10 Thoughts for the Week of January 31, 2021 – Hall of Shame, Fascism and Reparation Beer

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1. BASEBALL HALL OF FAME HAS NO NEW INDUCTEES FROM THE BASEBALL WRITERS

In what I would consider a bad look for the Baseball Hall of Fame, the baseball writers were unable to get enough votes to have any new inductees this year. Curt Schilling got 71% of the necessary 76%. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens both got somewhere in the 60% range. 

Everyone knows this comes down to PED’s for Bonds and Clemens, and Schilling’s big mouth on politics. All three should be shoe-ins, but the writers have invoked the character clause. I am not saying doing PED’s is not wrong. My argument for Clemens and Bonds has always been that they were already Hall of Famers before their names could be connected to PED’s. 

I also want to call out the hypocrisy of the Hall of Fame, there are a number of guys in the Hall of Fame who would not pass the character clause test. Here is a short list:

  1. Ty Cobb
  2. Kenesaw Landis
  3. Cap Anson
  4. Charlie Commiskey
  5. Tom Yawkey
  6. Gaylord Perry
  7. Orlando Cepeda 
  8. Rogers Hornsby

I could support the character clause argument if they purged some of these guys retroactively.

2. KOBE DEATH ANNIVERSARY

Courtesy of USA Today

Even with the Lakers winning the championship last year, the loss of Kobe Bryant is still very real for a lot of people. It is all complicated for me. It is hard to wrap my head around like reparations

3. VIOLENT DOMESTIC TERRORISTS

As the pursuit of those involved with the attempted coup continues, I am blown away by the information that comes to the surface. I have to call it a coup because people started planning and training for this day right after the election. There were Proud Boys who had plans for making a bomb.

4. FASCISM

The most interesting podcast I listened to this week was from Vox about fascism. The way the terms socialism and fascism have been thrown around, it was eye-opening. 

5. NFL ROONEY RULE AND ERIC BIENEMY

The NFL has the Rooney Rule which stipulates a NFL has to interview a minority candidate during its interview process. It is a good rule to increase the diversity of head coaches. 

What boggles my mind is how Eric Bienemy cannot get a head coaching job. As the offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs, he has a record of 37-8 with a Super Bowl victory (maybe two). Somehow he cannot get a job. 

6. ROBINHOOD FIASCO

I don’t know enough about the stock market. All I can say is the stock market is not a casino and bad things can happen when people treat it like a casino. What is crazy about Robinhood is they stopped trading GameStop because of what was happening. In Las Vegas, you shut the table down when you catch a cheater. You don’t shut the table down when the cheater is getting his just desserts.

7. DESHAWN WATSON REQUESTS A TRADE

It goes to show the McNair family is not worried about winning. By even trying to trade someone who is arguably a Top 5 football player and Top 5 person, you cannot get equal trade value for Deshawn Watson. The Texans are a hot mess without Watson.

8. REPARATION TALKS

My reparations subject for the week is Temperance Brewery in Evanston, Ill donates a 100% of the proceeds from their Where I’m From beer to reparations.

On a different money note, an Episcopal church in Maryland donated $500K to reparations because they found out one of the founders was a slaveholder.

9. DODGERS LOSE KIKE HERNANDEZ AND JOC PEDERSON

The Dodgers lost Kike Hernandez and Joc Pederson this week. The Dodgers have built the franchise and their farm system to have plenty of talent down the pipeline.  I do worry about the chemistry that is lost with their departures. 

10. QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“Not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear your path.” ― Paulo Coelho, Author of The Alchemist

10 Thoughts for the Week of January 24, 2021 – RIP Hank Aaron and COVID Getting Close to Home

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1. IMMEDIATE ACTION BY PRESIDENT BIDEN

The inauguration was quick and sweet and President Biden got right to work.

On his first official day in office, President Biden signed a number of executive orders to basically try to fix all the things that Trump had broken as president. He rejoined the World Health Organization and the Paris Climate Agreement. He stopped the building of that stupid wall and reversed the. Muslim Ban.

2. 400,000 AMERICANS HAVE DIED OF COVID

The United States has hit 400,000 deaths this week and it is predicted that we will hit 500,000 deaths some time next month. This is actually a week where we didn’t break a  daily record.

3. COVID IS HITTING CLOSE TO HOME

It has been a very long time in this pandemic, but I feel like COVID has finally hit home. My son tested positive and was put in the quarantine dorm. A member of my church passed away as well. It’s late in the game, but it has become more than real to me……

4. RIP HANK AARON

My heart was broken on Friday morning to hear that “The Hammer” Hank Aaron passed away. Hank Aaron was the man who took the home run record away from Babe Ruth amidst death threats. His career encompassed all of baseball including the Negro Leagues. He impacted Reggie Jackson and Barry Bonds.

He was very important to me as a kid. I remember being nine years old and reading a “Legends of Baseball” book. I found a lot of comfort in finding Hank Aaron in a book with all those white faces. He meant so much to me that I lied to my friends and said I was Hank Aaron’s grandson.

It only seemed right that the MVP should be named after Hank Aaron.

5. JAMES BOND DELAYED

Another way that COVID has become all so real to me is that Daniel Craig’s last turn as James Bond has been delayed until the movie company can maximize the profits from this movie. It was supposed to come out last year, and I am wondering if I will see it this year.

There are three things I really want this year:

            1. To travel somewhere for vacation
            2. My second grader to go back to school
            3. Watch No Time to Die

6. RIP LARRY KING

At some point, Larry King was much-watch television. His was the only show Al Pacino would go on. My first real experience with Larry King was when I was umpiring tee-ball. There was an elderly looking old man in the stands. It was not uncommon for grandparents to come watch the games. What was different this time was Larry King came to watch his son play. The nature of being a celebrity is you can marry a woman much younger than you and end up in your 70’s with an elementary school kid.

7. PHOTOS OF BETELGEUSE

I wish there was a lot to say here, I am blown away by just the picture of what a star looks like up close.

8. BEST THING I READ THIS WEEK

I had to give props to this poem. I was super moved by My Girlfriend Killed James Brown by David Kirby.

Nothing good comes from murder. Well, if you murder

Hitler, yeah, but suppose you murder Hitler and somebody

worse takes his place? The girlfriend didn’t mean to kill James Brown,

though. Accidental death’s a whole other kettle of fish

9. NFL PLAYOFFS – CHAMPIONSHIP SUNDAY

Championship Sunday is known as the best day in the NFL. Sunday put a lot of good football on display. Tom Brady’s GOAT status was almost done in by three interceptions. He was saved by Packers coach, Matt LaFluer, going for a field goal on fourth down and goal late in the fourth quarter.

Going for the field goal instead of the touchdown was like gift-wrapping the Super Bowl for Brady. Either way, Brady knew how to close out the game when things really mattered.

What is most troubling, is Aaron Rodgers and his uncertain future.

Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill remind me of the 90’s Bulls. They are just straight unstoppable. I am not even sure they have played their best football yet.

Josh Allen had a great season but came up short. He took some very ugly sacks trying to keep pace with the high powered Chiefs offense.

10. RAND PAUL AND THE STOLEN ELECTION

It has been almost 90 days since the election. All the lawsuits challenging the results of the election have been dismissed for lack of evidence. There was an attempted coup on the Capitol and the Electoral College has certified the results.

Somehow someway, Rand Paul, cannot admit that the 2020 election was not stolen from Donald Trump. He wanted to say there are two sides to every story, but there is something indisputable about not having any evidence of election fraud.

10 Thoughts For The Week of December 27, 2020 – Christmas Zombies and Tiny Homes

1. X-MAS DAY ZOMBIE

In my house, I have a tradition of being a zombie on Christmas Day. This happens because we open our presents at the strike of midnight. There is a lot of unwrapping, eating, and playing with toys. I am usually up until 2 am at the earliest.

The lack of sleep makes me the walking dead on Christmas Day. Each year I say I am going to do something different next year. However, I wake up on Christmas morning wanting to eat brains.

 

 

2. X-MAS DAY MOVIES

The X-mas presents from Warner Bros and Pixar were the offerings of WW84 and Soul. Wonder Woman has a quirky plot and great action. The antagonist in this movie was The Cheetah. My wife pointed out to me the woman empowerment aspect of Wonder Woman took a hit when you have two women, one of them as a cat figure, fighting.

It got me thinking, is it sexist for a male superhero to fight and defeat a female villain? Soul was the winner of Christmas Day. It didn’t have as many sexist attacks on the female agenda.

 

 

3. X-MAS DAY BASKETBALL

There was a full slate of NBA games on Christmas. The games were all blowouts. Giannis does not look like the Greek Freak yet. Steph Curry is slowly getting his shot back. The Lakers look like they are ready to repeat. Kawhi got a broken nose.

There is a long season ahead.

4. TRUMP FINALLY SIGNS THE STIMULUS PACKAGE

After sitting on the bill for a week, President Trump signed the stimulus package. He spent days complaining about the bill and acting like he wants the entire country to burn. Some might say he was using strategy. I think he realized he was going to be blamed for millions of Americans losing their unemployment benefits.

5. PLAN FOR HOMELESS IN REDONDO BEACH

My city of Redondo Beach has a proactive plan to battle homelessness. The city has purchased some Pallet homes for those who are homeless to get them off the street. The house is 8×8 and is a temporary step forward before there is a real problem with homelessness.

6. NFL PLAYOFF PICTURE

The NFL playoff picture is looking clearer and clearer with each game played. Tom Brady has lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the playoffs. Cam Newton was not able to do the same for the Patriots. There is a chance there will be a rematch between Brady and Russell Wilson after the Seahawks clinched the NFC West division. Ultimately, it looks like the NFC is going to have to go through Green Bay.

7. RAIDERS FLOP AND DON’T REGRET IT

The Raiders wasted away their 1% chance to make the playoffs when they snatched defeat out of the jaw of victory.

Three weeks ago when they lost to the Chiefs, they scored and left too much time on the clock. They did it again against the Chargers and almost did against the Jets.

I guess they tried to remedy the situation by running as much time off the clock as possible. With their history and defense, it is hard to argue with the call to fall down on the one-yard line. However, scoring a touchdown means the Dolphins have to drive 99 yards to beat you instead of driving 55 to 65 to get in field goal range.

8. STAR TREK’S SCOTTY’S ASHES MAKE IT TO THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION

It was revealed this week that the ashes of the original Scotty from Star Trek have been on the International Space Station since 2008. James Doohan died in 2005. He wished to travel to the ISS. His family made numerous requests that were denied. In 2008, a private citizen brought Doohan’s ashes aboard.

This ashes in space story is only topped by Eugene Shoemaker who consulted with NASA and had his ashes buried on the moon.

 

 

9. 15 THINGS SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE DO BEFORE BED.

With 2021 around the corner, some may be contemplating some resolutions. This article could be a good place to start. I am leaning towards making a to-do for the next day.

10. GRAYSON ALLEN IS TRIPPING AGAIN

Grayson Allen and his very poor Christian Laettner imitation got him in trouble when he was at Duke. He got in trouble for intentionally tripping opposing players. The problem with that kind of crime is you no longer get the benefit of the doubt on close calls. Trae Young called out Grayson Allen for a close call that was more meaningful because Grayson Allen is involved.

10 Thoughts For The Week of December 20, 2020 – Black Cowboys and Reparations

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1. BIDEN ELECTION AFFIRMED BY ELECTORAL COLLEGE

The election drama is almost over. The Electoral College affirmed President Biden’s election. There was suspense building up to this event with Republicans not admitting that Biden won the election and lining up to join hopeless election lawsuits.

The drama may have continued after the vote but Mitch McConnell fell on his sword. I never thought he would be the voice of reason in all of this. I think the drama would continue if there was not a Senate run-off in Georgia. McConnell knows they have to put away the crazy to save his job.

2. WILLIAM BARR IS OUT

The president announced that attorney general William Barr will be resigning. Barr’s usefulness to the president has run its course since he won’t pursue false election claims and he will not appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hunter Biden.

3. RIP – JOHN LeCARRE

The master spy-novelist passed away this week. I was fortunate to read a number of his novels this year. I highly recommend The Spy Who Came In From the Cold.

4. ENGLISH PM SUED FOR REPARATIONS

Member of Parliament Richard Grosvenor Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax is being sued for reparations by residents from Barbados. The Drax family has owned a sugar plantation there since 1650. This includes when they had slaves. When slavery ended, the British government paid the Drax family what is equivalent of $3 million to compensate for the loss of slaves. To this day, the Drax family has profited from the sugar plantation and manages to pay its workers half the national average of wages. The PM has said these claims are false.

Normally, when I think of reparations, I get overwhelmed with all the details and minutiae. This case makes a lot of sense for reparations.

5. SELF MUST DIE

An art exhibit worth checking out is Self Must Die by Derek Fordjour. His work is life-giving.

6. COWBOYS IN HARLEM

20201215-120233I read an interesting article about the first black rodeo in Harlem in 1971. The cowboys wanted black kids to know there was such a thing as a “black cowboy”. Muhammad Ali even made an appearance. I am sure a black cowboy was the unicorn of westerns when they were en vogue.

The only black cowboys in my memory are Cleavon Little’s character in Blazing Saddles, Danny Glover’s character in Silverado, and Mario Van Peebles’ character in Posse. Just recently, there was Django Unchained and Denzel Washington lead the Magnificent Seven.

I am sure it is a culture that deserves more discovery.

7. STIMULUS PACKAGE APPROVED

Congress passed a stimulus bill that would give everyone $600 in aid. There are numerous other benefits of the package. Both President Trump and President-elect Joe Biden say $600 is not enough. Some countries are giving their citizens $600 a month. Hopefully, this is the beginning and not just a hollow token that doesn’t help all that much.

8. COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF

2020 College Football Playoff bowl games: Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State,  Notre Dame make four-team field - CBSSports.comThe. College Football Playoff teams have been announced. Clemson and Ohio State will have a rematch from a very competitive game in last year’s playoff. Alabama is back and will play Notre Dame.

I am not sure if Notre Dame belongs in the playoff. Their signature win was beating Clemson without Trevor Lawrence in double overtime. Last week, with Trevor Lawrence, Clemson smoked Notre Dame by twenty-four points.

It would have been nice to see a rematch between Texas A&M and Alabama.

9. WORLD’S BIGGEST AFRO

The world record for the biggest Afro was broken. The record Afro means four feet ten inches in circumference. The record was broken by six more than six inches.

10. USC OPTS OUT OF BOWL GAME

After losing a game they should have won to Oregon in the PAC-12 Championship Game, USC opted out of playing in the Alamo Bowl. There are mixed reviews about the Trojans’ 5-1 season.

Once again, Clay Helton is on the hot seat. In a regular season, most teams like having the bowl prep time to get some more practice time with their players. Maybe they just want to put this season behind them.

I feel bad for Clay Helton. He is never going to get the love of a “big name” coach. He is a blue-collar guy who does a great job recruiting. He hasn’t done himself any favors with the lackluster results.

10 Thoughts for the Week of December 13, 2020

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1. DAILY RECORD OF COVID DEATHS BROKEN

This week, the United States witnessed a day with the most deaths from COVID. Nine months after, this pandemic was in full effect, it feels like we have not learned much. There was always talk that November and December was going to be bad. I am not sure if anyone knew it was going to be this bad. There is good news about vaccines being distributed, but as I am way down the list when it comes to getting the vaccine, I think there is a long way to go.

2. LSU SELF-IMPOSED BOWL BAN

The LSU football program self-imposed a bowl ban this year for improper gifts from boosters last year. This is the right year for a self-imposed bowl ban. The team is 4-5 and are a shell of the team that won the national championship. Any invite they would get for a bowl this year would not measure to the College Football Playoff. Another good reason to go with the bowl ban this year is they look like they may be a contender next year after defeating the #6 Florida Gators.

3. REACTIONS TO WARNER BROS 2021 MOVIE MOVE

Last week, I gave Warner Bros props for releasing their 2021 slate of movies in theaters and streaming on HBOMax simultaneously. As a movie lover who didn’t go to the movies during this pandemic and will not return until late 2021, I was stoked by the announcement. There were a lot of people who were not that excited.

AMC Theaters was definitely not happy about the announcement. Warner Bros mega-director, Christopher Nolan, voiced his displeasure with the announcement.

I feel for the movie industry. I think the government should loan the movie studios and theaters money to get through this. 2019 was the best year for that industry ever. They would be able to pay back whatever loaned in the next two to three years.

4. DISNEY’S MARVEL AND STAR WARS ANNOUNCEMENTS FOR 2021 AND BEYOND

Disney’s annual meeting was a reveal for what they plan to release in 2021. It felt like a repeat of the annual meeting for 2020. 

The Marvel and Star Wars offerings look very cool. I have been waiting for the Falcon and the Winter Soldier since Avengers Endgame ended.

The Loki series looked pretty interesting as well. I had forgotten about his escape in Endgame.

 

 

 

 

5. TEXAS ELECTION LAWSUIT

In what has to be the stupidest lawsuit in American Jurisprudence, the attorney general of Texas, Ken Paxton, sued the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia for violation of each state’s election rules. Anybody with a legal brain knew this lawsuit was dead upon arrival. 

Then insanity began to sprinkle itself on this mess. 107 members of Congress and the attorney generals for seventeen other states joined the lawsuit. The only logical reason for such insanity is to keep the favor of those people who really truly believe the election was stolen from Trump. This sort of insanity is frightening to me because the urgency of getting Amy Coney-Barrett on the bench was for insane times like these. 

I exhaled and my faith in democracy was restored when the SCOTUS dismissed the case.

 

 

 

6. PAUL GEORGE EXTENSION

The Clippers and Paul George agreed to a 5 year, $190 million contract extension. They wanted to make sure that he retired as a Clipper.

This would have made sense if the Clippers were coming off winning their first NBA championship or even making their first trip to the conference finals. I mean that is Anthony Davis money.

Instead they are giving the money to Playoff P who has a habit of sticking his foot in his mouth and not showing up in the postseason.

Clippers gonna Clip!

7. ELECTION PROTESTS ARE GETTING VIOLENT

While I have a hard time explaining the insanity that supported the Texas election lawsuit, the one thing that makes sense is the fear of violence. There have been so many threats of violence in protest of the election.

  • Dozens of Trump supporters, some armed, went to the home of Jocelyn Benson, Michigan’s Democratic secretary of state, and began shouting obscenities.
  • “People on Twitter have posted photographs of my house,” said Ann Jacobs, the chair of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, who alerted her neighbors and the police about the constant threats. She said another message mentioned her children and said, “I’ve heard you’ll have quite a crowd of patriots showing up at your door.”
  • In Vermont, officials received a voice message threatening them with “execution by firing squad.”
  • A Georgia poll worker went into hiding after a viral video falsely claimed he had discarded ballots.
  • Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, and his wife have received death threats, including by text message, and caravans have circled their house.

There are sinister forces trying to turn this election with fear and violence.

8. REPARATIONS IN NORTH CAROLINA

Orange County, North Carolina passed a resolution apologizing for the county’s past contribution to the disenfranchisement of black people and a commitment to racial equality. There have been no concrete promises made. However an apology for disenfranchisement is pretty significant.

9. RIP TONY ‘TINY’ LISTER

Tony ‘Tiny’ Lister passed away this week. My first memory of Tiny is as ‘Zeus’ in the Hulk Hogan movie No Holds Barred. The role where he left his mark on the general public is as Deebo in the movie Friday. I loved his small role in The Dark Knight. 

 

10. WAITING FOR SANTA IN REDONDO BEACH

Saturday night my family and I got to see Santa Claus come through the neighborhood. The Redondo Beach Police Officer Association didn’t let COVID stop from spreading some holiday cheer.

 

10 Thoughts for the Week of December 6, 2020 – COVID Confusion

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1. MAIL-IN BALLOTS IN GEORGIA

As the election began losing steam, the eyes of the nation turned to Georgia. The January 5th run-off election will determine who will lead the Senate and at what pace things are going to change. The presidential election turned on the number of mail-in ballots. There were 970,000 mail-in ballots in the November election. There have been over one million applications for mail-in ballots for the January 5th run-off election.

President Trump used a weekend rally to mention the run-off election while he complained of being robbed of the election.

The whole process feels like a coin toss right now.

2. WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON FOOTBALL

The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Baltimore Ravens on Wednesday afternoon in a game I would have to call the COVID Bowl. After being rescheduled twice, the Ravens actually voted not to play this game but they were persuaded to go forward with the game by the NFLPA.

The game was exactly what I had expected for a game played at 12:40 pm on Wednesday afternoon….UGLY. There were a lot of missed tackles, turnovers, and dropped passes. With Lamar Jackson out, there was a Robert Griffith III sighting. I forgot he was still in the NFL. He didn’t play well, but he kept his team in the game.

3. RUSSELL WESTBROOK FOR JOHN WALL TRADE

The blockbuster trade of the week in the NBA was Russell Westbrook joining Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards. In exchange for Westbrook, the Houston Rockets get John Wall. This was the only logical trade based on the massive sizes of both of their contracts.

At first glance, the winner looks like a no-brainer for the Wizards. They now have a top five back court and they have a quality supporting cast around those guys. Scott Brooks coached Russ in OKC and knows how to get through to him. They have a solid chance of making the playoffs.

Houston just makes me curious. John Wall is not who I would imagine playing with James Harden. They have pieces but I don’t know how they will fit together. This trade would not have bothered me a year ago when the Rockets had Darryl Morey and Mike D’Antoni pulling strings. D’Antoni has a gift for getting the best out of people offensively.

I feel like another trade is on the way.

4. WARNER BROS 2021 MOVIES WILL BE RELEASED IN THEATERS AND STREAMING SIMULTANEOUSLY

Warner Media’s announcement for 2021was refreshing after watching Disney push back all their 2020 movies to an unknown void in 2021. Very excited about my HBOMax subscription.

I have not been excited by the way Disney has handled their movies; especially with Marvel and Star Wars.

I was already excited about Wonder Woman 1984. Now I am ecstatic.

5. IS THE EARTH AN ORGANISM?

I read an interesting article about evolutionary questions about the Earth. A lot of it comes down to how you define an organism; or rather, can a system be an organism.

6. PAUL GEORGE THROWS DOC RIVERS UNDER THE BUS

Paul George has a career of putting his foot in his mouth. He decided to throw Doc Rivers under the bus for their collapse and loss of a 3-1 lead to the Denver Nuggets. He has Top 10 talent but has not shown up in the playoffs since the Indiana Pacers lost to Lebron James and the Miami Heat in seven games. Since then, he was part of a Pacers team that lost in the first round, and he was part of the OKC Thunder who were booted out of the first round twice. It took the greatness of Kawahi Leonard to drag a struggling George to the second round of the playoffs.

Instead of being accountable for not being able to show up in the playoffs and throwing three pointers against the side of the backboard, Playoff P went after Doc Rivers. He is the opposite of Playoff Rondo.

7. COVID CONFUSION

I am very confused thinking about COVID at the present time. There have been 1,000,000 new cases this week; even Rudy Guiliani got it. My state, California, has hospitals at 85% capacity. The NFL has been plagued by COVID. Games have been rescheduled and teams have played with no quarterback. However schools are opening, vaccines are being used in the UK and the NBA is coming back.

The uncertainty continues.

8. MICROWAVE ATTACKS ON US EMBASSIES ABROAD

I have seen quite a few articles about these incidents and there were suspicions of some weapon. Now things are becoming more concrete. I feel bad for people serving our country abroad.

9. THE RAIDERS SNATCH VICTORY OUT OF THE JAWS OF DEFEAT

The Raiders were on their way to losing to the 0-11 New York Jets when the unthinkable happened. Henry Ruggs III had fumbled away the game earlier. It was fourth down and impossible. The Jets did what 0-11 teams do and left the Ruggs, the fastest man on the field in man coverage while blitzing everyone. Ruggs was wide open for a touchdown to end the game.

10. THE MAP TO THE PLAYOFFS

This reminded me of the presidential election:

10 Thoughts For the Week of November 22, 2020

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1. IT’S OVER FOR TRUMP

Two and a half weeks after the election, it appears that Donald Trump and his hopes for a second term as president is OVER. The state of Georgia certified Joe Biden as the winner of the state’s electoral votes; despite Lindsey Graham’s attempts to influence things. President Trump tried to start a coup in the state of Michigan which fell short. Just about all Trump’s frivolous lawsuits have been dismissed due to lack of evidence.

The events that convinced me the presidential election was finally over when people started turning on Ivanka. Ivanka had one job during this administration. She was supposed to be the only influential person in the president’s circle with a conscience. She failed. Now that the ship is sinking, nasty stories about Ivanka have been surfacing.

The events that convinced me the presidential election was finally over when people started turning on Ivanka.

2. TRUMP PETTINESS CONTINUES

Last week, I talked about Trump firing Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper. It was an unnecessary move for a president who was about to lose an election. Trump had probably wanted to do it since June when Esper publicly contradicted the president.

The pettiness continued this week when Trump fired Christopher Krebs who was the head of cybersecurity for the presidential election after he declared the 2020 election was “the most secure election in American history.” Once again, another petty move.

3. NBA TRADES

The highlight of the week has to be the NBA trades made before, during and after the NBA Draft. The Oklahoma City Thunder were at the center of the trades. The week started off with Dennis Schroeder being traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Los Angeles Lakers for Danny Green. By everyone’s understanding, this is an upgrade for a team that just won the NBA championship. It felt like the rich getting richer.

Oklahoma City then traded Chris Paul to the Phoenix Suns. Paul had a renaissance season with OKC last year. There is an excitement that comes from hoping he has the same kind of season with a Suns team that went undefeated in the NBA Bubble.

The Al Horford experiment in Philadelphia ended after one season when he was traded to Oklahoma City.

All these trades make me curious who are going to be on the roster for Oklahoma City next season.

4. NBA DRAFT

The NBA Draft was fun for the first ten picks. Then there was all the minutiae of what kind of skills people were bringing to the table. Anthony Edwards was the first pick for the Minnesota Timberwolves. I think the pick may have been influenced by the relationship between Timberwolves star D’Angelo Russell and the Ball Family. I am happy for Edwards who had to overcome some serious blows losing family members.

LaMelo was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets which is a good place for him. Personally I appreciated the quiet of having Lonzo in New Orleans. It would be really nice if LaMelo was super quiet and humble.

My highlight of the draft was Obi Toppin going full crybaby after being drafted by the New York Knicks. I am rooting for this dude to be the guy to help turn the franchise around.

 

5. NBA FREE AGENCY

The beginning of NBA free agency started off with Gordon Hayward leaving Brad Stevens and Boston Celtics to join the Charlotte Hornets. It doesn’t feel like a move that puts him in better contention to win the title, but time will tell.

Rajon Rondo used a brilliant performance in the Finals to get some money from the Atlanta Hawks.

I think the Miami Heat are going to miss Jae Crowder and Marc Gasol going to the Lakers is another example of the rich getting richer.

6. PATRIOTIC EDUCATION

Tate Reeves, the governor of Mississippi, has set aside $3 million for the Patriotic Education Fund. The funding would go to schools that don’t engage in what Reeves calls “revisionist history” that is “poisoning a generation.” He claims its a far-left agenda to make sure students learn about all the complete history of our country instead of just the achievements. It’s ironic the governor of the state that hosted the most public lynchings would not like to talk about them and would rather focus on a man on the moon.

It’s ironic the governor of the state that hosted the most public lynchings would not like to talk about them and would rather focus on a man on the moon

7. PITTSBURGH STEELERS ARE 10-0

The 1972 Miami Dolphins have not cracked their annual bottle of champagne when the final undefeated team loses their first game. The Pittsburgh Steelers at 10-0 are the current challenger to the perfect season. Pittsburgh’s defense is straight nasty. T.J. Watt is now the best Watt brother in the NFL. Big Ben looks like having a year off has made him a better quarterback. It doesn’t hurt to have JuJu Smith Schuster and Chase Claypool to throw the ball to. They seem to be the most complete team in the NFL.

 

8. USC IS 3-0

USC is 3-0 after dominating the Utah Utes. This game has determined the PAC-12 South champion the last couple of years; so USC is in the driver’s seat. Utah’s lack of a quarterback and the USC pressure led to too many turnovers.

The USC receiving corps is so talented. They have five guys who could be “the guy”; it really depends on what game it is.

 9 THE BEATS “YOU LOVE ME” COMMERCIAL

No words necessary.

10. WONDER WOMAN 1984

After being frustrated by Disney/Marvel’s continual delay of the next wave of the MCU, DC has announced that Wonder Woman will be released on HBOMax at the same time it is released in theaters. I understand that these movies are a business and money-makers but we all need a good superhero movie after all the crazy stuff we have been through in 2020.

10 Thoughts for the Week of November 1, 2020

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1. DODGERS WIN THE WORLD SERIES

The 60-game season and bubble playoffs of Major League Baseball concluded with the Los Angeles Dodgers being crowned the champions. Corey Seager was deservedly the MVP of the Series. It was an entertaining and stressful series. This was the first one since 1988.

I have had a surreal feeling about the Dodgers win but I was not as elated as I thought I would be. The Dodgers were hands down the best team in baseball and winning the World Series was more of an expectation than an achievement. Maybe I was used to my own annual expression of disappointment the team couldn’t reach the mountaintop.

My only point of reference for championship feelings are the Lakers of the 2000’s and the Pete Carroll USC Trojans. I was far more elated for those championships. I think because those teams always had a finiteness to it. There was always a free agent or draft eligible junior whose absence could make it very difficult to repeat the championship.

The Dodgers do not have that problem. They are loaded to compete for championships for the next three to five years…at least.

 

2. JUSTIN TURNER TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID

A strange thing that happened during Game 6 of the World Series is Justin Turner was pulled from the game in the eighth inning. It was later disclosed he tested positive for COVID. I find it strange the results were only discovered in the eighth inning. I guess I wrongly assumed that a player would have to test negative before he would be allowed to play in the game.

I was definitely uncomfortable seeing Turner on the field celebrating. I am just going to throw the MLB under the bus for not doing their job before the game. Maybe they knew but they didn’t do anything until they were pretty certain the Dodgers were going to win. Maybe they didn’t want to postpone the World Series to quarantine the players.

3. KEVIN CASH’S DECISION NOT MAKE MONEY

During Game 6, there was a collective exhale of relief when Kevin Cash took the ball away from Blake Snell. Snell was having one of the best outings in World Series history. He had spent five innings baffling the Dodgers.

While this was unusual for the World Series, this was not unusual for the Rays. Blake Snell had not pitched past the sixth inning all season. Cash trusted his bullpen which, it could be argued, was a big part of their success. The move didn’t hold up when they needed it the most.

Unlike the Dodgers, the Rays aren’t built to get back to the World Series. Their window is closing as they let the team options for their important pieces go.

4. MAIL-IN VOTING

94 million mail-in ballots have been cast so far in the 2020 election. That is two thirds of the number of votes cast in the 2016 election. The state of Texas has received more mail-in ballots than they did votes in 2016.

I think there is a collective fear in out country of our vote getting suppressed in one way or another.

5. MAKE SURE YOU VOTE

I voted…did you?

6. HUNTER BIDEN SEX TAPE

Two weeks ago, Rudy Giuliani claimed he had Hunter Biden’s laptop. He also admitted there was a chance the laptop came from Russian intelligence. The laptop didn’t gain any traction. President Trump tried to bring up Hunter at the last debate. That didn’t gain much traction. The week before the election, a Hunter Biden sextape was discovered in Russia. Boy! These guys are desperate.

7.LIL WAYNE AND TRUMP

Watch out hip-hop heads…the President is coming for you.

He stole from Ice Cube’s Contract with Black America to enhance his Platinum Plan. Last week, 50 Cent backed Trump, but then Chelsea Handler slapped some sense into him and he endorsed Biden.

This week, after meeting with Lil Wayne, who Trump called an activist, social media was ablaze. Wayne complimented Trump for criminal justice reform and the Platinum Plan.

I love the talents of Kanye, Ice Cube, and Lil Wayne, but they are not they guys I look to help me make decisions about the future of the country.

8. TOM BRADY & ANTONIO BROWN

Antonio Brown signed a contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week. Last we saw him, AB was getting cut by the Raiders and the Patriots. He also had some issues with the law. Not exactly the guy you want on your team, but what Tom Brady wants he gets. They made such a connection during Brown’s short stint with the Patriots that AB is living with Brady so he can learn the playbook.

9. RIP SEAN CONNERY

We lost a great one on Saturday. At the ripe age of 90, his performances are too numerous to name. It’s difficult to lose an actor who has brought so much to the table for so long.

10. TREVOR LAWRENCE TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID

College football is a very confusing sport. The season has teams starting at different times. Coastal Carolina University is in the AP Top 25. Cincinnati is in the Top 10. USC is ranked #21 and they haven’t played a game yet.

Wisconsin is on quarantine for three weeks.

Trevor Lawrence, the de facto #1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, tested positive for COVID. Clemson barely beat Boston College last week. This week they travel to #4 Notre Dame and Lawrence’s participation is in doubt. The result of the game will have no bearing on Lawrence’s draft status, but it is hard to say the same for Clemson.

 

 

10 Thoughts for the Week of September 27, 2020

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1. BREONNA TAYLOR INDICTMENTS

The most insane thing to pop up this week was the state of Kentucky’s refusal to charge any of the officers who shot Breonna Taylor with murder. Ms. Taylor was shot ten times and there was no charge. The only charge was a wanton recklessness for the three bullets that went through her walls into her white neighbors apartment. 

With no charge for the death of Ms. Taylor, the wanton recklessness charge feels like a slap in the face. As Derrick Johson of the NAACP said “the justice system has failed us”. He forgot to put “again” at the end of that sentence.

2. DANIEL CAMERON

The Republican superstar and attorney general of Kentucky made sure to claim he could not find facts for murder. The Mitch McConnell protege made sure to say that mob justice was not justice. What Mr Cameron fails to recognize is the same “mob justice” was used to break the back of Jim Crow in the 1950’s and 60’s.

3. RAIDERS ON MNF


The Las Vegas Raiders opened their new stadium with a very impressive win over the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football. It was a signature win of the second Jon Gruden Era.

4. MICHAEL JORDAN ENTERS NASCAR

Michael Jordan (The GOAT) has started a NASCAR team with Bubba Wallace as the driver. This is a big move for Jordan and it feels like he is kicking the hornet’s nest. I hope he is a better NASCAR team owner than he is a NBA team owner.

5. MARVEL PUSHING BACK BLACK WIDOW MOVIE…AGAIN

Disney announced they were going to back up the release date of the Black Widow movie to some time next year. This is disappointing because it delays the next chapter in the MCU. Disney is delaying it because they want the money that comes from showing it in movie theaters. With all that is going on, why not give it Premiere Access like Mulan? I wouldn’t pay $30 for Mulan but I would for Black Widow.I believe Star Wars and Marvel are cultural property. Disney should not be able to exploit them for profits. Just my feeling.

6. THE ROSA PARKS OF THE PANDEMIC

I read an article in the New Yorker about the Michigan Militia and a barber who refused to close his business during the government imposed shutdown. His supporters claim he is the Rosa Parks of the pandemic. He compared the government control to the Third Reich and he was not going to be a Jew who naively walked into a freight train and to certain death.

I am not sure how refusing to shutter your business to prevent the spread of deadly virus is the same as refusing to move to the back of the bus to protest a system that made black people second class citizens. I am also not sure how it compares to the extermination of a race of people.

7. TRUMP’S ATTACK ON CRITICAL RACE THEORY

I also read an article about Trump’s war against critical race theory. The biggest tenant of critical race theory is that America must reckon with how its values and institutions feed into racism. First Trump issued an executive order banning federal contractors from conducting racial sensitivity training, emphasizing his desire to stop “efforts to indoctrinate government employees with divisive and harmful sex- and race-based ideologies”.

He also believes it is attacking our “patriotic education.” I guess the truth is a dangerous thing.

8. KANYE WEST VISITS HAITI

The Kanye West for President campaign made stops in Jamaica and Haiti last week. In Hait, he said he came to “complete the revolution and rebuild Haiti”. As someone who has spent some time in Haiti, I am grateful someone is giving it some attention. I love the island of Haiti and it breaks my heart all at the same time.

9. THE U

The University of Miami is back in the AP Top 10 (for what it is worth) after spanking the Florida State Seminoles 52-10. There have been many false sightings of the return of “The U”. I have been a sucker for some of them and skeptical of others. This time may be legit. They have a real quarterback and the defense was dynamite.

10. LAKERS ARE BACK IN THE FINALS

The Lakers have returned to the Finals for the first time since the Kobe Bryant Era. This would be a great year to win to honor Kobe. They will face the Miami Heat who are more formidable than anyone believed pre-bubble. The Heat actually scare me because of people like Tyler Herro and Goran Dragic will be the X-factors in this series.

10 Thoughts for the Week of September 20, 2020

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1. CLIPPERS GONNA CLIP

Last summer, when the Clippers signed Kawhi Leonard and traded for Paul George, everyone thought they were going to be contenders. They added two all-stars to a team of scrappy players who overachieved with no all-stars the year before. Things were supposed to be different. 

Steve Ballmer and Doc Rivers had created a new culture in LA. The addition of Leonard and George was supposed to be a new era for the Clippers. 

The curse of Donald Sterling is hard to break. I never thought about it until the Clippers made it to the 2nd round and people were excited about a Clippers/Lakers conference finals. The Clippers had never been to the conference finals. The last time they were this close, they were up 3-1 on the Houston Rockets and lost three games. This time the Clippers were up 3-1 on the Denver Nuggets and were up late in two of the last three games before losing.

2. PAUL GEORGE

After watching Paul George over the last three seasons, I have decided he is not the difference maker people think he is. He has had good to great regular seasons and when ended in disappointing performances in the playoffs. One season is not a big deal, but three years of not showing up when your team needed you the most is more than a coincidence.

3. WHAT ABOUT THE NUGGETS

I don’t want to take anything away from the Nuggets. They have come back from being down 3-1 in two straight series. Their resilience cannot be underestimated. It seems like the longer a series goes, they seem to figure the other team out and get better. Jamal Murray, Nikola Jokic and Michael Porter Jr are dynamite when they are hitting on all cylinders.

They are down 3-0 to the Lakers and it is hard to write them off until they lose that fourth game.

4. RIP RBG

On Friday, we lost an icon. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg passed away after years of battling and fighting to stay alive for the election of a new president. She had made so many strides for women and been a force on the bench. We lost a great one.

5. MITCH McCONNELL

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised to quickly get a vote on the president’s next nominee for the SCOTUS. This is the same Senate Majority Leader who would not bring Merrick Garland up for a vote when he was nominated nine months before the 2016 election. He argued it should be up to the American people to decide who picks the next justice. Now that we are forty days away from the election, Mitch has changed his opinion about the American people deciding who should pick the next justice. 

President Trump has promised to nominate a woman. Already two Republican Senators have stood up and said they would not vote for a nominee before the election. Nancy Pelosi has said she will start impeachment proceedings to stall a Senate vote on a nominee. Joe Biden went as far as to say he will demand the nominee withdraw if he is elected.  

6. 8 STRAIGHT FOR THE DODGERS

It’s almost like clockwork. The Dodgers clinched their eighth consecutive postseason this week. As good as the Padres have been this year, I don’t see anyone in the NL West giving the Dodgers trouble for a long time. They have the talent and the farm system to keep this streak going for a long time.

7. WHAT’S UP WITH THE AP POLL?

In its pursuit of normalcy, the Associated Press has released their weekly poll for college football. It seems kind of strange given half of the teams in Division I football are not playing right now. Is there really going to be a national championship this year?

8. JA MORANT GOES AFTER THE ONE REPORTER

Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies was voted the NBA Rookie of the Year. He made a point of forsaking the 99 reporters who voted for him and going after the one reporter that did not vote for him.

9. QUEEN & SLIM

A timely movie I gotta watch this week was Queen & Slim. It had elements of Bonnie & Clyde and a heist movie; while dealing with the civil unrest issues that have plagued our country the last six months.

10. BEST THING I READ THIS WEEK

Check out A Story for Your Daughters, a Story for Your Sons by Rebecca Makkai