Trouble Ahead, Trouble Behind

Something happens tomorrow that hasn’t happened yet in the history of this blog; we change over from one President to another.

I thank Barack Obama for his service to the country as President. His tenure began with promise, as most new regimes do, but his legacy will wind up being a mixed bag. While he got the country started down the road with so-called affordable healthcare, the issue became a lemon once the care got unaffordable. (Much like the Patriot Act after 9/11 restricted more freedoms than ever for Americans, and thus was a bit unpatriotic.)

Donald John Trump becomes the new President tomorrow. I wish him well, as I would any man elected to the position. Regardless of who our President is, he is our leader, regardless to some of the more recent protestations.

As for the Democrats who are boycotting, I really don’t care. It’s a political statement, nothing more or less, perhaps a dangerous one. I don’t even think it’s a terrible strategy, as it’s someone right out of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. If someone has a choleric (sick) temper, you irritate it. I see it for what it is: strategy.

As long as the protests don’t erupt into violence, fine. If they do, that’s another matter entirely.

The Betsy

Betsy DeVos in 2005…

As many of you know, I’m not the most liberal blogger out here in cyberspace, nor am I the most conservative. I try and tell it like it is, and let things fall wherever gravity takes them.

That being said, I bellied up to my TV set and watched the hearing for Betsy DeVos, Trump’s pick to lead the education department on C-SPAN, and I thought it was quite the disaster.

She got tripped up about questions over testing students by Al Franken, and that was her best moment in that particular five minutes of questioning. The other Democrats, logically, were eager to get their questions in, but DeVos skillfully evaded answering questions directly. Hell, she pretty evaded every question a Democrat threw at her!

She reminded me somewhat of Katherine Harris, the Florida Secretary Of State who presided over the falderol after the 2000 Presidential Elections. Much like Mrs. Harris, DeVos struck me as someone who only got where she was because she came from a family and upbringing that had wealth.

No matter how you feel politically, when power is so closely connected to the almighty dollar, nobody wins. I thought Mr. Trump and his campaign would bring fresh air to Washington, but I’m beginning to realize that these new breezes still have a staleness to it.

Computers And Dinosaurs

My computer desk, such as it is, January 16, 2017.
It dawns on me today that our cell phones are getting so powerful, it’s probably more likely than not they will eventually replace PC and Mac computers. I’m thinking within the next 10 years. 

I still remember when calculators were called computers. 

I still remember my first computer: one from Texas Instruments I got for Christmas in 1983. I don’t think it did all that much, though, didn’t even have BASIC on it if I remember right. The next year, I wound up getting a Commodore 64.

It had a game on it called Frog Master I’d play endlessly where frogs basically played football. They would be born, grow to adulthood, inch toward the goal line, have turf wars with each other, and disappear, which I assumed meant death. 

I’ve had a PC in my home for 20 years, minus a one year break in 2007 and 2008. Prices have come way down from when the one I got for Christmas at a Montgomery Ward store (remember those?) at the old Clearwater Mall in 1996. That was back when America Online was a big thing. 

The thing about technology seems to be its continuing evolution. Podcasts are slowly replacing radio, on-demand video eating away at TV’s industries. 

It’s a changing world, and all we do is change with it.

Green Bay, By A Foot

As bad as the NFL is (or, I think it is these days), the divisional playoff round, where eight teams are paired down to four, usually produces a game that will be talked about for a while. This year, it was Green Bay with a 34-31 win over Dallas, with three kicks of over 50 yards in the last minute and a half of the game in back-and-forth fashion.

Remember when I said back in 2015 that you never know when an arcane rule will come up in the NFL? Yesterday was such a day, although you really had to pay attention to notice it, because it seemed the FOX television crew (except Mike Pereira, the officiating expert, on his Twitter feed) had no idea what they missed.

At the end of the first half, the Packers punted to Dallas on the last play of the half, with the Cowboys trailing 21-13. The punt was fair caught at the Cowboys own 38 yard line, and that entitled them to a free kick, even though time had expired. Dan Bailey, the kicker for Dallas, usually had the leg hit the end zone on kickoffs, so a 72 yard field goal (which would have shattered the longest field goal record for both playoff games and all NFL games) on a play that was essentially a kickoff was not totally inconceivable.

A field goal on a free kick hasn’t occurred in 40 years, but sooner or later, someone will pull it off.

Flashback: “It’s A Heartache” by Bonnie Tyler

This is one of the first songs I could remember word for word when I was 6, and this year marks the 40th anniversary of its first release in late 1977.

The one thing that drew me back to the song many years later is the drum track, performed by the late Mike Gibbins of the group Badfinger. Try and listen to that “boomp, boomp, boomp, ba-boomp” sound as Bonnie lays down the vocal.

While this song put Bonnie (born Gaynor Hopkins) on the global radar (she already had two hits in Europe in late ’76 and early ’77: Lost In France and More Than A Lover), her voice is much more huskier than it was on her debut album, The World Starts Tonight. That was due to damaged vocal cords, requiring surgery to remove nodules in the cords. It gave her that vocal delivery that often reminded me of a left-handed baseball pitcher that just so happens to throw knuckleballs.

In the US, the song went to #3 on the pop charts and #10 on the country charts in the spring of 1978. The song has been covered scores of times, from everyone to David Johansen (anyone have that track?) to Gene Pitney to the country group Trick Pony, and still holds up well today. In the here and now, Bonnie is still at it at 66 years of age come June, with an album slated for release late in 2017 produced by John Carter Cash. Yep, June Carter and Johnny Cash’s son.

Looking forward to how that one sounds…