Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

I like the Canadian Memorial Centre for Peace.

From his “Gorilla” album in the mid-70s. I always thought it described the power of music perfectly.

Listen, I’ve seen some good drummers in my time, but never have I seen a drummer whose command of the stage simply overshadows everyone else in his immediate vicinity, or dare I say not so immediate vicinity. Hell, this dude is a Black Hole of drumming, everyone in his wake is sucked in and disappears in the beauty of his awesomeness. This bro needs to be at the front of the stage, man. I’m mesmerized. You can put my man at the back of the stage but I’ll be damned if he’ll be ignored. Drum on, drummer.

Good God, man.

A vet from Hocking Hills Animal Clinic was recently pleasantly reminded why being a veterinarian is awesome. As she was walking in the forest, the woman was suddenly and unexpectedly reunited with an old patient – a turtle.

She posted a photo of the turtle with a peculiar shell and added the following caption:

Several years ago, a client brought me a box turtle that had been hit by a car. I used fiberglass to repair his broken shell and then released him in my woods. Recently, while walking on my hillside, I spotted an odd pattern in the leaves. To my amazement, there was my old patient with the fiberglass still on years later! Sometimes, being a vet is the best thing there is.”

Veterinarians ask people to be aware that if they see a turtle with a cracked shell, it’s best if they seek their assistance. In this case, it seems that the turtle was fully grown, so it was OK to leave it with the fiberglass. But if the turtle is still growing, it’s best to change its cast and apply a new one from time to time. Here’s the post:

Tasty dessert.

If you have an in-ground pool you know how little animals are always getting in there, only to die and end up in your skimmer. Now those days can come to end thanks to the FrogLog, an invention by a guy named Rich Mason. Check it out man. Buy a FrogLog, save many little lives. As Hippocrates said, “The soul is the same in all living creatures, although the body of each is different.”

[click to view, video below]

Good boy.

Gavel the puppy was facing a tough change when he flunked out of police dog academy for being too sociable.

Instead of tackling hardened criminals, the German shepherd pup liked to meet strangers, and police in Australia felt he “did not display the necessary aptitude for a life on the front line”.

So the governor gave his four-legged friend a brand new job – Pet of the Governor.

“He has outgrown four ceremonial coats, undergone a career change (his official title is now Gavel VRD, ‘Vice-Regal Dog’), and brought untold joy to the lives of the governor, Mrs de Jersey, Government House staff, and the thousands of Queenslanders who have since visited the estate,” the office of Governor Paul de Jersey said.

Citizens are assured that everything he lacks in crime-fighting aggression, he now makes up for in his duties of welcoming guests and tour groups to the grounds of Queensland’s Government House.

He also partakes in special ceremonial occasions – and the job comes with a custom-made uniform featuring the state emblems of Queensland.

“We hope Gavel’s with us for a long, long time into the future,” Governor de Jersey told 7 News Brisbane.

Hell yeah, you go Gavel! Dude was facing a life of chasing the ne’er-do-wells and thugs of Australia and is instead now greeting guests at the Governor’s House while wearing a custom-made uniform featuring the state emblems of Queensland. Hey, so he wasn’t cut out to be a mean dog. Big deal, man. Who came out on top anyway? Gavel did. Good boy, Gavel. Good boy.

Well, sure.

Coach Sarunas Jasikevicius, a father of two, allowed Augusto Lima to go attend the birth of his first child, and Zalgiris still won the game, gaining a 2-1 lead in the best-of-three series. During the press conference, however, one “youngster” reporter, who is not a father, persisted questioning Jasikevicius about Lima’s absence. The coach defended his player from criticism and perfectly schooled the reporter about family values.

I know Sarunas Jasikevicius a little because he played at Maryland for Gary Williams. Love his reaction here.

They call it “The Chickle” and it is either fantastic of disgusting, depending on your culinary tastes. Anywho, The Chickle.

Combining two of the greats.

So I’m down at my parent’s house yesterday and my mother accidentally let her little poodle Jack out the back door. Jack immediately makes a run for it across the yard, the fields, and into the snake, bobcat and coyote inhabited woods behind their place. OK, maybe I’m exaggerating a little but believe me when I tell you that Jack would not fare well in the wilderness. Little bro has been raised by my 90-year old parents and would probably be overtaken and eaten by a colony of rabbits or something. Anywho, Jack had vamoosed. Scrammed. Hightailed it for parts unknown. He was gone.

At the time I was standing by the door talking to Mom and The Spark was out in the Jeep, where I’d left him earlier. Mom was a little panic-stricken, so I ran to the Jeep, let Spark out, and yelled, “Spark! Go get Jack!”

Honestly, I have no idea why I did it other than it seemed a good option at the time. I’ve seen Sparky do too many amazing things to doubt him.

At that point The Spark springs out of the Jeep, ears up, and makes a quick inventory of his surroundings. Then he bolts, nose to the ground, zig-zagging across their backyard as I gave chase.

Even with my impressive foot speed I couldn’t keep up, and the last thing I saw was Spark go halfway across the bridge over their lake, make a u-turn, and sprint towards the back part of their property and to the woods beyond.

All I could do was walk briskly towards where Sparky had gone, and for a couple minutes all was quiet. Finally I stopped and listened, but I heard nothing.

And then . . .

In the distance, bursting through the bush, here they came. Jack, with Spark close behind, headed my way. I swear to you that Sparky was herding Jack like a cow or sheep or something. Every time Jack tried to veer off or turn back, Sparky would give him a body bump or an occasional nip to keep him headed in the right direction.

Sparky continued this until Jack was basically corralled directly into my awaiting arms, at which point my flabbergasted mother met me with a leash so she could take Jack back inside.

Of course, my buddy proceeded to receive a ton of attention from both my parents, with ear rubs and plenty of “good boys” all-around. Spark, of course, acted like it was just another day at the office, even though he’d never rescued a poodle in his life.

Sparky, man. He never ceases to amaze me.

With alt legend and former Replacements frontman Paul Westerberg.

Why not?

Maggi, Kara, Me, Noah, and Austin.

As a lot of you know, I have managers on my basketball team. They’re usually anywhere from 3rd grade to 6th grade. I carefully choose these managers, and they’re almost always the sons or daughters of players I’ve coached or kids I’ve taught in school. This is because being a manager of a high school basketball team can be a tough job, and my managers can sometimes get caught in the crossfire between my players and I. Trust me, it helps if my manager’s parents understand what goes on at practices and games, and more importantly it helps that they understand me.

That said, being a manager can be a rewarding, enriching experience. The kids learn to be responsible, perform many assigned tasks, be resourceful, and to deal with the various personalities of the team, including my players, my coaches, and myself.

By the end of the season, my managers have grown close with the team and coaching staff. And sometimes, it seems like they understand me better than anybody . . .

This past season was a good one, and we ended up playing in the district tournament at the Convocation Center in Athens, Ohio. We played a team with a 24-1 record, and we lost by 1-point in a loss as tough as any I’ve ever experienced. As you can imagine, after the game my team, my coaching staff and I were in the locker room, trying to deal with the disappointment. After I addressed my team and they all went to their lockers, I sat on a couch there in the locker room, sort of stunned, and thought about the game. Everything was quiet as could be, other than the muffled crying from some of our players.

Those of you who have been a part of a team and suffered disappointment know just how difficult it can be.

As I sat there, head down and my hands covering my eyes, I felt a little arm reach around my neck and a small head lay upon my shoulder. It was one of my managers. She never said a word, never had to, just stayed for a few minutes, letting me know she was there and that she cared. It was a simple gesture, and it was exactly what I needed.

And in that moment, it meant the world to me.

Thanks Maggi.

Excuse me for a second. I need to take a deep breath. OK, I’m fine now. It’s just that I almost passed out from merely looking at this heavenly, cheesy concoction. Good Lord almighty.

Here’s a goose reunited with the human who raised it. Tell me this goose isn’t excited to see its mother. You can’t. That goose is happy as hell, man. Animals, smarter than you think they are.

The basketball season before this one we went out to play in a big tournament in Morgantown, West Virginia. Our game was against Morgantown High School, whose enrollment of 1,700 was over 6-times larger than ours at Paint Valley. However, since the Bearcats aren’t the backing down types, we’d accepted the challenge and headed out there for the game. It was a great all-around experience for our kids, spending a couple days out of town, staying in a hotel and eating at nice restaurants, all paid for by the tourney organizers.

The game itself was a pretty good one, but in the end the eventual 2016 West Virginia State Champions wore us down and won by 20-points or so. The score, however, isn’t the point of this story. It’s something that happened in the last few minutes of the game . . .

We had a freshman on the bench that day who didn’t play much varsity, and it happened to be his birthday. As the clock wound down, I walked to the end of the bench where he sat. The following conversation then ensued:

“PJ, I’m putting you into the game now. You’re going to make a 3-pointer on your birthday.”

“OK, coach.”

Except he just sat there.

“PJ, go into the game.”

At that point it hit him that he was in fact entering the game to compete against the best D1 high school basketball team in West Virginia, so he stood up and ran to the scorer’s table.

He then checks into the game and we run a couple plays for him, trying to get him that big birthday 3-pointer. Of course, our bench knows what’s up so they’re standing up on each shot, disappointed when each one bounces off the rim.

Of course, our fans have caught onto what we’re trying to do so they’re into it as well, rising up with each of PJ’s high arching rainbows, only to let out a loud, “Awww . . .” when the shots wouldn’t connect.

And then an interesting and somewhat confusing thing happened – the other team and its fans started cheering for PJ too.

What the heck?

Now, PJ is a cool, likeable kid and all, but the other team and their fans didn’t know that. They had no idea it was his birthday. Why the hell were they cheering so loudly for him?

Anyway, on his last chance PJ launches one of his patented high-arching threes, and of course he drains it. Our crowd goes wild, their crowd goes wild, our bench goes crazy, their bench is waving towels, and PJ gets hugs from both teams. I also recall a kid in the Morgantown student section stepping out to give him a high-five.

Still, it seemed odd and didn’t really add up, and after both teams shook hands (PJ got a lot of hugs and head rubs), I brought it up in the locker room. That’s when PJ cleared it all up for me:

“Uh, coach, I’m pretty sure the other team thought I was a special needs kid or something.”

Ahhhhh. That explained a lot. PJ, being a skinny little freshman who everyone was clearly rooting for, was mistaken for one of those kids you see on YouTube videos or the news that get put into a game for their one big chance at glory. They thought he was, you know, mentally disabled or something. To them it was a heartwarming story of a young man who got his big chance and came through in the clutch, and not the simple story of a coach trying to get a freshman player a 3-pointer on his birthday.

In retrospect, hilarious. Those fans in Morgantown are probably still talking about it.

Bottom line, that shot is etched in the memories of all who attended, that high-arching rainbow that drained through the net as an entire gymnasium erupted, the shot that will be known forevermore as . . . The Morgantown Drainbow.

‘Twas special night indeed.

Note: Please save the messages ripping me for making fun of special needs students. I am not. Nor am I making fun of PJ. It was his birthday and the whole thing was completely misread. Hence, it’s funny. In addition, if you know PJ it’s twice as funny. 

In the Civil Rights movement, even children became public figures, such as a little 6-year old girl by the name of Ruby Bridges. Ruby integrated an all-white elementary school in New Orleans on November 14, 1960.

Ruby was born in Tylertown, Mississippi, to Abon and Lucille Bridges. When she was 4-years old her parents moved to New Orleans, hoping for a better life in a bigger city. Her father got a job as a gas station attendant and her mother took night jobs to help support their growing family.

Ruby Bridges was born the same year that the Supreme Court’s Brown vs. the Board of Education decision desegregated schools, and it was a notable coincidence in her early journey into civil rights activism. When Ruby was in kindergarten, she was one of many African-American students in New Orleans who were chosen to take a test determining whether or not she could attend a white school. The test was written to be especially difficult so that students would have a hard time passing. The idea was that if all the African-American children failed the test, New Orleans schools might be able to stay segregated for a while longer. Ruby lived a mere five blocks from an all-white school but attended kindergarten several miles away at an all-black segregated school. Incredibly, Ruby Bridges was one of only six black children in New Orleans to pass this test.

The faces of hatred.

On the morning of November 14, 1960, federal marshals drove Ruby and her mother five blocks to her new school. While in the car, one of the men explained that when they arrived at the school, two marshals would walk in front of Ruby and two would be behind her. The image of this small black girl being escorted to school by four large white men inspired Norman Rockwell to create the painting “The Problem We All Live With”, which graced the cover of Look magazine in 1964 (photo at bottom). As soon as Bridges entered the school, white parents pulled their own children out; all the teachers refused to teach while a black child was enrolled. Finally, one person agreed to teach Ruby  –  a courageous female teacher named Barbara Henry, from Boston. For over a year Miss Henry taught Ruby alone, “as if she were teaching a whole class.” Here’s a photo of the amazing Miss Henry with Ruby:

That first day, Bridges and her adult companions spent the entire day in the principal’s office; the chaos of the school prevented their moving to the classroom until the second day. On the second day, however, a white student broke the boycott and entered the school when a 34-year-old Methodist minister, Lloyd Anderson Foreman, walked his 5-year-old daughter Pam through the angry mob, saying, “I simply want the privilege of taking my child to school.” Another hero right there – Mr. Lloyd Anderson Foreman.

A few days later, other white parents began bringing their children, and the protests began to subside. Every morning as Bridges walked to school, one woman would threaten to poison her; because of this, the U.S. Marshals dispatched by President Eisenhower, who were overseeing her safety, allowed Ruby to eat only the food that she brought from home. So damn sad.

The Bridges family suffered for their decision to send her to William Frantz Elementary. Her father lost his job, the grocery store the family shopped at would no longer let them shop there, and her grandparents, who were sharecroppers in Mississippi, were turned off their land.

However, Ruby has since said that many others in the community, both black and white, showed support in a variety of ways. Some white families continued to send their children to Frantz despite the protests, a neighbor provided her father with a new job, and local people babysat, watched the house as protectors, and walked behind the federal marshals’ car on the trips to school.

Ruby graduated from a desegregated high school, became a travel agent, married, and eventually had four sons.

Ruby later wrote about her early experiences in two books. A lifelong activist for racial equality, Ruby established The Ruby Bridges Foundation in 1999 to promote tolerance and create change through education. In 2000, she was made an honorary deputy marshal in a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Ruby Bridges, along with teacher Barbara Henry, parent Lloyd Anderson Foreman and many others, are true American heroes.

Many people dislike White Castle and refuse to eat there. Many people find the thought of eating seafood at White Castle repugnant. I am not one of those people. Oh, how I look forward to this tasty goodness.

PS- Not sure why they added “seafood’ to the name. Isn’t that sort of a given?

Gurkha soldiers.

Ever heard of the Gurkhas? No? Well, here at Shoe: Untied my crack staff is committed to educating our readers on literally everything, from sports to politics to history to asshat parkers. Hey, we’re here for y’all. Just broadening your world horizons if you will.

Here are four stories about Gurkha bravery and courage. Read on, loyal readers, and be amazed . . .

In 1815, the British Army tried to conquer Nepal. However, the Nepal’s Gurkha Warriors had something to say about that, and what they said was “No freaking way, British pansies.” They easily defeated the British. So the British officers decided that, if they couldn’t beat them, they’d get the Gurkhas to join them. A peace agreement ceased all British fighting in Nepal, and the Gurkhas agreed to be recruited into the Crown’s military. Since then, the Gurkhas have fought in several wars, including both world wars and the Falklands War. Known as some of the most skilled and fiercest warriors in the world, the Gurkhas have terrified the bejesus out of everyone around them. Want some examples of Gurkha badassness, you say? You got it, kids. What follows are some of the bravest soldiers and stories to ever come out of the Gurkha ranks.

In 2010 in Afghanistan, Sergeant Dipprasad Pun single-handedly fought off 30 Taliban soldiers. As Pun was keeping guard on the roof of a checkpoint, the attackers came at the complex from all sides with rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47s.

It took less than 60-minutes for Pun to kill them all.

He went through all of his ammo—400-rounds and 17-grenades, as well as a mine that he detonated—to defeat each attacker. A Taliban soldier climbed up to the roof, only to be clubbed over the head with a machine-gun tripod by Pun.

Bad. Ass.

In WWII, Rifleman Lachhiman Gurung was stationed in a trench with only two other men when attacked by over 200-Japanese soldiers. Gurung’s comrades were all severely wounded. As grenades flew in one after another, Gurung started throwing them back.

He was successful with the first two, but the third exploded in his right hand. His fingers were blown off and his face, body, and right arm and leg were badly wounded.

As the Japanese stormed the trench, Gurung used his left hand to wield his rifle, killing 31-soldiers and preventing the Japanese from advancing.

Gurung survived.

Not as innocent as it looks.

Not as innocent as it looks.

So I had a buddy back in college who was always coming up with new and innovative ideas. He’d do things like build a complete wall of bookshelves with plastic tubing and 2 x 6 boards, stuff like that. He’d also record his professor during class, then play it on a loop while he slept. He claimed the information became imbedded into his brain that way. Dude was weird but interesting.

Anyhoo, perhaps his most ingenious idea involved drinking while driving. Listen, I’m not endorsing nor condoning his behavior, I’m just illustrating how smart this dude was.

Here’s what he did. First he went and bought and installed a new windshield washer reservoir, the container under the car hood that holds the windshield washer fluid. He then bought new tubing that usually sent the fluid to the windshield, installed it, except he re-routed it down and through the dashboard’s air vents.

You see where this is heading, right?

Next, my friend filled the reservoir with the alcohol of his choice, held his cup up under tube sticking out of the air vent, pulled the lever as if he wanted to wash his car windows, and watched as his cup was filled with booze.

Legal, probably not. Genius? Oh hell yes.

PS- I repeat, I do not condone drinking and driving. It’s just an interesting story, so shut it.

PPS- Last I heard my buddy was in politics, because of course he was.

Good job kid.


Not all heroes look the part.

Not all heroes look the part.

You know, sometimes I’ll come across a certain person in history that I believe people should know about. This story is about one of those people . . .

James Reeb was born in 1927 and grew up in Casper, Wyoming. He was a conservative Christian, and after college he began preparation for the ministry. He soon began to question his faith and eventually became a Unitarian minister. He went on to serve the All Souls Congregation in a racially mixed neighborhood in Washington, DC. There, Rev. Reeb organized programs and projects to help the poor.

In July, 1964, he left All Souls to accept a position with the American Friends Service Committee. He and his family, which now included his wife Marie and their four children, moved to Dorchester, Massachusetts and began working to make living conditions better in largely black, economically depressed neighborhoods of Boston. He came to understand that the suffering he witnessed resulted from fundamental inequalities in society and government’s treatment of people according to the color of their skin— something called systemic racism.

Reeb was a member of the Unitarian Arlington Street Church in Boston, but he frequently preached as a guest minister in nearby suburban congregations. He used these opportunities to urge people in largely white congregations and communities to pay attention to and work to change racial injustice. He spoke against the racial disparities enforced by laws in the South and by economic and social segregation in the North.

In 1965, while Rev. James Reeb worked in Boston, events were unfolding in the civil rights movement in the state of Alabama.

Alabama’s archaic Jim Crow laws used a “separate but equal” system that was anything but equal. The fundamental right to vote was denied African Americans. The system of discrimination and oppression ruled nearly every aspect of life and was reinforced with violence not only by lawless citizens but also by elected officials and police. It was an ugly time. Beatings, vandalism, and even murder awaited anyone who did anything to challenge the system. On February 26th an Alabama state trooper killed Jimmie Lee Jackson, a 26-year-old black Civil Rights worker, setting off the chain of events that would eventually bring thousands of Civil Rights Freedom Fighters to Selma, Alabama.

In response to Jimmie Lee Jackson’s murder, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference called for a march from Selma to Montgomery to demand voting rights for all citizens.

600 Civil Rights activists gathered in Selma to join a planned march to Montgomery, the State capital. The march began on March 7, 1965, a day we now know as Bloody Sunday. On the outskirts of Selma, on the Edmund Pettis Bridge, marchers encountered a line of police carrying billy clubs, guns, and gas masks. Police charged into the marchers, clubs swinging, and followed up the clubbing with tear gas.

National television carried it all, including to Dorchester, Massachusetts, where James and Marie Reeb watched.

Then came what is known as the Call to Selma. Dr. Martin Luther King called on people of all faiths from across the country to come to Selma and march with him to Montgomery. All over the United States, ministers and lay leaders alike wrestled with the call to come to Selma. Should they go? Should they march, putting themselves in the midst of the violence they had all seen on television? Should they urge others in their faith communities to do the same? James Reeb thought hard about whether to leave his wife and four young children. In the end, he decided he had to help. it was crucial for people of faith to bear witness to what was happening in Alabama. He said good-bye to his family and boarded a fateful flight to Selma.

James Reeb was with thousands who gathered on Tuesday to march but were again turned back at the Edmund Pettis Bridge. Afterwards Reeb and others decided to stay in Selma and try again on Thursday. That night, a group of ministers went out to dinner at a place called Walker’s, one of the few racially integrated restaurants in the area. While others departed by car after dinner, Reeb and two other Unitarian Universalist ministers, Orloff Miller and Clark Olsen, left on foot.

The three headed to the chapel where Dr. King was to speak. James Reeb walked on the outside, nearest the street. They had not gone far when five white men came towards them from across the street. Frightened, the three walked faster. They realized one of the men had a large club. When the racist attackers reached the three ministers, one swung his heavy stick and smashed the side of James Reeb’s head. Eventually all three men were beaten badly.

After some desperate searching for help in a city that was hostile to “outside agitators,” the three ministers found a phone at the Boynton’s Insurance office and obtained an ambulance from a Negro funeral home next door. Badly hurt, Reeb needed to get to the hospital in Birmingham where there was a neurosurgeon. Miller and Olsen accompanied James Reeb in the ambulance, which was driven by an African American. A police car escorted them through Selma, but incredibly refused to accompany them once the ambulance reached the city limits. Then, just outside the city, the ambulance got a flat tire. There the vehicle was surrounded by a threatening crowd so no dared get out to change the tire. The ambulance drove back to Selma on the rim. Finding a place to make a phone call and find another ambulance was difficult because few black people in the city had phones. They finally found a phone at a radio station where the driver had once worked and called for another ambulance. The badly injured James Reeb was then transferred to it and set out again for Birmingham, this time reaching the hospital where Reeb immediately underwent surgery.

Reeb was in bad shape. News traveled quickly that he had been beaten and was in critical condition. In sharp contrast to the media silence which had greeted Jimmie Lee Jackson’s death two weeks earlier, the evening news all over the country carried the story of the white minister who had been attacked in Selma. President Lyndon Johnson had been notified in the White House, and he sent a government airplane to take Marie Reeb to her husband’s side.

In James Reeb’s hospital room, there was a bouquet of yellow roses from the President of the United States.

On March 11,  2-days after his arrival in Selma, James Reeb died. His death so shocked the country and the U.S. Congress that President Johnson sent the Voting Rights Act to Congress within days. Dr. King, invited to Washington to support the Voting Rights Act, declined. Instead, he stayed and delivered the eulogy at James Reeb’s funeral, saying this:

“So in his death, James Reeb says something to each of us, black and white alike. He says that we must substitute courage for caution, says to us that we must be concerned not merely about who murdered him, but about the system, the way of life, the philosophy that produced the murder. His death says to us that we must work passionately, unrelentingly, to make the American dream a reality, so he did not die in vain.”

Amen. James Reeb was a bona fide American Hero.

%d bloggers like this: