Wine Tasting, LiAngelo Ball and Citizen Trump – 10 Thoughts from the Week of March 26th to April 1st.

I took a road trip from So-Cal to Nor-Cal this weekend. I spent a lot of time in the car which influenced my 10 thoughts this week.

  1. I went wine tasting while I was in Nor-Cal and it was disturbing to me. I paid $70 to do some wine tasting at a place recommended by a friend. I thought $70 would get me a lot of wine. Instead, I got lectured on the process of making California sparkling wine for 45 minutes before I got to taste a drop of wine. I was pissed that it took 45 minutes to taste the wine. I didn’t come wine tasting to learn about the winemaking process; that is why it is called “wine tasting”.  Then I only got to taste 5 wines. I felt shorted for paying $70. For $70, I expected to at least question whether I should be driving after the tasting. Looking back on things, I paid for a “cave tour” which I guess should be viewed as different than wine tasting. I once did “barrel tasting” and that is when I drank so much wine I could taste it anymore. You have to pay attention to what you get into.
  2. The Final Four: Michigan and Villanova are meeting today in the national championship game. Michigan ended the very impressive run of Loyola Chicago. I was worried for a moment that Loyola was going to make it to the championship game before they collapsed and had six straight turnovers. Kansas balled out; but they still could not keep with Villanova and the record-breaking three-pointers. Michigan plays hella-defense but Villanova is on another level.
  3. LiAngelo Ball entered the NBA draft this week. The only way he gets drafted is if the Lakers do his family a favor.
  4. I have been thinking about the 24-hour news cycle a lot the last couple of weeks. One of the things that amazes me about the cycle is how quickly people forget about some things that at the time seem pretty unforgettable. I am pretty convicted about how easily I forget unforgettable stuff. I forget about hurricanes and scandals and other soul-scarring events.
  5. The NFL has finally changed the catch-rule which should kill the controversies of the last couple of years.
  6. NBA Eastern Conference Playoff Update: As I said last week, the Raptors and the Bucks don’t seem like much of a series unless Eric Bledsoe gets a jump shot. I want the Bucks to make the playoffs though. It would be a tragedy not to have Giannis in the playoffs. I am not sure what will happen to the Celtics. I could see them beating Miami and I could see Old Man Wade ending them with his playoff experience. The Cavaliers and the Wizards are the most appealing match-up of the first round. The Wizards talked a lot about the Cavs ducking them last season. I know how good Lebron is in the playoffs, but the rest of his team is not good on defense and I cannot see them getting back to the Finals without someone teaching Jordan Clarkson how to play defense.
  7. NBA Western Conference Playoff Update: All the matchups in the Western Conference are intriguing. I feel the same way about the Rockets and the Pelicans that I do about the Raptors and Bucks. It is just good to have Anthony Davis in the playoffs. The Jazz will give the Warriors trouble if they are not 100%. Portland and Thunder are going to war in the first round. I am scared of the Spurs with or without Kawhi. They work that Spurs winning voodoo all over the place.
  8. NFL Mock Draft Top Ten: Some changes from last week’s Top 10.
    1. CLE – Sam Darnold
    2. NYG – Bradley Chubb
    3. NYJ – Josh Allen
    4. BUF – Josh Rosen
    5. DEN – Saquon Barkley
    6. IND – Minkah Fitzpatrick
    7. TB – Derwin James
    8. ARI – Baker Mayfield
    9. SF – Denzel Ward
    10. OAK – Roquan Smith
  9. Steven Spielberg doesn’t think that Netflix movies should not be eligible for the Oscars. It feels like the old man doesn’t want new and unique ideas on his lawn.
  10. During my road trip, my wife watched Citizen Trump in the car. I got to listen to a couple of episodes and all I could think is that we elected a guy who does not care about anything but himself as President of the United States of America. What struck me was Trump probably ran for president because Obama torched him back in the day.

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.

10 Thoughts for the Week of March 12-18

It has been a while since my last post. Lately, I have been having the feeling that it is time to start again. So, here we go.

  1. Trump Fires Tillerson – As usual, Trump fired another cabinet member who disagreed with him. That way he could appoint Mike Pompeo, the CIA director, because he would not need a confirmation hearing. I feel bad for Tillerson; it appears he found out he was fired via Twitter. He was a terrible Secretary of State; but I am not sure that was his fault. Trump appears to have the tendency to change his mind on a daily basis.
  2. Connor Lamb Wins – Connor Lamb won a Pennsylvania Congressional seat on Tuesday. Another seat that was turned blue. I am not a fan of large majorities in either house. I like the idea that these politicians have to compromise and not just shove in any kind of legislation down the throats of the American people.
  3. Metu Sits Out of NIT Tournament – USC was already bummed they were not in the NCAA tournament. Then on Monday, junior forward Chimezie Metu decided to sit out the NIT tournament to protect his draft status.  I guess you can liken it to football players sit out bowl games. Bowl games are not that meaningful and they are meaning less and less each year. I would guarantee that none of them would sit out the national championship game. So I guess the question is what is the difference between the NCAA tournament and the NIT tournament? Is an NIT championship the same thing as a Peach Bowl win?
  4. NBA Playoff Picture Eastern Conference – With one month left in the regular season, the playoff race has been heating up. Three and a half games separate the third team and the eight team in the Eastern Conference. I hope things stay pat in the standings. I would love to see a series with the Cavs versus the Sixers. A Celtics/Bucks series is appealing as well. Any series with the Greek Freak is appealing.
  5. NBA Playoff Picture Western Conference – Four and a half games separate the third team and the eight team in the Western Conference. The Spurs are in the 7th seed as we speak and there is a chance they don’t even make the playoffs. Minnesota is sitting in the 8th seed praying for Jimmy Butler to come back. The first round of the Western Conference is not that appealing to me yet.
  6. NCAA Tournament – This has been the most amazing weekend of the tournament that I can remember. I love the tournament. Most games seem to find their way to being a close game with five minutes left and the team that wants to win the most wins. I shed no tears with seeing Virginia, Arizona and North Carolina going home early. I feel bad for Miami; all they had to do is make a free throw and it was game over. The Michigan shot is all that the tournament is all about.  Florida State made an amazing comeback against top-seeded Xavier.
  7. One and Done Rule – I listened to the Bill Simmons podcast with Chuck Klostermann the other day. They were talking about the one and done rule and it made me think. I think these guys benefit from a few months of college before they turn pro. I was also thinking that if there were no one and done players, the NCAA tournament would still be the NCAA tournament. The quality of basketball would not fall off to the point that people would not be drawn to the tournament the way that people are not really into the College World Series.
  8. McCabe Firing – Jeff Session fired Andrew McCabe a few days before he retired and left his pension in question. Trump made sure to get on Twitter and boast about the firing. According to his statement, McCabe had contact with the press under the guidelines of his job. Only two Republicans have spoken out against the firing. The rest, including Jeff Sessions, remain silent. Trump is the sort of person that needs to be punched in the nose for behaving badly. Otherwise, silence is like giving him permission to act worse.
  9. Sprinkles is Overrated – After waiting in line for 20 minutes and paying $4 for a cupcake, I have decided that Sprinkles is overrated. I don’t get the return on investment when it comes to the cupcake. I am not discriminating on cupcakes. I have waited a longer time for more expensive food and felt it was not overrated.
  10. Trump Trying to Fire Mueller – The latest news is that Trump is trying to get Mueller fired. That could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.