Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sweet Relief

I won't say what it was about, but my wife was as mad at me as she has ever been for the last couple days.  It was to the point that I actually thought she might leave me.

It definitely wasn't about politics, so get that off your mind!

Up until we made up yesterday, I had to seriously consider what it would be like if she did leave and take my children away from me.  My oldest son needs me more than my youngest does, and it would kill him, after all the promises I made that divorce happens to other families.  My youngest son would be lost without his mother.  He's my bestest little buddy, but he's momma's cuddle bug.  As a child I went through divorce four times; the first two were devastating.

And of course there is my wife, who admittedly I take for granted in many ways.  I've always been secure in the fact that she loves me.  We aren't just some couple that have fallen into a rhythm of co-existence.  We work on being better for one another.  Last weekend was devastating, and it demonstrated how disatrously close any relationship, no matter how strong, is one wrong move away from destruction.  Alliterate much?

And as a side note, here is a survival note for all you husbands out there.  Women think completely different than we do.  They are emotional first, and that trumps reason.  That's not to say reason doesn't exist, but emotion needs an outlet and the best thing, if you have the stamina, is don't staunch the flow until it's all out.

But in that time when I was considering my future alone, I really came to appreciate what I have.  I didn't care about politics, my future, playing my guitar, World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, not even about eating.  Nothing mattered anymore.

Life is back to normal again, and I'm the luckiest guy I know.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Victor Davis Hanson

If I had to choose one person in this world I would like to meet, Victor Davis Hanson might just be the one.  In conservative writing circles, he is highly regarded.  I first read about him in a column by James Lileks, one of the wittiest writers I have ever read, and whose political observations I respect immensely. He commented once that VDH had made a reference to something he (Lileks) had written, and was so moved, so humbly honored to be linked by someone he considered to be in a whole other league.  I had to check him out.

And guess what--his humility was well-justified.

I linked VDH to a friend of mine once, and after initially being impressed with the article, he was able to debunk all of it by telling me that Hanson was a Hoover Institute Fellow.  Hanson's most recent missive details the state of the political race as he sees it today.  This is a great summation of the frustration I feel with Palin-bashing and the inevitable course towards a socialist society that we are heading.  

Read it here.  

In other news: PUMAs and Democrats for McCain?  Sounds like wishful thinking, but I don't think anyone voting for McCain is going to be fooled into staying home on election day.  

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Orson Scott Card : Democrat

Now here is a Democrat who tells it like it is.  Orson Scott Card, I salute you, sir.  Better than I could have ever said it, this is the bare-knuckled truth that needs to be told.

Has anybody been paying attention to what Biden has been saying lately, predicting an international crisis specifically because Obama will be president?  Hillary supporters are questioning whether or not Biden is hinting at a potential Obama-instituted military draft.  Palin is starting to look like a genius.  

Here is a conservative argument against Obama as president.  Is he really going to take down missile defense systems?  When Obama says cut spending does he really mean to scale back on defense spending?  Naive to say the least, and very dangerous.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Forgive me, Mr. Tolle

It's easy to forget that Jackson is only eight years old, given his height and maturity. He has a tendency to give up too soon on new things. He simply loses interest. There's no communication for the most part. Under questioning, he tends to allow for anything I suggest as the cause, leading me to think that he either doesn't know or doesn't want to talk about it. A couple months back I finally got to the bottom of it.

I'm not sure if I posted about this, but I pulled him from our local soccer program and myself from coaching and participating in board activities. Jackson didn't want to play anymore either, so that made the decision final. If he had wanted to play I would have tolerated the cock and bull. I asked him if he wanted to try flag football instead. He said no. And here we went again. Always no to something new.

"What is it about football that you don't like?"

"I don't know."

I had to be careful here. For some reason I really want him to play football and I have to do the Eckhardt Tolle self-test. Why is it so important to me? He recently quit his guitar lessons (Beth, you knew this was coming!) and I let him off the hook. Music should be fun, not a chore. I haven't given up; I'm just considering a new angle. But here is a sport that is, for the time being, non-contact that involves a lot of running—one of Jackson's favorite things in life. So I tried this:

"You love playing tag with your friends at recess, right?"


"Flag football is just organized tag. The guy with the ball is It."

He still looked dubious. I pressed on.

"What is it that you don't like about it?"

He seemed to struggle for a moment, but then pushed out the golden nugget. "I don't know how to play. It's confusing."

So there it is; he's just like me.

Long story short, he agreed to play with my assurances that the game is easy to understand once you have played, and that I would make sure he understood. Turns out I went one better when the league coordinator told me they needed a coach.

So I'm baaack in the saddle again.

We won our first game and got slaughtered in our second, but in the latter case we learned a fair clip about defense. Jackson ran a touchdown on his first touch in the first game, but in our second game, we were pretty much shut out because the team we played had played together to two previous seasons, and was all reverses and fakes—their QB (the coach's son) had a beautiful fake pass that turned into a handoff to his runningback waiting behind him. My boys were totally confused until I put my two fastest kids on either end of the field and told them not to move until they were sure the ball was going the other way. After that, we shut them out. The damage was already done, but we left a better team.

Jackson told me afterwards that it wasn't as fun anymore. I thought about telling him about how it's not winning but in how you played the game, but that is the age old cop-out. Instead I said, "It wasn't your fault or the fault of any of your teammates that we lost today. That was all on the coach for not having you ready to play. We'll work on a few things this week and you'll see what a difference it will make."

So yesterday we won by three touchdowns, but it could have been a whole lot worse. In our previous game, the kids couldn't snap the ball quick enough and didn't know the plays. Our defensive issues I've described. This week I created three plays that always start the same way, so that the center, quarterback and running back either go right or left. Easy. Nothing to remember. The only differences are these: in the first case, the running back runs the ball; the second, the running back gives the ball to the wide receiver for a reverse; and in the third, the running back fakes the reverse and passes the ball. Then we practiced ad nauseum the snap and handoff to the running back.

The difference was remarkable.

The highlights of the game were amazing. Almost every player had a touchdown. Jackson's came on defense. Twice he picked the ball in front of the receiver and ran it back for a touchdown. We even had one of our kids throw a touchdown pass that was so pretty you wouldn't have believed two kids were involved. The pass was a spiral that hit the other kid in stride.

Jackson told me after the game that on one of his picks he duped the quarterback by letting his guy go so that he appeared to be wide open.

I think he's starting to get it.

After the game, one of the boys from last week's team, the aforementioned QB and coaches son, had a birthday party, so all the kids gathered and played even more football. I was on the sideline. Jackson lined up as a runningback and a kid on the other team said, "If Jackson gets that football we're dead!" He did get the football, and it was the prettiest run I've ever seen him do. In the first game we played, he ran around the corner and just sprinted away from everyone. On this day he looked more like Adrian Peterson or Barry Sanders, planting and switching directions three times while ever pressing forward with defenders grabbing at the ghost images he left behind. He's long and lean, and by far the fastest kid in the league.

Are you sensing a little pride?

You'll have to forgive me, Mr. Tolle, but my head is swelling.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

I Wonder

You might think from my last post that I'm voting for McCain. I'm not voting for Obama for the reasons I stated before and others I didn't (and nothing racial in case someone wants to pounce on that). I've decided that after the bailout bill I can't vote for either candidate. McCain's main message is that he is going to make anyone famous that tries to put pork into a bill that crosses his desk. How about the 150 billion of just such in the bill he just voted for? If he was serious then he would have voted against it. Instead, just like Obama, he didn't think the political risk was worth it.

This two party system creates the illusion that someone is right and someone is wrong. We stack what we like in the left column and justify and minimize everything else in the right. I really like what Palin said about living within our means, just like our parents told us to do when we got our first credit card (for the record, my first credit card was backed by my bank account so there was never any choice for the first couple years--and my dad has never had a credit card because that leaves a paper trail for the government to follow).

Palin isn't running for president, and she isn't ready for that anyway (so take a deep breath and count to ten). I think she'll become the next Alaskan senator and work her way up the chain. I'm pretty sure Obama is going to win because the country is in a panic and change will be the biggest motivating factor. Obama will spend and increase taxes and kill jobs and make things worse, unless the economy is ready on it's own to adjust upwards, which I doubt. Meanwhile jobs will still move out of the country because it will be increasingly cheaper to do business outside the country. McCain, I hate to say it, really does mean more of the same. He proved it with his vote for the bailout.

So strap up people. I really have no idea what all this means, but it's got me spooked.

Friday, October 03, 2008


I have to say that the last couple weeks, since I last posted, have been a real low point in American journalism--and that is really saying something. Gibson and Couric did their level best to take Sarah Palin out of the race, and very nearly succeeded. Last night's vice-presidential debate reset the typewriter of this election to the home position. Palin held herself up high and squealched any and all doubts her supporters had about her. The key word being her supporters. I would also add that she likely attracted many fence-walkers as well.

She wasn't perfect, avoiding questions that she either didn't want to answer or couldn't answer, while Senator Biden was direct. The difference between the two in my estimation is that Palin didn't pretend to know what she didn't know; Biden on the other hand, and quite cleverly I should add, made deliberate or willful misrepresentations on a range of topics, including John McCain's voting record. These canards served to create the illusion that his arguments had substance. Palin talked straight, and the contrast was sharp.

A long time Washington insider would have flayed him alive, but that leads to the next subject: Respect. We heard a whole lot of it last night, such that I haven't seen since Ross Perot lost the presidency to Bill Clinton and told his booing supporters to get behind their new president. Biden not only showed respect for Sarah Palin (er, Governor Palin), but also for John McCain. I walked away from this thinking that Joe Biden is a good man.

Listen, I know many of you don't think Sarah Palin has the experience necessary to step into the role of Vice President. I'm sympathetic to that view point. I'm a bit of a dreamer and a romantic, as are many Obama supporters. I can't help but get the Jimmy Stewart vibe from her, a small town American headed to Washington to break through the barriers of politics to make a fundamental difference. It takes force of character and charm. Regardless of how this race turns out, we haven't seen the last of Sarah Palin. With a couple more years of schooling she'll be Hilary Clinton times two with a personality akin to ol' Bills.

What I find ironic is that so many of her detractors women. I respect any criticism that speaks to her credentials or past history as it applies to the job she has done in office. Recently Sandra Bernhardt commented that Palin would get gang raped if she walked alone in New York City. I understand that Palin is not her candidate, but is this necessary? Have some respect for a woman who has achieved so much to be standing toe-to-toe with Joe Biden on the national stage. Women have come a long way. And not just any woman, but an attractive woman that is not hiding her femininity to fit in with the male establishment. It's a huge stride that should be aknowledged instead of mocked.

None of this is taking anything from Obama, whose achievements deserve similar attention. This election for me comes down to who is better on economics and security. My opinion is that Obama's taxation policies will take money from the rich, which on the surface seems fair. The net effect however will be the loss of jobs as corporations scale back to pay for the costs, which will have the further effect of decreasing tax revenues and increasing payouts for unemployment and possibly other social programs. I also don't believe in the time-table pullout from Iraq. We leave when we can and no sooner. Politics cannot determine war policy, and that is exactly what Obama represents.

Democrats are licking their chops over the damage that the bailout has caused the McCain campaign, and it might just be the golden egg that gets their candidate elected. But I think McCain has it in his back pocket that it was Barney Frank and like-minded Democrats that blocked efforts by the Bush administration to regulate Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, which may have prevented the current crisis.