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Someone Stole A Signed Baseball From A Young Fan, So The Minnesota Twins & Baltimore Orioles Stepped Up In A Big Way

Minnesota Twins

People just suck sometimes. It seems like it's even worse now than it was pre-COVID. I don't know if everybody just forgot how to act while we were all locked inside or what the deal is, but between concert fights and airplane meltdowns and just general asshole behavior, it seems like there are just more downright shitty people in the world these days. And that was on full display at the ballpark recently, when a young fan had a signed baseball from his favorite player stole from him during a game between the Minnesota Twins and the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards. According to a Facebook post from the boy's parents: "Arguably one of the worst baseball game experiences of my life last night. Camden was autograph hunting and was lucky enough to get his favorite Twins player, Byron Buxton, to sign his ball. As the ball is being handed back to him by the usher, someone else grabs it and bolts. He is in instant tears and inconsolable once I make it over to him from our seats. Luckily chicken tenders and pizza helped eased the pain but of course when we got to the parking garage he started to cry again." Who steals a baseball from a kid? Seriously? But fortunately the story has a happy ending thanks to the Twins, the Orioles, Buxton himself, and Twins reporter Audra Martin. The Twins outfielder got wind of what had happened to his young fan, and vowed to make it right: https://twitter.com/OfficialBuck103/status/1780590155771879830 And make it right they did. The Orioles gave the young fan and his family front row seats to the next day's game, and Martin presented him not only with another signed ball, but also some signed batting gloves and a bat - something that Martin says was Buxton's idea when she asked for a new ball. https://twitter.com/Audra_Martin/status/1780669089226043760 And the boy's father had high praise for the Orioles, who went out of their way to help a young fan of the opposing team: "The generosity of the Baltimore Orioles to see something that went wrong, even though he's cheering for the other team, and just to give that generosity is absolutely amazing... We were trying not to make a big deal out of it because stuff happens sometimes and it just went around. I'm just so glad that a negative day turned into something positive for him." Good on everybody who stepped up to help out. There are some shitty people out there, but there are a lot more good ones.

Willie Nelson Was Banned From Teaching Sunday School Because He Was Performing In Honky Tonks

Willie Nelson country music

Religion was a major part of most American households in the 1950's, especially in the Bible Belt. But also brewing throughout the country was an uprising of music that fully manifested itself in the rock and roll explosion which captured the country and ushered in a new phase of American culture. Willie Nelson was born in Abbott, Texas in 1933 and experienced these two worlds come to be in his formative early years. He'd been playing music himself since he was only 6 years old and his first performances were at his local church. At just nine, he wound up playing with a local band called Bohemian Polka. But by age 13, Willie had to start contributing for the family and didn't much like picking cotton, so he began performing for cash at dance halls and honky tonks, thus beginning his long commercial career. Though he picked up more than a few odd jobs over the years to pay the bills, his goal was always to make it in country music. While we could skip to the part where he became a huge star, there's a story from one of those odd jobs that exemplifies that rift in society between the ultra-religious and free spirited music lovers. Willie was living in Fort Worth and started teaching Sunday school to make a couple extra dollars, but while he was teaching about the Lord on Sunday mornings, at night he was playing any honky tonk or bar that would let him on stage to try and get somewhere in the music industry. Eventually, word got around to the Baptist Church's leaders and the fact didn't sit too well with them. Sure, he wasn't playing that devilish rock and roll, but how far off was it to play any type of music for a drunken, rowdy crowd? The preacher gave Willie an ultimatum: Stop playing in bars or stop teaching Sunday school. This situation was chronicled in a 1998 edition of Texas Monthly: "Raised as a staunch Methodist, Willie was taught that if he drank or smoked or went dancing, he was doomed to hellfire. He never bought this doctrine: Willie’s God was always willing to give a guy another chance. An incident in the fifties, when he was teaching Sunday school at the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Fort Worth, reinforced this conviction. His preacher gave him an ultimatum—stop playing in beer joints or stop teaching Sunday school—and Willie quit the church for good, disillusioned with a policy that summarily condemned people like him." He didn't just stop teaching, he quit the church for good all because they didn't want him playing "Crazy" and "Hello Walls," which, I may add, are pretty vanilla songs. Fortunately there's a lot more acceptance of country music and music as a whole from church communities today, but it had to be at least a bit tough for Willie to turn from an institution that, to that point, had been such a mainstay in his life. Even if he didn't feel guilt about it, I'm sure breaking the news to his parents wouldn't have gone over smoothly. If there's only one thing that Willie proved over his life, it's that he'll only do it his way. Fortunately for us, his way involved putting out some of the best country music of all-time for us to enjoy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAI959G9AjA

Giancarlo Esposito Contemplated Arranging His Own Murder For Life Insurance Payout Before Being Cast In ‘Breaking Bad’

Giancarlo Esposito

Beginning in earnest with his breakout role as Gus Fring in Breaking Bad, Giancarlo Esposito has become one of the most prolific actors in modern television. From getting to reprise that role in Better Call Saul, to his villainous turns in Star Wars' The Mandalorian and The Boys, Esposito is an on-screen force of nature who's game for just about anything. In a recent interview with Jim Norton and Sam Roberts (h/t Culture Crave) to promote his AMC series Parish, which he stars in and executive produces, Esposito opened up about how tough things got right before Breaking Bad, mentioning that he toyed with some very morbid schemes to better provide for his family. These included thoughts of ending his own life, or setting up his own murder, in order to trigger a life insurance policy payout: "My wife's father — God rest his soul, Pops McManigal — was in insurance. And so I asked her, I started poking around. ‘How much am I insured for? And she told me. My way out in my brain was…’Hey, do you get life insurance if someone commits suicide? Do they get the bread?’ And my wife said, ‘Well that's kind of tricky.’ She had no idea why I was asking this stuff... Then I just started scheming: If I got somebody to knock me off, death through misadventure, they would get the insurance. I had four kids. I wanted them to have a life. Like it was a hard moment in time, I literally thought of self-annihilation so that they could survive. That's how low I was. So that was the first inkling that there was a way out, but I wouldn't be here to be available to it, or be a part of it or be there for my kids. Then, I started to think, that's not viable, because the pain I would cause them would be lifelong — and lifelong trauma that would just extend the generational trauma which with which I'm trying to move away from. The light at the end of the tunnel was Breaking Bad." https://youtu.be/y2q8hMXCKGo?si=404ImtXjirvLtXpT&t=708 Goes to show that cliché of never knowing what somebody's going through, or has been through, can really hold true. Until checking out this interview, I couldn't have imagined that Esposito was in such dire straits. He seems so self-assured, with immense charisma and confidence often on display in his work. Granted, acting is a fickle profession, and the entertainment industry is a beast to navigate. Nevertheless, given Esposito's frequent early collaborations with Spike Lee and the raging success he's enjoyed lately, I just assumed that he had a pretty steady career of work since those Lee joints like Do the Right Thing, School Daze and Malcolm X among others. Evidently, Esposito's journey was a little more complicated and adversity-stricken than that. Big ups to Esposito for being this open and vulnerable. He goes on to explain some other aspects of that difficult period in his life, and how whenever he's found himself in that spot, all he tries to do is build. For instance, Parish was a product of the work Esposito continued to do throughout the pandemic when everything was shut down. The man is a grinder, and even as he's about to turn 66 next week, Esposito is showing no signs at all of slowing down. Sure looks like he'll just keep adding credits to his increasingly prolific filmography. Esposito is in the horror movie Abigail that's opening right now, and in July he'll appear in MaXXXine, the third film in Ti West's Mia Goth-starring X trilogy. Oh yeah, and Esposito has a key part in Francis Ford Coppola's self-financed, $120 million passion project Megalopolis. That will have its official premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May, hopefully followed by some sort of theatrical release. There's no current distribution deal in place. To say the least, Coppola's long-gestating film is extremely intriguing. https://twitter.com/nick_field90/status/1773548658157306342 Like whether it's good or not, Coppola is one of the greatest directors of all-time, has a cast that includes Esposito, Adam Driver, Aubrey Plaza, Laurence Fishburne, and many others, and a wildly original story. What's the challenge to market and sell that? Isn't everyone thirsting for original story ideas, and apparently fatigued from superhero fare? That's neither here nor there. To tie this all back to Esposito, he was also just in the Netflix series The Gentlemen, which debuted in March, and has signed on for another show at the streamer titled The Residence. It'll be set at The White House and follows an investigation into a murder at a state dinner. Giancarlo Esposito is inevitable! He cannot be stopped! See what I'm getting at here? All these points just go to show how hard to believe it is that Esposito almost schemed to end his own life before all of this happened. And mind you, he was around 50 years old back when he was mulling these harebrained self-annihilation schemes. Talk about pulling yourself up off the mat. Damn.

Farmer Picks Up Wild Lynx By The Back Of The Neck To Scold It For Killing His Chickens

Man grabs lynx who killed his chickens

This guy is insane. A man by the name of Chris Paulson in British Columbia decided that a wild lynx wasn't going to get away without a stern talking to after it raided his chicken coop. He posted a video of him holding the lynx up by the back of neck as he walked it around the carnage and pointed out all that was wrong with the chicken killing spree it had just gone on. Now not only is what this farmer did dangerous, it's also illegal. It's against the law to disturb wild animals like this, even if they did just get into your chicken coop and gobbled a couple of chickens up. I understand where Paulson was coming from wanting to hold the lynx accountable, but still... this is some crazy stuff. According to the story, the farmer caught the lynx in action and somehow managed to pick it up by the back of neck in order to give it a lecture. Paulson then got it all on selfie video as he walked the growling big cat through the scene of the crime and said things like: "Should we go see the damage you did? How many chickens did you get? You got some of our new ones. Not good is it? No. Let's have a look at this damage." He was literally treating this wild animal like it was his pesky house cat. Lynx aren't usually viewed as violent, though they will use their sharp teeth and razor-like claws if they feel threatened. I'd say this wild cat had definitely crossed the threshold of feeling unsafe, but it must have been disarmed by being held at the back of the neck. Sgt. Ron LeBlanc, a B.C. Conservation officer, had this to say about the scary incident that Paulson put himself in, and explained that they chose not to charge the farmer for his questionable actions: "There could have been a couple of enforcement actions, but none were taken in this instance. We're just glad that this incident didn't end in a different way." Yeah, farmer Paulson could have lost a lot more than a couple of chickens that day. The video was posted by CTV News, and the caption for the footage helped to remind people that disturbing wildlife like this, even if it might be somewhat warranted, is against the law and incredibly dangerous: "Chris Paulson managed to grab the lynx by the scruff of its neck when it refused to leave the henhouse. B.C. officials are reminding people that those kind of interactions with wildlife are dangerous and illegal." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XL-bAKRQfQE

Crocodile Grabs On To Elephant’s Trunk, Tries To Death Roll In Wild Footage

Gator snatches elephant trunk

This crocodile fights dirty. Then again, there aren't any rules or guidelines when it comes to fighting out in the wild. Though the tactic the croc employed was brutal, it was just doing what came to it naturally. And let me be the first to tell you that it certainly didn't look natural when the reptile tried to death roll an elephant while holding its trunk. Tourists visiting Liwonde National Park in Malawi, Africa were stunned when they witnessed this terrifying animal encounter back in 2017. A herd of elephants were relaxing in some shallow water when a crocodile burst out of the water and launched a surprise attack. The elephants started trumpeting to the heavens and retreating away from the vicious splashing of the crocodile, which had managed to clamp down on one of the younger elephant's trunks. There wasn't much the elephant could do with the sizable croc hanging onto its extended nose. And to be honest, it didn't look as though the crocodile knew what to do either. It tried to go into a death roll, but struggled to do so since the elephant (though it was young) outweighed it by a mile. However, the flailing reptile was still doing some damage as its teeth were sunk into the trunk of the large land animal. Luckily for the inexperienced elephant, some other herd mates came in to back it up and save the day. One adult elephant in particular went into full-on attack mode, stomping at the crocodile until it finally let go of the smaller elephant. It was a scary day for that younger elephant, and one that it likely won't ever forget (elephants have excellent memory, in case you didn't know). That herd was certainly more careful wading into water from there on out, and the one elephant in particular likely had a scarred trunk that proved it survived a gnarly battle with one of the world's oldest, fiercest apex predators. Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2i0yEyqlkBE

Shane Smith Shares His Tried & True Hangover Cure

Shane Smith and The Saints country music

After a few "Road Margs," this hangover cure sounds pretty great. Frontman for Shane Smith & the Saints, is letting us in on all of his secrets. Right before the Texas group took the historic Grand Ole Opry stage for their debut (which was not only well deserved but a long time coming), Whiskey Riff had the chance to shoot some s*** with the lead singer. Right after Shane Smith disclosed his go-to drink order of a poor man's margarita, he then informed us about what makes those hangovers after a few too many tequila cocktails fade away. As someone who is often looking for a new hangover cure to make the scaries seem a little less scary, I was all ears. "Hangover cure, I'd say, is like fried pickles at a restaurant..."  Okay, Shane, I am all in with this portion of the answer. To accompany his salty snack, he washes it down using a method that is tried and true for curing a hangover...drinking the same liquor you were the night before. Talk about a play right out of John Daly's book. "With a spicy bloody Maria, with tequila instead of vodka." I can also support a bloody Maria/Mary of sorts. Not only are you getting some nutrients from the tomato juice, but you also get a plethora of snacks accompanied with the drink—that is, if you are at a place that does a bloody right. It sounds like Shane Smith has cracked the code for curing those pounding headaches and nauseous stomachs after a night out. Maybe I'll have to swap out my Taco Bell or McDonald's order with this next weekend and see if it really is a cure.
@whiskeyriff Solid lineup. // whiskeyriff.com #whiskeyriff #shanesmithandthesaints @Shane Smith & The Saints ♬ original sound - Whiskey Riff

If you want to hear more from Shane Smith, check out our latest episode of Whiskey Riff Raff.


First Lady Jill Biden To Honor Patsy Cline During ‘Walkin’ After Midnight’ Tribute Concert At Ryman Auditorium

Patsy Cline

Even the First Lady wants to honor one of the leading ladies of country music. Despite her career being tragically cut short after passing away in a plane crash in 1962, Patsy Cline remains one of the most influential female artists in country music history. And a tribute concert next week will feature many of the biggest names in country music to pay tribute to the influence and legacy of Patsy Cline. Walkin' After Midnight: An All-Star Tribute To Patsy Cline is coming to the Ryman Auditorium on April 22, and will feature names like Wynonna, Ashley McBryde, Tanya Tucker, Pam Tillis, Kellie Pickler, Hailey Whitters, Sara Evans, Kristin Chenoweth, Natalie Grant and many more performing the music of the country music legend. But it will also feature a special appearance from First Lady Jill Biden. Biden will be on hand to give the night's opening remarks and honor the country music icon, on a night that will also feature stories and memories from many who knew Patsy Cline, providing fans with a personal look at the woman who changed country music. https://twitter.com/theryman/status/1769800945792155958 Of course Patsy Cline has a long history at the historic Ryman Auditorium, dating back to her 1960 induction as a member of the Grand Ole Opry when the country music star received three encores after she brought down the Mother Church of Country Music with her performance of "Crazy." It's no doubt going to be a special night honoring the legendary trailblazer - and a much deserved celebration of one of the leading ladies in country music history.

Chris Stapleton Was Valedictorian AND Voted “Most Stylish” In High School

Chris Stapleton country music

As if being a Grammy-winning, chart-topping and incredibly talented country music vocalist wasn't enough... Chris Stapleton was quite a high achiever back in high school, too. The Kentucky native attended Johnson Central High School in Paintsville, Kentucky, where he was actually valedictorian AND voted "Most Stylish" there in 1996. He would later go on to Vanderbilt University in Nashville to study engineering, where he studied that subject for one year and did two years of business school. He ultimately decided to drop out and pursue music, which was clearly the right call, though I think it's so obvious that he would've been successful at pretty much anything. And during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live this week, Jimmy had an old high school photo of Chris from the mid-90's, where he joked that Chris looked like he was in his early 30's as opposed to a teenager, which is so funny and very true if you look at the photo of much more clean-shaven Stapleton. They also had a different photo from the yearbook, which featured Chris standing in front of his mustang next to a girl who was voted "Most Stylish" along with him. Apparently, Mr. Stapleton has always had a signature look and used to be a very sharp dresser back in the day. He also shyly offered up the fact that he was valedictorian, and did "everything that was available to do": "That's my car right there. It's 1996, come on. I did everything that was available to do. I was valedictorian." The quote from nearly 30 years ago about him being best dressed was a very Chris Stapleton-style answer too, where he kept it simple, saying: "I just wear what feels good, but I'm glad people like it." Brains and style... I love a man that has both. It's actually not even fair that he got the incredible voice and musical talent he does too, but we're certainly all better off for it so I guess I really can't complain. You can check out both photos of him in the clip below, and I'd highly recommend doing so: https://youtu.be/cB4jLmZuuvo?t=216 Chris' most recent album Higher was released last year, and he also performed "It Takes A Woman" for the first time live on Kimmel, though the video hasn't been released yet, so I'll leave you with the gorgeous studio version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvgeRTC9nyw