I'm Right Again Dot Com

A New Commentary Each Wednesday       August 13, 2014


    I know that you're ahead of me on this subject - due to the coverage given to the topic by so many people: celebs and a lot of "just plain folks like you and me" (often aided and abetted by friends and family), who fill buckets with ice water and stand under a bone-chilling drenching, in order to bring attention to the need for more research on amortrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). 

    Medical science has been aware of this disease for a long time. In recent years, research has made breakthroughs in diagnose, but tragically for many, no cure. ALS is basically a degenerative disease of nerve cells in the brainóresulting in creeping paralysis, usually first affecting speech and finally, all bodily functions.

    In 1938, I saw a brief but poignant speech in a Movietone Newsreel shown in my little hometown theater. It was the "Luckiest Man in the World" broadcast from Yankee stadium by famous first base player and "Iron Man Hitter," Lou Gehrig. In his retirement speech, he recalled the many marvelous experiences and personages of major league baseball and only touched upon "a bad break," about which he had been informed only weeks before. He had ALS, and only survived for two years afterward. His name continues to be used by the public to identify the malady.

    So, it's not that science hasn't been striving for decades. The terrible toll taken by the disease demands a herculean, sustained effort; more money to find a cure. As simple as that.

    Once again, Americans are proving that we are willing to accept the challenge, especially if one can also chide others into subjecting themselves to a freezing moment; by becoming the"victim/star" of a ten-second video. It may be your only chance for national fame in the great hall of certified masochists. 

    You probably already know that the bucket of ice water idea was given a huge boost by Pete Frates, a Boston College baseball standout, who knew he was beginning to suffer the symptoms of ALS in 2012. He may not have been first, but recently he issued a challenge on a video that went viral: He asked viewers to follow his example; learn about ALS (Google is a good way) and either make a pledge to donate to ALS or one of its support groups or subject yourself to the bone chilling shower-bath Millions. have already done both, as evidenced by thousands of Americans from every class, color and income who have had others take a video of them for posterity...and a good cause. 

    The worldwide web, and particularly the social media outlets: Facebook, Twitter, etc. have proven the overwhelming reach and impetus of the aptly named "social media" on the Internet.

     As of this date (August 18, 2014) over $10-million has been donated to the ALS Association. Feel like joining them? No you don't HAVE to dump a bucket of ice water over you, but that's what has made it work - like crazy!  Nowadays, it's takes something outrageous to captivate us. It's been a lot of fun and fantastic publicity (I am totally amazed by who is willing to drench themselves) - but all is forgiven if you skip the ice water part and give directly to http://www.alsa.org

-Phil Richardson, Observer and Storyteller

Sample "Water Dream," an Amazon eBook novel in which al-Qaeda operatives smuggle an atomic bomb into the USA. http://www.al-qaedajihad.com

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Our unending thanks to Jim Bromley, who programs our Archive of Prior Commentaries


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