Saturday, November 18, 2006

Don't Buy The Fake

Earlier today, my alma mater (which seems to be Latin for “imitation football team”) lost again to finish the season 4-8. The Bears were given a weak schedule, and they decided to play a weak game. This by itself I could live with; the Bears have been a distinctly bad team for a number of years now. But Baylor decided to start this season by bragging how they were going to a bowl this year. Yeah, good luck with that. The Bears lost four of their last five games, those losses coming by an average score of Real Team 50, Fake Team 21. The Bears couldn’t even talk the talk properly. What wins they Bears did get, came over a Division I-AA school, two teams heavily hurt by injuries, and the team headed for last place in its division. Weak, especially for all the boasting.

What’s this got to do with politics? Ever since the Democrats took both chambers of Congress, we’ve been hearing how this means the end of the Conservatives, that America has “repudiated” the Contract With America. I understand the excitement by the Donks; they have not won in a big way since 1992, and so this was a big deal for them. But they are wrong if they believe that the Conservatives are ruined by one election or put beyond returning to power sooner than they would like, and anyone who plays that song is playing the fool.

More people, even today, call themselves ‘conservative’ than ‘liberal’. More people respect the Republican President than the Democratic Congress, even now. While the Democrats have claimed power, they cannot keep their promises to both the nation which voted them in, and to the extremists whose money and energy has bought their souls, because the promises are exclusive one set to the other. If they defy their voters, they will not remain in the majority in 2008. If they find the courage to reject the Michael Moore/Cindy Sheehan/Howard Dean/Kos cabal, they will fins a fight against a ruthless foe, and the resulting fracture of money and power may well cost them their control of Congress that way as well.

The Democrats pretend they have a mandate. And Faust thought he would never have to pay his price.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Joe Lieberman : A Man Beyond His Image

I am hardly surprised to learn that newly-reelected Senator Joe Lieberman has announced that he will caucus with the Democrats, and considers himself a “Democratic Independent”. Lieberman, after all, was the Democrat’s choice for their VP nomination in 2000, and his voting record is clearly left-of-center. There was frankly never a real chance that Lieberman would become a Republican. That said, the Democrats have a real problem, or at least the Harry Reid “Run Away” Military Strategy Team has one, with Joe Lieberman and some other Senators like him.

The Democrats wanted this election to be about George Bush, but whenever they played that card, they lost ground in the polls, and so the election became about the War in Iraq, an indirect attack on the man with whom Democrats are obsessed well past the point of compulsion. Early in 2006, Joe Lieberman made a statement which basically said that while he disagreed with how we got there, the United States must meet its commitment to Iraq, and that President Bush should given a measure of support for trying to stabilize the country. That statement alone cost him the support of the Democrats’ leadership, and led to his primary defeat by Ned Lamont. Lieberman never became a Conservative or a Republican, but his position cut a line between him and the extremist Democrats. That would have mattered not a bit to the Far-Left Democrats, but for one thing: They needed the “centrist” and “moderate” image in order to take over Congress. The 2006 version of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” became ”don’t let folks know for sure where you stand on the war”. And it worked, but with a price – there are now a number of Democrats who honestly believe the United States must stay in Iraq and finish the job, and many more who essentially promised their constituents that they were not going to cut and run. These Democrats understand that they cannot vote for a bug-out or anything like it, or they will pay in 2008. The Democrats took Congress all right, but they only have a 2-seat majority in the Senate and a lot of Democrats won House races by tight margins – if the Republicans could lose both chambers of Congress because they were seen as not listening to the people on Iraq, then certainly the Democrats can lose their thin majorities if they prove to have lied to the people. It is a mistake to believe that mistrust of the Republicans is a mandate for the Democrats; what exists now is a sort of ‘wait & see’ condition. If Pelosi thinks she can shove Leftist legislation onto people who were promised moderation, or if she thinks abandoning the military will result in anything but disaster, she will lose control of her party, as self-preservation instincts will kick in among those who come from Red states or places with a lot of soldiers’ hometowns (hint – the number of states which do not fit #1 or #2 is a small number), and chaos is a poor condition for campaigns. At some point, Republicans will find numerous chances to appear reasonable and appeal to common people on the most important issues, which for some reason the Democrats have as yet shown no interest in addressing.

The Democrats find themselves looking at two directions – they can protect their majority only by turning their back on their extremists, and they can only pander to their most violent sector by taking a course which is overwhelmingly likely to fracture their party and cost them control of Congress in a short matter of time. It may prove to be to the nation’s great relief that Senator Joe Lieberman, Independent Democrat, has forced them to look honestly at this condition.


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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Republican Will Be Elected President in 2008

The Democrats are having great fun this week. Flush with the “mandate” of an historically-average gain in the Midterm elections, the Democrats have convinced themselves of many myths. Inside of two years, however, the appeal of that fantasy will wear away to show the hollow core of the Democratic Party, a lie even in its name by now, and the nation will find its hope once again on the Right side of the aisle.

There are a number of reasons why this will happen. Part of this comes down to the devil’s deal the Democrats made, giving over their leadership to extreme Liberals – simple demographics prove that the American people have little interest in Leftist causes, and will not be quiet if/when the Democrats attempt to impose Socialism on them, as villains like Clinton, Pelosi, and Murtha have already hinted they mean to do. If you lie to take control as the Democrats did, by presenting yourself as “moderate”, you will find yourself hard-pressed to gain the trust of the people when your fraud is discovered.

Another part of this is apparent in the article I posted yesterday regarding Joe Trippi’s presumed field for the 2008 Democratic Nomination for President. This far ahead of the election, you’d expect a wide open field with a wide variety of ideas and policy courses to consider, but just as in past years, the Democrats have already begun to lock themselves into assumed choices; they love the box of conventional leadership, even if it means rehashing proven losers and candidates experienced only in posture and trash talk. By closing the door on any consideration of candidates not already anointed by the DNC, the Democrats not only reduce the scale of their approach to the people, but demonstrate a refusal to listen to the people whose voice will decide the matter in 2008. Certainly the Democrats may realize their mistake and correct it before the 2008 primaries get going, but their behavior now suggests they have committed themselves to the front-loaded process, even now that they know such a tactic leads to serious error and electoral cost.

Another part of this is simple history. One popular theory of why people vote for certain candidates or parties is called Voter Fatigue, and it is at least generally valid. The problems for Democrats are these – first, with the Democrats having grabbed the House and Senate, Voter Fatigue of the GOP has already been addressed and if it plays a role, it would be a reaction against the Democrats. But the historical example is also important. The White House changes hands between the parties, but most of the time there is a clear reason why it does so. In 1968, the Democrats had split against themselves and it cost them the White House; the Republicans did the same thing to a lesser degree in 1992, but with the same result. In 1976, the Democrats grabbed the White House but only an idiot would fail to understand that this was the result of clearly illegal actions by Richard Nixon – while extremists on the Left use the word “illegal” to describe Bush’s actions in office, they do not have legal support for their charges. If someone thinks that a Democrat vendetta against Bush, pursuing impeachment for his Iraq policies and decisions, would help them in 2008, I would remind the reader that while Bill Clinton later admitted to the truth of the charges in his own impeachment, there was nonetheless a political impetus as a result of the proceedings – in favor of Clinton and therefore the Democrats. Few people familiar with the evidence have any doubt that an attack on President Bush would end up hurting the Democrats.

In 1980, Reagan won the White House in a unique set of circumstances – double-digit Unemployment and Inflation, along with a sense that Carter had weakened American military strength and resolve. It is unlikely in the extreme that the Democrats could hope for a similar condition in 2008, especially since they now control the funding between now and then, and so would be blamed if the economy or the military collapsed from today’s present health.

Another thing which hurts the Democrats is the sense that they have gained the Congress, sort of “balancing” the scales. This would encourage many “moderates” to keep a Republican in the White House to make sure the Democrats did not get too much power – the Democrats are fooling themselves, if they believe that anger against the Republicans would equal blind trust in the Democrats. While Bush and Clinton both enjoyed elections with their party in control of Congress, Clinton’s re-election came with a GOP House. And historically, many Presidents have been perceived as a check on Congress – the public flat does not want a perceived extremist in the Oval Office – Dean, Pelosi, and Clinton have their fans, but they will none of them ever be President.

While I am thinking about it, I should also address the lie that President Bush’s approval poll numbers cost the GOP the election. First, while it is true that Dubya’s numbers were down in the fall of this year, they were rising for most of the late campaign, and most credible polls had the President around 40%; not impressive, but significantly better than approval numbers for either the Congressional Republicans or Democrats. While President Bush was not able to pull GOP candidates of the hole to re-election, they dug that hole themselves. It is therefore unreasonable to think that a “blame Bush” strategy by Democrats will bear much fruit in 2008, although I do expect all the Democrats to play that card at some time in their campaigns.

In the end, the only way the Republicans could fail to win the White House in 2008, would be if they completely lose their focus and nerve, and nominate some dolt along the lines of Olympia Snowe or Lincoln Chaffee – there are a number of salient avenues to the White House, though I sincerely pray that we will nominate a true Conservative and Reaganite, because no matter what condition we find the balance of power in 2009, the nation needs a leader whose backbone and vision are strong, and who will not play politics with the will of God. I trust the Republicans will once again make the right choice.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Laughter is the Best Medicine; Trippi’s Contribution to the Comedy

Well, November has not been kind to me. My car broke down, I passed a couple kidney stones, then I got appendicitis and had to have my appendix surgically removed while America had a brain fart and elected the party of Nuance to run Congress in both houses. I mean sure, the GOP had its share of empty suits and broken promises, but putting the government in the hands of a party which thinks leadership is exemplified by the John Conyers, who held fake impeachment hearings, or Howard Dean, who publicly considered seriously allegations of direct Presidential involvement in the 9/11 atrocities is very much like letting a toddler play with your Uzi; I guess when he shoots the neighbors the Donks would sue them for being in the way, and the Uzi company for making the gun they let the kid play with. Diversity means pointing the finger, after all.

Hysteria being in fashion with Liberals these days, even in victory, it is only fitting that we turn to the words of Joe Trippi, as ever the wanna-be man of influence. Trippi’s last adventure, you may recall, was the amusing fantasy that Howard Dean was Presidential timber. Yet Trippi does open a window into the mind of the Modern Democrat, and so his article at least serves a use for analysis.

Trippi wrote an interesting article for the Washington Post on Friday, where he mused on the Democrats’ “mandate” (notice that a smaller Democratic majority seems needed to constitute a “mandate”, hmmm?). To wit, the Donkey Nod for the 2008 Presidential Race – Trippi presumes the Donk control of the House and Senate is a foregone conclusion, which arrogance I believe is as misplaced as the notion that the GOP would hold them in 2006, but that’s for another article.

Trippi’s article should be read all the way through, to catch the flavor of his rather quaint assumptions about certain persons’ credentials, and his presumption that no Republican candidate will catch the imagination and support of America, but in short, here are his candidates for the 2008 Race, in Trippi’s order:

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Barack Obama
Al Gore
John Edwards
John Kerry
Joe Biden
Evan Bayh
Russ Feingold
Bill Richardson
Wesley Clark
Tom Vilsack

Eleven names, but representing really only three notions. Clinton, Gore, Edwards, Kerry, Biden. Feingold, and Clark, are all people who either failed to win or quit the race because they learned they could not win. Obama and Richardson are the ‘formula’ candidates – someone has worked up a profile, and they fit the cutout, but the men themselves are a bit lacking. And the last notion is the ‘great leader’ notion, the idea that doing a good job at the state level equals national appeal.

Permit me a moment to digest Mr. Trippi’s considered analysis …


OK, now that I have that out of my system, here’s why this field is likely to help get a Republican elected President again in 2008, assuming we can avoid screwing up the choice on our end:

Let’s start with what wins Presidential elections. First the acknowledged charismatic greats since 1960 on each side – Reagan for the Republicans, Kennedy for the Democrats, with Nixon and Dubya Bush winning double terms for the Pachyderms, with Bill Clinton winning a double term and Lyndon Johnson the last real rout for the Democrats. Besides them, we need to consider Daddy Bush for the Republicans and Jimmy Carter for the Democrats. Four on each side, accounting for every President since 1960 except Gerald Ford, who never got elected anyway.

Reagan and JFK clearly has charisma, Bill Clinton and Dubya too but to a lesser degree. LBJ and Nixon knew the system, and Bill Clinton had that quality as well. Daddy Bush and Jimmy Carter seemed like good decent men, when that quality mattered. Reagan and Dubya took care of their people, and they deeply loved and respected the military. So let’s take those qualities and set them out plainly:

Smart system pros
Decent guy
Loyalty to the team

Add to that two more qualities; tough in the clutch and unafraid to dream. The President does not usually have all of these qualities, but the more of them he has, the better. With those qualities in mind, then, I return to Mr. Trippi’s list and sort out the crowd, starting with two obvious names; Al Gore and John Kerry.

Al Gore thinks he should have been President because he won the popular vote in 2000. The fact that he just cannot let go of that lost election is a serious problem sign for him right from the start, but there’s more. Remember that screaming rant? Remember his snotty refusal to concede in 2000 until well past all reasonable chance of victory? Have you noticed the arrogant condescension in his propaganda piece, “An Inconvenient Truth”? Here’s the Gore standing on the requisite qualities, each on a scale of 1 to 5:

Charisma – 0. Gore still makes dead wood look lively.
System – 2. Gore knows the system, but he has two flaws. He spent all his chips trying to win 2000 on an unprecedented lawsuit/recount strategy, and he has Hillary against him all the way to the party convention.
Decency – 1. Gore is known as a manipulator and an opportunist.
Team Player – 0. Gore never once made an effort to help anyone else get elected. Gore is spelled with all “I”s.
Clutch Toughness – 3. Gore is stubborn, but burns bridges.
Vision – 1. Gore has no National Security plan, he has no plan to save Social Security, he has no plan to secure our borders. But he will attack SUVs.

Overall Score: 07 out of a possible 30 (23%)

Next, we look at John Kerry. Sorry to have to remind you John, but that “botched joke” is far from your only baggage. ‘For before you were against’ is still haunting you, and no one takes a Presidential candidate seriously who depends on “magic hat” stories and false recollections (like Nixon sending you into Cambodia before he was even President?) to bolster a suspicious war resume. Here’s Kerry’s report card on the requisite qualities:

Charisma – 0. Kerry is as boring as Gore.
System – 1. As a Senator, Kerry knows the politics, but not how things really get done. Kerry has absolutely one of the worst record in bills submitted and policies influenced.
Decency – 3. Kerry seems about average for a politician, no real scandals but no clear virtues.
Team Player – 0. Like Gore, everything that comes out of John Kerry’s mouth is in praise of himself.
Clutch Toughness – 0. A good nickname for Kerry from the 2004 campaign was ‘flipper’.
Vision – 0. The only thing we ever heard from John Kerry about what he would do as President, was a vague suggestion that he would let his party tell him what to do. That’s John Kerry’s idea of Leadership.

Overall Score: 04 out of a possible 30 (13%)

Considering these two guys were the Democrats’ idea of “winners” in the last two shots at the White House, those scores are not promising for Trippi’s start out of the box.

Next up is the long-presumed Donk frontrunner, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Hillary has actually been President, you know – well, “co-President” as she reminded us in 1993. Remember Hillary Care? If she gets elected it will happen, you can count on that. Unfortunately for Hillary, the nation had an allergic reaction to her the first time they saw her up close, and for all her efforts to change her image, the ultimate Hillary remains a vicious shrew. Here’s the Hillary Scorecard:

Charisma – 0. When Hillary is trying to be nice, she comes off as fake. And when she is seen in character, the taste is truly awful.
System – 5. Hillary is shrewd, street-smart and a deft political operative.
Decency – 0. Hillary is ruthless, plain and dark. She’s hidden her skeletons under Bubba’s, but they are still there.
Team Player – 0. In 2004, Hillary made a number of appearances ostensibly in support of Kerry, but her name came first on the banners and all the money raised went into her coffers.
Clutch Toughness – 4. Hillary is junk-yard mean, a political gangsta in the mold of LBJ.
Vision – 2. Hillary knows how to speak the words, but there is no follow-through, no sense of her grasping the concept beyond her immediate gain.

Overall Score: 11 out of a possible 30 (37%)

Since we’re clearing out the oldies first, let’s just run down the list of has-beens Trippi thinks would still run well in 2008:

Joe Biden

Charisma – 0. Am I the only guy who sees a Democrat image of Joe McCarthy when I look at Joe Biden? I think a lot of people do.
System – 3. Biden knows the system. He does not seem to control it, however.
Decency – 0. Machiavelli had more scruples.
Team Player – 0. Biden is not a man to pick up the check share credit, or think about someone else.
Clutch Toughness – 3. Biden likes a fight. The bad news is, he doesn't know which ones to pick and which ones to avoid.
Vision – 0. The man can't see past his next union endorsement, and is so locked in the past he wonders why he can't find Dan Rather's newscasts anymore.

Overall Score: 06 out of a possible 30 (20%)

Russ Feingold

Charisma – 0. When's the last time anyone quoted Feingold? When's the last time a regular person indicated they knew who he even is?
System – 3. A has-been. Long ago. Nothing to indicate he is in charge for a lnog, long time.
Decency – 1. A self-serving opportunist, his chief regret in the Abramoff scandal is that he didn't make any money or influence off it.
Team Player – 2. Feingold knows how to play well, but always as a follower, never a leader.
Clutch Toughness – 1. When challenged, Feingold never hesitates to stand up immediately - and blame someone else.
Vision – 1. Feingold has ideas. Old ones, failed ones, unpopular ones, but yeah, he has ideas.

Overall Score: 08 out of a possible 30 (27%)

Wesley Clark ran on one issue; quitting Iraq. He is, therefore, already irrelevant to 2008, but Mr. Trippi does not seem to grasp that fact. Here’s his scorecard:

Charisma – 0. Clark was disliked by his fellow generals, was known as a boor in both military and political circles, and consistently failed to excite.
System – 1. Clark ran as an outsider. The problem is, he was so much an outsider, he was obviously clueless about how the government works. I gave him 1 point because as a former general, at least he is comfortable with bureaucracy.
Decency – 3. Average, nothing notable either direction.
Team Player – 0. Like everyone discussed so far, this guy demands the spotlight, even when he has nothing to add to the show.
Clutch Toughness – 0. When challenged in 2004, Clark was unprepared and looked out of his depth.
Vision – 0. Quick, what is the first thing Clark would do as President? Who would be his first cabinet appointment? Hear that silence? That’s the depth of the Clark plan.

Overall Score: 04 out of a possible 30 (13%)

Then there’s Bill Richardson. Everyone says what a great “resume” he has, and so does Trippi. Here’s the problem; Richardson has been around a lot, but his results are distinctly lacking. At least he’s been a governor, although anyone who thinks the former Governor of New Mexico would translate into Democrat wins in any other Southwest state does not understand the region.

Charisma – 2. He has regional appeal, but it’s not the ‘wow’ kind and it’s definitely not national. .
System – 3. Richardson knows how to run a small state government. No indication he is ready for the big time.
Decency – 3. Average
Team Player – 2. Supports his friends, hates his enemies.
Clutch Toughness – 3. Average, no evidence Richardson has ever been in a long, tough fight.
Vision – 2. If America is just like Tempe, Richardson’s your man. If more is required, Richardson is a poser.

Overall Score: 15 out of a possible 30 (50%)

By now you should have caught the theme. Let’s move on now to the ‘up and comers’, guys Trippi thinks are the future of the Democratic Party. The numbers get more serious in this group.

John Edwards

Charisma – 5. Edwards has flair, and knows how to speechify.
System – 0. Edwards has never yet shown he understands how to get things done. All flash, no substance.
Decency – 0. Edwards is a trial lawyer, total shark, willing to lie or smear his opponent to get his way.
Team Player – 0. Even when he was Kerry’s running mate, Edwards made no effort to put the top name first; Breck Boy was always making clear that he expected more to come for himself, and never a thought to anyone else.
Clutch Toughness – 0. Edwards got thumped in the VP Debates by Cheney. He showed his ‘wounded poodle’ side right then and there. His family herald should feature a man disguised as a woman with a white flag, running away.
Vision – 0. Edwards is paper-thin, the kind of guy to make a car salesman look like a moral paragon.

Overall Score: 5 out of a possible 30 (17%)

Barack Obama

Charisma – 5. Handsome, young, urbane and articulate, Obama shows well on television and carries himself well as long as he does not have to answer any hard questions. Reminds me of a black Gary Hart.
System – 2. He’s done well so far and is a fast riser, but he has no experience yet. No accomplishments besides being pretty.
Decency – 4. Seems like a good guy, but as yet unwilling to tackle moral issues directly.
Team Player – 4. gets along with just about everyone, and if there are rifts he does a good job of not letting them show.
Clutch Toughness – 0. Obama has never yet been tested, nor risen to a challenge.
Vision – 3. He’s not big on specifics, but Obama’s general optimism and fluent populism serve him well in general terms so far.

Overall Score: 18 out of a possible 30 (60%)

Evan Bayh

Charisma – 1. Bayh is a nice person who is generally well-respected. That does not translate into holding significant influence or being able to bring people aboard his plan. Note that there has as yet not been any “Bayh Bill” to make a major change, nor any grassroots movement to see this guy lead the country.
System – 4. Bayh knows the system, but A- he is a Senator, not a Governor, and B- Bayh acts like a follower, not a leader.
Decency – 5. By all accounts a decent man.
Team Player – 5. He really reminds me of Gerry Ford. Now is that good or bad?
Clutch Toughness – 0. Bayh has never once been in a tough fight, much less won one.
Vision – 0. What quote best sums up Evan Bayh? Anything come to mind?

Overall Score: 15 out of a possible 30 (50%)

Tom Vilsack

Charisma – 4. I hate to admit it, but Trippi may have a good candidate here. Personable and smart, Vilsack looks and sounds good. He should sell well in the Midwest and the Northeast in general, including some of the Bush territory.
System – 4. Nothing spectacular, but a good job as Governor. No mistakes to speak of.
Decency – 5. Very clean, and he looks it.
Team Player – 1. no significant alliances or major backers, but it’s early yet.
Clutch Toughness – 0. Vilsack has never yet been tested.
Vision – 1. Vilsack knows day-to-day. He has yet to show a comprehension suited to the big stage.

Overall Score: 15 out of a possible 30 (50%)

So, rated for actual qualities, here’s (back to front) Trippi’s list for 2008:

Wesley Clark – 13%
John Kerry – 13%
John Edwards – 17%
Joe Biden - 20%
Al Gore – 23%
Russ Feingold - 27%
Hillary Clinton – 37%
Evan Bayh – 50%
Bill Richardson – 50%
Tom Vilsack – 50%
Barack Obama – 60%

The sense I catch, is that Clark, Kerry, Edwards, Gore, and Clinton are out of the race but will fight that reality to some degree. Bayh and Richardson are not really suited to the job, nor have they shown the credentials they ought to have by now. That leaves Obama, Trippi’s presumed “rock star” for the Democrats, and Tom Vilsack, the Governor of Iowa. Obama will be more in the spotlight, because of his race, but Vilsack could be much more formidable when it comes down to really making the run. Both men are charismatic and intelligent, and they know how to present a clean face to the public.

The problem is, neither man has much experience in national leadership, and neither has really been in a test yet. Neither has made a statement about Terrorism, about Social Security, or about where they want to take America. It’s two years out, but the race is already underway, and these guys need to start their engines in terms of proving their place in the field. As for Trippi, I can’t quite decide if he included the nine losers along with the two strong candidates as a way to contrast the two groups, or if he really believes that people like Biden, Kerry, or Gore could possibly catch fire any more than a wet fish would.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I Work For God, But I Never Claimed I Was Employee of the Month

Ah, that fine line between righteousness and self-righteousness! Just about a week ago, I learned that I had to go in for surgery ASAP, to remove my appendix, which most unreasonably chose to announce its displeasure by rupturing. This was merely the latest in a series of odd or inconvenient events which seemed to be sending a signal of some kind:

[] My daughter developed a chronic cough, possibly due to allergies but worrisome
[] I passed a kidney stone, and missed some school and work
[] My wife lost a filling in her teeth
[] My follow-up CT Scan showed a “problem” with my appendix
[] The day I was to see my specialist, my car busted a hose and broke down
[] My specialist told me I needed immediate surgery
[] My “hi-speed” internet became “no-speed” internet, as Roadrunner went out completely for more than a week and RR’s IT people are not only incompetent, but arrogant and rude by policy and character
[] While I was in surgery to have my appendix removed, the country went nuts and voted out the only adults in Congress
[] My alma mater has not only continued a dismal losing streak, they are now getting blown out by teams with losing records
[] My wife’s dentist has a demon working in the office, who twice refused to honor her appointment
[] I have not had a cup of coffee in over two weeks now

OK, so if you don’t know me that last item may seem trivial, but I just about have the Folgers people on my speed-dial for a reason.

Anyway, this list is a pretty sour mess for just a couple weeks of events, and does not even include all the fun things like what was waiting for me when I went back to work this morning, or trying to catch up in my classes, with two major projects due and a series of tests and assignments to do before final exams in just two weeks. So this may explain the paltry blogging for the past bit.

All this put together seems to suggest that the Lord has been trying to get my attention; like many people I can get a bit of “tunnel vision” when I get going, and this fall I was pretty single-minded. It’s true to say that men only think of one thing – at a time. Some of the time it’s Sports, or Politics, or Food, but we do tend to act like dogs chasing cars, even when we blog.

I don’t want to sound preachy – too late, I know – but I started blogging on a regular basis because I felt that I was supposed to be doing this. Hey, not that I know everything, but I try to be informative, to provoke debate or at least pose an intriguing question or notion. I love the response I get back from readers – fascinating really, how some people post a comment on the thread while others send an e-mail. Also kind of interesting to notice that my old stuff gets as much attention as my new stuff – either some of my ‘vintage’ material is pretty good, or I have been pretty bad lately, you tell me.

This past week has been a time of reflection for me, with a resolution to be a better husband, father, man, employee, and citizen. Three of those goals are pretty much private things; I’m a decent man all things considered, my wife and daughters know I love them, and I do good work at the company. That said, I want to make sure I neither get complacent, nor miss a chance to improve. But I also understand that no one of us knows everything in Life, nor has all the right answers to even one of the important questions; it’s not a one-size-fits-all reality, and in many ways even if my answer is right and true, there may well be more to learn and comprehend beyond what I hold. And there are dangers and problems which are not always obvious – I could have prevented the kidney stone problem, maybe, with more care years ago about my diet, instead of waiting as long as I did to improve my balance and reduce my sodium intake, but the doctors assure me there was no way to prevent my appendicitis; no one knows exactly why it happens, or why it affects the people it does. Even wise men cannot foresee the unknowable, and I would be rash to consider myself wise.

Well, it’s Monday, this column is long, a bit vague, and fairly egocentric. You know what that means – I’m back!