Tag: freelancechick

Remembering Adam Walsh

Thirty years.

I think it’s safe to say that thirty years would feel like a lifetime to most of us. But to the Walsh family, I imagine it probably feels more like an eternity.

Remembering Adam

And while today’s date does not only signify the anniversary of the tragic loss of an innocent little boy named Adam Walsh…it denotes a day that triggered a father’s unwavering determination to bring justice to those cowardly enough to commit such horrific crimes against children.

After his abduction in 1981, Adam’s story gained national attention, skyrocketing John Walsh to embrace his position as a staple in the advocacy for victims’ rights. Relentless in his ongoing fight for justice, Walsh has become one of the most well-known advocates for victims of violent crimes.

He is the reason the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children exists.

He is the reason that in 2006, Congress passed the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, which was signed into law just a few days later…five years ago today to be exact.

He is the reason that an accurate national database of convicted child molesters, as well as increased penalties for sexual and violent offenses against children exists.

And it has been his position as host on America’s Most Wanted for all these years that has helped influence and lead to countless arrests.

With today marking 30 years without Adam, I couldn’t help but have the Walsh family in my thoughts. After I was introduced to an intriguing Callahan Walsh a few years ago, I was taken back immediately. To be honest, I was unaware of his family’s story when we met. I was unaware of who his father was or what had happened.

However, I was more than aware that Cal had a very contagious personality…one that still makes me smile to this day. Some people are just born with a certain good vibe around them. And much like his father, Cal exudes that same familiar passion for life his father has shared with the world over the years.

John Walsh and his family continue to be selfless in their efforts. Where they could have kept their loss to themselves, they instead worked toward implementing ways for other families to never have to experience what they have by the loss of Adam.

You can’t help but be grateful to know that there are people, like the Walsh family, who have turned tragedy into a sort-of triumph…not for themselves, but for others. Selfless in their efforts, there is no doubt that Adam lives on through their ongoing mission…and flawless devotion to a son and brother who is smiling down over them each day.

Miami 365

Just one year ago this week, I picked up my life and followed my gut to Miami.

I think at first, a lot of people assumed I was either moving here for some guy, or was having some sort of a mental hiccup telling me it was a good idea to flee. I mean, what kind of girl just picks up and leaves her entire family and friends and heads to a town where she knows no one? I guess I’m that kind of girl. I knew just three people here at the time…so basically, I knew no one.

But that didn’t matter, because I knew Miami. And I knew that Miami had always been that one special place I felt was a good fit for me. I saw how the people I did know down here were so inspired, so passionate, so creative. I could relate. I needed more of that. More creative freedom. More time to just go with whatever lands before me. More inspiration for the Pulitzer Prize-winning novels and poetry I am penning.

I’m the kind of girl who is a firm believer in everything happening for a reason. I took the lack of creative challenges in Orlando as a sign. I felt so…blah. Everything felt…the same. Like when you keep getting interrupted while you’re reading and you end up reading the same paragraph over and over again.

To me, it was the same people doing the same thing on the same days in the same way. I thrive off of other peoples’ energy. I feed off of people with a passion for life. I was bored. Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of loving friends in Orlando who are super talented, motivated and goal-oriented…but alas, I needed more. Knowing there was far more creative opportunity in Miami for a little wordsmith like me, I figured what’s the worst that could happen? The way I saw it, I may as well do it before the universe decides to throw me in another direction.

So I put all of my things in a storage unit, packed up my car with just my clothes and the everyday basics…and off I went. Try and tell me I’m high maintenance and I will remind you that my entire life fit inside of my car. I was an official hotel-dweller for a while during my condo search. Interesting and expensive…but totally worth it.

Everything I’ve learned in the last year has taught me more about who I am as a lovely young lady, and what I really want out of life. Love & money. Just kidding. But those are must haves as well.

I’ve learned that as a female, the world is truly at my fingertips here. Even better, as a smart female with an extensive knowledge of sports, the opportunities are infinite. I’ve learned that the smaller the bikini, the more it costs. That spas were invented for ME. That the ocean here dances in a way that will set you into a comforting trance every single time. That the sunrises are worth waking up early to see…and that I’m still waiting to experience a sunset with someone special.

I’ve learned that you can arm wrestle Floyd Mayweather at LIV while 50 Cent and Rick Ross place bets…and walk away knowing Mayweather is better at arm wrestling than he’ll ever be at boxing. That gold diggers are equally pathetic in any language, town, state, universe…and that no matter how hard I try, I will always be just one of the guys to so many of my guy friends. (Sigh)

I’ve learned that the more organic food you devour, the better you feel and look. I’ve learned that growing my hair long enough so I can walk down the beach topless with just my locks covering my breasts is a great goal to have.

I look forward to my second year here…and invite more adventures along the way. Oh sure, there will always be plenty of guys and mental hiccups, but the overall decision was simply me wanting more out of life…and that is exactly what I’m getting…only this time around it is in a much smaller bikini and with much longer hair!

‘David Haye’s Knockout’ Game Now Available On iTunes

WBA Heavyweight Champion of the World David Haye is one of those people who not only talks the talk…but flawlessly follows through by walking a walk that leaves his opponents eating the remains of blood-filled, sweat-covered boxing rings worldwide.

The Power Of The Hayemaker

Now, thanks to the release of ‘David Haye’s Knockout’ game available today through iTunes, anyone can try their hand at dominating the world of boxing through the eyes (and arms) of The Hayemaker himself!

‘David Haye’s Knockout’ urges its players to decapitate and obliterate their unnamed Russian opponent at all costs. The bloodier the better in this boxing ring. Mercy is not an option in this relentless game, as users must utilize their top skills to stay quick, clever, and out-box their heathen of an opponent.

The game highlights a somewhat ironic and very entertaining scenario sure to ruffle the feathers of a certain soon-to-be real life opponent of Haye. The release of the hand-to-face combat game rests on the cusp of Haye’s upcoming unification bout with Wladimir Klitschko, set to unravel on July 2 in Hamburg, Germany.

The game is easily accessible and available now through iTunes and is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Click here to get your copy now and get in the ring!

Remembering John Gotti, Sr.

I remember my father saying to me nine years ago today, “Sorry about your friend.”

Most people have always given me a hard time about my support of the late John Gotti. Not surprisingly, I never really cared.

Gotti & His Signature Dapper Look

I am aware that my mother didn’t exactly LOVE the fact that I wrote “Uncle John” countless letters while he was in prison serving a life sentence. But the way I saw it, he could use some inspirational words and positive thoughts to pass the time. I am also aware that my father, a full-blooded Italian, lit up my world with my Christmas gift the year Gotti went to prison…a personalized ‘FJG’ license plate for my car. Free John Gotti, of course.

So on this, the nine-year anniversary of Gotti’s rise or fall into the post life phase, I couldn’t help but take some time to think of him.

I’ve never necessarily “advocated” organized crime, but in Gotti’s case, I do support the avoidance of the unjust incarceration of innocent people. I’m not saying the mafia is exactly run by the moral police, and I get that Gotti’s reputation came with the territory. I mean, you don’t exactly become the boss of the Gambino Family by just shaking hands and kissing babies.

Sure, Gotti’s confidence and over the top self-admitted love of the spotlight wasn’t exactly something penned in the pages of the La Cosa Nostra Handbook. But the man had nerve. A natural born leader, he had off-the-charts charisma. He had taste. Let’s face it, the man had a great f*****g wardrobe. The Dapper Don indeed.

And despite what the media portrayed, while Gotti may have been headstrong on one hand, on the other hand he still carried with him a caring heart. I may be one of a few who feel this way, but maybe I like to always do my best to see the good in everyone, no matter what their story. So what?

You’re probably thinking, a caring heart? How can a man who was accused of murder, among other things, even HAVE a heart? Well, technically, it was never proven that he physically took someone’s life. What his associates did, however, is another story. At worst, Gotti was truly guilty of loan sharking, illegal gambling, obstruction of justice, bribery and tax evasion. Not exactly the sweetest icing on a cake, but I stand by the idea that he should not have been at fault for what others may have done upon his direction. Learn to think for yourselves people, otherwise don’t get involved.

What many people outside of NYC don’t know is that Gotti took great care of those around him. And I don’t mean “took care of” in the stereotypical Italian-mafia-esque vocabulary sense of the phrase, I mean he really took care of them. He was a firm believer in the power of tradition and the importance of family. (Something I think this country could use a refresher course on these days.) Every Fourth of July he and his crew would close off 101st Avenue and provide stellar fireworks displays. He hired ice cream trucks for the kids and would have grills going all day long, feeding hundreds of party goers burgers and hot dogs.

Be that as it may, what continues to irk me is this. As throat cancer took over Gotti’s body, he was still left to wither away in prison. No one, no matter what charges they endure, should have to suffer in such a manner. I feel even stronger about this now, being as that I’ve seen what cancer does to people. Losing my uncle a few years ago made me see just how powerful of a demon it is.

So tonight, in honor of “my friend” John Gotti, Sr., as my father would say, I shall celebrate accordingly. Of course dining at Sparks Steakhouse in Midtown Manhattan would be the ultimate evening topper, but I’m sure Miami can fit the bill.

RIP John Gotti, Sr.
October 27, 1940 – June 10, 2002

Why You Shouldn’t Dislike Joakim Noah

As a sports lover and writer, it’s always irritating to see a pro athlete step out of line and do something that causes disruption in a game. But what irritates me even more, is when said events are prompted from an unruly or disrespectful fan or commentator.

Are You Talkin' To Me?

Maybe I’m playing favorites with the most recent occurrence of this because I like Joakim Noah. The Chicago Bulls’ player was fined $50,000 for being caught in a moment and retorting with an offensive gay slur toward a fan who was heckling him.

Was it wrong? Yes.

Would it have happened had he not been prompted by the fan’s initial verbal contribution? No.

As wacky as Noah may appear, as outlandish as his antics can sometimes be, I believe that he is a good kid. (Ugh, am I already at that point in life where I’m calling people younger than me kid?) Anyway, when I see Noah, I still see the same rookie I first met in Orlando during summer league a few years back…carrying a backpack with his contract inside. Literally inside. And I see a kid who, at the time, was so clueless about what was about to hit him as he entered the league. Sure Noah has his moments, like many of these guys. But don’t we all?

I can’t help but think I’d do the same thing he did that night on the court. Actually, I know I would. Not the same verbiage, but I’d most certainly react. It drives me mad to see players hassled. I mean, you can’t forget about Ron Artest back in the day. Player vs. Fan madness. Entertaining to some, stomach-turning to others…like me.

Unfortunately some fans forget that these guys are at WORK. Hello? Would you like it if Noah came to your office and yelled at you for your performance that day? I’m gona go with “NO” on that.

It’s hard to really understand the pressure that any athlete is under when they are at work. And maybe I can see the difference between a job and entertainment because I am smart and clever and write about these guys (and deserve to work on SportsCenter) and see what it all entails. But still, there should be an unspoken mutual respect from those on the court and those in the stands.

Surely there is nothing wrong with cheering, booing, or yelling out in general if you are so inclined. But when you start aggressively directing things toward particular individuals, it’s just not right. And I’ve been to enough NBA games to know that there are, in fact, guidelines established by the arenas that fans are expected to follow while in attendance. Basically don’t act like an idiot or do anything to hinder the experience.

This was disregarded recently, as I’m sure it will be again and again. But I say, if you’re going to fine a player, fine the fan as well. What gives the fan the right to heckle or disrespect someone? And don’t give me the boring old, “Well he makes a gazillion dollars and I paid for my seat and should be able to blah blah blah” excuse.

I’m not buying it. Fans, like this guy, should own up to his actions just like Noah did.

The NBA continues to let fans get away with bad behavior. My gut tells me that this will only make the league’s image worse. (Yes, it’s possible.) Commissioner Stern needs to lay down some sort of solidified clarification on how he wants the NBA to be perceived.

After all, it’s supposed to be team vs. team. Not player vs. fan.


Tomorrow night should be fun.

Not only is Commonwealth Super Middleweight Champion George Groves (Go Team Hayemaker) facing punk a** James Degale in a highly-anticipated grudge match at London’s O2 Arena, but The Rapture is upon us.

Pack Your Bags!

Obviously sports are far more fun to watch than religion-related, world-altering events. Still, from what I’ve read, The Rapture is when Christians will be gathered together in the air to meet Christ, as says the Biblical prediction in 1 Thessalonians 4:17.

Sounds kind of neat in its own way I suppose. I never got to go on a hot air balloon ride, so maybe this will be similar…all graceful with a great view. And it’ll be even neater if Debbie Harry’s voice singing the same-named tune is somehow heard from some heavenly sound system via God. Everyone knows big events are all about the little details.

Anyway, this is all apparently beginning at 6pm, starting in New Zealand and working westward around the globe from there. Good. At least London is in the future and George will have time to win his fight prior all of this ensuing.

I caught a glimpse of people lining the streets with their signage this morning, encouraging everyone to be prepared. They’re right. I should have thought about this long before today. Typical of me to procrastinate…something my parents always seem to point out. I can hear my dad now, “Only you would be late to your own rapture.”

I’m trying, I promise! Not that it really matters now…considering.

Still, in preparation of my departure, since clearly I will be lifted by my halo into the Heavens along with all the other saints, I find myself in yet another dilemma.

Leaving Earth is kind of a big deal. Whom should I call? What do I wear? And most importantly, will all the celebrating I plan to do tonight hinder my ascension into Heaven? Does this last night stand as a free pass to hang out with the heathens for one last hoorah that would make the people of Sodom & Gomorrah glory cringe? (As a side note, in my next life, I am totally opening a night club called Sodom & Gomorrah. Miami would love it.)

Anyway, despite what happens tomorrow, whether you are raptured or not, don’t take it personally. Look at it as a growing experience. Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me. Let’s see who ends up wearing the Fooled name tag tomorrow.

The Power Of Nice People, Word Of Mouth & Organic Coconut

Last week I had a dilemma.

Like most dilemmas, mine involved mental anguish, the inability to concentrate, along with some irritability…also not uncommon for me in a non-dilemma setting, let’s be honest. The fact that my stress revolved around missing chocolate covered organic coconut pieces shouldn’t discount its severity. I realize that this doesn’t compare to national tragedies and life altering events, but it was a dilemma in my little universe nonetheless.

Heaven At My Fingertips

After what felt like infinite weeks of eagerly making my way to every Whole Foods and other organic food stores in the greater Miami area hoping to find the most heavenly-made chocolate covered organic coconut pieces by Next Organics from Tropical Valley Foods, I was again at a loss. I had become clearly irritated (shocking) by a lack of info from shop owners. So, refusing to simmer in a pool of discouragement, I decided to take matters into my own, perfectly-manicured hands.

It was time to make a call.

While this whole thing may sound very trivial, I must say, I’ve never been one to shy away from doing a bit of investigating when I have an inquiry. I have dealt with many, many people…most of whom are snippy, snappy and non-dimensional in their approach to customer service. But if you want something done right, you must do it yourself.

After ringing up the corporate offices of the Next Organics team, I was pleased to reach directly, owner Eric Bertheau. I explained my dilemma, to which Eric surely sympathized…and probably thought I was also a bit excessive in my search for knowledge. However, my natural curiosity will forever get the best of me, whether the result is favorable or not.

Luckily, this time was quite favorable. Eric kindly explained that a shortage of organic coconut was the culprit of my missing delights. Ah ha! Finally, an answer. He assured me that sooner than later, my healthy addiction would be back in the public eye, ready for me to devour once again.

Seemingly curious as to my direct inquiry and discovery of their products, I explained to Eric how I had been introduced to Next Organics back in January by Ruben Tabares, who is not only a top nutrition expert and professional athlete training for the 2012 Olympics, but also conducts the ridiculously intense strength and conditioning training for WBA World Heavyweight Champion David Haye. I’m certainly not training for the Olympics nor am I preparing for a unification boxing match in July, but I figure if the UK’s finest have it on the menu whilst continuing to remain in stellar physical shape, it must be good…not just in taste, but in nutrition. That’s my non guilt-laden logic anyway.

Eric was by far, one of the loveliest and most accommodating owners I’ve ever spoken to. His genuine concern and warm attitude toward my ridiculous out-of-hand cravings for their products only made my desire to purchase even more. I felt as if I had known this guy forever. Good people equal good business. It was refreshing.

Definitely go try their stuff before I get my hands on it. And don’t be alarmed if you see me on an episode of Hoarders, buried in bags of these things…as I am preparing to buy every last pouch once they’re lining the shelves again. I mean, all addictions have their own blueprint, right? Mine just happens to be lined in temperature-sensitive organic chocolate!

Charlie Sheen Isn’t Crazy, He Just Needs A Bath

Rarely do I allow my attention to be grabbed by the personal issues of celebrities, but this last week, Mr. Sheen has opened up the eyes and ears of many people, myself included. I can’t lie, I like the guy. I appreciate his level of realness…no matter how off the charts some people may measure it. He is the official Quotemaster.

And much to the disagreement of pretty much 99.99% of the people I encounter, I truly do not believe he has lost his mind. Yes, I’m sure it is quite fizzled at this point from chemically-enhanced late night pornstar party expos…but still, I do not see a man who has lost his mind.

What I do see is a man who is well-aware of every word he speaks, every point he makes. His injections of verbal passion and honesty are surely overwhelming for most people, but I get it. Yes, that scares me, but only a pinch.

I see a man who speaks with no filter…something the general public are not used to. Someone who, God forbid, is 1,000% real and honest about what he TRULY believes and stands for. And there’s nothing wrong with that. He should not be judged on his words, no matter how outlandish. He should not be judged on his beliefs, no matter how much you may disagree.

I mean, let’s not forget he remains fighting for the proper treatment of the crew and cast of his show, despite its current cancellation due to his own actions…which he has owned up to. To me, that says something. I’m not sure what, but it’s something positive other than a drug test.

Addiction or not, he should still be embraced and offered any help he may need to heal whatever demons he has lingering somewhere beneath the surface. Maybe he is a freight train heading full-speed ahead with no intentions of stopping. Or maybe it’s just a combination of things. One big toxic recipe that has been simmering for years, finally reaching the edges of the pan. Whether or not it all overflows into a big puddle of mush where he is pleading for help, only time will tell.

But I really wish people would not pass judgement. Because in reality, there are millions of people just like him (only quieter), who don’t have the nerve to speak up or speak out. Fear, shame, denial…a horrible trio. At least when it’s all said and done, he has already admitted some of his responsibility in the entire ordeal. A step in the right direction. Afterall, it is his life, not ours.

“I’m tired of pretending I’m not special. Like I’m not a total bitchin’ rock star from Mars.”

Me, too, Charlie. Me too.

See You In Dallas Steeler Nation!!

I do my best to stay hush hush when it comes to trash talking during the NFL season. Despite my fanatical mindset for this Steeler team, which represents my hometown week after week, I like to think I do a pretty good job of ignoring all of the quips that often come my way.

Afterall, I am a lady.

Steeler Nation

Well, throw all that Miss Manners crap out the window, because after the Steelers handed the Jets a nice little beat down tonight at Heinz Field, it feels oh-so-good to know that my gut has once again been right from day one of the season. AFC Champions AGAIN! I should moonlight as a sports-psychic. I bet Vegas would love me.

Needless to say, I am beaming with excitement that the Steelers have made their way into yet another Super Bowl. Lucky #7. For me, the thrill is easily three-fold.

One, is that my hometown can obtain its pride for yet another season. Unless you are from Pittsburgh, it is hard to understand the psychotic loyalty of the Steeler fan base. I think it enters your bloodline when you are born there and never dissipates, regardless of where you end up. Something about the history of the Steeler organization and its fans, the way the Rooney’s are still running the show, and the tightly-knit bond between them all, keeps this team elite.

Two, is getting to watch my friend play so well and accomplish his third trip to the Super Bowl. Not to mention being named Player of the Game along with William Gay after knocking Sanchez on his ass. It all kind of tugs at my heartstrings a little bit. I also think it is no coincidence that the Steelers scored 24 points, the same as Ike’s jersey number. There is magic in numbers.

Sanchez Taken Down By Taylor

And three, the ability to silence all the naysayers that have been buzzing in my ear all season is quite pleasurable.

I never lost faith in this team. Even through the off-field nonsense involving Ben and his troubles with the ladies. Even after key players endured injuries. Even after a loss to those pesky Ravens earlier in the season. Sure there will still be people with the blah blah blahs, but really, at this point, what can they say? Nothing.

Looking forward to the madness of Dallas and what is sure to be the Steelers’ lucky #7 Super Bowl title!

Al Horford, Restaurant Advice…Oh, And The Heat

It wasn’t the first time I’ve chatted with Al Horford.

I mean, technically, I did give him a stellar restaurant suggestion (which he loved by the way), when I ran into him at a crosswalk in downtown Orlando last year…but that wasn’t exactly a notable event.

Photo courtesy of ESPN.com

Tonight was pretty fun though. We hit it off right away because we are both, of course, Florida Gators…even though I was already out of school for like 500 years by the time he was in Gainesville, working his way toward the coveted National Championship title.

Either way, he’s a good kid. While you may already know that he was chosen 3rd overall by the Hawks in the 2007 NBA draft, he also played in the NBA All-Star Rookie Challenge in 2008, and won Rookie of the Month four times during his rookie season. Horford remains a crucial link to the Hawks lineup. Oh, and he’s also a soft talker…something I told him I wouldn’t print, but of course I did anyway.

Indeed he remembered our encounter at the crosswalk in O-town…I tend to make a good first impression. Actually it was my purse made out of candy wrappers that caught his attention, not little ol’ me. “What is that thing?” he inquired.

Thanks to a mutual friend who helped set up our meeting tonight, he was nice enough to take some time to chat with me after the game.

“I thought you lived in Orlando last time I saw you…you’re like everywhere now or something?” I assured him that no, even though I dabble in travel, I am not a phantom making my way around the world. I am planted firmly in the 305 these days…forcing my way through Heat games, silently craving the luster of the Magic on the court.

He nods.

After a bit of chatter over my adoration for the city of Hotlanta, the Braves, Little Five Points and Fellini’s Pizza, I inquire about his thoughts on how he sees himself as a player (on the court, not off).

With the Hawks throwing the Heat back into simmer mode tonight with a winning score of 93 to 89 in overtime, Horford remains humble. And despite an ankle sprain he obtained in the third quarter tonight, he is still pleasant. Typical of his character, he is a refreshing page in a book of overdone, overexposed, and overconfident professional athletes.

It is all-too-often suggested that he is still caught up in what seems to be the never-ending rotation between Center and PF positions. Yet he never seems to say much about it either way. He simply goes out on the court, does his job, and calls it a night. Tonight was no different. He simply complimented the work of the team and their focus on the games ahead. Day by day.

“Any good restaurants we can hit tonight?” he asks as we part ways.

Apparently one suggestion goes a long way with this guy. Too bad his game is on point, because I’m curious to see how far my suggestions on that issue would go. And I’m starting to think he has mistaken me for a restaurant reviewer, not a sports writer.

“Yeah, wait until you get home and hit Fellini’s for a pizza…and feel free to FedEx one down to me. Happy writers make for better articles.”

He smiles (adorably) and saunters away. I really hope he sends me that pizza from Fellini’s.