Thursday, January 26, 2017

Staying positive while the world keeps turning

Happy reading: It's 738 pages
       So after a 2 1/2-week blogging break, we're back because I know you eagerly -- anxiously? -- have been waiting.
       The blogs are supposed to make a point, but sometimes I'm just writing to be writing, just to say hello and catch you up on our lives.
       We have a big day -- anniversary -- coming up in 11 days. Wait for it; watch this space. 
       There were several reasons for the break, most notably the change in the political atmosphere. I'm not going to go into politics again -- much -- since we all have our minds made up anyway.
       What I will say is that, no matter what, the intention here is to remain positive. Heck, no, I don't like a lot of what is happening; I think it's a bizarre world -- you must remember that from previous blogs -- but the only control I have is over my own thoughts.
       So I take the positives out of each day, and I keep my gratitude journal, and I always find something for which to be grateful.
       Hope you do, too.
       Life has its challenges, though. Let's see:
       My cellphone died two weeks ago on a trip to  Shreveport; there was no bringing it back.  Hello, new cellphone. Still trying to figure out how to use it.
       Yesterday afternoon the water heater in the apartment went cold. Not good. Work order turned in; repairs made. Looking forward to a hot shower after my daily walk in a few minutes.
        Facebook changed its Messenger page; I don't like it. Technology wins out again. Quit messing with me.
        Then there was this: A two-week battle with bronchitis. A first for me -- cough, cough. It only took nine days for my caring, overly concerned wife to convince me to go to an urgent care clinic. A few meds -- and a thousand more coughs later -- and I'm (almost) well. 
       You know when, for 13 days, I don't go to the Downtown YMCA for yoga/stretching and when I get in only one daily walk in the same time frame that I'm off-course.
       Please hold the sympathy notes. I am not often sick and I don't do it well, but I have a friend who injured herself in a fall while running, one who is paralyzed and mostly bed-ridden, a couple dealing with cancer (and treatment), and one who had open-heart surgery Thursday. So bronchitis is nothin'.
       The time away from blogging left me with other goals, and a lot on which to comment: 
        Still promoting my book, Survivors: 62511, 70726. Uh, sales are down a bit from November and December. So check Amazon or CreateSpace, and tell your friends.
        Spent much time researching professional baseball history in Shreveport, a project that might lead to a publication. It is a daunting task. If anyone reading this has stories or photos to share from the Shreveport Sports/Captains/Swamp Dragons days, let me know.
        Lots of time to watch sports ... but it has its limits.  Friends can hardly believe this when I tell them: I seldom enjoy watching games, in person or on TV, these days. I find much hypocrisy in athletics, college and/or pro. Just where I am in life; it's probably a blog piece in itself.
        I did record a number of the college bowl games and College Football Playoffs and watched them later. (Bea is so anti-football that I don't subject her to the sport, and I'm less of a football fan every day.)
       Did not even watch LSU-Louisville live. Had other things to do that day, and did not begin watching the game until a couple of hours it was over (stayed off social media, so I did not know the score). Great effort by the Tigers. 
        Did not watch any of the NFL playoffs live; no, not even the Cowboys. Sure I rooted for the Cowboys -- I always have -- and it's easy to root for QB Dak Prescott (from Haughton, La.), but it's hard to feel sorry for Jerry Jones and the Jones family.
       I won't watch the Super Bowl, haven't watched it live for several years. Will record it; might or might not watch. Bottom line: I just don't care much about the NFL.
       I will root for the Atlanta Falcons, although I think the New England Patriots -- again -- will win the Super Bowl. As a New York Yankees fan, I should appreciate a "dynasty" franchise. But I am not a Patriots' fan, never have been, never will be.
       Believe, strongly, that Tom Brady is the best quarterback ever -- that's for my old late 1980s friends from  the Florida Times-Union sports staff who argued about that status every day for months -- and that Bill Belichick is arguably the best NFL coach ever. But Belichick (my opinion) is a boor, or a bore, whatever. Takes the fun out of the game, although some people thinking winning is fun.
       And speaking of boor/bore/no-fun-except-winning, how about Belichick's close friend, Nick Saban?
       No question the Clemson-Alabama national championship game was tremendous, and to me it proved how great an effort it takes to (barely) beat Alabama (and Saban). You have to know that nationally the only fans not rooting for Clemson were Alabama fans.
       Also in my "don't care" category: the NFL's Pro Bowl; the NHL All-Star Game; the NBA All-Star Game; tennis (Australian Open). OK, I'm more cynical than ever.
       Which takes me to college football recruiting, as it nears National Signing Day. I've written this previously, and I repeat: This is so overblown, so overdone, so unhealthy -- I believe -- for the kids' egos (and the fans' egos). I advise again: Don't put so much stock in the "verbal commitments" by these 17- and 18-year-olds. Waiting until they sign the scholarship papers and, beyond that, they actually qualify academically and enroll in school.
        I wish I could care more about college basketball, but with the way LSU's men are playing -- 30-point losses are mounting -- it is discouraging. The less I say, the better. March Madness can't come soon enough.
        We're going to miss Mary Tyler Moore. She was one of America's Sweethearts -- Laura Petrie of the 1960s, Mary Richards of the 1970s. Like many of us, she had her issues, but didn't you love her smiling face? 
        No more "you're looking live" at Brent Musburger, thank you. Sorry, not going to miss him. It's about time he left TV sports play-by-play to others. I liked that he was a newspaper sports columnist decades ago, but once he went to television -- and we saw him so often -- I got the feeling that Brent's biggest fan was/is ... Brent.
       So I mostly used the "mute" button for his games on TV, and I occasionally would turn on the sound to hear him proclaim something stupid. He never failed.
       And speaking of "mute" -- fair warning -- I now turn to a bit of politics. You can stop reading here. 
       We won't be listening on our TV to President Barnum's omnipresent "spokespeople," known here as Wicked Woman and Press Attack Dog. They have no voice here.
       Here is the coolest thing I did in these 2 1/2 weeks; I fulfilled a promise to Bea, and myself, to (1) finish reading Hamilton The Revolution, the book on the genesis, writing, production and organization of the play and (2) kept reading Ron Chernow's Alexander Hamilton (I am through 106 pages; only 632 to go).  
       You know Hamilton, the "overrated" Broadway play that won only 11 Tony Awards.
       It reminds me that a couple of months ago when you-know-who was critical in two tweets of the Hamilton cast's "statement" to the Vice-President-elect and I posted how outrageous that was, I was told -- repeatedly -- that the statement was ill-timed and out-of-place. 
       And my reply was: If you think this was a protest, you haven't seen anything yet.
       Now you're seeing the protests, in all forms ... day after day after day, from shore to shore and beyond. And it's not going to stop for four years. 
       Hamilton, of course, reminds us how divided our political world always has been, since the beginning of this great country. It did not start with the previous President.
       George Washington had his critics, but Hamilton had enemies, among them Thomas Jefferson and -- yes -- Aaron Burr. And Burr, the then-Vice President,  shot the former Secretary of the Treasury to death in a duel.   
       Build that wall. Attack the "dishonest, lying" media. Send federal troops to protect the Alamo from the Mexican army. Watch the bizarre world turn every day.
       Take heart: No duels are scheduled ... yet.
       Here's what I repeat: Stay positive. Deal with it.   


  1. Nico, you must have missed Steve Bannon's admonition to you and the other "humiliated" journalists to "keep your mouths shut." I am reluctant to mention Fascism to you, of all people, but this abuse of the press and the right of the press to report the truth is headed right down that path. It is positive to say "Deal with it," but please don't hesitate to call him out; we need you and other reporters to keep us focused on this dreadful reality. Thanks. Mark

  2. How clever - I might take your advice and try to ignore our sad situation with Netanyahu - our problem and I think I'll try to do the same and try to listen less to the radio and watch less TV when he makes his compose speeches ...

  3. From Thomas Aswell: You wrote -- "Friends can hardly believe this when I tell them: I seldom enjoy watching games, in person or on TV, these days."
    ... And I thought it was just me ...

  4. From Tim Looney: I agree with you on LSU (Citrus Bowl game and the basketball team), Brent Musburger, and the Patriots likely winning the Super Bowl (which I too will not watch). Other than the football Tigers, I feel the same way -- not interested in NFL, NBA, NHL, or even college roundball anymore.
    Enjoy your blogs. Even when I disagree. Friends can disagree and still be friends. That's one of the great things about being friends.
    Oh, and I loved Mary Tyler Moore.

  5. From Dee Bustillo: I agree! "Stay positive and deal with it." Well said! All this negativity is getting ridiculous. People seem to thrive on the negative, in every aspect of their lives, these days. Not fun!

  6. From Doug Bland: You covered a lot of ground for someone that is "retired." If you get a chance read the article on college recruiting in this week's Sports Illustrated. It will get you fired up.

  7. From Teddy Allen: Great minds run in the same gutter. I read your politics blog and smiled.

  8. From Richard T Priddy: Stay positive. Enjoy your blogs.