Missed my Deadline! Well, ok, we’ll fudge it and put two columns into one.
The Parent Trap: So, ok, my son is potty training and both my wife, daughter, & yours truly are chipping in. And Hunter is almost there. Anyway, Saturday morning I’m watching the Red Sox – Cubs game. Top of the 9th we’re up and I’m glued to the set. “Dad, poo poo time,” Hunter says. “Ok, little man. Just a minute.” And just like that we closed out a hard fought win. Hunter smiles, raises his hands palm up, “Sorry, Dad!”
Oops. My wife then comes back in the house from her garden. She smells Hunter’s poo and puts her hands on her hips with her nostrils flared. “Not Hunter’s fault, Mom. Dad was watching the game,” Meggie chimes in. Both mother and daughter shake their heads and walk out of the room. Lesson learned! This is April not September!! Then again: WE WON!!!
Hillary & I
This article came to my attention recently. https://finance.yahoo.com/news/hillary-clinton-spoke-devastating-election-190721581.html
It focuses on an interview with Hill about her 2016 election loss and how she was dealing with the aftermath. The thing that stood out to me was how often she used the word ‘I’ and the lack of ‘we’.
Perhaps, if we can dismiss deep inside baseball analysis, herein lies the problem. People can easily discern when motives are purely personal. Politicians such as Bill, W, & Barry were clearly ambitious people. But they also let you feel there was something deeper, a rising tide raises all boats type of ambition. For most voters, me included, you never felt that Hill cared one way or the other about my boat. And because of that ‘I’ mentality the door was left open for perhaps the singularly most unqualified person to ever run for the presidency.
The Russians, USA Foreign Aid, & Free Elections
The whole scandal over Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election is dying a slow quiet death. This is no surprise. Are the Russians spreading money around? Sure. But my suspicion is that their generosity spreads to both sides of the aisle. Best to sweep this under the rug.
Still, is there another way to look at this? We also like to open our wallet in other countries. Let us take Macedonia. Here, through USAID, our government has funneled millions in direct grants given to George Soros’ Open Society Foundations. The OSF directly supports left wing political groups. Of course, there is nothing wrong with Soros setting up this program nor is there anything wrong in him directly supporting liberal political movements.
However, if the U.S. Government is involved isn’t that a direct attempt to sway an election? Something to think about in any event…
Buy The Book
Good friend Jim Algie has just released a new novel which I highly recommend. It can be found here:
On the Night Joey Ramone Died: Tales of rock and punk from Bangkok New York Cambodia and Norway
Well the year is off to a brisk start. Already March! A short story, more on this later, is almost completed, I’ve broken ground on the next Sam Collins Mystery, and the office is running full steam. But one last look at election ’16 and what it means is in order.
Last year was a climax to what has become a permanent election cycle. One that became increasingly boring once the field narrowed to Trump & Clinton. Neither candidate was appealing while both oozing in sleaze. The breath of fresh air that Bernie Sanders brought was stamped out in a show of corrupt political force. The only thing surprising about the whole ordeal was Billary’s DNC brazen show of ruthlessness.
And that was telling. Usually, in this type of case, a veil of civility would have hovered over the crime. Not so here. The Clinton’s were steamrolling back to the oval. They had amassed a treasure chest, knew where the bodies were buried, and had shooed off any would be contenders. The grumpy Jew from Vermont was not going to crash a party that had been bought years before.
Still, if my sense of right, wrong, & fair play was not going to be served, the restoration of Billary had me salivating. Crass scandals, enlightened public policy, untimely & unexplained deaths, well thought out educational reforms, lost documents, deleted files, shady political contributions, a step forward for the environment, the First Gentleman’s mistress, all sent a quiver up my thigh.
There was only one problem. Hillary. Bill must still be steaming. I guarantee you Putin is punching holes in the Kremlin’s walls and he probably wants a refund on the bushel of CGI donations he sent over the years. Well, at least he got the uranium. Hell, even I was up in arms. Then something happened. I smiled. Trump is now becoming interesting. Let me explain.
“The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming!”
The Russians are here, Bro. And they have been for a long time. With big stacks of cash. So, ok, who cares? Fifty, thirty, even twenty years ago I would have agreed. Hell, the Good Lord knows we’re in Moscow with a stack of gold chips too. The problem nowadays is that we are as corrupt as the Ruskies. Washington is rotten to the core. It all stems from the center of power in the capital. The White House? The United States Congress? Perhaps in the past. But, no. The center of power is K Street or lobbyist Row. Cash is King on that exclusive alley. And people play for keeps. Political affiliation matters little.
So Trump is a man for his times. Is he dirty? Yep! Filthy in fact. But no more so than Vlad or Billary. And probably less dangerous to boot. Bodies have stacked up around Vlad and we all know the extensive list of Billary’s casualties. Hell, a DNC staffer took a couple of slugs to the back last summer. Perhaps we have a less artful dodger in Donald but, then again, perhaps a safer one. And, not to forget, Bill & Hill are not yet done. Watch your back, Mr. President!!
Behind the Publishing curtain…
First of all, let me begin by saying I am quite content as an independent author and publisher. I have always felt I am as good as the next guy and often better. Still, as a writer, I wanted to submit my work for the feedback it could gather. And what I found was rather encouraging. I won’t name the publisher. They were quite nice and exceedingly professional and I’ll try to be the same. I will only say that this is a legitimate publisher. One that does not require any upfront money from the author, thoroughly edits your novel upon acceptance, and has their own cover artists. Vinland was submitted and accepted. Ok, what was the next step? Well, they did expect the author to do a lot of self-promotion with the help of the publisher’s marketing department. They guaranteed inclusion in several bookstores in the author’s local area and the author is expected to make themselves available for in-store book signings. The publisher would provide the marketing material, books, posters & cardboard cutouts, though some fees would be deducted from royalty payments. Actually, this is fine. The problem, for me, is that I live in northern Thailand. Not any Barnes & Nobles in my neck of the woods. So while my book was up to snuff, I would not be able to put in the requisite promotional gigs necessary to spur sales.
This is perfectly reasonable. And if life circumstances were different I gladly would have signed up. They genuinely seemed nice. And they have a lot to offer. They organize your promotional gigs, attempt (though they seemed confident) to place your book in an award category, steer your novel to friendly reviewers, basically everything to make a successful novelist. Even with that I am content on my literary island. There are no B&N book signings, no Edgars or Agathas for me, but the greatest reward is complete independence in any case.
I have this FB friend and, well, he is obsessed with Trump. Let’s go with uber-obsessed. Before blocking him I was counting upwards of 6 to 7 good rants on The Donald per day. You have a similar friend I bet. Two things came to mind while glossing over his derivative & simplistic ravings. First, has anybody ever changed their opinions based on these FB warriors? I mean, have you ever heard somebody say: “Hmm, I never looked at it like that. Ok, now I am pro-life.” Or, “Wow, I wish we friended on FB sooner. I never would have voted for Trump. Hillary’s my girl!” Secondly, does anybody go to a social gathering, get up on their soap box, and start haranguing the other guests with their vitriolic thoughts? I mean, I despise Trump too. But for the love of God, shut up will ya.
Here’s one for you. My wife and I have a rare lunch date. At Hotpot. Naturally pix are snapped. I love foodie photos!! Smiles abound. And likes and nice comments follow. Except for one food critic. “That place sucks! You should eat at a real restaurant!! There’s this place on Soi 22…” And another killjoy moment. As most of my friends know, I am a Kinks Kultist. Yesterday, Ray Davies became Sir Raymond. A friend placed a nice tribute on a music group I am involved in. I then waited to see how long an anti-royalty rant would occur. 2 hours is the answer.
For me, FB should be, and can be, fun. You know, nice foodie or travel photos, pictures of the old gang, ‘dude, you need to check this new ale out!’ I don’t need your opinion on D. Trump’s taxes. Way to go, Rachel! But if you want mine you can check my blog.
The Writer’s Block
It is an honor to announce I will publish a short story in the upcoming collection of short stories, Mekong Shadows: Tales of Cambodia Noir.
Here is more information: Mekong Shadows; Tales of Cambodian Noir. A collection of short stories by expat and Khmer writers with all profits going to Khmer Sight who provide thousands of cataract operations every year. With contributions from Mark Bibby Jackson, John Daysh, Bob Couttie, Steven W. Palmer, Ek Madra, T. Hunt Locke, James Newman, Kosal Khiev, Bopha Phorn, John Burdett, Cead Evans, Phil Coggan, and John Fengler, and more to be announced soon. Saraswati will also be running a competition in conjunction with Asia Life for a new writer to see their work in print.
This is a great cause and it is always nice to be work with such a talented crew.
Ok, that is it for March! I’ll try to be wittier, more insightful, and more thought provoking next time.
February is here, 2017 is well underway, the doldrums of winter for some, and the onset of summer for others. Wherever you may be, I hope you are walking hand in hand with the love of your life. For it is with your cherished partner that you can truly enjoy the fruits of a life well lived. No matter what you do, what you have created, or what you hope to accomplish, nothing will be so precious as the family that walks hand in hand with you in this journey we call life.
The Death of the Left
The Left has been holding a Whine & Jeez party so far in 2017. As a member of this declining slice of the American electorate it makes me sick. The Democratic Party has become inept at best and corrupt at worst. Unfortunately both apply. I am an independent, a growing group thankfully, but the Donkey is still the mother ship. Republicans control every segment of political life in the States. Trump is President. Why? How has this come about?
The Obama administration masked many of the inherent problems confronting the Left. Barry was extremely skilled in framing issues that were often unpopular. For example, illegal immigration. While he struggled to design a comprehensive policy on immigration, his administration was vigorous in deporting illegal immigrants. So much so that fellow Democrats were somewhat critical. But for the average Joe, deporting illegals, people who broke the law, seemed sensible. I’ll use the March edition to delve deeper into the Obama Administration. This is but one example of his ability to navigate the divisive straits of politics. Spoiler alert: If you are a Barry hater don’t tune in next month. I’m a fan.
But these were the things we saw on the national news. On the local level, Dems have been advocating for positions that seemed at odds with the community interest. Let us take the Affordable Care Act. Most reasonable people understand that a policy that insures the greatest number of people strengthens the fabric of society. I don’t have many friends on the far right, but I do have a handful of close ones. A couple are business owners. Admittedly, they were skeptical of Obama Care. They were not, however, dismissive. In fact they were, conditionally, supportive. Why? Because it could have solved some of their problems in terms of rising health care costs for their employees. You see, they have employee benefit packages which were not cheap back then and were rising annually.
Dems fought vigorously for ACA. They won. The businessman/woman and the middle class lost. If anything the problem has become more acute. Worst of all, they were lied to directly. “No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period.” That has not even remotely proven to be true. Costs have risen dramatically and plans are changed without consultation.
Now here, at least, the Dems had a plan. It is a policy. The implementation has been atrocious. Still, in designing ACA, the public interest balanced with an ability to fund it were taken into consideration. In the end, theoretically, a great public benefit was possible or indeed probable. This is the idea of public policy in a democratic nation.
But if we turn to the important issue of immigration, it seems, the Left is driven by compassion more than public interest. Compassion is not policy. Agree with the Right or not, they have a policy. And it is a policy that people, voters, understand clearly. Furthermore, in terms of Public Policy 101 it is well designed. I don’t agree with it, but it passes muster in terms of design. The Right doesn’t want the ‘huddled masses’ but rather wants to open the door for the urbane, educated, and low risk high tax-paying mass eager to partake in the American Dream. The poor, unwashed, non-educated need not apply.
If you agree that there needs to be limits placed on the amount of immigrants the country accepts on a yearly basis you also accept that rules will be designated. You also accept ‘no’ will sometimes be the result. Not everybody will be granted immigrant status. A cost benefit ratio will apply. Meaning that the interests of United State citizens must be taken into consideration. Surely some people should be admitted based on a humanitarian equation and the USA will be expected to support this group both financially and through social services. That is fine. Another aspect of this equation is that highly skilled workers, those who will garner high salaries and pay taxes, is factored in. And then, perhaps, the illegal problem can be addressed properly.
The Left is dying on this issue. There never seems to be a point where they can agree on ‘no‘. This is a problem. The Left never seems to factor in the necessary benefit for American citizens. The voters understand this even if the media does not. And the media covers this issue relentlessly. They covet the images of people cheering Muslim immigrants as they walk through the airport. The mobs of protest are filmed with glee. Trendy urban ladies with their heads covered in the latest hijab fashion holding signs which proclaim I am Muslim crow to an ecstatic CNN reporter: “We will stop Trump and those hateful Republicans!”
Now, I can imagine a crack Democratic strategist cringe. Yet another section of the sensible middle, watching incredulously, just peeled off of the Donkey’s back. And there seems to be no solution in sight. In fact, there is no fight.
The Right’s message is often hateful. This is evident through a growing alt-right movement. I don’t know much about Milo Yiannopoulos. He is the darling of the alt-right and seemingly has lefty on the run. A staunch yet weak kneed lefty by the name of Jeremy Scahill declined an opportunity to debate Milo on the Bill Maher show opting to find a friendly safe space. Maher, a man’s man, put up his hands in dismay. UC Berkeley also took issue with Milo’s right to free speech. So, it does seem, the Left’s strategy is not to engage the other side of the political divide but rather to stifle it. Or, worse yet, run away from it.
Hopefully a leader will emerge and rustle the Left out of its funk. A leader who will lead with policies designed to benefit all of the citizenry. That leader will emerge. Not from a safe space but from a career built on a healthy rivalry with the Right. The progressive Left awaits.
Take A Stand
As anybody who knows me will attest, I support the gay rights movement. Thirty years ago, fresh out of university, I had a co-worker who was openly gay. Sean was my first gay friend. Smart, funny, a generous spirit, Sean was part of the gang. He was a Kinks fan and loved baseball. Sean and I had a lot in common. Saw a few shows together and a game when we could. One Sunday morning, nursing a hangover and just back from mass at St. Pat’s, I received a phone call. Sean was in the hospital suffering from wounds from when he was jumped returning to his apartment after a festive night with friends. Sean was beaten to an inch of his life because he was gay. The cowards never were caught. Sean recovered by showing the strength and courage of a battle tested battalion. His fiery spirit was unscathed.
I tell you this story because of something I noted on FB yesterday. It had something to do with the LGBTQ movement. I just got my hands around T but had no idea what Q meant. I was told it meant queer. Easy to make fun of actually. And good-natured ribbing is fine. But a line should be drawn. Because people on the alt-right are probably sharpening their knives. And that ain’t funny. They are the enemy of a free and open society and they can be dangerous. So if I don’t really understand T & Q, I wholeheartedly support their right to live openly and free of social persecution.
Those same cowards who beat Sean are still out there. And now they have a voice. People such as Jeremy Scahill may run, but hopefully more stay and fight. There are real consequences to staying in the safe space.
Odds & Ends
I was recently featured on rising star Steven W. Palmer’s Blog. You can read that here: https://stevenwpalmerauthor.wordpress.com/2017/02/08/repent-the-locke-is-nigh/
For the ins and outs of cutting edge Thailand culture visit Kevin S. Cummings blog: https://peoplethingsliterature.com/
Keep your ears and eyes focused here for the latest from the world of Krom & the Mekong Delta Blues. Fresh off a phenomenal 2016, 2017 could prove to be even more exciting. Here is their FB Page:https://www.facebook.com/KromSong/
That’s it! In a world of increasing vitriol and hate, try to be kind this weekend. Be polite, gracious, and enjoy the hell out of the lot you’ve been given. I’ll try to be more interesting next time.
Super Bowl LI is being called the greatest game ever. Clearly it was the most exciting Super Bowl. Down 21-3 at the half, 28-3 midway through the 3rd quarter, the Patriots methodically ground the Atlanta into dust. Final score: N.E. 34- Atl. 28.
Despite being down by such a daunting margin, I was not completely surprised by this outcome. Unlikely? Yes. Unbelievable? Absolutely not! These Patriots, under Bill Belichick’s stewardship and Tom Brady’s on field leadership are as mentally tough an outfit as has put on an athletic uniform. And to overcome such adversity, with the stakes so high, takes mental toughness. And physical too. At the end of the game it appeared as if New England could run through a wall whereas Atlanta seemed gassed.
But it took more than mental and physical toughness. Talent wins championships. Tom Brady is, unquestionably, the best to play quarterback in NFL history. And as each year passes by the man in 2nd place fades further and further away in the rear view mirror. 75 completions, 104 pass attempts, 853 passing yards, 6 touchdowns, 1 interception (though a pick 6) in the AFC Championship & Super Bowl combined. Those figures have never even been approached. But there was more. The ‘D’ shutting down one the greatest offenses the NFL has ever seen to 7 points in the 2nd half.
In the end, when the Pats won the coin flip to open overtime the script had been completed. My beloved Patriots had completed the greatest comeback in NFL history.
Clutch or Choke?
This question is one that will be bandied about for a while. For me, the former outweighs the latter. Matty Ice (By the way, the nickname did not originate from his clutch performances at BC, though he had his share & is quite popular in Beantown, but rather for his preference for Natty Ice Beer) 17-23 287 2 td’s 0 picks. What a Game! No choke there. Julio Jones was simply spectacular. That catch for the ages almost sealed the deal with about 4 minutes on the clock. Ah yes, the clock. If there was one fatal flaw, the Birds did not manage the clock efficiently. Then again, they were a pedal to the medal team all year long. For me, Atlanta was a top-heavy team. And light. The Patriots came after them in waves. By the 4th quarter Atlanta did have a sizeable lead but the tank was running on empty. The Patriots were built, from Day 1, to fight a 60 minute Heavyweight Title Fight. They did! And they won!! Finally, Bill & Tom are a tough duo to beat. All congratulations to Atlanta…You’ll Be Back!!
Just about 2 years ago the commish, Roger Goodell, was handed a hatchet by 31 NFL owners with the order to rub out the New England Patriots. This was a sanctioned hit. You see, the Pats had just run roughshod over the league. Again. This was not supposed to happen. Over twenty years ago The League had instituted a series of reforms to promote parity between all teams. A hard salary cap was instituted. Every was given the same bankroll. Free agency was here. Scheduling would be staggered so that if you had a successful season the year before you would play a more difficult schedule in the coming season. Visa versa for teams that had done poorly. The playing field was leveled. Case in point. In 2015 the Dolphins sucked. In fact, they have sucked for the last 15 years. But given an easy schedule they churned out 10 wins this year and got the last slot of the playoffs. Things are looking up in Miami. 10 Wins!! A lot easier to sell tickets based on hope. No team would be able to lord over the rest of the league such as Pittsburgh, San Francisco, & Dallas had done.
The last time New England won as few as 10 games was 2009. Since then it has been between 12 & 14. Toss in 3 SB appearances and 2 trophy’s, well you get the message. Since 2001 the success has been even more staggering. Now 5 trophy’s & 7 SB appearances. This New England Patriots franchise is the greatest dynasty the sport has ever known. So Deflategate was born. No need to go through this. If you’ve read to this point you understand. In one of the great miscarriages of justice, the commish fabricated evidence, lied about a person’s sworn testimony, leaked misleading and often fabricated information, in an attempt to take down a franchise. He also stole money and assets like a mafia boss. Roger Goodell may not be a convicted criminal, but I am glad I don’t have his moral compass.
And he failed. You have got to kill the king. Sort of like Virgil Sollozzo from Godfather 1. He put out a hit on Don Corleone. Remember his reaction when he found out the hit hadn’t been successful? “He’s still alive. They hit him with five shots and he’s still alive. Well that’s bad luck for me, and bad luck for you…” That was Goodell on Sunday night. He knew he was a dead man walking and scampered off that stage like a rat.. The Patriots still hold the crown and are more secure and a tougher foe than ever. The other owners, those who put Roger to his task, need a head to roll.
Long Live The King!!
But now on to more pleasant topics. The Patriots are primed to keep this unprecedented run of championship success on track. Brady is 39 but it is hard to say he is not still in his prime. Father Time will come a knockin’, but we’re not there yet. Belichick isn’t going anywhere. And N.E. has the best owner in sports with Mr. Kraft. Already getting giddy for 2017!!
Here we are. The semi-annual appearance of the New England Patriots at the world’s largest, most exciting, & star-studded sporting event. 1 Day, 1 Game, winner take all!
Easiest gambling pick of the year was betting on the Bad Boys from Boston to net a Super Bowl slot. I did see an improved Atlanta squad but saw their run stopping before the big dance. I had a Green Bay – New England affair in mind. Tommy vs. Aaron! Tasty.
But Tom Terrific up against Matty Ice is the real deal. Matt’s 2016 high octane offense brings back happy memories of the 2007 16-0 Brady to Moss squad. The Pats will need to impede the Ryan to Jones Express. Difficult to do. The Belichick X factor cannot be ignored however. How many times have I heard how Quarterback X, yeah I’m talking about you Peyton Manning, was almost impossible to stop. 24-3 Patriots win over the juggernaut Colts in the AFC Championship Game 2005 comes to mind.
Then again, doesn’t Dan Quinn, Atlanta’s coach, remind you a bit of a young Belichick? A crack defensive mind, fresh from the coordinator ranks, connects with a throw back quarterback to shock the world. What I’m saying is, do not sleep on these Falcons. I’m a fan of the dirty birds.
The Fan’s Plan
But not on Sunday evening or Monday morning my time. So, I need to wear my New England colors in liquid & culinary form. Tough to get Sam Adams in my corner of the world. So I’ll need a suitable substitute. The logical place to start would by with the GOAT Tom Brady. Brady, the name, derives from the old Irish clan name of MacBradnigh. Ok, so my suds need to be of Irish stock. Hmm, no Guinness to be found in my realm. But wait, let us not forget the torrent of Viking blood which runs through our Celtic veins. Voila! Carlsberg Brew it is. Plus, a nip of uisce beatha for a wee bit of luck!
Thanks to my wife, the table is set. This is easy. Homemade New England Clam Chowder. And then off to bed. Pregame meal will consist of potato pancakes, a strong cup of joe, and some tasty donuts from Boston’s very own Dunkin’ Donuts. At this point, as a fan, I’ve done about all I can do. And it worked quite well in 2014 though luck was certainly not in our corner in ’11 nor ’07 which made us long for the halcyon years of ’01,’03, & ’04. The point being, we go to a lot of these.
This well could lead to a point rarely mentioned in the media. How many Pats fans are going to make that expensive journey? The ones that have the financial wherewithal have already been at least once and probably several times to cheer on the local team. And even if you can talk your wife into another trip, does she really want to spend it in Houston. Good Lord, what a dump. But from the championship starved Atlanta fans perspective, full steam ahead. If you’re from Atlanta, Houston is pretty much like looking in the mirror. And closer! Yep, huge home crowd advantage for the Birds.
The Boy in the Bubble has been hiding out in Atlanta for the past month while his worst nightmare materialized. Yep, despite lying through his teeth, bungling evidence, denying the laws of nature, publicly slandering one of the league’s leading lights, thieving its brand name franchise, he is sixty minutes from having to hand over another trophy to Mr. Kraft. Must Watch TV Folks!!
This is the biggest game ever for the entire Falcons franchise. At the beginning of the year their goal was to make the playoffs. Mission accomplished. From the first practices of May’s mini-camp the Patriots stated goal is Super Bowl or bust. Anything less is a disappointment. A major disappointment. So these squads are playing from a different deck of cards. Experience matters in big moments.
Look for Bill to lean heavily on the O Line & the running game early and late. Early to set the tone, wear down the defense, & keep Matty Ice off the field. And late to run down the clock, shorten the game, and keep Matty Ice off the field.
But Matt, Julio Jones, & the rest of that offense are prolific. They will put points on the board. And they will do it against the Patriots #1 rated defense. But they’ll log as many field goals as touchdowns. Tommy & Co. are deadly near the goal line.
Final score: 34-23. My bets are lining up this way. The Pat -3, The Under (60.5) & the over (2 minutes) with the Boy in the Bubble getting a standing boo as he hands over another trophy. Ok, I made the last one up.
Most of all, Enjoy the game!!
2017 is here! I am locked in with goals and projections set. Resolutions? Nah. I’m all about goals and projections. Most of all, I just want to keep it up. So what are those goals and projections?
Professionally, I want to modernize my business, the N.U. Test Prep. Center. So, I will develop, first, an IELTS tutor course that you can access via internet and/or DVD. This will be a challenge as I am thoroughly lo-tech but will rely on some able people for production. In addition to that I will continue to produce and update my training manuals. Also, another novel by T. Hunt Locke is in the works. Sam Collins is Back! Murder in Milton: A Sam Collins Mystery will enter this world sometime around November 2017. A TV script is being developed for Vinland: A Dan Burdett Mystery. This project is exciting, daunting, and quite uncharted territory for me. But it is also something I want to pour my heart and soul into. I am on my own. A lot of work will surely be met with a bevy of rejections so that is a tough mountain to climb. But it is worth it for no other reason than life should be littered with a host of challenges.
In order to be a true success in this world, to be the best you can be professionally, family needs to come first. My most important titles are husband and dad. So personally, ground has been broken on a new house for the family. And there will be something for everybody. A nice area for both of the kids, a large modern western kitchen for my wife and her business, and a man cave for Dad! Oh yeah, a pool for the whole family to relax.
The Front Page
Trump is President. Still doesn’t role of the tongue any easier. He is a tough pill to swallow. From all accounts he has not lived an exemplary life. His behavior is not something that American citizens should have to tolerate in the highest elected official in the land. The words that come out of his mouth are often childish.
And so is the rhetoric from his opponents and detractors. Robert Reich for example. Here is a Harvard professor, a former Clinton Cabinet member, a noted economist, prancing around FB like a scorned schoolgirl. He was openly trying to organize a counter-inauguration ball. He was crowing that no A-List celebs would play at Donald’s gig. Seriously?
And then there are the FB warriors. News of potential Russian hacking/involvement in the recent election sent these noble keyboard knights onto the battlefield. ‘Where are you getting your information?’ I asked. ‘The New York Times, the Washington Post, they have unnamed sources from the CIA!’ Ah, well that is airtight.
And it is amazing how much time they will take out of their day to write up their own fact-based articles for their FB audience. And don’t dare counter their assertions, they will attack you and defend their position with fervor. Me: ‘Hey, don’t we employ hackers too?’ FB Warrior: ‘Locke, I bet you cheered when 9/11 went down!’ Ouch! At first you get somewhat annoyed. Then it dawns on you, and my next emotion is pity.
Which brings me back to my amazing family and those precious professional goals I have set out for myself. The FB Knight has none of that. These political rants and squabbles that arise fill the void of an empty life. So, it is my suggestion for those that live on my corner, let the FB Knight be. Don’t goad them and certainly don’t counter their arguments with rational thought. They have drifted beyond that realm. And, we have enough on our plate anyway.
Women’s Marches erupted across the United States this past weekend. I wholeheartedly support and praise those involved. Activism is to be applauded. We have all read or heard the vulgar remarks Trump has uttered. His words bring disgrace to the office. Women, and men, should raise their voices in protest. And the crowds were large! Awesome!!
And they should continue. Don’t lose steam ladies. Your men, husbands fathers brothers, support you and the message is pure. There is another reason the ladies should keep the pressure up. If in four years a Democrat is put in office, and if said Democrat is cut from the same cloth as Bill Clinton, a serial cheater, a sexual predator, and accused rapist, these type of protests won’t be possible. Your voices will be muzzled. It is one thing to rally against the words of your opponent yet quite another to protest the actions of a teammate. So ladies, this is your time to shine!
The same can be said of the press corps. Investigative journalists have been sidelined for the past eight years. Barry was their guy! The One!! It would not have seemed right to dig too deep. Guantanamo? Drone massacres? Eight years of continued war? Mass shootings (Joe Biden: ‘Nobody taking my rifles’)? Lots of meat on that bone. But those sharp toothed reporters heeled. Now however they have been unleashed. So reporter, much like the ladies, this is your time to shine. Four years from now, if you have done your job effectively, a D will be back in the oval. And you will be back in your house.
Odds & Ends
Meryl Streep gave an acceptance speech at a recent awards banquet. It was an anti-Trump talk. She was either applauded or sharply criticized. Let this grande dame be. Meryl is a national treasure and we are lucky to live in a country that supports the arts and allows talented people such as Streep the creative space to grow and a stage from which to show off their incredible talents. Furthermore, as a person of strong character, she was forced to be silent during the myriad of Clinton affairs. Through discipline, loyalty, and friendship, she stood behind Hill & Bill during those trying times of marital infidelity and sexual misconduct. Now she has no such friendship or loyalty to hold her back. Let the lady have her say and her day.
Fidel Castro recently passed away. I am far from an expert on The Beard’s life. But he was a charismatic leader. This was clear. The Left was always perplexed with how to deal with him. On the one hand, he was anti-United States. That was great. His method of rule through repression and oppression was brutal however. Hard to applaud torture and mass executions. For me, he was simply lucky. That is all. It is not difficult to run an economy into the ground, be propped up by the Soviet Union, while having a secret police protect your bubble. Had the United States wanted to invade, really invade, install a new government, and rub The Beard out, the results would have been swift. So, in the end, he was a tiny footnote of late 20th Century geopolitics. A Pawn.
And on a final happy note, Sir Raymond Douglas Davies has a new album slated for release in April of this year. Here is a taste: http://www.npr.org/sections/allsongs/2017/01/23/510819373/the-kinks-ray-davies-teams-up-with-the-jayhawks-on-poetry?utm_campaign=storyshare&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social
Wow, at 72 years of age, Ray appears to be in top form. Go have a listen!!
I hope everybody had a wonderful holiday season and 2017 is off to a fast start. I will try to be more interesting next time.
NCAA Football Championship: What a game between Clemson & Bama! 35-31 with the Clemson’s winning score coming in the last second. Talk about drama. When it looked like the Bama Tide was going to roll, Clemson hung tough, clung close, and then found a way to win the game. This was a rematch of last year’s equally close affair and it was worth the wait.
And wait we did! The season was a snoozer. In fact, there are only a handful of teams that can realistically set their sights on grabbing the ring. And these teams rarely play each other. There are a few reasons for this. First, Bama and Clemson pour an unfathomable amount of resources into funding their respective football programs. You may be a world renown bio-chemistry scientist conducting game-changing life as we know it altering research on Bama’s campus and you won’t make anywhere near Coach Nick Saban. Same can be said for Dabo Sweeney at Clemson and a handful of other coaches across America’s campuses.
Now Bama and Clemson play in what are referred to as power conferences. There are 5. The SEC, ACC, Big 10, Big 12, & Pac 12. Within each conference you have about 3 or 4 universities willing to pony up the cash ala Clemson & Bama. There is more though. Let us take a look at a Notre Dame, a Stanford, or a Boston College. These elite campuses have the resources to play with the big boys. But, they also have academic standards. High academic standards. Not just anybody can walk through those hallowed halls. Bama & Clemson don’t have to concern themselves with those details.
Second, the system itself is rigged. San Diego State University, Colorado State, or any other college from a smaller conference are excluded in practice if not theory. SDSU and CSU may well have the cash. They are not hamstrung by rigorous admission standards. But they reside in the wrong neighborhood.
So, we are probably left with rather lackluster seasons with little suspense. But, in the end, a masterpiece is also likely to be produced.
If the coaches gain rock star status and huge contracts, the players come cheap. Room, Board, and a meal pass. What a system! But, really, isn’t it time for a change? As a fan, it just seems, and I’ve felt this creeping up for a while, that the product is stale. If there are no more than 15, well to expand it to its conceivable limit, perhaps 25 teams that have a chance at holding the title, let’s set up a league that represents that. And for the players who play in that conference of behemoths pay the men their money. Then teach them how to manage it. Provide guidance in responsible investing.
Furthermore, let us form another conference, we’ll call it the Smart Conference. Imagine this: Smart Conference Northeast Division (Boston College; Syracuse; Villanova; Army) Midwest Division (Northwestern; Notre Dame; Illinois; Air Force) South Division (Duke; U of Virginia; Vanderbilt; Navy) West Division (UCal Berkeley; Stanford; UCLA; BYU).
Each division will produce a division winner and they will advance to a playoff. Trust me, the TV networks will jump for the opportunity to broadcast these games. What do you want to see? Boston College v. Notre Dame or Tennessee v. Arkansas? Frisky games every weekend with each team vying for a chance at Smart Conference championship glory.
Let us not confuse or conflate the stark differences between the factories and the places of higher learning. And while we shake it out the product will become that much better, equitable, and exciting.
Matt, Tom, or Aaron? Who is your MVP? For me the answer is simple. The NFL season is 16 games so who was better over this span. Using this calculus the answer is simple. Matty Ice. He is from a Smart School by the way (BC). Aaron is also from a Smart School (Berkeley). This burnishes my argument even more!
On to the games!
Seattle v. Atlanta -5 Love the QB matchup between Matty Ice and Russel. Earl Thomas is out for the Hawks and, for me, that is the difference in this game. Take Matty & his high flying offense.
Houston v. New England -16 Ok, c’mon, stop the laughing. I have a blog to finish here! Let’s put it this way. The Pats beat the Texans 27-0 with Jacoby ‘3rd string’ Brisett starting back in September.
Curtain v. Chiefs -1.5 in a tasty tilt. Ben is a bit nicked up which means the Dude is dangerous. Could be the best game of the weekend…to watch…stay away from this one for gambling purposes though. I’m feeling 27-24 Curtain but….who knows?
Packers v. ‘Boys -4.5 and I was almost there with the Pack. Jordy with his 2 broken ribs had me jumping off the bandwagon. Now my ribs are sore! Be smart, go with Dak and Zeke for one more week.