Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Transplant Recipient Realizes Her Dream

In 2011, Arlinda Griffin had been on the transplant waiting list for nearly 3 years. Due to severe diabetes, she was nearly blind and desperately needed a kidney and pancreas transplant. When Eric Smith tragically lost his life in an automobile accident on June 12, 2011, he became a hero to Arlinda, because he was an organ and tissue donor who saved her life and the lives of several others. Eric also helped many through tissue donation.

English: Citizens Bank Park view from Pavilion...
English: Citizens Bank Park view from Pavilion Deck (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
After Arlinda received her transplant, she became friends with Eric's mom, Mary Smith. As their friendship grew, Arlinda confided in her that she had a lifelong dream of singing the national anthem at a Philadelphia Phillies baseball game. Once learning of Arlinda's dream, Mary went to work to make it happen.

On July 29th, during the Phillies' annual Gift of Life organ donation awareness night, Arlinda accomplished the dream, the goal, she had kept to herself since her childhood. After escorting Arlinda onto the field for the national anthem, Mary was in tears as Arlinda became the first organ transplant recipient to sing the national anthem at Citizens Bank Park saying, "I'm hoping that people attending the game will appreciate the value of being an organ donor."

There are approximately 117, 000 Americans currently on the transplant waiting list. One is added about every 10 minutes. Today, around 20 Americans will run out of time waiting and die leaving behind spouses, children, fiancees, parents, siblings, and friends. To break the numbers down a little further, 1 American dies about every hour to hour and a half. In my opinion, that's inexcusable when the solution to ending this needless dying is as simple as all Americans voluntarily registering as organ and tissue donors.

To learn how to register as a donor, please visit Donate Life America's website by clicking here.

It won't take but about 2 minutes of your time, so to borrow a phrase from Nike, "Just Do It!"

Read More: - see article on titled "Singing the Gift of Life At the Phillies Game"

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Monday, July 17, 2017

Thanks Chris

When I moved to Middle Tennessee in 1993, Nashville had the best rock station on the face of the planet - WKDF. It didn't matter when you listened or what song was on, it was good stuff. Their song rotation ranged from hard rock, to '70s classic rock, to southern rock, to '80s hair / glam metal, and even grunge. It was awesome. Then, one day around 1 p.m., I returned to the office from lunch and found that it was over - WKDF had switched to country. It went from awesome to totally sucking. I wanted to loose my lunch. I hate country music. It hurts my ears. It's like fingernails screeching across a chalkboard.

Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and Audioslave
Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and Audioslave (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I'm sure that like everything else, it was about money, but ever since, Nashville has been without a good radio station. If you're a rocker, your choices are Jack FM or The Rock. I guess Jack is ok if you like having a song by Guns 'N Roses, Metallica, or .38 Special followed by Michael Jackson or Madonna. Yuck. I guess The Rock is ok if you want to hear The Beatles, The Clash, Rush, or Led Zeppelin every third song, but I don't. However, a critique of Nashville rock radio is not the purpose of this post.

It was on WKDF where I first heard Soundgarden and frontman Chris Cornell during the grunge explosion of the early to mid-'90s. Mixing that band and Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, and Alice In Chains in with the other rock genres mentioned above was the norm. In fact, nearly 5 years ago, I posted a Music Monday double shot of my two favorite Soundgarden hits - "Black Hole Sun" and "Fell On Black Days" (here). Loved those songs in the '90s and still do today. Arguably, the 2 best ballads to come out of the grunge era.

Back in May, we lost Chris Cornell. He was a talented musician. In the time since, I've read several articles surrounding his death. Some were done in good taste and some in poor. There are many who knew him well and miss him dearly, and it is my belief that the rest of us should remember Chris for the music he left us with, instead of the way he left us.

Therefore, as a memorial to Chris, today's Music Monday is Soundgarden's "Spoonman", which is about a street performer who plays spoons - not a guitar or drums, but spoons. The song's music video can be watched by clicking here and is also embedded below.

Thanks for the music, Chris.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Sheepdog's Pick Is In

I doubt anyone is as ready as I am for football season to get started. I've already spent some time working on fantasy football draft boards and may have watched more of the 2017 NFL Draft than any others of my lifetime. Mainly, I was not only interested in which team would pick Florida State running back Dalvin Cook, but I just missed football. I think there are a number of teams that passed on Cook who will eventually realize they made a HUGE mistake.

National Football League Draft
National Football League Draft (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Back in March, I wrote an article expressing my opinion and displeasure with the direction I perceived the Pittsburgh Steelers to be headed in, and, that after 40 years of following them, I was ready to move on. In my opinion, today's Steelers have left their blue collar roots. In fact, regarding the Steelers, I suspect my feelings are similar to Ronald Reagan's when he said, "I didn't leave the Democratic Party, The Democratic Party left me." Well, I'm not leaving the Steelers, the Steelers have left me. Click here to read my article if you missed it.

In the 3 months since I wrote that article, I don't feel that things have gotten any better in Pittsburgh. For instance, one drama queen, Antonio Brown, has now been given a mega contract, which I expect will only encourage even more drama queenness from him, and the other drama queen, Le'Veon Bell, is sitting out OTA's, basically pouting, in order to wrangle a mega contract of his own out of the Steelers. My opinion is that just as it was a mistake to pay Brown, it would be an even bigger mistake to pay Bell with his injury history and being suspended for parts of 2 seasons for violations of the NFL's substance abuse policy. I think that paying both of them will finish sinking the organization. However, I suspect that eventually the Steelers will give in and do so. Personally, I would have traded both of them prior to the draft. Some sucker would have given a minimum of a 2nd round pick for each, and likely a 1st.

About a week after I wrote the Steelers' article, I posted another ranking and explaining which teams I was considering moving to. Click here to read that article. There were 6 on the list ranked as follows:
  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  2. Oakland Raiders
  3. Indianapolis Colts
  4. Arizona Cardinals
  5. Atlanta Falcons
  6. Detroit Lions
Oakland Raiders logo
Oakland Raiders logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Today, I'll share which team I picked, but honestly, the rankings didn't change much. Detroit stayed at 6, and Atlanta at 5. However, Oakland dropped from 2 down to 4. Why? Honestly, I grew weary of the drama regarding the move to Las Vegas. I also have concerns that even though a Raiders move to Vegas has a nice ring to it and is kinda cool, it's riddled with problems. For example, the city of Oakland now hates the team and wants it gone sooner rather than later, and according to a couple of articles I've read about the Las Vegas stadium financing deal, I can't help but wonder if a crash and burn might be coming. Another question is after a promising 2016, prior to Derek Carr's injury, will the distraction of the move prove too much for this young team to handle and 2017, and the years to come, be a disappointment in terms of not living up to expectations?

Overall, the Raiders dropped, because after getting sick of all the Steelers' drama, I've had enough of it. Been there. Done that. I just want people to shut up and play football.