A Little Off The Top: Return to Sender?

offtoplogo.jpg picture by jmooser

Tennessee woman returns adopted Russian kid back to Motherland

Yes, you read correctly.

An American woman sent back an “unruly and violent” Russian orphan back to Russia after the family decided that it was in fact dangerous to house the child because of threats of violence and graphic, gruesome pictures he drew, which included a burning house with the family inside. According to the story I read, it wasn’t even the adopted mother who sent him off at the airport! Good ole grandma had to do it!

It appears that this family might have started an international firestorm, as Medvedev and the Russian foreign minister were “furious” and the actions were considered “the last straw.” So, until further notice, or at least until a full investigation is conducted, you cannot adopt Russian orphans- just in case that was on your “To-Do” list in the next month or so. At least we were able to come to some sort of diplomatic resolution with the Russians regarding a slight nuclear disarmament… who knows what might have happened.

So, we’re good about the nukes, right? Ok well, I’d like to make a return… what’s your policy on that?

In all seriousness, I feel that this story brings two issues up for discussion. The first is the actual ability to return a child to an orphanage, let alone to their original country, if the arrangements don’t go… as planned. I can assure you there are PLENTY of moments where our own parents may have thought the same thing… I’ve heard it a lot. But it’s all in good fun, usually. It’s part of the developing familial dynamics that go along with raising kids. But didn’t you make the same choice that mothers made, to bring/take a kid in this world?

I know their defense is “safety” and perhaps they indeed weren’t fit for the situation. Indeed, being a foster/adopted parent is a tough calling, and certainly a responsibility which isn’t celebrated enough. Should adopted parent have the right to do this? I mean, it’s a kid, right? It’s not like you went down to the humane society, pick out a great dane to live in your one room 50 square foot apartment and then return it because you can’t handle the responsibility. I assume that there is an extensive interview and screening process for international adoptions. And well, I’d also have to assume that this isn’t the first time something like this has happened, so I’d hope there is some sort of return policy if the parents see that they cannot handle the responsibilities.

Should be required viewing for anyone thinking of adopting/having children

All in all, I can see both sides of the argument here, but you can decisively conclude that the family definitely handled the situation incorrectly. They should face neglect charges since they are the legal guardians of the child, just like my parents would have faced sending me on an airplane by myself at the age of 7! As to the severity of the punishment, I don’t know. What is your opinion on the matter?

My second concern with this story is this. I know that many most countries are FAR worse off than us. I also know that in these other struggling countries the number of orphans/ abandon children is astronomical, and that the quality of life in their native countries is low. And I can certainly understand that through international adoption, you are saving a kid from a tough life and a potentially dangerous one. Saving a child breaks the cycle of poverty and lack of education, whether if it only for that one kid. There are may people who partake in this, a God bless their souls.

But don’t we face these problems at a domestic level as well? Wouldn’t it be more practical and perhaps even more beneficial to gradual improvement of quality of life in our own country to adopt children from the United States? It’s a problem that I think is bigger than one might fathom. For all sorts of adoption statistics, check out the following link: Adoption Statistics (Very in depth reports on orphans/adoptions in the US as well as internationally.)

Don’t forget to vote!

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

Comedy Loses a “King”

bernie mac

Bernie Mac, talented comedian, actor, and writer, died today as a result of complications with pneumonia. Not exactly the best news to wake up to as a B Mac fan. Like most of you, you may have responded to the news with a quite audible WHAAAAT??, similarly to when Heath Ledger was found dead. I wasn’t even aware that Bernie Mac was 50 years old! Condolences to family and friends of one of my, and well, America’s favorite comedians.

As an appropriate tribute, our first list here at the heap. shall be dedicated to America’s favorite uncle, soon to be father in law, and baseball slugger. Thus I present:

Most Memorable Appearences of Bernie Mac! (In no particular order)

Comedy Hour with the Obama Camp.

Perhaps the most recent memory on the minds of many of BM, he was doing a mini routine during an Obama fundraiser in which he “joked about menopause, sexual infidelity and promiscuity, and used occasional crude language.” The following day, the Obama camp cited the display as inappropriate and openly rebuked BM. I can guarantee you one thing- I am sureeeee it was funny. You know, I can probably guarantee another. Obama was laughing. But in this day and age, jokes aren’t allowed in the political arena, nor is laughing, smiling, or actually passing bills that are worthwhile. I think comedy would greatly aid in diplomacy. Imagine sending Ambassador Mac to talk to Ahmadinejad. Nuclear crisis averted.

Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle
In general, the Charlie’s Angels movies are horrendous. Minus Cameron Diaz of course :). But in all seriousness, Mac as Bosley delivers the only REAL comic relief of the movie, and perhaps makes it watchable (though I’ll never sit through it again).

Kings of Comedy
No explanation needed. Look for clips on YouTube. You will laugh. A lot. Unless you are a politician running for president and have to make everyone happy. Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer and DL Hughley are GREAT as well.

Mr. 3000
In what other universe could a middle-aged comedian even fathom the idea that he may be future hall-of-famer after reaching the critical milestone of the 3,000th hit? Only in the realm of the silver screen can this occur, as BM stars as Stan Ross, an egotistical former baseball player for the Milwaukee Brewers (who can only try for 3rd place in the central, we’re assuming the CUBS are in first place!) who decides to come back and attempt to rightfully regain his celebrity status. An endearing story of what could have been, and what still can be when one abandons the ego’s quest for glory and puts others first.

The Bernie Mac Show
Pick an episode, any episode, and guaranteed you will laugh at the numerous domestic issues which come up when an uncle with BM’s personality is trying to raise growing children, as well as manage his own life! Perhaps he will be most remembered for his pseudo-serious confessional sessions with his audience. America, go find some reruns to watch TODAY!

Guess Who

A social inversion of the classic “Guess who’s Coming to Dinner,” We find BM acting as the overprotective and subconsciously prejudicing father of Ashton Kutcher’s object of affection. What follows are hilarious events of attempts to win a father’s affection, sabotage, and raw competitive spirit. I recommend a viewing.

Ocean’s 11, 12, 13
I must admit, I have only seen bits and pieces of the first two, and I know I’m missing out, since I enjoy movies of this genre. But I can assuredly say that BM is a staple member of the cast. Again, his character Frank Catton provides comic relief (even though from what I’ve seen, most of the characters can pull this off). I’ll make sure to watch them soon!


His screen time is at most 10 minutes in Transformers, but I have to admit, as soon as I saw him, I was laughing. This one actually is one of my most favorite Bernie Mac moments. BM has one of those infectious personalities which you just have to like. The part for the used car salesman was well casted, and BM acted perfectly. You just can’t have anyone else in the world come across as shady and “cheesy,” not to mention so obviously unsuccessful as Mac’s portrayal of the salesman.

There you have it. Some of Bernie Mac’s most memorable moments. He will be missed! RIP.