A Million Miles Away And Closing Fast

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There are some days when I feel like the world really is the matrix; an elaborate and complicated labyrinth of shushing doors and dimly lit hallways that lead to a master lab where a billionaire God runs things with a CPU that processes quintillions of operations in the flap of a hummingbird’s wings.

Okay, there are many days when I feel this way.

I’m not saying we’re artificially generated beings with a predestined flight pattern that takes us from conception to calamari with nary a wiggle’s worth of holy shitake with which to rewrite the final score. Nah, that’s too orthodox for the trip we’re keeping to. The fact that we hurt and we ache and we bleed means we’re more like organic compositions with enough roust for the joust.

Truth be told, the mysteries of creation are as infinite as Nick Saban’s recruiting list. I grew up believing the world had been fetched from a fledgling filament that filibustered its way out of a galactic dark room. Some of the most brilliant students of the cosmos, and Albert Einstein, have disagreed with this theory. Their argument, put simply, is that you ain’t getting something out of nothing.

That’s where my matrix idea comes in. It exists in plain sight because we’re so busy contemplating how we got here that we never considered why. Thousands of years ago, the search for that first dusty footprint involved serious old men sitting around smoking their brains trying to figure out who rolled this joint into being. Hundreds of years ago, that search resulted in the invention of the telescope which allowed for a nuanced interrogation of the stars. Last year, on Christmas Day no less, the James Webb space telescope was launched. And as captivating as the images it captured were, when it comes to the biggest question of all, humankind is still . . wait for it . . in the dark.

I happen to believe we were highjacked by a more advanced species at some point in our distant or not so distant past. This holistic takeover was undertaken in the name of what else? Science! These superior beings, we’ll call them Martians for lack of a less dramatic name, rolled us across this plush swatch of green like a hot pair of dice at a high stakes table. Which makes us a templated test kit that grew out of its britches with a reckless ferocity, much to the delight . . . or dismay, of our silent masters. I guess they’ll sic one of those asteroids on our asses if it’s the latter. I don’t know and you don’t know and neither do those white lab coats, in spite of their caviar budgets and champagne trips to the outer limits.

But when I question things, it’s not God I’m sitting across from. It’s the million little tells we overlook because we’re so busy trying to crack the cosmic case, the same way Agent Kujan swung right through the hanging fastballs Verbal Kint was serving up in The Usual Suspects. 

A top five list of things that make me go What’s up with That? . . . Okie.

1- Glitching- As defined, this means an unusual occurrence that cannot be logically explained. In the last decade alone, we’ve experienced President Trump, a perennial title contender in Beantown and the image of an ordinary egg that earned the most Instagram likes . . ever.

2-Mirror Images- We get caught up in the idea of doppelgangers while the experts claim the odds of a perfect facial match are one in eight trillion.  But that doesn’t explain how Natalie Portman and Keira Knightley could stand in for each other in the same Broadway production (they haven’t . . I don’t think) and get away with it. My point being, exact replicas are scant but reasonable facsimiles are everywhere. Which is exactly as it would be if we have carbon copies in the cosmos.

3-The Mandela Effect- The dude didn’t die in prison, but many would wager money that he did (I haven’t wagered any dough on this . . . I don’t think). Just as many people grew up reading the Berenstain Bears while many other people grew up reading the Berenstein Bears. Hmmmm.

4- Universal Laws- Says who? Our scientists or some other planet’s game makers? Or is it both?

5- The LA Lakers Magic Johnson vs the Boston Celtics Larry Bird had to have come from a simulation. It was just too fucking perfect.

All I really know for absolute-ish certainty is that we are blood and guts because the Rambo movies told me so. I also know we are incredibly fragile, vulnerable creatures because Hallmark is still in business. And I know we’ve got a soul because opera makes us cry. The rest is going to remain a mystery to me until the lights go out. After which I’ll wake up in a biodome on some space outpost with a huge sign welcoming me to Iowa and rewarding me for my involvement in the Earth project with a million years worth of steak, bourbon and smokes.

I’ll chill with the questions.

 

 

 

 

The Longfellow Rules

“(Baseball) breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall all alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.” 

-A. Bartlett Giamatti

Bart Giamatti was the shortest tenured commissioner in the history of the game, and perhaps the last real one. Because while his predecessors- Selig and Manfred- have been prolific at pimping and gimmickry, Giamatti used a deep and abiding love for the game as his compass. He would’ve been in all four corners of the country this October, taking it all in and penning more of that good thing.

Expanding the postseason was a gonna happen dynamic that has prevailed upon our need for love and romance on the diamond. And this October fortnight has been swoon worthy:  In the span of a week’s time, the MLB saw not one, not two but three one-hundred win juggernauts go by the wayside: You could almost understand the 101 win Mets going belly up since it’s become their fall standard ever since Mike Piazza left the building. But then the Braves got outfeisted (my word) by the Phillies in an accidental prize fight that went Balboa in a hurry.

Surely the Dodgers would hold strong against the National League’s barbarians best efforts to tear down the gates. Hell, not even Poe could kill the corporate beast from Chavez Ravine. And the Padres really didn’t feel like the team that was gonna do the slaying, in spite of their drinking game deadline deals for the two Joshes, Bell and Hader, along with the sweet swinging Juan Soto. And did I mention the Dodgers went 14-5 against their neighbors to the south during the regular season? As Sam Rothstein woulda said, There’s nuttin to see heah. 

Umm . . . . Sam?

Padres 5- Dodgers 3 FINAL

I woke up to that because I have the Padres in my notifications, like a side thing. My main men still reside in the Bronx, and they still have life thanks to Gerrit Cole’s balls to the wall seven inning samurai special in Cleveland that sends the divisional series to the fifteenth round tonight. Baseball royalty was my family seal, having been born in the Bronx and raised by a woman who used to talk shop with the likes of Mantle and Berra and Houk. But let’s face it, for the vast majority of baseball citizenry, rooting for the Yankees is akin to hoping Brad Pitt gets laid. It’s like being cool with Bill Gates winning Powerball. And I completely understand.

The Astros are baseball’s version of the smartest kid in class who decides to cheat on his SAT’s. It’s a damn shame their sign stealing went all fetishy because they have been Scarlett Lettered ever since. Nobody outside of Houston is going to love an October that ends with these guys on top and you know how I know this? Because most baseball Americans would gladly root for the Yankees to take them out.

That’s just sad.

It’s probably why I have such an affinity for the NLCS pairing. San Diego bills itself as “America’s Finest City” while Philadelphia . . . does not. And I think it’s adorable how both fan bases have a bit of an inferiority complex even if they would never admit as much. And it doesn’t hurt one Manny Mota of an iota that neither of these clubs was supposed to be here and yet, here they are.

That’s baseball theater at high tide right there. While most sports have to be broken down to their simplest elements, baseball is already there. It’s a game where the pitcher tells the ball what to do and the batter tries to talk that ball into doing something else entirely. It’s a game of hunches and hot streaks and quirks and yes, magic. That too.

I mean, if Bob Stanley or Calvin Schiraldi could’ve gotten any-fucking-body out on a crisp October night in Queens, Sawx fans wouldn’t have had to wait another eighteen years before the curse of the Bambino was lifted across town in the Bronx. And if Joe Carter’s wrists would’ve been a tick slower, the Phillies get to a game seven with Schilling in Toronto and I really would’ve loved their chances in that one. And if Johnny Damon doesn’t take third against the Phillies in 2009, maybe the Yankees World Series drought would be (Yikes!) twenty-two years instead of thirteen.

I watched the highlights of that Padres clincher against the Dodgers a couple times; once for the game highlights and once just to take in that magnificent engine of a crowd in full throttle. That sea of misbegotten browns and yellows that spun its mad rebellion as their princes slayed kings. And if you listened closely enough, you could almost hear them questioning all the answers.

Why not us?

 

Speaking Of . . .

On this date in Yankees history: Roger Maris earns 1961 AL MVP | Bronx Pinstripes | BronxPinstripes.com

Since Aaron Judge is taking his sweet time in his quest to become the Bronx Boss of Bash, it threw off my weekend Rundown plan. Which is plenty fine since I haven’t penned one of these speakeasies in a lukewarm minute. So even when the big fella doesn’t get it done? He still gets it done!

Speaking Of . . . getting it done, the aforementioned Judge crushed it this year, and I’m not even talking about the diamond business in this instance. Nah, what 99 did for Derek Rodriguez ain’t gonna show up in any box score, and that’s because it’s much more important than any baseball game.

Rodriguez was the nine-year old Yankees fan who missed out on a Judge homer the last time the Yankees were in Toronto. Until he didn’t, thanks to Blue Jays fan Mike Lanzillotta, who caught the ball and then handed it to the kid. After which both of them got to meet Judge. How can you not love that?

You could say Judge had 99 reasons and a pitch wasn’t one.

Adam Levine & Tom Brady: Lakers Bros! | Adam Levine, Tom Brady | Just Jared

Speaking Of . . . pitches, I have one for any of the eleven million streaming services out there who love petty faces. I’m pairing up the newly separated Tom Brady and the newly found out (as if we didn’t know) creep Adam Levine in a NYC brownstone for bastard bachelors. The show will have a twenty-eight minute running time, twenty-four minutes of which will be filled with preening memes. The other four minutes will possess vacuous verbiage that will no doubt set civilization back at least a hundred minutes. The working title is Unlikeable You

Nancy Pelosi booed during surprise appearance at NYC music festival, videos appear to show | Fox Business

Speaking Of . . . Unlikeable, Nancy Pelosi made a surprise appearance at the Global Citizen Festival in Central Park over the weekend. A lot less surprising was her getting booed off the stage. My daughter was in attendance and she called it the most interesting part of a lackluster event.

I'm not convinced we've wasted enough time on this | Work humor, Workplace humor, Work memes

Speaking Of . . . Lackluster events, the Super Bowl halftime show was supposed to feature Taylor Swift. And I for one wasn’t about to bother with that mess. Welp, those plans fell through and now Rihanna will star in the two-hour motion picture. And okay, I’m still not gonna bother, but I’m glad it’s not Taylor Swift just the same.

FDA Warns Against Making Viral NyQuil Chicken Recipe

Speaking Of . . . bad medicine, the FDA issued a warning recently against basting your chicken in Nyquil. This was in response to a five year old stunt found on the internets in which some kids were achieving maximum dosages in their hot meals. And I swear to Jesus, if Albert Einstein and Darwin were still kicking, Al would be getting busy on a bomb that would end this madness and Charlie would be rooting him on.

Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel's leadership style, Dolphins beat Bills - Sports Illustrated

Speaking Of . . . rooting, you didn’t think I was going to go through an entire post without mentioning the first place and(!) undefeated Miami Dolphins, did you? They overcame a literal ass kicking punt and total domination by Buffalo on the stat sheet and they paid the Bills! Now they’re sitting in the football penthouse as they mark a Super Bowl date with the Philadelphia Eagles. And the only thing that could stop this from happening would be an asteroid crashing into earth.

What time will NASA's DART spacecraft hit an asteroid on Sept. 26? | Space

Speaking Of . . . asteroids crashing into earth, NASA conducted a test last night by actually t-boning one of these fuckers. NASA crashed its DART spacecraft (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) into a hurtling hunk of space burning love called Dimorphos at speeds in excess of 14,000 mph. Which sounds like your average Tuesday on a Florida highway.

NASA insists their Hollywood stunt was simply a test and I believe them, because I always believe what government agencies tell me. And hey, I know it sounds ridiculous to believe that the Eagles and Dolphins meeting for all the chips on the table might portend such a cataclysmic event. And I don’t actually believe it  . . . because that’s just . . . silly.

Right?

From the Archives: Top 5 Heroes Of The Week

Imma dish up a brand spanking new Rundown this weekend, but I thought it would be kitschy fun to dig into the old treasure chest today. I found one of the very first of the Heroes/Rundown series. I hope you enjoy this blast from the past.

Remember the old Rolling Stone double issues that used to take a week to read? And longer than that if it was summer and you were perpetually high? Welp, that’s this week’s Heroes installment. You’ll notice I’ve tucked some news squibs in between the Big Five. It’s just me, tinkering.

Now let’s get on with it.

Romaine-tic Comedy- Country music singer Miranda Lambert (Should I stop there? Is that enough of a punchline? No . . you sure? Okay, I’ll continue . . ) is bringing a whole new meaning to her salad days. And believe me, I ain’t dressing this up.

Lambert made headlines (again) for all the wrong reasons (again) when she dumped her salad on a woman who was provoking her. The lap dance tantrum happened at a Nashville steakhouse where Lambert was dining with friends and family. And it just makes me sad.

Once upon a time, country music’s preferred method of payment when it came to altercations were baseball bats and whiskey bottles. Now . . it’s lettuce and cherry tomatoes with julienne carrots in a balsamic vinaigrette (speculative editorializing). The legends of country music didn’t even know what the fuck a salad was! The current generation of stars has weaponized it.

Ted Cruz wants to use El Chapo fortune to fund border wall. Because our government has never, ever used blood money before . . .

Ice Cold Stove- Two of the biggest stars in the game- Bryce Harper and Manny Machado- remain unsigned. Pitchers and catchers time has arrived, and these two big ticket items of the hot stove league remain on the shelf. Which says everything about the blah quality of the league. Call it collusion by the owners or call it a deluded MLBPA but the bottom line is the game is suffering from an alarming lack of sizzle lately.

Cancel out collusion, because offers have been made and stupid contracts (See the Nationals signing of Corbin) have been inked. As for the player’s union, they’ve got to pipe down on any claims of owner conspiracy, what with the average MLB salary sitting at a cool 4 mil a year. They need to get their shit straight for sure but worrying about their players getting paid would be the wrong pony to ride. Listen, owners see players like JD Martinez of the Red Sox kicking ass at a fraction of what Harper/Machado were asking for. They want bang over bloat, and I don’t blame them.

But the MLB has got to do something about this hot stove of theirs, which has gotten its ass kicked by the NFL and NBA trading deadlines and signing periods over the last calendar season. Baseball used to own its off-season but that is no longer the case. Where have you gone Reggie Jackson? . . .

Grammys

The Grammys- Who. Fucking. Cares.

I ain’t got much to say about an awards show I haven’t watched in forever, but what I do have to say isn’t pleasant. And yet . . it’s a hell of a lot more pleasant than what these peeps are dealing. Reading up on the postscripts to the show is akin to checking up on the first grade choir. It’s a bunch of musical talent wrapped in elementary school clothes. They snipe, they curse and they hate on each other with Styrofoam vitriol; which means to say, it’s marshmallow four lettered banter delivered up by musical brats who couldn’t hold Prince’s luggage.

And this isn’t some old dude pissing on the music of the day, because there’s plenty of new stuff I dig on. And I also happen to believe we should leave Cardi B alone when it comes to that Tom Petty gaffe. Truth be told, there are times when I have to think about which Beatles are left . . and I am guilty of not knowing whether Steven Tyler was dead or alive (He’s alive). Nah, Cardi B is a kid who ain’t down with yesterday’s music, and that’s no crime. But the way her peers trashed her after she won for best rap album is just sad. And proof that I ain’t missing anything by skipping this show.

Kylie Jenner is into condom artTo paraphrase the great Andy Warhol, in the future everyone will be famous for three and a half minutes . . . 

Sarah Sanders Stars in ‘God Squad’-White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says that God wanted Donald Trump to win in 2016. And a quarter of Fox News poll respondents agree with her. In another Heroes first, I’ve linked to a Fox News poll for shits and giggles. If you insist on sending me hate mail, please forward it here. Rather than doing a post-oped, Imma dish up a semi-fictional rendering of how this might have gone down.

Somewhere in Malibu . . . 

The phone rings. 

“Challo?”

“God, hey . . it’s Lucifer,”

“Hey Lu . . what’s going down?” God chuckles.

“You remember anything about last night?” Lucifer asks.

“Well . . I remember we were playing poker. Moses was bragging about his Red Sea vacation . . Noah was telling fish tales . . and then Lot brought the Patron and we all started doing shots and . . .”

“You went all in when I said you had to elect Trump if you lost your pot,” Lucifer informs him.

“Prove it,” God demands.

His phone chimes to life with a text message containing a video link of him losing the bet with his arch-nemesis.

“Jesus!”

“Yeah Pop?” Jesus says as he moves into the living room to grab his sandals.

“No, not you. Umm, where you going?” God asks.

“Me and Jerry Garcia are gonna work on the van,” Jesus says excitedly.

“What about that job interview you have at Lowes?” God asks.

“That’s manana, and don’t worry . . I’ll pass the drug test this time. Gotta go old man, peace out . ..”

“Lu . . you still there?”

“That kid can’t hold down a job to save his life,” Lucifer says.

“Preaching to the choir, Lu. But hey . . you can’t hold me to this Trump thing,” God says.

“You bet your cloud surfing ass I’m gonna hold you to it,”

“I gotta say, this is low . . even for you,”

“Tuesday, November 8th, Boss. Mark the date,” Lucifer says before hanging up.

If you insist on sending me hate mail for this sacrilegious skit, please forward it here.

Bob Ross Flash Mob- Seriously, that sentence is enough to put a smile on my face. But it gets better. Thanks to middle school art teacher Brady Sloane of Abilene, Texas . . it gets a lot better. Textbook smarts get you in the door, but outside the box thinking opens the doors you never knew existed. And Sloane, supplied. She noticed how her students were stressing over their work load in advanced placement classes and so she organized a cool little activity in which they would all don Bob Ross costumes as they painted.

Sloane used monies from a fundraiser to buy the paints and then her students helped her make the costumes. And this story is just so damned peach on top of my Heroes cake, that Imma stamp it in place of my usual musical spill.

Zen is what real winning looks like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bill Gates slams AOC’s 70 percent tax plan? No. Shit. 

The Rundown

Remember when the nightly news resided in a half-hour timeslot preceding The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson? Welp, if you don’t, then I highly suggest you fire up your TikTok page and get to stepping, because this version of The Rundown probably isn’t gonna be to your liking.

See, Imma give a quick what to the week’s what. No trending or canceling and just a smattering of OMG. This isn’t to say it wont be dope with a side of Gucci, seeing as how I am nothing if not evolved(ish).

And now, heeeeeere’s the roster!

US Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina charged with driving with revoked license, reports say | FOX8 WGHP

In the world of politics this week . . .

Marjorie Taylor Greene didn’t utter a single, solitary stupid shit thing. Authorities will look into the possibility she may have been the victim of foul play sometime next year. President Biden assured the world that leveling more sanctions on Putin will not achieve a single objective at this point. He then asked for verification that he had, in fact, said that out loud. And in a recent poll, more than eighty-five percent of Americans believe their country’s current standing in the world is disturbingly similar to a country western song.

Madison Cawthorn made sure he would become the story this week when he referred to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as a “thug” and his government as “incredibly evil”. Meanwhile, Zelensky and his people struggle to remain above ground, figuratively and literally in the wake of Russia’s advance.

You don’t want us to fall in love with someone else’s world leader, even in the wake of the horrible trials that have befallen his people? Okay, it’s prudent to be wary of a foreign leader’s daily business. And no, we shouldn’t ramp up troop involvement considering all those complicated red buttons Putin has at the ready. But to proclaim that woke ideologies are to blame for all those civilian deaths isn’t provocative wordplay on Cawthorn’s part. It’s simply a small minded attempt at directing the narrative away from the carnage whilst never minding Donald Trump’s own past dealings with Zelensky. Cawthorn was right about some of the misinformation coming out of the Ukraine but it’s ironic that he fancies himself an arbiter of such untruths. After all, his idol and some of his peers know a thing or two about misinformation.

And one more thing, Mr. Cawthorn. Show some respect for the dead and suffering.

Average gas prices in Albany skyrocket by 43 cents in one week | WRGB

In business . . .

Gas prices rose another seven cents this week to a national average of $4.32 a gallon. And I promised myself that if Gronkowski-like spikes push that average over five bucks, Imma sell my ride, buy a horse and pick up smoking again. Because those methods will prove less maddening than presiding over satanic rituals every time I pull up to the pump.

McDonald’s closed up shop in Russia temporarily in the wake of increasing pressure to do so. The fast food giant turned out the lights in 850 restaurants across the country, thirty two years removed from its initial venture into Moscow. The golden arches will return because the truth is, burgers (and not bombs) are the sneaky secret saucy secret to spreading democracy (Read heart disease and apathy) around the world.

Calvin Ridley's year-long gambling suspension is a hypocritical farce

In sports . . .

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley was banned from play for the entire 2022 season after it was discovered that he wagered on NFL games- including his own team- last season. Ridley stepped away from the sport in October in order to deal with his mental health. And there’s no better way to get your head right than by losing money to the Lions blowing the spread! Ridley’s actions leave Commissioner Goodell with a huge matzo ball to swallow; seeing how it was only five short years ago that he vowed to keep legalized gambling out of his league. Now he’s in bed with the books and now a high profile player’s been busted and now? It’s only a matter of time before the league is rocked with a game-fixing scandal that would make Arnold Rothstein proud.

Finally! Our long national nightmare is over now that Aaron Rodgers will be returning to the Packers next season. He’ll play for legacy, love of the game and the honor of being one of the all-time greats, and he’s ditching the drama . . . and okay, I just spit up my coffee.

Meanwhile the Denver Broncos were like, Our bae was in Seattle all this time, bitches! The Denver Buyers Club scored its latest Hall of Fame signal caller when they removed Russell Wilson from the witness protection program otherwise known as the Seattle Seahawks. And while I’m not sold on Denver’s chances to win it all, Wilson’s presence gives the AFC West perhaps the richest neighborhood of quarterbacks in the history of the league with the young guns Mahomes and Herbert duking it out with Hall worthy vets Carr and Wilson.

Oh yeah, and the MLB lockout is over. I celebrated by watching the Sixers/Nets game last night.

Marco At the Movie Review: Steven Spielberg’s reboot of West Side Story is ambitious in its detail and more polished than its cinematic predecessor. But that’s exactly why it falls short of the original. Because as with most works of art, the grittiness of the ’61 standard bearer happens to possess the kind of soul that just cannot be replicated. All that to say, I loved this version very much. I love it for its flow, for its abiding hat tips and I love that it stars the dynamic as ever Rita Moreno. But what I love most of all is that when you break it down, it’s that same classic tale of love and loss, with dreams of one more tonight.

And now a quick look at weather across the nation this week  . . .

Temps across the central plains were so warm that if you own a beer distributor, you’ll be good to book that vacation to someplace even warmer. There was snow for the peeps living in the central and northern Rockies, or should I say more snow. And if you plan on making light of all that snow, you best reside at a safe distance from their collective right hooks.

Until next week, good night and good luck!

The Rundown

Baby girl born at 2:22 on 2-22-2022

If you’re a fan of numbers, have I got a story for you . . .

This week, Judah Grace Spear was introduced to the world on a Twosday . . . uh, I mean Tuesday. Okay I mean both. The girl whose name means “praise” in Hebrew wasn’t just born on 2/22/2022 . . . which would be cool enough. Nope, she made the scene at 2:22 am at Cone Health Alamance Regional Medical Center in Burlington, North Carolina. This two-cute little lady is being called a miracle baby by her mama- a cancer survivor- who was told by doctors that it would be nearly impossible to get pregnant. Until it became entirely possible, and then the year and the month and the day let everyone know that miracles can come true, and they happen in two.

Judah was born in, you guessed it, Room 2.

Russia invades Ukraine: What should the world expect next? | WKRC

Apologies to Brenda and Nate but I couldn’t bring myself to satirize a conflict in Ukraine that has turned into war. Vlad the Travailler might behave like the stuff of lampoon but his actions are nightmarishly real. So as his army storms into Eastern Ukraine, the US had 1,000 troops mobilized in anticipation and just sent several thousand more. Oh . . . and former secretary of state Mike Pompeo and his old boss are getting hard ons just thinking about their favorite strongman busting a move on the rebel region.

What’s interesting to note is that Mitt Romney called Russia our number one geo-political foe, all the way back in 2012. He was derided for his opinion by then President Obama, and everybody else. And yet, here we are, with Putin wanting the old Soviet Union back and willing to make it happen.

Want Equal Pay for Equal Play? Pass the ERA! - Women's eNews

Chalk up another win for women’s soccer after the U.S. Soccer Federation agreed to pay $22 million in back pay to the players as settlement in the class action equal pay lawsuit.  The federation has agreed to provide an equal rate of pay between the men’s and women’s national senior teams.

What began in 2016 when several members of the national team filed a federal equal pay complaint, turned into a class action suit in March of 2019. While it falls short of the $66 million the players had sought, Megan Rapinoe called it a “huge win” just the same. The settlement is incumbent on ratification of the CBA between players and the governing body, which was extended through March 31st.

You go girls.

Michigan basketball boss Juwan Howard had me paying attention to college basketball this week. But it’s only because of an open handed slap he threw at a Wisconsin assistant. Howard took umbrage with Wisconsin coach Greg Gard for calling time late in a game in which his Badgers were cruising. And he wasn’t buying Gard’s (pretty valid) explanation. Listen, I love Juwan from his time with the Heat, but he deserved his five game suspension, just as Gard probably deserved at least a game for laying his hands on Juwan.

Out of the regrettable comes the forgettable, as some geniuses are suggesting they do away with post-game handshakes as a result of this incident. This prisoner of the moment thinking would have us cancel out sportsmanship altogether, rather than deal with isolated incidents. Which is not just weak, it’s stupid. But why should I be surprised, since this is a sport where fans storming the court after a game is still celebrated as an integral part of the game, in spite of the very real chance someone could be seriously hurt or worse.

It’s become a sport for fight buffs and bettors, not fans.

Social - Sofía Jirau, the first Victoria's Secret model with Down syndrome | Sherdog Forums | UFC, MMA & Boxing Discussion

Sofia Jirau was born with Down’s Syndrome. She was also born with a dream.

The blueprint for that dream required overalls, because as Jirau says, “You have to work hard, you have to work very hard, and more,”. It was that ‘more’ which landed the model from Puerto Rico a gig with Victoria’s Secret. She’s leading the way as the company makes good on its promise to become more diverse. And Jirau supplies the beauty and the brains and the determination that will inspire countless young girls to believe in their dreams. And then to go get them. Because her career path proves that impossible is the longest four-letter word in the dictionary when you set a course to find your best self.

There is no letup to her getup.

Big thank you to the lovely Dale for the dig on this one.

A shirtless person stands next to a truck, surrounded by dozens of protest signs, on a city street.

Okay, this isn’t about the blockade in Ottawa since I already covered that last week. I pasted this image (From the Atlantic) on here so’s I can ask a question that has perplexed reasonable folk such as myself for-fucking-ever.

What compels fat dudes to go shirtless?

11-year-old sews cheerful hospital gowns for young patients: "This is way more important than other things that I could potentially do" - CBS News

Imma wrap up this week’s episode with the story of a young lady who is sharing her art with some very deserving children in Freehold, New Jersey. Giuliana Demma sews hospital gowns for young cancer patients. It’s her way of providing some color in the face of the dark battles these children wage on a daily basis. For Giuliana, it’s all about labor meeting up with love.

“It makes me happy to help a child through their dark times . . . I want them to know that they’re brave, loved, and that they’re an inspiration.” She says.

Oh yeah, Giuliana is all of eleven-years old. Yes, she’s a child herself, and yet her life is living inside the shoes of her future self. Right now. Her time being the present and her present being the time she spends making somebody’s life just a little bit better. Since she started making the colorful gowns last year, Demma has donated more than 150 of them to hospitals and patients across the country. She even has a website called G’s Giving Gowns, where she takes requests.

We have become all too familiar with the dreadful consequences of a world that seems much too adept at taking all the things we hold most dear. But little Giuliana has an answer.

She’s giving it back.

 

 

 

 

 

You Can’t Fight Stupid

The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts while the stupid ones are full of confidence — Bukowski

Every generation is under the impression they are the right question to all the wrong answers that came before they made the scene. It’s a cosmic certainty that as soon as you’re old enough to stop listening to your parents, you’re dumb enough to believe the world makes more sense with you in it.

It’s okay, we all do it, whether we know it or not. And for the great good many of us, our hubris is as harmless and unassuming as hubris can be because let’s face it . . hubris can be a real dick.

But as we all know, a few rotten apples can spoil your day at the State Fair. And these bad apples usually possess a Peter North sized level of hubris. (Editors Note: Peter North is a retired Canadian porn actor who appeared in over 2,000 adult films and rumor has it, Jerry Falwell Jr. owns them all).

They are the worst. These flaming fork tongued fruit flies of fubar quag the mire with such proficiency they could make Jesus reconsider forgiveness. And that guy was the cash money king of all kings when it came to absolution. And what’s worse, these fools jacked his Messiah and built a complex of muck raked, half-baked nonsense where deceits get detailed before their noise pollutants are released into the public square.

As far as my confrontational side goes, I’m in recovery. But lemme tell you, the carousel of dumb and dumber that permeates this day and age ain’t doing me no favors. Most days I do abide by the creed that you have to spend honey to make honey. Most days I do. But there are days when my Jekyll goes Hyde.

You want a top five list of things that had me feeling all DEFCON 2 this week? Sure, why not . . .

1- Antonio Brown apologists can only be a thing in a country where people get pissed when their food isn’t ready five minutes after they order it. Not even Johnny Cochrane would take on AB, who is currently on a four-city, four season scorched turf tour. And no, his mental health is not a defense; it’s yet another reason why he shouldn’t be playing football.

2- Watching Fox News doesn’t make you a patriot, same as having a subscription to the History Channel doesn’t make you a tenured professor.

3- Twitter is not real life. You know how I know this? Because you can tweet that Mike Tyson is too old to get back in the ring and you’ll get likes. Try telling Mike Tyson that and his footbone will be connected to your tailbone.

4- Plant based foods are a supplement, but they will never replace the real thing. When the day comes that we can only eat plant based foods, I’m going to become an anarchist.

5- Power of the Dog is a heist film, because it stole two hours of my life. And if you loved it, well . . you’re lying.

Admittedly, I need to clean up my mental mosh pit because I should know better than to get drawn into these exchanges in the first place. But that’s what happens when you quit pain-killers . . . you lose the mellow and you end up playing cupid to their stupid.

I’m screwed.

 

 

 

 

 

The Land of the Free and the Home of the Blame

It’s been a minute since Nero smoked Rome into an urn, but I’m fairly certain Emperor V would relate to modern times just fine. I wouldn’t be surprised if he curses the fact he never got to headline a reality show, drop an album or run for the highest office in the land; CEO of Google.

And while our empire hasn’t fallen just yet, it’s becoming painfully obvious that we’re headed for the on-deck circle. Our republic is a mess of contradictions with ministers of misinformation having become the ruling class; their subjects intent on turning civil discourse into steel cage matches.

It wasn’t that long ago we marveled at the prospects of an information age that would usher in knowledge the way water fountains once delivered us drinking water. We were gonna be smarter than ever, Easy Bake style. This incremental change to our monolithic reference centers was akin to a roiling thunder whose portent we didn’t fully comprehend until the lightning strike provided us the ugly truth.

We killed the fountainhead.

So here we are, with elected officials whose platforms are built on the kind of shit-for information that would’ve gotten me tossed from my high school newspaper. And it’s okay (sic) because they have numbers; countless sycophants on the left, right and center who are only too eager to torch the other guy’s yard. Even if it means losing everything else in the process. Why concern ourselves with getting it right when being right feels so much better? It’s all about the end-zone, baby.

This absurdist portrait has snaked its way into every facet of our society. Millionaire ballers lecture us on social responsibility with bumper sticker slogans whilst hitting the snooze on their misbehaving peers. Reality show characters cry about the ills of celebrity when most people wouldn’t be able to pick them out of a lineup. Judges have traded in their day jobs for television gigs while jurors have become sensationalist authors.

This collective has nothing in common, excepting for the one thing they really shouldn’t; they’re never, ever wrong. And when that never ever calls them on that impossible wager? No problemo . . . they’ll just blame everybody else.

The Dallas Cowboys lost a game earlier this month thanks to some boneheaded play calling and a slew of high priced talent that always seems to come up small in the biggest moments. After which they held themselves accountable for the loss. Just kidding! No, they broke out the 134 year-old handbook penned by Ernest Thayer and they blamed the refs. Which is like blaming the local meteorologist after your boat capsizes in a storm.

Trumpists blame Joe Biden for losing the 2020 election, and those crooked suits at Dominion Voting Systems, and socialist operatives, communist wannabes . . . and the Dementors, them too. Okay, I made that last one up, but I’m sure if I were to suggest such a thing to any member of the tin-foil posse, they’d Facebook that shit into gospel right quick.

Antonio Brown blames the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . . and the Patriots . . and the Raiders . . and the Steelers . . . and dammit AB! Randall McMurphy called and he wants his crazy back, ayt? Aaron Rodgers is blaming the media for “fear porn” (I will admit, I’m jealous of the phrase because I think it’s fucking brilliant). Baker Mayfield blames social media and a torn labrum for why the Browns behaved like, well . . the Browns. On a positive note, Odell Beckham Jr. ain’t got a soul to blame since being released from that Cleveland gulag. He’s balling and his Rams are thisclose to awakening the echoes of Vermeil, Warner and Warren Beatty.

Meanwhile, Mitch McConnell blames the democrats for blocking his impaired vision of democracy. AOC blames the republicans’ sexual hang-ups for creeping her out to such a degree that she’ll only appear on the cover of Vanity Fair every other month. Newt Gingrich blames Nancy Pelosi for the Capitol riot. And as if things weren’t comical enough, President Biden blames Spider-Man for like, everything. I procured that last story from an impeccable source: SNL.

Nicki Minaj blames her cousin’s friend’s swollen testicles when asked for a reason as to why she won’t get vaccinated. And I’m super thankful I didn’t read that story until after I got vaxxed. Jennie Nguyen blames her social media team for racist posts on her Instagram page and I gotta admit I was at a loss since I have no blessed idea what Jennie Nguyen is famous for. Zach Galifianakis blames the Trump presidency on America’s obsession with celebrity, which he refers to as a “mental illness”. Tell you what. We’re in some pretty deep shit when the star of those Hangover movies chimes in as the voice of reason.

I had a dream the other night that Yogi Berra was belting out Wagner’s Twilight of the Gods whilst I was reading about a deadly microbe called Andromeda that was sweeping the globe. And . . it’s not the only reason I bypassed the green bananas when I went grocery shopping, but it didn’t hurt.

Can you blame me?

The Rundown

PHOTO: In this satellite image taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite, and released by the agency, shows an undersea volcano eruption at the Pacific nation of Tonga, Jan. 15, 2022.

A tsunami advisory was issued for the west coast this weekend after an underwater volcano eruption on the island of Tonga, Because the west coast doesn’t already have enough shit to deal with  . . from earthquakes to mud slides to really ugly basketball. Officials were quick to point out that an advisory is not a message of impending doom. It’s more like Sheriff Brody telling everyone to get out of the water until further notice. Instead of a great white shark sighting, this warning concerns strong currents and waves that are way scarier than any fish.

Let’s get to the rest of the week . . .

Chris Evert: did somebody say icon #1? - Roland-Garros - The 2021 Roland-Garros Tournament official site

Before I knew anything about tennis, I knew Chris Evert. It was as if the girl next door just so happened to be one of the best tennis players in the world. For more than three decades, Evert was the headliner in tournaments around the world. From her on-again, off-again love match with Jimmy Connors to her epic rivalry with Martina Navratilova, she ushered in the new age of tennis; she was a television celebrity while collecting eighteen grand slam titles along the way.

But it was her grace in victory and defeat that separated her from all the tennis brats. And so, when the news came down this week that Evert has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, it became one of those moments that makes you want to scream at the unfairness of it all.

Instead, Imma hope and pray that the girl next door has one more big win left in her.

2022 College Football National Championship: Stetson Bennett rallies Georgia past Alabama, wins first national title since 1980 - The Athletic

The Georgia Bulldogs made good on my prediction by winning the national title over those CFP regular attendees from Alabama 33-18 on Monday night. Okay, so I predicted the Dawgs would win it all last season, but I ain’t about to get stuck on the details in the afterglow of the school’s first football crown since Jimmy Carter was still in office.

It’s been a sports year to remember in the Peach State, with the Hawks making it all the way to last season’s Eastern Conference Finals, the Braves winning the World Series and Kirby Smart’s bunch vanquishing Emperor Palpatine and the Crimson Death Star.

And now the Falcons will try and . . . oh, never mind . . .

How To Get A Free Arby's Milkshake With The Diablo Dare Sandwich For A Wild Combo – DNyuz

When a fast food joint not named Popeye’s introduces a spicy sandwich to the menu, you best dial up your gastroenterologist so they can talk you off the toilet. Since I don’t feel like contributing to my doctor’s Aruba trip this year, I’m giving the Diablo Dare sammie from Arby’s a hard no. For those of you fool enough to try it out, you’ll get a free milk shake for your trouble.

Worst last meal ever.

Coronavirus: Diagnosis and Testing of COVID-19

The White House announced that we will soon be able to test ourselves for the Coronavirus in the privacy of our own homes. If you’ve got health insurance, you’re entitled to eight free COVID at-home tests.  Now, millions of Americans will be sticking foot long swabs up their noses and I gotta ask.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Six Feet Under - Rotten Tomatoes

It looks like Putin is up to his dirty tricks once again as Russia prepares to wage a “false flag operation” in Eastern Ukraine. Basically, it means that Russia will stage an attack and then blame it on Ukraine, after which they’ll invade under the pretense of stabilizing the region. And if you’re wondering why I pasted an image of Nate and Brenda from Six Feet Under? 

Because it fits.

They Were Babies and They Needed Help': Woman Sees 3 Kids Fall Through Icy Pond, Jumps in, Saves Them—No Hesitation

One minute, Dusti Talavera was chilling in her crib watching TV and the next, she was risking her life in what will no doubt be a Lone Star 911 episode at some future point in time.

As three kids played outside of her Denver apartment complex, Ms. Talavera kept watch to make sure they didn’t do anything crazy. But seeing as how the kids were 4, 6 and 11 years of age, and they were busy digging into a winter wonderland, what were the chances they were concerned with playing it safe?

So when they ventured out onto a man-made pond that promptly collapsed them into the icy waters below, Talavera got to stepping. She said it was pure instinct that guided her and that before she even realized it, she was standing on the middle of the pond, because “They were babies, and they needed help,”

That’s what happens when your best self answers the bell. You don’t flinch when faced with impossible odds, you don’t back down when summoned into harm’s way, you don’t wait for a hero to show up. You become one. And so she ran outside and navigated the tenuous sheet of ice, pulling two of the kids to safety before the ice broke once again and delivered her into the pond.

Unable to pull herself out, she kept the unconscious six-year old girl’s head above water while her teenage cousin found a rope that she used to retrieve them. After which deputies from the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office arrived on the scene and began performing CPR until she was resuscitated.

All three kids are going to be alright, thanks to Dusti and a brave sixteen-year old boy. Three young lives get to stay crazy and wonderful, and okay, maybe it wouldn’t be the worst idea if they kept more to the latter than the former until everyone catches their breath. There’ll be plenty of time to merge crazy with wonderful, now.

I did a little simple math and when you really think about it, hundreds of years were saved on that pond. If these kids live a full life, replete with kids and grandkids, that’s hundreds and hundreds of years worth of history that didn’t get lost to the depths. Hundreds of years and thousands of places and millions of moments.

Just like that.

 

 

 

The Annoyances Post! (My Therapist Is On Vacation Edition)

The Rundown has been preempted so that I can bring you an unfiltered, unfitted and unfettered mess of thoughts that have been squatting in my cerebrum. I was afraid this might happen if I ran out of Cinderella 99, so I’ll chalk this unexpected voyage up to living and learning. You can catch this week’s episode of The Rundown on Sunday.

Until then, here’s something less thought provoking . . .

  • Mario Lopez seems like a very nice person, but I can’t take him seriously when he uses words like “Cute”, “OMG” and “Yay!” in any sentence, much less the same fucking one. Listen, I ain’t down with the bullshit Hemingway methodology of machismo, but . . . if you got any testosterone in the tank, you can’t be riffing like Doc McStuffins.
  • They had to make another Joe Millionaire? Really? You know what the twist is in this show? That they made another Joe Millionaire.
  • AOC goes mask-less in Florida, Warren Davidson compares vaccine protocols in the nation’s capitol to Nazi Germany and the investigation concerning Matt Gaetz’s alleged sex trafficking is heating up. As if the Founding Fathers weren’t dead enough.
  • For the last time, Circus Peanuts are not fit for human consumption. If you disagree, you best get help for your blue pill addiction.
  • How the hell does Rob Lowe still have hair like that? I mean, without having to scalp somebody?
  • I think we can all agree that adjectives can be used for good or evil. So if you call someone ‘fantastic’ or ‘zealous’, congratulations on being a righteous human being. But if you refer to someone as a ‘national treasure’ and her name ain’t Betty White? Be assured, you are on my watch list.
  • Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross cycles through head coaches the way Kim Kardashian cycles through love tonics. He fired Brian Flores this week, never minding the fact this dude coached the hell out of an incredibly flawed team. Never minding the fact Flores didn’t lose his team when it sank to 1-7. Never minding that Flores was 4-2 against the great Belichick as Miami boss. That’s a shit ton of never minding, but it’s what Ross does. And now he goes looking for his seventh head coach since buying the team in 2008. Ross blathered on about how Flores was difficult to work with. You know who else is difficult to work with? Bill Belichick.
  • Renn Hawkey won Love Powerball, but I betcha he wouldn’t know Jane Austen from Steve Austin. A very trusted source provided me with this information . . .
  • Applebee’s stole the Cheers theme song now? Oh. Hell. Nope. (Psssst! That’s called foreshadowing).
  • MLB owners and the player’s union got together yesterday, and the only peeps happy about this fact are the caterers. The owners are intent on keeping their payrolls young and cheap for as long as possible while the players argue the suits are manipulating their service time. You’d never know the MLB pulled in more than 3.5 billion last year, but it happened. To quote Nino Brown, money talks and bullshit runs a marathon.
  • When someone begins with “Nobody asked me . . .”, shut any further nonsense down by finishing the thought with ” . . . and we are all the better because of it”.
  • I have a sneaking suspicion Power of the Dog is gonna roll this year’s Oscars. And good for everyone involved, really. But I saw it and I’m still waiting on a time refund from Stephen Hawking.

Welp, that’s a wrap for this magical mystery tour. If you made it all the way to the end, please let me know what you were drinking, smoking or ingesting in the comment section below. Remember, to err is human but to annoy is unforgivable.

Salud!