of gun violence in this country. Listen to these two videos and I’m sure you’ll come away with the same opinion I did.

We have to do better.

Tomorrow marks twenty years since a clear blue sky turned ruinous. Twenty years ago, morning became night and it changed this country forever. For those of us who lived through that day, September 11th does not feel twenty years removed from our memory banks. Because when we think back on the day, we are right back inside the shock and anguish, the horror and grief.

As we have learned many times before and since that Tuesday morning, all of our first responders have one thing in common. They show up every day with the idea that they might not be going home. They fight fires, they respond to mass shootings and they care for the injured and the sick, putting their lives on the line in the service of their communities.

When a 15-year old lab mix named Zoey went missing in Arlington, Texas recently, the neighborhood got to stepping in their search for her. From social media engagement to knocking on doors to calling out her name countless times even though they knew it was fruitless because she’s deaf. In those desperate moments, all that mattered was finding her safe and sound.

Two days after she went missing, city water crews located Zoey in a storm drain. They set up a camera to monitor her condition, after which the city’s first responders went to work saving her. Firefighters, police officers and paramedics worked tirelessly; using everything at their disposal, from jackhammers to pneumatic saws. They worked in the extreme heat for almost half the day until they were finally able to pull the lab to safety.

Zoey is going to be just fine thanks to first responders whose mission it is to overcome any challenge and help anyone who needs their help. And it brings to mind the last passage in the firefighters creed, which, truthfully, speaks for anyone who puts on a uniform in the name of service.

‘ . . I shall endeavor to be one of His noblest works . . .”

God bless all our heroes.

The Big Business Of Name Calling

NFL Fines Washington Football Team $10 Mil After Sexual Misconduct Probe

Remember when winning made headlines? Yeah, that shit’s over.

Take the Washington Football Team (I’m thinking they stole this moniker from the classic video game, Tecmo Football), which has announced they will have a new name in 2022. Last year it retired the nickname Redskins; a name it carried since 1933 when they were still based in Boston. After years of refusing to do the right thing, team owner Dan Snyder finally came to his senses. Or maybe it was because his reign as King of the Iron Deficient Throne was being threatened and he needed him a positive news day . . either or.

Washington Football Team vs Eagles - Week 1 | Tecmo Super Bowl 2021 - YouTube

The once perennial contenders have won a single playoff game since the turn of the millennium. Which is one more playoff win than the Washington Sentinels. Seeing as how the Sentinels are a fictional team from the Keanu Reeves movie The Replacements, that’s no bueno.

None of this matters because the football team in Washington (the realish one) is as relevant now as it was back in the time of Gibbs and Theismann and Lombardi trophies. Don’t get me wrong, they’re a decent football team as things currently stand. But for most of the past two decades they’ve been winning headlines without winning much of anything else, which, come to think of it, makes them a perfect fit for that town.

Game of Thrones' 101: Who's Left from House Bolton?

We’re talking about an organization whose work environment was on par with anything the Fox News skirt hounds had going on. Washington was fined $10 million in January of this year for its “highly unprofessional” treatment of women. Which makes all the talk about banishing the derogatory nickname Redskins quaint in comparison. But since this post is about a more positive form of name calling, I will stay on message. For once.

A few ideas? On it . . .

Filibusters- Because the games will feel as if they’re never going to end, and yet . . nothing gets accomplished.

Vetos- For the team that has delivered rejection to its fan base for more than a quarter century. It’s perfect, really.

Scandals- I’m sorry, but it’s a slow news week without a good scandal in our national’s capitol.

Pork Barrels- It’s more dramatic than “The Hogs”, which was under consideration.

Motions- I really dig this one. It merges Congress with Motown.

Parliamentarians- Okay, maybe it’s a tad long, but it can always be abbreviated. Call them “The Parliars”.

Presidents- When they lose, they’ll make a federal case out of it. Never mind.

Luncheons- If you want to pack the stadium, this name will get ‘er done.

Monte Cristos- Can you imagine the concessions? It would be the best part of the game!

Hashtags- It merges a contemporary term used on social media with the term for lines on a football field. As an added bonus, slap a hashtag on the helmet and you’re trending, just like that.

Buckaneers- Add the k so as to avoid any legal hassles, and maybe . . just maybe, someone will confuse them with a Super Bowl champion this year.

Hollabacks- It’s a song from back in the aughts of 2000, fashioned in brass knuckle pearls by the great Gwen Stefani. I’m not gonna lie, I always thought this would be a cool team name. If I ever play Fantasy Football again, Imma go with it. And as the Pina to this Colada milkshake, an homage to girls wouldn’t be the worst idea for this franchise.

Of course, this entire exercise is a moot point since the new nickname for the team formerly known as the Redskins has already been chosen, probably. In the event there is still time and someone from the Washington front office is reading this and sees something they really, really dig? Have at it. All I ask in return is that you don’t offer me season tickets in return. I’m good.

Washington has some company when it comes to name changes, as the Cleveland Indians will also roll out a new nickname in 2022. Unlike their gridiron counterparts, however, the Tribe didn’t wait to unveil theirs. They will be going with the Guardians, and I cannot wait until they play the Angels for the first time. Think about it . . .

If you’re wondering what happened to all the Redskins merch, check Trump’s website.

 

 

 

 

The Death of Swagger

Mets players let their booing fans 'know how it feels' with strange thumbs down celebration - CBSSports.com

There was a time when people showed their lack of hip by spewing antiquated proclamations meant to denounce the impetuous qualities of progress. Old timers castigated the kids of my generation for not schlepping through five feet of snow for miles just to get to school. We didn’t dare complain during a heatwave, because to do so meant we had to endure stories about a time when houses were nothing more than giant microwave ovens. Our parents took every opportunity to tell us how lucky we were to have playtime, since their lives consisted of chores, working odd jobs and avoiding polio.

Us kids didn’t get it, probably because we were too cool for old school. As Generation Xers, we got high on Tang, we got educated by Schoolhouse Rock and we got religion via 8-track players that ushered in an audacious expansion of music delivery systems. We were iconoclasts, leading a rebellion against an establishment yearning for a return to the days of Ike and Holy Hours and the Jitterbug.

We dreamed of third-parties, we gloried in the solidarity of the pet rock and we became soul proprietors of the Hustle. Not only did we make nerds relevant, we made them giants of industry. And it was during this glorious time that spanned the Beatles to Bon Jovi, where swagger was redefined. From the protagonist hegemony of John Wayne to the proletarian movement of Charles Bronson to Clint Eastwood, who obtained the patent.

Swagger wasn’t something you stuck a hashtag on. Simply put, if you had swagger it meant you walked your talk. You got shit done. You didn’t brag about having swagger, because to do so meant you most certainly didn’t have any. And so here I am, wondering what the hell the current generation has done to a venerated principle? Shit. these days all you need is some provocatively placed body art and an Instagram page to rate.

Which brings me to the present day New York Mets. As things stand, they are the baseball equivalent of the pet rock; a 200 million dollar paperweight with no definable purpose. They head into today’s action with a record of 63-67, 7.5 games out of first place and 7 games out of the wild card.

In all fairness, they have dealt with the injury bug in 2021. In more fairness, so have the San Francisco Giants and Chicago White Sox; and that hasn’t prevented them from staying atop their respective divisions. Injuries and bad luck happen to every club . . every season. Nobody gets a mulligan just because the baseball gods decided to piss on their chances. You either overcome or you get to stepping on your Christmas shopping.

Now, the Mets are a team I have a soft spot for thanks to my grandfather, who loved his whiskey and his baseball with the very same passion. I predicted the Mets would win their division this season because they had a roster I happened to dig on. They’ve got some swagger to them, sure, but up till a couple weeks ago it wasn’t getting in the way of the results on the field.

In early July, Pete Alonzo was defending his Home Run Derby crown, the team was talking up moves to bolster their playoff lineup and they were in first place, hell bent on stealing back the town from the Yankees. Today? They’re buried under two also ran football teams on the sports page depth chart.

In no uncertain terms, they have shit the bed, going 8-19 in August as they fight for their playoff lives. And hey . . whatever, that’s why the baseball season is an unforgiving crucible. I have zero problem with a club that falls short of expectations, seeing as how it happens to more than half the league.

What I have a problem with is when swagger meets stupid, and it happened this weekend when several players mutinied against booing fans by introducing a “thumbs down celebration” during their 9-4 win against the Nationals. Javy Baez is the ringleader of this clueless rebellion. While supremely talented, he also can’t be bothered to run out ground balls or hit the other way and God forbid his manager ever asked him to bunt. Baez is a feast or famine player who glories in home runs and shrugs off his many strikeouts. The Mets weren’t ignorant to his tone-deaf game when they acquired him from the Cubs at the trade deadline. Maybe they hoped for better, but thus far, Javy has lived down to his one trick pony act. Meanwhile, shortstop Francisco Lindor, who inked a $341 million dollar contract in the spring, probably has Steve Cohen wishing he had bought the Tampa Bay Rays instead.

I realize it’s a thankless game and so I didn’t have an issue with the less than stellar results, until they broke out their inane celebration on Sunday. After which Baez talked about how the booing makes him feel bad, while in the very same breath saying it doesn’t really get to him. Hence, an orchestrated attempt by Baez, Lindor and Kevin Pillar to exact revenge on a fan base that is paying stupid money for even stupider results. But wait, there’s more! (Or less, depending on how you look at it). Hours after Baez and Lindor explained how the thumbs down gesture was their way of booing the fans, Pillar sent out a tweet telling fans not to read anything into it.

You cannot make this shit up.

The good news for Mets fans is that there is a month of baseball left to be played. That also happens to be the bad news. And no, booing the club ain’t making things any better, but it’s not making things worse either, no matter what a few players might think. Because last time I looked, the Hall of Fame is filled with players who heard their fair share of boos and somehow prevailed.

I wish the Mets well but I’m dubious, seeing as how some of their best players are more intent on choreographing rebuttals to all that booing than actually working on the fundamentals. This Shakespearean tragedy of a baseball team is a sad reminder that swagger has become the domain of posers. Hell, in my day we would never have booed these guys.

We would have stayed home instead.

 

Heroes Of The Week!

Imma supply you with a quick heads up to let you know that I will be stepping away from WordPress for a week, as in zero-dark nada. Next Friday will keep on keeping on though, thanks to Frank “Beach Walks” Angle, who will be guest hosting for me. Big thank you to Cincy for his pinch-hitting prowess, and big hugs to all my Friday peeps who keep me coming back for more with your wonderful thoughts.

And a tip of the hat to the lovely Dale at A Dalectable Life as we begin this episode with track and field superstar Allyson Felix, whose exploits in the arena only tell half of the story. The thirty-five year old Felix is the most decorated Olympian in the history of track and field- 6 golds, 11 overall- which is a remarkable achievement when you consider the names that have occupied that universe. But it’s her role as super mama that finds her on our podium.

When her relationship with Nike was not extended, it was a slap in the face to the woman who had given the company so much. The swoosh refused to make accommodations to an expectant mother, instead offering her a 70 percent pay cut as their way of saying thanks. It didn’t get any easier for her at the first World Championship meet after giving birth. She was assigned a roommate even though she had requested her own room since she was breastfeeding and didn’t want to distract a peer who was also competing.

Felix didn’t get mad, she simply got better. In 2019, she wrote an op-ed for The New York Times in which she talked about her treatment by Nike- “I was tired of asking for change. I knew I had to create it,”. In June, she announced the launch of her own footwear company, Saysh. She has also created a $200,000 fund to pay the cost of child care for moms competing in the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Here’s to winning the right way.

Naomi Osaka Donating Prize Money to Haiti's Relief Effort after Earthquake

Naomi Osaka has announced she will be donating her earnings from a recent golf event to the relief effort in Haiti.

“Really hurts to see all the devastation that’s going on in Haiti, and I feel like we really can’t catch a break,” she tweeted. “I’m about to play a tournament this week and I’ll give all the prize money to relief efforts for Haiti. I know our ancestors blood is strong we’ll keep rising.”

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit the island nation last week. It has claimed at least 2,000 lives thus far with officials estimating that the number will rise drastically in the days and weeks to come. To make matters worse, tropical storm Grace’s arrival has further hampered rescue efforts.

Ms. Osaka is putting her money where her heart is, and bless her for doing so.

Jaylo Miles knows that the worst part about hitting rock bottom emotionally, is that return visits are commonplace. Mental health isn’t a sometimes thing, to maintain and to overcome requires a daily regimen for those affected. Which is why Jaylo loves climbing mountains; because it speaks the right language when his soul really needs to hear it.

And when you have a climbing partner like Jaylo’s pal Louie- a PTSD owl- it makes the journey that much more fulfilling. The father of three has set up a Facebook page Many Downs, Time To Get Up. It’s a community where Jaylo and others share their mental health stories and connect for challenges and meet-ups. “I have built this page from a desperate battle with my own mental health and suicidal thoughts in the hope to make a difference and leave a legacy to create & inspire.”

Mountaintops inspire the soul, but the journey is what feeds it.

Mary and Benjamin are proof that even in the most trying of times, flowers will find their bloom. Theirs grew during the time of COVID, when social distancing and sheltering in place learned us a lesson in perspective. Because it’s how these two came to understand that the fence which separated them wasn’t a barrier but rather, a meeting place.

Ninety-seven years are tucked between these two pals- Mary is approaching her 100th birthday while Benjamin just turned two- but you’d never know it when they get together. The Minneapolis grandmother says the company keeps her spirit up, since she lives alone and her family is out of state.

C.S. Lewis believed that while friendship has no survival value, it gives value to our survival. These two friends are offering up one hundred and one years worth of validation to that sentiment.

As we get ready to high five another Friday, I’ve come up with a return visitor to our Friday episode, and in the name of transparency, it’ a Vegas winner of a chicken dinner that he’s gonna be making yet another appearance . . . I’m thinking by the fall.

Max Woosey, remember him? He’s the kid I wrote about back in April (You can read it here) who was camping out in a tent gifted him by a neighbor with terminal cancer. Rick Abbott lost his battle, but Max’s family never forgot the efforts of a local hospice in North Devon. They made it possible for Rick to remain in his home to the end, and Max? Well, he remembered that.

Thus began a campaign by the 11-year old, to help out since all the fundraisers planned by the hospice were canceled during the pandemic. Max took his tent to the backyard and began a one kid fundraiser with the goal of raising 100 pounds. At the time of my original posting, he’d shattered that goal and had collected more than five hundred thousand pounds.

Reading back, I mistakenly wrote that Max was camping out in a sleeping bag when it’s actually a tent. But truth be told, it wouldn’t matter with this kid, who was determined to sleep on a blanket if it came to that. He’s had company a time or two. His dog Digby is a regular and his father stayed with him during Storm Bella as they braved 70 mph winds. He had to replace the old tent when it sprang a leak, but through it all, he’s still going strong.

He recently passed 500 days and the tote board is still smoking, currently sitting on 770,000 pounds. His goal achieved long ago, he’s got a million reasons to keep this thing going. And no, I’m not sure that’s what the kid from Braunton, England has in mind. But it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if he’s thinking about it. Even though he could go inside right now, tonight, and his achievement would be nothing short of remarkable. To be this young and this compassionate, it’s transcendent. It’s a higher power tapping us on the shoulder and whispering, “Hey! I know there’s a lot that sucks about the world, but if you’re not paying attention to THIS kind of thing . . you’re doing it wrong!”. And this kind of thing is what Max Woosey is gifting us. His dedication to a goal that keeps on giving is a reminder as to what matters most of all.

When we share the good things inside of us, we get to hold forever in our hands.

 

Joe Pesci Movie Review: Jolt

DSC02425.ARW

Lemme start by issuing the oh so important spoiler alert before a certain blog owner with a stick up his ass for such things texts me one more fucking time about it. I already threatened to kneecap him but he doesn’t scare easy, which is typical of stupid assholes.

Spoiler alert . . da fuck.

Many people ain’t aware of this, but I think women can do anything us guys can do. Run for President, be an astronaut or a basketball player? Sure, I mean of course. But in this instance I’m talking about every day stuff. Yanno, like hiring an escort on a business trip or murdering their significant other.

Lindy Lewis- played by the lovely Kate Beckinsale- has the kind of temper that will wake you out of a sound sleep just to let you know she’s gonna kill ya. So I was hooked on the chick while the opening credits for the movie Jolt were still getting in the way. That British accent and those titanium high heels work on my last hormone and I mean that literally, since I got one left.

Lindy has the kind of temper that has its own term- intermittent explosive disorder. And just like explosive diarrhea it will make the unlucky bastard who pisses her off shit his pants too. When she gets pissed, she turns into a cross between Chuck Norris and my Aunt Julia.

Stanley Tucci plays her Mr. Miyagi. He’s her psychiatrist and life coach, because with the issues she’s got going, he’s gonna be rich. Get this, he rigs this electrode device that she wears, and whenever she feels like she’s about to lose it, she pushes a button and it shocks her. Don’t ask me why that doesn’t piss her off, but I’m not a writer so what do I know?

Anyway, Lindy meets an accountant (Jai Courtney) who says he works for one guy. That always means there’s some crooked shit going on and sure enough there is, because a day after meeting him, he ends up dead. Now she’s really pissed because they had a great second date that ended with breakfast. So watch the fuck out, bad guys, because the British are coming.

Before you know it, Lindy is killing bosses, because there’s always way more than one boss. Of course, the cops gotta get involved so’s they can take the credit when she cracks the case. Laverne Cox and my pal Bobby Canavale play the cops, and not for nothing, but he plays good cop so well that Lindy’s got breakfast eyes for him before the flick is over.

Oh and get this, the accountant who got knocked off ten minutes in? Turns out he faked it so he could be the boss. What a stupid fuck this guy is, because she’s already killed more bosses than a hitman for the Gambinos. This chick already rearranged the face of a shitty waitress so what do you think she’s gonna do to a guy who doesn’t just kick her to the curb but fakes his death to do it? And then comes back later to torture her with her own device as he laughs at her?

She turns him into meatloaf by handing him a bag with a bomb in it, which proves she musta really liked this guy a lot, the lucky bastid. So after he’s gone she goes back to her apartment to find Susan Sarandon waiting for her. She’s pretending to play a creepy doctor but she’s really there to let us know there’s gonna be another movie.

On a scale of 1-10, I give dis movie an absofuckinglutely.