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 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 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 March 19-25

  1. March For Our Lives –  Gun control may not happen overnight, but I believe this is the beginning of something. Even polls on Fox News are favorable to make some changes.
  2. The Final Four – So excited about the Final Four. Loyola Chicago is taking the tournament by storm. Villanova is the best team left; but anything else can happen. I have to confess, I am so glad that Duke is done for the season.
  3. Stephon Clark Shooting – Makes me afraid to be around police with my phone in my hand. Dude was shot twenty times in his own backyard.
  4. NFL Free Agency – Eric Reid says he hasn’t found a team yet because he was taking a knee next to Kaepernick. He doesn’t realize that Earl Thomas may be traded and Tyrann Mathieu is looking for a team. There is also Kenny Vicarrio.
  5. My NFL Mock Draft – Top Ten Picks
    1. Cleveland – Sam Darnold
    2. NY Giants – Nick Chubb
    3. NY Jets – Josh Rosen
    4. Cleveland – Quenten Nelson
    5. Denver – Josh Rosen
    6. Indianapolis – Minkah Fitzpatrick
    7. Tampa Bay – Derwin James
    8. Arizona – Josh Allen
    9. San Francisco – Denzel Ward
    10. Oakland – Roquan Smith
  6. Russell Westbrook is almost averaging a triple-double.
  7. NBA Playoff Western Conference Thoughts – Melo is shooting the Thunder out of the playoffs.  I have watched Melo lose two games for the Thunder. As close as the standings are in the West, they need those wins. The Spurs are back. Even without Kawhi, they are ballin out and made sure they made it to the playoffs. I love James Harden, but, sometimes I hate watching him play. He looks like all he is trying to do is catch fouls. I find myself screaming “just ball out!”.
  8. NBA Playoff Eastern Conference Thoughts – Eric Bledsoe cannot shoot and it is hurting the Bucks. Really impressed with the Wizards and think they are going to take off when John Wall comes back. Not sure about the Celtics now that Kyrie is out of six weeks.
  9. Rookie of the Year –  This year’s race for Rookie of the Year is going to be the closest I can remember. I could give it to either guy right now.
  10. The Shape of Water – I finally saw The Shape of Water and I could see why it won Best Picture. The story is good and the visuals were artsy. I enjoyed it, but I am not sure I will be talking about it in five years.