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Love Never Fails: John C. McGinley’s Journey From A New Father To Becoming An Advocate For People With Disabilities.

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John C. McGinley, an actor well-known for his role on Scrubs as Dr. Perry Cox, had no idea what it meant to love and to have the capacity to love until his son, Max, taught him what love is.

McGinley was expecting to have the idyllic “Norman Rockwell” moment when he was becoming a new father, going home with a healthy newborn baby.

However, once he received the diagnosis that Max has Down Syndrome, the hospital told him that he had the option to give Max up for adoption or have him placed in an institution.  Max struggled to stay alive in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for about a month with sleep apnea and seizures, which are some of the common issues that people that are diagnosed experience.  “I had no idea what Down Syndrome meant when I got the diagnosis,” McGinley said, who came from a typical family of five children in New York.

Communication was the most challenging issue that he faced with Max when he was a young nonverbal child. Autism, intellectual disabilities, sleep apnea, congenital heart disease, and Alzheimer’s Disease can be seen in people who have been diagnosed.

“Max communicated with me by using gestures,” he said. ” Max attended school from K-12 with Santa Monica Unified School District, mainstreamed into classes with regular students.  He had his own assistant to help him keep up with his classwork at school,” McGinley said.  Additionally, McGinley paired Max with a typical buddy through BEST BUDDIES so that he would go out to places with someone at a regular basis that is age-appropriate rather than being without friends

McGinley turned to large organizations such as the Special Olympics and other organizations that serve the needs of people who have Down Syndrome for support to help him raise Max.   He met Tim Shriver, the CEO of the Special Olympics, who has children with special needs.  They both became longtime friends when McGinley became an advocate for

the Special Olympics 19 years ago.

 

McGinley helps to raise funding for the organization by meeting with people in Washington, D.C. such as Sen. Jack Reed from Rhode Island; Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives; and Timothy Shriver, disability rights activist and CEO/chairman of the Special Olympics.

“When the (Special Olympics) athletes met with members in Congress who handle the federal funding for this organization, I could tell that the Congress felt inspired by what they saw in those athletes,” McGinley said.  For example, Congresswoman Pelosi was interested to know the goals and needs of the Special Olympics.  “The Special Olympics allows athletes with intellectual disabilities to be in an environment for (positive) growth and empowerment,” McGinley said.

McGinley wants to make the world a better place for people who have intellectual disabilities by joining nationwide campaigns such as “Spread the Word to End the Word” and “Pledge Inclusion”  with the Special Olympics.  Max has a strong impact on how McGinley feels about people who have intellectual disabilities.  He wants to eradicate the “R” (retarded) word because it can make people with intellectual disabilities feel less valued as human beings.  “These innocent people with intellectual disabilities cannot defend themselves against such derogatory terms and do not deserve to be picked on,”  he noted.

The challenges raising Max brought more depth to his role as Dr. Perry Cox by giving the character a big heart with a sense of compassion towards others.  McGinley wants to educate others to show compassion towards other people with intellectual disabilities and interact with them with compassion and love, not by ignorance.  There are millions of children and adults with intellectual disabilities who need to be understood, not ignored, McGinley said.

He also wants to focus on Max’s abilities, not disabilities.  Max, now 21, has been working at Starbucks and is playing guitar in a band with Spectrum Laboratory, a Los Angeles based organization that allows individuals with autism spectrum and other developmental disabilities practice their art through film, music, and animation—founded by Jason Weissbrod and Garth Herberg.

“Max also helps take care of his two younger sisters”, McGinley said.  He always makes sure that Max is included in life, not excluded.  He has a trampoline to help him exercise his muscles, since people with Down Syndrome are more prone to poor muscular tone.

When it comes to medical care for Max, he strives to find individualized medical care for him to address his unique needs.  Max receives medical care at different facilities in Los Angeles and in Denver.  He finds it a big challenge to find clinicians who are willing to care for Max as a person.  Down Syndrome receives the least funding for medical research by the National Institutes of Health.  McGinley has also focused his efforts on finding a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, because people with Down Syndrome have increased risk of developing this disease when they grow older later in life during adulthood.

Therefore, this caveat pushed McGinley to accept Michelle Sie Whitten’s invitation to become a board member and international spokesperson with the Global Down Syndrome Foundation.  Whitten, whose son has Down Syndrome, is the organization’s CEO and President.  “We need to improve Alzheimer’s Disease research,” McGinley said. “I want to see the Down Syndrome Global Foundation to become a pioneer in research for Down Syndrome.”  The Global Down Syndrome Foundation, based in Colorado, raises funding for education, awareness, and government advocacy for the Anna & John J. Sie Center for Down Syndrome, a medical care center for the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome housed at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Denver.

When asked what  new parent of a Down Syndrome child should do, “A new parent should contact the Global Down Syndrome Foundation and move to Denver to learn the best tools to raise a child with Down Syndrome,” McGinley said.  At this point, he feels that society has become more accepting of people who have disabilities including Down Syndrome, mentioning how Zack Gottsagen made Hollywood history at the 2020 Oscars as the first Oscar presenter with Down Syndrome.  In fact, Tim Shriver from the Special Olympics and Michelle Sie Whitten from the Global Down Syndrome Foundation were some of the executive producers for the award-winning film, The Peanut Butter Falcon, that Gottsagen starred in with Shia LeBeouf.

Now at the age of 60, McGinley is still fighting to make the world a better place for people like Max, people with different types of disabilities, you and me to accept one another.  “My son, Max, is my big gift.  He is my life.”

 

 

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Frogfathers lessons from the Normandy surf

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Frog Fathers: Lessons from the Normandy Surf” is a deeply moving documentary directed by Bob Whitney, narrated by John C McGinley, and presented by World of Warships and FORCE BLUE. It chronicles the journey of four Navy SEAL veterans revisiting the site of the D-Day landings to honor their forefathers and gain a deeper understanding of the sacrifices made during World War II.

The film’s strength lies in its raw emotional impact and historical significance. It blends personal narratives with archival footage, offering a poignant tribute to the bravery and resilience of those who fought on June 6, 1944. The veterans’ reflections and the cinematography effectively capture the solemnity and reverence of their pilgrimage.

While the documentary focuses primarily on the veterans’ experiences, it also serves as an educational tool, highlighting the strategic importance of the Normandy invasion and its pivotal role in shaping modern history. The film’s respectful approach and engaging storytelling make it a compelling watch for anyone interested in military history and the enduring legacy of the D-Day heroes.

Overall, “Frog Fathers” is a powerful and heartfelt documentary that honors the past while inspiring present and future generations to remember the sacrifices made for freedom 

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American Horror Story: Delicate

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As most of us are already aware, the 12th Season of AHS has been fraught with all kinds of differences to the previous seasons, mainly in that this is the first one to be based entirely off a novel, ‘Delicate Condition’ by Danielle Valentine. The first half of the season aired in October 2023 to mediocre reviews, while the SAG-AFTRA strike caused production and airing delays for the latter half of the season, and the episodes of Part 2 were all cut to less than an hour long apiece. And none of that is even getting into the disjointed attempt at storytelling for Season 12, so let’s dive into this! 

Meet Anna Victoria Alcott (Emma Roberts), former young ling star of Hollywood now struggling to recapture fame as an adult, who wants a baby, very very badly. Bad enough to drive herself and her husband Dex (Matt Czuchry) through multiple unsuccessful rounds of IVF (in-vitro fertilization), bad enough to keep trying no matter how crushing each failure turns out to be, bad enough to involve her purported best friend and bougie publicist Siobhan Corbyn (Kim Kardashian) in her struggles, and maybe, just maybe, bad enough to give up on a burgeoning resurgence of her career after interest in her comeback role for The Auteur begins garnering her Oscar-worthy attention. 

So, Anna and Dex are going to go through yet another round of IVF, likely one of their last attempts at it, from a different doctor, Dr. Andrew Hill (Denis O’Hare), and clinic based on Siobhan’s recommendation. And already, strange things are beginning to happen to Anna – her appointments that she set herself begin springing up incorrectly, a doom saying woman called Preacher (Julia White) shows up spouting warnings about trusting no one, dire warnings appear in unlikely places, and BTW, it seems as though long-suffering but good-nurtured Dex has a side-piece too. It doesn’t help that Dex’s new partner at his art gallery, Sonia Shawcross (Annabelle Dexter-Jones), bears a striking resemblance to his dead ex-wife Adeline, either. Those spiked emerald heels start appearing weirdly too, and it seems as though no one will listen to Anna as she grows more and more suspicious that some sort of sinister cult has designs on her as-yet-unborn baby. At the same time, Anna tries to live the life of a successful returning actress, attending parties and gallery openings while draping her rapidly-expanding middle in shimmering fabrics and actively ‘campaigning’ for that little golden statue that most actors covet. Competition is fierce, even among her co-stars of The Auteur, and while Anna wants to be supportive of her fellow entertainers, she clearly appears to be incapable of doing both at the same time – wanting the baby and the little gold award at the same time is too much to ask, apparently. 

Elsewhere, mostly in the past, various women in states of desperation formed from one situation or another are visited by sinister-looking women in prim black dresses, headgear reminiscent of – to me anyway – an odd cross betwixt birds and bunnies, my guess is an ostensive nod to fertility in general, and a general feeling of blood-bound witchery about them at critical moments of crossroad choices. 

Though the second half of the season moves a good deal faster than the first, the attempts at callbacks and reminder flashes to Part 1 hit with all the impact of a dropped bag of garbage onto their friends Talia’s (Julia Canfield) borrowed bougie kitchen floor – splat, into incomprehensible silence, from all parties, both characters and audience, concerned. Even the reminders that, in Part 1 of Delicate Dex’s mother Virginia Harding (Debra Monk) did indeed have perfectly valid memories of abuse at the hands of a black cult and Dex’s own father Dex Sr. (Reed Birney), the revelation pales and peels away in the face of Dex’s true parentage. 

Which brings us back around full circle kinda sorta, to the only real character worth a damn in this entire miserable season of strange feminism and aspirations of world domination through a kind of idiotic Rosemary’s Baby nightmare scenario, we should have known she’d steal the show when Kardashian was cast for it, Siobhan Corbyn, leader of the blood cult her high and mighty (old) self. Throughout the whole show her character has remained exactly the same, and it’s a wonder Anna can stare at her all stupefied while Siobhan does her villain speech at the end of the last episode. Siobhan never masked her ambition or greed, her mysterious protective vibe and even deep love for Anna, and can always be counted on to have secret plans of her own, already in motion, bitch. 

The idea that Anna herself was used as a surrogate for Siobhan and her incestuous eugenicist plans, plus the sweet little demon baby she just birthed, has an ironic the-world-is-tilting-the-wrong-way kind of witchy madness to it. Sure, Anna really can have it all, the baby and the golden statue, if only she joins the patriarchy-crushing cabal of blood witches with world domination plans, got it. 

I have questions, or I would have, but things are moving on and Anna is being saved by … Dex’s dead ex, Adaline the former member of the coven right okay her, she’s going to show back up and offer Anna a simple chant to Hestia her patron Goddess, and that is somehow enough to deal with Siobhan entirely – poof. And finally, after all that rigamarole, decades of planning and scheming and witchy plotting finally settled, Anna really can have it all as a White Witch of Hollywood, heaven help us, with her perfectly human baby and that damned little golden statue, clutched in an only slightly desperate grip. 

As with any season of AHS there are a great deal of statements that could be implied just under the skin of the season – the canker way of ambition, the millenia-old pain of a woman giving birth, the savagery and bloodshed that comes with bringing forth life, pushback against both the patriarchy and ultra-feminism, the absolute desperation of humans wanting to have a child, and perhaps strangest and most open to interpretation of all, what it means to be feminine. The worlds population of women who can’t or don’t or simply won’t have children, for any reason or none, are relegated to servants, expendable servants at that, for this new world order that Siobhan is proposing, and that is far too close a comfort to things like outright slavery. A dictator is a dictator, no matter how great she looks in those emerald spiked heels. 

It’s not the really beautiful grotesquerie that Ryan Murphy and his AHS gang are often known for, nor is it utterly terrible and should be burned at the stake. What Delicate should be, is put back together with missing and cut footage, an hour long per episode again come on folks, fleshed some more of Siobhan’s baby-stealing adventures in the past and given us an actual reason to like anything about the whiny Anna, at least the Part 2 we as longtime AHS fans deserve. Toss in some more spidery hijinks! Give us the actual origin of those weird feather bunny-ear headdresses! 

American Horror Story Delicate the whole season can be seen on FX! 

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Jurassic Park: Unraveling the Mystery in a World Gone Prehistoric!

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Hold onto your hats, dino fans! The highly anticipated sequel to the adrenaline-pumping Camp Cretaceous saga is here, and it’s taking us on a wild ride six years in the making. Following the harrowing events of Camp Cretaceous, our beloved “Nublar Six” are back, but they’re not out of the woods just yet. In fact, they’re about to plunge headfirst into a world where dinosaurs roam freely alongside dangerous humans, and trust us when we say, it’s a Jurassic jungle out there!

Picture this: a world where survival isn’t just about avoiding sharp-toothed predators but also navigating the treacherous waters of human greed and deceit. As our resilient heroes reunite in the aftermath of a heart-wrenching tragedy, they quickly realize that danger lurks around every corner, and trust is a luxury they can’t afford. 

But wait, there’s more! Prepare to embark on a globetrotting adventure like no other as the Nublar Six find themselves thrust into the heart of a conspiracy that threatens not only the fragile balance between dinosaurs and humanity but also their very existence. From the lush jungles of Isla Nublar to the bustling streets of bustling cities, buckle up for a rollercoaster ride of epic proportions as our intrepid group races against time to uncover the truth about one of their own and, ultimately, save both dinosaur and humankind from certain doom.

So, dear readers, if you thought you’d seen it all in Jurassic Park, think again! With heart-stopping action, pulse-pounding suspense, and jaw-dropping revelations, this latest installment promises to be a game-changer in the Jurassic universe. Get ready to roar with excitement because Jurassic Park: Unraveling the Mystery is about to take a bite out of your imagination and leave you hungry for more!

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