Sunday, January 31, 2010

In Defense

As I've noted, I write and comment from time to time on Blog Critics Magazine.
The following is a response to an article and comments to same posted there concerning Obama's State of the Union address and his presidency in general. While the article avidly supports Obama nearly to the point of mindless adoration, most of the comments are negative in the extreme. Another commenter, who remains in support of Obama wrote that she thought all the negativity came from greed and fear. I wrote what follows - with just a few tweaks here and there for this venue:

"No, I don't think it's either greed or fear. Well, I suppose we all are subject to fear at some level. There is much we don't understand.

I think much of their rhetoric is, as I suggested above [in a prior comment], born of cynicism. I think we should be cynical to a point. Many people lie behind a smile and a handshake.

I don't, nor did I ever believe that Barack Obama was or is our deliverance. However, I look upon him as a source of some change. Not wholesale change. Not dramatic change, but change nonetheless, and for the better. It is likely to be incremental.

The nihilists who spread their messages of gloom and doom amongst the pages at Blog Critics and elsewhere feel - honestly, I presume - that pretty much all is lost - that this country of ours is, in a word, doomed. That the only means of saving it is to bring it down.

It is they who are naive. They believe their cynicism renders them superior and makes them wise. They are naive to believe that great changes can come somehow peacefully, or even relatively so. Or if not naive, then they are romantics who have watched far too many doomsday movies and/or played too many such video games, and who fancy themselves as the invincible hero in some dark soul blasting hell war.

In this, naivete once again rears its garish head, as they believe that such a purge would have the effect of some magical cleansing that would perhaps, if justice prevails, leave the world at the mercy of their wisened hands that will bring about peace and prosperity for all in a capitalist utopia.

Well, that's a load of crap. Wake up and smell the manure that emanates from your minds, down through your fingers and on to cyber world. You are the very soul of the worst of the conspiracy theorists who see bogeymen around every corner, behind every piller and post, and you are the source of mass negative energy that serves no useful purpose other than to massage your own egos. Enough!"

Now, I suppose my comments are a bit overblown and perhaps qualify as purple prose to some extent, but sometimes you must say what you feel. It's good for the soul. No?


Sunday, January 24, 2010



Monday, January 18, 2010

Peyton Manning And The Fleeting Nature of Sports Excellence

The city of Indianapolis has enjoyed a decade of excellence. The Indianapolis Colts have put together an unprecedented 10 years of superior football. To one degree or another, so too have Boston and Pittsburgh. In years past Dallas, San Francisco and Pittsburgh (again) were also the beneficiaries of a prolonged period of excellence from their respective NFL franchises.

In other major league team sports there have been franchises which managed to play at the highest level of their particular sport for extended periods: the Boston Celtics, LA Lakers, San Antonio Spurs, Detroit Pistons, and of course the Chicago Bulls in basketball. In baseball various teams have produced long runs at or near the top of their leagues - LA Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers and almost perennially, the NY Yankees among others.

I don't follow the NHL, but I'm sure the same applies to some of their franchises.

In the case of the Colts, I won't argue regarding which of the teams mentioned above during the past decade has been better. While the Colts have more regular season wins during the last decade than any other NFL team, their postseason record is rather lackluster. The obvious winner in that regard would be the Patriots with the Steelers running a close second.

The point, though, is when looking over the breadth of American major league team sports, the franchises which have performed at the highest level for an extended period of time are relatively few. It is a luxury.

NFL fans in Indy, Boston, and Pittsburgh have lived high over much of the past decade having understandably high expectations of their teams come each September. More often than not, they haven't been disappointed.

The fall from grace is usually a hard one. Most sports franchises can look back and point to one or more "glory year" periods (excepting perhaps the Detroit Lions, who have never been glorious in the Super Bowl Era). However, the level of play for most teams before and after those 'up' years was, more often than not, mediocre at best, and at times dreadful.

The current run of the Colts at or near the top of the league over the past decade is owing first and foremost to the presence of Peyton Manning, and almost equally to the team management which is the product of the efforts and the vision of owner Jim Irsay, president Bill Polian and the coaching staff, at least since their hiring of Tony Dungy and now his successor, Jim Caldwell. Much the same can be said for other long term successful sports franchises. The Colts have been so good for so long that we just expect them to win week after week. We expect the offense to score on virtually every series, and are dismayed when they don't.

Up until a few years ago, the Indiana Pacers was looked upon as a model NBA franchise. For several years — mainly during the Reggie Miller era — the Pacers managed to be one of the most competitive teams in the NBA, which, unfortunately, coincided with the glory years of one Michael Jordan. (Remember him?) Nevertheless, the Pacers were looked upon as a solid franchise from ownership and management to coaching and players. It appeared to be a well run machine. Then came the brawl in Detroit. It all went south for the Pacers from that moment onward, and they have yet to show any significant signs of recovery.

It can be assumed that whenever Manning hangs up his flack jacket that the fortunes of the Indianapolis Colts will at best be questionable. You just don't go out and seamlessly replace a Peyton Manning, or a Michael Jordan.

The lesson here, I believe, is for fans of great teams in whatever sport to savor the moments. They are ultimately fleeting.

Friday, January 8, 2010


Pretty much no one is happy about the current health care legislation. The Reps don't want it - regardless of their protestations to the contrary, IMO, most want nothing to do with any of it. They much prefer the status quo. After all, Rush informed us after his hospital stay in Hawaii, that our current health care system is just hunky dory. It is good to know that if you happen to make 33 million dollars a year, our health care system is working just fine.

The left doesn't like the legislation - especially the Senate version - because so much was given away as regards single payer or public options among other things. Some, from all over the political map, don't like it owing to abortion and/or immigration issues. There is significant anger at the apparent sweetheart deals gained by pharma and insurance providers.

There is no doubt that it is a watered down, bastardized, overblown pile of legislative dreck.

And I think it imperative that it becomes law.

Should this health care legislation fail to pass and be signed by President Obama, that is where any attempts at health care reform will end, probably for at least a generation. No president, regardless of party, will consider hanging his or her administration's hat on health care reform. It will be avoided like the plague. No one in Congress will bet their seat on any significant health care legislation. No one will touch it.

The calls by Reps and some left wingers for the current legislation to be trashed in order to start over are at best disingenuous. Obama has been attacked for pushing too hard, too fast on health care reform. Yet it is Obama who fully understands the reality: If it doesn't get done now, it will not get done. There will be no enthusiasm in Congress to take up health care reform again, especially as this is an election year. The fact is, if it fails, it will die. Again, most Reps would say Good! and good riddance! It should also be pointed out that the bill's failure would serve as a major nail in Obama's political coffin. There are those for whom that is more important than any health care reform. More than a few Republicans have stated as much.

Flawed as it is, getting this bill passed into law will at least make some positive changes - making health care more affordable and accessible to more Americans, among other things. It will at the least set the stage enabling further changes down the road. Hopefully, some if not all, of the crap in the current bill will get wrung out of it in the coming years.

Again, if it fails, its dead - for a long time.


Monday, January 4, 2010

New York, New York II

Empire State Building from "Top of the Rock."
See the Reindeer?