The Rundown

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s next?

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

USFL unveils eight teams for inaugural season in 2022

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

Until now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NASA ready to launch DART planetary defense demonstration mission - SpaceNews

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

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

As for Bruce Willis, he was unavailable for comment.

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

Ahmaud Arbery trial verdict: All three suspects found guilty

“They almost got away with it,”

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

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

Thank God it didn’t work this time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s to the blessings we can count on.

The Rundown

A kitten rests on a student's desk

Say hello to Tarcin (That’s Turkish for Cinnamon). She lives in the garden of a school in Tekirdağ, Turkey and is a regular visitor in the halls and classrooms. And so I have two questions. The first one is simply, how freaking cool is this? And secondly, how comes we don’t see more of this going on here?

Bill Clinton, All Gore celebrate their good fortune - UPI Archives

Can you believe it’s been thirty years since Clinton and Gore ushered in a new age of politics? They were gunslingers with charm and they brought classic rock songs and climate klatschs and town hall meetings with them. I happen to think the mostly successful (and at the time, historic) two-term democratic White House was downright quaint compared to this iteration of Washington. And okay, so the Clintonian Era brought us Hilary . . but how were we to know she would author a political career most aptly titled “Sun Tzu For Dummies”? We were too busy spending all that disposable income, hoping Ross and Rachel would get together and wishing there was some way to capture that crazy lady’s rant in the grocery store to concern ourselves with tomorrow.

Oh well . . Dem’s the breaks

Historic flooding in southern B.C., by the numbers | CBC News

Dale is checking in with a reminder as to the brutal force of Mother Nature, which hit Southern British Columbia this week in the form of an “Atmospheric river”. This narrow band of water vapor from the Pacific Ocean landed on Sunday, resulting in rockslides, mudslides and massive flooding to the province.

To give you an idea as to the force of this weather system, it can carry a greater flux of water than the Amazon River. 18,000 people have been displaced and the death toll is expected to rise in the coming days as the military as well as local agencies continue search and rescue operations.

Our prayers are with you, Canada.

Angels' Shohei Ohtani wins more awards, these from his peers – Orange County Register

Welp, it’s unanimous. Shohei Ohtani is your official American League MVP for 2021, and the two-way player was a breath of fresh air for this baseball fan. As a pitcher he was 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA while hitting .257 with 46 home runs and 26 stolen bases for the California Angels.

Here’s to the Shohei Kid!

Kyle Rittenhouse Trial Closing Arguments: What We Learned - The New York Times

The Rittenhouse trial is a Netflix series waiting to happen. It’s got race and social justice and guns and a dubious judge and courtroom drama, not to mention a seriously convoluted opinion of self defense, seeing as how Kyle Rittenhouse drove to the scene of a crime while armed.

Thing is, no one will challenge the failed leadership on both sides that caused a riot in the first place because they’ll be too busy shouting over each other. There will be the crazies who target him- whether in prison or pumping gas- and there will be the fools who make him the poster boy for a misbegotten movement. And it will never occur to them that their “call to arms” doesn’t prevent a mob, it simply creates its own.

Weekly Miami Dolphins Report: This week only, Butterball turkeys are .79 cents a pound at Milam’s Markets!

Sara Blakely surprised Spanx employees with plane tickets and cash - Upworthy

You hear a lot of shit about bosses, and a lot of it is with good reason. And then there’s Spanx CEO Sara Blakely, who recently gifted her employees first-class plane tickets anywhere in the world and $10,000 in spending money. The gesture was her way of saying thank you after the company was valued at $1.2 billion; a company she started with $5,000 from her savings account. So the next time your boss comes up short of your expectations, give them the Dolly Parton treatment.

Or just send them Blakely’s bio. Either . . or.

A car that had been parked in the same space for forty-seven years has finally been towed, according to an official in the town of Conegliano, Italy. “It was a slow week and we got around to some housekeeping. I’m not gonna lie, it took everything out of me so do you mind if we cut this short? I feel a nap coming on . . .”

Angelo Fregolent is the original owner of the 1962 Lancia Fulvia. After he retired from running the local newsstand, he just decided to leave his car there in the hopes that one day, Steven Spielberg would make a movie about it. “At the time, I had no idea Tom Hanks existed, but I think I would like him to play me in the movie,”

Paul Gosar Censured, Removed from Committees Over Violent Post About Democrats | Politics | US News

House Democrats voted to censure Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar for posting an anime video of him killing Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and attacking Joe Biden. Stripped of his seats on two committees, Gosar found the time to share a new photoshopped anime image on his Instagram page, sans any murderous hilarity. And please don’t compare Gosar’s stunt to Kathy Griffin’s dumbass photo in which she held Trump’s bloody head in her hand. Griffin is a comedienne who lost her comedic fastball long ago, while Gosar is an elected official.

We went full on Hemingway in this week’s episode, huh? I mean, the old man did say the world breaks everyone before too long. And so just when you get to wondering what in the blessed toll of the bells are we supposed to hold onto, along comes a story like this to pull you back.

Ryan Benton is a firefighter in Billings, Montana who doesn’t just do a job every day. This guy writes a chapter of his best self inside every shift, because like every uniform who stands in harms way, he understands the risks involved. And when you own that kind of perspective, great things come of it.

So it was that Benton’s team had responded to a two-vehicle accident, and that’s when he came across a little girl from one of the vehicles. She was shaken up and scared and he could see from her little eyes that the great big world was getting ready to do a number on her. So while his crew and her parents busied themselves with tow trucks and police reports, Benton pulled a book out of his truck and sat down with her to read.

And there, right in the middle of a forgettable night, it was raining the kind of sunshine that pushes back at the idea that this world is screwed beyond redemption. Because there was a curb in Billings Montana where the rest of Hemingway’s thoughts on the world were on full view.

. . . and afterward many are strong at the broken places. 

 

The Rundown

NYC Marathon 2021: Albert Korir takes men's race, Peres Jepchirchir wins women's race - ABC7 New York

One of the very best days of a New York City year happened again last Sunday with the 50th running of the New York City Marathon. Like most fans, I was really bummed that we lost this event to the pandemic last year, and as if we needed a reminder, this year’s race was limited to 33,000 runners for the very same reason.

As for the particulars, Albert Korir nabbed the top spot for the men’s side while Peres Jepchirchir placed first among the women. Marcel Hug won the prize in wheelchair and Roderick Sewell II won handcycle.

If you didn’t get a chance to tune in, do yourself a favor and check some of it out on YouTube. You’ll get the panoramic city tour AND a sporting event.

That’s called value added.

Henry Ruggs III crash victim was 'just about to get' her US citizenship

The Henry Ruggs saga is indicative of a different kind of privilege: The one afforded millionaire athletes who flout rules and laws out of a misbegotten sense of entitlement. Listen, there are plenty of non-athletes who are young and rich who behave just as recklessly as Ruggs did last week when he rammed into a Toyota Rav while doing 156 mph on a residential street. The difference is, athletes are gifted a podium, and so, before 23 year-old Tina Tintor was even laid to rest, other athletes such as Kadarius Toney were tweeting all manner of incivility about how Ruggs was a victim too. No, he was not. He was well aware of the repercussions of his actions long before he got behind the wheel of his Corvette. And unlike the majority of the population, Ruggs was afforded round the clock chauffeur service as per the league CBA that grants it to all members. He chose instead to drive as if he was attempting to qualify for the Indy 500, with a loaded gun in his vehicle. So spare me the narrative that Ruggs kept his nose out of trouble when it’s tragically obvious he just hadn’t met up with it yet.

For the past 26 years, Take-a-Kid-Fishing Day has brought the local community together.

Eddie Morgan is a fisherman who tells the kind of tales you can really believe in. Morgan is the owner of Harbor Docks- a marina and seafood restaurant which has become a Destin, Florida institution. And while that reputation was earned with superb fare and excellent service, it’s what the family business does for the community at large that has made them larger than the biggest fish known to Hemingway.

27 years ago, Eddie’s father started something called “Take-A-Kid-Fishing Day” in which hundreds of local children between the ages of 7-13 were taken on a fishing trip on the first weekend of November. And all this time later, the tradition has continued. They head out bright and early to a fishing hole dubbed “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village” aboard 50 charter boats, and then they get to casting.

“The fishing industry is what makes our area so special. And people growing up in our area should know what that is and appreciate it,” Morgan says. “A lot of these kids have never been fishing before. So if they go, they go fishing and they love it. And we give them a fishing rod when they leave so they can do it on their own.”

Now that’s a nice catch.

My favorite quote of the week comes from Falcon’s Swiss Army Knife Cordarelle Paterson who was asked why he plays so many positions. “If my mom could go out there and work three jobs, I can go out there and play three positions,”.

9 Year Old Saves Halloween For Neighborhood Kids | WCOS | The Morning Rush

Dylan Suiter of Vandalia, Ohio has a sweet bead on all things philanthropy, like . . for reals. Whilst out trick or treating last weekend, Suiter came upon a house with (Egads!) an empty candy bowl on the front porch. But for this quick thinking kid, that was no thing. He just donated some candy from his own bag so that his compadres wouldn’t be going without.

The random act of sweetness went viral and now Dylan is getting noticed by a ton of peeps, including Ryan Reynolds; the star of “Free Guy”, because yes, that’s who Dylan’s costume was based on. So he’s got the neighborhood vote, he’s got the Tik Tok Army, he’s even got some Hollywood love being thrown his way . . and don’t forget the American Dental Association.

Can we lower the minimum age for President?

A makeshift memorial outside NRG Stadium.

The tragedy that took place at NRG Park in Houston this week fits the description of insanity to a frightful degree. Because Travis Scott, the rapper who headlined the evening’s festivities, is known for stirring up trouble at the venues he plays. And Astroworld was no different, as officials reported fights and unruly behavior throughout the afternoon and evening.

When Scott took the stage at a little after 9 p.m., things began taking a turn for the worse as concert goers began rushing closer to the stage. A stampede of human carnage ensued, during which time the concert continued. So as human beings were being crushed, the music still played. And this morning we’re looking at nine casualties and myriad questions. The one thing we know for certain is that a tragedy could have been prevented.

The other thing we know for certain is that it wasn’t.

Micro-Review of “The Harder They Fall”- Imagine Quentin Tarantino and Spike Lee had a baby. A quick-draw action packed two hours worth of Yee! Meeting Haw! 

Curtis baby premature

Last week we celebrated Margaret Dilullo’s 107 years and today we celebrate 16 month old Curtis Means making a different kind of history. This handsome young man set the Guinness world record for being the most premature infant to survive when he was born 19 weeks before his due date. Sadly, his twin-sister C’Asya did not make it. But Curtis somehow pulled through with a weight of 14.8 ounces at birth.

In case you were wondering, Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban has already put in a call.

And Imma wrap up today’s episode with a heartfelt thank you to veterans everywhere. Veteran’s Day was yesterday and as per usual, I took a moment to thank my pal, Big Papi, for his service. It’s the only time the two of us are ever really serious about anything, but hey, it still counts.

And it always will.

 

 

 

 

 

The Rundown

A skier races down a snowy hillside, kicking up snow.

That’s France’s Victor Muffat-Jeandet competing in the first run of the Men’s Giant Slalom in Solden, Austria. Which I stuck on the marquee seeing as how there are ninety-one days until the winter games in Beijing. And uh . . talk about worlds colliding, huh?

Atlanta Braves win World Series for the first time since 1995 - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

The Atlanta Braves lost four key starters over the course of the 2021 season. They didn’t reach .500 until August 11th. Their payroll is smack dab in the middle of all MLB clubs. I wouldn’t be able to name a single one of their starting pitchers. And none of that matters, because they’re World Series champions for the first time in twenty-six years after taking down the Houston Astros in Game 6 on Tuesday night. The great baseball novelist Roger Angell once said, ‘Baseball’s absolute unpredictability makes amateurs of us all”, to which I must agree.

Steve Buscemi dresses as his own meme for Halloween, fans call it 'perfect and ideal' | MEAWW

Okay, how many people can say they dressed as a meme of themselves for Halloween? One person, that’s how many, and his name of course . . is Steve Buscemi. He took a page from his character on 30 Rock and bugalooed it into a Halloween win for his Park Slope neighbors. Here’s hoping he dusts off his black suit from Reservoir Dogs and goes as Mr. Pink next year.

Calvin Ridley explains decision to suddenly step away from Falcons, NFL | Sporting News

Mental health awareness has made the starting lineup across every sports league over the past half decade as more and more athletes are sharing their stories. This past week, wide receiver Calvin Ridley of the Atlanta Falcons announced he was stepping away from the game temporarily to focus on his mental well being. And Philadelphia Eagles left tackle Lane Johnson told Fox Sports broadcaster Jay Glazer on Sunday that his battles with anxiety led to his three-game absence earlier this season. Ridley is a rising star while Johnson is an established veteran with a ring, so their voices will be heard.

Country music star Luke Bryan went all “Dad mode” when he spotted a motorist with a flat tire stranded on a busy road in Tennessee. The Leesburg, Georgia native (Go Bulldogs!) pulled over, grabbed a jack and lug wrench and got to stepping. Courtney Potts and her kids were heading home when all this happened.

“I got out and did a double take and as soon as I heard his voice,” she says. “I didn’t even have time to be in shock because he’s like, ‘Look, we really need to get you out of this road because I almost hit you.'”

Gold records and a heart of gold? Pretty fly for a country music guy.

Micro-Review of Mr. Mercedes Season 2- I was trying to think who Brady Hartsfield reminded me of and then it came to me. Trump. That . . is some scary shit right there.

A special shout out to Margaret Dilullo, who will turn 107 years old in a few days. If you’re scoring at home, that means she remembers a time before Instagram . . . and a lot of other stuff. Yuengling heard about her beer crush and gifted twenty cases of the stuff, which means no beer runs for the next year and a half.

LOOK: Hard Rock Stadium astonishingly empty for second half of Ravens-Dolphins game

The Miami Dolphins will play the Houston Texans on Sunday in a game with no discernible purpose whatsoever. Both teams enter the contest with identical 1-7 records and hold as much chance of making the NFL playoffs as the Milwaukee Brewers. Health officials are swallowing hard on the risky biscuit of large gatherings, but in Florida, that’s a losing proposition. Dolphins PR Director Darius Rucker looked to assuage this concern when he issued a statement which read, in part, “. . there will be more people in attendance at Robbie Siegel’s Bar Mitzvah in Miami Gardens, by a lot. The Dolphins have figured out how to keep Floridians from gathering in large groups. Bad football,”

Dear Aaron Rodgers,

We realize you are so much smarter than the rest of us. You tell us so every time you appear on Jeopardy . . or in one of those super snarky State Farm commercials. And most of us were on your side when you went all Sun Tzu on the Packers front office. But then you went and switched out ‘immunized’ for ‘vaccinated’ and you might’ve gotten away with it if you hadn’t tested positive this week for COVID. Listen, you’re not a golfer or a tennis player. You’re the QB . . in a team sport. And this latest news reminds us, it’s too often all about you.

Facebook Changed Its Name To Meta & Mark Zuckerberg Is Getting Roasted For It - Narcity

Several years ago, I rant-posted on the clear and future dangers of riding shotgun with the infernal algorithms that promised y’all a better social media life. The same way I don’t trust a politician to deliver me my daily bread, I ain’t trusting a guy like Zuckerberg to transform into the Dalai Lama for little ole me. So now we’re supposed to be shocked that he chose profits over peace? He’s mea culping his way to a hooked up crib on that remote island Tom Hanks made famous, which means even if he goes the way of Howard Hughes, he’ll be ayt. But it’s the eternal cloudiness of the spotted mind I’m worried about. We live in a world where people mistake being social media savvy with social awareness. And while we were sleeping, incivility became the latest fashion; to such a degree that a quarter of all conservatives now say violence is the only way to solve our nation’s problems. So fine, change the name of Facebook . . . Call it Meta, call it whatever you want to call it. I call it too little, too late.

Reeling From Surprise Losses, Democrats Sound the Alarm for 2022 - The New York Times

The democratic party is playing like it doesn’t have a choice in the matter, when choice is really the only thing that’s going to save us from a horror movie outcome in 2024. The progressives got slam dunked in much of the country, and as a result someone in the party has to grab a hardhat and get to hammering out a blueprint that emphasizes moderation. Pronto. The GOP continues to be the party about nothing; no fresh ideas, plenty of obstruction and too much black mirror dialogue. And yet, Tuesday happened. Democrats lost the Virginia governorship and then almost lost New Jersey as well. And over the top police reform didn’t cut it in Minnesota.

The good news is, people got out to vote. Let’s hope that doesn’t turn out to be bad news in two years.

A teacher is building confidence in her students -- one heartwarming look in the mirror at a time - CNN

J.K. Rowlings, when asked about the power of words was quoted as saying they are our most inexhaustible source of magic. I got to thinking about that quote whilst reading up on Neffiteria Acker. She teaches math and science at Kindezi at Gideons Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia and she’s working a magic all her own.

She’s taken to a daily regimen with her kids where she has them stand in front of a full length mirror first thing in the morning and say something positive, to themselves. It can be anything from “I’m smart!” to “I’m a good person” to “I’m strong and independent” with the only rule being, it has to supply the feels that will set the tone for the rest of the day.

A lot of her kids are coming from neighborhoods that challenge their ability to have a positive outlook, so it’s understandable if maybe they get stuck at first. And that’s okay, because teach provides cards to help them out. Yeah, she has cards she printed out herself with different affirmations and she’ll encourage them to borrow one and to speak the words. Okay, so maybe I lied. Because Acker has a couple more rules going on: Speak up, be loud and be proud and be true to the person who’s staring back at you.

“The best part about doing the affirmations is the feeling after I say them,” Acker says. “And the feeling I see my students feel or that they express after they do them. Their attitude is better, their self-confidence is lifted and we have a better day.”

When students can't think of any affirmations, Neffiteria Acker offers them cards with positive messages written on them.

She is noticing a change in her students, a good one that speaks to the confidence she is helping to instill in them. It’s been a trying year for most everybody on the planet, but for these kids it’s been a wholly different kind of trying time that has tested their too young minds to the hilt. And even so, the arrow is pointing up in terms of the positive interactions that are happening as a result of the morning ritual. And when words become a source of magic to a child, the world becomes a less daunting place and dreams become that special place worth reaching for. Because words can be used to hate or to love.

There’s a teacher in Atlanta, Georgia who chose love.

The Rundown

Bellevue East senior Brandon Schutt was playing a game of beat the clock when the cosmos presented him with a dilemma: Post a time that would qualify him for the upcoming state meet, or come to the aid of a competitor. You know where this is going since I gave it away with the above caption. The Nebraska teen chose the latter when a track and fielder from a rival high school crumpled to the ground.

Sophomore Blake Cerveny of Omaha Burke High School was 100 meters short of the finish line when his cramping legs gave out. Without reacting, Schutt scooped him up and finished the race. It marked the end of his high school career, and given the chance to do the same thing again? Yeah, he would.

Call it his personal best.

Atlanta Braves heading to second-straight NLCS - ESPN 98.1 FM - 850 AM WRUF

Over half a billion dollars worth of payroll was eliminated in this year’s MLB postseason whilst the Atlanta Braves went all Kinsella on our senses in their Cinderella run to the big dance. The Braves finished with the 15th highest payroll and the worst record among playoff contestants, but they’ll be lighting up A-Town this weekend as they attempt to take down the Houston Astros in Game Three of the World Series tonight.

Micro-Movie Review of The Many Saints of Newark- Nope

A Marine Corps veteran did a spot on impersonation of Chuck Norris at a gas station in Yuma, Arizona last week. When a couple of hooded miscreants came into the store hot, this guy doubled down on the heat with a quick right hook that sent the other punk scampering into the night. Then our hero pinned the fool down until police arrived. “The Marine Corp taught me not to (mess) around,”. Semper? Meet Fiah!

Special bond with sister keeps Brett Hundley grounded - Daily Bruin

Shout out to Indianapolis Colts quarterback Brett Hundley who was named this week’s Community MVP by the NFLPA. Hundley and his sister Paris- who was diagnosed with epilepsy as a child- founded the Hundley Foundation which provides resources for children living with epilepsy and other disabilities. The league donated $10,000 to the foundation, which hosted a Halloween party in Las Vegas for 250 kids and families who live with the neurological disorder.

Halyna Hutchins 'Rust' Death: Candlelight Vigil Attracts Hundreds - Variety

A lot of people are going to be made to answer before all is said and done regarding the tragic death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Throughout production, crew members had  expressed concerns about gun safety (there had been three accidental gun discharges before Hutchins’ death). Nothing will bring back the Ukrainian born mother of one, but film maker Bandar Albuliwi’s petition to ban the use of real firearms on film sets needs to happen.

Cincy “Beach Walks” Angle chimes in with a solid. It’s a story about how a group of dads is helping to curb violence in one Louisiana school. Check out this really cool story . . .

A Build Back Better Haiku

Joe’s deal gets closer.

What could possibly go wrong?

Forget I said that.

Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie: The sad, twisting saga and what it tells us about America | The Independent

As far as unanswered questions are concerned, there are a million of them in the Gabby Pettito murder case. And now with Brian Laundrie- the only known suspect in her death- also deceased, where in the blessed hell are the answers going to come from? Certainly not the Laundrie family. And can we really trust the FBI after the mess they created? Law enforcement officials will keep investigating. Or was it, they will start investigating?

Halloween Kills' Ending: All the Plot Twists and Deaths Explained

Fresh off the heels of the gruesome murder of a gay couple in the movie Halloween Kills, serial killer Michael Myers is being accused of homophobia. The rumors began, surprisingly enough, on Twitter. Myers’ long time rival Jason Voorhees came out in support of Myers, saying “To question his professionalism is a direct assault on every serial killer who wears a mask!”

Myers could not be reached for comment but his publicist insists the allegations are not only false, but hurtful. “Michael has been committed to his craft for over forty years now. He’s always been an equal opportunity homicidal maniac,”

Sikh men use makeshift turban rope to save hikers in Canada

A big thank you goes out to the lovely Dale for mentioning this next story about a group of Sikh men who used their heads when it was a matter of life and death. Actually, the international students used their headdresses to save two hikers from plunging into rough waters from a steep rock ledge in British Columbia. The five men created a lifeline using their turbans as well as their jackets to pull the hikers up to safety.

When you think about it, the world we live in is infinitely more inspiring than we give it credit for. We rarely stop to think about the love involved in two people holding hands. We quickly forget the compassion that is happening when strangers help strangers. Our humanity gets lost on page forty-two while the lowest common denominator wins the headlines. But it doesn’t have to play out that way. Not if we just slow down to notice the abundance of good things happening around us, like . . all the time.

I’ll tell you one thing I know for certain. There are a couple of hikers out there who are going to be telling the story of how a group of guys, complete strangers, made sure they’d live to see another sunrise by doing whatever it took to make it so. They will tell this story to the people they know and love, over and over and over again.

That’s how flowers grow.

 

 

The Rundown

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

Let’s get to stepping . . .

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

I’ll toast to that.

Kourtney Kardashian And Travis Barker Just Got Engaged - Capital

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The car rides like a favorite song.

Heroes Of The Week!

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

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

Let’s get to it . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay tuned.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And a promise kept.

 

 

 

 

Heroes Of The Week!

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

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

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

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

Let’s get to the lineup . . .

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

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

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

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

Monster Mash Cereal on Shelves NOW, New Song Hits Spotify

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take that eharmony.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who needs it?

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.

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.