6 Worthy Conversations: How Winston Duke is quietly taking over Hollywood with ‘Nine Days’

Welcome back to the land of whatever says definitely goes.

A place where all the little noise in my head can finally be addressed. Let’s get into the latest round (okay, #2) of worthy conversations.

1. Thank your damn school teachers!

St. Louis city schools may be going back to actual school this month, which is why I want to take a moment and thank all the teachers around the world for being Grade A troopers. Teaching young minds, such as third grade, isn’t an easy task in person. Over the internet, I can imagine the difficulty reaches a Four Bottles of Red Wine level. Vinny’s teacher, who we will call Mrs. G here, definitely rocked the Zoom format. She was patient, honest, fun, quick-witted, and just a sharp communicator. You had kids moving around in the background, and she would toss some discipline through the screen and get their attention.

If you have a moment this week, thank your damn teachers. They are heroic superninjas who had to do the unthinkable this fall. Things may be going back to normal for most soon, but the virtual learning isn’t exactly going away anytime soon. Teachers are going to have to maintain that balance of wise knowledge distribution, rather it’s face-to-face or not. Cheers to them.

2. Lebron James is something else, but is he better than Michael Jordan?

I’ll be the adult here and say who gives a shit?! It’s a question that is just too hard to answer properly, at least in a stable environment. If you held a gun to my head, or had a freshly pressed shot of espresso under my lips, I would say Jordan. That’s just how I feel and view all the stats, videos, era, and all the other little things that go into a decision. But why does everything have to be an either or battle? Why can’t we simply celebrate a couple legendary talents? That’s what I am trying to do after James won his fourth NBA championship last night, including one with three different teams. Wearing #24, James honored the departed Kobe Bryant as best as a player/friend could: By winning the whole fucking thing. Roger Dorn with the quote there.

Michael was a signature talent. So is Lebron. Let it be.

3. The Alex Pietrangelo free agent diary entry

I’ve written words on this man on three different sites over the past two weeks. But what will it matter in the end? Every day is becoming like another ending in the Petro saga. Will he stay or will he go? Will it be for a year or seven? What plane is he getting on now? What are they saying?

Tonight, Pietrangelo is returning home from his Las Vegas trip. A weekend in Vegas didn’t elicit a contract, but it may tomorrow or Wednesday. Free agency has only been open for four days, but it feels like four weeks. Stick tap to Doug Armstrong for playing his cards exactly right here. He didn’t wait, only to come away with nothing. He pounced on free agent defenseman Torey Krug, and still reportedly has his foot stuck in the Pietrangelo decision. No matter what happens, Doug did good here.

4. The Cardinals don’t need a hitter; they need a new hitting philosophy

I’ll make this quick. While the Cardinals need Nolan Arenado or Joey Gallo, this team has a problem that is becoming poisonous. Why do so many young hitters depart St. Louis and become great elsewhere? It’s happening too often to ignore. Tommy Pham, Luke Voit, and Randy Arozarena to name a few. The last fella is making waves in the playoffs this week. The middle one is bashing home runs for the Yankees. Pham helped the Padres get past St. Louis.

Jeff Albert’s lessons aren’t sticking. Hitting coaches are a dime a dozen usually. Except in Memphis, where coaches turn water into wine inside two weeks. Why are the Major League coaches not as effective as the Minor League coaches? Why are players doing well over there after barely getting a chance (outside of Pham) here? Trades happen and young talent is sent off, but this alarming rate can’t be ignored. It’s not just one hitter. The Cardinals need a new hitting philosophy!

5. Winston Duke is quietly making the best moves in Hollywood

Black Panther. Us. Spencer Confidential. Nine Days?

The first two were smash hit films, and the third one was a highly successful Mark Wahlberg Netflix film that Duke helped make special. The last title card is an upcoming film that features Duke in a whole new role: Leading man. It’s about a man welcoming five different people to his home, truly out in the middle of nowhere, to be interviewed for a job. What’s the job? It’s a simple theory really. The job is life. In this surefire Oscar hopeful, Duke is talking to five UNBORN souls over the course of nine days to see which one should gain passage to the big round rock.

It’ll be a treat to see a gem like Duke get some space on the big screen. And yes, rather a movie is viewed at home or in a theater, the screen should still be referred to as BIG. This movie seems to be about being prepared and tasked up for existence in a world becoming increasingly less stable and more chaotic by the day. Fascinating stuff led up by Duke.

6. Support local restaurants please

If we don’t, they won’t be around next year. All you have to do is look around and St. Louis eateries are closing quickly. Reopening isn’t a given, either. COVID-19 has already taken its pound of flesh, but it’s already angling for another. Russell Ping, the owner of St. Louis’ best brunch spot, had to close his Chesterfield location this fall. The financial hardships of a pandemic, along with the additional pressure from landlords and harsh new playground for local businesses, is knocking down good people. You know those small towns with all the cute shops? Well, every city has a few of those spots in their real estate. But soon, all of that sweet nostalgia may be going away.

Don’t assume it’s going to be okay and around next year. Go out and support. I bet you’ll get some food in return. Don’t forget about the breweries either! Buy a pint. It’ll make 2020 go down easier.

That’s all I got this week. Thanks for reading if you made it this far.

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