Winning & Musing…Volume 3.18

October is often thought of as the best time of the annual sports calendar because the NFL, NBA, World Series, hockey, & college football are all available to us. However, late spring & early summer…with the NBA & NHL playoffs, a little golf, the Indy 500 & Coca-Cola 600 both on Memorial Day weekend, & baseball all happening…ain’t too shabby. Let’s discuss.

 

 

 

 

At the beginning of the NBA playoffs my only wish was that two of three teams not advance to The Finals. Things got off to a good start when the aging San Antonio Spurs were eliminated in the first round. Heading into the Memorial Day Weekend it seemed plausible that my hopes would be fulfilled and we’d get a fresh & interesting championship matchup. Sadly that dream died in two Game 7s, and now…for the fourth year in a row…we’re stuck with Golden State vs. Cleveland. I realize that many basketball fans are excited about this, but I am not your average NBA fan. For a variety of reasons I will not be watching one single second of the series. Maybe next season Philly, Boston, New Orleans, Houston, & Minnesota will figure some things out and break up the monotony.

 

 

I am surprisingly ambivalent about the NFL’s new anthem policy. I once called kneeling during the national anthem a “meaningless exhibition of symbolic rage” and stand by that opinion, but I also opined that it is within players’ Constitutional rights to do so. It isn’t something I would do, the original intent of the protest is foolish, & its stated purpose had been hijacked into a political game of chicken…but as disrespectful as I believe kneeling is I’m not sure the NFL has handled the situation all that well. They did nothing at the height of the controversy last season, and it felt like the whole circus had sort of diminished much like a hurricane eventually loses steam…until the NFL stirred things up again for no reason. Young parents are often taught the Ferber Method in which a crying infant is to be left alone and eventually they’ll quiet down. In the same way, I think if fans & the media would stop paying attention to anthem protests the players would get bored with it and move on…and even if they didn’t stop atleast they & their “cause” wouldn’t be receiving any validation. Unfortunately the NFL decided to poke the whiny, spoiled, & sanctimonious bear.

 

 

Y’all know that I’m a really lukewarm hockey fan, and whatever interest I did have in the NHL playoffs pretty much disappeared when the two time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins were eliminated. That being said, I am rooting for Vegas to bring home The Cup in its inaugural season. Former Penguins’ goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury now plays for the Golden Knights, and I also think it’d be fun to see an expansion team win because it would tick off hockey “purists”. There’s also my longstanding love of Las Vegas, a city I hope to visit someday. I’m not actually going to watch any of the games, but for what it’s worth…Go Vegas!!

 

 

How insane is it that we went 37 years between the last two Triple Crown winners, but now we could see another one just three years later?? Of course it must be noted that between Affirmed’s achievement in 1978 and the 2015 trifecta of American Pharoah there were 13 horses that won the Kentucky Derby & Preakness Stakes only to fall short in the Belmont Stakes, so it’d be premature to assume that Justify will wear the proverbial crown. Not only is Belmont the longest of the three races (the Derby is 1.25 miles, the Preakness is 1& 3/16 miles, & the Belmont is 1.5 miles), but there are always fresh horses entered that didn’t run in the previous two races. As a matter of fact, it is fairly common for only a few horses to run all three Triple Crown races, with several in the Belmont field having skipped either the Derby, the Preakness, or both. For this reason the “smart money” might lean toward one of those horses instead of Justify.

 

 

Perhaps I am missing something, but I don’t understand all the hype and/or consternation about The Supreme Court’s recent decision against the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. That 1992 law “barred state-authorized sports gambling with some exceptions”, making Nevada the only state where it was legal to wager on games, but now all bets are off (pun intended) and it’s a free-for-all gambling frenzy. But wait!! Haven’t we had The Internet for the past quarter century?? I’m not a big gambler, but I have bet on the Triple Crown horse races online for several years, and could have bet on just about anything else if I’d chosen to do so…so what’s the big deal?? Are casinos suddenly going to pop up everywhere now?? I suppose that’s possible. Will all of those little “gambling cafes” that litter the landscape of my small hometown now offer sports betting in addition to slot machines?? That would actually make such establishments somewhat more interesting. I’m not completely obtuse here folks…I get it. But let’s not pretend that this new legality suddenly allows people to engage in some sort of forbidden activity that they’ve been dying to try but have been prohibited from doing. The truth is that gambling has been a huge business for decades, and not just in Vegas or Atlantic City. The Supreme Court has just brought it out of the shadows…probably so the government can get a piece of the action.

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 5.18

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

 

 

 

 

I don’t necessarily have a dog in the fight on this whole Roseanne Barr situation. I never watched the original incarnation of her sitcom, and wasn’t the least bit interested in the reboot. Her sense of humor just isn’t my cup o’ tea, and I was bemused by the support the new show received from my conservative friends. Roseanne Barr isn’t conservative…but of course I suppose the same thing can be said about President Trump, who has been all over the political map in his lifetime. I voted for Trump a) because I thought he was a better choice than Hillary Clinton, b) I’m all for “draining the swamp” and trying something new instead of the same ol’ out-of-touch politicians who aren’t the least bit interested in actually accomplishing anything meaningful, & c) I knew the hissy fit from the leftist elite in Hollywood, the media, & elsewhere would be delightfully entertaining. Having said all of that, it is undeniable that both manifestations of Roseanne were critically acclaimed & wildly popular, making ABC’s sudden decision to cancel based on a tweet from the titular star quite stunning. The cancellation doesn’t affect my life one way or another, but I am fascinated by the hypocrisy. Truly vile things are said daily on ABC’s daytime talk show The View, and that network’s own Jimmy Kimmel has been a huge contributor to making late night television unwatchable…but that’s okay because their politics toe the company line. In its statement about cancelling Roseanne ABC spouted off some kind of poppycock about her Twitter remarks not being consistent with their values. ABC & ESPN are both owned by Disney, and anyone who has been paying attention knows what those values are. The quick trigger finger displayed in this particular execution indicates that the powers-that-be were just looking for an excuse to cancel the show, just like the reasons given a year ago for axing Tim Allen’s conservative leaning sitcom Last Man Standing were weak at best. Another network probably won’t resuscitate Roseanne like they did Last Man Standing…especially since some of Roseanne Barr’s castmates have already thrown her under the bus…and I honestly couldn’t care less. I just think it’s sad that we’ve come to a point that everyone is so damn sensitive & phony.

 

 

Good information…..

 

 

What is the difference between a cookout, picnic, & barbeque?? Most of us use the terms interchangeably, but they do vary slightly. A picnic is a meal prepared or assembled in one place and enjoyed somewhere else…typically outdoors. Heck, sometimes one doesn’t even prepare the food themselves. Just hit the grocery store for some potato salad, baked beans, cole slaw, watermelon, & cold drinks, make a quick stop at KFC for a bucket of fried chicken, then head outside to your favorite spot…BOOM…picnic. Conversely, at a cookout the food is prepared on the spot and eaten right away. A cookout involves any kind of food that is cooked on a grill…burgers, hot dogs, chicken, veggies, steak, fish. It’s all good. A barbeque has a more narrow focus on food that is slow cooked…ribs, brisket, a whole pig or deer. At a picnic you’ll consume previously prepared chicken. At a cookout you might eat chicken breasts that have been grilled for 5 or 10 minutes. At a BBQ there’ll be a whole chicken that’s been smoked or roasted for hours.

 

 

 

Call it…validation…..

A couple of years ago I made a quiet promise to myself to refrain from sociopolitical “debates” on social media. It took me awhile to get the hang of it and for a time I still found myself engaging on occasion, with such “discussions” leaving me with nothing but elevated blood pressure & increased disdain for the human condition. However, this year I’ve been quite proud of myself, having passed on numerous opportunities to jump into the fray, and on the rare occasions when I do comment I keep my thoughts abbreviated & respectful. Last year…when I was still intermittently falling off the proverbial wagon…I “unfriended” & blocked someone who’d been a friend for over two decades. I realize that some may think of such an action as immature or silly, but for me it was a healthy choice. Unbeknownst to my old friend I unblocked him quite some time ago, and his privacy settings are such that I am able to lurk or troll. I recently ran across a lengthy thread on his page that confirmed to me that I had done the right thing. What this person does is purposely post inflammatory thoughts & opinions then sit back and enjoy the show. Inevitably there is atleast a person or two unable to stay within the lines of courteous & intelligent conversation, and that’s when the name calling, foul language, & even threats begin. And then my friend has the unmitigated gall to make a weak attempt at being the even-tempered, “can’t we all just get along” Voice of Reason. It’s a sick game that he’s been playing for years, deriving vile pleasure from all the attention he is receiving & the trouble he has stirred up, all the while trying to present himself as blameless & innocent. I look back at all the times that I fell into the trap, the instances when I was among those acting crazy & saying nasty things in the midst of the fray, and I am deeply ashamed. A person has the right to post what they want (within legal & decent parameters) on social media. That’s freedom of speech. That being said, others can choose if or how to react, and personally I have become more inclined to just keep scrolling. Your mileage may vary.

 

 

And that’s all I have to say about that.

 

 

Speaking of phony…..

I mentioned awhile back that I thought the “veracity of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement(s)” were “almost mortally wounded” after a really stupid story about comedian Aziz Ansari. And now surely the death knell has to be sounded after a provably false accusation was made against legendary actor Morgan Freeman by an insipidly idiotic “reporter” on CNN. Here’s a tip ladies: if you’re going to slander someone…especially a person who is respected & revered by millions…you might want to make sure there aren’t any video cameras around. I’ve thought almost from the beginning that for every legit claim of “sexual misconduct” there were probably five more that were absolute nonsense, but of course most of the accusations have been from many years ago and had no witnesses one way or another, so far too many people fell into the trap of just believing the allegations of a “poor innocent victim”, and thus careers have been destroyed. Billy Joel once sang “she’ll carelessly cut you and laugh while you’re bleeding”, while Ricky Nelson crooned “she’d play around and tease me with her carefree devil eyes…she’d hold me close and kiss me but her heart was full of lies”. Men are finally getting fed up with the garbage being hurled at them by women. Pack a lunch ladies…it’s on like Donkey Kong!! I hope Freeman sues CNN into oblivion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Polarity of Memorial Day

All is repose and peace. Untrampled lies the sod. The shouts of battle cease…it is the Truce of God! Rest comrades…rest and sleep! The thoughts of men shall be as sentinels to keep your rest from danger free. Your silent tents of green we deck with fragrant flowers. Yours has the suffering been…the memory shall be ours. –  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

 

 

Once upon a time what is now referred to as bipolar disorder was known as manic depression, while what we presently call dissociative identity disorder was commonly christened split or multiple personalities. Memorial Day has a little in common with both.

 

When I was a kid I used to get Memorial Day and Veterans Day confused (and that’s without throwing Armed Forces Day into the mix), but there is a subtle yet significant difference. Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving, whereas Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans. In other words, though it may seem counterintuitive, Memorial Day is not the time to thank current or retired soldiers for their service. It is my understanding that, while most would likely smile & nod and give an appreciative “You’re Welcome”, others might possibly be offended because…well…they’re not dead, and probably have military friends & family that are. To add to the confusion, since 1950 Armed Forces Day has been celebrated about a week before Memorial Day on the third Saturday in May, and it specifically honors those currently serving in the U.S. military. Armed Forces Day doesn’t seem to resonate all that much with the general public, and there are plausible reasons for that, not the least of which is its redundancy and the fact that it doesn’t provide a three day weekend.

 

Memorial Day was initially known as Decoration Day and originated in the aftermath of The Civil War, which ended in 1865 after more than 620,000 casualties… more lives lost than during any military campaign in American history. The astounding number of deaths led to the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries, and on May 5, 1868 General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic…an organization of Union veterans founded in Decatur, Illinois…established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the Union war dead with flowers. General Logan stated “Let us then, at the time appointed, gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime. Let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor. Let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us as sacred charges upon the nation’s gratitude, the soldier’s and sailor’s widow & orphan.” President Ulysses S. Grant presided over the first Decoration Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery (which until 1864 had been Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s plantation), and General James Garfield (who would become President just thirteen years later) made a speech before 5000 participants decorated the graves of 20,000 Union & Confederate soldiers.

 

The preferred name for the holiday gradually changed from Decoration Day to Memorial Day, which was first used in 1882, and as early as the 1890’s some observed a “growing tendency to make Memorial Day an occasion for festivity and indulgence in games & sports foreign to the purpose of the day and the sacred spirit which ought to characterize it”, and professed “pastimes and all amusements on Memorial Day as inconsistent with the proper purposes of the day.” It probably didn’t help that perception when The Indianapolis 500 ran its inaugural race on Memorial Day in 1911 and continued to do so until the early 70’s when the event was permanently moved to Sunday as part of the long holiday weekend. In the late 19th century there were only a handful of holidays on which workers got a day off, so Decoration Day became an unusual respite from the daily grind, an opportunity for sports fans to attend afternoon games or families to take excursions. It soon became common practice to split the difference on Memorial Day, visiting a cemetery in the morning then relaxing in the afternoon.

 

As the 20th century dawned a younger generation who hardly remembered The Civil War was emerging, but Memorial Day lived on. By then, it was well entrenched in American social life and didn’t require a direct connection to war to be meaningful. But it wasn’t long until World War I started and the United States found itself entangled in another major conflict, and so Memorial Day evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars. Just a few decades later WWII happened, which further solidified the holiday.

 

Charleston SC, Waterloo NY, Columbus GA, and various other towns all claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. Some assert that the first Memorial Day was held in April 1865 when a group of former slaves created a proper burial site for more than 250 Union soldiers at a Charleston horse track. But on May 26, 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson designated an official birthplace of the holiday by signing a proclamation naming Waterloo as the holder of the title. Waterloo earned this distinction because in the summer of 1865 a local pharmacist named Henry C. Welles came up with the idea to place flowers on the graves of those who fought in The Civil War and hosted an annual community-wide event, during which businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flags as well as flowers.

 

From 1868 to 1970 Memorial Day was annually observed on May 30, with some believing that the date was chosen because it is not the anniversary of any particular battle, while others say it is an optimal date for flowers to be in bloom. Both assertions are probably true.

 

On June 28, 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which moved three holidays from their traditional dates to a specified Monday in order to increase the number of three-day weekends for federal employees. Washington’s Birthday in February and Veteran’s Day in November were also changed (although Veteran’s Day was later moved permanently back to November 11 in 1978), and Columbus Day was established. The change moved Memorial Day from its traditional May 30 date to the last Monday in May, with the law taking effect in 1971.

 

And this is where the dichotomy really began to propagate.

 

Many opine that changing the date merely to create a long weekend diluted the meaning of Memorial Day, turning it into “a three-day nationwide hootenanny that seems to have lost much of its original purpose”. With its move to Monday in the 1970s increasing commercialization also turned the weekend into an occasion not just for sports & vacations, but for shopping as well.

 

In addition to the debate about long weekends & the date of Memorial Day, we must also consider the evolution of the summer season. Meteorologically & astronomically speaking summer officially begins with the summer solstice on June 21 and ends with the autumnal equinox on September 21. However, in the late 19th century standardization reforms in education led to the creation of the nine month school calendar with which we are all familiar, meaning that children typically begin school in early September and end their year in late May. This essentially redefined summer from a cultural perspective to being June, July, & August, and created a “summer leisure economy” in which families are encouraged to go outside, relax, & have fun. It became logical to bookend summer with Memorial Day and Labor Day. Kicking off summer with Memorial Day gives it a sense of anticipation, a sense of good things & coming attractions when summer is perfect and it hasn’t even happened yet.

 

It seems natural that as individual sorrow fades a tragic event gradually loses its impact, and so a Memorial Day tug-of-war between solemn remembrance and summertime fun has ebbed & flowed for a century & a half. The holiday was conceived in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War. After a few decades those tear-stained memories faded, but then two World Wars happened, which galvanized the nation. Vietnam came along in the 60’s, but America…unlike during previous military conflicts…became fragmented about what it meant for an American soldier to die and the purpose of war in general. It wasn’t until the 1980’s that patriotism rebounded as a foundational aspect of the Reagan Revolution, and then there was another period of ambivalence & malaise before the tragic events of September 11, 2001 led to renewed respect & appreciation for our military.

 

So the question remains: how should we treat and “celebrate” Memorial Day?? I don’t know if there is a simple answer, but I certainly have a few opinions.

 

First of all, I have always been uncomfortable with people wishing each other a “Happy” Memorial Day. It’s kind of like running into an old friend at a funeral and enthusiastically saying “It’s great to see you!!”. It may be nice to catch up with a friend, but the venue and the occasion certainly aren’t joyful. Some things are just better left unsaid.

 

Secondly, the holiday is clearly going to mean something different to folks depending on the circumstances. For those of us who haven’t had any family or close friends die while serving in the military it really is simply a fun weekend and the kickoff for summer, and kids are justifiably excited about getting a break from school or graduating. However…especially with our nation’s involvement in places like Iraq & Afghanistan in the past 17 years…there are plenty of spouses, families, & friends mourning the loss of a loved one, and we must be respectful of that fact.

 

In 2000 Congress passed the National Moment of Remembrance Act, meaning that all Americans are supposed to pause for a minute of silence at 3pm on Memorial Day to pay tribute to the men & women who have died while serving the nation. If this is the first time you’ve heard of that legislation you aren’t alone…I didn’t know about it either, which calls into question its efficacy.

 

There is a school of thought that going out & enjoying yourself on Memorial Day…whether that means swimming, shopping, a picnic, attending a concert, chillin’ out with a good book, or going to a movie…is appropriate because it is exercising the very freedom that so many gave their lives to secure, and I don’t necessarily disagree. That being said, I am reminded of the constant refrain every December about the commercialization of Christmas, which has minimized “the reason for the season”. In the same way that I take no issue with Santa Claus, It’s A Wonderful Life, or The Chipmunks crooning about hula hoops as long as proper reverence is given to celebrating the birth of Christ, I happily embrace the frivolity of summer’s grand opening weekend on the condition that we respect our military, appreciate their sacrifice, & honor fallen heroes.

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 4.18

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

 

 

 

 

A few thoughts on recent developments in television…

*Though it had become, in many ways, an inferior imitation of The West Wing I did enjoy recently cancelled Designated Survivor. Neither show could hide its liberal bias, but I was willing to ignore that annoyance, especially since The West Wing was brilliant. Designated Survivor couldn’t overcome two issues. First, it couldn’t decide if it really wanted to emulate The West Wing or if it was more like an action-adventure retread of star Kiefer Sutherland’s former hit show 24, so oftentimes it tried to be both within the same hour. That didn’t really bother me, but apparently it caused a lot of viewers to change the channel. Secondly, the central premise of the show was that some unknown entity blew up the U.S. Capitol and killed almost the entire federal government. Not only was the mystery solved by the end of the first season, but the culprit was a wealthy businessman obviously meant as a riff on Donald Trump. The mystery could’ve & should’ve been dragged out over multiple seasons but wasn’t, and after that particular plot concluded it seems like a lot of folks lost interest. I understand that there is a glimmer of hope that Netflix may pick up the program, which could be fun.

*I guess it’s nice that Fox is reviving Tim Allen’s sitcom Last Man Standing, which ABC cancelled a year ago. At the time I wrote that the show was “slightly above average” & “good but not great”, and that its demise was “not worth getting too worked up about”. I stand by those remarks, but evidently enough people did get fired up to convince Fox that it’s worthy of a second chance. I suppose I’ll check it out next fall, and I assume after all the uproar the numbers will be solid & that Last Man Standing will stick around for a few more years. I’m cool with that.

*I’m ambivalent about the concept of karma, but if there is such a thing Kevin James & his sitcom Kevin Can Wait surely received a heaping helping. The show was probably doomed to fail from the outset, but deciding to kill off the lead character’s wife in between Seasons 1 & 2 and hire actress Leah Remini for an uninspiring King of Queens reunion with James really didn’t seem right, and everyone involved got what they deserved.

 

 

Food for thought…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I always say I’m trying to eat healthier, but despite my best efforts the truth is that I love food and have very little willpower. But that’s a deeper topic for another day. At the moment I have a few opinions that anyone & everyone connected to the food industry needs to consider:

*Napkins should ALWAYS be included with a drive thru order. I hate when I pull over to eat my meal (because if I was going to go home & eat why would I go to a drive thru?) and discover that there are no napkins in the bag, especially when the food is rather messy. That kind of oversight is unacceptable.

*I shouldn’t have to ask for ketchup with onion rings. As Forrest Gump might say, they go together like peas & carrots, so why would anyone ever not include the ketchup?? It’s madness!!

*Dear Dairy Queen…I couldn’t possibly care less if you turn my blizzard upside down, but for the love of God please put a LID on it so that it doesn’t start to melt & spill before I get around to eating it!!

*These kinds of issues never happen at Chick-fil-A because that place is a tight ship with well-trained & courteous staff, not to mention excellent food.

 

 

Presented without comment…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have been missing intelligent conversation in my life. The people who I used to count on for such stimulation have abandoned me for reasons I don’t understand, and have been replaced in my life by individuals that, though they mean well & have the best of intentions, are incapable of holding up their end of the bargain. I can feel my mind withering, like a lovely flower being denied water.

 

I’ve Got Questions…& Answers

Several months ago I made a few posts with a series of fun yet thought-provoking questions that I’d stumbled across online. My job is one of the most low-key (i.e. boring) situations one could ever hope to be paid for, and since I am not permitted to surf The Net or use my smartphone while I’m on the clock (and of course I would NEVER break the rules) I must find other ways to amuse myself. I’m all about introspection and find these types of exercises to be cathartic, stimulating, & a charming diversion, so when I saw a couple of other questionnaires I decided to condense them a bit and accept the challenge. I eliminated a few dozen questions that I found rather lame & uninspiring, and I’ve done my best to exclude replication from the previous posts, although I apologize in advance because I am sure I fell short in that regard. If you are really bored or have some sort of odd desire to get to know Yours Truly a little better then you’re in the right place.

 

 

 

If you could learn only one magic spell, but it could only do something mundane and boring, what would the spell do??

Well first of all one would need to specifically know what is considered “mundane & boring”. Assuming those parameters are up to each individual, I would love to be able to disapparate, like they do in Harry Potter. No more driving for this guy…just POOF and I’m wherever I need or want to be.

 

What would be the scariest sound to hear after waking up suddenly in the middle of the night??

Any kind of wild animal sounds emanating from inside my abode.

 

 

 

What high level job do you think you could lie your way into with no experience and no one would notice??

Judging by what I see in the media these days…journalist. Atleast I know I can write proficiently.

 

Who or what is your nemesis??

Winter!!

 

 

What would be the consequences of a scientific discovery that extended the life span of humans to 500 years??

Wow…that’s an interesting thought. I suppose there’d be myriad issues. Overcrowding. Food & water shortage. Lack of jobs for all those people living so much longer. Economic issues due to people utilizing “entitlements” much longer. It’d be like when a website suddenly becomes popular and gets so much traffic that it crashes the server.

 

What’s the worst and best thing about being male??

The best thing is that we don’t have to deal with female issues like pregnancy & menstruation. The worst thing is that we have to deal with women lol.

 

 

What childish thing do you still enjoy??

I believe that retaining some sense of an inner child can be healthy. I still love Christmas & Santa Claus. I’ve been a pro wrestling fan for nearly 40 years, and I am aware that some might consider that childish (I disagree).

 

What movie can you watch over and over and never get tired of??

I could probably name dozens of movies like that. The Godfather. The Meg Ryan rom-com three pack…When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, & You’ve Got Mail. Forrest Gump. A bunch of Christmas movies. Grumpy/Grumpier Old Men. Field of Dreams.

 

 

If you designed and built a tree house, what would it look like and what would be in it??

It’d be a mix of simplicity & comfort. I’d have a bookshelf because I think a treehouse would be an awesome place to read. I suppose I’d want some form of electricity or a generator hookup because I’d need a small refrigerator for snacks & drinks, light so that I could hang out reading on warm summer nights, and access to music. Two things that I’d deny myself are TV & internet access. A guy has to rough it a bit sometimes, right?? Some sort of cot or small bed would be nice because just like the reading thing I think a treehouse would be a cool place to take a nap.

 

What movie do you wish life was more like??

The Hobbit. Not the dangerous part when Bilbo and the rest go on their quest, but before that…life in The Shire. Hobbits eat six meals/day, have a life expectancy of 100+ years, and enjoy socializing, smoking “pipe-weed”, & chilling out. I could handle that.

 

 

What is the most interesting piece of trivia you know??

I love trivia. I am a fountain of useless knowledge. Not sure what would be considered “most interesting”.

 

Which celebrity would make the worst leader of a country??

Oprah

 

 

What were you really into when you were younger but now think is silly??

Most things that kids are into are silly…that’s the charm of childhood. I’d be somewhat concerned if I still had the same interests now as I did three or four decades ago.

 

What is the most useless thing you know how to do??

If you name a movie I can…if I am even vaguely familiar with it…usually tell you what year it was released. I usually nail it, and at worst I’ll be one year off.

 

 

How many phones have you broken or lost??

Surprisingly none.

 

 

 

 

Which historical figure wasn’t as amazing as most people think they were??

I suspect most of them. We love to create myths and manufacture heroes, which certainly has its place in society. But every human being puts their pants on one leg at a time just like you & me. No one is infallible. That doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve kudos for their achievements and significant impact on society, but only that we should be cautious about idol worship.

 

You are in charge of making insects a popular food item. You have 1 billion US dollars to achieve your goal. How do you do it??

Marketing is an amazing thing. Especially with a billion dollar bankroll I don’t believe it’d be that difficult to promote insects as desirable nourishment. Do a little R&D in regard to flavoring, advertise it in such a way that it seems to be the hip thing that everybody is eating, and partner with eateries & retail outlets to make the product readily available…BOOM…you’ve got a winner.

 

What’s something you were really stressed about, but it turned out to be no big deal??

Almost everything that causes us advanced stress is no big deal, and if it is a big deal we have to deal with the situation anyway, right??

 

 

What are you tired of hearing about??

I’m tired of celebrities & athletes pontificating about sociopolitical issues, especially since most are completely ignorant of facts and out of touch with how the average person lives. Just entertain us…that’s what we pay you so much money to do.

 

What three events made the biggest impact on who you are today??

June 9, 1995. That’s the day I left the town in which I attended college and returned to my small hometown. It was a huge mistake…one that I’ve regretted nearly every day since.

June 20, 1996. I was in a car accident. I went off the road, over an embankment, & hit a tree. I wasn’t intoxicated. It was a beautiful day. It was about 4pm in the afternoon on a road I’d driven countess times. I may have been going a bit too fast, but nothing crazy. I just lost control of my car. I smacked my head on my windshield and bruised my midsection on the steering wheel, but otherwise my physical injuries weren’t too awful. However, my psychological issues…I suppose it’s probably PTSD…grew out of control, to the point that I developed a crippling driving phobia. I am okay within my small comfort zone, which is probably an area of about 15-20 square miles…but I do not drive outside of that zone, which has had a destructive effect on my life for over two decades.

February 23, 2000. The day my mother died. Nothing has been the same since that day.

 

What would you NOT do for 5 million dollars??

I draw the line at any kind of violent crime. Beyond that I am open to a discussion. I still may not do it, but I’d atleast want to ponder the possibilities.

 

What is society doing now that in 20 years will be laughed at and ridiculed??

The question assumes progress, as if the future will bring enlightenment & growth. However, from what I’ve seen our society is morally regressive, so I am left to assume that two decades from now what will be ridiculed & belittled will be faith, ethics, & basic standards of decency that we have always taken for granted. Actually, people scoff at those things now, but I don’t see it getting any better. Other than all of that, one would expect technology & communication to evolve, meaning that, just as we can reflect on and chuckle at items that we utilized decades ago and thought were cutting edge at the time, in two decades we will probably look back some of the ways we do things & equipment we use now and think of them as primitive.

 

What’s the most effective way for a government to control its populace??

Economics & education. We see it now, and have for decades. The Welfare State ostensibly began with the best of intentions, but it has created a level of dependence in which people willingly give up control of virtually their entire lives to the government. Education in America is far behind several other nations. Essentially we are taught just enough to be able to run the machines & apparati that make things go on a daily basis, but we lack true understanding of the bigger issues, and that allows for even more control.

 

If you had to choose one cause to dedicate your life to, what would that cause be??

I’m not really into causes. That doesn’t mean I don’t care about certain things, but being a passionate crusader just isn’t my thing.

 

 

If you died today, what would your greatest achievement be??

I don’t feel like I’ve actually achieved much of anything. I hope some folks would have a few nice things to say about me, and I’d like to think I’ve been a decent person who has made a positive impression, but sadly I would not consider my life…impactful.

 

Who are some people you only met once but they left a big impression on you??

I can’t think of anyone who I met only once that left much of an imprint, but there are several folks who may have only been in my orbit for a very short period of time…a few months, a year or two…decades ago that I still fondly recall…teachers, co-workers, classmates. There are people that I attended college with that were only in my daily life for a few years and I haven’t actually spent much time with in over two decades that I still consider dear friends.

 

What do you think is the most common complaint people in your country have??

We Americans like to complain about everything…sports, politics, weather, our job, traffic, entertainment, rich people, food, racism, sexism, homophobia, crime, etc. I have no idea what the most common complaint is, but it’s probably something totally goofy that isn’t a real problem at all, or if it is actually an issue it’s something we’ve been whining about for decades and there’s not a whole lot that can be done that hasn’t already been tried.

 

What stories from your life will you tell your children about (assuming you have children)??

If God ever blesses me with children the stories that I’d want to share with them would be about family and the good things I recall about growing up in my small town. The few crazy tales I might have about my misspent youth probably aren’t ones I’d want to share with my kids.

 

 

If you could become the number one expert in one niche field, what would it be??

Is blogging considered a niche field?? If so I’d love to become an expert and be able to bestow wisdom to the masses about becoming a well-paid blogger and making a great living doing something you love right from the comfort of home.

 

What was the worst purchase you’ve ever made??

About 20 years ago I signed up thru Easton Press to receive a set of leatherbound books…one at a time that were atleast $50 a pop. I don’t necessarily regret the purchase and I still own most of the books, but at the time I was unemployed and really couldn’t afford them. It was financially irresponsible and I should’ve been smarter.

 

 

What did you think was silly until you tried it??

Pinterest

 

 

 

 

 

Who is your favorite author??

I have a few. Twain. Bradbury. Conan Doyle. Dickens. Tolkien. Steinbeck.

 

 

When you are day dreaming, what do you dream about??

I probably should keep that to myself lol.

 

What do you believe even though you know it’s probably wrong??

If I believe something or believe in something in my heart & mind it must be right. Others may disagree and that’s okay, but why would I contradict myself?? That’d be asinine.

 

What signs make you think someone will go on to be successful?? 

First of all, one must define success. What that looks like may be vastly different to various people. However, I assume the question is looking thru the prism of an accepted traditional view of success…great job, financial security, nice house, fancy car, etc. So what are early indicators that someone is destined for that description of success?? I’m not sure. I’ve known people who were great students, had a solid work ethic, & and seemed to have a good head on their shoulders but were never able to translate all of that into any sort of professional achievement. Conversely, I’ve seen folks who barely made it thru school & weren’t particularly motivated find something they love to do and/or are especially talented at and parlay it into a good income with all the associated stuff. “Success” seems to be a surreptitious recipe involving focus, attitude, motivation, common sense, opportunity, networking, fortitude, & timing.

 

What was the weirdest habit you had as a child??

I slept with a teddy bear until I was…well, probably a little too old to be sleeping with a teddy bear. I guess that’s kind of weird.

 

 

What is the most irritating food?

Crab legs. Too much effort to justify the output.

 

 

 

How does your definition of a “real man” differ from the mainstream stereotype of a “real man”??

I think the world defines a man as being a tough, rugged, macho guy who drinks beer, likes to “throw down”, enjoys working on cars & going hunting, & doesn’t talk much or express any kind of emotion. To a certain extent I don’t disagree with some of that and take issue with the growing penchant for trying to feminize men, turning them into overly sensitive metrosexuals. However, I don’t feel like a man needs to be particularly outdoorsy or have any kind of affinity for hunting, fishing, beer, cars, or tobacco products. A real man can be intelligent & enjoy the finer things in life. A real man is responsible, trustworthy, honorable, polite, reliable, & takes proper care of his family.

 

If time wasn’t an issue and you had forever to master a skill, what skill would you master??

Cooking. I think it’d be fun (and beneficial) to be a skilled culinary craftsman.

 

 

What was the biggest mistake in history??

Oh wow. I’m not sure that can be narrowed down to just one thing, and though I enjoy history I am far from an expert. But off the top of my head I think we can point to things like slavery, fascism, communism, & socialism as failures of society.

 

If you wanted to give a tourist the local flavor of where you live, what would you have them do??

I’d take them to a WVU Mountaineers football game, have them attend the Italian Heritage Festival on Labor Day Weekend, eat some pepperoni rolls, catch a Davisson Brothers concert, & go to church with me on Sunday.

 

 

Who or what do you always have time for??

My dog Rocco and my family.

 

 

What are two things you’ll never spend money on??

Since I’m a guy I could take the easy way out and mention things like makeup, frilly underwear, or high heel shoes…but I won’t let myself off that easy. The first thing that comes to mind is a mega expensive vehicle. Dependable transportation is important, but I’m not trying to impress anybody. I don’t travel all that much, and the fact that I use a wheelchair means that any car or truck I own is going to get scuffed up quite a bit anyway, so I don’t see myself ever spending six figures on a BMW, Lexus, or any kind of fancy sports car. I also don’t see myself spending money to buy a house. Houses are for married couples & families. It is unlikely that I will ever get married or have children, so I don’t think buying a house is necessary even if I had the money.

 

What do you need to rant about or get off your chest??

I try to avoid ranting. That’s why I have a blog lol.

 

 

What’s the best bad decision you’ve made??

When I was a freshman in college I joined a fraternity. In retrospect it may have been a wiser decision to focus more on academics and forego the frivolity. Perhaps if I’d buckled down and concentrated on school I’d have been better prepared for “the real world” and found a career that would have provided professional fulfillment & financial security. But I’ll be darned if those four…okay, four & a half…years weren’t the best time of my life that supplied lifelong memories & cherished friendships. I’m not sure I’d change anything.

 

 

What can a movie do to make you get up and walk out??

I can’t recall ever leaving a theater before the film was over, and I’ve seen some bad movies. These days there is enough information available to make an informed decision before ever buying a ticket, so it’s unlikely that a movie could be so surprisingly unentertaining or offensive that I’d leave early. I might not have a high opinion of the film, but I’ll probably stay for the whole mess.

 

What are you so incredibly terrible at, that you’ve given up ever doing it again??

When I was a kid my grandmother tried to teach me how to crochet, and when I was in college a friend tried to teach me how to play guitar. I don’t think that I was terrible as much as the fact that I didn’t have the patience or inclination to really put any effort into either endeavor.

 

What was your favorite cartoon when you were growing up??

Scooby-Doo

 

 

 

What are some things people have selflessly done to make your life better??

I am sure there have been multiple people who have done isolated selfless acts of kindness for me, but the prize has to go to my parents, who constantly put their interests aside & sacrificed their needs to take care of me & my sister. I’m sure that’s not uncommon amongst parents…or atleast I’d hope that it’s not uncommon.

 

 

What do you own that a lot of people comment on??

An old friend once opined that I “live in a library”. In my modest one bedroom apartment I have about eight bookshelves. Visitors to my abode are rare, but my books usually get noticed by anyone who stops by.

 

What’s your perfect burger??

I prefer to keep it rather uncomplicated. Nothing fancy for me. Plain bun, thick & juicy burger, ketchup, mustard, mayo, sautéed onions, & melted American cheese. I’m not really a tomato fan, and though I like bacon I can take it or leave it as a burger topping.

 

Which fictional villain is your favorite??

There are just so many to choose from!! JR Ewing from the TV show Dallas. The Joker & The Riddler from the Batman comics, shows, & movies. Henry F. Potter from It’s A Wonderful Life. Darth Vader from Star Wars. Sherlock Holmes’ nemesis Professor James Moriarty. Professor Snape from Harry Potter. Michael Myers from Halloween. Star Trek II’s Khan. Hans Gruber in the original Die Hard. Ebenezer Scrooge from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

 

You’re given $300,000 to make one room in your house or apartment ridiculously amazing, what room do you pick and what upgrades do you make??

I live on the fifth floor of a ten story apartment building. There are about a dozen apartments on each floor. With $300k I would just take over one whole floor for myself, making all of those apartments into one unit. I would have a huge living room with a 50 inch TV, a nice library, a huge kitchen with all the bells & whistles and every gadget one could imagine, a big ol’ porch/veranda, a bathroom four times as big as what I have now, & atleast three bedrooms.

 

What are some boring games or sports and how can they be livened up??

When I think of boring sports my mind immediately goes to soccer. They say it is the most popular sport in the world, but I just don’t get it. Off the top of my head the first thing I would change is the size if the field. A soccer field can be 100–130 yards long & 50–100 yards wide. I would suggest a standard field size of 100 yards long & 50 yards wide. I would reduce the number of players on each team from 11 to 7. Let’s also reduce the length of each game from 45 minutes per half to 30 minutes, divided further into four quarters. As opposed to current rules my revised soccer format would have the clock stopping each time a ball goes out of bounds. We’d also get rid of the yellow card & red card stuff and just call fouls/penalties, with each player allowed three penalties before being disqualified from the game. When a player is eliminated no substitution would occur, effectively giving the opposing team a “power play” for the remainder of the game. New overtime rules would eliminate “extra time” and skip right to a 3 on 3 sudden death. “Stoppage time” needs to be eliminated altogether. And finally…as silly as it may seem…let’s talk about team names. The United States’ pro soccer league has teams like FC Dallas, Minnesota United FC, & Sporting Kansas City, while the English Premier League has Arsenal & West Ham United. No…just no. A sports team needs a nickname, with a mascot. Lions…Tigers…Bears…oh my!!

 

What do you like to do that is traditionally considered feminine??

Shopping

 

What’s the weirdest thing you used to eat as a child??

I wish my mother was still with us because I’m sure she’d remember such things much better than I do, but off the top of my head I do recall eating mayonnaise sandwiches. No meat. No cheese. Just Miracle Whip slathered on a piece of bread. I suppose that’s kind of weird.

 

 

What small stuff do you always sweat??

Every single day of my working life…in every job that I have had…I have feared getting fired. I know I am a good employee. I show up on time, do what needs to be done, treat colleagues & everyone else with respect, and put in an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay…but the paranoia about being fired does not ever go away.

 

If you could add 4 hours to your day, what would you spend that 4 hours doing??

Sadly, nothing exciting. I’d probably just read or watch TV more…possibly get some extra sleep.

 

 

 

What state / city would you like to move to??

Part of me will always believe that I should have moved somewhere right out of college or soon thereafter. I am intrigued by the idea of moving to Pittsburgh, PA because it is only two hours from my hometown so I’d still be relatively close to family, plus I’m a huge Steelers/Pirates/Penguins fan so the thought of going to those games on a regular basis is intriguing. However, if I were to move the smart thing would be to go south…the Carolinas or Florida. Living near the beach might be fun. Anywhere warm where I don’t have to be concerned with ice & snow all that much during the winter, and someplace where there is culture & plenty of entertainment options. Having said all of that, the reality is that, at this point in my life, if I’ve not relocated by now it is very unlikely that I ever will.

 

What are some websites you used to use all the time but have stopped using??

Well, everybody stopped using MySpace when Facebook came along lol. Aside from that,

 

 

 

Who would be the worst celebrity to have dinner with??

Unlike many people I am really not into the whole celebrity idol worship thing. I respect their talent and appreciate their movies, songs, TV shows, etc., but the older I get the weirder Hollywood becomes, so it’d be easier to come up with a small list of stars that I would be interested in having dinner with. I have zero interest in any contact with the majority of them.

 

Assuming that any people or animals made it out safely already, what one thing would you most want to save if your house caught fire??

My books…as many as possible.

 

Where have you traveled??

Unfortunately I haven’t traveled much at all. I live in West Virginia. I’ve been to Pittsburgh, Washington DC, Charlotte NC, and a few places in Ohio & Kentucky. That’s it. I’ve never been on a plane, ship, or train. At this point in my life there are only a few places that I’d really love to visit…Vegas, the beach, New York City. If I’d suddenly come into some serious cash I wouldn’t mind taking a cruise or visiting Europe (specifically Italy & England).

 

What obscure website do you absolutely love??

Online Onslaught & 411mania, which are for pro wrestling fans. And of course The Manofesto.

 

 

What random acts of extreme kindness would you like to see??

Well, if anyone wants to give me a big ol’ wad of money so that I can travel a bit more that’d be really kind.

 

When was the last time you remember someone doing or saying something so stupid that you were sure it was a joke??

Just turn on CNN or MSNBC lol…you’ll find comical stupidity on a daily basis.

 

If you could go back in time and inspire someone to make a present-day invention, what invention in what time period would advance humanity the most??

Here’s a radical thought. What if The Internet would have been around in the early 1900’s?? Would enhanced communication have prevented two World Wars?? It’s an interesting idea to ponder.

 

What’s your favorite board or card game?? How about your least favorite??

I love both board games & card games. My grandmother taught me how to play rummy when I was a kid, and it’s pretty fun. I like poker & blackjack. I love Scrabble & Trivial Pursuit.

 

 

What was the worst thing you ever tasted??

Escargot

 

 

If you were a ghost, how would you haunt??

I’d like to think I’d be a friendly ghost, so I would “haunt” in such a way that the person (most likely a friend or loved one) would know I was there but would understand that I mean no harm.

 

 

What’s one small thing you could do each day that would greatly improve your life??

Eat healthier

 

 

 

What would be the last movie you’d like to see before you die??

There are a lot of movies that I love, so it’s hard to narrow it down to just one. I suppose I’d have to choose one of my favorite Christmas films.

 

 

What two things are you most passionate about??

Aside from my family, in general I’d have to say movies & sports.

 

 

What must be seen or experienced in person to really appreciate it??

I would really like to visit The Grand Canyon. That seems like something that needs to be seen in person.

 

What common ingredient or spice do you despise??

Anything spicy. My body just can’t handle spicy.

 

 

 

What celebrities are most likely to be jerks??

I’m guessing most of them.

 

 

How well can you explain how a car works??

I am NOT a car guy. Not at all.

 

 

 

What’s the first thing that you think when see a homeless person??

Obviously I feel a certain level of empathy, and I can’t help but be curious as to what choices & calamities led them down this path.

 

What’s the most ridiculous tattoo you’ve ever seen??

I believe that any kind of tattoo is ridiculous.

 

 

 

If you were an actor, what kind of roles do you think you would be good at??

I would be the supportive & funny best friend. I believe that’d be right in my wheelhouse.

 

 

What’s currently legal but won’t be in ten or twenty years??

Cigarette smoking

 

 

What would you like to be the best in the world at doing??

Writing

 

 

What was fun to do once, but you’ll never do it again??

I smoked marijuana a few times in college and in my 20’s, but two decades later I doubt if I ever partake again.

 

If you could pick up any one instrument and instantly be a virtuoso at it, what instrument would you choose??

Guitar or piano

 

 

Would you volunteer to go colonize another planet if it meant you would never return to earth??

My gut instinct is no…but I’d be open-minded enough to hear my options.

 

 

What would be the worst store to have a $1000 gift card for??

For me personally it would either be a smoking/tobacco shop or any kind of women’s clothing store. I don’t smoke and I don’t have a wife/girlfriend or daughter, so the gift card would be a complete waste.

 

What’s something you’re surprised no one has figured out how to do yet??

Flying cars!! Back to the Future II promised us flying cars by 2015.

 

What’s your creative outlet??

Writing

 

 

Who’s famous for their talent, but really shouldn’t be??

Almost anyone on “reality TV”.

 

 

 

If you could add one rule that everyone must follow when they use the internet, what would your rule be??

I would impose a fifteen minute waiting period before posting emotional responses on social media.

 

 

 

What have you really wanted to do for a long time but haven’t done yet??

I have wanted to travel to Las Vegas for atleast a decade or longer, but I hesitate to go alone and can’t get anyone else to go with me.

 

What activity or hobby is so filled with hateful people that it puts you off trying it??

I suppose we could categorize any kind of social activism as a hobby, but it’s just not my thing. People who are caught up in causes like animal rights, environmentalism, or any other kind of sociopolitical protests strike me as a bit full of themselves and the kind of individuals who take everything way too seriously.

 

 

What’s the best part of your day??

Anytime I get to hang out & snuggle with my dog Rocco is just awesome. He’s so laid back & easy to take care of. He enjoys be held and talked to, and I can do that.

 

What language do you like the sound of even though you don’t know how to speak it??

Italian. I did take a couple of years of Italian in high school and recall a few words & phrases, but definitely wouldn’t say that I know how to speak the language.

 

 

What’s your favorite movie from each genre??

It depends on how you categorize movie genres. I spent a few years writing about my 100 Favorite Movies. Check out the complete list.

 

What news headline would you most like to see??

“West Virginia Man Wins Billion Dollar Lottery”. That man would be me…obviously.

 

 

 

If you could run away from it all and start fresh somewhere new, would you??

Speaking of immense wealth…

I have this fantasy of coming into a ton of money and then faking my own death. I would essentially go off the grid and hole up in a secluded mansion in a tropical locale. But then I’d travel incognito whenever I felt the urge to do so. So basically I’m not as much interested in starting anew as much as I am having the freedom & means to completely disengage.

 

If you were given $10,000 to throw an amazing party, gathering, or event, what would that look like??

It would either be a New Year’s Eve bash or a Super Bowl party. I’m not really into loud music or dancing or acting like a crazy teenager, so it would probably be a relaxed yet classy affair with plenty of great food, a low key band, & maybe a few theme related activities.

 

When was the last time you felt completely out of the loop??

I feel out of the loop a lot. It’s been a lifelong running theme. I used to be bothered by it, but the older I get the less I care. Being out of the loop means less responsibility for me, and that’s perfectly fine.

 

What’s something you boycott but don’t make a big deal of boycotting??

I am not generally a boycott kind of person, but in the past year I have stopped watching late night television for various reasons. I used to love late night TV, but with Carson, Leno, Letterman, Snyder, & Ferguson all gone it’s just not the same anymore. I can’t stand Colbert or Kimmel. Conan, Meyers, & Corden are irrelevant.  I used to like Fallon but not anymore. It’s not necessarily a boycott as much as a conscious decision that those shows are no longer worthy of my time & attention.

 

 

 

Okay, that’s it…for now. There is another round of questions that I’ll post whenever I get around to answering them. Until then…God bless & thanks for stopping by.