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.

Senescence: Round 4

A shower of passing thoughts and thunderous ruminations…

With apologies to Rodney, five jobs where you don’t get any respect: 

  1. Epidemiologist 
  2. Eagles football coach
  3. Governor of a largely populated state
  4. New host of Jeopardy
  5. 44th U.S. President

Summer is coming to a close. I won’t miss the heat, the humidity or the mosquitos. I will miss the early dawn sunrises and the late dusk sundowns.

On deeper reflection, I have lived through 70 summers, how many summers do I have left to enjoy?

The French showed more resistance in 1940 to the German invasion of their country than the anti-vaxxers have demonstrated to the invasion of covid in the United States.

Long running TV Talk Show in the 1960’s and 70’s that would not last 13 weeks today: Dick Cavett.(That’s no reflection on Cavett, it’s a reflection of our culture and the limited sophistication and education of today’s audiences).

RIP Markie Post. She was a beautiful distraction on one of my favorite comedies in the 1980s, Night Court.

Celebrity whose death affected me the most? John Lennon

Current Five Overrated Sports People and Events

  1. Pickleball ratings
  2. NBA Draft
  3. Dallas Cowboys
  4. The Process (not Embiid but the tanking by the 76ers)
  5. Sports Talk Shows (worst show is Undisputed with Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharp)

While I enjoyed the Gold medal victories of the U.S. Men and Women’s Basketball Teams in the Olympics, I became a fan of the 3 on 3 Women’s Basketball competition (also won by the U.S.)

Two late Summer 2021 Book Recommendations:

  1. The Premonition: A Pandemic Story by Michael Lewis
  2. The Bomber Mafia: A Dream, A Temptation and The Longest Night of the Second World War by Malcolm Gladwell

Another 1970 high school classmate passed away recently. My class had 481 students. Based on what I know, approximately 10% of my class has passed away in the 50 years since graduation. Given our stage in life now, it’s possible that 50% of us will die within the next 10 years.

Health, opportunity and time. The older we are, the less certain and smaller window to take advantage of them.

With possible apologies to W.C. Fields, I’d rather be living in Philadelphia than anywhere in Florida.

A Self Interview about Books and Reading: NY Times Style

What books are on your night stand? Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe by Niall Ferguson, Thinking in Bets by Annie Duke, William James in the Maelstrom of American Modernism by Robert D. Richardson Jr., I Alone Can Fix It: Donald Trump’s Catastrophic Last Year by Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker.

What’s the last great book you read? The Quiet Americans: Four CIA Spies at the Dawn of the Cold War—-A Tragedy in Three Acts (non-fiction); The End of October by Lawrence Wright (fiction)

Are there any classic novels that you recently read for the first time? Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis.

Describe your ideal reading experience (when, where, what, how). Reading from my recliner in my living room or outside on the porch are my favorite reading places. I read all day and from a variety of locations. I also read in bed before I fall asleep. I read in the tub while taking a bath.

What’s your favorite book no one else has heard of? Stoner by John Williams

Which writers working today do you admire most? John Feinstein (sports), Seth Godin (business and marketing), Anthony Horowitz (mysteries), Robert Harris (historical fiction), Kurt Andersen (history) and Maria Konnikova (psychology).

Do you count any books as guilty pleasures? Stone Barrington series by Stuart Woods, James Bond novels by Ian Fleming, John Gardner, Kingsley Amis, Anthony Horowitz and Spenser detective series by Robert Parker.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

How do you organize your books? I get my books from three sources: my local library, Kindle and Barnes & Noble and in that order, if I can. I wish I had a study which could house thousands of books but I don’t. Normally as soon as I get a book, I read it. Books that I have purchased and that might be of interest to others, I pass on to friends.

What kind of reader were you as a child? Which childhood books stick with you most? I was an avid reader. I was a huge fan of The Hardy Boys series, Tom Swift, Chip Hilton. Rick Brant and Bronc Burnett. I’d rush through my school work just so I could read those books.

How have your reading tastes changed over time? I prefer shorter books (less than 250 pages). I’m starting to read more fiction and I avoid books that offer advice or self-help.

What books are you ashamed not to have read yet? None. I have read what I was always interested in. I have never had the desire to read The Bible or War and Peace. I also don’t follow what is a “best seller.”

What do you plan to read next? Today’s New York Times.

May Lightning Strike Me: Heresies and Reckless Punditry

With apologies to Franklin Pierce Adams, I paraphrase…

“These are the saddest of possible words

Tucker to Hannity to Ingraham”

80 years ago, a generation fought in jungles, bloody battlefields, and deadly beaches thousands of miles away to defeat their enemies and maintain their freedom. Today, many are declaring their “freedom” by refusing to walk a block or drive a few miles to a drug store and get a vaccination.

About 50% of American adults have refused the Covid 19 vaccination with the insouciance of a condemned man declining a blindfold awaiting execution.

President Biden is suggesting that a $100 cash incentive be used to get people to get the vaccine. Not sure if that would be effective. What may be effective is when an unvaccinated person catches Covid and requires medical treatment, they are subject to a $1000 surcharge that will be used to assist vaccinated patients suffering from long term Covid effects.

We needed Joe Biden just like we needed Gerald Ford after the stench and corruption of their predecessors’ administrations. However I don’t want see an 82 year old man, no matter how decent, running for President in 2024.

One wishes that the expectations and pressures that the public places on the performances and personas of athletes would also apply equally or more to the representatives they voted to office. 

If our Founders could see the current state of the government they created, they would renounce their efforts and become monarchists again.

Give me movies with stories > movies based on special effects

Photo by Nickolett Emmert from Pixels

Doctors act as pilots for our health. Initially doctors help us get off the ground from birth to maturity through pre-natal care and immunizations. In the second phase, they serve to keep us “in the air.” They address any turbulence or bumps we experience while in flight. Finally, as we get ready to “land”, some for our final destination, doctors are expected to ensure a smooth landing.

So the incoming starting QB (Bryce Young) at Alabama is expected to make close to $1 million thanks to the recent Supreme Court ruling on endorsement deals for college athletes. I wonder how incentivized his offensive linemen are as they may not be offered any money for their jerseys or profiles?

After reading The Premonition: A Pandemic Story by Michael Lewis, I have doubts about any medical pronouncements made by the CDC. With the possible exception of Dr. Fauci, I have very little confidence in the accuracy of Covid 19 information from anyone. ( I recommend the book!).

The Catholic Church serves as a typewriter, useful to a few but largely irrelevant and obsolete for the many, particularly to those who were once customers.

I wouldn’t object if there was a law banning car and home insurance commercials and marketing. I’d love to say “good-bye” to LiMu, Doug, Flo and The General. The commercials are dumb, not funny nor have any entertainment or informational value. Next to go, gambling site ads…

The best investment I ever made wasn’t a stock, mutual fund or bitcoin. It was a library card.

Decency

The start of the first American Civil War occurred on April 12, 1861 when Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter. The start of the second American Civil War started on January 6, 2021. In the first American Civil War, the battlefields included Gettysburg, Shiloh, Fredericksburg and Vicksburg. In the second American Civil War, the battlefields will be named vaccinations, Roe v Wade, science vs. superstition, income equality, Black Lives Matter, voting rights, Qanon conspiracies and Trumpism. One side comes with memes, verbal and violent bombast, the other’s armor are facts, data, science, rationality, experience and proof.

Eric Burleigh

“You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?” In 1954, these words at a Congressional hearing helped lead to the demise of the demagoguery of Senator Joe McCarthy. These same words can easily be applied 67 years later to a former disgraced President, U.S Senators from Texas, Kentucky and Wisconsin,  a totally incompetent female representative from Georgia and a plethora of anti-vaxxers from government and media. Not to mention clueless distributors of lies, propaganda and false information on social media.

Our culture, politics, economy and government have been subverted by irrationality, superstition, and stupidity. What is worse? That many of our politicians, business leaders, social media executives and  “journalists” are pushing lies, targeted exaggerations and  Or that so many citizens do not have the education, intellectual bandwidth and judgment to read between the lies.

The Republicans and the extremists are fighting the Second American Civil War with haymakers and head shots; the Democrats are content with soft jabs and body shots. Mitch McConnell likes the punchers chance.

Replay in the major sports such as basketball, football and baseball takes place in a matter of minutes. Upon this review, those involved in acts of violence are identified and ejected from the game. Depending upon the degree of the act of violence, an athlete may be subject to a long or short suspension or even possibly expulsion from the sport. We don’t need a 1/6/2021 Congressional Commission. The evidence is on various videos and media reports – – plain for any rational person to see. It’s time to mete out the punishment. Severe punishment. We are talking about treachery here.