Question Time

As I type this, today is the day of the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump where the 100 US senators ask written questions of the House managers and of the defendants, the White House counsel that represents the President.

For the purposes of this blog entry, let’s wave a magic wand and turn your friendly author (me) into a third senator from Florida – and I got to put a question in writing.

It would go as follows:

“Is the CIA whistleblower Eric Ciaramella, and if not, who is the whistleblower?

The question might stir the House Dems abit – and they probably wouldn’t answer it, citing Whistleblower law. However, I would submit that the President’s right to face his accusers takes precedence – as that is protected by the Constitution, while Whistleblower law is not.

How can we close the book on an this particular impeachment and not be allowed to know who started it all? It would be as if the impeachment of Bill Clinton took place and the name of Monica Lewinsky was never uttered – although she did another type of, um, whistleblowing.

Jury Duty, To Be Continued

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Have you ever had one of those moments in your life where you feel that you win either way you decide to do something?

Last week, I had mentioned I had jury duty coming up in three weeks. A bit later on in the week, I re-read the mail I had received from my county clerk – and it had said that I could postpone my jury duty until later on in the year, but if I elected to do so I could not postpone again. I would have to show up on the day later in the year I would pick.

That made for an interesting decision for me, or so I thought. Do I do my “civic duty” right away, or do I pick a date more convenient for me? To me, it was kind of like choosing between plain chocolate ice cream or chocolate ice cream with Cool Whip and sprinkles on top. And so, I picked a later time in the year to do my jury duty – May 5th.

Hopefully nothing comes up to keep me from going in May. As I had also mentioned last week – I had jury duty once in my life back around the 4th of July of 1990. (I’m thinking it was late June or early July, as the Wimbledon tennis tournament was going on. That’s how I remember things in my life – I can cross-reference them to other events.) It wasn’t too bad, really. Not exciting, not boring – just there, more or less.

Anyway, I’ll remind you all of it as May approaches – I may have to miss some blog entries over it should my “duty” last more than a day. We’ll see.


Just heard about the passing of basketball legend Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash, and I wanted to make note of it here.

My interest in basketball has waned in the past few years, mainly because the NFL season has gotten longer. Once the Super Bowl ends, there’s a few weeks before the start of MLB season. Not a lot of room in-between for the other sports.

There’s no denying Kobe was (and it is so weird to use the word “was”) a tremendous talent to the game of basketball and to the sports world – and it is incredible that his life after basketball has now been cut short as it has.

My condolences to his family and to the sporting world in general – this loss is going to sting a bit.

Jury Duty

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Around February 17th, I will be temporarily suspending blog entries for an unknown amount of time – I have jury duty, and I’m planning on doing my civic duty and attending. I may miss one entry – I may miss more, depending on how things go.

I had jury duty once before in Pinellas County in 1990. I was working the overnight shift at WTAN in Clearwater back then – so doing both was proving very tiring. Fortunately, I was only 18 back then and had the energy to do each and not miss any work. If I were in the same spot now, I’d probably have to ask for time off.

Like I said, the jury duty could be very short or very long – it will all depend on matters I can’t control.

Impeachment Eve

Tomorrow, the impeachment trial for President Trump begins – only the third such trial in American history. Most of the so-called “experts” out there have the President being an overwhelming favorite to be acquitted – but much like sporting events, just because we all think the trial is likely to have a certain outcome doesn’t mean that is what happens.

The weekend had Democratic lawmakers demand fairness from the proceedings – though they gave the Republicans nor the President any quarter during the House impeachment phases. They complain that the Senate trial sessions may take too long per day, they complain about how the coverage will be televised on C-SPAN – there’s very few elements about the trial they haven’t complained about.

If the trial goes as expected, I’m sure the Democrats will complain they did not get a fair shake and will attempt to impeach the President again. Democrats loathe the President – Republicans love the President, and I don’t think this is going to change anytime soon. The only thing we know for sure is the elections keep Mr. Trump as President, we get a new one on January 20, 2025.

Flashback: “Countdown” by Rush

We heard late last week that Neil Peart, the drummer and top lyric writer for the Canadian rock band Rush had passed away at age 67.

“Tom Sawyer” is probably their best known song, but this is song from 1982 (thanks to MTV) that got my attention – a commemoration of sorts of the first shuttle launch on April 12, 1981.

Scandal On The Houston Diamond

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In a first of its kind scandal in terms of how its being dealt with, Major League Baseball has sanctioned the Houston Astros for stealing signs of opposing teams with the aid of video cameras. Two top managers, Alex Cora of Boston (who was with Houston prior to being the skipper for the Red Sox) and Houston A.J. Hinch, have been suspended for one year and were then subsequently fired.

What makes the scandal unique is this is usually something historically the office doesn’t get involved in. Usually baseball has more or less of a “code” which unless teams that think they are being targeted to deal with it themselves – usually involving pitchers brushing back batters or hitting batters with inside pitches. The evidence was overwhelming – so commissioner Rob Manfred decided it was time to take this unique act.

This isn’t the first time in the sports world this has happened of course – and you know it won’t be the last. As long time sports talk-show host Jim Rome often pontificates, you don’t seem to be trying if you’re not attempting to cheat – which means the moral will always be not to get caught.

Where Did That Truck Come From?

The great thing about watching any sport or game on TV is you’ll eventually see something you’ve never seen before – as was evidenced in the Houston-Kansas City Super Bowl tournament quarterfinal yesterday. (Yes, I know the NFL has these cutesy names for all of the playoff rounds – me, I just call it what it is, and the quarterfinal round is what it is.)

Most of you know the story – Houston had a 24-0 lead early in the second quarter, and usually a team that far up at any stage of the game winds up winning the game. But alas, Kansas City stormed back and had a 28-24 lead at halftime on the way to a 51-31 win.

Skilled play by Kansas City? Terrible lead management by Houston? Probably a combination of both extremes, I would think. A big boost of confidence for the Chiefs, who were in their last Super Bowl fifty years ago – while Houston’s successful campaign of this past season will have a lot of introspection ahead of it.

Your guess is as good as mine in terms of who the Super Bowl teams will be – both of my picks have been knocked out, Baltimore and New Orleans. It’d be a kick if the 100th NFL season wound up with a Green Bay-Kansas City grand finale – the two teams who met in the first Super Bowl in 1967.

Flashback: “Brimful Of Asha” by Cornershop

Continuing our look at songs that have been used in commercials takes us back to 1997. The song was a bit of a hit in the UK when it was re-released and remixed by Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim).

I reheard the song recently off of Irish radio as one of their stations were ringing in the new year – thinking that I’ve heard the song on a commercial before, probably sometime in the late 1990’s. Sure enough, it was used to sell designer jeans for kiddies.

(EDIT, 1/11/20 – 12:20pm: The band was originally misidentified as Cornerstone – whoops. Error corrected.)

Aircheck: CBS, 1990s

This is sometime during the 1990s on the CBS game show, The Price Is Right. It would have to be 1995 or some point earlier because Holly Hallstrom is one of the models (the redhead in the darker dress) – and was fired from the show that year.

Here, a pricing game called “Hole In One (Or Two)” is being played. Contestants line up grocery items so that the cheapest priced are farther away while the more expensive items are closer to the hole. If the lineup is in perfect order, the contestant wins a small cash prize (back then, $500) – but for each correct answer, he or she gets to make a golf putt closer to the hole while an incorrect answer stops the advancement from where the putt is made from. If they make the putt in one or two attempts, they win a car.

Ella was a fun contestant – and is worth watching this segment to the very end with her incredible second attempt.