My Choice In November

So this is what it’s come down to and I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way.

The question is, what do I do about it?


I have voted in every Presidential election since 1972. It’s a privilege and right we all have in this country and I never took it lightly.

Now many people say that two things one should never discuss are politics and religion. There’s some truth to that in certain settings. But this is my blog and one of the reasons I started doing this is because it gave me an opportunity to write and an outlet to express my thoughts and feelings about certain things and have honest and respectful exchanges of ideas. If I can’t do that here, then what’s the point of having a blog? I know I’m not concerned about losing sponsors because there aren’t any sponsors to be concerned about, and even if there were, I’m sure their contributions would not alter my lifestyle. I should be concerned about losing followers? I don’t think so. Real followers on here are like friends; if you can’t discuss or express your thoughts with friends then whats the point?

So I believe in God and I’m an independent.

I’ve never understood the idea of belonging to one party or another. I’ve always voted for the most qualified person; someone who I thought had some integrity and would try to what’s best for this country. That’s been more difficult to do in recent years and impossible to find during this recent embarrassment.
There have been years when the choices were not very clear and I had to really struggle to find something; some glimmer of hope or character.

But not this year. This election is void of hope or character.

I have thought about walking into that voting booth so many times and pulling the lever for either candidate and quite honestly the thought makes me sick to my stomach. They are both despicable liars. We can spin their lies in any positive way we like based on who we may support but at the end of the day, neither one is worthy of this office.

I haven’t watched news coverage of this election in months. I see recent headlines that attack each of these candidates as if the news that was uncovered is some new-found revelation of real journalism. But nothing that has been reported in the last few weeks/months should come as a surprise to anyone. These two poor excuses for used car salesmen are who they have been for decades. Why should anyone be surprised at what they read today? Revelations? I don’t think so.

The way I see it, I have a constitutional right to vote. Or not.

I choose not to vote for President of the United States in this election.

I will still vote for any questions that may appear on the ballot and any candidates I choose to support for state and local office, but I can’t in good conscience vote for either of these two human political abominations.

People have suggested I vote for the lesser of two evils. But to me there isn’t a lesser or greater degree of evil. Evil is evil.
People have also suggested that this isn’t an election where we vote for someone but against someone. Sorry, that just doesn’t make sense to me and it’s not the way I vote.

I know people will disagree and complain that no vote is a vote against someone. So be it. They will also say it’s my duty to vote. No, it isn’t. It’s my right. I just choose not to exercise that right in this election and I’m comfortable with my decision.

I don’t know how we got to this point. Three hundred million people in the greatest country in the world and this is what we’re left with; these are our insufferable choices. What an example for our children and the rest of the world.

We should be ashamed of these two grains of sand who are running for office but we should also be ashamed of ourselves for staying silent for so long and allowing politicians and our current political system to dictate to us as they/it has.

Sorry, but I choose not to be electrocuted. I will pray we get through the next four years, that someone presents themselves as an alternative next time around and that as a country we come to our senses.

Imagine if they held an election and no one decided to vote.



Greed, Violence And Sports

There is a 56-year-old man in Baltimore clinging to life today because he was beaten inside the stadium of a Baltimore Ravens football game.

In Alabama, the first three months of football season are the deadliest months of the year because of DUI fatalities.

Not long ago, before a college football game in Nebraska, police had to breakup a tailgate and force 3000 people to leave, after arresting fifteen individuals.

In separate incidents at different stadiums across the country, a group attacked a single man and stabbed him to death, two other people were shot at different times and two men suffered irreparable brain damage after being attacked outside different stadiums.

A two-year old girl who was out on a pumpkin picking trip with her parents will live her life as a paraplegic because of a head-on collision caused by a man who was driving drunk after leaving a professional football game.

Philadelphia Eagles fans are notoriously brutal; so much so that in the late 90’s the club installed a jail and courtroom in the bowels of their stadium where unruly fans were arrested, put on trial and sentenced by a judge who was forced to be in attendance for every home game.

These examples are a microscopic sampling of what goes on before, during and after sporting events in this country. Football games, both college and professional are especially  guilty of this type of behavior. I’m not even addressing the rioting that goes on after teams win or lose championships, as if celebrations need to be intoxicated examples of boorish and irresponsible behavior.

Why? In part, the short answer is alcohol, though the parties involved will quietly move away from that topic because of the financial implications.

Now, I have been a season ticket holder for New York Giants football games for 40 years. For the first 30 years I rarely missed a game, attending well over 300 during that 40 year period. I’ve seen some pretty ugly stuff during that time. I’ve also attended countless baseball games in several ballparks. Also not a pretty picture.

When you take upwards of 80,000 people, many with testosterone issues, and you place them in a parking lot where they’ve been drinking for 3-4 hours before a game starts, then cramp them into a stadium where large amounts of beer is sold, considering there are fans from both teams at these games, you have the strong potential of several thousand angry and drunk individuals. That’s a potent combination and a recipe for dangerous confrontations in and outside of the stadiums.

Statistics tell us that those who tailgate are fourteen times more likely to be legally drunk during or after a game and that one in ten people leaving these games are legally drunk. So in a stadium that holds 80,000 people, 8,000 people are walking out impaired and many of those are getting into car and hitting the roads. Multiply that by hundreds of stadiums across the country on any given weekend.

And yet, very few restrictions are put on these individuals before or after a game.

Look, I love a good tailgate as much as the next person and even though I don’t drink, I don’t have a problem with people who do, as long as they do it responsibly. But if I want to take a child to a game and it’s going to cost me upwards of 250.00 for two tickets, another 30.00 to park and who knows what else inside the stadium, I want to be able to enjoy the entertainment in front of me without  someone throwing around four letter words. I want  to know I can cheer for a team without being attacked because of it, regardless of what stadium I’m in. I want a safe environment and considering the billions of dollars these teams and leagues are generating in revenue, they should be able to provide that for me. It doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

But they won’t do that because the product would suffer. They don’t want to alienate the crazy fans who buy $120.00 team jerseys and they certainly don’t want their beer concession sales to suffer. Both would be a financial hit to the bottom line, and regardless of the smoke and mirrors they place in front of us, it’s always about the bottom line. Restrictions, random testing, increased security, removing people from games before incidents occur, implementing proactive measures to avoid injury or death; these are all things that should be considered but probably never will.

So lives will continue to be altered, families will continue to mourn the loss of loved ones or face a future of long-term care and the games will continue to be played.

Because greed and violence is as much a part of sports as the play on the field.

Anyone who tells you differently works for a team or a league office.


Every Piece Has A Story

I’m not a person who walks into an antique store looking for something to buy. On occasion I have but our home is not filled with antiques. Instead I enjoy the nostalgia aspect of it; revisiting the past and seeing things that I grew up with on store shelves.


I love opening or picking up pieces, imagining their history and where they began their journey. I know it sounds strange to say about inanimate objects but even they have a life. They were once new, bought by someone who was excited to have purchased that piece.

I wonder where that old suitcase has been. What trips it took and why it was originally purchased. A honeymoon perhaps? College? Did it fly when air travel was still in its infancy or did it cross the ocean on a three week voyage.

I try to imagine when that woman’s purse might have been purchased and what valuables it may have held. Did it go on dates? Was it held during a first kiss? Did it attend weddings?

That chest of drawers was new at one time and it held a wardrobe back then. How did it look new? How many addresses has it had?

The dining room table and chairs probably once had a family gathered around it. Who was that family? What holidays, birthdays and special occasions were celebrated around that table?


Jewelry has always fascinated me the most because they are usually special pieces even if it’s only costume jewelry. Did someone purchase it for a special occasion or as a gift for someone special? I always believed the jewelry stories have to be the most interesting because they are not part of those items considered necessary or essential. So the meaning must have special significance.

I also always wonder how these pieces came to be where they are. Was it part of an estate sale or purchased at a flea market or garage sale? I once asked the owner of an antique store how he found some of these pieces and he said many people come in looking to sell them. I suppose they’re either cleaning out the homes of family members or in some cases, their own.


That last thought always leads me to wonder what will happen to the items in our own home. Eventually, it will end up somewhere. Some things will be passed down, some sold, and some may even be thrown out. But every piece, like those I held in my hand in those antique stores, has a story attached to it. Every piece holds value, monetary or sentimental.

I wonder if one day someone will wander through one of these stores and pick up a piece that was once a part of our life. I wonder what they’ll think and if they’ll find it interesting enough to purchase.  If so, I wonder where in their home it might end up. I’d like to think it will bring someone happiness. I hope so anyway.

Because even inanimate objects can bring happiness.

Even inanimate objects have a life.


Excuse Me, Are You Stiff?


We were traveling recently through North Carolina with a side trip on the way home through Appomattox Virginia to visit the National Park and the site of Lee’s surrender to Grant. On the way out, about two miles from the parks entrance, I passed a building that looked like an airline hangar with this sign on the side of the driveway.

img_4606 Now if this were my business and someone suggested this name, I’d probably laugh at the marketing possibilities and then come to my senses. Besides the fact the building looked like a drive through for something I’m not sure of, this is just a bad idea.

Yes, people will take pictures and remember the name but do you want your deceased loved ones taken to a place whose name is a punchline? Suggestion….first names work, as do other more comforting forms of expression.

It actually makes me wonder if the owner’s name is Stiff Bruce and he thought the name might be too insensitive.

You think I’m crazy? Take another look at the photo. The angels seem to be turning away. It seems even heaven has difficulty with the name.

You can start with the punch lines at any time. The possibilities are endless.

Releasing My Inner Dragnet

You know the person I’m about to describe.

The one who enjoys talking even when there’s nothing left to talk about.

The one who repeats what there’s nothing left to talk about so they can speak longer about nothing.

The one who sits in a meeting of any type and asks questions that were already answered just so they can feel important and attempt to suck up to whomever in the room has some degree of influence.

The one who goes to a back to school function and asks the teacher a meaningless question because they have a need to introduce and ingratiate themselves to that person and the entire class of parents who just want to move on and get home after a long day.

The one who can turn a thirty-second story into a five-minute ordeal.

The one who doesn’t understand the definition or advantages of brevity.

The one who talks and asks questions during movies.


I’m a pretty patient person but this type of person gives new meaning to the words cruel and unusual punishment.

If I ask you what time it is, I don’t need to know how the clock or watch was made. I just want the time.

Some people don’t get that simple concept. They begin to tell a story and start taking side trips along the way. So instead of a two-minute journey, we have to endure a ten minute odyssey. By the time they get done, I usually forget what the original story was supposed to be about.

This might sound sacrilegious but I feel the same way in church. We have priests that will use the pulpit as a stage and go on for 20-25 minutes, repeating what they already said in different ways. Do they think I’m oblivious to that little trick?
The flip side to this practice are priests that are very effective and to the point in less than ten minutes.

The same holds true in day-to-day life. I am a strong believer in the concept that less is almost always more. 

Whenever I’ve been in meetings where there were more than 3-4 people present, very little got accomplished. Primarily because everyone had their own agenda, no one stayed on topic and I usually walked away thinking I Just wasted an hour, or more, of my day.


The old saying is that God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason.

If there is something that needs to be said, by all means get to the point as quickly as possible before I tune you out completely and think about whether continuing to listen to you or sliding bamboo shoots under my nails is a better alternative.

As legendary Detective Sergeant Joe Friday of Dragnet fame said, “Just the facts, ma’am.”



Is This Hell? No, It’s A Car Buying Experience

True story…

A few years ago I walked into an auto dealership to test drive a new vehicle intending to lease. I was met by a gentleman who took me for the drive. When we got back to the dealership he spoke with me for a short time and when he realized we weren’t close on price he excused himself and within a few minutes an attractive young lady, (I’m being kind), approached me. She was wearing a short skin-tight dress that was cut much too low in the front. My guess is, she was the greaser. For the next few minutes she smiled, leaned over and explained to me the benefits of the vehicle I was thinking about leasing. When I didn’t move on the price, she excused herself and out came her sales manger, a rather slick-looking gentleman who was obviously in love with himself and wanted me to feel the same way. At this point I was somewhere between amused and feeling like I needed a shower. He tried to educate me on the car buying experience; what I should expect, how the money factor works, how little dealerships make on each car and how much I’m going to enjoy having my car serviced there because they’re all one big happy family.
The dealership was five minutes from my home. I ended up traveling forty minutes to get the car from another dealership because I didn’t want to feel like I was entering a brothel every time I walked in there to get my car serviced.

The process of buying or leasing a car is draining. Even when I try to have fun with it and smile at the sales people and their obvious attempts of insulting your intelligence, it’s usually a train wreck.

Used car

So last week I walked into a dealership to lease. I gave them my specs and they gave me a price but I usually shop around so I contacted an internet sales person  at another dealership who gave me a price that was less. The next day I went in expecting the bait and switch routine, however I underestimated their ranking on the sleazy meter. When they presented the price to me it was 165.00 a month more than what they quoted on the phone. I Just looked at them and asked if they were kidding. After only a two or three minutes of shaking my head and telling them how unprofessional I thought they were, the sales manager “recalculated” the numbers and dropped the price 120.00.

In just a few minutes.


How can I possibly take this place seriously?

I walked out, responded to a followup note the car salesman sent me and told them what I thought. It wasn’t pretty.


Why does buying or leasing a car have to be some damn difficult? I learned a long time ago in business negotiation that you should never be the one to take the last dollar off the table. The best deals are when everyone wins and walks away happy. But car buying seems to fly in the face of that logic.

Some years ago Saturn decided that there would be no haggling over price. They developed a one price policy for their line of cars. When you walked in to the showroom, you knew what you were going to pay.  I didn’t like the styling of Saturn’s but for those who did, it seemed like a great idea.

Then they went out of business.

Don’t even say what you’re thinking.