10 Thoughts for the Week of February 14, 2021 – The Museum of Dreams and Thick Partisan Politics

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1. TRUMP ACQUITTED

Former president Donald Trump was acquitted by the Senate on Saturday. I watched the trial and the videos and I found myself wondering who could ignore what was being portrayed. I knew how thick partisan politics runs in our country, but if there were a moment for our government to have a conscience, this was the time.

The Senate has never convicted an impeached president; this is the most bi-partisan vote in the history of impeachments.

What is irksome is Mitch McConnell saying one thing and voting another. His statements had some thick partisan politics spread all over it. Sorry not sorry.

I am concerned about how our government spent four years not holding Trump accountable for his actions. I am concerned about the video of the guys saying “next time we’ll bring our guns”.

2. WEEKLY REPARATIONS UPDATE

The Virginia House passes a bill for colleges to make reparations for their role in slavery.

This week the US House of Representatives will vote on exploring reparations.

3. JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE APOLOGIZES…FINALLY

The #FreeBritneySpears movement has made its way to Justin Timberlake’s door. Almost twenty years later, Justin apologized for using Britney to propel his solo career. He also decided to apologize to Janet Jackson as well for the whole Super Bowl incident.

After eighteen years, these sorts of apologies always overflow with insincerity. Very Mitch McConnell.

4. MUSEUM OF DREAMS

I made a trip to the Museum of Dreams in Beverly Hills with my family. The museum is a small installation of three rooms which were breathtaking to see. It would have been nice to have a bench here and there to sit and take everything in. I feel like the trip was a missed opportunity. There were too many people there and the museum is pure bait for people who are looking for something cool to put on Instagram. There were a lot of people taking pics; which takes away from taking things in. There was also one woman who refused to keep her mask on. I understand she wants her pics, but we are all in rooms with more people than she should and this one lady will not keep her mask on.

5. ART OF THE WEEK

Michael Jackson Tears by Dr. WASH blew my mind. It made me wonder who would be in my tears.

6. JUSTIN TURNER WITH THE DODGERS

The Dodgers have made their moves and, with Justin Turner back, they are ready to defend their World Series title. It took a long time with a lot of back and forth for Turner and the Dodger to find the right amount of time on his contract. The Dodgers had all the cards in this game. The loss of Joc Pederson and Kike Hernandez, Turner add the chemistry piece needed for a championship team.

7. BEST THING I READ THIS WEEK

One of the coolest things I read this week was an article about a lake that turns living things to stone.

8. REPUBLICANS TURN ON REASONABLE SENATORS

Last week I was outraged about Wyoming Republicans censuring Liz Cheney for voting to impeach Donald Trump. This week Republicans are censuring Bobby Cassidy of Louisiana for voting to convict Donald Trump of incitement. Thick with partisanship.

9. NBA TRADE DEADLINE BUZZ

I haven’t been able to be all in on the NBA season so far. One of my favorite times of the year is the trade deadline. There is still a month to go until the big day; but there is already buzz. Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin are going to sit out until they are traded.

10. QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.” ― Benjamin Franklin

10 Thoughts for the Week of January 3, 2021 – New Year, MF Doom & Reparations

1. HAPPY NEW YEAR

Many people celebrated the end of 2020 and welcomed in 2021. I have to confess that 2018 was much worse than in 2020 in my life. There was no pandemic but I felt like there was a plague in my life.

My transition to the new year was lame. I blame the pandemic and my old age. I really wanted to bring in the New Year at 9 PM PST. I knew I would have a hard time staying up to midnight. My wife has the tradition of watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy. She started the movies and I fell asleep during The Two Towers. I woke up at 9:30. I was bummed I missed the New Year, but I wanted to go back to sleep.

Fortunately, my wife woke up at 11:45 to bring in the New Year properly. I made it until 12:30 am and went back to sleep.

I brought in the New Year in Edinburgh a few years ago and it was amazing. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

2. COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS

Last year, I complained about Oklahoma getting into the College Football Playoff. This year, my gripe is against Notre Dame.

Last week I complained about their resume. I predicted it because Notre Dame was one of the four teams that did not have enough “Dudes”. Alabama, Clemson, and Ohio State bring more and more “Dudes every year.

Alabama dominated Notre Dame gave themselves to play for year another national championship. It was like watching a varsity team dominate a junior varsity team.

The game I most looked forward to was the rematch of last year’s playoff game between Ohio State and Clemson. Both teams had “Dudes” but Ohio State used the chip on their shoulder to dominate the Tigers.

The whole playoff was not a good showing for the ACC. I am not saying Oklahoma should be there. I am more upset about Texas A&M, Georgia, and Cincinnati.

3. TRUMP CALL BEGGING FOR VOTES

The release of the Trump call begging the Secretary of State of Georgia for more votes is the last gasp to save what has long been the end of the Trump presidency. I guess Trump called eighteen times before the Secretary of State took and recorded the call.

4. RIP MF DOOM

Hip-hop lost a legend this week. MF Doom passed away at the young age of 48. Hip-hop is young enough to have some martyrs but very few artists have died of old age. Forty-eight is not old but you cannot consider MF Doom a martyr.

5. NBA WEEK 2

Week 2 of the NBA season can only be filed away as too early to tell. Teams I expect to be good have started slow. Teams I didn’t expect to be good are excelling. There are 50 point blowouts. Steph Curry is finding his shot and dropping 60 on teams. Everybody has forgotten how to play defense.

6. NEW STRAIN OF COVID

A new and more contagious strain of COVID-19 has been discovered so keep your mask on.

7. PRINCE ESTATE INTENTIONALLY UNDERVALUED

Prince’s relatives undervalue the assets of his estate to the IRS to avoid paying taxes to the government, There was an $82 million discrepancy between the true value of the assets and the value listed by the family. I can’t blame them for trying to avoid paying $30 million in taxes.

8. NFL PLAYOFFS

The NFL playoffs are set and it is the first time the Patriots are not in the playoffs since 2003. Tom Brady is still in and he gets to take his shot at the Washington Football Team. The matchups feel like a toss-up. They could be really good games and or they could be blowouts.

9. RUSSELL WILSON IS A STAND-UP GUY

Russell Wilson takes care of his guys. David Moore had 34 catches and needed 35 for a $350,000 bonus. Russell Wilson made sure to find him with less than two minutes in the game when he should have been running the clock out. He was not the poster boy for the Legion of Boom, but he is the guy you want on your team.

 

10. REPARATIONS

Two weeks ago, I talked about an English PM being sued for reparations. This week Representative Sheila Jackson from Texas introduced reparations legislation before the House of Representatives. This follows Barbara Lee 2020 introduction of reparations legislation. We will see where it goes

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 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 29, 2020

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1. THE PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION BEGINS

While spending a majority of his time declaring victory and making claims the election was stolen from him, President Trump authorized the transition of power to President-elect Biden. Biden began picking a very interesting Cabinet. Outside of having no answers for COVID, the president has never conceded anything to anyone in his adult life. He likes to say he got the most votes of a sitting president. How could he concede having the most votes against him.

2. WHAT’S THE RUSH WITH FIRING SQUADS

The Justice Department has been moving very quickly to bring the firing squads for federal executions back. President Trump wants to get them instituted to by the time he leaves office. Is this the president trying to keep some kind of twisted campaign promise? Is there a wing of the conservative movement that thinks firing squads are a major issue.

 

3. LEWIS HAMILTON TO BE KNIGHTED

This spring, when I was really missing sports, I started watching Drive to Survive on Netflix. While he was never on the camera during Season 1, Lewis Hamilton’s presence was everywhere. His season was not dramatic enough because he was winning just about every race.

It was announced that Lewis Hamilton will be knighted.

If there is anyone who reminds me of Tiger Woods, it is this guy.

 

4. THE TED CRUZ GUARANTEE

Why does this guy believe he has any chance to be president in 2024?

5. THE 1PERCENT RULE

If you have had some curiosity about income disparity or why progressive ideas to level the playing field, this article by James Clear explains a lot. It is a great read!

 6. AN ALL BLACK REFEREE CREW WORKS MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

This is far too long in the making.

7. SCOTUS AND HOUSES OF WORSHIP IN NEW YORK

The Supreme Court of the United States has drawn the line that the First Amendment right to worship is more important than keeping people safe in a pandemic. The Court determined that Governor Andrew Cuomo’s restrictions on the capacity of house of worship to 10-25 people was unconstitutional.

8. ROBLOX LIVE EVENTS

The lack of meeting in person and in large groups has forced most of us to virtual events. We all have our Zoom meetings. I have been an exhibitor at a virtual trade show. Now entertainers are putting on virtual events in Roblox.

Roblox is a video game my seven year old plays where he creates his character and plays in many different worlds. I am disappointed that we both missed out on the Lil Nas X concert.

 9. TRUE IDENTITIES OF POP CULTURE ICONS REVEALED

Alex Solis is a master artist who has done some brilliant reveals of the true identities of pop icons. They are super fun and put a smile on my face.

 10. KLAY THOMPSON

Last week when I wrote about the craziest week in NBA history, I didn’t mention Klay Thompson was at the center of things. Thompson injured his Achilles tendon on the day of the draft. There was a definite thought, which was later confirmed, Klay was going to be out for the entire 2020-21 basketball season.

I am not sure if it affected the Warriors picking James Wiseman with the Number 2 pick. However, the acquisition of Kelly Oubre, Jr. and Ken Bazemore showed there was a hole in the roster that needed to be addressed. It could also be insinuated by the moves of the other Western Conference teams that it was time to strike while the Warriors were down a star.

Losing Klay is a big deal but there is still a lot of talent on that team. I think that people are sleeping on Steve Kerr as a coach as well.

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 September 13, 2020

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1. 9/11

After 19 years, it is pretty amazing how 9/11 feels as fresh as yesterday. I still remember when I first heard about the planes hitting the tower. I remember going to work and being sent home. It was confusing and slowly developing for someone living in California. I guess that is what they mean when they say “We Will Never Forget”.

2. MILWAUKEE BUCKS

For the second year in a row, the Bucks have had the best record, the best defense, and the best player in the league. For the second year in a row, they didn’t get to the NBA Finals. The Miami Heat played inspired basketball and Giannis got hurt. Outside of Game 4, it didn’t appear the Bucks had the next gear that championship teams have to make it to the next level.

When I look at comparisons, I think of Jordan’s Bulls and Shaq and Kobe’s Lakers. They were both teams that had spent two or three years to get over the hump.

3. DANUEL HOUSE

When I heard about Danuel House being expelled from the NBA Bubble because he was entertaining one of the on-site testers, I thought of the Morris Day song “Gigolos Get Lonely Too”. The players were in the bubble for two and a half months and I guess it was too much for House; or was it love at first sight?

4. LAKERS ARE BACK IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

Due to Danuel House’s indiscretions, the Lakers destroyed the Rockets en route to the Western Conference Finals. This is the first time the Lakers have been in the playoffs since Kobe hobbled off with an Achilles injury. I would like to think of them as the favorites but their play has not inspired me they will steamroll the rest of the competition. Truth be told, they are a Dame Lillard injury and a Danuel House expulsion from being in two tough playoff series.

5. R.I.P. TOOTS HIBBERT

The music world lost a legend this week when Toots Hibbert of Toots and the Maytals passed away. Their music was so joyful and Pressure Drop is a classic.

6. BLACK REPUBLICANS

This week, I listened to an interesting podcast about Black Republicans. It was a great conversation about the movement of African Americans from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party in the last half of the twentieth century. 

What I found most interesting is that as a people African Americans are conservative. They have conservative views, but they have zero tolerance for racism.

7. A COMPETENT PRESIDENT

Last week, I mentioned the challenging opinions of how many people in the United States would have died of COVID. Well German Lopez, of Vox, claims if the US had the same response to COVD that Canada did, 100,000 would still be alive.

8. THE NFL IS BACK

The NFL is back at a time that does not feel as strange as baseball and basketball. After watching the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday, I think they are the favorites by a lot. Tom Brady lost his first game as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. Bill Belichick looked like he didn’t miss Tom Brady. It’s only Week 1.

9. DOG MAN

Dog Man is a family favorite at my house. The latest installment of the Dog Man saga Dog Man: Grime & Punishment has been the best selling book in North America for the last three weeks.

10. SOCIAL MEDIA & POLITICS

A recent poll from the Pew Research Center asked Americans their opinions about social media platforms’ ability for raising awareness was very surprising to me.

10 Thoughts for the Week of August 22, 2020

1. UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Last Sunday I watched Barcelona and Leonel Messi, arguably the best soccer player in the world, get completely destroyed by Bayern Munich 8-2. It was a straight-up beat down in any language. Soccer is the sort of game where a scoring a goal is equivalent of ten points in American football.

Soccer, much like football, is a game for one single player to dominate. Malcolm Gladwell has a great podcast about it. So much pressure falls on players like Messi and Ronaldo. The board of FC Barcelona was so disappointed, they considered making Messi available for transfer.

Bayern Munich was on collision course with high scoring PSG for the final which resulted in a 1-0 championship win.

2. DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION

My attention for the DNC was on and off. I didn’t need to be convinced Biden is a better pick than Trump. I uneasily appreciated how the other candidates rallied around Biden. There was a strange was the number Anti-Trump Republicans endorsements also.

3. THE OBAMAS

Seeing the Obamas on Tuesday and Wednesday nights reminded me of what a real President and First Lady look like.

4. AOC

What is up with giving AOC less than five minutes to speak? She is controversial but she needs some shine.

5. KANYE FOR PRESIDENT

Kanye West is getting help from the Trump Campaign to get on the ballot. They believe a vote for Kanye is a vote taken away from Biden.

I love Kanye’s music but I would never consider voting for him to be president. I would think twice about Lebron James long before I would think about Kanye

6. NBA PLAYOFFS – 1st ROUND

When it comes to the NBA playoffs, the matchups make the games interesting.

The Lakers and the Clippers find themselves in tough series because they don’t matchup all that well with Damien Lillard and Luka Donicic.

Denver is an offensive juggernaut but it got matched up with the defensive minded Jazz and Donovan Mitchell.

7. #1 SEEDS

For the first time in 30 years, both #1 seeds lost Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs. Both have bounced back to take control of their respective series.

8. THE DODGERS

With 20 wins in this strange 60-game season, the Dodgers have assumed the top spot in the NL West. Mookie Betts is well worth whatever money he is making this year. Cody Bellinger had a slow start, but he has found his stroke. Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler are shaping into form.

9. NFL TRAINING CAMPS HAVE STARTED

The NFL season is still three weeks away. It is hard to pay too much attention because there is 8 hours of basketball on everyday. I can barely keep track of MLB.

10. KEEP IT 100

A interesting tidbit from the NFL…Leonard Fournette is pinning $100 bills to his practice jerseys. He says it is a reminder that he needs 100 yards a game to be successful. That is an expensive reminder.

All the Favorites Won: 10 Thoughts On The First Round of the NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs

With Round 2 of the NBA Playoffs getting started, I wanted to drop some thoughts on Round 1. The Eastern conference was the most interesting for Round 1(well to me maybe). 

 

  • Pound for pound – The Milwaukee Bucks look like the pound for pound best team in the East. Detroit had no answer for the Greek Freak. The Bucks as a team has so much depth and they look like they can play any style of basketball.
  • Most Improved Player – Pascal Siakam should be the NBA’s Most Improved Player. He was the most valuable player of the round for his team. Orlando put up a good fight, but Siakim always made the momentum changing plays.
  • Rocky 3 – Philadelphia needs the Eye of the Tiger. An undermatched Brooklyn team gave them all they wanted for four games. This team is hanging on by Joel Embiid’s bum knee. I think Jimmy Butler is the key to the next round.
  • Kyrie Time – This is Kyrie Irving’s time of the year. He is the winningest player in playoff history and he showed it in this series. He played like a man no one could guard and he made the shots as well. Jaylen Brown also picked the right time to take his game to another level. As good as Kyrie and Jaylen played, the team did not look the same without Marcus Smart. They are going to need him if they expect to play with Milwaukee.
  • No Victory Without Victor – Indiana battled and played as hard as they could with Darren Collison and Wes Matthews. In the end, they were not Victor Oladipo. Even with Tyreke Evans and Bojan Bogdanovic shooting their minds out, Indiana needed a closer. Myles Turner was a force on defense and will continue to be for the next couple of years.
  • Kudos #1 – The Nets get a serious pat on the back. They are a bad call away from taking the Sixers to maybe seven games. D’Angelo Russell and Caris LeVert did some major damage to the Sixers defense. If they had any size, they would have given the Sixers fits.
  • Kudos #2 – The Orlando Magic made it back to the playoffs for the first time since 2012. I was ready to see a young team that stumbled into the playoffs. However Steve Clifford coached these guys so that were efficient on offense and tenacious on defense. I know D.J. Augustin made the game winning shot in Game 1, but they are a point guard away from doing damage in the Eastern Conference. Hint – Kemba Walker is a free agent this summer.
  • You Got In…Now What? – Well Detroit made it to the playoffs. It had been three years since the Pistons had been in the playoffs. The Pistons had not won a playoff series since 2008. I am glad they got something from last year’s Blake Griffin trade…but now what? It will be interesting to see what Dwayne Casey gets out of this roster next year.
  • Boston v. Milwaukee – I am picking the Bucks in 6. While I think the Bucks can slow down Kyrie, I am not sure the Celtics can slow down Giannis.
  • Philadelphia v. Toronto – I am picking Toronto in 5. The Sixers don’t have the firepower to overcome a Raptor defense that is just plain nasty. The Sixers could not stop the Nets. Now how are they going to stop the Raptors.