Chuck Grassley: A Profile in Courage…Not!

88 Year old Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa demonstrating the typical courage of a Republican running for re-election.

“While the ultimate responsibility for this attack rests upon the shoulders of those who unlawfully entered the Capitol, everyone involved must take responsibility for their destructive actions that day, including the former president. As the leader of the nation, all presidents bear some responsibility for the actions that they inspire — good or bad. Undoubtedly, then-President Trump displayed poor leadership in his words and actions. I do not defend those actions and my vote should not be read as a defense of those actions.


President Trump continued to argue that the election had been stolen even though the courts didn’t back up his claims. He belittled and harassed elected officials across the country to get his way. He encouraged his own, loyal vice president, Mike Pence, to take extraordinary and unconstitutional actions during the Electoral College count.”



Statement for the Senate Record by Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
United States Senate
On the Senate’s Acquittal of former President Donald Trump
February 13, 2021
“I was born at night but not last night. So if I didn’t accept the endorsement of a person that’s got 91 percent of the Republican voters in Iowa, I wouldn’t be too smart. I’m smart enough to accept that endorsement.”


Republican Sen. Charles Grassley embraced Donald Trump’s return to Iowa on Saturday, October 9 at a Trump rally, standing by the former president as he repeated his false claims of voter fraud and a stolen election to a crowd of thousands.

October 9, 2021

With Apologies to Red Smith and Frank Deford

The more rabid the sports fan, the less rational the woman or man.

I have a personal abhorrence to all of the ads on the Internet, commercial television and other media promoting gambling websites. Online gambling is nicotine for sports fans.

NFL ratings are up 17% this season. The increased ratings are attributed to early attractive matchups plus fans back in the stands.  I would add that increased interest in sports gambling has also supported a ratings boost. All the pregame shows feature betting odds and discussions about points spreads and over/under totals.

Success in most college sports is not won on the court or football field but in living rooms of recruited high school students.

Stephen A Smith : sports commentary = Tucker Carlson : political commentary

Not very many sports commentators that I would stop and listen to but I’d stop for Tony Kornheiser and Ray Didinger who have my respect for their candor, research and insight.

Very few professional athletes leave “while on top.” Rocky Marciano, John Elway and Peyton Manning come to mind. Most athletes, like too many boxers, stay too long. Muhammed Ali, Willie Mays and Joe Louis are three of the most tragic athletes who stayed too long.

I am a huge fan of Roger Federer. I admire him not only for his achievements and talents playing tennis but the class that he exhibits off the court as well.

I’m showing my age but I miss the voices, personalities and announcing of old time football announcers like Chris Schenkel, Ray Scott, Keith Jackson, Curt Gowdy, Pat Summerall and Lindsey Nelson. Many football announcers and analysts today are just “white noise” while watching a game.

As an 8 year old third grader I remembered coming home from school and turning on my black and white TV about 61 years ago to see Bill Mazeroski hit a walk off home run to win the World Series for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Sage 4

Past pearls of wisdom explaining what is happening today…

Current HeadlineWisdom from the Past
Jan. 6 Was Worse Than We Knew NY Times“We are a paper frigate sailing on a burning lake.” —Frederick Seidel
Republicans Shout Down Lindsey Graham for Pushing Vaccine“The central belief of every moron is that he is the victim of a mysterious conspiracy against his common rights and true deserts.” HL Mencken
Doctors grow frustrated over COVID-19 denial, misinformation“While people are entitled to their illusions, they are not entitled to a limitless enjoyment of them and they are not entitled to impose them upon others.” Christopher Hitchens
Dow sheds 300 points as investors ditch technology stocks, Nasdaq drops 2% CNBC“you cannot cling to anything in a changing world.” 
Osho
Trump, talked out of announcing a 2024 bid for now, settles on a wink-and-nod unofficial candidacy Washington PostStupidity is knowing the truth, seeing the truth but still believing the lies. Richard Feynman

Everything but the Kitchen Dink

Pickleball : recreation = bitcoin: finances.

Chart below reflects searches for the term “pickleball” on Google. You can see the meteoric rise and interest in the game beginning in 2014.

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Just sayin’…I prefer being the underdog than the favorite.

I’d rather run the risk of losing 0-11 if I had the chance to upset or be competitive with a superior team than win 11-0 against a less talented or experienced team. I may remember the one or two successful points against a pair of 4.5+ players than the 10 or 11 successful points against a less talented or experienced team.

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Signs of smart intermediate doubles play: handling your opponent’s lobs and making necessary switches for court coverage. Strategy on handling lobs should be discussed between partners prior to a game particularly if you are playing together for the first time.

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I’ve noticed in mixed doubles competition that the role of women decreases with each higher level of play. Many women players are relegated to defensive plays and resets, especially in money tournaments. This is very noticeable in professional tournaments when games are close. Some male players, like Ben Johns will cover 80-90% of the kitchen area even when he’s paired with Simone Jardin!

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I’d like to see a mixed doubles pairing of Ben Johns with 14 year old Anna Leigh Waters who won the singles title and the women doubles title (with her mom) at Orlando PPA. Anna Leigh poached aggressively and “pushed” her mom off the court on a few points at last weekend’s tournament during the women’s doubles tournament match.

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Morgan Evans: pickleball commentary = John McEnroe: tennis commentary.

One of the benefits of the PPA Pickleball Orlando coverage was the commentary by Morgan Evans. Like John McEnroe, he is an accomplished player who is articulate and can explain the game to the general audience as well as current pickleball players and also has a dry sense of humor.

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Lucy Kovalova: pickleball = Anna Kournikova: tennis

Big difference is that Kovalova routinely wins tournaments as a mixed doubles or women’s doubles champion.

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I recommend Manny Lai’s YouTube page. Lots of great pickleball competition from a local star and the cinematography is excellent. Singles and double matches (mixed doubles with Kaley). Note: Manny has an unusual but very effective chainsaw serve that you can see in his videos.

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I have been a part-time Meet-up host who has been blessed with a great group of attendees and players. Pretty much, my primary role is to open the gates and get out of the way. However I have tried to incorporate the following to make the Meet-up a more pleasant experience for the attendees:

  1. When possible, maintain a workable attendee number to promote quick turnaround of games for players.
  2. Get to know attendees by their name, especially newcomers.
  3. Encourage newcomers or players who may feel intimidated or uncomfortable to play.
  4. If you see a game where the sides are uneven, suggest a change of partners or a change of game. Avoid routs and blowouts due to talent level differences.
  5. Check on people who may be experiencing issues with heat, illness or injury.
  6. Ensure safe playing conditions. Clear puddles, wet spots, debris etc. from playing areas.
  7. Post pictures or comments post Meet-up to memorialize session.
  8. Promote compliance with USA Pickleball Sportsmanship Guide.

Waxing Nostalgic II

“The Greek word for “return” is nostos. Algos means “suffering.” So nostalgia is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return.” 

― Milan Kundera, Ignorance

The Andy Griffith Show, Hogan’s Heroes, Match Game 75, Barney Miller…these are all 1960 and 1970 television shows enjoying a revival. Many viewers, generally in the Medicare and Social Security eligible categories, are eschewing current produced media fare for TV shows of their younger years.

Why? The reasons may vary but for many it’s a portal to a simpler time with less stress and drama. People need a break from Covid 19, Trump rants, smarmy Fox commentators and an endless stream of violence, disasters and deaths on their TVs and computer screens.

Photo by Andre Moura Pixels

I too pine for simpler times and have compiled a short list of memories, places and people that take me back to a simpler time.

  1. Cherry Hill Mall food court with Nathans, Arthur Teachers and Bassetts Turkey
  2. Drive-In movies
  3. Emma Peel
  4. Local minor league hockey (Jersey Devils, Ramblers)
  5. Walter Cronkite, Peter Jennings and Chet Huntley
  6. Extensive coverage of college and high school sports by local papers
  7. Fish’s (Abe Vigoda) asides on Barney Miller
  8. Summer League Basketball at Wood and Memorial Parks (Cinnaminson NJ)
  9. “Missed by that much”
  10. Pat Paulsen running for President
  11. Gladys Ormphby and Tyrone on Laugh In
  12. Barbi Benton
  13. U.S. Pro Indoor Tournament at Spectrum
  14. Chief Jay Strongbow
  15. Lindsey Nelson and Ray Scott announcing college and professional football games
  16. Old Republican party (Everett Dirksen, Hugh Scott, Gerald Ford)
  17. Apologies
  18. Soupy Sales
  19. By Saam and Richie Ashburn broadcasting Phillies games
  20. Petula Clark
  21. Diving horse at Steel Pier
  22. Sparklers
  23. Tinsel
  24. Hill Street Blues
  25. John Larroquette’s (Dan Fielding) leers on Night Court
  26. Mike Wallace interviews on 60 Minutes
  27. Playboy interviews
  28. Sport magazine
  29. Archie Bunker
  30. Phyllis George
  31. The Grassroots

Reader, how many from this list do you remember and know?

The “It” Factor

Clara Bow was an actress in the 1920s who was labeled “The It Girl.” She was the predecessor to Farrah Fawcett, Marilyn Monroe, Raquel Welch and a number of sex symbols who were on TV and movie screens as well as posters on many men’s collegiate dorm walls. Clark Gable, Paul Newman and Brad Pitt might be characterized as having “it” by women.

What is “it?” “It” is a mixture of attractiveness, charm, personality, sex appeal and confidence that radiates from the person. I don’t think that “it” is only a phenomenon or brand for just Hollywood actresses or celebrities. I think that all of us have “it”. “It” are the qualities that make us attractive and what attracts us to a potential spouse, partner and opposite sex. It may also be defined differently as to its constituent qualities.

“It” is not inexhaustible and some people are blessed with more of “It” than others. There are peaks and valleys of “It”. Some people run out of “It” faster than others. Some lucky people never lose it no matter how old they get.

Here is my unscientific, totally subjective and undocumented (no data) analysis of the peaks and valleys when most men and women exhibit IT. Apologies to George Clooney, Morgan Fairchild and Christie Brinkley in advance…

Women acquire “it” earlier than men as they mature more quickly. Women may also lose “it” at a faster rate than men from age range 40-70. The peak age range for both men and woman is from 20 to 30. Again these are generalizations. Depending on one’s heredity, health, financial status, plastic surgery and desire to maintain “It”, results can vary.

Book Review: Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency by Michael Wolff

There are so many tragedies described within this book. First, Donald Trump’s obsession with perceived fraud in the 2020 presidential election. It absolutely consumed him. Despite entreaties from some responsible Republicans, Trump continued to pursue crackpot theories and schemes that the election was stolen. His “legal team” filed hundreds of suits but no court, including the Supreme Court would listen to their case. Second, the complete fall of Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Once the hero of 9/11, he was described in this book as a drunk and a flatulent, senile old man, spinning wild conspiracy theories and urging Trump to just announce that he won the election. The third major tragedy was that approximately 74 million people voted for Donald Trump. And a significant majority of them also believed that Trump was the legitimate winner of the election.

The book describes the bizarre behaviors of Mike Lindell, Peter Navarro, Mike Flynn and Sidney Powell along with other Trump enablers to encourage Trump to protest the election.

Wolff also recounts the events of January 6, 2021 when at the urging of Donald Trump, his supporters invaded The Capitol. What will future generations think of us that such a horrific event could happen?

There are a number of unflattering portraits and descriptions of people within the Trump White House. Very few heroes exist as no one was able to curb the actions and plans of Donald Trump.

If you are not a supporter of President Trump, nothing in this book will surprise you. What may surprise you is how much worse things really were during his administration. Wolff also includes a chapter on his interview with Trump after the election. Unsurprisingly Trump is not apologetic or remorseful in what he put this nation through, especially in the last year of his Presidency.

Book Review: I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year by Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker

Anyone interested in reading this book should first understand that this is not a pro – Trump book. There are very few instances where Donald Trump is shown in a positive light or where he is shown competent in his job. This is not because of the prejudice of the authors but based on the actual reporting and eyewitness accounts during the last year of the Trump presidency. If you keep up with the news or have not been in a coma the past four years, there is not a lot in this book that will surprise you. If I gathered anything new it was that things were a lot worse than even I imagined.

This book primarily focuses on three major events/issues in Trump’s last year: handling (or mishandling) the coronavirus, the 2020 presidential election and post-election claims of fraud by Trump resulting in the January 6, 2021 invasion of The Capitol by his supporters.

What I was looking for were examples of competence and courage by people within the Trump administration. There were a few including General Mark Milley, who was very concerned about a possible coup and how Trump viewed the military as a weapon that he could use. Despite incredible abuse and intimidation by the White House, Dr. Anthony Fauci continued to tell the truth about COVID-19. On occasion, even Attorney General Bill Barr showed some back bone when pressed by Trump to initiate some bogus investigations against Trump enemies.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper was fired by Trump primarily due to his opposition to Trump’s plan to use the military against demonstrations from the George Floyd killing. Trump wanted to employ the Insurrection Act of 1807 as a means of curbing demonstrations.

Regrettably Trump had a lot of enablers.  Rudy Giuliani, Mike Flynn, and Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff was a faithful soldier to until the end of his Presidency. Mike Pence does not read well in this book. He blindly supported Trump throughout the four years. And though Pence did the right thing in certifying the electoral vote, it seems that he was looking for a way to blocking it. Pence comes off as a toady.

The authors appeared to make every attempt to keep this story as authentic and factual as possible. They also conducted a several hour interview with Trump after he left office.

A very revealing book though there are about 74 million people in the U.S. who might disagree.