NFL = No Fans Left?

This is on a t-shirt I just saw available on the Internet, and we know that t-shirt merchants seem dialed into anything and everything of social importance, and they get there almost overnight.  The meme was just that simple play on the initials NFans Left and as much t-shirt wisdom goes, is quite profound in its simplicity.

We appear very proud at times as we become walking billboards supporting this or that cause, this or that movement in our own very personal way without a lot of verbal bombast…just that simple graphic t-shirt statement.  The NFL owners would do well to take note…and the NFL players especially would do well to take note.

This whole brouhaha has taken on a life of its own, as many do, telling us just how the wearer feels about multi-million dollar athletes making social statements that are perceived to be beyond their pay grade.  Those individuals have taken it upon themselves to parade their beliefs as being even more important than is their allegiance to the great flag of our country in many cases (although fewer cases as some seem to have come to understand they are playing with a flame that could consume their ability to earn a living playing a game).

Sometimes in this life, we find ourselves on a podium we didn’t even see before we were upon it.  Some of us acquit ourselves well considering that there was no prior warning we were about to be in a spotlight of sorts.  Some of us don’t do so well in that set of circumstances.

For those accustomed to a podium being accorded to them due to their athletic prowess, and not necessarily to their speaking acumen or to their wisdom, this opportunity can quickly become an opportunity for self-destruction of a personal brand they’d come into by benevolence.  Simply listen to the boobirds when the National Anthem is being played/sung finds athletes acting-up by kneeling or sitting or linking arms or anything but showing their personal pride in our flag for which many have died that we might be able to listen to that anthem before sporting events.

They have not thought through this debacle of their own creation…obviously.  They apparently didn’t even consult with their personal agent who would likely have been able to forewarn that they were playing with fire and would likely get burned, as would their agent if those payroll dollars were stopped for a while.

In fact, the vast majority of these NFL players are very bright or they wouldn’t be where they are.  They know this game inside out and have help from coaches specializing in the most subtle nuances of the game.  BUT, they seem bereft of the understanding of the symbolic nature of the way they have chosen to “act out”, and of how deeply ingrained the loyalty to that flag is amongst us fans.

Us fans are normal, regular people for the very most part.  We didn’t have the gift of an NFL contract handed to us because God gave us an unusual set of physical talents.  He gave us each other talents for which we are thankful, although likely not often enough.  It is way too easy to become enthralled with self to the point that we begin to think we deserve the praise of millions of fans.

If you think about it, we often are most praising of the athlete who does understand that he or she has a God-given talent and who knows that this is a blessing accorded to him or her by a power greater than self.

These football players have not, and seemingly still have not yet in many cases, given deep thought to the very special gifts they have been given; and, they seemingly have not or do not understand we know that these are gifts and that we applaud their use of those gifts.  We know from whom those talents came, and we praise Him as we applaud them whether we understand that or not at that moment.

A lesson lays in these ruins for each of us:  if we ever find ourselves receiving accolades for anything, we need to take that moment to thank Him from whom these talents/gifts came, and to be sincere in doing so.  Most of us know where these gifts come from even if we do not talk about that openly, and most of us wish we had the strength to give thanks similarly to how we wish these young men would do.  Our responsibility is to remember all this if and when we have that moment with someone or many someones patting us on the back for an accomplishment.

Commercial

I am an experienced ghostwriter seeking additional writing assignments.  Business blogs are familiar turf.  Writings of all kinds will be considered.  AP Stylebook observed as you desire.  Your inquiries are welcome and I will be happy to provide samples at no cost for your review.  Simply send an email to alc@stonezephyr.com and we’ll both see where that leads.

Argumentum Ad Hominem…

My two years of Latin many years ago was aided this morning by the help of the World Wide Web where this Latin term is defined as an argument directed at the person rather than at the position they are maintaining.

We are witnessing the ever-increasing use of these kinds of verbal attacks aimed at President Trump by people apparently unable to win the argument he makes on various subjects.  Their only apparent defense for their personal inability is to throw verbal dung at the individual making the case.  Not only utterances against him are used to attempt to defeat his arguments on policy, but venomous tirades aimed at him and various family members, when that seems to fit, at least to them, are their weapons of choice.

This use of the language is tiresome at best and diabolically and intentionally misdirected at worst.  It destroys the debate that often should be taking place since there is apparently only one person ready for the debate…the presenter of the argument.

We need adults in the Congress and yet there are seemingly too many children who are reduced to pouting after making such vitriolic remarks…published/presented only too quickly by the mainstream media as if it were newsworthy.  If you think about this, I’d wager that a person or two might be seen in your mind’s eye as a regular utilizer of this particular ‘gift’.

I know I am biased, but I cannot conjure up the image of any conservatives when I think about the people prone to this feeble argumentative trick.  Those who pop into my mind almost instantly are the ‘trash-talking’ Dems always in quest of a microphone and television camera following some joust that, apparently, they feel like they lost.  There is always the look of utter contempt, the loudness that must be necessary, and even the occasional spittle eruption.  I’ll bet you can see that person right now.

Of course, the mainstream media, as obviously unbiased as it claims to be, appears so accustomed to these rants that there is not even a momentary hesitation on the face of the interviewer when the interviewee goes off.  I frankly hope one day to see the spittle land on the interviewer just to see if there is any reaction at all, or if this is just ‘another day at the office’ having become so routine.

Arguments are healthy in political discussions but they are disruptive and disrespectful when made in the form of a belligerent rant that is nonsensical at best.  There are several people who come quickly to mind that are seemingly solely dependent upon the use of this artful language form in their communications concerning the President and his policies.

These argumentative statements are quite possibly defined by another Latin phrase: de minimis meaning ‘too trivial’ to merit attention.  Such is the life of a liberal.

Commercial

I am an experienced ghostwriter seeking additional writing assignments.  Business blogs are familiar turf.  Writings of all kinds will be considered.  AP Stylebook observed as you desire.  Your inquiries are welcome and I will be happy to provide samples at no cost for your review.  Simply send an email to alc@stonezephyr.com and we’ll both see where that leads.

And then it is Winter…

I received this piece in an e-mail yesterday from a dear friend and was moved by it to the point of feeling the need to share it with you.  It follows in its entirety along with the name of the author.  It is a disarming piece, maybe even a bit maudlin but it is also well worth some pondering and some deeper thought no matter our attained age.

There is a message contained in this piece that is often overlooked by those who are in the beginning or middle stages of their expected lifespans.  Expected is the more operative word in that last sentence, but most of us recognize that what we expect isn’t always, or even often, what we get in this life.  I hope this touches you, no matter your age or stage of life…

Life … and then it is winter

Time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware of the passing years. It seems just yesterday when I was young, just married and embarking on a new life with my mate. Yet, in a way, it seems like eons ago, and I wonder where all the years went.

I know I lived them all. I have photos and glimpses of how it was back then and of all my hopes and dreams.

But here it is, the winter of my life — and it catches me by surprise. My mate is gone. How did I get here so quickly? Where did the years go and where did my youth go?

I remember seeing older people through the years and thinking they were years from me. Winter was so far off, I could not fathom or imagine fully what it would be like.

But, here it is. My friends are retired and gray. They move more slowly. I see old people now. Some are in better and some are in worse shape than I, but I see the great change. They are not the people I remember as young and vibrant, but they are like I: Their age is beginning to show and we are now those old folks we used to see and never thought we’d be.

Now I find that just taking a shower is a real target for the day. And taking a nap is not a treat anymore — it’s mandatory because if I don’t do it of my own free will, I just fall asleep where I sit!

And so, I’m in this final season of my life, unprepared for all of the aches and pains, the loss of strength and the ability to go and do things I wish I had done but never did. At least I know that though winter has come, and I’m not sure how long it will last, when it’s over on this earth, it’s over.

Yes, I have regrets. There are things I wish I hadn’t done. Things I wish I had done. Yet, indeed, there are many things I’m happy to have done. It’s all part of life.

So, if you’re not in your winter yet, let me warn you, it will be here quicker than you think.

Whatever you would like to accomplish in your life, please do it soon. Don’t put things off too long. Life goes by so quickly.

Do what you can today, because you can never be certain that you’ll see winter. You have no promise that you will live all the seasons of your life.

So live for today and say all of the things you want your loved ones to remember and hope they appreciate it and love you for all the things you have done for them in the years past.

Life is a gift to you. The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after. Make it a fantastic one. Live it well! Enjoy today! Do something fun! Be happy! Have a great day every day!

——

The author is an 85-year-old Vacaville resident.

The NFL, Our Flag & Customers…

The NFL players’ antics involving the flag has apparently cost the NFL and its franchisees…and eventually, the players whose antics have impacted the league.  I think many, if not most, felt that this would blow over but it has demonstrated that it, as an issue, has solid ‘staying power’.

If you’ve noticed, the attendance at televised games, since that is all most of us see, is off considerably.  The drop is noticeable in virtually every section in the stands simply from the number of empty seats that we see in every game that is being televised.  Those seats are very expensive.  Those seats are typically occupied come what may weatherwise or contest wise.  Since television has deals with the entire league, I presume that what I see in the Milwaukee/Green Bay marketplace is similar to what others see in other parts of the U.S.  Even our Packers show some empty seats at Lambeau Field.  That was unheard of until this began.  I presume the same can be said for other NFL franchises.

Additionally, there is a ‘buzz’ that has not diminished.  If anything, that buzz has increased since this “tool” was first employed by the players…and, therefore indirectly, if not directly, by the union representing these players, has grown in its magnitude and in the general conversations surrounding the league.

This action has damaged and continues to damage the NFL ‘brand’.  There seems to have been a belief by the players and their union that this was a great way to advance their relative dissatisfaction with the league over whatever the issue of the day might be or might’ve been.  They are protesting, and they are using allegiance to, and respect for, our flag to show us that they are protesting.  And that was and is a BIG MISTAKE!!  A HUGE MISTAKE!!

The reality is that they are showing us over and over again that they have not the respect for the flag of the United States of America that you and I have.  Many of us have worn or still wear the uniform that this flag represents, and those uniforms have shown that they take precedence over the NFL teams’ uniforms.  Day in and day out!

Was this a true, spontaneous ‘grassroots’ uprising or was it somehow manipulated from behind-the-scenes?  Obviously, since it was essentially league-wide from the start, there was a behind-the-scenes organizing effort, and the only likely place for this originating orchestration is the offices of the players union.

This was and is a dangerous mix of politics and sports.  It has become apparent that it was dangerous because the organizing body and its members, the NFL players, is/are taking the heat.  Not all players seem that devoted to this action so it drives something of a wedge between players on the same team in addition to that between the players and the team owners.  That, alone, is reason enough to end the foolishness.

BUT, now the fans are showing their distaste for these antics by not placing their fannies in the seats that were already bought and paid for…and that ought to be alarming for the owners as well as for the players and the players’ union.  I don’t know what the TV viewership numbers have been compared to those at the beginning of this season, but I suspect those are probably also being impacted.

If this hasn’t been ended and the issues, whatever they were or are, solved before the next season, this movement could become likened to a tidal wave that sweeps away everything in its path.

A Jim Croce song well stated this in its lyrics:  You don’t tug on Superman’s cape!  You don’t spit into the wind!  The NFL players and their union would do well to heed this warning.  And, the owners would be wise to make this happen one way or another if they truly value their franchises.

Commercial

I am an experienced ghostwriter seeking additional writing assignments.  Business blogs are familiar turf.  Writings of all kinds will be considered.  AP Stylebook observed as you desire.  Your inquiries are welcome and I will be happy to provide samples at no cost for your review.  Simply send an email to alc@stonezephyr.com and we’ll both see where that leads.

“Pushing The Envelope”…

This term has existed for so long as I can remember, but the meaning has changed to a remarkable degree in that same time period.  I don’t recall the first time I heard this, but that likely would’ve been a few decades ago.  It might’ve pertained then to our space exploration or to the latest innovations in flight, or some other, by today’s token, more innocuous reference.

We seem an ‘edgier’ society today than we were a decade ago; certainly edgier than we were thirty or forty years ago.  I use ‘edgier’ in the sense of our society feeling it needs to continually push one or another ‘envelope’ simply to see how far one can go before being thought ill of.  Once that point has been reached, there seems a new horizon to reach…the next point where some new limit has been established with everything taboo to that point gradually made okay by the mores of the present day.

Movies, clothing styles, language; you name it and we’ve pushed the boundaries to new limits.  That pushing in certain areas, medicine, for example, has yielded beneficial results, while the pushing of boundaries in other areas have taken us to not-so-good places.  Hollywood sexcapades are in today’s headlines.  The mores of that culture are becoming better known by the day, it seems, and most of us are astounded that such things were so ingrained in that world.  Yet that world has had a significant influence on where we are today as a society.

Space exploration is another area where we’ve pushed the boundaries and that, by-in-large, has been beneficial in many ways.  Our language has new boundaries and not all of those are things of which we can be proud.  Clothing worn in some circles today would’ve resulted in jail time in another era.

Societal evolution appears to be more societal devolution in many instances.  We seem to succumb to baser instincts very easily as has been our wont since the beginning of life.

We are driven, apparently, to ever-new levels of achievement whether or not that achievement is something about which to be proud.  Our society is tugged and pulled in both good ways and not-so-good ways and, unfortunately, the human condition appears more likely to move to the not-so-good level of achievement as the new reality.  At least that seems the case given what we see and what we read and what we experience in today’s media.

Even actions such as kneeling rather than standing with a hand over the heart during the playing of our National Anthem before a football game is an example of ‘pushing the envelope’.  We’ve gotten to the place where being a social pariah appears to have been the goal of the action or inaction.  I have to question how many of those kneeling during our National Anthem even understand what it is they’re doing…other than rebelling against whatever is the ‘flavor-of-the-day’.

Societal Norms appear in a high state of flux today.  Ten years ago, even five years ago, there’d have been no ignoring the flag during the playing of our National Anthem preceding an NFL game.  I know some would tell us that if we elected Donald Trump as our President, we’d have to expect this kind of thing, except this has been going on long before Donald Trump even thought about politics.

I don’t think we are as faith-based a society as we were a few decades ago.  We seem to have the idea that we now really do ‘know better’ and we can find our own way without the much concern for the directions found in the ‘How To’ book we call the Bible.  We can’t look to Congress for lessons on just how we ought to act; that organization is bordering on being completely dysfunctional…and that is yet another sign of the moral decay of our society.

Not everything old is “out-of-date” and not everything new is “the way to go”.  We have to be discerning individuals, and we also have to be mindful of our base even as we push the envelope.

Commercial

I am an experienced ghostwriter seeking additional writing assignments.  Business blogs are familiar turf.  Writings of all kinds will be considered.  AP Stylebook observed as desired.  Your inquiries are welcome and I will be happy to provide samples at no cost for your review.  Simply send an email to alc@stonezephyr.com and we’ll both see where that leads.

 

Drone Airforce? Why Not?

I read some very different things from time to time.  Some might think that ‘strange’ but I think of it as ‘broadening my horizons’.  I guess even the strangest of us can find some rationale to support our weirdness in terms of areas of interest.  But, obviously, I digress.

This morning a piece by Levi Maxey on The Cipher Brief was that ‘bright, shiny thing’ capturing my attention.  He is billed as a cyber and technology analyst with that group.  This also happened to coincide with a drone strike of a civilian aircraft, a first, which was reported on the morning news I was tuned into today.  His article involves the impending change to U.S. export regulations that would make it easier for us to sell drones to friendly foreign powers.  Mr. Maxey began by mentioning the first known kinetic (non-explosive) strike by an unmanned aircraft dating back to October 2001.

I tend to think of drones as a ‘poor country’s air force’.  Not that they’re necessarily inexpensive, but they are certainly significantly more affordable than our multi-million dollar-a-piece fighter aircraft.  They don’t require onboard pilots so that cuts their cost significantly given training, etc. of pilots.  Drones range from small things you can hold in your hand to missiles with aircraft-like wings and control surfaces minus the pilot who can be sitting safely anywhere manipulating his or her controls.

Maxey brings a very bright light to the topic of drones.  The countries that might be given the opportunity to stock up on drones from the U.S. would be Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.  This seems to be a response to the fact that China has been exporting drone technology to countries and has worked to very quickly become quite advanced with drone technology.  A particularly riveting question in Maxey’s piece was this: “Will China’s drones become the AK-47s of tomorrow?

Among other things, China has developed ‘networked drone swarms‘ that brought to mind a swarm of bees and how they simply are everywhere all at once and are overwhelming as the result.  That isn’t to say that we have not developed such technology, but it is concerning that China has this technology and that it also can share that technology with any country or even any group it chooses.  Their drones are capable of acting singly or to be controlled in larger groups and to swarm any enemy installation of choice.

Think about one of our superior aircraft carriers being swarmed by small explosive-laden drones coming in such quantities as being impossible to take out of action before they did significant damage to a flight deck, for example, thus rendering this huge aircraft carrier impotent.  China has their own versions of our Predator and Reaper drones which are extremely potent strike devices.

China’s potential to deny us access to targets with these swarms is very real.  If they can keep these drones in swarms and out-of-sight of our radar given relative size and radar signature, we could find ourselves blindsided by a swarming attack.  Things are rapidly changing in the world of the military.  We have enemies and prospective/potential enemies that are very much more potent than they might’ve been even a year or two ago.

This world of drones makes even relatively poor countries potentially very significant adversaries.  Our advanced technology relies upon other technology to make us as militarily capable as we are today.  The idea that relatively low-cost technology can be used so effectively against our advanced threats is disconcerting, to say the least.  I am sure we are also on the cutting edge of drone technology, but the cost barriers, as low as they are, makes for a whole new group of potential adversaries seemingly overnight.

There is even talk about 3-D printed drones being mass-produced.  China has a small drone with folding wings today that can be dropped in large quantities from anything airborne and those could jam frequencies, blind target acquisition radar units and simply disrupt by swarming everywhere.  Our world is changing rapidly and that obviously includes the world of military ops.

A less-expensive military option, unfortunately, opens the doors to adversaries for whom costs had previously been a deterrent.  I can see how effective such an attack could be on ground forces if these small units simply exploded or dropped exploding devices on the troops as they swarmed here, there and everywhere. That is way too cheap a weapon in today’s world.

There is no rest for the wicked, hence none for us either.

Commercial

I am an experienced ghostwriter seeking additional writing assignments.  Business blogs are familiar turf.  Writings of all kinds will be considered.  AP Stylebook observed as desired.  Your inquiries are welcome and I will be happy to provide samples at no cost for your review.  Simply send an email to alc@stonezephyr.com and we’ll both see where that leads.

The Deep/Permanent State

These terms refer to the ‘entrenched bureaucracy’ that exists throughout our Federal government.  These are the unelected bureaucrats who can make their own decisions as to what they’ll do or not do.  They are essentially impervious to what you and I may believe is best for our country.

Our Federal government is so large as to be virtually impossible for a President, guiding the ‘ship of state’, to control.  The President determines policy but it is these entrenched bureaucrats who will determine if those policies will or will not work in their world.  They determine if the policies will really be effectively implemented or will simply be paid some level of “lip service”.  This is often called the “Deep State” and we’ve been hearing that term repeatedly since President Trump’s inauguration.

The President selects his people to head each major department of government.  Those people come in with a flourish of press interviews, and vast experience in everything but the Federal government.  They are often ‘titans of industry’ and, as such, they are accustomed to their edicts from on high being followed to the most minute detail by the worker bees.  They have no idea that some on their own staff may not plan to follow their directives but will work to make it seem as though they do.

The entrenched bureaucracy is not visible as such.  It is there nonetheless, and it is very powerful.  Sebastion Gorka, the former Deputy Assistant to President Trump, described attending frequent meetings at the NSC, the National Security Council, where the various participants from the major agencies (NSC, State, Justice, Defense) never once mentioned President Trump’s name or his agenda.  It was as if that agenda didn’t exist or certainly didn’t matter from their points of view.

Gorka suggests that the leaks occurring are part of the entrenched world in Washington, D.C. that has made up its mind as to what Trump will be able to get done, and what won’t get done.  The press loves this element, obviously, since it, too, has no thought of permitting Trump’s agenda to be accomplished, and it can count on the leaks to spice up the press’ version of the ‘news’.

Interestingly, we hadn’t heard a word about this Deep State during the Obama Administration.  That is likely due to the fact that the Deep State was happy with the direction Obama had charted since it agreed with their worldview.  These bureaucrats knew they were getting their own way and had no reason to be anything but gleeful.

Gorka also points to the fact the leaks are huge in this Administration with 125 national security leaks during the first 126 days of the Trump Administration.  This is no accident.  This is no anomaly caused by anything but the new President and his attempts to bring the bureaucracy to heel.

Look at the special investigations ongoing compared to the Obama era.  The entrenched elite has the ability to make this happen since they run the various departments including the FBI, for example.  True, there is an FBI Director, but if he is not of the right political persuasion, his department veterans will make sure he does not get his way with ‘their FBI’.

What do we, the citizens, do about this?  First, we continue to be vigilant in all matters concerning the Federal government.  We make sure we send the right people to Washington, D.C. to serve us in the Congress since that, too, is part of the “Deep State” given all those who work as staffers throughout Washington.

People at many levels in our nation’s capitol have the opportunities to delay or otherwise impede actions that do not serve their personal interests since they are so deeply entrenched in the bureaucracy.  They are especially well equipped since they work in the bowels as well as at the upper echelons of those bodies and have ample opportunity to determine what does and doesn’t get accomplished.

James Peterson, a senior attorney for Judicial Watch is quoted as saying: “The same people are still there.  They’re not just at each of the agencies that are in control,” he said.  Another member of Judicial Watch pointed at that something in the range of 89% of the vote in Washington, D.C. went to Hillary Clinton.  If you go to Arlington, (VA) it’s something like 87 percent.”

That serves to show us that the Deep State has a decided political leaning…very decided apparently.  It also shows us that we the people who put Donald Trump into the Oval office must stay dialed into the goings on in and around our nation’s capitol.  If we take things for granted, we risk being taken.

Commercial

I am an experienced ghostwriter seeking additional writing assignments.  Business blogs are familiar turf.  Writings of all kinds will be considered.  AP Stylebook observed as desired.  Your inquiries are welcome and I will be happy to provide samples at no cost for your review.  Simply send an email to alc@stonezephyr.com and we’ll both see where that leads.