NFL 2016: Conference Championships

AFC Championship
Steelers-Patriots

NFC Championship
Packers-Falcons

What Makes America Great Project

The more I read about both Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin– specifically, the threat that both pose to the West–the more I think about the idea I will discuss in this thread. The idea involves starting a national discussion and a national celebration about our American system of government and our values. This may seem like an odd project to suggest, but I actually think that a large campaign to discuss and celebrate the American system of government is a crucial way to protect and preserve our great country. I’m offer some thoughts on why I feel this way, but let me start by explaining the nature of project. Continue reading ‘What Makes America Great Project’

NFL 2016: Divisional Round

Saturday
Seahawks-Falcons
Texans-Patriots

Sunday
Steelers-Chiefs
Packers-Cowboys Continue reading ‘NFL 2016: Divisional Round’

The Pitfalls of Narratives and Thoughts on How to Avoid Them

I believe humans use narratives to organize information and to shape perceptions to help us make sense of the world. The great world religions are prime examples of this. Religious narratives not only provide moral teachings and insights, but they do so within a compelling narrative framework, making the teachings compelling, almost irresistible, while also offering a way from their adherents to view and understand the world and one’s place in it.

But not all narratives are this elaborate and grand. Every person creates more modest narrative frameworks in order to organize information and perception–narratives relating to relationships, work, their life, or even trivial matters. For example, sports fans often create narrative frameworks when watching a game, which also creates a lasting way they remember the game. The Seahawks pass rush dominated the Bronco offense in the Super Bowl. That’s a way fans understand what happened in the game, and it’s the way they will remember it (whether the narrative is actually accurate or not). People will create mini-narratives involving conflicts with their significant other or with co-workers as well.

I find this way of organizing information and shaping perceptions interesting, but I believe significant pitfalls exist as well. In this thread, I want to explore some of the pitfalls and also discuss ways to avoid them. Continue reading ‘The Pitfalls of Narratives and Thoughts on How to Avoid Them’

NFL 2016: Wildcard Round (and General Predictions)

Saturday
Raiders-Texans
Lions-Seahawks

Sunday
Dolphins-Steelers
Giants-Packers

Some general thoughts first. Continue reading ‘NFL 2016: Wildcard Round (and General Predictions)’

Baseball Blatherings 2017

“Baseball players are smarter than football players. How often do you see a baseball team penalized for too many men on the field?”
Jim Bouton

Movies 2017

“The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder.”
Alfred Hitchcock

Here’s to a year of increasingly short movies.

Know Payne; Know Gain

I’m just about done with a personal retrospective on the directorial work of Alexander Payne: Citizen Ruth, Election, About Schmidt, Sideways, The Descendants, and Nebraska. Once I’m done with reviewing each of them, I’ll use this space to go through them in chronological order, quoting what we’ve said in the past about these films, and hopefully finding a few interesting things to say about his work overall.

NFL 2016 Week 17

Sunday
Patriots-Dolphins Continue reading ‘NFL 2016 Week 17’

Notes: Who Are We? by Samuel Huntington

Random thoughts and notes from the book.

Some thoughts on the book. Huntington examines the American national identity, going back to the early formation of this identity and stopping in the early 2000s. I haven’t finished the book, but I understand part of the book questions whether the U.S. can function or survive if the cultural components like Anglo-Protestant values, the English language begin to become less central. I believe this is tied in directly with the rise of Donald Trump, so the book definitely is germane to the present politics.

The Lobster (2016)

Mitchell

The Lobster (2015)
Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Lea Seydoux, John C. Reilly. Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. Written by Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou. Continue reading ‘The Lobster (2016)’

Design Thread

A thread for designs and art that you like. For example,

Moving Inexorably Towards Disaster

A recent tweet by Trump–one of many, many disturbing things about him:

Among Americans there are different groups of people. Some don’t know what’s going on. Some know, but they can’t believe that Trump really means what he says, and they’re expecting that he’ll change or at least they’re waiting to make up their mind about if he’s serious or not. Then there are some who have decided that Trump is serious and that he’s a serious threat to the nation and the world.

I’m pretty much in the last group. But the thing is, I have no idea what to do about it–I don’t know what can be done. The first thing that comes to mind is to create a list of concerns that Americans like me would implore Mr. Trump to address–with possible ways he could do this. For example, concerns about the conflicts of interests that will arise from his business and him serving as POTUS. Also, all the various ties between the PEOTUS and Russia/Putin. Finally, the choices he’s made for his administration–specifically individuals who have embraced conspiracy theories as well as individuals with ties to racism/white nationalism.

This could be made into a letter asking to address these things. Maybe others could sign on.

I also wish the press would press the PEOTUS to address these concerns.

Day after day it seems like Trump himself sends up disturbing red flags about his ties to Russia or his conflicts of interests; day after day he provides evidence that he is completely unfit to the POTUS–and yet, the nothing is done to stop him. The country seems to be moving on to the day he is inaugurated. The press isn’t sounding alarm bells. The GOP leadership is just going along. I can’t help but feel we’re moving inexorably toward disaster.

P.S.
When I think about this from the point of view of my faith, I realize that ultimately God is in control.

The Hamilton Electors Are a Bad Idea, But…

(Note: I wrote this prior to the electors having to cast their votes, but I guess I forgot to post it.) If you don’t know, the Hamilton Electors are a electors from the Electoral College who are considering voting against the results of their state elections–ostensibly to block Trump becoming the POTUS. In this thread, I want to explain the reasons I don’t support this group, what it would take and what’s tempting me to support them. Continue reading ‘The Hamilton Electors Are a Bad Idea, But…’

Comments on a Recent Op-Ed by Charlie Sykes

I read an NYT times op-ed by Charlie Sykes, a conservative talk show host, and I wanted to comment on it, as I think it touches on several important themes: Continue reading ‘Comments on a Recent Op-Ed by Charlie Sykes’

NFL 2016: Week 16

Thursday
Giants-Eagles Continue reading ‘NFL 2016: Week 16’

News Discussion Group

Admittedly, that’s not the greatest of names, but I care more about getting this idea out there. The idea? In a nutshell, I want to form a group of people, with as much diversity as possible, especially in terms of political views, that would examine and discuss and analyze political issues and topics. My idea isn’t fully formed, so I’m starting this thread as a way clarify what I have in mind. I’m going to start with some brainstorming: Continue reading ‘News Discussion Group’

NFL 2016: Week 15

Thursday
Rams-Seahawks Continue reading ‘NFL 2016: Week 15’

Is Russia at War with the West, and Are We Losing It?

Here’s an article from the Lawfare website that discusses Russia’s interference in our recent election and the way they seem to be attempting to interfere with upcoming elections in Western European countries. The article is part of an collection of information that I’ve been gathering, which has been pointing me to notion that Russia is at war with the Western democracies–or just democracies, period. In this thread, I want to “think out loud” about this topic, making this, like many other threads, a repository of notes and ideas, using this as a way to examine and formulate my thoughts. Let’s start with the following:

What I Mean by War? Continue reading ‘Is Russia at War with the West, and Are We Losing It?’

NFL 2016: Week 14

Thursday
Raiders-Chiefs Continue reading ‘NFL 2016: Week 14’