Among a year of chaos, division and political unrest there has been an unsung hero that emerged from the most unlikely of places. Dave Portnoy, Founder of BarStool Sports, has given hope to many small businesses who have lost so much during the past year’s Covid lockdowns.
Taking a moment to analyze the foundation of the company itself, Barstool Sports was founded by Dave Portnoy who still remains the Chief Content Officer and his Chief Executive Officer, Erika Nardini, who happens to be an incredibly accomplished executive with a track record of building, developing and growing businesses on a grand scale. Erika Nardini’s background and the foundation that makes up the Barstool that I have always loved—is an authentic and unapologetic space to discuss sports, comedy, current events and more. Since Nardini’s hiring in 2016, the dynamic between her and Portnoy seemingly became an effortless symbiotic relationship, which in and of itself speaks volumes but also lends credence to the facts Kayce Smith shared with me last year about Barstool’s culture.
Portnoy and Nardini’s commitment to content creation as upper level managers, in a hands-on fashion, has separated BarStool from others, as it is unique from any competition. Making way for the idyllic duo with the shared vision of not pandering to, cowering to or straying from their core beliefs as to what Barstool means to them, Nardini and Portnoy are continuing to dominate despite the haters and trolls who don’t seemingly consume the content Barstool is known for.
Rather than focusing on the abysmal behavior and incredulous accusations being made across social media and news media sites in a smear campaign against Barstool and Portnoy, I want to highlight the good work and empowering messages from Barstool’s employees, who’ve promoted the efforts to help small businesses stay afloat.
The opportunities for reaching new heights and setting new goals is a Barstool reality as the company has continued to flourish with the Barstool Fund and helping small business after small business, with their team rallying to spread the word about their efforts.
If you are a small business that needs help staying in business because of the Covid lockdowns email us your story to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will try to help as many people as we can.
3:51 PM · Dec 17, 2020
In a video that now has close to 3 million views, posted by Barstool founder and Chief content Officer Dave Portnoy just a month ago, he explains the hopes for the Barstool Fund and outlines their goal.
“We’re going to donate a half a million dollars- half a million dollars. We’ve come up with a plan; is it the best plan? No. The best plan is the government getting off their ass and issuing relief, billions of dollars, to these small business owners who are losing their livelihood and have no recourse, no way to save it through no fault of their own.”
The criteria for being included in the fund?
To qualify you have to still be paying your employees.
And you need to disclose: what do you need money for? How much do you need to get to the next month—as a rental leave tax relief? What can we do to make sure you stay in business until this pandemic is over?
“We’re going to help as many as we humanly can and try to keep all the small businesses alive. So, that’s the plan. Is it perfect? Probably not, but it’s better than nothing. Barstoolfund@barstoolsports.com – If you’re a small business owner and you need help: reach out. Hopefully, we can help you.”
It’s been modeled around Frankie Borrelli, who’s been the longtime cameraman for Dave’s “one bite everybody knows the rules” pizza reviews, that have certainly become my guilty pleasure over the years.
Frankie’s father, owner of a restaurant in Long Island is the perfect example of the type of business they wanted to save.
“Dave, I really want to thank you for starting this fund. Do you know what it means to us? This started in April, we had our doors closed, and we made it through the summer. We built an outdoor patio, we’re breaking even through the end of the summer. I’ve got my staff; they’re all being paid. I said, ‘we’ll make it through Christmas.’ January, February, March I was planning on closing. I didn’t say anything to my staff. This is going to help so much. You don’t know. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. And my staff, with their mortgages, families. You don’t know how many people you’re helping. Thank you.” Coming from the most heartwarming video Frankie posted of a video reaction of Dave’s announcement of the Barstool Fund.
Dave, who’s been a champion of the small business owner, receives criticism from others in the broadcasting, sports and journalism industries, not to mention the relentless social media trolls. The false narratives involving the culture for women employed by Barstool or the content involving females on Barstool’s platforms has been dispelled by Kayce Smith in a one-on-one Q&A she graciously allowed me in 2020 about her experience with the company. This unfortunate and shameful narrative has not been called out by others in the media world, especially as Barstool Sports has expanded their role in broadcasting to encompass finance, current events and news. I think it’s essential to point out a few of the significant facts that conveniently get cut from stories about Portnoy and Barstool Sports because the facts simply don’t align with the narrative they want to perpetuate.
Some talking points for the people who refuse to consume any of the content Barstool produces on a daily basis has been condensed below to cancel the “cancel Barstool culture” and instead, focus on the incredible work they have done and continue to do, particularly in the vein of small business assistance.
Stuart Varney of FOX Nation and FOX Business, as well as Tucker Carlson of FOX News, have hosted Dave Portnoy to discuss his work to breathe life back into the small business owners and encourage the hard working individuals who want to continue to come to work every day and earn a check for the work they’ve done rather than be handed a check from the government to tide them over.
“Kid Rock, reached out unsolicited, Guy Fieri‘s been a big help, Tom Brady, we’ve had Dana White donate one hundred grand, so we’ve had a lot of big celebrities but we have over 160,000 individuals, so they’re just everyday people. The people who like Barstool, the people who care about what’s going on, and that may be the most moving part of it.” Portnoy shared on FOX Nation.
“I keep saying it: no amount of money will ever be enough. This is a government issue if the money is involved but they’re not getting involved.” Said Portnoy.
“So how about coming back for a Townhall on Fox Business to talk about all the businesses you’ve saved, maybe surprise a few people, live during the special and just tell him, ‘hey, we rescued you.’ Do you want to do it?” Varney proposed to Portnoy earlier this month.
“I’m aiming for the moon.” Portnoy replied.
Stuart Varney concluded the interview saying, “Portnoy, I think you’re doing great work. I really mean that. You’re a good man.”
“You’re calling out CNN because they promoted Beyoncé’s efforts to help businesses but they just left you completely out of it. They stayed silent about you.” Tucker Carlson said to Portnoy on his show.
Portnoy replied, “Yeah, so I mean I have no problem with Beyoncé. Any charity is good. I don’t care if you’re political, not political; everyone should care about this. And I’m beating the drum: I’ll go on any network anytime anywhere because the more publicity we get, the more donations we get, the more businesses we can help. So, I don’t know why CNN would not mention it, at least to help people, help small businesses. I have nothing against Beyoncé, mention Beyoncé, she’s famous and she’s doing good work, but we’re doing something too and I think it would help everybody the more publicity that we get.”
A fair point that has been avoided at all costs by network news media with the exception of FOX and a piece done by the Today Show. Just two weeks ago, Portnoy joined Carlson again to discuss the progress made and what the latest response from the news media has been.
Tucker Carlson pointed out the elephant in the room and how Portnoy just decided ‘I’m going to do it myself, I’m going to raise the money and give it some people who need it.’ Kind of an amazing story and you’d think it would be everywhere: it isn’t. It’s been pretty much ignored, the Barstool Sports Fund by the media, but this week some of the press start taking different approach—they’re angry and they’re trying to destroy Barstool Sports.”
Airing one of the lovely success stories and video reactions, “My whole body is numb right now,” says the recipient crying through her gratitude to Portnoy. “You guys are angels, we’ve been feeling so abandoned and so scared about the future. Thank you so much for taking care of the people that have seemed to be forgotten.” she finished.
Tucker Carlson isn’t here for it. He airs the video and then says, “The San Francisco Chronicle, for example, is a garbage paper, wrote that the woman you just saw was ‘not aware of Portnoy‘s history of making racist and misogynist remarks or the accusations of sexual harassment against him.’ because no good deed goes unpunished, apparently.”
The claims of misogyny, sexual harassment continue despite the fact the female CEO of Barstool Sports Erika Nardini, the female employees of Barstool and former interns have shared experiences that couldn’t differ more from the unsubstantiated claims expressed in The SF Chronicle.
The petty infighting between journalists has also continued due to a perplexing inability to focus on the sheer magnitude of the charitable contribution Dave has taken on. Dismissing the chance to report on the incredible and historic efforts made by Portnoy and his team to help provide relief for business owners who have lived in fear of making payroll or next month’s rent since the shutdown started.
The opportunities for reaching new heights and setting new goals is a Barstool reality as the company has continued to flourish—with The Barstool Fund and helping small businesses, the team has rallied to support these efforts.
One of his supporters and teammates Liz Gonzalez, Portnoy spoke of just yesterday on his podcast. “Liz is one of the purest people we have at Barstool and that’s a high compliment for me to give somebody.” Portnoy said on Tuesday’s episode of The Dave Portnoy Show with Eddie & Co.
“Liz is uniquely Liz and I respect her for that. There’s nothing fake about Liz, ever. Liz is Liz. She doesn’t care what people think.”
Liz Gonzales, blogger and host alongside PFT Commenter (Eric Sollenberger) can be heard on SiriusXM Channel 85 weekdays from 11-2.
I wrote a profile on Kayce Smith and the culture at Barstool, stemming from the years of the same inaccurate, asinine narrative about the foundation of the company.
Kayce Smith held nothing back in speaking with me about the freedom, safety and support she has around her at Barstool: “as a woman in this company, I feel very safe and have never been treated better. So that whole ‘Barstool treats their women employees poorly’ narrative is just flat out incorrect.” The entire article can be found here: https://barrettsportsmedia.com/2020/08/04/kayce-smith-has-never-had-more-freedom/ I know the last thing that Dave Portnoy needs is me as his bodyguard, but I think it’s time to put the petty and unnecessary hit pieces aside and acknowledge the great work Dave continues to do with Barstool Sports and most recently, his philanthropic efforts for The Barstool Fund.
The Cost of “Thoughts”
Jack Del Rio made a classic mistake of wondering aloud about topics that people in public positions aren’t allowed to think about on Twitter.
The first recorded use of the expression, “A penny for your thoughts,” was made by Sir Thomas Moore precisely 500 years ago (1522). But, no doubt, a penny went much further in the 16th century.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s most recent Consumer Price Index (CPI) shows that inflation continues to increase above expectations. The current annual rate of 8.6% is the highest since 1981. The cost of thoughts, or at least saying them aloud, well, saying certain things in a public forum, has gone up far more than the CPI.
Jack Del Rio, defensive coordinator for the Washington Commanders (formerly known as the “Washington Football Team,” and before that, the Washington Redskins), made a classic mistake of wondering aloud about topics that people in public positions aren’t allowed to think about on Twitter. Specifically, his Tweets compared (what he called) “the summer of riots” to January 6th at the U.S. Capitol. As the late, great Alex Trebek would say, Del Rio’s comments were “in the form of a question.”
Faced with media scrutiny about his Tweets, rather than back down, Del Rio referred to January 6th as a “dust-up at the Capitol.”
Can I tell you a trade secret of press flacks? They all have a small can of lighter fluid and a pack of matches within reach behind a piece of glass with the words “break only in the case of emergency” scrawled on it. Certain phrases or words will cause a press person, at great personal danger and sacrifice, to break the glass, douse themselves with the accelerant, and strike a match before flinging their immolating body in front of the podium. Okay, not literally, but I guarantee the Commanders’ public relations director would think this alternative less painful than hearing those words come out of Del Rio’s mouth in front of the press gaggle.
The controversy that followed was swift and certain: as was the reaction from Commanders Head Coach Ron Rivera. He promptly assessed a $100,000 fine on Del Rio for his comments.
Two points here: First, this is not a sports story. Talk Radio observers should be far more concerned with the consequences of this story than NFL or sports fans. Second, it doesn’t matter what you think happened on January 6th. You should still find the fine issued by Rivera chilling, whether you call it an insurrection or a dust-up.
I used to believe that comedian Bill Maher and I were about as far apart on the political spectrum as any two Americans could be. Maher and I, however, hold similar views on freedom of expression.
On his HBO show, “Real Time,” Maher defended Del Rio by saying: “In America, you have the right to be wrong. They fined him; the team fined him $100,000 for this opinion. Fining people for an opinion. I am not down with that.”
Because this is where we meet, I’d like to buy Bill Maher a drink and have a laugh over all the times he’s been wrong, or we can share that drink and a smile for understanding that freedom of expression IS the foundation of democracy – no matter who’s right or wrong. Freedom of expression is an issue where liberals and conservatives must find common ground.
The football team currently known as the Washington Commanders may need another name change. Perhaps the “Comrades” would reflect the team’s philosophy better? Levying such a hefty punishment for stating a political (and non-football) point of view because it is out of step with what is apparently official policy seems more reminiscent of the Politburo’s posture than a free society.
Del Rio’s words are understandably offensive to many. At the very least, they were ham-handed for someone who has been in the public spotlight for so long. But a $100,000 fine? Stifling political opinion is far more dangerous than anything Del Rio said.
Taking the Del Rio incident into context with the “Cancel Culture” of the past few years, Talk Radio hosts should look over their shoulders. Del Rio is also an excellent reminder to think twice before posting a politically unpopular opinion on social media.
Inflation has eaten away at the value of a penny and increased the cost of making politically incorrect statements, including on the air in recent years. What inhibits individuals from expressing their thoughts, beliefs, opinions, and emotions is a threat to Talk Radio and democracy.
Joe Pags’ Dream to Work In Media Started Early
Pags knew a career in media was for him ever since he was ten years old, even before his vocal chords did.
If you’ve ever been required to interview someone for a segment or article, you know pretty quickly when it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Joe Pags was answering my initial questions as freely as Ebeneezer Scrooge hands out Krugerrands. Teeth have been pulled from the human head with greater ease. It just wasn’t happening.
After a few minutes, I think I grew on him.
I discovered we actually had a few things in common; both of us lived in Lake Worth, Florida, we knew a lot of the same places and faces, and we both understood that summer heat in Florida is like purgatory.
However, Pags and I will both have a fond devotion to The Noid. We will always share the memories of being a manager at Domino’s Pizza.
“I worked at Domino’s when pizzas were delivered to your door within 30-minutes, or it was free,” Pags said. “After a while they went to 30 minutes or three dollars off the price. Too many people were getting into accidents trying to beat the clock.”
What Pags did not mention was that even when you legitimately made it in less than 30 minutes, you had people questioning your delivery time. I guess that’s human nature.
Soon, pizzas were just for eating, not working; Pags started his radio career in 1989 in Palm Beach County, Florida.
After that, it was a stint as a television anchor from 1994-2005 in Saginaw, Michigan, and then Albany, New York. From there he was called back to radio and landed at the Clear Channel Talk Flagship, WOAI, in 2005. The Joe Pags Show has been a fan favorite since its debut in 2005.
For Pags, the media dream started early on.
“I grew up listening to talk radio at a very young age and was determined to make my living doing it one day,” Pags says. “I actually have a tape somewhere on which I erased the DJ’s voice and recorded mine over the songs.”
Pags is probably thrilled that the tape will never be released.
Years later, he found he could pay the bills doing something he loved. “I’m lucky enough to work with great people on both local, and national radio and television,” Pags explained.
“I also remember Steve Cain, Rick, and Suds on that station,” Pags said. “It was a lot of talk radio, but it was fun. It was entertainment. Rush Limbaugh was doing the politics stuff back then.”
Pags knew a career in media was for him ever since he was ten years old, even before his vocal chords did.
“When my voice changed at 13, I developed more of a bass tone; I knew I was on my way. I had a New York accent and had to shake that.”
Before he embarked on a career in radio, his music career was going well. Pags played French horn and saxophone; apparently, he was pretty good.
He played gigs at the prestigious Breakers Hotel, among many others. “I used to play at the Backstage lounge adjacent to the old Burt Reynolds Dinner Theater in Jupiter,” Pags said.
No word on whether Reynolds ever caught Pags live or not.
As a kid, he played baseball. Pags said he was pretty good. What took center stage for Pags was music. It was the French horn and saxophone that captured his heart.
“I played professionally on the Empress Dinner Cruise on the Intracoastal Waterway,” Pags said. “I also did gigs at The Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach. We made some good money.”
Before Domino’s and radio and music, it all started with a strong desire to succeed. That often comes from your family’s belief in you. Sometimes it’s not there.
“I knew that if I worked hard enough, if I showed the love for the work I was doing, then I’d succeed,” Pags said.
His family lived in Lake Worth, Florida, from 1973-74, and Pags returned every so often. “I got back to Florida recently when I went to Mara Lago and watched 2,000 Mules.”
San Antonio has been home for the past 17 years for Pags and his family. “I’ve been here at WOAI. I’ve got my own studio in a great area.” His daughter Sam is his executive producer. I asked Pags if there was any nepotism when it came to hiring Sam.
“Darn right, there is nepotism,” he said. “This is Joe Pags media. I get to hire whoever I want,” he quipped. “Sam has always had a love of broadcasting. When I became syndicated in this business, I told her I trusted her more than anyone else I knew and asked her to produce my show.”
The other day I spoke with Will Cain for a piece. He told me if I visited Austin, I should also see Texas. So I asked Pags what Cain was trying to say. “He means Austin is a city like Portland; only it’s in Texas. There’s a lot of homelessness in Austin. A lot of crime. The University of Texas in Austin goes far to the Left.”
Where does Pags’ tough demeanor come from?
“My father was 100 percent Italian. We had some good pasta dishes around our house with my grandparents around,” Pags explained. “We didn’t have a good bakery in Lake Worth, so I remember my mother and aunts bringing great bread recipes over from the homeland.”
Pags has always been interested in what takes place on the periphery, not just the core of matters. He’s done a lot of things throughout his life. That experience has helped shape his radio show. Pags said his show tends to be white-collar, but he grew up blue-collar all the way.
“I liked the Superman movies. I enjoyed Rocky,” Pags explained. “As a car-buff, I loved the Burt Reynolds films with Smokey and the Bandit. Stuff like that.”
Lake Worth, like a lot of other Floridia areas, has been known to be a little rough and tumble. Just watch Cops for a week if you don’t believe me.
Pags said other than a little shoving match at the bus stop, he didn’t encounter much rough stuff. “I was a musician, I wasn’t in that mix. Perhaps a scuffle in little league.”
When he was a teenager, he thought music would be it. “I’d played with some big-hitters at the time, like The Coasters,” Pags said.
“Music career opportunities really didn’t come along as I’d hoped. In some ways, people in the industry were full of it. I still did some freelance work on the saxophone.”
Pags said he was always willing to work for what he got. “I poured coffee and ran errands for $4 an hour,” Pags said. “I had my car repossessed, and got evicted from my apartment. I still kept at it. I never was deterred from what I wanted. I knew what I wanted, but never really expected things to happen the way they did.”
Pags said if some youngster asked how to be what Pags is today, his answer was succinct. “Pour coffee, run errands, whatever you have to do.”
I asked Pags what he does in his downtime? Let’s just say he’s not running to tee-off at 7:00 am with the guys at the club on his day off.
“I’m a domestic sports car guy,” he says with pride. “I’ve got three Corvettes, a Camaro Super Sport. My Camaro was a 1967, red with white stripes. I sold that car so we could afford to adopt our daughter. I got the better end of that deal.”
He doesn’t do any weekend racing on local tracks like other aging Indy wannabes. “I like to look at those cars in the garage,” Pags said. “My dad was a big car guy. My dad is probably why I’ve succeeded in my life and career. Not for the reasons you’d think.”
Pags’ relationship with his father had the typical ups and downs. Same as it is for most men.
“My father didn’t think I’d amount to anything and had no problem relating that to me,” Pags said. “Conversely, my Mom was always extremely supportive of my interests and goals. I knew if you were good at what you did, people would take notice.”
Pags said his father excelled at being a naysayer. A glass is a half-empty kind of guy.
“He was so negative. He thought I’d never succeed at anything,” Pags explained. “I was out of the house at 17, and I was determined to become something. To prove him wrong.”
Before his father passed away, Pags believes his father became aware of a lot of things.
“A light went on in his head, and he was just so surprised I could make a living doing what I did,” Pags explains. “When I became a big enough success, he recognized my drive and determination. I’m still not sure if he was hard on me because he thought it would help me in the end. Whatever his reasoning was, it gave me the drive and determination to see things through.”
Pags’ father became so proud of his son that he’d tell friends Joe was going to be on Fox News and how they should tune in.
“It was my mother, with her ultimate support, that really made me want to succeed. For her,” Pags explained.
“I learned that if someone disparages you or makes you feel small, you have choices. You can go into a shell and take it. Believe what people say. Or you can go out and knock down some doors. If you want me to do something, tell me I can’t do it. Soon I will be syndicated on 200 stations. All that came from believing in myself. I’ll prove it to iHeart. To other broadcasters.”
Pags said at some point; you’ve got to find some kind of edge.
“I knew I wasn’t going to agree with things my father believed and said, just to shut him up. I had to stand up for my own beliefs.”
I can relate to a guy like Pags. He’s got a tough exterior, not easy to crack. But like me, I know in the center is a soft, creamy nougat.
Where Is the Good Stuff?
By the “good stuff, I’m not even referring necessarily to the happy or “feel good” tales of human kindness, child wonderment, or cute puppies.
A couple of stories about bears actually brought me to this declamation of sorts.
What you’ll see (or read, actually) is nothing new and certainly not any type of original complaint or assessment, but as I spend my days digging, crafting, and stacking stories on double homicides, house fires, high gas prices, and low voter turnout, it’s becoming that much more difficult to balance out a newscast with the good stuff.
By the “good stuff, I’m not even referring necessarily to the happy or “feel good” tales of human kindness, child wonderment, or cute puppies. I’m really just talking about the low end of the meter things; an innocuous bill passing, a road-widening project, or maybe even an upgrade in consumer technology somewhere.
We all realize if a show rattles off an unending laundry list of death, destruction, corruption, and high pollen counts, the only winners are therapists, pharmacies, and liquor stores. But it’s no longer as easy as it once was; I mean, I may be overstating for dramatic effect, but at the end of the day, it really does seem like not only are there fewer accounts to raise the serotonin levels, but those we do find cannot sufficiently dilute those newscasts from their continual tales of woe.
To expand my point, I return to the bears.
Over the years, I have come to count on bears, and for a good reason. Most bear content consists of the giant creatures, often with their youngsters in tow, doing things we find cute, intriguing, thought-provoking, and/or hilarious.
If you have never seen a giant black bear rumbling around inside an SUV they’ve just illegally entered or busting into someone’s kitchen and raiding the pantry or the garbage shed, can you even say you have truly lived?
Well, the short answer is you probably can, but I’m the one on the keyboard at the moment, so roll with it for now.
True, those stories often come at the expense of some weary camper, homeowner, or utility worker, but for the audience, it’s generally rejuvenating, even medicinal. A simple Google or social media search will lead you to an overflow of the best of bears in news content. Therefore, as you will see…they trend.
But here’s what has happened of late to turn those stories in a downward direction. Here, in this part of New England, our news stories about bears recently have revolved around them being killed. They destroy some crops or a garden and move on towards somebody’s house, and they get shot. They break into a shed and don’t run off; they get shot. They are euthanized; their cubs get tranquilized for relocation and then don’t wake up. It’s certainly a shift.
Suddenly, we are back to where we started with our content. What was once a sure thing is now added to the dark category of story selection. Still, it is often viable content because it’s a pro and con topic; it has angles and follow-up potential.
Now know this; I am not proposing a referendum involving bears, but rather just offering a long-winded metaphor of sorts.
We do not know when the time-tested default stories are going to turn on us. I do think it will usually happen when our backs are turned. That probably means the digging we do has gone even more profound than before. We cannot always count for all those elements in a story to be out in the open.
Like most of us, I read or at least do a hard scan of a lot of reports, releases, summaries, and everyone else’s take on what’s happening. Fortunately, I can sometimes find fundamental components dropped down further than they ought to be or not allotted enough attention due to time or space constraints.
In police work, these obscure details would often lead to another suspect, another criminal charge, or even an exoneration or a new investigation.
I find little difference in this present position:
A hi-rise building fire is brought under control when the alarm’s sprinkler system douses much of the flames just as fire crews arrive. Now, that’s great, but there’s a bit more upon looking a little deeper.
The sprinklers knocked out the elevators, and firefighters carried a disabled burn victim down 14 flights of stairs.
Part of their job?
Sure, but worth peeling the layers off that onion.
Drivers going the wrong way is another big thing around here. On the interstates, the highways, the local roadways, it’s happening a lot and often, as you might guess, with tragic results. So a driver is taken into custody after going the opposite way on not one but two different thoroughfares within like fifteen minutes.
Good story, good arrest, good write-up.
How did they catch the wrong-way driver?
The trooper turned directly into the driver’s path and took the crash impact to stop him.
Where did we that aspect of the incident?
Paragraph four or three-quarters through the stand-up.
Now, of course, all coverage and treatment of stories is subjective, and the intent here is merely for me to find a way to say I’m not seeing enough or finding enough “good stuff” to balance out my newscast, so I am going to loot and gut everything I can when necessary.
And that’s just on the local side. Do not get me started on the national beat.
I hope it’s not that people are starting to slip on their quota of good deeds, but it has forced me to think and work just a little harder.
It’s disappointing when I cannot even count on the bears anymore.