The Rundown

Stories You Should Know: Bill Russell in Game 7's - The Grueling Truth

Hard to believe we’re two thirds of the way through 2022, but hey, it means we are that much further removed from 2020. And okay, the spectacle of what 2024 might bring gets closer still. But maybe, just maybe, 2023 will be the best year ever? Please? Someone? Hear my prayer?

This week I’m talking legends.

Bill Russell didn’t have the the luxury of comparing himself to icons like Jackie Robinson. He was too busy paving roads that future generations of players would use to their great benefit. And it’s a common theme you hear from the greats who followed Russell that his example became their talisman- from Magic to Bird, Kobe to Shaq to Durant.

The greatness of the Boston Celtics was born on the day Russell came to town. He toted two collegiate rings to Beantown, after which he went 11-0 in NBA finals appearances (!). Add an Olympic gold medal to that Rushmore resume and you ain’t even scratched the surface of the life Bill Russell led.

In spite of all this, Russell was never embraced in a town that judged the color of his skin over the immense content of his character. This sad reality inspired him to remain a steadfast voice in the fight for equal rights, and he remained a civil rights advocate for more than half a century. Because he didn’t need to be the next Jackie Robinson.

He was the first Bill Russell.

French's® Debuts Limited-Edition Mustard Donuts in Celebration of National Mustard Day

I have put a lot of things in my mouth that I later regretted (I said that out loud, didn’t I?) but even I think French’s new mustard donut is a bridge too far. Hey look at that, I do have standard(s)!

Why Eric Clapton is still God | British GQ

The former President of Seinfeldania is still keeping late night talk show hosts well fed all this time later. He endorsed “Eric” in the Missouri primary race . . . and never mind that he didn’t specify exactly which Eric he was talking about. Because when did the details ever matter to this guy?

I put together a multiple choice quiz in order to find the right Eric and it is every bit as dumb as the guy who inspired it.

A) Eric Heiden- A five-time gold medal winner who became an orthopedic surgeon? He’s got my vote!
B) Erik Estrada- Come to think of it, Trump made no mention of spelling.
C) Eric Stoltz- I feel legally obligated to include him in any discussions about Erics based on the classic “Shot of Adrenaline” scene in Pulp Fiction.
D) Okay yeah, I know it’s not Clapton but I’m going with Clapton anyways.

And now for my Five Good Things . . .

Drew Bausman took his day on the job with UPS VERY seriously.

7 year old Drew Bausman’s dream of being a UPS driver was realized more than a decade ahead of schedule when some really good peeps made it happen. He was inspired by all that delivery traffic in the year of COVID, so he got his own uniform and a hot ride.

tiger | Facts, Information, Pictures, & Habitat | Britannica

The International Union for Conservation of Nature announced there are more tigers roaming in the wild than previously thought. Globally, we’re talking anywhere between 3,700 to 5,500 Bengal tigers. Which means humankind still has lots of work to do, because one look at these majestic creatures makes my whole day.

Ava Swiss is a survivor of the Oxford High School shooting that took four lives in Michigan last fall. And she’s making the most of her every day since, appearing on America’s Got Talent recently. (School Shooting Survivor Auditions For America’s Got Talent). And if this doesn’t bring a tear (or many) to your eyes, make an appointment to see an ophthalmologist, pronto.

Massiah Brown of Sacramento, California is seven going on Aquaman. When he spotted a three-year old boy sinking to the bottom of a pool, he lifted him to safety and a tragedy was averted. Superhero powers and those shades? The kid’s got style!

England vs Germany: Lionesses win first Women's EURO title in extra-time

The Lionesses Euro football tournament win is England’s first (male or female) title since 1966. The girls victory inspired something called “Football Rebooted” where cleats are donated to disadvantaged youths who dream of playing the game they love. How cool is that?

Juan Soto debuts for San Diego Padres; the Washington Nationals actually traded Soto... - Federal Baseball

I’m not talking about Deshaun Watson this week because Vin Scully’s passing and the Juan Soto signing matter more to yours truly. And hey . . . it’s my parking space.

First Soto.

The San Diego Padres became the center of the baseball universe this week when they pulled off the baseball equivalent of a lunar landing by trading for Juan Soto. The kid’s trajectory is squarely fixed on greatness and he’s only twenty-three. He makes an already formidable Padres lineup into something that steals a pitcher’s sleep. I tuned in for his first at bat in his new duds on Wednesday night and Imma be back for more. Because I love the idea of a small market team pushing all their chips to the center of the table and calling the bluff of the baseball establishment. This doesn’t make the Padres a sure thing, seeing as how super-teams have a sketchy track record. But what I do know is that a once woebegone franchise has announced its arrival at the high stakes table. In a market the Chargers left because they didn’t consider it big league enough.

I am there for that.

Vin Scully, legendary Dodgers announcer for 67 years, dies at age 94 - True Blue LA

Sixty-seven years. Vin Scully mastered his craft over that length of time as the voice of Dodgers games, providing a masterclass in how to call a baseball game. From sea to shining sea- Brooklyn USA to Los Angeles California- Scully was a fixture on summer nights, painting the scene in his uniquely classic style. Twelve presidents, four wars, a moon landing and the internet age all happened on his watch. He endured in an industry that has grown exponentially from the days of transistor radios, lapping his more educated peers by his insistence on letting the game do most of the talking. He didn’t rely on gimmicks when the game was the only thing that mattered.

From Don Larsen’s World Series perfect game in 1956 to all of Sandy Koufax’s no-hitters to Hank Aaron’s record breaking 715th home run that passed the Babe to the Mets improbable comeback in ’86 and Kirk Gibson’s one legged miracle shot two years later . . . Scully is indelibly attached.

In his final sign off back in 2016, Scully was his typically humble self as he spoke with that signature eloquence and grace we came to know and love. He confessed that he had always needed us more than we needed him.

I respectfully disagree.

 

The Rundown

Runners on an indoor track maneuver around a cameraman.

We got some relief from the furnace of Dante Alighieri’s worst plot this week, with temps easing up just a tad. This allowed yours truly to return to my road work, which I had announced my retirement from a couple months back. But hey, if Tom Brady can take it back, so can I. I’ve been on a low key running regimen for several weeks. It’s Easy Peasy Calabrese as she goes, but it still counts. And if you’re coo with leaving July behind in search of cooler pastures, check out Frank’s ode to August this coming Monday. Why he hasn’t been tabbed as the next skipper for the Cincinnati Reds yet . . I haven’t a clue.

The above photograph comes courtesy of The Atlantic and it inspires more questions than President Biden’s economic plan. This all went down last week at the men’s 3,000 meter steeplechase final in Eugene, Oregon. So I have a quick multiple choice quiz as to why in the holy ghost of Bruce Jenner this dude was crashing the party. Buena suerte!

A) He promised his mom he would take part in a World Championship race one day and this was the easiest way to keep the promise.
B) The new GPS app on his phone assured him he was at Wayback Burgers!
C) He’s blind. (That’s a photography joke).
D) He was supposed to be covering a women’s event and didn’t realize the men’s final was even going on when he happened onto the track.

The correct answer is of course, D. Which means this guy wouldn’t last five minutes as a pedestrian in Miami.

Let’s get to the roster . . . .

The life and legend of America's most famous wild horse

I’m a curious chap, so I scrolled back in history to find out how good we had it at the gas pumps back in a simpler time when all we had to worry about were terrorist attacks and waging wars with everybody else. Needless to say, I didn’t get very far . . .

2012- $3.60
2002- $1.12

I couldn’t get past the fact that we were paying less for a gallon of gas than I currently pay for a cheapie pretzel at my convenience store. One dollar and twelve cents per gallon? Are you fucking kidding me? So basically, when I filled up my tank (I’m talking a Dodge Ram pickup) in 2002, I still had plenty left to get a pack of smokes and some Starbucks. Whereas in present day, I would have to notify my financial advisor before doing such a thing. On a plus note, the above capture really could be my ride if gas prices continue to crunch my cojones. Her name will be Sally. Of course.

Shop - Forward Party

I don’t wanna be a (third) party pooper but this new political startup that calls itself The Forward Party is further out of serious contention than the Boston Red Sox. And no, that wasn’t a cheap shot aimed at a much needed change to our same old political structure. That was a cheap shot at the Red Sox.

Rescuers seek to warm and dry the osprey after its ordeal.

My next selection comes courtesy of the lovely Dale, who always brings the smiles with her stories. And this one is no different.

I say it all the time. The good stuff is always happening inside the quiet, far from the madding crowd of forgettable news gone wild. And so when an osprey got caught up in an angler’s line off an island in Brisbane, Australia recently, it took a full court press of compassion to rescue him. So it was that surfers and anglers teamed up to make sure this story would have a happy ending.

It was a long and not so easy process and it resulted in some of the rescuers getting their hands and arms scratched up but good by the desperate creature. Thing is, this group wasn’t going to take tragedy for an answer. And in the end they were able to extricate the bird from the tangle and deliver it to shore.

The catch of the day: Kindness always wins.

Greenland's ice is melting faster than it has in 350 years—what it means

As with most issues that beset humankind, results usually get tucked into a right and wrong sandwich. Whether you believe that climate change will change the way the next generation lives or not, you have to admit that what’s going on in Greenland this summer bears watching.

Over three days in the middle of July, an ice melt resulted in more than 6 billion tons of water being released into the ocean. That’s enough to cover the entire state of West Virginia in a foot of water. Research scientists were walking around in t-shirts as temps reached 60 degrees and now they’re wondering if the 2019 record ice melt might soon have company.

We don’t have to worry about the island of Manhattan being submerged in water. And we don’t have to worry about how farmers are going to be affected adversely, which will in turn affect our food supply. And we don’t have to worry about more power outages and flooding and a scarcity of potable water . . .

But we should.

Since nobody won the Mega Million lottery draw this week, the new jackpot has ballooned to over $1 billion tacos. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t win since I would have blown all of it on a once in a lifetime wager: I would’ve bet everything that Trump will end up behind bars. And while common sense and a mountain of facts are on my side, I fear I might have somehow lost that bet.

Our nation’s capitol had a visitor we can all rally behind when a statue of the legendary aviator Amelia Earhart was unveiled this week. And for bonus points, Congress members didn’t have to run for cover as a result! Kansas Governor Laura Kelly was there for the event.

“Amelia was a dreamer. Her dreams went far beyond the banks of [the Missouri] river and far beyond the prescribed gender roles of her time,” Kelly said. “Let it be an inspiration for all, particularly our young girls, for generations to come. Let them stare up at this work of art and think that they, like Amelia, can dream the impossible dream.”

If we’re gonna talk patriots, I’ll take Amelia.

The Circle' Season 2 Teases Contestant Lance Bass in New Trailer

My streaming diet wasn’t quite so FUBAR this week. For every episode of Snowflake Mountain, I returned volley with a slightly smarter reply like D.B. Cooper: Where Are You? When I went with Nailed It!, I lobbed in a George Carlin doc (Thank you Resa!) And my in between was the social experiment show, The Circle, which has given me a new appreciation for social media. And with Lance Bass joining the circle (?), I’m loving season 2 even more than the first one.

It’s the little things . . .

The Rundown

Fans line a mountain road, cheering as cyclists ride past.

It’s summertime, and the living has been anything but easy. We’re getting mugged at gas pumps and grocery stores, lied to on most cable news outlets and all we have to show for it is a lousy t-shirt we scored on Amazon during their Prime Days Sale! (?). Thanks to Jeff Bezo’s General Store, I was able to procure a t-shirt which reads “Don’t Blame Me, I Voted For Lincoln!”.

The above image is from the 109th edition of the Tour De France, which I honestly thought had been canceled for good since they still insist on doping tests. These guys are schlepping 2,068 miles over 23 days and hell if I wouldn’t be doping just to get through that! I’d also be slathering myself in Preparation H. But no, I wouldn’t be hanging out with Lance Armstrong, who is a Hall of Fame cyclist but also an asshat.

Anyways, let’s get to the show . . . .

 

Frank “Beach Walks” Angle hits one out of the yard with this Steve Hartman feel good story about an extended family of a different kind.

In January of 2021, Gean LeVar of Glendale, Arizona lost her husband of fifty-eight years. As if that wasn’t bad enough, when police entered her home they found the conditions so bad, they were forced to condemn it. So in the space of twenty-four hours, Gean lost everything.

Her neighbor, Carmen Silva, made sure she got it back. Even though she barely knew LeVar, the mother of eight opened her home up to her. It didn’t matter that the family’s own living arrangements were cramped, what with eight kids and three bedrooms because as she says, “I’ve always taught my kids to take care of their elders,”.

When the non-profit group Operation Enduring Gratitude heard about LeVar’s story, they decided to renovate her old house. And so now, she has two homes where once she had none. And she plans to share it with the Silvas.

Gratitude is a currency all its own.

NFL launches 2020 season with It Takes All of Us

I want every member of the NFLPA who is defending Deshaun Watson to come forward so that we can ask them why. We have to ask them why they insist on standing behind a guy who went through scores of massage therapists. We have to ask them why they take his word over every single one of those sixty-six women (that we know of). We have to ask them why they agree to wear helmets that preach to us about righteous behavior while they are plenty fine with their members doing the opposite.

Personally, I want the league to stop pretending they give a shit about women’s rights. Because when you’re okay with giving abusers chance after chance after chance, it’s your actions that matter more than anything you say. The league and its members have to be put on notice.

If not now, when?

The lovely Dale has some goodness cooking up her fine self with this video story.

Khao Yai National Park in Thailand was the scene of a beautiful human effort that you probably didn’t see on the cable news outlets because there probably wasn’t room for it. Even though there should have been room for it, because these kinds of stories shouldn’t have to be scrolled down to or tucked into the last sixty second of a broadcast.

When a baby elephant fell into a drainage ditch, her panic stricken mother blacked out as a result. A team of veterinarians, park officials and volunteers were able to pull baby to safety and also administer CPR to mom. Both elephants were able to walk away from the ordeal thanks to a special group of people whose story is front page news.

To me.

BBC Three - Sexy Beasts

If my streaming diet was actual food? My ass would be in the hospital right about now. I’d blame my dealer- I’ll call him Phil because that’s his name- for turning me on to one mindless reality show after the other, but I didn’t have to buy his shit.

The nadir- for this week- is a Netflix show called Sexy Beasts. The premise of this dating show is to dress singles up in prosthetic masks before meeting in order to “find love purely based on personality“. Phil referred to the show as a “palette cleanser” I could use after having binge watched The Circle and Love is Blind.

Do they have support groups for this kind of habit?

1920s metal and glass Gas Price Sign with changeable prices.

A hundred years ago, you think peeps bitched and moaned about gas prices? I mean, I’m sure they did, because twenty-five cents a gallon to them, well . . . that was no joke. Still, it just feels so cute to me from our current vantage point.  And to those of you who might be wondering, my (imaginary) wild mustang is doing splendidly!

 

 

 

The In Between

John F. Kennedy Jr.: New documentary focuses on John F. Kennedy Jr. and  Carolyn Bessette's turbulent relationship - The Economic Times

He went missing on a Friday night, and then came the waiting.

I remember the waiting because it was mind numbing. It was like knowing too much without knowing anything at all. In the morning, the glimmer of hope we all held to felt like the kind of lie you tell yourself when faced with the ugly truth. By the afternoon, there was no glimmer or lies left to hold to. All that was left was to stop pretending there was a miracle to be had.

We spent those desperate hours holding hands with the voices on the other end of the line. Because there were a lot of phone calls being made the day after. It was as if John was a part of our own families. We cursed and we drank and we cried just that very way. We wanted it back, we wanted all of it back.

Camelot was long gone by the time I was a boy, but I read and learned and knew enough about that magical idea to know the theft that had been perpetrated. Two brothers lost to assassins’ bullets, two men’s lives cut short with decades worth of legacy yet to be written. It was Shakespearean in its lonesome destiny, the idea that brilliant men could be silenced so damned easily.

The kid was going to introduce a final chapter to this hard wrought tale, and while it was no certainty he would assume the family mantel, there was always that whisper of anticipation. He was never inevitable, but neither was he blind to the responsibilities he had been born into. He wasn’t John or Bobby, and in a lot of ways, that was a very good thing. His soft spoken tone and his ability to get along with everyone seemed the kind of difference that was going to serve him well in the next chapters of his life.

And we dreamed what those next chapters would look like. Man, did we ever. We imagined a marriage of history and nostalgia because his was the family seal that came closest to American royalty. It was okay that he kept such talk at arm’s length while we embraced such a thing fully. He had time. He had all the time in the world. And dammit if I really did believe it would be different with him. All of it.

And then, just like that, it was late Saturday afternoon and all the time in the world had run out. The final act was playing out in the same way as the two which had preceded it. Only this time, it was all happening in slow motion. It was the cruelest of flourishes sent down from that cursed star that had taken a father, an uncle, and now a son.

It was the day after John went missing and the day before the news became official that I still remember most distinctly. That long Saturday, the in between, from one forever to the next. It’s where we mourned the prince of a city who had so much left to write. It’s where we said goodbye to an idea like Camelot one final time.

I’m always going to want it back.

 

The Rundown

Images From the James Webb Space Telescope - The New York Times

As Hunter S. Thompson once opined (Probably), time flies when you’re having rum.

Another week of high temps, higher tempers and low-down dirty rumors of our wobbly republic. Our status quo has gone woe, our economy is doing the mess around with the dollar store, our public discourse has devolved into hazardous waste and many Americans feel as if democracy is going the way of competitive baseball in Kansas City.

And then James Webb’s telescope comes along and trips the light so fantastically that we lose ourselves in the magic of its work; the foreign realms make us dizzy with possibilities. There’s music to the task of all the many faraway places this telescope was able to capture; as if the universe hushed us into a collectively blended coo with the gallery it wrought. Our feet gain access to the span of countless miles and dream on every single blessed one of them. Inside the fleeting pleasure of it all, we’re able to see the magic of the science experiment that is us. We’re the mighty specks in a brilliant spectrum of colors and places and songs, and we are no larger or smaller than the darkness we light up on the regular.

In the dusty swirl of forever is where we find our song.

Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest Heads Indoors, Limits Number of Contestants for 2020 | Food & Wine

Joey Chestnut won his 15th Nathan’s Hot Dog eating title belt last week, making him the biggest professional slob since that asshole who used to occupy the White House. No, that other asshole. Okay, since Trump used to occupy the White House. Not only that, Joey also managed to headlock an animal rights protester who busted a move on the stage while he was in the middle of flatlining his colon. After which Chestnut apologized for doing so because he felt bad for having tackled a kid. Not a bad day’s work.

Oh and if you were expecting me to plaster a pic of Joey mess-face with arms and stomach all akimbo? That’s a hell to the no way of Jose. Competitive eating is a ‘sport’ made for radio.

The Real Reasons for High Oil and Gas Prices | NRDC

I know you ain’t gonna believe it, but I recently bought a Mustang for $25! A muscular portrait all revved in white and velvety caramel. And so what if she doesn’t have any extras . . . for that money, what the hell do you expect? I brokered a deal with the Bureau of Land Management and the only drawback is that this beauty has to be trained. But umm . . . how hard can it be?

I’m currently re-watching Yellowstone for educational purposes.

Japan's former prime minister Shinzo Abe shot and killed | Financial Times

The assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is a reminder that gun violence is the new way of handling grievances for far too many people. Tetsuya Yamagami held a grudge against the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church because he claims it bankrupted his mother, who had joined the Church in 1998. Abe was a paid sponsor of the church and so when Yamagami went looking for a target, he simply merged church with state with madness.

The Murder of Rising MLB Star Lyman Bostock Forced Changes to Indiana's Insanity Laws

The sports world is a bad moon rising when it comes to the stories that grab headlines: There’s Deshaun Watson’s defrocked status as a franchise savior for the Cleveland Browns as he stumbles under the weight of all those sexual misconduct and assault allegations. Then you have star athletes like Kevin Durant who play the millionaire baller version of kick the can in their quest for a locale they’re never gonna love.

So Imma reach for someone who should still be here, lending us his mind on sports and society. Lyman Bostock was taken from the world in the summer of ’78 when a bullet meant for someone else found him instead. In his twenty-seven years worth of baseball and life, Lyman made the kind of positive impression that spans lifetimes. After he inked a free agent contract with the California Angels, Bostock donated $10,000 to a church in his native Birmingham, Alabama so they could rebuild their Sunday school. When he got off to a poor start in his first year with the Angels, he attempted to return his April salary, claiming he hadn’t earned it. When management refused the offer, he donated that money to charity.

Today doesn’t mark the tragic anniversary of his passing. Nope, it was simply a loose mention of the man that clinched it for me. Because it’s been forty-four years of the void, and I don’t think we can afford to forget people like Lyman Bostock. People who make us understand the better that resides inside us. People who make us feel as if those faraway galaxies are within reach. People who possess the kind of aura that spans those countless miles worth of stardust. It would be so easy to curse the fates for his untimely death.

Instead, I’ll give thanks to the life he led.

The Rundown

Remember Kids Let the Drunk Adults Handle the Fireworks Funny | Etsy Singapore

It’s the Cafe con Leche edition of The Rundown and Imma dish up a few stories that I missed the boat on last time out. I’d like to thank Cincy “Beach Walks” Angle for providing me with his fastball out of the bullpen with his ode to July. I was going to surprise him with World Series tickets if his club made it to October, but I guess thank you is gonna have to suffice.

This episode is not taking the place of our regularly scheduled programming come Friday, kids. This here is what they call extra time in the beautiful game.

Vamos a jugar!

The Story of a Voice: HAL in '2001' Wasn't Always So Eerily Calm - The New York Times

A story that got left in my green room last time involved Google engineer Blake Lemoine, who was placed on paid leave by the company for what they deemed “aggressive moves” in violation of company policy. The company took umbrage with Lemoine for hiring a lawyer to represent the dialogue application chatbot that he’s been tooling around with in the Google garage. They also ain’t too happy about his claims that the artificial intelligence ain’t so artificial. Blake insists this chatbot has the emotional and intellectual capacity of “a seven-year-old, eight-year-old kid that happens to know physics,”. Lemoine also published transcripts of conversations he had with a collaborator and the chatbot. And he sent an email about all of this to over 200 Google employees.

Google denies the veteran engineer’s claims that the company’s artificial intelligence has become sentient, and this was the point in the article where I went “Oh shit! So it IS true!” I know Ray Bradbury would agree with me on this.

Too Hot to Handle (TV Series 2020– ) - IMDb

I was doing really well with my streaming consumption, really . . . I was. And then a friend of mine told me about the Netflix show Too Hot To Handle and welp, I wish I would have taken up pot instead because it kills less brain cells than this scantily clad theater of the absurd. I would tell you the plot of the show, if there was one. And while I did purchase some credits with the likes of Tokyo Vice and Midnight Mass, I fear that my carbon footprint is shit for.

Who is Cassidy Hutchinson? Former Trump aide will be key witness at Jan. 6 hearing.

I believed Cassidy Hutchinson when she testified as to then President Trump’s behavior on January 6th because it’s exactly what Trump would do. It’s what he has always done . . . behaving like a big, fat petulant child when he doesn’t get his way. He was hell bent on being with his peeps when their dollar store brigade stormed the Capitol building. He was plenty fine with the armed crazies because he knew they weren’t there to cause him any harm. And the fact that he is a part of any conversation involving the 2024 Presidential election is an indictment on our society.

It’s shameful.

Curious 'Jetsons' home hits Tulsa market – KIRO 7 News Seattle

Times are so tough, even the Jetsons have put their home on the market. The space age family’s royalties checks have basically dried up now that assholes like me prefer television fare with the nutritional value of deep-fried butter. The two bedroom, three bathroom home in Tulsa, Oklahoma features a sweet view of the city skyline, but if you’re looking for extra closet space you’re out of luck. If you watched the sixties animated sitcom, then you are well aware that the Jetsons could have fit their wardrobe in a single Rubbermaid container.

The Karennite view on masks and abortion in a nutshell | /r/FuckYouKaren | Karen | Know Your Meme

The Supreme Court is providing the kind of overreach that conservatives would be screaming foul over if the scripts were flipped. They overturned Roe in May. They rolled back EPA authority to fight climate change. And last Thursday they ruled that law abiding Americans have a right to carry a handgun outside the home for self-defense. Oh, and through a series of recent decisions, church and state are in the canoodling phase.

Our states couldn’t be less united.

It seems as if this country has endured a series of reckonings since the turn of the millennium and it’s really easy to believe the worst is yet to come. And while I would love to end this holiday episode on a more triumphant note, I’ll keep it real enough by providing a favorite passage from Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. 

My kind of loyalty was loyalty to one’s country, not to its institutions or its officeholders. The country is the real thing, the substantial thing, the eternal thing; it is the thing to watch over, and care for, and be loyal to; institutions are extraneous, they are its mere clothing, and clothing can wear out, become ragged, cease to be comfortable, cease to protect the body from winter, disease, and death . . .

I second that emotion.

The walk off song for this week happens to be the best rendition of the Star Spangled Banner I’ve ever heard. And I guess there’s some kind of positive message kicking its way out of this bramble bush of a post, because when I hit on this Whitney Houston classic . . . I knew the answers well enough.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rundown

We’re gonna dress this episode up a little differently. Rather than an organized panel of stories Imma provide some ramble on my amble instead. I’ll make like the hot brands and just sizzle my stream of consciousness until it’s done to your liking. I mean my liking. Maybe both. I blame this change-up on the fact I’m currently re-reading Milton’s Paradise Lost, which is as close to an acid trip as I’m ever gonna get.

The Rundown will be taking next Friday off, and nope, Delta had nothing to do with this particular cancellation. I just wanted to clear the runway for Frank “Beach Walks” Angle’s ode to July. I think I speak for Cincy when I ask, where has the fucking time gone? Okay, I was speaking for myself.

Let’s get to it . . . .

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced this week that he won’t be ordering the kiddie vaccine for his state. And I get how there are parents who ain’t gonna dosey dosage with their toddlers. But some will, and shouldn’t the Gov give his people the right to make up their own minds? Rights ain’t pick and choose. Rights are rights. Right? In some alternate reality, DeSantis is lead man for a heavy metal garage band but in this one he’s the front runner for the GOP in 2024. Unless chaos truly is our future and the Seinfeld administration we endured last term achieves re-run status.

With Joe Biden running up the kind of tab that would make a gold club gangsta rapper blush, the seams of our republic are begging for a leader to take the helm. What we’re getting instead speaks to the inflationary cost of hubris, where short change heroes dominate the landscape. And John Wayne isn’t walking through that door, because he was only saving the days when they were make believe.

It seems we’ve lost sight of compromise. We don’t value consensus when winning is the only thing that matters. Even comedy has gone tragic. Like, Dave Chappelle saying thanks but no thanks to having the Duke Ellington School of Theater renamed after him was understandable. The dude and his alma mater had gone fifteen rounds over his comments about the LGBTQ community on a Netflix special, after which he got torched for it. Chappelle says his material ain’t personal but the attacks on him were, so he wants to avoid any further distractions by exiting stage left. They’re going to rename the school the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression and I have to ask. Why not stick with Duke Ellington’s name? Or is that old guy logic?

When smart people say dumb things: Gun rights advocates whine about how pols and celebs have armed bodyguards and so their calls for gun control are hypocritical. Did I miss where these bodyguards were responsible for our mass shooting epidemic?

The danger of our times is that grass roots efforts have been replaced with gluttony. Rights are no longer a collective dynamic, they’re a retrofitted designation. We don’t debate, we square off in the octagon. Our ethos is bought and sold inside a slimmed down power structure that favors the wrong kind of American dream, and the price we’re going to pay for not getting along is coming fast.

Gas pump memes as ludicrous as the skyrocketing prices - al.com

Which is why I thank the goodness of the world every chance I get. And I’m a fool for the stoics who cultivate hope in the now. People like Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov, who put his medal where the money was when he auctioned off his Nobel Peace Prize on Monday. He scored $103,5 million croutons in the doing, which is like twenty-five times more than an auction had ever raised for such a venture. The monies are going to Ukrainian child refugees.

Nobody asked me but . . . Ansel Engort is a home run in the HBO crime drama Tokyo Vice, and he reminds me of Michael Douglas in the ’70’s cop show The Streets of San Francisco. Which is my way of heaping high praise on the young man’s performance.

So there is plenty of good to dig on, and Cincy is helping to provide our walk-off story for this week. It’s about a young man named Miles Copeland whose achievement on the hardwood outshines anything the big leagues have to offer. Copeland is a firefighter for the Toledo Fire Department who also happens to play semi-pro basketball. When referee John Sculli collapsed during a game recently, Copeland showed off the kind of skill set that won’t ever get cut or traded. He spent half an hour bringing a man back to life, because it’s not just something he was trained to do, it was something he was born to do.

Even in the darkest of times, humanity’s got game.

 

 

 

The Rundown

A person runs through a pile of burning embers.

The above image (Courtesy of The Atlantic) is a ritual conducted during the Baikho festival at Gamerimura village, along the Assam Meghalaya border in India. A tribal priest runs barefoot through burning embers in order to show his devotion to God with the only rule being, don’t fall.

Um, not for nothing bub but here in the states, we toss the fireworks into the air. And while I’m not the biggest fan of fireworks, our ritual sure as hell beats putting your dogs through literal hell. Just saying.

Let’s get to the lineup . . . .

Deshaun Watson responds to report he had 66 different massage therapists

The Deshaun Watson saga is seedy cinema at its worst: It has lies, deceit, cover ups and celebrity privilege. Because if you think Deshaun Watson- Payless shoe store manager- is skating on the now twenty-four lawsuits alleging sexual assault and misconduct against him, you ain’t been paying attention. There is still the matter of when he will take the field as a newly minted $230 million dollar quarterback, and here’s hoping Watson gets to sit on the bench for an entire season. After which the league best go after the Houston Texans officials who behaved like pimps in creating a criminally complicit crib for their man. This story gets uglier every day, and sadly, more predictable as well.

Brooklyn firefighter Stefon Douglas was on his way home last Sunday when the fates penciled him into the lineup. Douglas came upon a house fire and he jumped into action, retrieving the breathing apparatus he had in his car from a school presentation he had conducted recently. Without hesitation, he moved into the burning building in his t-shirt, shorts and crocs, and while he wasn’t exactly dressed for the job, he was most certainly made for it.

Within minutes, Douglas had saved a three-year old girl and her mother. He says becoming a fireman was the best decision he ever made. Because of his heroism, I get to end this story with a nod to great literature and even greater men.

Thanks to Douglas, a family tree was saved in Brooklyn.

Top Gun: Maverick IMAX Poster Released

I wasn’t a fan of the original Top Gun movie, but the thirty-six year in the making(!) sequel is a completely ‘nother story. I saw it in IMAX, and I think I lost a few pounds every time Tom Cruise rolled a high number with the G’s. The casting is perfect and while the plot is cream cheesy, who cares when it’s being dished up at Mach 10!

APOPO- Hero Rats

Humanity has often been referred to as a rat race, and there’s a place in this world where the term is being used for good. No, I’m being serious! (For now).

Meet Dr. Donna Kean, a research scientist from Glasgow, Scotland, whose team is harnessing the power of the rat. They’re currently training them to help locate survivors trapped in the rubble of earthquakes. The rats are equipped with microphones and a tracking sensor. They’re nimble, diligent and quick learners and yanno, the more I read about these guys, the more I see the future of a Walmart workforce.

The hero rats are also being trained to detect land mines, and it seems like they’re a natural for this dangerous work. The more I read about these guys, the more I see the future of Congress too . . .

Muchas gracias to Dale for this really coot rat’s tail. I mean tale.

Both.

Michael Caine insists WWII was 'one of the best things' to happen to him | Metro News

Jeopardy! contestant Mazin Omer was chugging right along until he questioned an answer with epic fail-icity (Dear Merriam Webster, this is your free word, and you’re welcome). Omer was asked to identify the image above and he went with rock and roller Mick Jagger. What in the blessed fig pie was this guy thinking? It’s Morgan Freeman!

Welp, that’s a wrap for this week. Apologies to the Dow for not making it out of the Green Room for this week’s episode. That’s what happens when you drop harder than Steven Seagal on a trampoline.

Until next week, this is your host for The Rundown saying good night and good luck?

The Rundown

I was writing up this episode last night when I went to reference something for one of my stories and I came upon Smithsburg, Maryland. It’s the latest town on the map of a fractured country to become synonymous with gun violence. It’s how we learn geography in the states these days, and we’re getting really good at it.

For now, Imma share this thought by Martin Luther King, whose writings come to me as if biblical prose; to hold to and pray on in the worst of times.

“It may well be that we will have to repent in this generation. Not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, “Wait on time.”

 

386 Circle Slash Symbol Stock Photos and Images - 123RF

As if the world isn’t already the biggest shit sandwich shop going right now, the CDC announced a new travel advisory for Monkeypox. They’re recommending that travelers wear masks and “practice enhanced precautions”, to which I say . . . Nope. Imma staycation my legs and binge watch the fuck out of anything that doesn’t involve travel. The CDC goes on to say that the risk level to the general public is low but that you should seek immediate medical attention if you exhibit any of the symptoms. They include fever, swollen lymph nodes and pain while swallowing. Oh yeah, lesions on your body too.

I need a few more streaming services anyways . . .

Dave Chappelle Donating Money From Buffalo Show To Shooting Victims – Deadline

Dave Chapelle booked a last minute gig in Buffalo last week so that he could give all the proceeds to the community in the aftermath of last month’s mass shooting that took ten lives. The victims families have a long and arduous road ahead of them, and the only solace they might hold to in these darkest of times is family, friends, faith, and the kindness of others.

Good going Mr. Chapelle.

Former ABC News president helping Jan. 6 committee with presentation of prime-time hearings | The Hill

What’s that? Fox News ain’t gonna provide coverage of the January 6 prime-time hearing? I’m shocked! But no worries, because they’ll be riding tight on the story provided them by Camo Cowboy’s Patriot Page about Hilary killing Hoffa, 8-Tracks and Pet Rocks. And it doesn’t really matter anyway, since CNN and MSNBC will run nothing but trial coverage. They’ll only break in if there’s a high casualty count going on somewhere else. Alas, I realize it’s too soon . . . but it’s also very true.

And not for nothing (because that’s what it’s worth) but House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy now claims everyone is to blame for the riot at the Capitol. As in all 332,403,650 Americans were complicit in the hostilities.

I have an alibi around here somewhere . . .

If you love LEGO’s as much as I do, then this next story is your jam.

Forty-something newlyweds Richard Whetter and his lovely new bride Anne were honeymooning on the Island of Jersey when the worst possible thing imaginable happened. No, they didn’t run into Snooki Polizzi who was on a European vacation. Okay, the second worst thing imaginable happened to the newlyweds. The new Mr. to the new Mrs. lost his wedding ring after a dip in the ocean.

Yikes!

Enter metal detectorist (Yes, it’s a thing) Steve Andrews, who was called into action by a hotel employee. In ten minutes time, Andrews had retrieved the ring and simultaneously extricated Mr. Whetter from the doghouse. After which he gifted the newlyweds with their ring and his calling card- the pic above shows a mini-replica of our hero. He says it was one of the quickest finds he’s ever had.

And it’ll last a lifetime.

5 Tampa Bay Rays players decline to wear LGBTQ Pride-themed jerseys

Who knew the Tampa Bay Rays could be such a political lightning rod? In the same week certain of their players decided they would not wear the team’s Pride Month logo recognizing the LGBTQ community because of their faith, they also got in a skirmish with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. The governor vetoed funds for the team’s new practice facility in response to their support for gun control legislation.

Agree or disagree, the players who begged out on the pride patch weren’t being political about it. It’s just how they happen to feel. The Governor on the other hand, he’s in line to be the next Grand Poohbah for the GOP. And his move is entirely political, in a time and in a moment when we really need our leaders to be something better.

British Woman Who Fled War in '74 Closes Her Hotel to Tourists–Giving Ukrainian Refugees a Home Instead

Nitsa Michael’s family knows of war. Her family fled their home in Cyprus as a result of a Turkish invasion back in 1974, landing in Britain with no lifelines in place. They had to start their lives over in a foreign country and well, they did just that. And Nitsa, who is an 84 year-old great grandmother now, says she never forgot the fear and isolation she felt as a stranger in a strange land.

So when Russia invaded Ukraine this past winter, she decided it was time to close the doors of her family business- the Seaward Hotel. And at the same time, she decided it was time to open her doors.

Both.

You see, Nitsa was getting ready to welcome the tourist season when something more important than the bottom line came calling. Ukrainian refugees were leaving their homes en masse with no place to go and no lifelines in place. They were forced to start their lives over in a foreign country and yes, she understood this. All of this. Too well. And so she had the two things necessary with which to make the kind of difference this world needs plenty more of: The means, and an open heart.

So far she has welcomed twenty-two Ukrainian arrivals and she plans on hosting more. Because it’s never wrong to lead with your heart.

It’s how you find your way home.

Opinion | Robert Kennedy Was My Dad. His Assassin Doesn't Deserve Parole. - The New York Times

Imma go a bit off script but it’s the Kennedys and I’m still a fool for the dreams they once tilled on a soil in dire need of them. Robert Kennedy was felled by a lone gunman’s bullet fifty-four years ago yesterday. A big thank you to Dale for sending me this reminder, from brother Ted’s eulogy to his brother Bobby.

“My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life; to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it. Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass for all the world. As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him: ‘Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.'”

Here’s to the better days we have in us all.

 

 

 

 

American Made

Columbine High School Shooting: Victims & Killers - HISTORY

The image above turned twenty-three years old on April 19th. It shows a group of students standing outside of Columbine High School after Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris laid siege to a student population, resulting in the deaths of twelve students and one teacher. Armed with semi-automatic rifles as well as several pistols and explosives, the teenagers roamed the halls and library of the school for twenty minutes before committing suicide.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department would later release a statement which read in part,

While our community struggles with (the question of why) and grieves those who were lost, we remain united in one hope—that our nation shall never see anything resembling the tragedy at Columbine High School again.

So much for that sentiment.

According to a recent article in The Washington Post, more than 311,00 students have experienced gun violence at school since Columbine, or more than six times the population of Littleton, Colorado for the sake of reference. The article goes on to say that there were more school shootings-42- last year than in any other year since at least 1999. So far this year, there have been 27 school shootings, which puts us on a pace to surpass that horrible mark. And the median age for these cold blooded killers? 16.

We are the culture of violence President Clinton once feared, spiraling downward from our darkest day and arriving at a point in time where grievances settled with guns has become a normative dynamic of our national fabric. Our kids were just taking their cue from the adults, who have moved the terrorist threat stateside. As of June 6, 2022 there have been more mass shootings than days on the calendar.

For all the souls whose tomorrows never came, their memories are being trampled by elected officials who play politics with mental health care and gun rights. After which they insist that the nightmarish tallies are a bigger mystery than the Ark of the Covenant. Meanwhile, we are decades removed from a grisly turning point and what’s even more frightening is the thought that we might be decades away from changing that course.

There’s a passage from Jack Kerouac’s Desolation Angels that reads like a modern day prophecy of this darkly complex age we’re living in. If he was around, I think old Jack would have lots to say about a republic that has lost its legs. And not for nothing, but I kinda think he would have learned the fiddle. For the irony.

“Pretty soon there’ll be a new kind of murderer, who will kill without any reason at all, just to prove that it doesn’t matter, and his accomplishment will be worth no more and no less than Beethoven’s last quartets and Boito’s Requiem– churches will fall, Mongolian hordes will piss on the map of the West, idiot kings will burp at bones, nobody’ll care and then the earth itself’ll disintegrate into atomic dust (as it was in the beginning) and the void still the void won’t care, the void’ll just go on with that maddening little smile of its that I see everywhere, I look at a tree, a rock, a house, a street, I see that little smile– That ‘secret God-grin’ but what a God is this who didn’t invent justice?–So they’ll light candles and make speeches and the angels rage. Ah but ‘I don’t know, I don’t care, and it doesn’t matter’ will be the final human prayer.”

Columbine High School took its name from the state flower of Colorado, a hardy perennial that holds its own against the elements. Its common name is derived from the Latin word for dove. The flower has been important in the study of evolution because of its ethereal ability to adapt. This delicate balance of beauty and strength is living proof that what doesn’t kill you will not only make you stronger, it will make you whole.

Adaptation is equal parts dynamism, cooperation and sheer will. It is not dependent on convenience and it has precious little use for indifference. It wins its future by remembering everything that came before. Whereas humanity skips history class in its bottom line quest for kingdoms, this delicate sweep of colors stays honest to its past.

Hell of a world, where flowers learn the lessons we miss and grow the generations we never get to see. It’s been twenty-three years worth of dying and our country remains stuck in that parking lot in Littleton, Colorado. And in all that time, it seems the only thing we’ve mimicked from the flower that named a school is the art of stillness. Because while this genus has proven expert at growing its future, we went in another direction.

We bury ours.