Monday, January 25, 2010

Go Colts!

Just some random thoughts for today which is mostly football:

How can anyone be surprised by Brett Favre throwing a game-costing interception? This is not even close to being the first time this has happened, but I sure hope it is the last. And it is amazing to me that people still give Favre a break and say that it was his competitiveness that casued him to make that season ending pass. Really? It sure looked like a stupid play to me. And I think everyone on the field, minus the kickers, were in competitive mode yesterday. Did competetiveness casue Peterson to fumble all day? Will he get a free pass like Favre has his entire career?

I personally think that it is a team sport, minus the kickers, and that you win and lose as a team. But Favre gets all of the glory and all of the credit when they win, so maybe he should get more balme when they lose; afterall he is the only player on the field according to the announcers or ESPN.

And he is the all time interception leader, but that is not mentioned too much. And the excuse is that if you play for 20 years, you will have more picks than other QBs; but the logic is not constant when applied to total yardage. He has the total yardage because he is so great but the interceptions becasue of the years played. I don't think even calculus can answer this one.

And the Saints? I find it hard to root for a team that encourages their fans to use broken english or pseudo-french jibberish as any type of rally cry. Way past annoying, if you ask me.

But the worse thing about the Saints is that we will have to live the Hurrican Katrina debacle over and over, at least twenty more times. And did you know that Katrina was the only major Hurrican to ever hit the U.S. Actually, the Hurricane didn't hit New Orleans, the "swell" from the storm devestating the coast of Mississippi flooded New Orleans. I guess that's what happens when you live on the sea and under sea level. And when you don't spen your money ona flood prevention necasue the "gubment" will bail you out so you can spend your money on beads and boobies and muddy coffee. Who dat gonna fix dem levees?

Yeah, the NFC championship was a game of gut wrenching proprtions for me. I didn't want eiother team to score. And there are too many reasons to mention here, but you get the gist from the first few paragraphs.

So I am, "Go Colts!" from here on out. I do wonder when that, "resting the players and forfeting the perfect season" thing will kick in. Im sure most thought it was this week agaionst the Jets, who by the way, have a great future! I wonder if the week off will hurt the Colts? I wonder if pulling the players from the Pro Bowl will cost the Colts the SuperBowl? I'm sure that I don't know; I can't even figure out why a man who wins one SuperBowl and loses another is so much better than other good QBs. Makes being a legend as credible as the Nobel Peace Prize if you ask me.

And I will end by saying that I will vote for the Colts coaching staff for public office if they ever decide to run. They seem to know that soemtimes it is best to do nothing instead of pretending to look busy; and that if it aint broken, don't fix it. If only our politicians would use such philosophies. Less can be more. As long as it isn't on the final scoreboard!

Have a great week and Go Colts!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Hitcher

As I was driving home from work yesterday, I saw a man thumbing a ride into town and I stopped to give him a lift. I have to admit that I was hoping that he would have to get in the back of my truck so I didn't have to really mess with him, but he hopped right into the cab with me.

And he didn't smell too good. He didn't look good. I was tired from work and didn't feel much like talking, so I explained that I wasn't going far but that I could save him a few miles of walking and maybe help home beat the rain.

I am not writing this so anyone can say how nice of me or to get any kind of medal for being a super humanitarian. Believe me, I didn't really want to be bothered by a smelly stranger who most likely had issues or else he would have a job and a ride and a bath, so on and so forth. And while this is not the first hitch-hiker that I have picked up, I do not usually make as frequent occurrence of such as when I was younger.

But every now and again I think of the verse in the Bible that says that you never know when you are entertaining angels. And if he was an angel, about 30 cars ahead of me passed this angel right by; not exactly great hosts sometimes, are we?

And this not being my first experience with hitch-hikers, like usual they open their mouth and say something not very angelic and I realize that I am not entertaining a spirit, but just giving another bum of a human a ride.

But that is ok by me also, because I figure that an even greater reason to help someone who is temporarily less fortunate than myself is a good lesson in grace. And by the thinnest strand, I hang on to my own life at times; by nothing except the overwhelming grace of God was that not me thumbing a ride. By the very grace of God I was in a more fortunate place than my passenger yesterday. Of course I could pat myself on the back and tell myself that I work hard and that I have made better decisions than my unfortunate tag-a-long, and maybe even be accurate in doing such; but ultimately that is not only arrogant and unkind, but it is the thought of an absolute fool.

And more than the rationalization and realization of God's grace in my life, I felt the Holy Spirit compelling me to stop and offer a ride to my fellow traveler in this world. That is why, although it was a little less than enthusiastic, I stopped and offered a ride.

Now I'm not saying that we should all pick up every hitch-hiker that we come across. And I would go as far to say that I would kill my wife dead if she ever picked up a stranger! I do not believe that the Holy Spirit asks us all to do the same things, or that He asks the same people to do the same things all times. I'm merely submitting that we should be sensitive to the Spirit of God. I felt Him say to give this guy a ride and I did. I'm not good at it and I usually do it kicking and screaming, but I was very compelled to be obedient yesterday and on this occasion.

Getting back to the story, My hitch-hiker was not as interesting as most passengers that I have picked up before. There was no scheme of getting to Illinois to form his own country, due to a loophole in Illinois law. And yes, one hitcher actually told me that; he was my personal favorite. My brief passenger yesterday had no luster or charisma as some of the others I have offered rides to. He didn't smell like carnival hotdogs or talk about the glory days or spin yarns about how much money he was about to make when he got to his final destination or patent his idea for a revolutionary new light bulb. He was a a regular smelly guy with a slight speech problem and a mild personality disorder. And I have to sadly admit, that I was mildly disappointed. I at least hoped for some excitement and entertainment for my act of obedience.

But like most hitchers, he hadn't eaten in two days and only had $2 left to get four states away. And like most hitchers, he didn't want my granola bar or my box of raisins left over from my lunch. They didn't agree with him, even though he hadn't eaten in days. But I'm sure he would have taken a $10 to buy something to eat if I would have offered, but I knew better.

But unlike any other hitcher that I have met, he did say something that really stayed with me. His words were even more profound than the former rock stars, C.E.O.s, or the guy who was forming the new nation of Illinois. In his broken speech and nervousness, he opened my eyes to how the world sees God; albeit by no fault of His own.

You see, I knew that we would pass a few churches on our route, and I am embarrassed to admit it, but I was ready for him to get out of my truck. I was hoping to pawn him off on someone paid to do this kind of work and get busy patting myself on the back for how nice of a guy that I was. But my passenger gave me a shock when I asked him if I could drop him off at a church for some help. He told me, in a very nice manner, "No thank you." He said that the churches are good about helping the people that they know, but that they didn't seem care to much too much about helping out strangers. He then offered me his "last two dollars" if I would just get him as far as WalMart; and that his hope was to find some rest and help there.

That blew my mind! And I could get into a rant about churches and politics and so on, but that is not necessary here. But I what I do want to reiterate is what this man, who was very down and out, said to me. What his words said, even unknown to himself, was that he has no hope in the church, but his hope is in the people of WalMart. He told me that he saw more of God in the aisles of Wal Mart than behind all of the stained glass windows in town. His words unknowingly said that people are good and helpful, just as long as they are not at church.

I was really taken back. I showed no surprise, I just headed toward Wal Mart. But I have thought about that hitch-hiker's words most of the day. And I have wondered about how many people in my community feel the same way about church as he does.

And even now as I reflect back on yesterday while I write, I remember the shame and the sorrow I felt as I hurried home to spray Febreze in my truck. I still think of how humbled I was as I hoped to get any remnants of my passenger out of my truck. I think about how God can use many means and many people, even without them knowing it, to teach important lessons. Lessons on arrogance and ignorance. Lessons about patting myself on my back for being such a great guy. Lessons about being Christ-like and simply meeting needs regardless of situation or person. Lessons about humility. But mostly, lessons about grace; grace that comes from Him. Even if He delivers it in a plain, smelly, speech impeded hitch-hiker whom He died for, just the same as He died for a disgruntled and inconvenienced man driving home from work, patting himself on the back for being a great human being.

I want to end by saying that I am not saying that we should be more more aware of hitch-hikers or angels. But I do feel we should all be more sensitive to God's Spirit. We never know when he is going to teach a very important lesson. And we never know who He will decide to deliver such message. I was taught and reminded of so many things, on so many levels, by two minutes of conversation during a ten minute ride to Wal Mart... by a man I arrogantly pre-determined myself to be so much better than. And all the soap in the world can't change that. I bet my hitch-hiker has long forgot about me and my great act of humanity, but I doubt that I will forget, for a long time, the lesson God sent to me through a smelly, anxious, tongue-tied, and simple traveler.

Monday, January 18, 2010

One Way To Improve The NFL

I should probably begin todays rant by saying that I have lost what little football knowledge that I have. I do not know how, why, or exactly when this knowledge left me, but it is gone.

Want proof? Look at my fantasy football teams. Or my college picks this year. I sadly admit to teling my friends that Ryan Leaf is the real deal and that Peyton Manning will not be all that good becasue of his "happy feet". More recently, I told a guy that Minnesota would never make the playoffs this year. I drafted L.T. 8th overall in not one, but two leagues. I picked the Rams to win 4 games and most recently picked the Bolts to beat the Redbirds in the Superbowl.

So remember as you read this, that I have lost any sense of reason when it comes to football. Don't fall out when you read the next line...

...kickers suck!

Not personally mind you, but as an athlete (yes, I giggled as I typed kicker and athlete so closely together) I formerly held the opinion that a kicker was like a policeman or a teacher, or a politician; and that is that a good one will never be paid what he is worth and that most of them are paid entirely too much; and in the sitaution of a kicker, that is too much money against a salary cap that could be used for signing a real player. Not to mention a wasted roster spot.

So I am taking it upon myself to begin an official lobby to rid football, not futbol whatever that is, but the NFL of the entire postion of the kicker. My desire is that I have seen, for the last time, some guy come into a hard fought game wearing two different shoes and as many pairs of socks, and choke; ending the game in a loss for his teammates. Not too mention ridding myself of the nuisance of drafting a kicker with my last fantasy draft pick.

Now I know what all of you pro-kicker, tee-hugging, bleeding hearts are thinking. But I no longer care to be politically correct on this issue. I have seen too many people play too hard only to let some twinkle-toes prima donna come in and blow the game.

I realize that many of you have drank the Kool-Aid and believe that the kicker is a high stress job, but I think that is swill. The kicker is only involved in 3 or 4 plays in an entire 3 hour game. And for the 25 seconds that he plays, no one can even touch him! There is a roughing penalty to protect him, even a "running into" penalty, for the love of Pete! You can't even get grazed, man! One guy snaps the ball, another catches it and holds it, and unless you are Charlie brown, all you then have to do is kick the ball through some upright poles. They are bright yellow, you can't miss them. And no one can touch you! Not hit you or hurt you, but not even graze you! I said that already, didn't I?

...and to help along with the charade of the kicker being an athlete and position, or even a real teammate, you have to mark off steps and do a little curtsy, turn and face east, and do some superstitious act before kicking the stinking ball; like we can be fooled into thinking all of that is necessary. By all of the fancy footwork and such, you try to fool us into thinking that all of that is required for your mechanics.

Mechanics? You the kicker can't even wear the same shoes! You wear one for traction and one for "touch" on the ball, which sounds illegal in most states to me. You don't even need to wear a cup, nor a real helmet, as they may interfere with all of your "mechanics".

Then getting past all of this, you don't even punt! Heck! Some of the kickers don't even do "kick-offs" which by description and title, is part of your over paid job. So kicking isn't even kicking to a you.

I realize that I am getting personal in my attack, and have begun to use nouns such as "you" and "them". Next I will revert to the ever ignorant, arrogant,and racist, "those people" when referencing kickers. I apologize, but I am passionate on my stance of ridding the NFL of kickers; and that kickers are a great evil.

I guess these feelings come from watching two teams fight out a physical, gut-wrentching game; only to have some twinkle-toed creampuff come in with part of a helmut and fancy little shoes, and screw up the only play he is involved in. I mean, you never even see a kicker on the sidelines cheering or pumping fists, or anything. The kicker is too busy play kicking a ball into a little net; trying to stay warm becasue he hasn't done anything in like a week! And while the lineman with a broken arm, the QB with cracked ribs and the rest of the guys with their concussions, contusions, gashes, stitches, and taped up bodies have to hang their heads in disbelief, you flitter-fart off the field and say,"my bad" as you go back to your spot on the end of the bench; where you left your jacket and leggings...

...maybe this is a sensitve subject to other football fans as well. Maybe this whole "kicking thing" has some underlying psychological undertones for many of us. Maybe the displaced aggression is justified. Maybe it really is easier to be a critic than a performer. Maybe there is little place for a Monday morning, arm-chair kicker. Maybe in this econmy we are concerned about those who are overpaid and under efficient. maybe the kicker subconsciously represents someone we all know in our own office or factory or wherever we work. That is something that only you and your shrink may know.

But know this! Football would be better served having someone, a real player who has been in the battle of the game, throw the ball through the uprtights than have a kicker come in and louse everything up. The game would be much better served if kickers would be done away with. And when it happens, remember you heard that here first...and that I bet my football credentials on it happening...

Friday, January 15, 2010


Usually Mondays are the melancholy days and Thursdays are for bittersweet memories, and Fridays are for celebrating and letting your hair down. But as I find myself today at forty and no hair to let down, I find that my thoughts to be hangovers from the week; or more accurately, thoughts and leftovers of what are aspects of my life now, to speak in terms of analogy. And I know that Saturday brings the Devil to pay, but Sunday brings redemption; but I'm not certain if I'm ready to settle my tab or not. As I reflect on things and consider my own words as I write, I realize that I learned everything that I need to know from all of my Friday experiences as a wild-eyed, teenage boy.

I learned how to budget $12 and turn it into a pretty full evening... and I realized how many hours a fry-cook has to turn in to produce $12, after taxes, a new concept to a sixteen year old...I learned how to cut corners during the week by eating lunch at home and pocketing the savings. I understood that by sacrificing my desire for a McDonald's cheeseburger during the week was the difference between having Bud Lite or Milwaukee's Best come Friday night. That lesson seems lost to many of us today, in our "I want it all and I want it now" society...

I learned to appreciate the little things in life, like sharing a pack of cigarettes and conversations, with a couple of close friends...while sitting on the hood of the car at the drive-in, or out on a country road...and that no amount of money can buy that time back. And that memories are truly priceless, both good and bad.

My taste in music developed from blaring car speakers and cassette tapes with spiffy fold-outs. And growing up in the 80's was a great time for music, I type as my computer is blasting some feel-good Friday music. And like my car back then, I have more watts on my computer than I need it loud!

I did learn some basic mechanic skills, as we mostly drove lemons back then. But they were our lemons and we could care less if they were pretty or not; if we could patch them together, we would pool our funds to buy enough gas to last us until midnight.

We learned to be very resourceful in many ways, not just financially. At times it took some very clever means for a sixteen year old to get his hands on enough beer for five or six guys...maybe even more creative at times than resourceful. But we rarely did without whatever we set our minds out to achieve or gain.

And we learned not to tattle-tell on whoever bought us booze. I learned that there is a code in life and that even if you were up to "no-good" that you could still have some honor, a lesson from Fridays past that I still try to remember today...and we could all learn a little something about honor today.

And you knew who your friends were. And you knew that you would charge hell with a water pistol to protect them. And you always knew that they were behind you with the same vigor as well. If a fight broke out, you knew who had your back and whose back you more, no less. I am afraid that as adults we learn to back stab and rationalize. Your friend was your friend back then. Now there is no honor among thieves; our relationships are more complex politics now. Thank God we didn't have the intellect to understand that then. We just knew who we liked and knew that to have a friend you had to be a friend. We never were friends for what we could get, but by what we mutually gave.

We learned a lot of first aid on Friday nights, as the consumption of the hard-earned beer lead to more than a few scuffs and scrapes. And we learned how to hide such accidents. We never considered lawsuits or litigation's. You drank, you fell, you bled, you healed. Case closed.

I still find that Friday, quitting time is the best time of the week. Whether it's school or work, I still look forward to Friday afternoon... many lessons learned. So many Fridays celebrated. And while I am not one to think that the good ole days are always better;and I realize that I am looking back on my teenage Fridays with carefully selected memories, I do find myself missing my old "hoop tie", $12 cash in my pocket, and plans for a grand and glorious evening full of so much promise, as were our lives back then.

I don't condone or promote anything we did and I don't feel the need to defend anything either. I am simply considering Friday as I sit and read the news and compare then to now. I miss my long, curly hair and my checkered Vans. I miss the adventure and the risks. I miss playing Def Leppard and Whitesnake so loud that it rattles the neighbors windows. I miss the mischief and the giddy feeling of seeing whatever girl of the week drive by in a convertible. But the biggest thing that I miss are my friends.

I learned that by going through all of these, and many more, experiences together, we formed relationships; and we nurtured these relationships with more experiences, and we fromed the ties that bind with our hearts.

But the greatest lesson that I have learned is that camaraderie, friendship, resourcefulness, creativity, courage, and honor cannot be bought. Not even for $12 .

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Insert Acrimonious Title Here

This is why it is so unbelievably difficult for me to remain quiet about politics:

I hope the link works.And if it doesn't, it's worth your time and effort to manually type the address in...Its an unbelievable article sent to me by a friend, who by the way, knows how angry this kind of thing makes me. Thanks Mark!

We really have to wonder about things. And I will say again that our presidents have a large amount of influence setting ethical and moral tones, whether they wish to or not; and whether the people desire to allow them to set such tone or not.

We have to vote with conviction this year, in all we vote for. We really have to get our heads out of the sand!

Not much time for a good rant today. But read this article and tell me you can actually believe what you read. And if you do believe it, there is something wrong; on many, many levels!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Harry Reid, Al Sharpton, and Me

Good Monday to everyone! I only have a few minutes, but I want to get some thoughts down; and at least get back to more consistent blogging. After all, you deserve it, right? You are reading this so that means something, doesn't it?

Anyway, I will begin by mentioning that I do not watch much news these days. I read a lot of news from a handful of sites on the web, thank you Al Gore, but I do not watch much, on television. And I say that to apologize if I am not very current or if I am repeating anything that you have already heard.

But how about this Harry Reid stuff? And how about the severe double standard by the Democrats and the Republicans. Wow! And before you join in and give a big, "yeah that's right" in your mind, and point fingers at how out of touch our leaders are, I ask you to pause and reflect for a minute. Granted, I do feel that our government does not represent us or our best interests, but I am afraid that the double standard in racial issues are only being mirrored; and that our society refracts that upon the congress...or maybe Harry Reid is a real person after all... I guess what I am tip-toeing around is that, as sad as it may be, racism is not only still alive but worsening. And that, too often, a pigmentation in our skin causes us to generalize about something in someone's heart. Of course we don't help break stereotypes when we act in stereotypical fashion, but that is for another day.

But the double standard is glaring. And I understand why the Republicans are screaming about the double standard, because it does seem to be ok for a Democrat to say certain things about black people, while it is not ok for Republicans to say the same thing. And we can call it semantics, or any other two-cent word, but it is a double standard. Of course the double standard for the Republicans is probably more like unjustified anger. Or maybe pretend animosity. Make-believe indignity? However you want to slice it, it probably smells more like insincerity and politics rather than having the odor of concern for civil rights. And the hypocrisy of both parties overshadows the double standard...

And speaking of double standard, I did see that Al Sharpton got an apology for the comments that Harry Reid made about Barak Obama...let me read that again...Harry Reid...spoke out of line...made an ass of concern to...President Obama...Nope! I didn't see Al Sharpton mentioned anywhere. Why did he get an apology? Who brought him into this? I do realize that he should understand "double standard" better than most, as he has made a career of it, but I still don't recall anyone speaking to him. But I very well could have missed that aspect of the fracas; I admittedly haven't followed the story very closely, I just happened to see him on one of the news channels as I flipped between football games this weekend. So I apologize if I only have part of the Harry Reid story and Al Sharpton was spoken to or about. But the way I see it now is that Al Sharpton gets an automatic apology every time someone, or at least any Republican, says the word "black". And I stand by my sentiment that Sharpton exploits those he pretends to care about, but again, another lesson for another day...I do know that I feel like he tries to make me feel bad for not liking black licorice and that I should apologize to him for the fact. I do like black coffee, but I am afraid that doesn't cancel out any negative aspects concerning the licorice...and I do want to know how one becomes the voice of a demographic, minus the Castro route; because when I do figure it out, I will get on t.v. and gain free publicity for someone else's work as well as apologies, every time someone says, "bald", "sarcastic", "stocky", "know-it all", and "jerk".

And on that note, I am out of time. I spent so much time on the Harry Reid thing, that I didn't get to the shocker of Mark McGwire's steroid use. Or that his steroid use is Sarah Palin's fault. Maybe I can cover more news of the obvious in the near future.

In the meantime, try to remember that some words can hurt very badly, but that every word doesn't not kill us; especially the words of two-cent bloggers and politicians.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Year of the Tax

As I predicted in my 2010 Preview version of this blog, I predict that this will be the year of the taxes; even for "poor folks". I sincerely believe that we will be taxed upon our taxes, and the tax money will be misappropriated, and that the high taxes will hurt the economy; not keep us eco-friendly nor healthy. I am betting that we will be taxed on our "junk food" this year. I am guessing that our utilities will drastically rise due to stiffer taxes on utility companies. I have a gut feeling that even the poor will pay much more taxes this year, and that I could go on and on about what and who will be taxed and really not get to the gist of what I am leading into.

And what I am leading into is a list of things that I would like to see taxed this year. And first on my list, I would like to see lying taxed. Yes you read it right, I think we should tax lies. And I use the same logic that will be used to tax and pay for health care, ala cigarettes. I use the same logic that will lead to "junk food" and cheeseburgers being taxed. And that logic is that since overweight people are a big chunk of health care cost, we should tax their habits; like we do now with smokers.

So why not tax lies and liars? And I'm not talking about high school boys or fishermen; but people who lie on tax forms and welfare checks. Look at the majority of the costs these lies cost the taxpayer. I would be interested to know how many frivolous insurance claims, as well as unemployment claims, exist, and to what tune it amounts to in monetary terms. How much do we spend on social programs that people lie about in order to recieve?

And look at the price of security that is spent on preventing lies. Look at all of the costs of extra security codes, identity protection, security guards, extra office workers, legal documentation, so on and so forth, that is spent to prevent or protect against dishonesty.

But I guess some of that enters the realm of theft, so lets tax theft also. Consider how much extra we spend trying to protect ourselves from hackers,criminals, and petty thieves. Surveillance cameras, extra codes on our debit cards, and the like, all have costs that are passed on to the consumer. So let's tax lies and theft.

Actually, let's tax crime. Look at the cost of not just our penal systems and judicial systems, but the costs of crime; on all levels, especially personal and business.

And there is no need to stop there, we should tax immorality. Look at the costs for divorces and infidelity and slander and malice and such. Not just legal fees, counseling costs, and psychologist fees; but all of the dollars and cents that it costs us to protect ourselves and our families. This could be broken down to various level of minutiae, but you get the point.

So we should tax morality. And the precedent is being set for such to occur. We are forced to pay higher costs and taxes so that we can be a "green" nation. We are taxed to pay for overused and outdated programs that should help the needy but instead benefit the greedy and the lazy...our morality is being taxed right now in many ways, if we would just examine the semantics...

I will digess on the taxation of stupidity or just plain, old meanness. I will not even venture into the realm of laziness. And like all of the other "moral" taxes that occur now or that I am proposing, only those who abide by the law or try to be decent, will be harmed; so there is no real pragmatic manner by which to tax the guilty or immoral.

So I guess we cannot really tax many of the things that I am proposing, but we can pay attention to the governmental rhetoric. And we can all try to do better by each other, wherever we may be at any particular moment. And if we are afraid of being too moral or accidentally resembling anything Christ-like, we can just rationalize it away and fool ourselves into thinking that our checkbooks and government spending will pick up our slack; duty before faith, so to speak.

And while this may not be the most cognitively cohesive piece written on taxes and morality, maybe you can glean a little something from my rant. And if not, don't sue me, just tax me...