Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

As many of the local readers of my site know, I lost my mother on July 22nd. I haven’t written anything about it because frankly it was just too difficult. I’d already written several stories involving Mom, including A Right Cross With Love, Traveling Through History With Mom, The Greatest Teachers, and one I simply titled Mom. They all tell, in different ways, what my mother meant to me.

My sister Sara and I have been going through our mother’s house, trying to sort through everything. The other day we found a box containing notes that family members had written to Mom for her birthday a few years ago. My late sister Karen had asked that everyone in the family write notes to tell Mom what she meant to them. I went through them and found mine, and I think they are a pretty good reflection of my mother’s influence on me. Some are funny, some are sad, but together they paint a pretty accurate picture of what my mother meant to me.

Here they are, the notes I wrote to Mom . . .

  • Mom, you taught me to be independent. On my very first day of school in 1st grade I panicked on my way there with my sisters and I turned and ran back home. When I got there the door was locked. I’d just left so I knew you were in there. I knocked and knocked but there was no answer. After awhile I simply turned and went to school by myself. Only when I was older did I realize what you were doing – teaching me independence. Thank you Mom.
  • Mom, I have so many great memories of you as I grew up. I remember that you would let me lick the icing off the mixer after you made a cake. I loved those times.
  • Mom, you were my teacher in 4th grade. I thought I had it made! My Mom was my teacher! Woohoo! You paddled me the 4th week of school. And yes, I deserved it. I was pushing my boundaries and you were sending a message to not only me but the rest of the class. The message was received, Mom. Loud and clear.
  • Mom, I love our regular trips to Jerry’s for pizza. We’ve been doing it for over 20-years now and I cherish every moment.
  • Mom, you believe with all your heart that I can do literally anything I want in life and be the best at it. You always have. Thank you for loving me and for always, without fail, believing in me.
  • Mom, you are always, without fail, happy to see me. That means everything to me.
  • Mom, you are without a doubt the toughest person I’ve ever known. I guess growing up on a farm with two brothers will do that, right? I’m so lucky that you’re always on my side.
  • Mom, I became a teacher because of you. You impacted so many students in your career and I saw that. I wanted to be just like you. I wanted to try and have an impact just like you did. If I have impacted students positively, you are the reason for it.
  • Mom, I love you because no matter how badly I’ve screwed up or how many stupid mistakes I’ve made in my life, you’ve always loved me and supported me unconditionally.
  • Mom, I know without a doubt that you’re the best person I’ve ever known.

Last summer my mother lost her oldest daughter and her husband of 70-years, yet throughout all the loss she stayed amazingly strong. Even recently, as the end neared, Mom remained the same kind, sweet, loving person she’d always been.

I passed by Mom’s bedroom window when I’d go into her house over the past several months. My sister Sara would too. When I did I’d always stop and look in at her, both on my way in and out. When I left I’d always do something dumb, like acting like I was on an elevator, walking down stairs, or just making a funny face or something. Mom would always laugh and laugh. I just wanted her to be happy in her last days, and I think she was.

When Mom finally passed she was in her home with her family, where she was comfortable and where she knew she was loved.

Quite simply Mom was the toughest, smartest, sweetest, most honest person you could ever hope to meet. Oh sure, if I messed up she’d let me know about it but I never, ever felt as if she was disappointed in me. Unconditional love like she gave to me was priceless, and I will miss it.

There won’t be anymore trips to Jerry’s, but the lessons my mother taught Sara and I will stay with us the rest of our lives.

Mom had some flowers she called Naked Ladies, some call them Resurrection Lilies or Surprise Lilies, that grew every year just outside her bedroom. Every year several would sprout up about this time of year. This year just one single Naked Lady popped up, and it’s beautiful. It’s almost as if Mom is letting us know she’s OK, and that Sara and I are going to be OK too. And although Sara and I are the only ones left and we both feel a tremendous void in our lives, we will be O.K. We have to be. We have to carry on and be strong, because you know what? That’s exactly what Mom would want us to do.

Capybaras are awesome creatures, man. Their calm and motherly nature attracts animals of all varieties to them, as is evidenced in the photos below. Some say they radiate peace, which is an amazing trait, but the truth is that in the wild Capybaras live in large groups so a female Capybaras take care of not only their own offspring but others as well. This helps them to be great mothers who will adopt just about any animal they encounter. In fact, animal rescue shelters will give young animals to a Capybara because they know it will do a great job of raising them. Capybaras, man. They’re cool.

Hero.

DAVIDSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — A dog suffered multiple snake bites Monday night in Davidson County while protecting his owner.

Haley McCormack was headed inside her home after work and said she didn’t see the copperhead snake that was lurking near her front porch. “As I pass the corner of my front porch, the snake is already recoiled back,” McCormack explained. “Arlo lunged out and actually grabbed it by its tail.”

Her pit bull, Arlo, proceeded to kill the copperhead snake before it could bite her. While trying to kill the snake, McCormack said Arlo suffered at least three bites to his face.

The dog was rushed to the emergency vet and doctors administered antivenom.

According to McCormack, doctors gave Arlo a positive prognosis. “He’s my hero. He didn’t hesitate to jump in and save me.”

Hell yes Arlo jumped in to save Haley McCormack. That’s what dogs do, jump in front of dangerous animals and save their owners. Arlo didn’t think twice about ripping a highly poisonous snake to shreds, even if it meant getting bitten in the process. A cat would have hightailed it out of there and eaten your corpse after you were dead. Dogs, man. We don’t deserve ’em.

PS- Somebody in Ross County has been driving around and calling the authorities on people who leave their dogs tied outside when it’s too hot.

PPS-

 

This baby was invented by a Frenchman named Franky Zupata and it is outstanding. Man, if I had one of these “personal flight systems” I’d be flying all over town like a boss. I’d put Sparky in one of those doggy backpacks and we’d be off. Be sure and check out all three videos. Wild stuff.

PS- Actually I’m 90% sure if somebody flew one of these contraptions where I live some redneck would think it was an alien and blast it out of the sky.

 

NRK Radio- A 1-year-old explorer made an epic journey from Norway to Canada, covering 2,176-miles in 76-days. That young explorer was an Arctic fox. 

Scientists were left “speechless” by the fox’s journey, Greenland’s Sermitsiaq newspaper reports. Researchers from Norway’s Polar Institute had been tracking the young female fox on a GPS, according to BBC News. They freed her into the wild on the east cost of Spitsbergen, the main island of the Svalbard archipelago of Norway.

The fox started her journey in March, at just under a year old. She walked nearly 1,000-miles from the archipelago near the North Pole to Greenland. She completed this leg in just 21 days, then began the second part of her trek.

The fox then walked about 1,242-miles farther to Canada’s Ellesmere Island. The whole trek took her just 76-days, averaging about 28.4-miles a day. Some days, however, the ambitious fox walked over 96-miles.

No fox has been recorded traveling that far, that fast before.

Eva Fuglei, a research scientists at the Polar Institute, spoke to Norway’s NRK public broadcaster about the fox’s unlikely journey. “We couldn’t believe our eyes at first,” she said. “We were quite thunderstruck.”

This fox went much further than most others tracked before – it just shows the exceptional capacity of the little creatures. Researchers think the fox curled up in the snow to sit out the bad weather.

The fox could have traveled even farther, but scientists stopped tracking her when she reached Canada in February, because her transmitter stopped working, the Polar Institute said. 

96-miles in a day? That’s .67 miles per minute for a 20-pound animal the size of my dog Sparky. Thunderstruck indeed. And little dude did it by crossing large portions of the frozen freaking ocean, man. That’s intense. I wonder where she was going? Had to have some sort of purpose. You don’t make that journey without good reason. And it’s sad that her transmitter stopped working. We have no idea where she is now. Hell, she could be chillin’ on the beach on Prince Rupert Island for all we know. Animals, man. They never cease to amaze me.

Because what’s more heroic than saving a pizza? I mean really? In the first video below you’ll see a man perform an amazing, dare I say death-defying, act of bravery as he rescues a pepperoni and cheese pie. Below that you’ll witness a Super Dad grab a flying umbrella that was sure to impale anyone who happened to be nearby. Well done, heroes. Well done indeed.

Ever heard of Prancercize? It’s the new fitness craze that’s taking the nation by storm. Founded by the electric Joanna Rohrback, Prancercise is a great workout from head to cameltoe. Check out the video, man, and watch Joanna prancercising like a boss all over that golf cart path. From trot to gallop, that lady has the grace of a gazelle. Now excuse me while I prancercise my way out of the house and right on down the street.

PS- I bet Joanna Rohrback would be fun to hang out with. Personality for days. 

PPS- That workout gear is badass, man.

PPPS- Killer soundtrack.

That’s oozing personality right there.

Do you believe in signs? As in those times when it seemed that someone, somewhere was trying to tell you something? I didn’t for most of my life. However, over the last several years things have happened that made me change my mind. What follows are six experiences I or my close friends have had where things pretty much defied explanation.

Back in 1996 I lost my best friend and brother-in-law Jigger. Jigger was a great guy, loved by many, and was involved in education his entire professional career as a teacher, guidance counselor and finally a principal. After his death several strange things happened that caused me to pause and wonder what was happening. One of these instances occurred at his funeral, which was held in his hometown of Bainbridge, Ohio. The casket had been lowered into the ground and we were listening to the preacher give a final prayer. Just after he said the word, “amen” the 3:00 pm dismissal bell rang at the elementary school behind the cemetery. We all just sort of looked at each other with raised eyebrows.

Coincidence? Probably.

But other things can’t be attributed to pure chance. For instance, a couple days after Jigger’s death my sister received some checks he’d ordered in the mail weeks prior. The problem was that the checks had her name on them, not his. That one was a little harder to explain.

In 1999 I lost another good friend, this time it was Tim. Tim is the only person who I ever felt appreciated the Beatles as much as I did. We’d talk for hours about them, arguing about song lyrics or album covers, the relevance of certain songs, who was the most talented Beatle. I was always a Lennon guy, he leaned towards McCartney. We used to argue about which was the greatest Beatles album. He always said it was Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and I always argued for Abbey Road.  We could never come to an agreement on that one, debating for hours on end over which was the greatest album.

On the day of Tim’s funeral, after the burial I went down to my basement where I had a bar, my library, and my music collection. I made a drink, sat down on my couch and laid my head back, just trying to unwind after a trying day. When I finally looked up, though, something caught me eye. A CD had fallen from among the hundreds from on my shelves and was on the floor, right in the open, where it had inexplicably landed right in the middle of the room.

The album was Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. 

It seems that Tim had gotten the last word.

A couple years ago I lost Andy, another lifelong friend. He lived in Florida, and after his death myself and another mutual friend Tom made the drive down to Florida for his memorial. On the way home we were talking about Andy and a song the three of us used to sing to each other. One of us casually mentioned that it would be just like Andy to cause that song to pop up on the radio. You know, as a sign. Soon after that Tom saw a blown semi-truck tire on the road and said aloud, “You know, I see those blown tires all the time but I’ve never, ever seen it happen in person.” Next thing you know we were passing an 18-wheeler and BOOM, that very thing happened, not 5-feet from us. It seemed like Andy had chosen another way to give us a sign.

Last June my sister Karen passed away pretty suddenly. After her burial I went to a local bar to meet some friends who knew I needed them. It’s a small place, it was early, and I was the first person there. The bartender asked if I wanted some music, I said yes, and she went over to play some tunes.

The first song she played? The Long and Winding Road by The Beatles, one of my big sister’s favorite songs. I asked the bartender why she chose it and she said, “I don’t know. It just came to me.” 

You know, I’m pretty sure it didn’t “just come to her.” I mean, what are the odds?

This last story involves my sister as well. A couple that was very close to Sis, Shelley and Joey, were at the beach on their summer vacation the day of my sister’s memorial. The memorial was to begin at 2:00 pm, and as they sat on the beach talking and thinking about her they decided to have her favorite drink, a Rum & Coke, in my sister’s honor. Neither had any money on them and they wanted to have the drinks at precisely 2:00, so Joey got up to run back to their room to grab some cash to buy the drinks at a nearby Tiki Bar. Then, just as Joey stood, he looked down in the surf. There, floating right up to him, was a $10 bill.

That $10 was exactly what they needed for the drinks.

They just looked at it, then each other, and knew it was a sign.

And these six aren’t the only things that have happened. I have a few other incidents that gave me pause as well and caused me to wonder if there was something other than coincidence was going on, something bigger than all of us.

The Universe? God?

What to you all think about this? Have you been given any signs?

The 80s, man. What a decade. Big hair, spandex, high-wasted jeans, leg warmers, neon colors, cut-off sweatshirts, mullets, I could go on forever. I taught at a middle school in Greenfield, Ohio back then and everyone looked like they were straight out of Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club or Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Anyway, I ran across this gem today and it’s so 80s it hurts. Denim for days, man.

PS- I had no idea Jordache jeans still existed, but damned if they don’t.

PPS- That one guy looks like the lead singer of Fine Young Cannibals. Google it.

PPPS- If I was that denim I’d be distressed, too.

Just spectacular.

Ingenious.

French luxury sports car brand started showing off the new Bugatti La Voiture Noire, which has an eye-popping price tag of nearly $19-million. Bugatti rolled out the one-off supercar to celebrate the brand’s 110th anniversary and to pay homage to the Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic, an extremely rare all-black luxury coupe it made in the 1930s. The car is notable for an all-black, one piece exterior “without any irritating lines” in its design. In fact, the company says the “bumpers are smoothly integrated into the body and the windscreen seems to flow seamlessly into the windows at the sides, like the visor on a helmet.”

Cool car and all, but I’d take that 1930s model over it in a heartbeat, wouldn’t you? And is it me or does every new car model looks like a Toyota Camry? Let’s see some creativity, car people. You’re better’n’at.

PS- A $19-million car, bought on a 5-year plan, would be around $320,000 a month. Seems reasonable.

PPS- This is the only car of its kind. Rich people annoy me, man.

 

Live Science: Not all heroes wear capes. Some wear ice-encrusted fur.

Yikes.

Fluffy, an adorably resilient cat recently survived a brush with the polar vortex after her owners found her covered in chunks of ice and snow.
The owners rushed Fluffy, who looked more ice-ball mop than feline, to the Animal Clinic of Kalispell in Montana, where veterinarians essentially defrosted the cat more than a week ago, according to news reports. Fluffy wasn’t frozen solid, Andrea Dutter, executive director of the Animal Clinic of Kalispell, told the Washington Post. But her temperature was well below 90 degrees — the lower limit on the hospital’s thermometers. Cats normally run temperatures a few degrees warmer than humans’ average body temperature of 98.6. “We immediately began to warm her up,” Dutter told the Post. “Warm water, heating pads, hot towels . . . within an hour she started grumbling at us.” Fluffy is normally an indoor-outdoor cat who knows her way back home, but was likely immobilized outside after an injury — which doctors discovered after they warmed her up, according to the Post.

Just like a cat, amirite? A dog would have been eternally grateful after being defrosted, but a cat immediately starts grumbling at the people who saved its damn life. Cats, man. Such assholes. Good for Fluffy though. Maybe cats really do have 9-lives?

PS- I once found a dead, dried up frog under the fridge in my apartment at Ohio State. I took it outside, threw some water on it and it hopped away like nobody’s business. Not even kidding.

The Takeout: In the admittedly narrow world of Cheetos-fast food mashups, Burger King’s Mac-And-Cheetos and Taco Bell’s Cheetos Quesadillas have some new competition. KFC announced it is testing a new Cheetos Sandwich in selected restaurants at locations in North Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia. KFC lovingly describes in a press release: “Made by coating a juicy, hand-breaded Extra Crispy chicken filet with special Cheetos sauce and placing it on a toasted bun with mayo and a layer of crunchy Cheetos, the Cheetos Sandwich will give you a blast of craveable Cheetos in every bite.” In this manner, KFC doubles up on the Cheetos-ness, providing a Cheetos sauce as well as actual Cheetos in the sandwich.

Listen, I’m not a big KFC guy but HOLY MOTHER OF GOD. Juicy? Check. Extra crispy? Check. Toasted bun? Check. Cheetos sauce? Check. CHEETOS? Check. I’m in. Who’s up for a Road Trip to Virginia?

Lord God almighty that looks tasty. Yes, please.

Note: Here’s the recipe if you’re interested.

The story goes like this. A homeless man was admitted to the hospital. After he was taken inside, the nurses noticed his family patiently waiting for him outside. They waited and waited, and the hospital staff kept them comfortable with food until the man was taken care of and released. It turns out this man often went hungry to feed his family so they, in turn, were loyal to him.

Dogs, man. Now if you’ll excuse me I think I have something in my eye.

Yep. Whiskey vending machine. That is all.

This speech was given just 2-months after Ronald Reagan was shot on March 30th, 1981. Listen, I was never a big Reagan guy at all (although he looks pretty damn good in retrospect) but this is a stone cold move. After hearing a loud balloon pop he doesn’t flinch, just casually says “missed me” to the masses. Reagan, man.

PS- Again, this was just 2-months after he was shot. Hell, the Orange Tweeter couldn’t go out in the rain to honor our veterans.

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The story began when a guy named Jamal Hinton received a random text from a woman named Wanda Dench. Seems Wanda had texted him mistakenly. Here’s here initial text:

 

Jamal, perplexed, of course asked who the heck was sending him this text, since he knew no Amanda nor Justin. He was answered, and the following conversation ensued:

Wanda complied:

Of course Jamal couldn’t resist responding, and Wanda did too:

So, this happened:

Long story short, the initial text came in 2016 and Jamal has gone to his second grandma’s house every year since:

I’ve never understood racism and I never will, but in these sensitive times a story of how one kind, simple gesture can lead to a friendship sure makes me feel good.

Happy Holidays everyone.

Stan Lee died today. He was the creator of Spider-Man, the Hulk, Doctor Strange, the Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Black Panther, the X-Men, and many more. Stan Lee was also ahead of his time in many ways. Read what he wrote in 1968. We can still learn from his words today.

READ THIS.

The Anthem Veterans Memorial is a monument located in Anthem, Arizona and was dedicated in 2011 to honor the sacrifice and service made by members of the United States Armed Forces. The memorial’s five white pillars represent the nation’s military branches and are arranged in Department of Defense order of precedence: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and finally Coast Guard. Each pillar has an elliptical opening that slants downward toward The Great Seal of the United States. On Veterans Day the design allows the sun’s rays to spotlight the Great Seal at precisely 11:11 AM. Amazing stuff.

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The Dancing Doctor will warm your heart. It’s the best thing you’ll see all day. He’s actually a physician’s assistant and his name is Tony Adkins.

A man in New York City named Charlie went to a shelter to get a dog. However, the one he had his eyes on had already been adopted. However, before Charlie left he decided to take a lap around the facility to see what other dogs were available. Just as he was about to leave he saw a little mutt in a the corner of a cage. The little dog’s back legs didn’t work, he had 3 teeth and his ears had been frostbitten. At that point Charlie had a thought: “If I don’t take him, nobody will.” Ladies and gentlemen, meet Engelbert.

This is beer, battered and fried. The beer is poured into little ravioli pockets which burst with scalding suds upon first bite. To make it, the beer is placed inside a pocket of salty, pretzel-like dough and then dunked in oil at 375 degrees for about 20 seconds, a short enough time for the confection to remain alcoholic. When you take a bite the hot beer mixes with the dough to create a delicious taste sensation. And yes, kids, you have to be 21 to eat it. Deep Fried Beer, an idea whose time has come.

Ryan Fitzpatrick is a backup quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’s played previously for the St. Louis Rams, Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans, Houston Texans, and New York Jets. He played college football at national powerhouse Harvard. He’s started the first 2-games for the Bucs in place of #1 draft pick Jameis Winston, who is currently serving a 3-game suspension. Fitzy has responded by throwing 8-touchdown passes, just 1-interception, and has completed 78.7% of his passes in two victories. He is also handling his notoriety with both style and aplomb. Ryan Fitzpatrick is a National Treasure.

PS- I would trade Jameis Winston today.

PPS- If you didn’t know, that’s a Conor McGregor look. Der.