How Evil or Not Is Our President?

I’ve watched a little of the History Channel series on the Bible.  A lot of folks are bothered by the violence in it.  I assume those people haven’t actually read the Bible, the Old Testament in particular.  There is incest, forced slavery, rape, murder of every description and even genocide.  It’s tough stuff.  A lot of folks who want to ban other books because of the Bible would probably want to ban the Bible itself if they ever read it.

Some are upset by the portrayal of Satan.  Why?  He looks like our president. Really, he does (the TV Satan, that is).  It’s supposed to be a coincidence, and maybe it is.  It does, however, raise the question of whether Obama is, in fact, Satan or just really evil.  My conservative friends think so.  My liberal friends think quite the opposite, of course.  The hard right (rock-ribbed Republicans, as my Dad would have said) reject everything Obama says or does as wrong-headed and Socialist.  The Left accepts everything he says or does as being brilliant and enlightened.  In other words, he’s the Democrat version of George W. Bush.

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I don’t know much about Satan or Lucifer or Beelzebub or whatever you call him.  The Bible doesn’t talk that much about him, either.  All this stuff about him being the proudest angel and falling from grace, etc., isn’t in the Bible.  Regardless, I know he’s bad news.  He tempts us with all kinds of evil.  I can’t endorse that behavior, although I have to admit that I’ve enjoyed a few of his temptations.  He’s also the overlord of Hell, which is bad in all possible ways with its lakes of fire, weeping and wailing and the obligatory gnashing of teeth.

So, why the Hell does the President look so much like Satan?  There really can’t be a good explanation, UNLESS–you got it–he IS Satan.  Okay, I know that’s a stretch.  What if he’s just the Anti-Christ?  The evidence is disturbing to say the least:

  • The Westboro Baptist Church thinks he’s the Anti-Christ.  That’s a credible source for theological truths.  They also think the U.S. Army is dominated by homosexuals.
  • The Obamacare microchip implants are certainly a bad sign.  The Mark of the Beast.
  • The name “Barack” has 6 letters, as in 6-6-6.  How convenient.
  • He’s black.  The History Channel has proven that Satan is, too.  Plus, Satan is always called things like the “Dark One.”
  • As we all know from the film Jesus Christ Superstar, Judas was black.  Coincidence?
  • Although the Bible says nothing about the age of the Anti-Christ, isn’t there at least a decent chance he would be about Obama’s age?
  • It is well-known that the Anti-Christ will be a charismatic figure, much like–you guessed it!–Obama.
  • Revelation 13:5-8 says the Anti-Christ will rule for 42 months.  That’s fairly close to one term of Obama’s presidency.
  • There’s even a website that questions whether he’s the Anti-Christ.  If he weren’t, why would someone go to all that trouble?
  • Michael Savage says Obama is “the most evil” President ever.  That’s good enough for me.
  • This passage from Revelation 13 succinctly describes Obama:
    • [1] And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
      [2] And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
      [3] And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.
      [4] And they worshiped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshiped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?
      [5] And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
      [6] And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.
      [7] And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
      [8] And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world

    They might as well put a photo of Obama next to this passage.  Sixty or seventy years ago, a lot of churches thought the Papacy was the Anti-Christ.  Don’t they look silly now?

Those of you with a  conservative bent are probably smiling.  Maybe you’re thinking:  “He can’t be serious, but, you know, all that makes sense.”  If you’re over there on the Left, you may be angry, thinking:  “Another right-wing Nazi making fun of the greatest President ever.”  If you’re really far Left, you’re probably an atheist anyway and just generally offended by anything hinting at religion.  You don’t have faith in anything, except the Government, that is (that’s big G Government, just like big G God).  Oddly enough, atheists now worship a man who has been a Christian his entire adult life.

All this naturally leads to my next line of inquiry.  If we dismiss Obama as Satan or even the Anti-Christ, what if my friends on the Left are correct and he is a great man–the greatest man?  Consider:

  • We know nothing of Jesus’s teen or young adult years.  The same can be said of Obama whose formative years remain shrouded in mystery.
  • Some people think Jesus looked like this:
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The resemblance is uncanny.

  • Jesus was black.  Okay, I have no direct or indirect proof of this, but isn’t it at least possible?  The Bible doesn’t say he wasn’t black.  Don’t you find that suspicious?  I do.  Besides, look at his picture!
  • Like Jesus, Obama has fed the multitudes.  In Obama’s case, it’s with food stamps, but the effect is similar.
  • Obama made Chris Matthews’ leg tingle.  That has to be some kind of miracle.
  • Louis Farrakhan once said of Obama “The Messiah is speaking.”  He never says anything nutty.
  • Speaking of miracles, Obama got a black man elected President of the United States–TWICE!
  • Jesus and Obama are both excellent public speakers.
  • Both were carpenters.  I’m little thin on facts to support this one, but it hasn’t been dis-proven to my satisfaction.
  • We all know that Jesus was born of a virgin mother, but what of Obama?  What do we know of his so-called “father?”  Not much.  Did he even exist?  If not, why not?
  • I’m pretty sure Jesus didn’t have a birth certificate, either.
  • One can persuasively argue that Jesus, too, was a community organizer.  He organized an entire religion!
  • Jesus’s followers were the meek, the downtrodden, the poor in spirit.  Isn’t this exactly what folks on the Right say of Obama’s supporters?

Before you condemn me to the Lake of Fire, I am not suggesting that Obama is the Messiah or even a Messianic figure.  I only ask the questions that others fear.  Not surprisingly, I have no answers.

As with any serious theological debate, there are countervailing arguments.  If he were God or something similar, it’s hard to understand why Rand Paul wasn’t smited during his recent filibuster. If he were Satan or one of his minions, one would think he would try to woo the religious Right instead of constantly enraging them.  We can’t allow such obvious inconsistencies to derail our reckless speculation.

The Bible is thin on details describing Satan.  I’ll admit that Revelation contains an excellent description of the Anti-Christ what with the two heads and whatnot.   Although the Bible makes it clear that Jesus will return, it is equally explicit that we don’t know when or where.  Using those criteria, it is impossible to eliminate Obama.  Thus, we may never know the answer until it’s too late.

If Obama is Satan, then where does that leave Dick Cheney?  If Obama is the Messiah, then why is he a Muslim?  If he is just a man, why do we have all these questions, none of which are subject to adequate answers?  Have I written this under Satan’s spell or by divine inspiration?  Where does Glenn Beck fit in to all of this?  Why does Rachel Maddow look like a dude? We may never know the answers to these and other questions.

So, where are we?  I don’t know.  Maybe Obama is an Ivy League-educated ideologue who surrounds himself with like-minded people–a decent family man with whom a lot of people (myself included) vehemently disagree on some issues.  The Liberal George W. Bush.  NOW, I’m talking crazy.

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2013

Don’t Be A Clown

I’m sure that every American has seen a clown. I don’t mean someone who acts like a clown. I’m talking real clowns with the garish make-up, fright wigs, baggy clothes and huge feet.

I don’t like clowns. I know that’s a classic cliché, but I’m serious about it. I really don’t like them. They’re not funny. They’re not even mildly entertaining.  I suspect  that clowns were created because people didn’t have television or even comics.  Anything would seem funny back then, especially back when there was stuff like the Black Plague and The Crusades.

It’s an insult to be called a clown.  “Hey, clown!”–those are fighting words.  What if I said:  “You should go see my doctor.  He’s a clown” ?  I guarantee you wouldn’t.  Clowning around isn’t good.  That’s how people get hurt.

Sports teams aren’t called The Clowns, with the exception of the great Negro Baseball League team, the Indianapolis Clowns.  I suspect they only got that name because the white man forced it on them.

I normally eschew research, but I have done a cursory review of the history of clowns. They’ve been around a long time. Evidently, ancient Egyptians started this foolishness. Clowns have been big in France for a long time. Of course. In France, they have serious, white-faced clowns called clown blanc. These are dignified clowns. One more reason to hate the French.  It also might explain why they love Jerry Lewis.  Jerry Lewis, by the way, made a movie called The Day The Clown Cried, which was so awful it couldn’t even be released.  Figures.

We Americans are known for our circus clowns. They tromp around in over-sized shoes doing “tricks” like stilt-walking, making balloon animals and juggling.  Those are all nifty, but shockingly annoying when performed by a clown.  Most of them, thank God, are mute. Sometimes, they show up at kids’ parties.  That’s always a downer.

My earliest clown memory was at The Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus I attended in Knoxville, Tennessee when I was probably 6 years old. We sat near the floor and a clown made a balloon dog and gave it to me. He terrified me (the clown, not the dog). If he’d handed me a Chupacabra, I wouldn’t have been more frightened.

Oddly enough, I got a clown mask at that circus. It’s probably because I begged for stuff all the time for no reason. It was a white plastic “bald” head with a big red nose attached and shocks of red clown hair on both sides. Once we got it home, I couldn’t even look at it. My Uncle Jack wore it once without his dentures. He scared the crap out of me–and my mother. You don’t forget seeing a toothless clown smoking a Phillip Morris non-filter.

We’ve seen our share of evil clowns.   I think The Joker is a clown.  Captain Spaulding from The Devil’s Rejects is certainly a clown.  Of course, there is the Insane Clown Posse and its legion of Juggalos.  The modern-day clown does much more harm than good.

Stephen King knew that clowns weren’t funny when he wrote It about Pennywise The Clown. Pennywise lived in the sewer and killed children. The Master of Horror knew there was great symbolism in an evil clown floating among the turds. Remember the film, Poltergeist? A kid gets strangled by a clown. Clowns can’t be trusted.

Who is the most famous of all clowns? Emmett Kelly? Lou Jacobs? How about serial killer John Wayne Gacy? I bet a hell of a lot more people are familiar with his work. Part-time clown, full-time murderer.

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John Wayne Gacy: He was a barrel of laughs.

Ronald McDonald may well be the best-known modern clown. His shtick involves peddling gut-busting fast food. In a way, he, too, is a serial killer. It may come as no surprise, but I’ve had serious beef with Ronald–and I’m not talking about a Quarter Pounder with cheese.

I once worked in a large law firm. I decided that we should work the phone bank during the PBS Spring Telefund Drive. Since I was in charge, I chose Saturday morning, so my kids could see me on TV.  A lot of kids would call.  It was always fun. Plus, we had a former Miss Kentucky hosting.

Now, this didn’t sit well with everyone. Some folks in my firm thought we should work during Masterpiece Theatre or some other haughty programming, as though our clients were sipping brandy and watching PBS in the evening. One of my partners simply said that he didn’t like Kentucky Educational Television. Now, that guy was a clown, figuratively speaking, at least.

One of oddities of those Saturday mornings was that Ronald McDonald worked with us. That’s right–Ronald Freakin’ McDonald himself.  Most of us know that there is no THE Ronald McDonald.  There are a bunch of Ronalds scattered about the country.  It’s like a gang.

This Ronald was a professional clown, for sure.  He arrived at the TV station with a couple of handlers–his posse, I suppose.  I imagined a limo with him sitting in the back dragging on a Marlboro and swigging Scotch.  That probably didn’t happen, but he did carry a gym bag with his big-ass shoes in it.  He would sweep into the studio in full regalia, like some kind of rock star. His job was to tempt kids to call in or, better yet, get the parents to do so.

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Ronald McDonald engaged in one of his typical fraudulent phone calls.

Each year, I awaited Ronald’s arrival with seething contempt.  I would tell people things like that he was outside smoking (which he probably was, but I can’t prove it).  I would claim that he reeked of Jim Beam 8 Star.  I would deride his gym bag.  I told our host that Ronald was a “conceited jackass.”  She didn’t argue.  I would find out the extension for his phone and forward my calls to him. He would talk to our host in his stupid sing-song voice on camera and then sound like Krusty The Clown when the camera was off.  I imagined hitting him over the head with a folding chair during those breaks.  Who the hell did he think he was, anyway?

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One of my law partners (he’s the one on the right) trying to explain some simple concept of telephone etiquette to the buffoonish McDonald.

Fortunately, I never attacked him.  I had enough trouble at that firm without being the guy who killed Ronald McDonald.  Oddly enough, I like McDonald’s.  Ronald, though, is another story.

I’ll admit that I had no real reason to dislike Ronald, other than the obvious–the clown thing. He’s probably a fine fellow. Maybe this says more about me than it does him, but you get my point.

Not everyone has the same issues with clowns as I do.  Some folks like clowns. Otherwise, we wouldn’t see them. I used to have a secretary who liked clowns.  At least she like Emmett Kelly.  She is a fine person. As far as I know, she has no affinity for serial killers or Ronald McDonald.

I once worked with a lady who would occasionally dress like a clown and do face-painting for kids. She was also a fine person, but the clown get-up made her look evil.  It didn’t really make her evil.  At least, I don’t think so.

Clowns are so freaky that psychology recognizes fear of them as a disorder. It’s called coulrophobia. Coulro is from the ancient Greek meaning “stilt walker.”  There is no record of clowns in ancient Greece, and I know of no one afraid of stilt walkers.  In any event, that’s what it’s called.  Clowns are so creepy that they caused a disease named after something almost totally unrelated to their evil.

If you are a clown, let’s get one thing straight:  I’m not scared of you.  I would gleefully beat your ass.  I just don’t like you.  If you think that’s fear, bring it on, clown!  See?  That sounds like an insult, doesn’t it?

If you want to be a clown, you can go to Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Clown College.  Seriously (is that the right word?), you can.  Penn Jillette is an alumnus, but he’s not a clown.  Weird.

As a parent, I have many fears for my children.  I can’t imagine the horror of one of them telling me that he has decided to attend Clown College.  What could possibly have gone wrong in your childhood that Clown College seems like a wise career choice?  Then again, Penn Jillette has done quite well for himself.  Maybe I’m the clown.

So, if you’re a clown, and this offends you, I’m sorry.  Not really.  Almost no one likes clowns.  It’s time we all admit it.  I would enjoy your juggling and stilt walking just the same without the clown accoutrements.  Now, stop clowning around.

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2013

2012-13 Kentucky Basketball: What the Hell Just Happened?

I am unabashed fan of the University Kentucky Wildcats basketball team.  I have been for over 40 years.  We just completed one of our more disappointing seasons with an ignominious loss to some school called Robert Morris University–in the first round of the freakin’ NIT, no less.

I can assure you that this is only one of many blog posts about our beloved Cats’ season of shame.  I do not write this in effort to contribute to any journalistic analysis of our season.  I do not suppose to have any original insights or solutions.  Indeed, it is far too late now.

Instead, I write this as a form of therapy, a cathartic exercise which will help me deal with my grief.  Oh, I tried to work through it with a series of obscenity-laced tweets during the Robert Morris game, but those only brought me temporary solace.  Twitter tracked my mental and emotional deterioration:

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Before tip-off, optimism abounds.

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Half way into the first-half, despair sets in.

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Depression

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Uncontrolled rage

We feel such losses deep in our souls.  Kentucky Basketball is important to us.  How important?  Far too important, I suppose.  The sun isn’t as bright.  The flowers smell of the foul stench of defeat.  Our value as human beings is lessened.  Other than that, we’re in good shape.

Our fan base’s immediate reaction is to blame our coach.  John Calipari, of course, is our coach.  Cal, we call him, much like we called Joe B. Hall “Joe B.”  Tubby Smith was Tubby.  Billy Gillispie was “Billy Clyde.”  Rick Pitino was just Pitino.  Eddie Sutton was Eddie, until he got us in NCAA trouble, then he was Sutton.  Adolph Rupp was, naturally, Coach Rupp.  We are familiar with our coaches.  We love them until they stumble.  Then, they are blithering idiots incapable of coaching in a church league.

I’m not going down that road.  We won the NCAA Championship just last year.  Cal can coach.  I know that.  You can’t give him a total pass, but he didn’t forget how to coach in just a few months.

WHAT WENT RIGHT?

To be honest, not much about this season went well.  We lost to Louisville.  We also lost to the likes of Texas A&M and Baylor–at home!  We didn’t win the Southeastern Conference Championship, and we got crushed by lowly Vanderbilt in our first game in the SEC Tournament.  Nevertheless, let’s talk positives.

Nerlens Noel is a positive.  He was exactly the type of player described coming out of high school last year–high energy and great on defense.  His offensive game, as predicted, was raw.  Overall, though, he was great.  He had the unfortunate timing of following Anthony Davis at UK, but Nerlens was outstanding.  As a bonus, he seems to like being at UK.  We love that.

Jarrod Polson is a positive.  Polson is the back up point guard.  He is from Nicholasville, Kentucky–about 15 miles from UK’s campus.  He came here as a walk-on and is the kind of player that Kentucky fans love.  Considering his athletic limitations, he played well.  He hustles and is tough.  We like that.  He’s the kind of guy who will be able to live the rest of his life as Ex-Cat, meaning he will always be a celebrity here.

We beat Florida the last game of the regular season.  We thought we had no shot, but did it.  That was sweet.

We signed another excellent recruiting class for next year, maybe the best ever.  But, that’s really a positive for next year.

That’s it.

WHAT WENT WRONG?

Boy, oh, boy, where do I start? I know that a lot of folks say that it’s unfair to criticize college players.  I understand that but disagree.  First, these are grown men–young but adults.  If you can join the Army, vote and get married, you’re an adult.  Second, playing basketball at UK brings with it opportunities disproportionate to one’s contribution.  All UK fans can name numerous men who have made post-collegiate careers of being Ex-Cats.  That may not be sensible, but it’s a fact.  If you’re going to get all the praise, you have to be willing to take some of the heat.  Coach Cal has said many times that “Kentucky isn’t for everyone.”  Indeed.

Recruiting:  Since Cal has been at UK, he’s recruited the following NBA players:  John Wall, Demarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, Terrence Jones, Brandon Knight, Marquis Teague, Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.  He’s spoiled us.  This year, he brought us Noel, Willie Cauley-Stein, Alex Poythress and Archie Goodwin.  As fans, we just considered the roster reloaded.  It didn’t work that way.

Cauley-Stein was as good as advertised, meaning he’s a raw prospect.  He has a lot of work to do and played like it.  I don’t think anyone was surprised.  He didn’t really improve during the season–a rarity for one of Cal’s players.

Poythress and Goodwin were the two who frustrated us most.  Poythress looks like a player at 6′ 7″, 240 pounds.  He’s quick, athletic and strong.  Unfortunately, on the court, he reminds us of Richard (“Master Blaster”) Madison, a heralded recruit from the 1980’s.  As one of Madison’s coaches said, Richard played “just good enough to get you beat.”  Poythress has the look of a player who doesn’t like playing.  I’m not sure coaching can fix that.

Goodwin plays hard–maybe too much so.  We grew weary of his wild, head-down drives to the basket that resulted in hopeless shots or charges.  He never seemed to understand his role in the offense.  His defense was inconsistent–or nonexistent–all season.  In bygone days, a player of his type would have logged 10-12 minutes a game behind more veteran players.  We probably would have seen flashes of greatness making us carp that he deserved more playing time.

I am convinced that both Poythress and Goodwin have great potential.  If they come back to school, we’ll see different, better players.  I hope we get a chance to find out if I’m right.

Nerlens’ Knee:  Just when started to see signs of consistent play, Nerlens Noel blew out his knee, a gruesome injury that ended his season–and ours.  An under-achieving team lost its best player.  Cal said it best:  “After we lost Nerlens, it’s been torture.”  And so it was.

Point Guard:  In Cal’s three previous seasons, our point guards have been John Wall, Brandon Knight and Marquis Teague.   All three played one year, and all three were NBA 1st round draft picks.  This year’s point guard was Ryan Harrow, a transfer from North Carolina State.  Harrow is the most difficult kind of player to critique.  He doesn’t have the skills to play the position at the level Cal needs.  I feel for the young man.  I really do.  It has to be a difficult, pressure-packed situation.  Facts are facts.

The coaching staff doesn’t get a pass on this one.  Cal recruited Harrow in high school.  He saw a year of him at NC State and a year of him in practice.  He had ample evaluation time.  Again, I feel for Harrow.  I’m convinced he has played the best he can.  He was put in a position where success wasn’t possible.  That one goes on the coach.

WHAT DID I LEARN?

I don’t know that I learned anything new.  It’s more like I re-learned some things (if that’s even possible).  Maybe I was just reminded of some stuff.

Championships are hard to win:  I’ve been a UK fan since 1970.  UK has won 4 titles.  It’s not easy to do.  Winning one year doesn’t mean you’ll win the next year or even make the tournament or even win one game in the NIT.  (see 1978-79 season).

Losing your whole team is tough:  Imagine this:  Your alma mater wins the national championship.  Then, all its starters and its sixth man leave.  They are replaced by freshmen.  Your school is the only Division I team in the entire country that doesn’t return even one player who started even one game.  What would you expect?  At Kentucky, we expected a strong run at another title.  Perhaps we’re unreasonable.

Cal is an excellent coach, but not a magician:  This team never meshed. Maybe it was the lack of dependable veterans.  Maybe it was the wrong mix of talent.  Whatever the reason, the light bulb never came on.  Cal couldn’t get them to buy in.  He’s done it so well before that I don’t think I can hang that one on him.  Like I said, these are men.  They didn’t act like it.

You need a bench:  UK had no bench this year, at least no players upon whom we could count for steady play.  Not only was this an in-game weakness, but there was no risk of any under-achieving starter losing his job.  Cal says this won’t ever be the case here again.  I believe him.

So, there here we are, a disastrous season at an end.  How bad was it?  We were 21-12 and finished second in our conference.  That’s a train wreck at my alma mater.  I’m over it now.  Besides, next year, we are going to be LOADED!

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2013

The National Invitation Tournament: A New (and Blue) Perspective

The National Invitation Tournament is a college basketball tournament. It has a storied history dating back to 1938, one year before the NCAA Tournament began. Only the NAIA Tournament is older. For many years, the NIT was considered the most prestigious tournament in the country. In those days of Jim Crow, it was an integrated tournament played in legendary Madison Square Garden in New York. Only the best of the best were invited to the NIT.

In the early 1950’s, the NIT lost much of its luster because of a point-shaving scandal. City College of New York, Long Island University and others were implicated. One such school was my beloved University of Kentucky. We’re the only ones who rose from the ashes, although we had the distinction of receiving the NCAA Death Penalty by having the 1952-53 season cancelled. We UK fans like to point out that we were undefeated the next season and had the audacity to turn down an NCAA invitation. (That’s not as brassy as it sounds. Most of our best players were ineligible for post-season play. Adolph Rupp was no fool).

(As unrelated aside, it should be noted that UK played in integrated tournaments well before most teams in the South would do so. The next time you hear the story of Mississippi State playing in the NCAA Tournament in 1963, remember that Kentucky had been doing that for 20 years.)

Although the NCAA Tournament became more prominent, the NIT remained significant. The NIT was still prestigious enough that Marquette turned down an NCAA bid in the late ’60’s to play in (and win) the NIT. Over time, the NCAA Tourney has expanded to 68 teams, making the NIT little more than a glorified intramural tournament. Its glory days, sadly, are long gone.

Today, being invited to the NIT means you suck. You stink. You’re not worthy of making the NCAA Tournament. You don’t even get the play-in games. You’re not one of the 68 best teams in the country. Your program is in shambles. You don’t belong on the Big Stage. The Big Dance goes on without you. It’s the Little Dance for you and your fellow club foots.

Such is the fate now of my University of Kentucky Wildcats. Lest you forget, we won the NCAA Tournament just last year. (If you’re counting, that’s EIGHT titles, my friend). We’ve been in this position before. We won the NCAA Tournament in 1978, only to be relegated to the NIT the next year. We lost in the first round to Clemson, and at home, no less. I would point out, though, that we were playing without Dwight Anderson, arguably our best player that year. That loss deserves an asterisk, as do almost all losses in the history of our program.

Nowadays, folks call it the “Not Invited Tournament” or the “Not Important Tournament.” It has fallen into such disfavor that some schools have even turned down invitations. We won’t do that at Kentucky. Our fans want to see games–any time, anywhere, against any opponent.

We’re no strangers to NIT glory, mind you. We’ve won the NIT, twice–1946 and 1976. Both titles portended bigger and better things.

The 1946 NIT Championship was followed by NCAA Titles in 1948, 1949 and 1951. Our 1976 NIT Title was followed by an NCAA Title in 1978. See a pattern?

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1946 NIT Champs

The 1976 NIT was similar to this year. The previous season, we lost the NCAA title game to UCLA. Graduation took many of our best players. We started the 1975-76 season 10 and 10 and lost of one of our best players, Rick Robey, to injury. Joe B. Hall, successor to Adolph Rupp, was our coach, and the annual cries for his head began. Those were dark days in the Big Blue Nation.

Coach Hall was always at his best when things were bleakest. The Cats won their last 10 games, including the NIT, beating the University of North Carolina-Charlotte in the title game. Center Mike Phillips became a beast during that run. All Cat fans know the names of Mike Phillips, Jack Givens, Jay Shidler, Truman Claytor, Marion Haskins, Dwayne Casey and James Lee. Two years later, we had NCAA title number 5! It is always darkest before the dawn.

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Mike Phillips, NIT All-Time Great

Even today, the NIT isn’t the worst thing that can happen. There is also something called the College Basketball Invitational. It’s for 16 teams that don’t make either the NCAA or NIT. It isn’t to be confused with its competitor, the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, which has 32 more unworthy teams. So, if you don’t make the NCAA Tournament, you have 80 more post-season slots available. Including the NCAA, there are 148 chances to play in the post-season. There about 400 NCAA Division I basketball teams. You could be one of the 250 or so super-sucky teams which can’t play anywhere!

We UK fans want to be enthusiastic about the NIT, but it’s tough. We view the NCAA Tournament as our birth right. Any UK fan knows the significance of the years 1948, 1949, 1951, 1958, 1978, 1996, 1998 and 2012. To exclude us from the Big Dance after a 20 win season is sacrilege. We know it’s because of jealously or even downright hatred. That’s okay, because we hate the NCAA and its member institutions even more than they hate us.

UK needs to put an indelible stamp on the NIT. I have a few simple suggestions to turn the NIT into the tournament, at least for one year:

  • Unilaterally declare that former UK center Mike Phillips is the “Greatest Living Player” in the history of the NIT and insist that he be introduced as such before each game. Maybe he can wear some kind of crown.
  • Have both our NIT Championship trophies sitting beside the bench.
  • Coach John Calipari will repeatedly refer to the NCAA Tournament as the “suck ass” tournament.
  • Have Honey Boo Boo and her Mom be cheerleaders.
  • Adopted cool team nickname of “69ers” in honor of being the 69th best team in the country.
  • In a tip of the hat to tradition, shave points.
  • UK President Eli Capilouto will profanely condemn the NCAA for not allowing UK to play in both tournaments.
  • Brashly challenge the CIT and CBI tourney champs to a “Loser Leaves Town” playoff.
  • Hire an Amish assistant coach.
  • Run the Jody Arias trial on the Jumbo Tron
  • Bring entire UK team to NCAA Championship Game and loudly berate participants for not playing in Madison Square Garden.
  • In each post-game interview, coach UK players to work in references to Roy Williams as a “mincing cry baby” and Mike Krzyzewski as a “rat-faced bastard.”
  • If we lose, crack opposing coach over the head with 2012 NCAA Championship Trophy

These are but a few ideas. As fans, there are many things we can do to help, too. For example, we have a tradition of burning couches in the streets after big NCAA wins. In keeping with that, perhaps we can burn ottomans or occasional tables after each NIT win. We can wear confusingly arrogant T-Shirts that say things like “YOU CAN’T SPELL NORTH CAROLINA WITHOUT ‘NCAA.'” Most of all, let’s say we’d rather win the NIT than lose the NCAA Tournament, even though we probably would have won that, too.

So, take heart, Big Blue Nation. All is not lost. There are many positives:

  • Our first round game at Robert Morris University will be the biggest event ever in Moon Township, Pennsylvania where, by the way, Coach Cal went to high school.
  • We trail St. John’s in NIT titles–6 to 2. Another title cuts that in half.
  • An NIT title gives us 11 combined NCAA/NIT titles, only one behind UCLA.
  • We will pad our all time wins record.
  • Rupp Arena hosts the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. Imagine the embarrassment to that haughty exhibition when rounds 2 and 3 of the NIT outdraw it.
  • We’ll proudly hang our NIT banner, adding to the already-cluttered rafters of Rupp Arena.
rupp

There may not be room for another banner.

Remember, too, that UK fans are also known for our almost unbearable arrogance. An NIT championship would the perfect chance to take this seeming character flaw to new heights. Let us all rationalize that we got on a roll in the postseason and would, in fact, have won the NCAA Tournament were it not for the petty jealousies that kept us on the sidelines. If we lose, we will simply dismiss the NIT as beneath us and unworthy of our time, anyway. How could we possibly be motivated for it? The NIT Trophy is little more than a door stop, and the banner wouldn’t be fit to be a floor mat in our opulent locker room.

After all, it’s just the NIT, for God’s sake–unless we win it.

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2013

The Stuff Of Dreams

I’m a dreamer. Literally. I don’t mean dreams of success or other flights of fancy, either. I mean real dreams, the kind you have when you’re asleep. Being a tad slothful, I’ve never studied dreams or tried to analyze their deeper meaning. When I was in college, I knew a girl who analyzed dreams, but I never paid much attention.

If you’ve read this blog, you know that I am a recurring theme. My stories are about me. My opinions are mine, of course. I even believe that others are interested in my take on things. This post is slightly different. While the dreams are mine, I’m now interested in what others think. What do these dreams mean? With that in mind, I now share a number of my recurring dreams:

1. THE BAD DRIVER/CAR

In this dream, I am a passenger in a car with someone who can’t drive worth a damn. My most recent version had me as a passenger with Lyndsay Lohan driving. She was smoking marijuana and weaving in and out of traffic on a six-lane highway. She wouldn’t stay in the proper lanes, either, and was constantly dodging on-coming traffic. I was terrified and screaming at her to slow down. She didn’t. This dream ended as the always do with a terrific accident. I was unhurt, but rattled. Then, I woke up.

This is a typical variant of this one. Sometimes, the driver is out of control driving downhill. Often, the car runs off a cliff. There is always an accident at the end, and I’m unharmed. I wake up immediately.

Another variation is that I’m driving, but the car has mechanical problems. The most common problems are either I can’t get the car in gear and it rolls backwards or there are no brakes. I careen around the highway–again, terrified–until the inevitable accident ends the dream. Do I see myself as out of control? Do I believe others have my fate in their hands? Do I see myself as immortal?

Perhaps unrelated, I also dream often about not being able to get my car out of reverse. Is this some latent concern that I am not going forward in life? Does it portend future transmission problems?

2. SCHOOL DAYS

In this dream, I am in school again, usually college but sometimes high school. I am approaching finals and haven’t attended class. I’m completely lost. In a panic, I desperately try to determine my class schedule, but I can’t. I am going to fail all my classes. Oddly, the dream always ends before I actually take my finals, but failure is unavoidable. I’m frantic and depressed.

I’ve had some variation of this dream hundreds of times. Sometimes, I’m aimlessly wandering the hallways looking for my classroom. I never find it. I never have any books and don’t even know my class schedule.

What can this mean? Do I secretly regret that I wasn’t a more dedicated student? Do I want to relive my youth? Do I fear commitment? Could this in any way mean I am gay?

3. WORK ABUSE

I work in a small law firm with four other lawyers, and we get along famously. It sounds trite, but we are like family. In almost eight years together we’ve never had a serious disagreement about anything. We’ve been fairly successful and like coming to work. Why, then, do I frequently dream that I am mercilessly abused at work?

This dream revolves around one of my partners–a female who shall remain nameless–berating me over some minor issue. Most recently, I dreamed that our firm had purchased a new coffee maker that leaked. My partner poked my chest with her finger and screamed: “THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT BECAUSE YOU THINK YOU ARE AN EXPERT ON COFFEE!!” Nothing of this sort has ever happened in our office. Truthfully, I do have quite a bit of expertise on coffee, arguably more than anyone in my office; however, this has never been a source of contention among us.

In this dream, I’ll be yelled at and called names–maybe even told to leave the firm. It’s always very contentious–the exact opposite of my real life job. I always wake up before there is any resolution of the dispute.

For many years, I had a job that I did not enjoy–at least not often. Perhaps this is post-traumatic stress, and I’m reliving unhappy times in my dream life. Am I expressing some kind of hidden hate for my co-workers? Am I seeing into their souls that they secretly hate me? Do I fear women?

4. GUN PLAY

I’m being shot at. With guns. Real guns. It’s almost always a gun battle where I’m hunkered down exchanging gun fire with someone. One time, it was with Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays. The Say Hey Kid had me pinned down behind my car, and he was peppering it with bullets.

This dream has no context other than a gun fight. I never know how or why it starts. I’m just in the middle of it. Once, my wife was shooting at me (I’m pretty sure that was just a dream). Another time, it was my own mother. Regardless, they just shoot at me relentlessly.

This dream always ends with my being shot but not fatally. It’s usually in the arm. That wakes me up. Then, I know “it was all just a dream.”

What the hell is this one about? Do people want to see me dead? Why would Willie Mays try to drop me? Maybe they don’t want me dead. After all, they only shoot me in the arm. Then again, all that reckless gun fire has to be intended to do me great harm. Why? Do I harbor a belief deep in my psyche that I am a bad person worthy of being gunned down?

5. THE HOUSE

This may be the weirdest one. It’s about a house. It’s a large house. Sometimes, the house is yellow. Sometimes, it is red brick. There is an alley separating it from my yard. I’m in The House and can’t get out. People are in The House looking for me, and I’m hiding from them. I’m usually in the bathroom or a closet. I don’t know why they are looking for me, but I’m scared. I’m always alone in The House and trying to find a way out. The good news–I guess–is that they never find me. The bad news is that I never get out. At least, no one shoots at me.

This dream rattles me more than any of the others. I always wake up wide awake. There’s great relief when I realize I am in my own bed and not The House. To my knowledge, I’ve never seen a house that looks like The House. If I did, I’d probably freak out.

What is The House? Does it symbolize something in my subconscious? Do I feel trapped in my life, unable to escape? Am I a closet paranoid, fearing that others are out to get me? Am I concealing some secret shame that I fear other will discover much like I fear they will find me in The House?

So, they are–my five most common recurring dreams. I have other dreams, like the one where I’m eating something really crappy. Since my wife is not a great cook, I understand that one. For a brief time I look Ambien and had dreams that were so vivid they freaked me out, but that was only for about six months. These five are the windows to be psyche.

Freud believed that all dreams were manifestation of wish-fulfillment based upon “day residue” or events that happen during the day. I don’t know about that. If I’m wishing for this stuff, I’m more messed up than I thought. Some think they’re all about sex. If that’s the case, it’s just as well that I don’t understand them.

If you have any kind of psychology background or if you’ve been in therapy for a while, feel free to offer your interpretation. I don’t intend to seek professional help. I’d rather just open it up to amateur speculation. Bear in my, though, that if any of this means I’m dangerously unstable or psychotic, you might want to take the edge of your analysis.

Now that I’ve gotten this off my chest, I may sleep better, at least. Maybe I’ll even get out of that damn house and get to class on time. Of course, I’ll need to be careful about getting a ride. Hopefully, I won’t get shot before I get there. If I do, someone at work will yell at me. Whew.

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2013

My Flagging Patriotism

flag

I make no secret that I love being an American.  I’ve always been an American, and I’ve always loved my life, at least most of  the time.  I might also like being Swiss or a Liechtensteiner, but I’ll never know.  I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t like being a Somalian.

Because I love being an American, I suspect that makes me patriotic.  I certainly have pulled for us in all the wars.  But, when I hear really patriotic people talk, I think I’m a wild-eyed anarchist.  The flag–the American Flag–more than anything else makes feel like that.

Being a bit of a gadfly, I’m leery of blind loyalty to anyone or anything.  Any time people speak of patriotism, I  think of the famous quote that we’ll know fascism when it reaches American because it will be “wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”  Some say that Sinclair Lewis said this.  It certainly sounds like something he would have said.

Nothing swells Americans with pride like our flag.  Old Glory.  The Stars and Stripes.  Unlike some countries whose flags have wild colors and sayings on them, it’s simply designed.  Fifty stars and thirteen stripes.  Red, white and blue.  We don’t have animals or people on our flag.  It’s not all busy and confusing.  I’ve always like the flag, but I don’t worship it.  I really liked the one the Air Force draped on my Dad’s casket.  My fellow Americans, however, are obsessed with the flag.

Prior to the American Civil War, the flag wasn’t so much a symbol of patriotism as it was a marker used to identify federal territories or possessions.  During the Civil War, it became a symbol of the union just as the Confederate flag was a symbol of rebellion.  Since then, the flag has taken on more significance.

Nowadays, the flag is venerated.  Rick Monday was a fairly good baseball player in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  He was a good outfielder, hit with some power and had good speed.  He’s known for two things.  One, he was the very first pick in Major League Baseball’s first amateur draft.  Second, he saved the flag.  During a game at Dodger Stadium in 1976, Monday was playing in the outfield for the Chicago Cubs.  Two “fans” ran on the field, threw down a flag and prepared to burn it.  Monday ran by and scooped it up with one hand just before it was lit.  He got a standing ovation.  Mention Rick Monday to a baseball fan of a certain age, and he or she will remember that moment.   

2006-04-24-rick-monday
Rick Monday’s greatest play.

We have songs about the flag.  “Stars and Stripes Forever” and “It’s a Grand Old Flag” are two of them.  My father was fond of march music, so I I’ve heard Stars and Stripes Forever many, many times.  It’s pretty catchy.

We like the flag so much that we have laws about it.  The Flag Acts of 1777, 1794 and 1818 tell us what the flag should look like.  We have a United States Flag Code which has rules about displaying and caring for the flag.  You can read it at 4 U.S.C. Section 1, et seq.  (I’m a lawyer, and that’s a citation to a statute).  Before you go scrambling to the United States Code to turn in your neighbor, there are no criminal penalties for breaking these rules.  Think of them as rules of etiquette for the flag.  Here are just a few of the rules:

  • Don’t dip the flag
  • Don’t display it upside down (except to show distress)
  • Don’t wad it up
  • Don’t make clothes out of it
  • Don’t draw pictures on it
  • Don’t walk on it
  • Don’t let it touch the ground
  • Burn it when it’s worn out
palin

This is okay, because Mrs. Palin’s bikini is not an actual flag. It’s not okay that she’s wearing a bikini, though.

flynt

First Amendment fanatic Larry Flynt. Wearing an actual flag as a diaper is not okay, but it’s not a crime.  Maybe it should be. 

These are a just a few of the highlights.  There are a bunch of rules.  Only an anal-retentive Boy Scout could keep track of all of them.  Just be glad there are no criminal penalties. By the way, I was a Boy Scout–maybe it was a Cub Scout–for a couple of weeks.  What did I learn?  How to fold the flag, of course.

The bottom line is that we don’t like people being disrespectful to the flag.  People in foreign countries like to burn the flag–our flag.  You can tell they think that infuriates us, and it does.  Some of these folks will hit it with shoes.  That’s definitely a no-no.

Although the flag is iconic, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution allows us to desecrate it.  Like Mr. Flynt, we can wear it as a diaper if we so choose; however, I don’t suggest that, because it will make you unpopular in many circles.

Remember, though, it’s not a crime.  We Kentuckians have made it a crime under state law, Kentucky Revised Statute Section 525.110.  That statute is unconstitutional, of course, but we don’t care.   It’s still a law, even if we can’t enforce it.  We’re well-known in Kentucky for passing laws that can’t be enforced and for periodically embarking on Quixotic battles to display the Ten Commandments.  It’s part of our culture.

Of course, Americans have a Pledge of Allegiance.  Man oh man, the Pledge of Allegiance gets people worked up.  We’re supposed to pledge allegiance to the flag, by God, or so the argument goes.  No one ever explains why we should do this, but we should.  Some–like your author and The United States Supreme Court–believe that Americans shouldn’t have to pledge allegiance to God, country, flags, politicians or anything else.  We’re Americans.  We have the right to be apathetic or downright hostile about everything.

I often see posts on social media lamenting that schools don’t recite the Pledge of Allegiance.  This isn’t true.  My children attended public schools where the Pledge was recited.  Now, the school can’t force you to recite it.  That’s okay, at least with me.

If you’re going to get all worked up about the Pledge of Allegiance, consider:

  • The original text of the Pledge:
    • I pledge allegiance to my flag and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.
  • It was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, a Christian socialist.  That’s right, a socialist.
  • It was written as part of the 400 year celebration of Columbus’s arrival in America.
  • One of the purposes of it was to sell flags to schools, because there was a belief that patriotism was at a low point.
  • Bellamy wanted to include equality and fraternity for all, but he knew that schools wouldn’t support equal rights for women and African-Americans.
  • About 30 years later, “my flag” was replaced with “the flag of the United States of America.”  The thought was that immigrants needed to be clear about which flag they loved.
  • In 1954, the now familiar “under God” was added.  This was during the Cold War when godless Communism was all the rage.
  • A minister named George Docherty suggested to President Eisenhower that God be added to the pledge.  Reverend Docherty likened the Pledge to something “Moscovite children” might recite.
  • Legally, you can’t be forced to recite it.
  • Schools can recite the Pledge, but student participation is voluntary.  If you think schools are not allowed to recite the Pledge, you are wrong.
  • The vast majority of states require that time be set aside for recitation of the Pledge. So, if you think the country is going to hell because we don’t do it, again, you’re wrong.  Here in Kentucky, we have Kentucky Revised Statute Section 158.175 which sets aside time for it.
  • Groups like Socialists and Fascists love to have people pledge allegiance to the state.

This being America, we don’t force anyone–even children–to pledge allegiance to the flag.  Maybe you think we should, but such things as freedom of speech and of religion stand in the way.  It’s okay.  Those are good things, too.  Think about it like this:  If you’re one who thinks we should be forced to say the Pledge, imagine how you’d react if President Obama said that.  See?

We’re not the only country with a flag.  Other countries have flags, too.  All of them do, I guess, but we don’t care much for those.  Most of them are goofy looking with odd sayings and pictures on them.

andorra flag

Andorra has the typical weird flag combining a haughty crest with cows and odd foreign gibberish.

Some other flags just took no thought at all.  France, for example:

france

The French flag can be easily adapted in the event of surrender.

We want people to fight for the flag, too.  Personally, I wouldn’t do that, especially if I had time to think about it.  I’d probably let you have the flag if it were that important to you.  That’s not the same as fighting for one’s country, although I wouldn’t want to do that, either.

When we Americans get mad at foreign countries, we don’t take to the streets and burn their flags.  To us, that seems over the line.  Oh, we’ll invade your country, kill you by the thousands and overthrow your government, but we’ll be good to your flag.  That’s only decent.

All our states have flags.  Here is the flag of my state, Kentucky:

kyflag

It states the fairly obvious maxim of “United we stand.  Divided we fall.”  I suppose the cartoon on it symbolizes country and city folk coming together.  We also call ourselves a “commonwealth.”  No one knows what that means, but we’re just a plain old state like everyone else.  Kentucky has its own Pledge of Allegiance:

“I pledge allegiance to the Kentucky flag, and to the Sovereign State for which it stands, one Commonwealth, blessed with diversity, natural wealth, beauty, and grace from on High.

Notice that it doesn’t mention “God.”  I think people would be outraged about this if they knew we had our own pledge.  “On High” could be God, Jesus, Buddha or a bundle of sticks.

I’ve been told that this is Alabama’s flag:

alaflag

Weird, huh?  It’s kind of like they’ve just Xed themselves out.  Then again, it’s easy to draw.

State flags aren’t as controversial.  I’ve never heard anyone accused of desecrating one, and I’ve never seen angry foreign mobs burning one.  If someone did, we’d probably get mad, but it would quickly pass.

Everyone knows the famous photo of the flag being raised at Iwo Jima.  It wouldn’t have had the same impact if they had raised the Kentucky state flag by mistake.

Some of our states are fond of the Confederate flag, the Old Stars and Bars.  Only in America could you fly the flag of a rebellion that cost hundreds of thousands of lives and almost destroyed your country.  Of course, a lot of folks are offended by that.  That’s also very American.  Do what you want, but others have a right to get pissed off about it.

Whether you’re conservative or liberal, you might be thinking:  “Hey, does this nut have some kind of problem with flags?”  No.  I’ve never desecrated a flag (at least not on purpose).  I don’t advocate such things, either, but I probably don’t love the flag.  And I certainly don’t insist that you love it or pledge some kind of oath to it.  Just don’t wear it as a diaper, unless you really want to.

©thetrivaltroll.wordpress.com 2013

My Over 50 Not-To-Do List

I’m in my 51st year on the planet.  Although many people have exceeded my longevity, this impresses me.  Of course, lots of folks lived less time than I have and did much more–Mozart, for example.  All in all, though, living longer is a good thing.

I now read AARP publications.  AARP recently ran a tongue-in-cheek article about things NOT to do after age 50.  It was somewhat humorous.  Somewhat.  Like a lot of things, it got me thinking.  Now, that I’m 50 (and have been for several months now), what won’t I do?  Here are five such things:

PLAY BALL!  I’ve written before about my mediocrity as an athlete.  That never stopped me from trying to play sports.  No more.  No basketball.  No softball.  No flag football.  Nothing where I risk injury.  Why?   I don’t want any other injuries.  The older you get, the more injury-prone you are.  My sports are now limited to baseball and basketball with my youngest son and even then I don’t go all out.

I’ve never had a serious injury.  I’ve never worn a cast or had surgery or used crutches.  I did tear a muscle in my shoulder once, but they can’t do much about that.  I had a stress fracture in my foot, but it went away.

In my 30’s I scraped the outside of left calf sliding during a softball game.  It looked like a burn and hurt like hell. It scabbed up in a couple of days.  Then, the scab disappeared, and it looked like an orange peel, except oozy.  You know how your mother said that a cut with red lines running from it is bad?  It had those, two.  It was something called cellulitis.  The doctor said it was a “galloping infection.”  I had to elevate my leg and put a heating pad on the open wound.  I also had to draw a circle around it with a Sharpie.  If the red spread past the outline, that would be bad.  When I stood, the blood rushed to my leg and it felt like a thousand needles.  I  had to get a shot every day, too, for a week.  The shot gave me diarrhea.  For days, I was reduced to lying down with a heating pad on an open sore which burned like it was on fire while trying to control my bowels and drawing on my leg with a magic marker.  I’m just too old for this kind of thing.

Even if I wanted to play sports, I probably can’t.  The simplest of sports may be beyond me now. A few months ago, I passed baseball with my 17-year-old son who is a high school baseball player.  He can throw 80-85 mph without much effort.  I was terrified.  Enough of that, too.

Fortunately, my youngest son is almost 11 now.  If I had a younger kid, I’d hire someone to play with him.  No sense taking unnecessary risks.

ANGRY UP MY BLOOD:  The great baseball player Satchel Paige once cautioned against eating fried food, because it would angry up one’s blood.  I don’t necessarily agree with that, because I like fried food.  I do, however, agree with the caution about angrying up the blood.

I was an angry young man.  Angry about all kinds of stuff–my job, politics, religion, sports–pretty much everything.  I had a short fuse which was easily lit, too.  I was an unpleasant person.  I’m too old for all that, as well.

It seems that my peers become angrier with age while I mellow.  I am aging in reverse, like a far less handsome version of Brad Pitt as Benjamin Button.  It seems that everyone my age is mad about liberals, conservatives, the rich, the poor, taxes, drones, sports, religion and life in general.  Here’s the deal:  We all have opinions.  So do I.  I’m certain that mine aren’t all that important.  In fact, I may be flat wrong on many (most?) of them.  Same goes for you.  I’m sure that pisses you off.  Relax.

I’m confident that being mad shortens my life.  How?  Well, every minute I waste fuming about something, I could be doing something else.  So, there goes part of my life down the old crapper.  As a live and let live guy, I really don’t care if you’re mad, even at me.  Just don’t ask me to play along.

GET IN MY CUPS:  I was once quite fond of strong drink.  I may still be, but I haven’t partaken in several years.  Understand that I have no problem with those that do.  I just believe that such indulgences are a young man’s game.  Hangovers had bad for my brain.  Why else would my head hurt like that?  Vomiting is no good under any circumstances.  Also, not remembering conversations or where I’ve been or what I’ve done is problematic.  Soon enough, age itself will cause such problems.  No need to speed the plow.

Here’s the kind of thing I did when I drank.  A few years ago (not as many as you might think), my wife and I went to a party.  I drank quite a bit before the party and quite a bit at the party.  Oh, I had a grand time–or so I’ve heard.  When we came home, I retired to the basement whereupon I quickly dozed off (the more crass of you might call it “passing out.”)  A couple of hours into my respite, I had the urge to relieve myself.  Rising from the couch, I was unsteady on my feet.  No doubt this was from the deep REM sleep.  As I staggered toward the bathroom, somehow I fell forward, striking my head on a wooden post.   Oh, I also broke my glasses.

No problem.  Holding my forehead, I made it to the bathroom and did my business.  My right brow was really throbbing, so I thought I might take a look at it.  Leaning close the mirror–remember my glasses were broken–I moved my hand from my right eye to get a good look.

The funny thing about cuts to the head is that they bleed far in excess of the severity of the actual injury.  When I moved my hand, blood fairly gushed from a small slice in my right eye brow.  It ran into my eye and down my face.  It just kept coming.  There was only one thing to do–I puked and went into a full-blown swoon.  Then I sat in the floor convinced that I was bleeding to death and would be found covered in blood and vomit–not a glorious demise.

So, I did the only thing I could do.  Holding a towel to my head, I climbed the two flights of stairs to the master bedroom and consulted my dear wife.  Let’s just say that the evening suddenly took an even uglier turn.

I’m too old for this kind of foolishness now.  Let the young men bleed profusely and copiously vomit.  I’ll sip my Starbucks, work the crossword puzzle and retire for the evening at 9:30 or so.

EAT WELL:  This takes some explaining.  I don’t eat all that poorly.  I don’t have a weight problem.  I’m a lean, mean 160 pounds.  Perfect middle-weight size.  Think of me as a whiter, less-imposing, soft version of Marvelous Marvin Hagler (if you don’t know Hagler, you’re not my age).  At one time I weighed 176 pounds, which was a little too much.  I quickly shed that weight.  That’s just a genetic thing.  Don’t get all pissed off (see section above).

People want me to eat well, and I guess I should.  My family has a bit of a history of heart disease.  Regardless, there are things I like to eat.  They include, but are not limited to:

  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Sugar
  • Chocolate
  • Ice Cream
  • Eggs
  • Bacon
  • Pork in general
  • Deep fried anything
  • Gluten
  • Peanut butter
  • Hot dogs
  • Red meat
  • White meat
  • Meat

I also don’t mind my food being laced with preservatives.  Why not?  Hey, I like it preserved until I want to eat it.  Call me crazy.

I’m not diabetic.  I don’t have celiac disease. Or diverticulitis.  Or any food allergies.  If you do, please watch what you eat.  The key here is to watch what you eat, not what I eat.

If YOU don’t want to eat this stuff, I’m okay with it.  I won’t force it on you.  I don’t have people to my house for dinner anyway.  Eat what you want.  You can eat free range horse for all I care.  Just don’t tell me what to eat.  I enjoy food and fully intend to continue to do so.

FIGHT CLUB:  Chief Joseph said:  “From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.”  That’s a good philosophy, and I agree wholeheartedly with him.  Fighting isn’t good, especially if you run the risk of getting the crap beat out of you.

Like heavy drinking, fighting is a young man’s business.  When you’re young, fighting can be a test of your manhood.  It can also be provoked by heavy drinking.  Either way, it’s usually a one-on-one situation and little harm is done.

Unlike in the movies, real fights rarely result in a lot of punching.  A good punch is almost always a “sucker” punch which the recipient doesn’t see coming.  Otherwise, punching is mostly a bunch of embarrassingly wild swinging.

It hurts to be squarely punched in the face.  It also hurts to squarely punch someone in the face.  Your hand explodes in pain.  I don’t like pain.  That said, real fights end up with a bunch of rolling around on the ground.

Another thing about real fights.  No one gets punched in the face repeatedly and keeps fighting.  Nor do you punch anyone in the face repeatedly.  The human head is hard.  It’s like a bowling ball with a few soft places on it.  Go punch a wall five or ten times and let me know what you think.

At a certain age–maybe 30–I realized that people who are willing to fight might be dangerous, especially if they, too, were in their 30’s.  These folks also tend to carry weapons, because they’re looking for trouble.  I don’t want even a remotely deadly weapon used on me.  I don’t want to throw a punch and miss, only to end up with a Chinese throwing star stuck in my forehead.

One possible exception is that I might fight a younger man.  Why would I do that? Wouldn’t youth put me at a terrible disadvantage?  Possibly.  However, don’t discount the power of being Old Man Strong.  We all reach an age where our years create a certain toughness without us even knowing it.  Some suggest that perhaps we lose the will to live and become fearless.  I prefer to think of it as God’s way of rewarding us for surviving.

When I was in high school, a friend of mine foolishly punched his dad.  His dad didn’t flinch.  Old Man Strong. Fight over.

So, if you’re a young fellow, be careful.  If you get mouthy with an old guy and he just chuckles or, worse yet, takes a step toward you, run.  It may be all that saves your dignity.

CONCLUSION

This is hardly a comprehensive list of things I won’t be doing.  Such things as starting a meth lab, amateur pornography and polygamy are also taboo.  These, though, are things I wouldn’t have ever done, as far as you know.

I’m not perfect.  Maybe one day I’ll be shooting basketball with my kid, and you’ll wander into my yard spewing about politics and telling me to reduce the MSG in my diet.  Like Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven, I’ll take a swig of whiskey and then start a fight with you.  Let’s try to avoid all that.

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