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The Rundown

Aaron Judge Hit 4 Home Runs in 2 Days to Break the Rookie Record

New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge is sitting on 46 home runs for the season and his pursuit of the MLB single season record of 61 home runs in a season- set by Roger Maris in 1961- is still a thing. He would need to go on a hot streak to surpass Maris, but at least he’s not playing with Monopoly money the way Bonds, McGwire and Sosa did back in the Age of Bud. Judge has been the lone bright spot for the Bombers since the team woke up from its magic carpet ride last month and started playing like the Kansas City Royals. Those solid World Series prospects have taken a sad turn but at least Judge is still giving Bombers fans something to get excited about. And so what if all it means is that he’s auditioning for the Los Angeles Dodgers, it still counts.

This early edition of the Rundown will be the last episode of August and I pushed it up so as to provide an extra day with which to reply to any comments before I D.B. Cooper the hell out of town until next weekend. I’ll be back ‘live’ in September with more of the good, the blah and the gravy.

As for the last Rundown of summer, let’s get to it!

Biden signs massive climate and health care legislation | AP News

Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act this week. The bill aims to lower prescription drug costs, address global warming, raise taxes on billion dollar corporations, reduce the federal deficit and bring back the McDonalds fried apple pie. And okay, I made up that last one about Mickey D’s bringing back my favorite fast food item ever. Even if it is well past time.

The President called the sweeping bill a win for the American people and a loss for special interests. He also took a jab at Republicans by pointing out that not a single one crossed the aisle to side with him on this. Add to this a backdrop where Trump is divulging the names of the FBI agents who conducted the raid on his crib . . . while Liz Cheney attempts to steel Americans against the violent reprisals from Trump Nation during her concession speech in the Wyoming House seat race . . while DeSantis plays like Little Finger down in Tallahassee.

If you thought the mid-terms were going to be contentious before, just you wait . . .

Barbecue Pork Sandwich With Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Goes Viral

Marco’s Hell No! of the week goes to the Kansas City Royals, whose horrid performance on the field has seeped into their concessions now. The above menu item was rolled out by the team and while I am down for the mad science of menu mashups, this creation has frenched my fries.

The new BBQ Reese’s sandwich starts with pulled pork being strangled in a bath of barbecue sauce (Strike one!), followed by bacon bits (Strike two!) and finished, literally, with crumbled Reese’s peanut butter cups (You’re out!).

Keanon Lowe, Oregon coach, takes gun, hugs would-be shooter in video

Let’s hope Disney is gonna make good on its plans to make a movie about Keanon Lowe’s heroic efforts to thwart a school shooting back in 2019. Parkrose High School student Angel Diaz had grown so despondent that he intended to shoot himself in front of his classmates. And if you’re of the opinion that compassion has gone out of style, check out this simple exchange that helped prevent a tragedy that day.

“Nobody cares about me,” A sobbing Angel Diaz told Lowe.

“I care about you,” Lowe told him. “That’s why I’m here. I’m here to save you. I got you, buddy.”

Lowe lost his job at Parkrose in the year of Covid, but ever the survivor, he’s bounced back just fine; he wrote a book and he’s currently working on Scott Frost’s Nebraska Cornhuskers staff. His story is one that needs to get told and shared and remembered. Get this done Disney!

Sarah Palin is back? Well, in typical Palin fashion, she’s kind of maybe sort of almost but not entirely back. She’ll be taking part in a special election in her bid to nab Alaska’s one House seat, and if you ask me, I’ve missed Tina Fey so I’m kinda torn on this whole thing.

I’ve included a multiple choice quiz for the occasion. All you have to do is pick out the Sarah Palin gem from the four possible choices below. Good luck!

A) “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a nuke is a good guy with a nuke”.
B) “‘Refudiate,’ ‘misunderestimate,’ ‘wee-wee’d up.’ English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!’
C) “Polls? Nah . . . They’re for strippers and cross-country skiers,”
D) “Only dead fish go with the flow,”

The answer of course, is all of them.

Two large bears interact in an open-air enclosure.

Marco’s Hell Yes! of the week goes to the good people of Kyiv who are saving bears in the war-torn region of Ukraine. Natalia Popova and the animal protection organization UA Animals have already sent 200 of these magnificent creatures abroad while relocating 100 more west of the city. I’ll leave it to the writer and naturalist Henry Beston to ride this baby home.

The creatures with whom we share the planet and whom, in our arrogance, we wrongly patronize for being lesser forms, they are not brethren, they are not underlings, they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the Earth.

Ship salvagers find message in bottle, return it to family of late son

Brian Dahl was eleven years old when he wrote a letter to the future. The sixth-grader from Oxford, Mississippi had mailed the letter inside a bottle as part of a class project. It was during a field trip that the kids launched their words and thoughts into the Talahatchie River. Brian remembered to say “Please” and “Thank you” to the recipient of his message in a bottle back in 1989.

Fast forward to 2022 when Billy Mitchell, a salvage worker in Vicksburg, some 200 miles north of Oxford, happened upon Brian’s message wrapped in a green bottle.  “I always look for stuff that’s unique — driftwood or anything . .” Little did he know that his find would turn into a lot more than anything.

Mitchell and his boss Brad Babb got to work in an attempt to find the author. They had their work cut out for them. Most of the letter had been destroyed so they reconstructed the remaining life in it with precious care: They stayed after work and they called local school districts and then they posted an image of the message and its contents on the company’s Facebook page.

That’s how the Dahl family was reunited with their son Brian, who passed away at the age of 29. Eric, wife Melanie and son Chris made the trek to Vicksburg to meet the people who had discovered the thirty-three year old message. And then Brian’s family shared stories of the man they knew with the people who had re-introduced them to the boy they loved.

A special meeting of new friends, made possible by a boy with a huge heart. One last hello, delivered from the grasp of oblivion to the future he never got to see but one he most certainly has touched, with words that never stopped breathing and a love that never stopped swimming. Billy Mitchell believes the note is proof that Brian is still here, keeping watch.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.

 

 

The Rundown

Three large spiral galaxies float in space, surrounded by hundreds of other, more distant galaxies.

Gooooooooooood morning America . . . are you still out there?

It’s been another week in which our sublime inner selves got reduced in saucy front page headlines bordering (okay, totally exceeding) ridiculousness. The country, and really, the whole wide world, seems one big mess of a traveling circus; the likes of which would have had P.T. Barnum hauling our asses into court for infringing on his not so intellectual property.

Good thing we have more treats from the candy bag that is NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. The above capture is from The Atlantic and it features something called the Cartwheel Galaxy. This masterpiece is a more finely complex spiral than anything Tom Brady can dream of cooking up. Alas, it lives more than 500 million light years from our front porch, which makes road tripping this magical place out of the question. But it’s okay, because it brings to mind Mark Twain’s crush on astronomy, in which he confessed he was a slave to its mysteries. He reveled in losing time to the primordial ocean above because it made him feel less confounded about the plight of humankind.

I do believe the stars speak the language of Twain. Bob Marley too.

Final shootout scene from Scarface except its Tony Montana vs 77 Seven Year Olds : r/whowouldwin

Oh God. Him again.

In a scene reminiscent of a really shitty action movie on Amazon Prime, FBI officials executed a search warrant on the Trump compound in Mar-a-Lago this week. They were after records and classified materials the former president took with him when he skipped town last January. Trump wasn’t in attendance for the ten-hour search party, so his mindless minions gathered outside as if it was ten cent wing night at Applebee’s. Because nothing says patriotism like waving flags and wearing merch that was made in China whilst defending a guy who incited a riot in our nation’s capitol . . .

Next up . . . Trump declares he’s running for president of Nicaragua!

Robert Pope: Guinness-fuelled man runs width of Ireland in a day - BBC News

Robert Pope is actually running for something that will make a positive difference. Nuts, right? Yeah, the guy decided he was going to run the width of Ireland-which is a majestically arduous 134 mile trek if you’re talking sneakers. And okay, so plenty of guys have made similar promises in pubs across the land of Joyce and Wilde and Beckett. After which they returned to their healthy pints and forgot all about it.

Not this 44 year old ultramarathoner, who made good on his promise in . . . are you sitting down? Twenty three hours; from Galway to Dublin with the goal of raising money for the World Wildlife Fund putting the wind in his sails. He drank a pint of Guinness before starting and then bent elbows with the locals for another one at the finish line.

That’s my kind of guy.

Dump the NFL Already! - Rampant Discourse

Once upon a time not so long ago, Deshaun Watson insisted he had nothing to hide and that he would never settle with the more than two dozen massage therapists who filed suit alleging he treated them like sex workers. And then he settled with most of them. After which he talked as if he was the one being victimized.

Then retired judge Sue Robinson- who had been brought in by the league to recommend his discipline- decided on a six-game suspension. Which is a slap in the wrist to Watson and a slap in the face to all the women involved in this sordid tale. But hey, she was following precedence after all. Because the NFL has a history of treating bad guys with velvet gloves. And then along came a deviant asshole quarterback and a woebegone franchise that was willing to hand him a quarter of a billion guaranteed dollars anyway . . and now Goodell and his bosses find religion. They’re vowing to make Watson sit out a year and the players are vowing to sue if they try it.

Stay tuned.

Reds vs. Cubs prediction: Odds and pick for 2022 Field of Dreams game in Iowa

The Field of Dreams game is the best idea the MLB has pitched (Pun Alert!) to the fans in a long time. Interleague play was simply an excuse for teams to jack up prices, and the universal DH hasn’t changed a thing. Iowa is different. The games feel important; the kind of important that used to breathe through transistor radios in the spring and summer before culminating in an operatic fall classic that captured the imagination of a rapt nation.

And while I’m no fan of the million and one uniforms most teams peddle on their shop sites, I have to admit I really love the vintage threads. Chicago’s baseball teams probably wouldn’t mind turning the clock back a hundred years, judging by their perfect record in Costner’s backyard. Hopefully the game is back after next year’s hiatus, because I’d love to see a wrong done right before the first pitch with an announcement that proves just how magical that cornfield in Iowa really is.

Put Shoeless Joe in the Hall of Fame

Vinyl Cool Sticker Funny Mickey Mouse Middle Finger Comics - Etsy

Disney+ has announced how it plans to celebrate now that it has surpassed rival Netflix, having clocked in with 221 million streaming customers. Mickey Mouse Inc. is going to be hiking prices come the end of the year (Just in time for Christmas!). The company cites production costs for the increase, and I believe it. But I also don’t care since I’m not a Disney fan. And I have to ask: Does this make me a communist? Or a person with common sense?

Russia bombs nuclear plant in Ukraine, sparks radiation fears - Rediff.com India News

Speaking of communists . . .

Russia is to nuclear reactors what the Kardashian girls are to love and romance. So the news that Russian forces went in hot in their takeover of a nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine should give the world pause. Putin’s idea is to bully/frighten all of his naysayers into submission with thoughts of the ultimate dirty bomb in the offing. I think we’ve given this guy too much leash for too long a period of time. But hey, dealing with bullies on the playground is much easier than dealing with bullies who have a nuclear arsenal at their disposal.

I wonder what The Expendables are up to?

And Imma tuck this week’s episode to sleep with definitive proof of life on other planets.

These other planets do not require a million lifetimes worth of navigation to reach them. They exist on every block of every street of every neighborhood of every town we call home. The stories might require some diligent research on our part, but I assure you, the wonders they provide will make you appreciate the time expended.

When Kaiden Shelton of Pearland, Texas lost control of a pitch to Isaiah Jarvis of Tulsa, Oklahoma, the crowd in Waco, Texas went silent. After Jarvis was able to not only brush it off, but continue playing, you could almost hear the collective sigh of relief that rippled through the stands. Excepting for Kaiden Shelton, who remained stuck on that runaway fastball as he struggled to regain his composure on the mound. When Jarvis became aware of this, he called timeout before walking over to his rival to offer him a hug.

And it was right then and there that another planet was discovered, right here on earth. A planet that was fat with hope and humanity and compassion; elements that are vitally important when it comes to life and living. Elements that we tend to lose sight of, even if they never stop showing up. And for the infinite shine those stars provide us?

I’d like to think we return the favor.

 

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?

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