Sunday, September 21, 2014

There is too much..... and some NBA comments

There is too many cameras going in our society. I saw the article with the video of the Atlanta Falcons game where this girl reaches down and apparently grabs the crotch of the man beside her. There is a head of the fan in front of them blocking the exact activity, but the article alludes to something amiss going on.
First of all, there are tens of thousands of fans at this game. Are there this many cameras going that all activity can be seen? Or is there too much time on someone’s hands who can watch tons of video just to find something this inconsequential and try to make a story to post online. Either way pretty scary,
So it begs the question, who is the real big brother? Is it the government, corporations, the media, or social media? Personally I think the corporations are going to win in the long run, but if someone ever gets to the point where the can manipulate all four we are going to have a big brother on steroids like nothing George Orwell could ever imagine.
Again pretty scary that for whatever reason someone found this 10 seconds of activity on video and managed to convince their boss this was something relevant to post on a prominent website. It is pretty sad that we can no longer have a bit of fun without being demonized for the whole world. And worse someone got paid to be this juvenile. Us paranoidists are already sure big brother is around the corner, but it is sure manifesting itself in strange ways.

I worry a bit that the players in the NBA aren’t sure what they want anymore. This past offseason was a bit weird. Everyone was trying to be in the hip town on the superstar (like Heat)team, but nothing ever came of it. Yes Cleveland may have come close, but overall most “Stars” stayed put. No one could figure out which town and team was going to be the next “Heat”.
The Heat gave everyone a notion that if you threw a bunch of stars together you were guaranteed a championship. The Heat were talented and lucky. The East is weak and San Antonio threw one series away. They beat OKC because basically their stars were better than Durant and company. Coaching or team play were not the dominant factors in that series.
Anyway now all the players are looking to be on the next team. The next victim to fall for this misconception is Eric Bledsoe. Too bad for Phoenix, they were looking like a team on the rise.
And another sad note is the LA Clippers might have become a super megastar team if they could have done something in the off season. The Sterling fiasco really hurt that team. And for the rest of the West it could have been a disaster. Doc Rivers is a much better coach than Miami’s coach and so the Clippers could have truly dominated the league for awhile. They are still a good team and Doc a good coach, but now they are competing for second seed unless SA takes a step back. Imagine if they got Gasol or Melo, the balance of power would have definitely shifted.
So hopefully team play will become important again for the future and players will once again try to become stars by trying to win with their team. And maybe Minnesota will get to develop all the talent they may put together with draft picks and prove this point. Lets hope they emulate players like Russell, Havlicek, Reed, Frazier, Bird, Magic, now Duncan, and Dirk. Stars in their own right, but also stars for what they did with their teams. This definitely makes for a better NBA.

If you look up fans in the dictionary one synonym should be overreaction. I was reading the reader’s posts about Tyson Chandler’s comments about what Phil Jackson may have said about him.

Knicks fans were mostly complaining how he was no good, didn’t contribute etc and Maverick fans were treating his return well as the second coming of Chandler. As always there is a truth. I don’t want to comment on the Knicks fans because I don’t follow them too close. For the Mavericks’ fans though a bit of a reality check. It is great to have Tyson back, but remember he his older, had a few injuries, and for all his great defense in 2011 he had help and that help as moved on. Shawn Marion was just as valuable to the team as Tyson. The Mavericks can be better, maybe much better than last year with him, but we still need to fill a couple of roles before talking Championship. If things go well maybe Crowder will fill one of those roles, but we are on a wait and see for that.
And actually I am one of those fans that have to temper my expectations for this year, they can be better, just help my find my reality glasses before the year starts. Ha ha ha ha

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Two wildly different topics

Well just hung out with my youngest at the Truckyard. Way too much of a flashback moment. Outside of the big screen TV could have been the 70’s. Okay some of the way people were dressed wasn’t the 70’s, but then again others…

We watched the Longhorns almost upset the Bruins. Don’t know why the Longhorns were still in the hurry up offense with 3 minutes left and the lead. Then again not a good idea to give up a 45 yard punt return either. Fun to watch them almost pull it off. They are definitely going to need to upgrade both offense and defensive line going forward. Overall UCLA was pushing them around on both sides of the ball.

There is going to be a documentary on the Roosevelts this week on PBS. I think a seven part series or something. And if you read my blog regularly you may have gleaned that I am a big fan of Teddy Roosevelt. I don’t always say it, but if you read between the lines on some of my posts you may have picked up on it. Anyway somewhat excited about watching it if I get the chance. FDR is okay and for historical purposes probably going to be good, but looking forward to what they say about the bullmoose.

Wonderful early fall evening here in North Texas. Great evening to spend a few hours downing a couple of cold ones and a philly cheese steak sandwich in what was once called a beer garden type environment while watching football on the big screen. Salud!

Friday, September 5, 2014

I said that???

If patience is a virtue, then married men are very virtuous people. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Oh man my better half is going to kill me.

And I am glad I was wrong, (at least temporarily) and gas prices didn't go up for Labor day weekend. Surprised me.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Is it really all about Romo?

It is the start of football season and of course, the Cowboys are all the buzz, why, well who knows. Yet Jones, Romo etc have been in the news and the title of this blog was inspired by an article about Romo that was well written that I found in Yahoo sports and there apparently is a video story about Mr. Jones, but for today….

And so is it really all about Romo? Does the success of this year fall on his shoulders? I think not. There is so much more at play than what Romo can do. Is it all about Garrett? Nope, do both of them have any responsibility in what happens? Well yes, but what hopes does a Cowboy fan have?

Well if you are still one of the two or three people left on this planet that thinks Jerry Jones can make a positive impact on the Cowboy football world then this blog post might be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back of your optimism or belief.

Let’s go back a few years to see why yours truly doesn’t hold out much hope.

At one point Mr. Jones hired one Jimmy Johnson and Mr. Johnson spent about three years putting the foundation together for a great football team. It didn’t happen right away, but lo and behold the Cowboys won and won again. The team he put together was so good that even after he left it still managed to win and compete well for another five years. Remember Jerry Jones said that any one of five hundred people could coach the Cowboys to a championship once he let Mr. Johnson go. Yep well for two years one Coach Switzer kept our little dreams alive. I have nothing against Barry, but Jerry was right and anybody could coach that much talent to victory.

Time took its toll. Whenever something is not maintained well sooner or later things fall apart. And guess who was in charge those wonderful post Johnson years, yep one Jerry Jones.

The decline happened gradually, but by the early 2000’s and a few coaching changes later (so don’t blame the coaches) the team racked up three 5-11 seasons in a row. The one constant from the end of the Johnson era to then was Jerry Jones. He wanted to run the show and he certainly ran it into the ground.

Then Cowboy fans got a visit from the tooth fairy and Mr. Jones had a lucid moment and hired Bill Parcells. It took about three years and lo and behold the Cowboys were winning football games again. Then the tooth fairy disappeared Mr. Jones forced Terrell Owens on Mr. Parcells. Mr. Parcells saw the writing on the wall that Mr. Jones would never give up the ghost of his ego and decided to move on. Mr. Parcells was in the process of getting the Cowboys back on track and even for a few years after he left the remnants of what he started ended up winning the only playoff game the Cowboys had won in a decade. Yet he left and the decline began again.

Now we have watched three 8-8 seasons in a row, and couldn’t win the proud East in its most mediocre years since the 1960’s. Could Romo have won us the East at this point? Yes quite possibly, he did make some bonehead plays a couple of times, but overall the team was not up to the overall task. This is not just because of the quality of players or coaches. No this goes back to the attitude of the owner. The whole party is nothing but a party, no real discipline, no accountability, especially on the owner by the owner.

And what next? Unfortunately myself and some national sports writers see another 5-11 season on the horizon. Why, well Mr. Jones has been left in charge again for years and the demise has just kept building. Could the Cowboys do better this year? Maybe, the one lucid moment Mr. Jones had since Bill Parcells was drafting offensive line instead of Johnny Football this year. From stories told though it sounds like there may have been other hands involved. And this offensive line the Cowboys have somehow managed to obtain is there best foot going forward. The potential is there, hopefully they can keep them together and develop them, but almost sounds like too much to ask from a man who prefers image over substance. Maybe just maybe though this line can keep the offensive on the field for forty minutes a game, the defense makes the other team punt once in the game and the Cowboys win some games by one score. We can dream.

And speaking of image over substance, the whole Jerry Jones/Cowboys thing in some ways show why we have so many problems in our country. How can a man who is basically responsible for the decline in value and quality of a product that was once highly touted be rewarded with increased value in his company? How is it the Cowboys keep growing in value making Mr. Jones richer every passing year, yet he is responsible for the product that is diminishing in quality as he grows richer. It is all marketing and hype. I would say no substance, but that would be grossly unfair to the many players such as Witten, Ware, even Romo and more who do go out day in and day to win football games, but aren’t given the tools to be successful such as an owner that holds himself accountable to the product he puts on the field.

There is no accountability, no discipline, no drive, or the Cowboys should have won the East the last few years even with Romo making a mistake every now and then. It is not just him, but a team not having win at all cost driven into their heads day in and day out; A GM that knows football and how to find the right players; a head coach that can be a head coach, makes decisions and lives and dies by them; and an owner that knows nothing about football except how to spell it staying out of the way. Yep that would be great, but instead Mr. Jones is rewarded year in and year out with increased value making him think he does actually know something and we, the fans, are left holding onto dying dreams.

Go Cowboys, I will say it now because it looks like it is going to be a long year.

And that image/substance thing, well the problems for our country are found right up the street from DC’s football team where Congress is more concerned with its image (especially at the individual level) than doing anything of substance.

And next up on the hit parade of blogs, a little bit about our man of action one Mr. Rick Perry. Image/substance?? Well maybe, maybe something more

Monday, August 25, 2014

Gas prices and little ado about little

I am sure by now you are aware gas prices will be going up in the next day or so since Labor Day weekend is coming up. And they just came back down from the last unnecessary spike ten days or so ago. It is way too predictable. The only guess is will it be Tuesday or Wednesday when they spike. I am hedging my bets on Wednesday.

Some personal drivel:

First off though, my better half posted on her facebook page something pretty compassionate. I don’t have facebook so I have to get her to forward it to me so I can copy it to my blog. Hopefully she will.

The Cowboys’ defense still sucks.

If you are in a long line at a store or fast food place and when you get up to the counter you still have to decide on what you want, please get out of line. Seriously folks, how about some consideration for those behind you. If you are standing there doing nothing and you cannot be prepared when it is your turn that is sad.

Things aren’t always broke. Sometimes you just did push the wrong damn button. What sucks is when it takes you ten minutes to figure that out. Technology is not my best friend.

Finally got around to going to the bookstore. Still haven’t decided on what to get and I have two gift cards. In the interim I read some great quotes about thinking. One of these days I will actually buy something, post some of those quotes, and maybe even work on part II of my ideas on thinking. Hmmmm, yeah I do procrastinate. Don’t tell the better half I just admitted that.

Spent three hours doing yard work on Saturday, had a whole bunch of ideas while working, and by the time I was done in the yard all the ideas seemed to have gotten all bagged and thrown away along with the grass. Moral of story, don’t think it will only frustrate you. (above paragraph included)

There are times, rare, but times when David Letterman can be very poignant. I am going to miss him. Oh yeah, he is funny occasionally too…….

As you go through life you accumulate friends, then they end up on your wife’s facebook.

Kids are wonderful until they become teenagers, then they grow up, get married and give you grandchildren and they become wonderful again. Hey they even go back to listening to you. Well okay, sometimes. This isn’t an epiphany, I think I have heard this by all sorts of grandparents for years.

Don’t ever let the better half become a grandmother. That is the real reason men don’t/can’t retire.

Remember the old joke: guy goes to doctor and says, Doc it hurts when I do this, Doc says, well then don’t do that. As you get older it just begins to be common sense. Or at least it seems that way.

There is too much TV, however, the Big Bang Theory still rocks.

I hope you have a great and safe Labor Day weekend. Too bad much of the country will have to work. We forget what is important. We spend so much time trying to be more or better than who we are, that we don’t spend enough time doing the things that actually make us who we are or better. Family and friends are much more important than corporate greed. We will all spend money on Tuesday or next weekend or sometime, no need to force it down our throats every day of the year.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Doing what is best, can be most difficult

We all know the horror that is going in in the area of Syria and Iraq. I don’t want to call anyone out by name because I don’t want to give them any, well I was going to say credence or recognition etc., but I just don’t want to give them any.

First let’s step back a few years. I was one of the people who said we should have captured Bid Laden alive. I do have reasons for that and I will get to that in a minute.

A few days ago I was reading through some articles and read the one basically titled “Foley’s death isn’t changing views in Congress” And the comments were mostly filled with we need to kill them all statements, nothing is good for them etc…. I use to comment on the stories; however, I have cut back because it is either a hate fest on the topic or lambasting of someone politically. There is rarely a real discussion of the issue so I have cut back, yet this time I felt compelled and wrote:

The hate begets hate problem. How do we eradicate these monsters without succumbing to their hatred? We must stay rational in our endeavors. If we get caught up in hate also, they begin to win. We need to win, but we need to show the world we are out for justice and for people, not revenge.

Anyway I got a few down votes and some comments basically saying how much they hate them. Point not taken I guess.

Not only did they not get we need to rise above theory, I don’t think people understand how important it is how the world views how we handle this situation. The US is still a major, if not the major player, in the world. How others perceive us can help us down the road with other crisis and catastrophes. I think many of my fellow countrymen seem to miss that point. Our success or our success in building a coalition to rid the planet of these monsters can help us in the present and future. For example, how much more help would we get in supporting Ukraine if people felt what we were doing was the right thing, not just because another country was invading them, but other’s perception of us was in high regard. Putin gains ground or has gained ground because we have lost sight of doing the right thing. Russian can protect Russia’s interests and Putin has a right to protect his country, but how does the world view our interests towards Ukraine. Right now to some people it is tainted. If we show up regularly doing the right thing then in areas where it is more gray than black and white we can still garner support for which we consider right or at least make a case for one side and people will listen. And this is just one example, how about China and Vietnam and South China Sea. There will be many international events going forward. We are still a conflict driven planet, if we want to exert influence on events we need to have credibility by handling crisis in Iraq and Syria well.

So where does all this lead us. We just cannot go over there, kill the bad guys come home and be happy. This goes back to why we should have captured Bid Laden. If we kill them it only emboldens the next megalomaniac. They thrive on their philosophy and it includes high regard for being a “martyr”. And we will probably go through a few more horror stories before we really start to make a shift in terrorism, especially the terrorism fueled by the jihadist insanity. Bid laden being captured and put to trial would have made him a failure in their eyes. We may have the current craziness, but their ammunition in recruiting would be weakened if they have less people to show their world as martyrs. And this will have to go on a few times before the overall momentum they have is weakened. So we need to capture the current leadership and bring them to trail for war crimes. The world and especially their world need to see them fail. Killing them will only embolden the next psychopath who wants to be a jihadist hero. Whether any of them actually believe they get all this wonder if they die in combat is unimportant, they espouse this to gather more people to their cause. Take away their mantra and you can slowly take away others from rallying to their cause.

And yes capturing, holding them, putting them on trial is a logistics nightmare, but it must be done. If we take the easy way out (which won’t be easy, it is a tough fight) and just kill the current leadership or take back territory we will continue to have a growing problem. We must do the very difficult task of taking back their territory, capture their leaders, put them on trial for the world’s benefit, and then deal with the aftermath of probably another person trying to be the next leader in the jihadist world. And the cycle of capturing him etc. would need to happen again. We will need to do this until we can create a shift in the dynamic so the young guys who feel the insane calling starts to die down and these leaders then have no traction to begin. Eventually the momentum changes and we start to see a real decline in terrorism and a safer world.

And yes I know all of the above falls under the category easier said than done. Yet to really achieve success in the war on terror we need to remove the motivations. One is to remove the glory in their eyes. Another is to work on building a world where people see hope in their future rather than a need to die fruitlessly. And this second reason is a topic for another day. There are other tasks needed to combat this war, but we have to start somewhere. Their leaders must fail. And if needed, again and again. Killing them because we hate them is not going to solve the problem. If we hate, they begin to win

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Economic prejudice

Yahoo Finance had an article the other day basically saying the rich are greedier than ever. And that is news to just about nobody. If, for any reason, you don’t understand this, it is time for you to take the stone off your cave and come into the sunlight.

Yet, what does this mean? Another article/point was the economy is stumbling because the rich don’t spend or invest their money. The article did state that wage growth has been stagnant. The real truth according to some reports I have read over the years is wage growth compared to inflation has been flat to lagging behind for decades. And the article goes on to state it won’t be until wages grow that consumers will begin to spend. Now consumer spending will help the economy, but realistically the people with money need to invest in the country, their workers, and new development. Of course the uber rich argument is we need to control costs to afford to invest. Well that just hasn’t happened and is one of the points as to proof the rich are greedier and greedier as time goes by.

So where does all this leave us folks in the middle? Can we actually do something about all their greed? Funny thing is, yes. One way is to build up the political will to change who we have in Congress. And no, this doesn’t mean becoming a socialist nation. I have expressed ideas before about only giving tax breaks to companies that actually invest, create jobs, and invest in their people. This is not socialism; this is doing what our government should do to help the country. The government’s role is to protect the people and create an environment for all of us to thrive. And the above is just one idea.

Another way is to change the way we think about the rich or people that have more money than us. We think people with money are better than us. And yes we do. Don’t deny it. It is engrained into our society now. Maybe for many of you it is subconscious, but it is true. And we need to stop thinking this way.

We think, act, live, breath, believe etc. people with money are better than us. This is manifested in so many ways. Most of it can be seen in our consumer society. We keep trying to be as good as the next person by having the same goods they have or trying to buy something better so we can consider our self-better as a person. And you may say to yourself, not me, but I challenge you to really think deep about it. Who do you consider better? And why? And don’t lie, especially to yourself.

There are three basic ways people get rich. And this is simplistic and multiple factors can overlap, but overall the three ways are: a person works hard, makes good decisions saves and invests, probably in their own company and through perseverance becomes successful; they have a silver spoon in their mouth, and sometimes they do enough to continue to grow their wealth; and sometimes events transpire to allow them to get lucky, be in the right place at the right time, find that one product or idea, have a certain talent they exploit, and receive or even earn a windfall. None of these factors make any one person better than another though.

We can admire the hard worker, we can empathize with the trust baby, we can bless the luck of the windfall, but they are not better than us, nor are they less of a person because they got lucky or have money. We have to learn to distinguish the difference between what has happened to a person, what a person has done and whether or not they have any money. Again we can admire people. There is nothing wrong with recognizing people have done something special. It does not make them fundamentally better than us. We are all people. Yet we treat those that have money as being above us. We are creating our own caste system and there is no need. Our constitution says we shouldn’t, but over and over we keep adding accolades to people just because they have more money than us. It is becoming engrained into us as a culture.

This needs to change for us to solve many of our economic and social problems.

And as Americans we love to point the blame. So is it because of the infamous line in the movie from the 80’s “greed is good”? No, because we had already started to believe that money is might. The movie was just a reflection of society, not a precursor. Is it because of the 70’s and the me generation? No. Can we blame Disney? Heck they were one of the first to institute; if you pay more you get to go to the head of the line. Are we teaching our children that money buys privileges? And that we do, but it isn’t all. The problem is there is no blame. This is something that humanity has dealt with since the dawn of time. It will not be until we learn to recognize we do this so we can change our attitudes that we can overcome our self-created disadvantage. Now recently, in our country we are taking this to an extreme and our uber rich are taking advantage of us. And this is our fault, not because Congress doesn’t enact laws to punish the rich, but because we continue to let ourselves be sold this attitude by the people who benefit from it.

Anyone wonder why education is so important?

The rich do not want us to become self-aware. This is dangerous. An educated society is going to demand better. Society will demand, not necessarily economic equality, but equal recognition of the value of all people. Our constitution gave us the framework to achieve this goal however, we fail in not striving to reach our Founding Fathers’ visions. Once we can separate the person from the environment we will achieve much more than we ever have before as a society. There is nothing wrong with being rich. And you can strive to be economically successful along with being successful as a person. The goal is for all of us to strive to be the best person we can, not to be better than another person, but to be better. Yet until we can stop falsely elevating people above us in stature for superficial reasons we will continue to hurt ourselves and our society.

The choice is yours and mine. We can let greed consume us and our country or we can realize no one is better than us for any reason other than we let them be better than us. We prejudice ourselves.

And has this been said before? Well, probably also since the dawn of time. Now I ask you again, who is better than you? Think about it before you answer. Now, go look in the mirror, can you answer? This is our world, let’s make it all ours.