Tuesday, September 30, 2014

When The Going Get's Tough!

Oakland Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin, oops, I mean Tom Cable, double oops, who I really mean is Dennis Allen, has been shown the exit door after losing all four games of the young 2014 season. Everyone saw it coming and really there's no surprise.

It was time for a change and since you can't change all 53 players four games in, might as well change the coach who calls all the shots.  As far as I know it was only Allen who was let go.  

Announced as interim head coach today was assistant head coach and offensive line coach, tough Tony Sparano.

So here we sit Raiders fans, staring at a dismal 0-4 record; swapping a losing coach for an underachieving interim coach who got his NFL start as offensive quality control in Cleveland; we're coming off an embarrassing beatdown, broadcast internationally from London, where our best player, rookie quarterback Derek Carr, was injured and did not finish the game; our fabulous female cheerleaders just reached a $1.25 million lawsuit settlement with the team; and if all that isn't enough, San Antonio, Texas is wooing owner Mark Davis to transplant our beloved Raiders to cowboy country, to represent alongside their silver and black Spurs, the current NBA champions.

If you ask me I think we got'em right where we want them. Nobody expects much fight from a team with so much against it.  But the Raiders have always been an us against them team and will somehow find a way to pull themselves together and fight to the last. If the saying "when the going get's tough, the tough get going" bares any truth, then the silver and black are living it right now and must get this thing moving forward.  The going is tough, but there's plenty of football left to play.  This thing ain't over!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

J. California Cooper

A most gifted storyteller and family friend passed away recently, and we are left to our lasting memories of her.  Author J. California Cooper was introduced to my family by a cousin of ours who worked for one of JCC's publishers.  When JCC visited our upstate New York family home she sat out on the porch and immediately began popping off stories as quickly as a rapper pops rhymes.

JCC found inspiration in the countryside, and anyone within earshot was hypnotized by her ability to paint in words her minute observations of the moment. 

She'd see an old tired ant lugging its dead comrade on its back across a sidewalk and there began a story. She'd look at the old walnut and elm trees that lined our street swaying in the mountain breeze and another story would develop. Her view of the multi-colored autumn mountain with its long abandoned trolley track slithering down its summit brought out stories that had listeners envisioning Hannibal crossing the alps on elephants.  

Yes, J. California Cooper could make one see, smell and taste her words as she cooked up story after story from organic, homegrown ingredients. You'd become as a child in her hands. And you'd never look at an ant, a tree or a mountain in the same dull way.

I remember visiting her in Gualala, Calif., a small coastal community up near Bodega Bay.  The area looked as if it were a hidden hamlet that catered to visiting uppercrust professionals.  But who would've thought that residing in one of the homes, there to write her next book, was JCC trying desperately to keep to herself and not be disturbed. When her creative juices were focused on a writing project, you couldn't just drop in on JCC. If you did you did it at your own risk.

During my visit I learned a great lesson from JCC. As we were walking around the yard to the patio area at the side of the house, she began telling the story of how she came to purchase the home. I remember that every time she spoke of the house she would reach out and touch it gently, as if touching a close friend. She explained that it wasn't so much the money that reflected her success back to her, but things she could call hers; things she could reach out and touch, feel and pass on to her family. She loved tangible things and people. 

I remember her expressing her love for her daughter Paris in a way that made them seem like best friends forever.  It wasn't your usual parent bragging about their child, but more like a child sharing the many ways her child-parent directs, guides and adds spice to her life.  It was all love.

JCC had that artist's way of looking at everything in life.  She gulped down life's nectar in pitcher fulls. I'm sure that wherever the afterlife leads her, there you'd find her encircled by a captive audience, giving a descriptive version of this new paradise she's joined and the spectacular journey that brought her there.

Farwell J. California Cooper, Dasvidaniya! (until we meet again; russian)


Fear Not

Yes, I stole this from a website titled THEBOLDLIFE; inspiration for fearless living.  Actually, I'd like to think of it as borrowing because anything that helps others overcome obstacles in life must be borrowed and shared.  

It was quote #18 by Ralfph Waldo Emerson that led me to this list. You can never have too many quotes about how best to handle your fears.

Fear Not!

53 of the Best Quotes On Fear

I offer you these quotes as a gift of encouragement. If there is something you fear today let them guide you in the direction of your dreams!
1. Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears. ~Les Brown
2. The first and great commandment is: Don't let them scare you. ~Elmer Davis
3. I have accepted fear as a part of life – specifically the fear of change…. I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: turn back.  ~Erica Jong
4. Do not let your fears choose your destiny. ~ Unknown
5. Fear is never a reason for quitting; it is only an excuse. ~Norman Vincent Peale 
6. Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom. ~Mary Ferguson
7. Where fear is, happiness is not. ~Seneca
8. Fear is a habit, so is self-pity, defeat, anxiety, despair, hopelessness and resignation. You can eliminate all of these negative habits with two simple resolves," I can! and I will!" 
9. Do what you fear most and you control fear. Tom Hopkins
10. Procrastination is the fear of success. People procrastinate because they are afraid of the success that they know will result if they move ahead now. Because success is heavy, carries a responsibility with it, it is much easier to procrastinate and live on the 'someday I'll' philosophy. Denis Waitley
11. Fear is faith that it won't work out. 
12. There are four ways you can handle fear. You can go over it, under it, or around it. But if you are ever to put fear behind you, you must walk straight through it. Once you put fear behind you. Leave it there. ~Donna Favors
13. Fear can keep us up all night long, but faith makes one fine pillow.
14. Confront your fears, list them, get to know them, and only then will you be able to put them aside and move ahead. ~Jerry Gille
15. Fear isn't an excuse to come to a standstill. It's the impetus to step up and strike. ~Arthur Ashe
16. Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. ~Dale Carnegie
17. To be a star, you must shine your own light, follow your path, and don't worry about the darkness, for that is when the stars shine brightest.
18. Always do what you are afraid to do. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
19. You can conquer almost any fear if you will only make up your mind to do so. For remember, fear doesn't exist anywhere except in the mind. ~Dale Carnegie
20. Thinking will not overcome fear but action will. ~W. Clement Stone
21. Do the thing you fear to do and keep on doing it…that is the quickest and surest way ever yet discovered to conquer fear."
22. The key to change….is to let go of fear. ~Rosanne Cash
23. Somebody should tell us…right at the start of our lives…that we are dying. Then we might live to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows. ~Michael Landon
24. Fear is a darkroom where negatives develop.  ~Usman B. Asif
25. Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death.  ~Author Unknown
26. A cheerful frame of mind, reinforced by relaxation… is the medicine that puts all ghosts of fear on the run.  ~George Matthew Adams
27. To fear is one thing.  To let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another.  ~Katherine Paterson
28. He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
29. Many of our fears are tissue-paper-thin, and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them.  ~Brendan Francis
30. Panic at the thought of doing a thing is a challenge to do it.  ~Henry S. Haskins
31. Obstacles are like wild animals.  They are cowards but they will bluff you if they can.  If they see you are afraid of them… they are liable to spring upon you; but if you look them squarely in the eye, they will slink out of sight.  ~Orison Swett Marden
32. I've got more energy now than when I was younger because I know exactly what I want to do. ~George Balanchine
33. You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith.  ~Mary Manin Morrissey
34. What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?
35. Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most. ~Dostoyevsky
36. I am kind of paranoid in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy. ~J.D. Salinger
37. I was never afraid of failure, for I would sooner fail than not be among the best. ~John Keats
38. Go back a little to leap further. John Clarke
39. I was never afraid of failure, for I would sooner fail than not be among the best. ~John Keats
40. I failed my way to success.~Thomas Edison
 41. To use fear as the friend it is, we must retrain and reprogram ourselves. We must persistently and convincingly tell ourselves that the fear is here–with its gift of energy and heightened awareness–so we can do our best and learn the most in the new situation. ~Peter Williams
42. "Fearless" is living in spite of those things that scare you to death. ~Taylor Swift
43. I must not fear.

Fear is the mind-killer.

Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.

I will face my fear.

I will permit it to pass over me and through me.

And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.

Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.

Only I will remain. ~Frank Herbert
44. Start a huge, foolish project like Noah. It makes absolutely no difference what people think of you. ~Rumi
45. To live in the world of creation—to get into it and stay in it–to frequent it and haunt it…to think intently and fruitfully, to woo combinations and inspirations into being by a depth and continuity of attention and meditation–this is the only thing. ~Henry James
46. Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is  more important than fear. ~Ambrose Redmoon
47. We are all of us failures–at least, the best of us are. ~James Barrie
48. Where ever fear shadows…. that always means there is a light shining somewhere. ~Jonathan Santos
49. That feeling isn't fear, it's just telling you to MOVE !! ~Rancid
50. The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one. ~ E Hubbard
51. Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it. ~ Bill Cosby
52. A mind focused on doubt and fear cannot focus on the journey to victory. ~ Mike Jones
53. Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. ~Dale Carnegie 
If you need to make a change and fear is holding your back, ask yourself these 3 questions:
What is the best outcome that can happen?

What is the worst outcome that can possibly happen?

What is the result of remaining the same?
My friend Steve Aitchison has a post today, "How Far Off Are You From Reaching Your Dreams," stop by and check it out!
 Please share any thoughts with us below.
- See more at: http://theboldlife.com/2011/08/101-quotes-fear/#sthash.z9vdWCCX.dpuf

Friday, September 19, 2014

How About We Just Cancel Christmas!

Maybe the NFL should just cancel the season and spend the winter months rewriting their "code of conduct" policy for players and all involved in the game.  Sheesh!

Has America gone mad or what?  These are sports figures playing a game for a living, not catholic priests who minister to our souls.  I just don't understand how in a culture that allows children to play some of the most violent video games, watch the most violent television and movie shows and air some of the most sexist and violent advertisements you could imagine find themselves shocked when a segment of that culture is found displaying the exact behavior found in consumer products being marketed to them.

Some football players are doing what all segments of our society do; they behave badly, make mistakes and are sometimes caught doing so.  There are doctors, lawyers, politicians, priests, policemen, business men and women who have been caught at their worst. Most of these professions hold a public trust in society and are therefore held to a higher standard. Athletes might choose to perform public and charitable service, but most are not required to do so. And seldom are their crimes committed on the playing field. 

And let us not forget that there are a limited number of professional athletes playing in any sport, whereas other professions list hundreds of thousands practicing their craft.  Maybe the percentage of football players arrested per capita is much higher than any of the groups I've mentioned, but I think it says more about the people they attract than the players themselves.  Hollywood is full of actors and actresses behaving badly and yet we as consumers are quick to forgive them their trespasses as we rush out to see their latest blockbuster movie. 

So what is this eyes on the NFL behaving badly really all about?  Money and jealousy; perhaps. Truths and lies; maybe.  Sponsors running scared; definitely.

During football season just about every known product advertised throws in a football angled ad. Everybody gets into the act when it comes to the NFL, because its where the money is at. Here's one aimed at appealing to feminine beauty:

Just in time for NFL kickoff, your nails can now match your favorite team jersey with CoverGirl’s 32 “fanicure” sets. Available at CoverGirl.com/NFL, each set includes two to five nail polishes at $5.49 per bottle. The beauty brand is also making fan-art easy with step-by-step tutorials for extra fanicure flair.

The NFL's mistake was that they started marketing the game as a fun for the family event and became powerful enough to sweep the 'not so family fun episodes' under the rug.  Well folks, that rug has gotten lumpy and bumpy with piles of dirty debris and now the watchdogs, always on the prowl for hidden dirt, are looking with eyes wide open and mouths salivating.  

Has anyone found out how much TMZ paid and/or profited from releasing the Ray Rice surveillance footage?  They should be forced by congressional hearing to reveal their source. You seriously don't think they did it for the good of bringing a domestic violence offender to justice do you? Money. Watching the footage says as much about us as it does about Ray Rice and the NFL. And yes, Casinos have become the great American escape to the land of opportunity. Except instead of poor immigrants traveling to work and worship freely, you have spoiled citizens traveling to party and get richer quicker.

Imagine if the NFL did decide to cancel christmas and shutdown their show for the rest of the season.  How would you spend your winter? How would all those football analysts, journalists, talk show hosts, commentators and others making a living off the talents of these athletes make the money they're accustomed to each season?  

It would probably teach us all a very good lesson about throwing stones in glass houses.  Because to me a season without football would be a dead and dry season. Basketball and Hockey would have a field day as other entertainment would vie for the consumer's idle football Money. Money that became available when America got a peek at itself and didn't like what it saw in the mirror.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Giants, Dodgers, And Not A Peep From The Fat Lady

Ten games of baseball left to decide who will wear the NL West Division crown.  The high priced, media favored Los Angeles Dodgers still have a vice-grip grasp on first place, but the scrappy, rodney dangerfield of baseball keeps picking itself off the wildcard heap and biting at the heels of the Dodgers.

The San Francisco Giants in two days went from four games back to two and are smelling the fumes of a division crown getting closer. Granted, they'll probably need outside help along the way, but a lot can happen on the way to a postseason.  

Manager Bruce Bochy and company must take the bull by the horns and wrestle that division crown out of the jaws of  judas.  Damn right I hate the frickin Dodgers.  They're the real devil in a blue dress if you ask me.  But more than hating to see satan wearing our western crown, I want another San Francisco championship parade come October.  And Da'Bums from L.A. are in the way.  They must be exorcised!

Go Giants!

Major League Baseball
Scores & Schedule

  1. Thu, Sep 11
  2. Fri, Sep 12
  3. Sat, Sep 13
  4. Sun, Sep 14
  5. Mon, Sep 15
  6. Tue, Sep 16
  7. Wed, Sep 17
  8. Thu, Sep 18
  9. Fri, Sep 19
  10. Sat, Sep 20





Monday, September 15, 2014

Raiders Stinking Up The Joint

The only comfort the Oakland Raiders can take from yesterday's ugly loss-number-two on the season is their cross-bay rival San Francisco 49ers upsetting come-from-in-front loss against Chicago

The Niners were playing their first regular season game at the new stadium in Santa Clara, where seating is priced out of range for many of the old Candlestick crowd. Maybe that's the reason for their opening game collapse at the sparkling new structure; soft, cushy, laid back atmosphere infects home team. That and three Colin Kaepernick interceptions will surely put a dent into any red and gold homecoming. The Bears came from seventeen down to overtake the Niners and hold on for the win. 

But enough about the spoiled kids from the silicon valley choking, if you were at the blue collar silver and black coliseum yesterday you saw hope for a brighter future disappear before the first quarter ended. Hope was replaced by skepticism and the bleak outlook of watching another Raiders season swirling around the toilet bowl as the flushing commences.  
How stinky was it you might ask? When Raiders wide receiver James Jones catches a pass, fumbles, scoops up fumble and runs before being tackled and fumbling again near the goal for a turnover, your nose just crinkles and eyes begin watering.

The team played like sh!t in the home opener against the Houston Texans yesterday, and not even lemon fresh air freshener can remove the Monday morning stench lingering from the loss.

I've gotta blame the Coaching staff.  The team seems willing but the play calling and defensive alignments seem to hurt the Raiders more than help. They just seem so predictable. Then players try doing too much, fumble-itis and bumble-itis set in and a team is left wondering what the heck happened.

Sure the offensive and defensive lines look suspect, but a coach has to make adjustments to an opponent's quick release passer and aggressive defense.  Coach Dennis Allen kept going to a dry well and by the time he got desert thirsty, dehydration had settled in. Brings back my feelings about 2012 coaching

The Raiders coaching staff is stuck on an island with no rescue in sight and storm clouds rolling in overhead. They're at New England next Sunday. It could be worse; those clouds could be delivering cold, wet, snow if it were winter already. Tucking Patriots!

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

John Jay Joe and Giants Baseball

On a night when San Francisco Giants pitcher Yusemeiro Petit went the distance on just 89 pitches, the kid from my part of New York went five of five bringing his season batting average to .327.   

Giants rookie second baseman Joe Panik is playing big league baseball as he continues to add the pop the Giants have been craving at second base.  Because Panik attended John Jay High School in East Fishkill, NY, a rival sports school of mine growing up, I find it exhilarating to root for the youngster. 

Though the area has had a small share of athletes who've made it big, John Jay Joe has to be the most modern and probably the most green of Hudson Valley alumni to see his name in the bright lights of a major league lineup.  Major League slugger Josh Hamilton helped lead the Hudson Valley Renegades, a local Tampa Bay Rays minor league team, to their first New York Penn-League championship in 1999, but Josh didn't attend high school in the area.

It appears that the local newspapers, the Poughkeepsie Journal and Newburgh's Record, are also keeping their eyes on the progress of Joe's young major league career.  Its what small towns have done in years past and continue to do today; make heroes out of their native sons.  As of now, John Jay Joe is sniffing hero status in the city by the bay as he and the San Francisco Giants are in the final month of a pennant race.  

Tonight the Giants won 5-1 over the Arizona Diamondbacks, while division leading rival Los Angeles Dodgers lost 6-3 to the San Diego Padres.  Dodgers lead is now 2.5 games over the Giants.  This is the time for guys named Joe. Go get'em Joe!