Winning & Musing…..Volume 4.15

Greetings friends & fellow sports fans. I have a few things I have to get off my chest. You know how it is, right?? We just want to sit back, relax, & enjoy the games, but sometimes there are destructive forces that seem to prevent that from happening. It probably has a lot to do with too much media. There are too many opinionated talking heads with too many hours to fill, and a plethora of Internet sites that have to have more content than highlights & box scores. What we end up with is information & analysis overload that is kind of a buzzkill. At any rate, allow me to kvetch a bit and let’s get some feedback going. Your opinions matter too.

 

 

 

 
cowherdVictory!!!! I mentioned in the last edition of W&M that I had turned my back on ESPN’s Colin Cowherd after he’d gone too far with his insufferable assclown shtick and made some disparaging comments about pro wrestling fans. At the time I had somewhat jokingly initiated a #boycottCowherd movement on Twitter, which had prompted a surprisingly vociferous response on both sides of the issue. However, even in the midst of my anger & disdain I said that “I’m not crazy enough to think that one man can take down an entire TV show”. But now…just a few months later…Colin Cowherd is gone from ESPN!! To be fair he had already announced his impending departure from The Mothership in Bristol so he could move on to Fox Sports 1, but he didn’t even get to finish whatever time he had left before ESPN threw him off the air. The funny thing is, after seeing the clip, I almost kinda sorta understand what he was trying to say about Dominicans & baseball and found those remarks much less malicious than what he had said about wrestling fans. I’m no fan of ESPN’s social agenda and I despise political correctness & how so many people are perpetually offended, but I have to say that I am so happy that Cowherd was fired. Agenda issues aside, moving from ESPN to Fox Sports 1 is like trading in a Camaro for a minivan, and it couldn’t have happened to a more spiteful moron than Cowherd.

 

 

I’m not trying to be negative, but I also have to express disgust for NASCAR, something I really liked just a few nascarweeks ago. It was certainly below football, baseball, & basketball on my fandom scale, but it was above hockey and in a dead heat with golf. However, after both their “most popular driver” Dale Earnhardt Jr. (who is an insult to his father’s name) and the suit that runs the sport both came out against the Confederate battle flag, thus taking a dump all over the heritage of the very people on whose backs the sport had been built, I decided that I don’t need NASCAR in my life any longer and haven’t watched a race since. NASCAR has grown by leaps & bounds in the past two decades, evolving from a niche “southern” sport to running races in California, Michigan, Kansas, Las Vegas, & New Hampshire, among others. That’s fine. Kudos. But my father taught me to never forget where you come from, and the truth is that NASCAR owes everything to the American South…places like Atlanta, Bristol (TN), Richmond, Darlington (SC), The Carolinas, Talledega (AL), & Daytona. It all started there, and if it wasn’t for those loyal fans there’d be no big money TV contracts, no commercials & other outside opportunities for guys like Dale Jr., & nowhere near the revenue that the business now generates. Shame on you NASCAR!! Shame on you for turning your backs on the people that allowed you to become what you are. Shame on you for kneeling & bowing to political correctness. The funny thing is, the powers that be haven’t had the cahonas (thus far) to outright ban the flag, and from what I understand fans have continued to defiantly show up to the tracks flying it proudly. Good for them. As for anyone else who remains a fan, I won’t discourage your continued interest. It’s a free country (for now) and you have the right to spend your time & discretionary income any way you wish, but I’m out. I just can’t support blatant hypocrisy.

 

 

PNCI had an opportunity a few weeks ago to finally attend my first game at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. The circumstances weren’t ideal (it’s a long story) so I didn’t have time to explore like I wanted, but it is a beautiful stadium. The game I was at went 14 innings and the Pirates thankfully pulled off a dramatic victory, which was super cool. Anyone in that area who has even a mild interest in baseball or are just looking for a fun evening should check the place out. However, I must say that, for the most part, I think I am just as satisfied to stay home and watch games on TV. I’m a fervent homebody, and kind of like having commentary, replay, & my own (cheap) food to eat.

 

 

Even as an ardent Tom Brady/New England Patriots hater I am as sick as everyone else of hearing about bradyDeflateGate. For the first time EVER I have to give a tip of the ol’ cap to NFL Commissioner Fidel Goodell for upholding Brady’s original 4 game suspension. It says all one needs to know about Brady that, unlike every other NFL player that gets suspended then appeals that suspension before ultimately taking their punishment like a man, The Golden Boy is apparently going to take this thing to court like the entitled diva that he is. I must admit that the dark side of me (we all have one) wouldn’t mind seeing Brady get to play in the first game of the season against my Pittsburgh Steelers so their defense might have the opportunity to sideline his whiny ass for longer than four games.
Yeah…I just went there!!

 

 

I am fully aware that pro wrestling isn’t an actual sport (we’re not as dumb as Cowherd thinks we are), so this probably doesn’t quite fit here, but…..
As a fan of Hulk Hogan since childhood I was disappointed to hear his racist remarks that recently became fodder for public discourse. I’ve known for awhile that the character Hogan played while WWF champion in the 80’s wasn’t a true reflection of the real man, aka Terry Bollea. The fact that he’s kind of a jackwagon isn’t all that shocking. That being said, I disagree with WWE cleansing him from their history. As with the Confederate flag issue, I find it disturbing to just erase the past as if it never happened. WWE doesn’t want Hogan to appear hulkanymore on their TV shows?? Fine. That’s understandable and a wise business decision. Hogan can’t wrestle anymore anyway…he’s got more artificial parts than one of his action figures. Fans have moved on. But the fact is that Hulk Hogan is a huge reason why professional wrestling became so popular 30 years ago and retains atleast some of that popularity today. There are, of course, other legends that helped build the business. Bruno Sammartino & Andre the Giant preceded Hogan. Ric Flair was Hogan’s peer in the 1980’s. Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock, The Undertaker, & John Cena were successors to Hogan’s throne. However, it is Hulk Hogan that was & is the cornerstone of the industry. He obviously has no future with WWE or any other company, and that is his own fault. The past though should be left alone.

Superfluous 7 – Dumbest Overreactions to the Confederate Battle Flag Controversy

As everyone that hasn’t been living under a rock knows, on June 17, 2015 a sick & twisted individual attended Bible Study at a predominantly black church in Charleston, SC and, after spending an hour studying God’s Word and praying with church members, shot & killed 9 people. The shooter was eventually captured and has been proven to be a mentally disturbed racist who was upset after being jilted by a woman (gee…I wonder why she dumped him??).

 

Those facts don’t seem to be in dispute. However, the aftermath has went in an odd & fascinating direction after a photo was discovered with the shooter holding a Confederate battle flag. Because the people in Charleston reacted to the tragedy with prayer & mercy rather than looting & chaos the media quickly grew bored with the story and had to fan the flames of controversy & outrage. What has followed in the weeks after the shooting is a concerted effort by leftists to eradicate the past of the American South. Even though The Civil War has been over for a century & a half and the Civil Rights Movement of over 50 years ago has proven to be successful, affording minorities opportunity & equality that they should have enjoyed all along, the shooting stirred up a storm that isn’t likely to calm anytime soon. South Carolina’s Governor began the snowball by asking for the Confederate battle flag to be taken down from the grounds of the state capitol. Unnecessary?? Meaningless?? Misguided?? Yes…all of the above, but also understandable. Those that say that this is The United States and that only our national flag and perhaps an individual state’s flag should fly on government property probably have a point. My only issue with it is that it didn’t seem to be a problem for years & years & years and for people to all the sudden be offended by that flag because of one photograph is disingenuous, reactionary, and ignores more legitimate concerns. Having said that, I didn’t have a huge problem with removing that flag from South Carolina’s capitol and whatever other government properties from which it was taken down.

 

However, after that things became really stupid and people have lost their freakin’ minds.

 

I think oftentimes the meanings of things can evolve and morph into something else over time. One can debate what the Confederate flag represented 150 years ago, and it is certainly a thought-provoking topic. However, I am more concerned with modern times, and it is undeniable that, for most folks in the past few decades, it has come to stand for southern pride, redneck culture, & the hillbilly lifestyle. To the vast majority of people who fly the flag, wear clothing emblazoned with it, or own any other associated knick-knacks and memorabilia it is not a “flag of hate”. It does not imply racism or a tacit fondness for slavery. It doesn’t even indicate a hatred for America or a desire for The South to literally rise again. It’s just a mascot, a logo, a harmless talisman with no sinister motives intended from most who display it. Southerners are generally some of the kindest, most genuine, eminently approachable, & good-hearted people one will ever encounter. As a whole they would not utilize a symbol inferring hatred of any kind. Most everyone seemed to understand this fact for decades…until now.

 

In his classic novel 1984 George Orwell wrote of the dystopian future that “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” We may be 30 years past Orwell’s vision, but we are beginning to fulfill his prophecies. Because of one whackjob who was upset about a woman a movement has built steam to remove all reminders of The Civil War, atleast one half of it. Why now?? Why were these monuments & statues & buildings bearing the names of Confederate generals erected many years ago and few have had any complaints until this summer?? One tragedy is enough to erase history?? I have to believe that there were legitimate reasons why these things were made or named in honor of certain people in the first place. What has changed?? Why were these things not offensive a month ago, a year ago, a decade ago, or beyond??

 

At any rate all that is a longwinded introduction to our intended purpose today, which is to recognize…..

 

 
from the home office in Appomattox, VA…..

 

 
The Superfluous 7 Dumbest Overreactions to the Confederate Battle Flag Controversy:

 

 

 

7 NAACP Wants To Deface Stone Mountain
I rank this lowest on the list because it hasn’t actually occurred…but the subject has been broached. I’ve never been to Georgia, & stone mountainheretofore the only thing I knew about Stone Mountain is that it is where legendary WWE wrestler Jake “The Snake” Roberts was from. Apparently there is an actual mountain there (well, it’s actually more like a knob or a ridge), and on that mountain is a sizable carving of Generals Robert E. Lee & Stonewall Jackson as well as Jefferson Davis, along with their horses. The piece was begun in 1912 but not completed until 60 years later for various reasons. Anyway, now the NAACP (itself a divisive, race baiting organization) is pushing for the images to be sandblasted away. Now we could go down the road of debating the strengths/weaknesses, plusses/minuses, & positives/negatives of Davis, Lee, & Jackson on an individual basis, and I am sure that there are knowledgeable historians that have studied each man’s life. But the issue is this…folks didn’t know those facts and debate the issue a hundred years ago?? How about during the SIX decades it took to finish the thing?? If the carvings are so offensive how come no one…during all that time…said “Hey…let’s just forget it and start over. Maybe carve some pretty flowers or happy little trees instead.”?? But now…all the sudden…40 years after its completion…it is offensive?? May I humbly suggest that what has really changed is that our culture wasn’t so infested with politically correct, perpetually offended pansies back then.

 

6 Tom Petty & Bubba Watson Selling Out
pettyIt’s no surprise that Tom Petty is a wussified, angst-ridden, tookas kissing opportunist. Actually it’s more surprising that Tom Petty is alive and people are still paying to hear him sing. Who knew?? At any rate, in a pathetic attempt to remember what it was like to be relevant, Petty recently told Rolling Stone (that’s something called a magazine kids…we used to read them in the old days) that he regrets utilizing the Confederate battle flag as stage décor & album art…30 years ago. Really dude?? No one cares. I can’t remember what I had for dinner yesterday, let alone what some record had on its cover in the 80’s. Get over yourself…you’re not that important. And then there is Bubba Watson, a decent pro golfer and alleged fellow fan of The Dukes of Hazzard. In fact, Bubba was such a big fan that in 2012 he paid $110k for one of the show’s approximately 300 General Lee cars. Specifically he purchased one of the earliest General Lees, the one that is seen jumping over a police car in the opening credits (it’s a scene from the very first episode). But now…because of all the hoopla…Bubba says that he will paint over the rebel flag on top of the car, replacing it with the American flag. That’d be like owning an original Batmobile and painting it green, or replacing the gull-winged doors on a Back to the Future DeLorean with standard doors. There are less than 20 original General Lees left. Regardless of one’s bubbaopinion of the show it is indisputable that the car is a valuable piece of memorabilia, cherished by collectors all over the world. Maybe Watson is receiving heat from sponsors. I get it. But for the love of God if he is that weakminded then sell the vehicle…don’t destroy it & make it just another worthless car. To my knowledge he hasn’t followed thru with the paint job yet so there is still time to do the right thing. However, as things stand I must say that, though I’m not really a believer in karma, I smiled when Bubba Watson recently missed the cut at The British Open.

 

5 Amazon & Walmart No Longer Selling Flag Merchandise
amazonThis is what really got the crazy train rolling. Did, as one customer service rep reportedly told a customer, the federal government “encourage” Amazon to remove all Confederate flag related merchandise from its site?? We’ll probably never know. WalMart is based in Arkansas and for years has been the mothership of lowbrow redneck culture, so for them to fold like a cheap suit and remove flag related products was truly shocking. I’m not a boycotting kind of person because I just don’t believe that such movements are effective. Like so many big corporations these days Amazon & WalMart are so gargantuan that it would take a truly focused & united effort to negatively impact their bottom line, and the American people can rarely reach a consensus like that these days. I shop at both places regularly and am unlikely to stop doing so, but nonetheless I am extremely disappointed in their decision to remove clothing & other items adorned with the Confederate flag (even though I’ve never owed any walmartof those things anyway). It is the textbook definition of pandering, and from a business standpoint makes no sense at all. Sure there’ll be some that will applaud the decision which will earn both companies some PR brownie points, but that is a short term benefit. I wouldn’t be surprised if both entities quietly add flag merchandise back into their inventory in the future, once all this controversy simmers down.

 

4 #NoFlaggingChallenge
Someone is going to get hurt. There is just no way around it. Apparently some mental giant started this idea on Twitter, daring people twitterto invade others’ private property and remove Confederate flags from vehicles, homes, etc. Thankfully it doesn’t seem to have caught fire like the Ice Bucket Challenge or The Macarena, but I have seen a few videos where folks have actually done this. Most adults know that two wrongs don’t make a right, so no matter how much a person might hate the Confederate flag (probably because the media told you to) it is absolutely insane to think it is okay to violate someone else’s property, committing theft or vandalism in the process. Anyone doing so is a misguided punk, and I sincerely hope as many as possible are arrested. That is atleast a better option than getting beaten into a bloody pulp.

 

3 Man Calls Cops On Antique Store
A typical 21st century American male (that is to say wussified & emasculated…probably a fan of One Direction and an avid viewer of fleaThe Bachelor) was recently shopping at a flea market in Connecticut. That flea market happened to have for sale both Confederate flag & Nazi memorabilia. I will not defend Nazi merchandise. That’s a bit much even for me. However, had most people with an ounce of sense encountered the same situation we would have likely done one of three things: a) ignore the items, b) complain to whoever is in charge of the flea market, or c) leave & take our business elsewhere. This idiot chose Option D…he called the police. Now folks, I know law enforcement has taken it on the chin a bit lately for various reasons, but I still hold most cops in the highest regard. I’m not sure what kind of thuggery & delinquency occurs most often in Connecticut, but I feel confident in saying that their ladies & gentlemen in blue probably have more important matters to deal with than a moron at a flea market offended by items he is under no duress to buy. Needless to say no charges were filed because, as the United States is still a free country (for now), the flea market can sell whatever legal items it wants, no matter who might be upset by them. As a matter of fact what should have happened is the prompt incarceration of the shopper himself (who was apparently so distraught he was shaking & almost vomited…seriously) for wasting the taxpayers’ money & the police’s time.

 

2 Taking The Dukes of Hazzard Off TV
dukes3I thought for sure this would take the top spot because it is the one that has angered me the most. I am from West Virginia, and my feelings for my home state are ambivalent at best. The economic & entertainment environment here is bleak to say the least, and if I had been wiser & more brave I would have escaped this Appalachian abyss two decades ago. To that end I have never embraced the whole redneck/hillbilly thing because I am a little embarrassed by it. I get tired of the jokes & preconceived notions. Everyone I know wears shoes & has indoor plumbing. I am not only literate but college educated. We don’t all sit around drinking moonshine and I have never met anyone that has been intimate with their cousin or any other close family member. Having said all that, there are a few southern conceits that I happily embrace. When I was a kid I LOVED The Dukes of Hazzard. I faithfully watched it every Friday night. As an adult I realize that the show was a bit hokey and the production values not great, but I also appreciate even more the homespun southern morals it espoused. The Dukes of Hazzard wasn’t violent, the good guys always won, it was sexually tame (Daisy Duke’s short shorts are nothing compared to the filth we see on TV now), there were no drugs, & even the villains (Boss Hogg & Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane) weren’t all that bad. The show was good clean fun. Like many other television shows I grew up watching, The Dukes, along with other beloved classics like The Andy Griffith Show, The Golden Girls, The Brady Bunch, & Cheers, have continued to entertain us decades after their first run airing thanks to syndicated reruns, and I would still rather watch an episode of The Dukes any day than most of the crap that is currently popular. Unfortunately, as of a few weeks ago, that isn’t as easy as it used to be. Why?? Because one of the main “characters” on the show is a really cool car called The General Lee that happens to have a Confederate battle flag painted on its top. This is suddenly, three decades after the show ended its original run as one of the most popular shows in the country, considered offensive. Lunacy!! glYou want to take the flag down from a government building?? Okay, fine. But to somehow catch a TELEVISION SHOW in the web of politically correct fascism is beyond stupid. The Dukes of Hazzard is undeniably one of the least offensive programs of all time, yet TV Land & other channels have bent over and kissed the…feet…of the perpetually offended leftist minority that is ruining the America I knew & loved. Anyone who ever watch The Dukes of Hazzard would have to honestly say that it wasn’t at all bigoted or racist. It was a spaghetti western with fast cars instead of horses. Good triumphed over evil…always. Family, community, respect, friendship, helping out your neighbors, doing the right thing…that’s what the show was about. Yet because a few people have become upset about a vehicle’s paint job the powers-that-be have taken the program off the air. Seriously people…that’s messed up.

 

1 Desecrating the Grave of Nathan Bedford Forrest
I am a huge fan of the 1994 Oscar winning film Forrest Gump. In that movie the dimwitted main character mentions that he was forrestnamed after Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Forrest was also a lieutenant general in the Confederate army. A few weeks ago the city council in Memphis, TN voted to DIG UP THE REMAINS of Forrest & his wife from a park in the city. Full disclosure…the remains have been dug up before, relocated from their original cemetery lots and moved to the park in 1904, which at the time had been named in Forrest’s honor. However, I am not a fan of desecrating graves, especially for reasons involving idiotic political correctness. Look, no one is defending The Klan. Well, I’m not anyway. There might be some that would. But I think it is so wrong to be digging up graves, no matter who the person is or what they might have done. And here is the kicker. Forrest condemned The Klan a decade before his death and called for its disbandment. This is particularly interesting to West Virginians like myself, who constantly hear so many defending the late Senator Robert C. Byrd, himself a former Klansman who had called black folks “mongrels”. “But but but…Byrd “evolved” on the issue and regretted his Klan history!!” Well…apparently so did Nathan Bedford Forrest. Let’s be clear…I am not saying that Forrest was a good guy. I am simply pointing out an obvious double standard and opining that desecrating a grave for almost any reason is disrespectful & wrong. You’re mileage may vary and that’s okay.

The Undeniable Appeal of Donald Trump

trumpWhile listening to a local radio show recently I heard the host ask listeners to call in and explain why they are supporting Donald Trump in his bid for the Republican nomination for President of the United States. It was clear by the host’s tone of voice and thinly veiled derision that he is not a Trump supporter and thinks that anyone who does like Trump is crazy & stupid. He never actually said that, but he didn’t need to…it was quite obvious.

 

Let me first say that I am unlikely to vote for Mr. Trump. While I appreciate the fact that he is a successful businessman and believe that career politicians are part of what has gone wrong with America in the past couple of decades, I also feel that the President of the United States should have some solid experience in the political arena. Barack Obama’s lack of practical understanding in that realm has been obvious in the past 7 years. At the end of the day Trump’s lack of finesse and bull-in-a-china shop mentality is unlikely to inspire much confidence and negatively impacts his viability as a contender. However, that doesn’t mean that his candidacy is a joke. Many people are taking Donald Trump very seriously and there are reasons why.

 

boehnerFirst of all he is not a politician and people like that. As I said, I personally am a little uncomfortable with someone who has never been a Governor or Senator ascending to The White House, but lots of folks believe that our country could benefit from an “outsider” shaking things up and challenging the status quo. We’re tired of candidates that have spent 30 or 40 years in public office. My home state of West Virginia enabled the political career of Jay Rockefeller for more than four decades, even though he was a carpetbagger from New York who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and couldn’t possibly understand the issues facing his constituency, yet West Virginia has become steadily more conservative in the last several years, as if the population has finally realized that electing guys like Rockefeller over & over benefits no one other than the politician himself. Many have become cynical and believe that there is very little difference between the Republican & Democrat parties. One can easily see that there is a protocol in Washington DC, that people like Senator John McCain, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Speaker of the House John Boehner, & Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi know the game and play by a certain set of rules. They may fight & argue amongst themselves, but they’re all in an exclusive club and will do anything to stay there reaping the benefits of power. Donald pelosiTrump isn’t in the club and many are horrified at the thought of him crashing their soiree. In a strange way that makes some sympathize & root for him, as if he is an outsider just like them, even though he is probably wealthier & more out of touch with the lower/middle economic classes than his competition. The idea of Trump going to Washington and ticking off just about everybody is as appealing & idealistic as it is impractical & unsustainable.

 

Secondly, Donald Trump has no filter & no fear, and that is strangely attractive. He doesn’t mince words and much of what he says has a lot of truth in it. Sadly his greatest strength is also his biggest weakness. The Thought Police have effectively dumbed down the populace to the point that someone is always offended about something. We don’t take the time to intelligently discuss issues or admit that maybe…just maybe…a person might actually have a point. Do I believe that all immigrants (specifically from Mexico) are drug using rapists?? No, of course not. And neither does Donald Trump. But instead of having a meaningful debate about illegal immigration and the undisputable problems it creates the media has successfully painted Trump as a bigot & a racist. Did I cringe just a little bit when he stated that Sen. McCain isn’t a war hero and that he “likes people who weren’t captured”?? Well, yes. It was out of bounds and unnecessary. However, it is true that McCain’s tragic yet triumphant POW story is just about the only positive thing about him. He is a wishy-washy, milquetoast RINO, the type of career politician that people are beginning to turn against. Such is the dichotomy of Trump – we like that he isn’t afraid to call out guys like McCain, but his lack of tact & grace make him ultimately unelectable.

 

The fact though, is that Trump has nothing to lose. He is filthy rich and professionally prosperous. He doesn’t needtrump2 the job. I have no doubt that he would serve faithfully if elected, and it would be endlessly entertaining, but since it is doubtful that he will get the nomination the more likely scenario is that, at some point, he bows out and goes back to doing whatever he was doing before with barely a scratch to anything, especially his ego & his bank account. Even during this campaign he has seen his stupid reality show on NBC get canceled and has lost business relationships with companies like Macy’s, Univision, & NASCAR, but his hilarious reactions to those losses made him even more popular. He brushed them off like Andre the Giant used to swat away opponents half his size, as if the criticism & temper tantrums hurled in his direction were so insignificant that he barely felt like they warranted comment let alone genuine concern. While other politicians have teams of people that carefully craft their message and write every speech in an effort not to upset potential voters thus securing repeated election victories and lifelong power, Donald Trump doesn’t give a second thought to who he might anger. That doesn’t make a great politician, but it sure produces an appealing candidate.

 

And finally…and most simply…Donald Trump appeals to true conservatives. He is pro-gun, anti-illegal immigration, pro-life, has proposed a simplified tax structure, understands the importance of job growth, says that man-made climate change is poppycock, & disagrees with ObamaCare. In political parlance he “checks all the boxes”. Conservatives are thirsty for a candidate that supports their deeply held beliefs. We’re tired of candidates that want to “reach across the aisle” and compromise those beliefs. If Donald Trump didn’t have so much baggage, was a little smarter in his choice of words, & had even a little bit of meaningful political experience he might run away with the Republican nomination easily.

 

calmAlas, he does have those blemishes and they are enough. So have no fear Trump haters. He won’t be the Republican nominee for President of the United States. Republicans will choose someone much safer & more prosaic. Your nightmare will be over soon enough. But don’t sit on your high horse and marvel at the fact that people are listening to Donald Trump and liking much of what he has to say. It’s not shocking. It isn’t mysterious. It actually makes a lot of sense, atleast moreso than voting for a person based solely on their race or gender.

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 2.15

A semi-regular attempt to address some of life’s minutiae that might otherwise be overlooked…..

 

 

 
My maternal grandmother lived in an apartment building for the last 20 years of her life and had what I call an open door policy, with various neighbors popping in & out quite frequently. A couple of people that Grandma was especially tight with would either just walk right in or do what I call the knock/pop in, where a person knocks once or twice and then comes right on in. I’m a little different. I keep my door locked most of the time, but on occasion when I forget to lock it I still expect the courtesy of someone knocking on my door. I also expect a person to stand there and wait for ME to open the door. Life isn’t an episode of Seinknock-clipart-k4295327feld and it’s not funny when a person bursts into someone else’s home like Kramer. This hasn’t been an issue for the vast majority of the time I’ve lived here, but there have been a couple of incidents. Several months ago a gentleman who lives in the building stopped by and knocked on my door. I was on the phone and not in the mood for company so I decided to just ignore the knock figuring that eventually he’d get the (obvious) hint and leave. I was wrong and eventually had to answer the door (which was locked). More recently, I was putzing about the apartment when I turned around and suddenly a person had appeared out of nowhere (I’d forgotten to lock the door). I just about jumped out of my skin!! The person claimed that they’d knocked and I have no reason to doubt their word, but a) they couldn’t have knocked very loud (timid knocking is a huge pet peeve of mine that we’ll address another time), and b) they popped in without waiting for me to answer the door. On both of these occasions I am not proud to admit that I flipped out and exhibited some rather rude behavior that left no doubt about my irritation. I regret those reactions to a point, but I also believe that people need to be more respectful of boundaries and learn some manners. Am I wrong??

 

 

Let me offer this about the Confederate Battle Flag…..
I’ve been trying to not say too much simply because arguments & strife are an unproductive waste of time that only end up making me upset. That being said, this whole issue has gotten stupid. Very few people seemed to be offended by that flag just a month ago. Most people didn’t care one way or another. It’s been a century & a half since The Civil War. Slavery is a far distant memory. Yes it was horrible. We can all agree on that. But that flag is simply that…a flag, an inanimate object, a harmless piece of cloth. I will spare you a history lesson about the war & the flag and just say that over the past several decades it has become a cultural symbol for rednecks, hillbillies, good ol’ boys, & southerners in general, folks that most would cflagagree are among the friendliest, well-mannered, most easygoing, & respectful people on Earth. Obviously I am painting with a broad brush, but that’s the point. Whatever some may think that flag once stood for (and most of those assertions are wrong), the fact is that here in the 21st century it is dukes2an innocuous symbol…a kind of mascot. The vast majority of people saying now that they are offended by the flag are only feeling that way because the media has planted the seed and blown something way out of proportion. Why?? Well, to some degree that’s just what they do nowadays, but more specifically it was a reaction to Jesus. What?!?!?!? Allow me to explain. After the tragic shooting at a Charleston, SC church last month the expected reaction was chaos, looting, & general lawlessness because that’s the script similar events seem to follow. However, the folks in Charleston threw the talking heads a curve ball. They mourned. They prayed. They joined together. They expressed forgiveness. Such values are confusing to the liberal elite media, so they had to stir the pot. Now because some mentally ill jackass was upset over a girl rejecting him I can no longer enjoy Dukes of Hazzard reruns. Does that make a lick of sense?? Of course not.

 

 

tagsI mentioned in the last edition of PoP that I’d been binge watching The Andy Griffith Show on Netflix. I’m still doing that, and I also recently re-watched the 1986 reunion movie Return to Mayberry (it can be found on YouTube if you are so inclined). To be honest it’s not a great film, even by made-for-TV standards. However, it did spark an idea that I’m willing to put out there for some enterprising young Hollywood executive to ponder. How about a new television show called Mayberry?? In the sequel series Mayberry RFD that aired for a few seasons in the late 60’s/early 70’s Andy Taylor and his bride Helen Crump returned for a brief visit and had a child they named Andy Jr. That young man would be in his mid-40’s by now. Maybe he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps. Maybe he went into law enforcement. Maybe he’s been working somewhere in the big city but now has a desire to return to the place that he was born. Or maybe he came to live with his parents when they relocated from Cleveland back to Mayberry in 1986 per the reunion movie and never left. Either way Andy Taylor Jr. could be the sheriff just like his Daddy. Of course all of the original cast, with two significant exceptions, are dead. Only Ron Howard (aka Opie) and Betty Lynn (aka Thelma Lou) are still alive, but Lynn is quite elderly now and Howard is a big time film director who surely wouldn’t want to be in a TV series again (although he may be willing to do a few guest appearances if it is a well written & produced show). I never watched Mayberry RFD but I know Ken Berry, who starred as farmer Sam Jones, is still around. He may be willing to do some episodes as well. There are quite a few well-known folks who were guest stars on TAGS…Jack Nicholson, Barbara ideaEden, Jamie Farr & William Christopher (better known as Klinger & Father Mulcahy from MASH), Rob Reiner, Howard Hessman, Jerry Van Dyke, Morgan Brittany, Don Rickles…that may possibly be willing to be in an episode or two. I am normally against remakes & sequels and am a proponent of creativity & fresh ideas, but I really think this could work. The main cast (especially the role of Andy Jr.) would have to be strong, and it’d have to be its own show, not trying too hard to be a copycat of the original yet retaining its picturesque allure. The town of Mayberry would have changed a bit over the course of 50 years, but I think a TV show with good old-fashioned charm and small town values is exactly what the entertainment landscape needs these days, and I think the viewing public just might like it.

America: A Eulogy

Okay…I tried. I have been holding back…resisting the urge to pontificate on a confluence of recent events that a decade ago I wouldn’t have imagined possible. But I just can’t do it. I cannot remain silent.

 

hugLet me first say that my purpose is not to insult, demean, or degrade anyone. I come in peace. I approach my task with love. I respect the opinions & feelings of others, although it seems like nowadays that peace, love, & respect is a one way street. My father has always taught me to disagree without being disagreeable, a lofty goal that I far too often fail to achieve. However, thru that failure I have learned that arguments, contempt, & vulgarity do nothing except intensify the chasm, and really…aren’t we divided enough??

 

Today is Independence Day. The 239th birthday of the United States of America. Millions of people will be celebrating flagwith cookouts, concerts, fireworks, & various other frivolities. Many may have already began the festivities a couple of days ago. I plan on participating in some of those activities and will undoubtedly have a nice time. However, from a big picture perspective I do not consider it to be a happy birthday. As a matter of fact I believe that our nation went on life support on November 4, 2008 and the plug was finally pulled sometime in the past few weeks. Now I am no medical expert, but I do know that a person in a vegetative state can sometimes hold on for awhile after the machines are turned off, and I think that is where America stands at the moment. We’re still breathing, but the end is imminent. Depressing?? Obviously. Honest?? In my opinion…yes. Your mileage may vary and that’s okay. I’ve tried being an optimist but it doesn’t seem to suit me.

 

What would a medical professional say is the cause of death for America?? Probably something like “complications resulting from sin, political correctness, & apathy”.

 

constFrom the time of its founding America was referred to by many as The Great Experiment. Democracy. Freedom. Liberty. These were radical concepts in the beginning. No monarchy for us. Freedom of Speech. Freedom of Religion. The right to participate in the process by voting and, atleast theoretically, pointing our elected leaders in the direction we wanted the country to go. Oh sure there were some pretty significant bumps along the way. I don’t think you’d find anyone these days that believes slavery was ever a good idea. The fact that women couldn’t vote for the first century & a half of the nation’s existence seems silly now. The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s & 60’s is an undeniable blight on our history simply because black folks should have never had to fight for equality & fairness in the first place. But I believe that one can be patriotic without being intellectually dishonest about these scars, and we should be able to acknowledge past mistakes without painting America with the broad brush strokes of hatred & disdain.

 

Unfortunately it seems the experiment has ended. The United States has somehow transitioned into an oligarchy gavelwherein a chosen few with money & influence make the rules while condescendingly patting the rest of us on our collective head and treating The Constitution as if it is was written with erasable ink. Free speech is only free if this ruling class deems it appropriate. Freedom of the press is laughable since the media has become nothing but a tool willingly used by the powers-that-be to propagate their agenda. Religious freedom has been completely redefined and may very well be eradicated soon enough. The right to keep & bear arms…written by the Founding Fathers to provide an avenue for the citizenry to protect themselves against lawbreakers of all kinds, including an overzealous & tyrannical government…is constantly under attack and will likely be eliminated in my lifetime. American exceptionalism has been portrayed as arrogance, with too many of our leaders seeking to bring this once great nation down to an equal level with other countries so they don’t hate us. The Godly principles that were undeniably a bedrock of our discovery as “The New World” and our fight for independence are now seen by many as offensive & obsolete. I suppose there are those that would call this progress, but nothing could be further from the truth.

 

iwoThe United States used to fight for big ideas. Now we bow down to the lowest common denominator. We used to go to war in defense of freedom & liberty. Now we file lawsuits and ban things from public view because a few overly sensitive types whine & complain. We used to be the tough guys on the block that everyone else looked up to and expected to lead the way. Now we are a nation of sheep who are afraid of upsetting anybody and fret over whether or not people like us. Our media has sold us out. Our politicians have sold us out. Our culture has been decimated. Our history has been bastardized.

 

fathersI often wonder what men like George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, & Abraham Lincoln would think if they could visit America in the 21st century. No one knows for sure, but allow me to offer an opinion. On one hand I believe they’d be fascinated by technology…television, The Internet, automobiles, computers, smartphones. Those guys were sharp cookies. Brilliant minds. They’d dig having so much information & knowledge readily available. But on the flipside I sincerely believe they’d be horrified & disappointed in how we’ve taken their life’s work, the nation that they fought so hard to make a reality, and damaged it by twisting or outright dukesignoring their words, spitting on the beliefs & values that guided them, reducing God’s influence in society, & becoming a weakminded, narcissistic, covetous population that blithely murders 3000 innocent babies every day but thinks The Dukes of Hazzard is evil.

 

I want…I need…you to know that it is hard for me to express these things. I love my country. There is nowhere else obama-logoI’ve ever wanted to live. I truly believe that it is those that oppose our traditions, our values, our history, our culture, our freedom, & our God that hate America. During Barack Obama’s initial presidential campaign he talked about “fundamentally transforming” the country. Now I know that supporters of Obama try to shine that up real pretty and make it sound like something good. However, when you study Obama’s history, his influences, & his education it becomes clear that those words weren’t used accidentally. He never wanted to tweak things, make minor changes, slightly adjust policy, or do a course correction. His goal was always to alter the United States on such a deep level that it would essentially become unrecognizable in comparison to what it was before. To that end he has been frighteningly successful. The transformation is so profound that I don’t think the damage can easily be undone no matter who we elect in 2016. I suppose it is possible that I am being slightly unfair to Obama, that this makeover would have happened even without his guidance…but I don’t think so.

 

pray2I don’t have many answers. I wish I did. I would prefer to be more hopeful, especially on this holiday, but I’m being honest. Your opinion may be different. You may think everything is just dandy. That is certainly your right. Unlike the vitriolic, smallminded keyboard warriors that like to vomit their hatred in the direction of myself & others who see thru the stupidity and understand what’s really going on I don’t seek to censor anyone. If that’s how entities like WalMart, NASCAR, & Warner Brothers choose to approach things then all I can do is spend my time & money elsewhere. That may be the silver lining in all of this. As more & more individuals, companies, & entertainment outlets cave to sin & political correctness it provides more time for me to focus on God and His purpose for my life. I truly believe that He is at work separating the wheat from the chaff. Which will you be??