The Washington Post: George Will- ‘Saying Goodbye To Football: Baseball is The True American Pastime’

Source: The New Democrat

I’m a big fan of baseball myself. Along with football, baseball is the only sport that I can follow for the entire season and actually still enjoy watching regular season games. Not just with the Orioles who I grew up with in Bethesda, Maryland and still consider them to be my number one team even with the Nationals now in Washington. And the Nationals who brought Major League Baseball back to the nation’s capital where it’s always belonged.

I just don’t get the same satisfaction from the NBA or NHL with those two leagues today and I’m only interested in those leagues as far as how the Wizards and Capitals are doing as far as their playoff contention and to a certain extent their playoff games. I don’t feel the need to watch the NBA Finals or Stanley Cup Finals anymore. It’s just not that interesting for me anymore. That just might be me growing up and having better things to do in June now, or the quality of those leagues especially the NBA, not being what they were in the 1980s when I was a big fan of the NBA especially.

I’m not a fan of the current Roger Goodell and this league really is his league and he now owns it. It’s a league where defense is discouraged, where the average playoff team probably throws the ball 60% of the time, because the NFL wants scoring and high-octane offense over everything else. Where playoff teams only have enough defense in order to get key stops towards the end of games. Where certain franchises are marketed and weighed more than others, because they’re popular and the NFL believes if those markets are promoted more and better than others, that will somehow make the NFL more profitable. And of course I’m thinking of a certain franchise that plays near Boston, but they’re other franchises that the NFL sees as the faces of the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, and perhaps others. The NFL is now a celebrity oriented entertainment corporation, instead of a major pro sports league.

But where I disagree with George Will, has to do with the MLB becoming more popular than the NFL at some point. Even with the ratings and attendance down in the NFL ( as they should be ) Americans and this goes back to the early 1970s or so, prefer sports where there’s a lot of action instead of seeing a lot of guys standing around on a field waiting for something to happen. Baseball like pool, is very interesting even with the delays in between action on the field.

But the reason why the NHL is a major pro sports league in America now is because of the constant fast paced action on the field. The hard-hitting and seeing these athletes do some incredible things on skates and on the ice. Even with the dangers of football, the only thing that I can see bringing that league down to the point where it’s no longer the most popular league in America ( if not the world ) is Roger Goodell himself.

And Americans get fed up with the corporate celebrity driven entertainment oriented format of the league. With celebrities being taken seriously as real NFL analysts ( to use as an example ) and Americans decide that they want their sports to just be their sports and their entertainment and celebrity news, to just be those things. But not all combined in the same pot. Which is what you get with the NFL today.

The Washington Post: George Will- ‘Saying Goodbye To Football: Baseball is The True American Pastime’

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The Economist: Lane Green- Why Do We Swear?

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Source: The Economist– don’t piss this guy off!

Source: The New Democrat

Warning: this piece could offend a lot of people who are very religious and have a PG-13 mentality.

Before I explain why I believe we (meaning Americans, as if there is anyone else ) swear, first we should know what swearing is and what it isn’t.

“Make a solemn statement or promise undertaking to do something or affirming that something is the case.” That is not the type of swearing that I’m talking about. Joe swearing to his girlfriend Sally that he would never cheat on her again, is not the type of swearing that I’m talking about.

“Use offensive language, especially as an expression of anger.” That is the type of swearing that I’m talking about.” God dammit, where the fuck is that pizza I ordered a couple of hours ago?” That is more inline with what I’m talking about.

There is swearing and there is swearing. Which I know sounds like a great impression of Captain Obvious, but it makes my greater point. There is moderate swearing like damn or hell. And there is stronger swearing that will still get you bleeped even on network TV today. Like what the fuck, holy shit, mother fucker, fucking, etc, words and phrases that if you don’t use when you’re on HBO or Showtime or whatever the current action/thriller movie is today, you’ll sound like you just flew in from Planet Zolkon or someplace and sound alien to the people who normally live on Earth. You can’t watch an HBO, Showtime, or Cinemax show or movie today, without not just hearing those hardcore swear words, but hearing probably a hundred times in any given hour.

But what the hell is common on network TV not just today, but going back to the early and mid 1970s with shows like All in The Family, Maude, M*A*S*H, and others, but now we’ll here hell in the nightly newscasts and all over cable news. Like, “they’re going to have a helluva time putting that back together. Or, “what the hell was he thinking?” Which seems to be a common question today when talking about someone involved in the Trump Administration. ( Ha, ha )

But damn you might sound like moderate cussing, especially with today’s reality TV/HBO/Showtime/Cinemax, etc audience, but when you’re damming someone, you’re condemning them to hell. Damn you is not a complement. “Damn you Tom! You’re doing a great job” That might sound like a complement, but it’s not. Now, “damn you Tom! You’re an hour late. Where the hell have you been?” That is more inline with how damn you is used which is to express anger at someone because they pissed you off. Pissed off again with today’s reality TV slash cable TV Millennial audience, might sound like moderate swearing, but it isn’t.

Now, why as a country does America swear so much? And again I’m not talking about moderate swearing, but the favorite swear words of cable TV and reality TV? I believe it has to do with America’s obsession with sounding cool, as if the people we are as ourselves is not cool enough. The more pissed off we sound as people in America, the cooler we come off. Cool in the traditional sense as someone who is level-headed and takes things as they come, we’ve been here before, no big deal, like Joe Montana quarterbacking the San Francisco 49ers when the game is not online, someone with a personality like that would look really cool 25 years ago even.

But now with this obsession with being part of whatever the latest trend in awesome or whatever is and becoming famous celebrities in our own right and people feeling the need to be cool and famous so badly, anger sells now and sells a lot. If you’re caught on camera or video getting into a fight at a nightclub looking real pissed off and cussing your ass off, that video of you could go viral and you could become famous just based on that with someone later contracting you and wanting to get to know you and probably have some entertainment business opportunity for you.

But if you’re just at that club having a good time and perhaps you just have one girlfriend and to go back to Joe Montana with that Joe Cool personality, you’ll just be another guy at that club. You want to be famous, show up to that same club with multiple girlfriends and that will improve your image with the people that you want to see you as cool.

The Economist: Lane Green- Why Do We Swear?

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Consumer Affairs: My Sick Week With The Flu

Source: FRS FreeState

Last Saturday not yesterday, but the Saturday before that, I was at my desk in my office working on my blog doing some updating on some of my pieces. I generally don’t blog on the weekends as far as adding new material, but I do like using Saturday and Sunday to do stuff with the blog that I generally don’t have time for during the week when I’m writing full-time.

I felt fine up until about 4-5PM Saturday when I started developing a big of a headache. I guess sort of the how the passengers from Airplane 1980 ( great movie ) felt fine until they had the meal on the plane before everyone started feeling sick from food poisoning. By Saturday night I was in bed trying to feel better and recover and hopefully get some energy. Which didn’t work because I did fall asleep but woke up with no appetite and not feeling very well. I’m sitting at my couch watching and old NFL game on TV and all the sudden I felt like I was outside in Alaska sitting on a frozen pond in January naked. I was so damn cold I was literally shivering. It wasn’t even that cold, it was about 50 degrees outside and even somewhat humid and I’m fully dressed and have a big blanket around me trying to stay warm.

Sunday wasn’t much better. Tried to have some cereal and get some food in my stomach but only managed a few spoonfuls. And spent most of Sunday in bed. If there is anything that is positive about the flu, at least in my case is that I tend to sleep very well with it, because I’m always tired and have no appetite. Monday I was just tired and achy the whole day, but I did managed to get something to eat and had some spaghetti around 7PM. Tuesday was worst than Monday. Again I was in bed a lot with nothing to eat I believe the entire day and that shivering feeling came back where I’m in bed fully dressed with a couple blankets around me, but I did sleep well and managed to get through that.

Wednesday is when my body started to recover noticeably and got hungry around 2PM with some energy and felt well enough to go out and get some lunch. It wasn’t very good, a chili dog from my neighborhood 7-11. I was literally disappointed because their hot dogs tend to taste good. Their chili and cheese sauce tends to taste good as well, but at least I was eating lunch again and had something for diner as well and I was also able to get outside without worrying about I was going to puke or something ( sorry if you’re currently eating ) and felt well enough to get outside, run an errand and have something to eat. Thursday was even better and was able to get a real lunch, and do some bike riding again.

Friday, went out to McDonald’s, did a little shopping and rode through Little Falls Park ( here in Glen Echo and Bethesda, Maryland ) beautiful day with the weather being about 65-70 degrees that day with it finally feeling like spring in this area. I was so sick and had no energy this week that I wasn’t even up to checking my email and opening up my computer for anything. Relying exclusively on my I-phone for updates and information. Didn’t check into any of my social networks all week until yesterday when I finally checked back in online and caught up on my email. Which is what I did yesterday.

I still don’t feel as well today as I did the Friday before I got the flu the last weekend, but I’m moving around feeling well with some real energy flow again and I’m obviously blogging, so I guess I could feel a helluva lot worst than this. Not that I want to put that theory to any test. One week with the flu is all I need for a year. Actually this would be enough for two years.

Not sure about anyone else, but when I have the flu all I want to do is get a lot of sleep and get a break from the aches and pains, whatever headache I might have and be in some place where I’m not in pain. I drink a lot of water, showers provide real relief from the flu. Milk and soft drinks, help out as well and they also help me with my energy level. I’m generally a 24-48 sometimes even less than 24 hours guy when it comes to the flu, but my sick week with the flu might just be a sign that I’m getting older and my immune system is not as strong as it use to be.

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The New Republic: Opinion- Jeet Heer: ‘Why Film Critics Were Blind To The Big Lebowski’s Brilliance’

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Source: The New Republic– The Dude ( played by Jeff Bridges ) on one of his marijuana trips 

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

I sort of look at The Big Lebowski as a parody of hipsters as a movie that makes fun of hipsterism and sends America the message that this is what can happen to you when you don’t grow up and completely dissolve your yourself from society. The Dude ( played by the great Jeff Bridges ) is a middle age hippie radical from the 1960s who still believes it’s 1968 or something. Well, when White Russians are your main beverage and you don’t seem to drink anything else during the day, except when you’re at the grocery store drinking out of a carton of milk ( which did happen in the movie ) the world can pass you by because your brain lacks the braincells to keep up with everyday life. Same thing when you smoke pot on a regular basis. Not that I’m against legalizing pot, I just wouldn’t recommend that people smoke it several times a day. Love Snickers bars, but I make sure that I eat other things as well. Like potato chips.

The Big Lebowski is a movie about hipsters and hipsterism and people who see hipsters as losers and bums and hipsterism as a loser lifestyle for bums. The hipster outsiders played by Jeff Bridges, as ( The Dude ) John Goodman, ( another great comedian as Walter ) and Steve Buscemi. ( As Donnie ) Who are looked down upon but perhaps seem useful even in a limited way by the successful establishment, the winners in Los Angeles in 1991, or at leas some of them. David Huddleston, ( as the successful Jeffrey Lebowski ) Phillip Hoffman, ( as Brandt ) and Julianne Moore. ( As the radical 1960s feminist Maude Lebowski )

And the movie turns into a private detective crime story/soap opera where the Jeff Lebowski claims his trophy wife who is young enough to be his granddaughter, not just daughter, ( played by Tara Reid ) is kidnapped and believes The Dude is useful here in trying to bring is trophy wife back to him. The theory being that the people who supposedly kidnapped Bunny ( played by Tara Reid ) are also hipster/losers and The Dude can work with them speaks their language and so-forth and bring the girl back to her husband.

The problem that Mr. Lebowski, has is that The Dude is not as dumb as he looks. Sure! He’s missing brain cells from his constant pot and alcohol consumption, but he’s smart enough to know when he’s being played and when someone is lying to him. Of three hipsters in the movie who are all friends and very close to each other, The Dude is the only one who figures out early in the story that Bunny, was never kidnapped. How did Dude put it? “There was never any real kidnapping. Bunny kidnapped herself.” He figures this out after the first attempt to payoff the kidnappers with a million dollar ransom fails. And The Dude tells his buddies that the girl kidnapped herself.

Dude explains why he believes that with the girl being a trophy wife who owes money all over town who s simply using her grandfather, I mean rich old husband, to finance her expensive lifestyle and to pay off her pimps. The fake kidnapping was about getting a million dollars from Mr. Lebowski to pay the girl and her friends off. Except for maybe her pimps, Bunny was completely safe the entire movie.

And then the rich 1960s radical feminist daughter Maude ( played by Julianne Moore ) comes into the story, because her father gave Dude one of her valuable rugs. If you’re familiar with the great 1970s CBS sitcom Maude, Maude Lebowski is not that different from Maude Findlay ( played by Bea Arthur ) except that Maude Findlay loves men and Maude Lebowski, I believe at least comes off as a man-hating lesbian, not just as a radial feminist. Maude comes into the story because again her father gives away her rug to The Dude and she wants it back. And sends her thugs to Dude’s apartment to steal it from him.

Bunny is the real problem in the story, as well as having two main characters with the last name Lebowski, because she’s a former ( perhaps current prostitute ) and not just gold digger who owes her pimps money and her pimp wants his money back and sends his thugs over to Lebowski’s place to get his money back. The mistake that Jackie Treehorn ( played by Ben Gazzara ) and his thugs make other than breaking and entering into a private home without permission, is that that break into the wrong Lebowki’s home. The Dude lives in a fair small apartment and probably doesn’t have 20 bucks on him, let alone million or whatever Bunny owes. The rich Lebowski lives in a mansion.

Again, I kind of see this movie as the establishment in society ( however you want to define that ) taking on hipsters and perhaps using this movie as a lesson to young people and saying this is what happen when you don’t finish school and don’t seem to care about anything in life other than having a good time and living one day at a time. The problem that the so-called winners have is that the hipsters, the bums, the losers, come out on top. The Dude and his buddy Walter, figure out the the kidnapping never happened and was simply just a lie and they fend off and so-called kidnappers and the good guys come through in the ninth and win the game.

This is one of the funniest movies you ever possibly ever see and a represents the 1990s very well as what it is which is a great decade for movies and American life in general and I believe the best comedy from that decade.

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The Onion: Pros and Cons of Free Speech on College Campuses

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Source: The Onion

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

To be completely serious second ( which seems to go against everything that The Onion stands for ) a pro for being in favor of free speech on campus is that you get to learn other views and what people who don’t think or look like you. Perhaps who’ve gotten through an entire school day at least without their favorite fancy coffee drink, perhaps don’t even have a favorite fancy coffee drink and perhaps even gotten through a whole hour without staring at their smartphone, or least gotten through that hour without a jaw dropping OMG expression on their face.

Well, that was mostly serious, but you get to hear views that are different from your own. You get to experience what living in a liberal democracy is like. What life at college is like and again we’re talking about college which is supposed to be an institution of higher learning. Even in Alabama and Mississippi where perhaps their higher learning doesn’t reach the top floor and in some cases struggles to get to the second floor. ( Hey, when you produce the Roy Moore’s of the world, you’re going to get jokes like that. )

A con I guess if you want to look at it that way and perhaps tend to look at life from a glass half empty I need I anti-drepressent pills right away or I going to die, is that of course you’ll hear opinons and views that you not only disagree with but find offensive. And you might actually hear views that literally are offensive and not just critical views that some narcissistic tight ass who thinks they’re the only perfect person God ( unless you’re an Atheist ) has created believes are offensive even if they’re just critical and even accurate.

But so what, what were you expecting when you decided to go to college? You learn about life there and what life will be like once your’e out of college and can hopefully afford and more expensive and bigger place to live than you parent’s basement. If you want to be part of world where everyone thinks and acts the same, join a cult, or move to some communist or other authoritarian state. But if you want to live in a free world you have to accept responsibilities and realities that life there is not the same for everyone and not everyone thinks and believes in the same things.

And in that world you have people who didn’t get any higher learning. Perhaps that was because they went to college in Alabama or Mississippi, or were to busy staring at their smartphone, when they should’ve been listening to their teachers and studying. Freedom is not free and life certainly isn’t free either. When you live in a free society you have the freedom to be yourself and think for yourself, but what comes with that is that everyone else has that same freedom that you and might not look at things and think like you. Which is also a plus because it’s how people get to know each other and learn about each other. Which make freedom and diversity so great which is the ability to learn and self-improve.

The Onion: Supreme Court Revokes Access To Annoying Man’s Free Speech Rights

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The Onion: ‘Dozens of Other Countries That Interfered With 2016 Election Annoyed Russia Getting All The Credit’

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Source: The Onion– The Real Vladimir Putin – President of the Russian Federation

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

When I think of this Onion article, I go back to I believe the first Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump presidential debate in 2016 where someone asked Trump did he believe Russia was responsible for hacking into the election campaigns and hacking into the DNC emails and Trump said, “it could be Russia, it could be a lot of other countries, but it could also be some 400 pound and lying in bed in New Jersey or somewhere who is responsible for the hacking. We don’t know who is responsible for it.” In that same debate Hillary called Donald a puppet for Vladimir Putin. Truer statements have never come out of Hillary’s mouth than that. The only dictator in the world that President Trump won’t criticize is the Russian dictator President Vladimir Putin.

To say Donald Trump doesn’t operate, live or even have visited the same planet that sane competent American call Planet Earth, is like saying that Wisconsin tends to see snow in January. Or it can get hot in the Arizona desert during the summer. Seattle tends to see some rain and overcast every year and people there like coffee and are into new technology. Jazz music is popular in New Orleans, Washington especially Congress and the White House, has more than their share of bullshit and hot air, as well as humidity. You would be doing the best imitation of Captain Obvious the world has ever seen to the point that you would be for not only a Golden Globe but an Oscar on the same night.

Big Don simply sees things that aren’t there. And that’s assuming he’s not an complete idiot and is being straight up when he says he doesn’t believe Russia didn’t interfere in the 2016 elections ( because his good friend Vladimir Putin told him so ) even though his own National Security Council and his own intelligence community where President Trump is personally responsible for the appointments of all of these national security and intelligence officials to work for President Trump and give him the best national security and intelligence advice that they possibly can. What they’re telling the President and hold him more than a year ago is that Russia interfered into the 2016 presidential election.

But Donald Trump with an ego the size of the Sahara Desert simply can’t bring his mind around to accepting that, because that would imply that Russia is partially responsible for the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States instead of Trump deserving all the credit ( or blame ) for that himself. Any responsible, sane, competent, intelligent, reality based, ( not reality TV ) person would’ve acknowledged as soon the evidence came out perhaps as early as November or December of 2016, that of course Russia interfered with the 2016 elections as Donald Trump said himself he wanted Russia to hack into Hillary Clinton’s emails and releases the non released emails during the summer that year, because that is where the evidence points to.

Because responsible, sane, competent, intelligent, reality based ( not reality TV ) people have their reputations to protect and don’t want to be perceived as not knowing what’s going on and don’t want to be divorced from reality like a gold digger who wants to divorce their wealthy spouse as soon as they have a lot of their money. Good, responsible, intelligent, sane people, don’t want to be seen as idiots. President Trump apparently doesn’t have that problem to worry about because he could care less if he’s seen by an idiot even by people who personally work for him ( and that is already happening, just ask his Secretary of State ) as long as he gets what he wants. Which is to perform and entertain and try to convince people of seeing things that simply don’t exist, because those perceptions or lies make him look better than he deserves to look.

Donald Trump doesn’t live in a reality based world, but in a reality TV based world known as Donald Trump. With the latest series taking place at The White House as President of the United States. Some people have suggested ( me included ) that the name of President Trump’s latest reality TV show is Amateur Night at The White House. He sees and acknowledges what he wants to even if those things obviously don’t exist. Which in many ways is very funny and how you get an Onion article written about you and how someone writes a piece for their blog about you with that Onion link. But in most if not every other way it’s very sad and dangerous to have a President of the United States who is so far divorced from reality and not able to make decisions based on reality and the best available evidence at the time.

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The Onion: U.S. Senator Tom Carper- ‘My Vote is Not For Sale At These Prices’

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Source: The Onion

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

Note: these views don’t necessarily reflect the views of Senator Tom Carper, even if he personally wrote this piece for The Onion himself or had a staff writer write it for him. Who knows, perhaps a paid lobbyist wrote this piece for Senator Carper. Which unfortunately wouldn’t be surprising for Congress.

“When I was first elected to represent the people of Delaware, I made a vow to hold myself to a higher standard. The voters had placed their trust in me, and I knew if I broke that sacred covenant, I’d never forgive myself. Which is why, 35 years later, when someone tries to sway my position on an issue by offering me a small favor or modest campaign contribution, I’m not afraid to put my foot down and clearly state that no, my vote is not for sale at a price that low.”

Source: The Onion: U.S. Senator Tom Carper- ‘My Voter Is Not For Sale At These Prices’

So I guess it’s okay for members of Congress who are being bought, if they’re getting their money’s worth. I mean what decent politician in his or her right mind would allow himself or herself to be bought off for a few hundred buck per vote. I mean if you’re going to be bought off by the oil and gas industry or by teacher unions, you might as well get your money’s worth.

This is how Congress is perceived in America. Why 1-2 American voters bother to take 30-60 minutes away from their daily and iPhone and reality TV viewing to go down to their neighborhood school and bother to actually stand in line or just walk up to the nearest voting machine after they’re checked in to bother to vote. Or why Congress on a good year has an approval rating about 20%, but generally make accident attorney’s and traveling salesman look popular in comparison.

Because the word politician is seen as an insult. Not just as an insult but a four letter insult. American politicians are viewed by average Americans like professional athletes who go from team to team during their careers simply looking to earn the most money possible. And in the politician’s case to get the most money for their campaigns and to win reelection as easily as possible. Because at the end of the day what are politicians actually in office to do?

Only two possible things. Either to get reelected or to win a higher office. Perhaps win a leadership position in Congress. If you guessed politicians serve in office to serve their constituents, well I won’t burst out laughing at you and ask you what you’re smoking or drinking, because you would actually be 1-4 right. They’re there to serve the people who financially backed their campaigns. Who without they would’ve struggled to raise enough money to buy a neighborhood lemonade stand by themselves.

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