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.

The Masters, The Joy of Manscaping and a Fire at Trump Tower – 10 Thoughts From the Week of April 2nd to April 8th

  1. 24-Hour News Cycle – Last week, I started talking about the 24-hour news cycle and my lack of concern of things that disappeared all too quickly from the cycle and my mind. I was particularly thinking about Puerto Rico and Syria. However, things have heated up in Syria and I saw some buzz on my Twitter timeline about Puerto Rico. I want to write something about the 24-hour news cycle.
  2. NBA Playoff Picture – Eastern Conference – With only a few days left in the season, the best matchup of the first round appears to be Sixers vs. Bucks. Giannis against Ben Simmons seems like a nice fit for prime time. The rest of the matchups just don’t seem all that compelling. Raptor vs. Wizards would be a good match-up if the Wizards could play up to their talent. It is just hard to believe they could put together for more than one game.
  3. Brandin Cooks Trade – The Patriots once again made a first round trade. The weird thing is that they gave away Brandin Cooks, not because he is not a good receiver, but because he is expensive. Now the Rams appear to have won the offseason two weeks before the draft. It seems like the Patriots cannot pay anyone more money than Brady or Gronk. Not that Cooks is worth more than those guys, it is just what the market bears.
  4. NFL Mock Draft – Here’s my weekly update of the Top 10.
    1. CLE – Sam Darnold -QB
    2. NYG – Bradley Chubb – DE
    3. NYJ – Josh Allen
    4. BUF – Josh Rosen
    5. DEN – Saquan Barkley
    6. IND – Quenten Nelson
    7. TB – Derwin James
    8. ARI – Baker Mayfield
    9. SF – Denzel Ward
    10. OAK – Roquan Smith
  5. The Masters – I was excited about last week’s Masters event; especially with Tiger as the favorite. I really need Tiger to make a comeback. He doesn’t need to comeback and break Nicklaus’ record. He simply needs to win another major or two and show that he still has that magic on the golf course. Jake Reed fought off the world and he won the Masters in a definitive way.
  6. NCAA Tournament – Villanova has won its second championship in the last three years. They were so much better than everyone else in college basketball. They are quietly becoming a blue blood in college basketball. They are making a bigger impact than Gonzaga.
  7. Comparisons of President Trump to King David – I read an article that was a response to evangelicals comparison of President Trump to King David. It is funny how people make an excuse for such an unexcusable person.
  8. Fire at Trump Tower – There was a fire at Trump Tower in New York with one fatality. In a move of no class, the President raced to Twitter to talk about how well built the building was. No mention of any condolences for the person who lost their life in the fire.
  9. Manscaping Can Make You Happy – I read another article about the path to joy can be as simple as a little manscaping. I experience a certain amount of joy when I get a haircut. I am not sure if I feel the same way after a manscaping session.
  10. How to Talk to Your Kids About Porn – I listened to a great podcast about talking to your kids about porn. Good stuff! Every dad should listen to it.

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.