what goes around comes around


Daddy-hood sort of caught me by the nape of my neck.   In the summer 2004 I was surprised to learn that… like it or not I was going to become a Father. Whoa!… after 50 years I had long decided against and avoided that (to me) unfortunate scenario. But, fate had chosen another route for […]

moneyball- the-rabbit-hole-continued


moneyball

It’s been three years now since Greensboro Attorney Vance Kinlaw, a friend and ardent supporter of his alma-mater, UNC-Law told me that he had sold his season tickets which had held forever, disavowed his relationship with the sports programs, alumni association and the university, and does not follow UNC sports anymore. PERIOD. Vance explained that his growing difficulty with supporting the Tarheels because of the blurring lines of amateur sports finally reached its zenith at a home game when he noticed that the press row tables had suddenly become advertising space during games. He was disappointed to find little support among the UNC Board of Governors, who were adamant that the signs were not infringing on the idea of amateur athletics and were necessary to insure financial success of the program.
Vance Kinlaw, having his undergrad as a Phi-Beta-Kappa Dartmouth, is a man of principal who sees college athletics from a pure and ethical moral perspective. He threw in the towel, disavowed his association and financial contributions to the school altogether. Hmmm? Are there others? Will enough follow?
 

EDITORIAL opinion / MONEYBALL

Someday, when the doin’s done someone may look back at the 2014 NCAA basketball tournament and identify it as the time when the big ship’s hull was breached and the rushing water could no longer be kept from flooding the “unsinkable” NCAA organization. For now, the band is still playing but there have been some reports of icebergs, and the captain hasn’t fully disclosed these troubling issues to the passengers. It’s full speed ahead.

If one needs some blatant signal to consider if the NCAA has stooped to cashing in on every angle this year one has to look no further than ticket prices. This year over last, prices are up 33%. Did anyone announce a basketball shortage? The NCAA has finally caved to the idea that it’s all about MONEY and is only barely trying to hide it.

They are acting like a deposed dictator who is scooping up as much as he can carry to make a last second smash-and-grab before the inevitable flight to asylum.

ncaachart

Of course, everyone knows that there are serious cracks which Ed O’Bannon’s class action suit has exposed, and the lengthy legal proceedings have limits to the amount of time they can be forestalled. O’Bannon’s legal team is nothing else if not persistent, matching the NCAA’s legal stable motion for motion answer for answer for several years. Some expect that a hearing looms low on the horizon. Several legal experts also feel O’Bannon has the upper hand. If so, many think it could be the organization’s fatal blow.

Could this year’s tourney be a sign that there’s blood in that rushing water too?

NCAA-money

If not, then the NCAA has blatantly announced that they are in TOTAL control of the situation by offending the fans, their constituents, the media, and even many of those who earn their over-the-top salaries under their sponsorship with the obvious unfair manipulation of the tournament brackets, seedings, and (both immediate and possible) matchups.

This year, they have run out of excuses that could mitigate the vitriol spewing forth from the public. Of course, hurting one team always helps someone else so they have their supporters too. But, this year they have defied ALL LOGIC despite what happens in the tourney (we all remember VCU in 2011 reaching the Final Four from the play-in game, although many argued that they hadn’t done enough in season to qualify). And though while that may have been true, Shaka Smart may have unwittingly given the NCAA a future license to steal.

ncaa-tournament-statistics

The “selection committee” meets for hours behind closed doors in strict confidence, allowing no one to witness the “incredibly tough” job they are thanked for doing each year. And, I know that it must be a tough job even if they’ve already pretty much got the framework together by Selection Sunday. I mean, Athletic Directors are supposed to be paying attention all season long, right? This isn’t exactly Talent Search, where there is no historical reference point for each contestant. No, they ALREADY  know and have alluded to as much by suggesting the Sunday games really can’t change anything except perhaps a swap of seeds with two teams in the same conference.

Last year, as always, NCAA scapegoats justified unfortunate seedings to disgruntled fans and experts by pointing out the obvious cases where their mistakes made them look good (as is inevitable as the Sun rising no matter who does the seeding), adding for the still skeptical that beginning 2014 they would finally de-emphasize (the old RPI algorithm) in favor of more advanced metrics used by many teams both  professional and college; The  likes of Ken Pomeroy, John Gasaway, and Dean Oliver to make these “important” decisions. Why not eliminate the RPI altogether since comparatively it was written on papyrus? Of course, because this simply gives the unfortunate bearer of bad news (the committee head) another potential excuse to use when all others fail, though time and time again the RPI has been shown to be an unreliable predictive measurement tool.

Instead, they ignored all of these expert’s statistical tools, even dissing the ESPN BPI metric (a highly sophisticated product which takes into account many subtle metrics that have been used by professional gamblers for years to gain a slight “edge”.

If you’re a betting man, pay close attention; Can you say, opportunity?

dome

This year committee chair Ron Wellman (Wake Forest) confidently answered detractors by using double talk and blatantly lying to the public stating that “of course we used the eye test when considering Louisville’s 4 seed”. But….(cue excuse metric). What had Ron failed to disclose? That he was blind? No, and not ignorant… but stupid seems to fit fairly well.

First, that the committee doesn’t really review much basketball in their 4-6 hour closed meeting finalizing the pairings. They do work hard though, sifting through piles of financial data, seating charts, driving distances, expected fan base participation in ticket sales, community resource income opportunities, popcorn sales, etc. I could go on, but I think you get the picture. But the biggest job is uncovering the “storylines” and potential storylines if certain matchups occur. While one may not consider this as important or useful, remember that the NCAA is paid an astronomical amount in dollars (see above chart) by the media organizations, who all  expect to make profits by sponsoring the extravaganza on TV, radio, internet, print and cable. The media makes money on viewer and readership, by converting numbers to advertisng dollars. The NCAA gets a percentage bonus against a fixed income.

Every dollar counts as reader/viewers/ attendees/ hits, even if it is insignificant enough to pit the defending champ against a team coached by an ex-ball boy for Louisville coach Rick Pitino, ex-player, and ex-assistant coach against his mentor. What a story if Steve Maseillo who coaches Manhattan with a 13 seed can defeat his mentor the defending Champ? Since Maseillo learned everything he knows about the game from Louisville and Pitino and carbon copies EVERYTHING they do, who stands a better chance of an upset? Not many teams in the entire field. Big stories mean big money.

Sorry ‘bout that Rick.

Wellman didn’t fully explain why he inserted NC State in the tourney over SMU, a move no one expected but subtlety understood after Coach Krzyzewski of Duke went public to whine about his conference deserving more teams. Viola, Wake Forest man delivers, keeping the ACC family safe and K on his good side. Of course, there’s no way K would have had to play his ex-players like Harvard and ex-Dookie stars Tommy Amaker’s team, or Johnny Dawkins team from Stanford. Like the legendary Dean Smith before him, Special K and the ACC is Golden with the NCAA (see infractions committed but not sanctioned), and K is King and gets his way at the NCAA. Doesn’t hurt when the Head man is a Duke grad himself, huh?

Most people outside of SMU yawned, notably Larry Brown who knows EXACTLY how it works with the NCAA. It is better to stay silent lest you end up an 8-seed, or 4-seed while qualifying as a 4 or a 1. But Larry and others miss the point. As in any political arena the losers attitudes ARE always more than offset by the winners perspectives when they conform to the accepted media narrative, insuring that “right or wrong” is not just an uncertainty, it’s practically irrelevant (well… by Monday). Then somehow an upset or two will make the media gush over the committee genius, without mention that there are STILL some walking around feeling as if a long stiff object has been lodged in the wrong place… Onward, we march into madness… Truth is, the DISS usually backfires into a determined rage by the most offended.

ronwellman

Ron Wellman, Wake Forest Athletic and Director (of the ACC) explains how the

seedings were “the most accurate in his five years on the committee.”

What is it about the four teams listed on the eraser board?

Call me crazy but it appears that eventual Mid-West Region 8-seed/Kentucky is listed with an eventual 4-seed, Louisville… and then eventual 5-seed St. Louis.
Above these teams is listed an eventual 1-seed Virginia, who was apparently later “replaced with 1-seed Wichita State. Why?
Question: Why would these teams (1,4,8,5) be listed BEFORE THE SEEDING PROCESS without any other participants?
And, whatever happened to the idea that a 5-seed doesn’t get to play a “home” game?

Here’s my take on a fictional conversation (which could… but would never happen, since it is silently understood by both) between Wellman and Rick Pitino, who was upset about being paired with 16-seed Manhattan whose Coach Steve Masiello was his old ball boy, player, and assistant coach. Maseillo “carbon copies” Pitino’s system at Manhattan.

“Nothing personal Rick but the first round lacks stories and CBS can spin this into a million website hits on a bad day this time of year. If nothing else it makes a nice headline, and with hypertext it might turn lead into gold. New York to Orlando flights are on-sale so we expect to fill the allotments there. Of course, you get first dibbs after they return the unsolds. Plus Rick, we like the potential Calipari-Pitino angle… but you know we’d rather not have it in the final four. With both of your passionate fans bases there’s still only 12 million viewers which is small potatoes since they are practically all from the State of Kentucky. But we know they would fill up that cavernous Dome in Indy, and no other two fan bases could come close.

We need big market dramas/story-lines for the FF. Thanks for being a team player. You’re a solid pro and we all like you here and at CBS. They will ask you to do color in some games if you go out early, a nice consolation prize. I know, it’s not winning but it’s compensation (for playing ball, you know… with us). CBS promises you’ll be happy with the coverage they’ve allotted you for special interest stories about the great job you’re doing. Remember, they have faithfully not mentioned your little scandal in three years Rick, out of respect for you and the great job you do. How about some love? You know Rick, if it weren’t for this tourney, your 5 million a year would likely be like 1.5.

Thanks for your understanding and not letting too much of this cat out of the bag. Don’t make us an enemy, instead consider us partners. Steve’s a great kid and we know how you feel about him, that’s such a great story to tell. Even in losing, the publicity is a win for him and I know you love seeing him succeed.

And, of course Kentucky may not get that shot at you, so we like the potential undefeated vs. the defending champ angle if W-S wins that one. And BTW, Kentucky-Wichita State ain’t so bad either but hey, you’ll have the “revenge” factor and “chip-on-shoulder” factor going for you.

Sliding Kentucky into an eight hole can be explained, even if strong rational discourse would annihilate any attempt at justification. There’s a lot of hate for Kentucky right now, so we could have left them out completely and no one would care but BBN. But BBN is where the money’s at, as you already know Rick.

Surely you agree that Calipari needs to be knocked down a notch or two by foiling our last three attempts at bringing him to his knees, and then mocking us on national TV? We’re still seething about 2011 when they lucked through our gauntlet of number 1 Ohio State and then #2 UNC-Chapel Hill. Roy is still peeved. If anybody, you’re the man with the team to do it. It would make your season Rick. Problems are opportunities. Look at the positives. And, of course, if per chance they advance past Louisville?

No worry, we have Michigan and Duke waiting to take care of them, and we both know you beat both last year and have as good a chance of doing it again.

Besides, Kentucky and Louisville have the two best traveling fandom. We need to insure one of you two play in that Dome if we’re to get close to a sell it out. One more thing before you shut the door behind you Rick. Kentucky won 2012, Louisville in 2013. If one of you two wins this year, we’re seriously worried the game itself might suffer. This isn’t John Wooden’s America. Hope to see you doing some TV by the end of the tourney. If not we’d love a Donovan-Pitino story again. That one was BIG last time. Hey, you’re already in the Hall and I’ll bet that extra money and TV time could come in handy. Louisville fans worship the ground you walk on as it should be. Good luck Rick.”

And, my imaginary instructions from Wellman to Committee before/during the seeding on Wichita State:

“But… what about the undefeated returning Final Four team, uh… Wichita State? Great story. Huh? Everyone will tune in. Make ‘em run the table, and the story expands exponentially after every win. But please folks… be sure they don’t waltz into another FF with what a terrible TV market that dreadful town will be. With Michigan and Duke added for seasoning we have guaranteed high-dollar value storylines from day one in the Midwest. And we all know that media/fan bucks are always the highest in the Midwest, IF we get some good markets in play there. But IF W-S makes the finals it will be huge after beating ALL those teams and still being undefeated. Bob Knight will shit bricks! He’s such an ass, I’d love to see his face on national TV if W-S goes undefeated, but I’d still rather ESPN keep him out of the CBS studio.

I won’t bore you with the other regions but they have their built-in stories too, albeit not quite as many. Maybe someone suggests Cincy-Harvard is dubbed “Neanderthal vs. Humanoid”? on their bulletin board and in their storyline notes? Jus’ Kidding… but you see what i’m saying. I personally wouldn’t be surprised if this year the Big Brother-Little Brother theme wins the day again with so many more of those possibilities… and folks love David vs. Goliath, especially in their local markets. There are several more possibilities you should…”

Though the above conversations are fiction, do you believe in the plethora of random chance storylines? Uh, right. With the intertextuality and over-the-top typology inserted into this years tourney, there’s enough “story” to rival the Septuagint-New Testament typology (I mean prophesies).

Of course, Wellman attempted to confidently explain the issues that MOST EVERYONE immediately denounced with double-talk, contradiction, false statements, and inconsistency. It is if he studied the famous book on quantitative statistics by Darrell Huff, “How to Lie With Statistics”, but forgot to read his sequel, “How to spot Cheaters using Statistics.”

The secret revealed? This secular “church”, who is protector and supporter of the student-athlete and proponent/supporter of “One-and-Done” being all about the Benjamin? No. Why? In any large organization today it’s grow or die, and so MONEY becomes its God. The NCAA sanctions the bracket manipulation and the publicly vilified O-&-D because they both mean more money. Publicly though they decry both so as not to alienate too many fans (I mean readers/viewers/hits/etc). What are fans anyway if not a means to an end?

Hypocrisy at it’s finest and highest level thrives at our most hallowed institutions.

————————————————————————————————————————————————–

A cursory look at UCLA’s Alumni position on hiring Steve Alford over moral/ethical conflicts reveals the fact that ethics DO matter to many… win or lose. Many important supporters of UCLA could care less if UCLA wins another Natty, that is if it is done under new Coach Steve Alford. Yes, greed is rampant, but perhaps not totally pervasive at a school with the tradition of pride and excellence John Wooden instilled among their faithful followers during his career span. UCLA supporters don’t count NCAA banners unless they are achieved with a Coach who can emulate the character of Wooden the man, not the Coach.

For Vance Kinlaw and his issue with alma mater UNC, I say… go UCLA fans! And, I venomously hate losing to both those teams.

The NCAA is a proud organization who isn’t accustomed to answering to its detractors and smugly refuses to grant concessions, even when there is little support of their stance from the outside. They are defiant, and  the notion of their being greed driven is scoffed at and discounted as “heresy” by their better-than well-paid executives.

money_god

Reminds me of the Catholic Church, venerable yes… powerful still… but, beginning to struggle with new paradigms that insist on Priests, Bishops, and Cardinals practicing what they preach, and punishing those who don’t or attempt to hide the truth. For too long these problems have been swept under the rug in a veil of silence. Large organizations can and do fail when they resist the notion of transparency, integrity, and fairness or react too slowly to overwhelming disillusionment among their faithful (read: the fans who buy tickets, or the Alumni who donate to Universities).

If I were running the NCAA today, I’d be worried instead of defiant, and honest instead of elusive. Instead of gouging fans of college sports at every opportunity without the  extreme expense of paying players like their Professional counterparts must, or manipulating bracketing and seeding with lame-ass excuses to pacify the media outlets who agreed to the ridiculous contract dollars they demand… I’d take the humble road (never) travelled. I’d have public discussion with college presidents and athletic directors instead of the many back room deals worked out between power players in exclusion. Just ask Rick Pitino about he and Rollie Massimino back in the early days of the Big East. This is high stakes poker.

But their smug, nattily dressed Captain, like his Titanic counterpart is staying the course at full speed ahead. And we all know how that worked out…  I can already feel the drip of water…and hear the muffled sound of rivets popping loose… and too… there’s not enough lifeboats.

This may no longer be John Wooden’s America, but it should be.

the rabbit hole


basketballAn email sent to a friend (Vance Kinlaw) who is a very smart man… a graduate of UNC-Law School and Dartmouth University. Our relationship through the years had centered around both our passions for college basketball where we argued the merits of our respective favorite teams. He recently told me that he had withdrawn his support for UNC and sold his season tickets due to an ethical conflict of interest regarding the University and their selling out to the god of money. I was shocked that this long time ardent supporter had taken such a drastic stance, and at the time a bit flummoxed. Now… I too get it.

Vance,
Once again I must admit that I am squarely behind both the eight ball and the Kinlaw in my pursuit of truth.
I once almost (emphasis on almost) derided your decision to quit the “college game” because of your ethical stance regarding UNC’s Board of Governors and their apparent thirst for squeezing every dollar out of the sports programs without regard to the alumni and their ethics and ideals.
I mean, “it’s just a few advertisements” I remember thinking when you described the billboards along the Dean Dome’s press row, the straw that finally sent you packing and giving up your cherished season tix. I really just didn’t get it fully, although I knew/know MONEY is god everywhere in our culture.
I just didn’t go far enough down that rabbit hole…
Now, after the NCAA Tournament brackets for 2014 have been made public, the rabbit has bitten me on the ass and drawn blood. What a scam! Every seed, every game or chance game has been manipulated by the committee this year for ONE PURPOSE only: Revenue. Period. Ticket prices have gone up 33% since last year!
Of course, it’s probably due to the Attorney fees in the Ed O’Bannon case (lol).
At any rate, I stand corrected, and as always… in a certain awe of your scope…

T.

thom

Is it my tongue, or is a tail wagging the dog?


zemblanity

held my breath
too long it seems
finest place was just a dream
rose to the top jus’ like the cream

but virtuous… a lonely theme
the lies are told through smiles they beam
as curtains hide the actors scheme
gag the truth or it will scream.

you are just one and they are a team
wrinkled shirts will get the steam
so money’s god, but god ain’t green
while power wins, fine ass is reamed.

play or lose you finally gleam
know the truth but go mainstream
but every crack will find a seam
times gettin’ bad when good’s extreme.

-30-

kalopsia

FACEBOOK IT. (A recent comment to friend’s Facebook post about America.)

America? Where is it anyway?

I had a dream that I grew up there, but when I woke up… oh shit!?! I lived in a foreign land that existed only in the minds of an ignorantly deluded multitude, but in the “pockets” of a few greedy intellectual snake charmers with some bizarre ideas; who manipulated us (through their control of the monetary supply-system which they did privately own yet had surreptitiously presented as one being Federally regulated/owned), by using their powerful political, deadly, and financial force to corrupt and control this so-called “AMERICA”‘s political morally bankrupt leaders years many before my birth.

After a cup of Java or two had really opened my eyes and re-started my brain I learned that they had used lies and manipulation to hypnotize the masses into believing that we were living in and freely participating in the affairs of an ethically righteous political Republic; and one whom God had somehow annointed as “policeman to the world” due to our extreme technologically advanced capability of forcing will on nearly every aspect of the world’s populations through intimidation, blackmail, and destruction.

Sad that I had only dreamt about America’s greatness instead of actually having existed in an honourable country espousing freedom for all who wished to FAIRLY and HONESTLY excel through individual effort, determination, and innovation like I had been indoctrinated to believe…

I retreated, to the only real and local environment that I truly felt I could trust and love… my family and a few close personal friends.

So here I am… and here I’ll stand.

-mostdiggity

raiseawareness.gif-1 - Copy - Copy

Who’s yO bama?


First, lemme’ go on record as saying, “I hate politicians.”

It’s one of the several reasons that I have boycotted the U.S. Presidential Election for 28 years now. Another is that as our Constitution is written, we shouldn’t really care about who becomes President since it limits the power of the Federal Government. Problem is, neither party has abided by our Constitution in decades. If you don’t believe me, perhaps a re-read of our 9th and 10th Amendments would be instructive. We, as wimpy Americans have given up our libertarian freedoms on a ghastly scale.

But mainly, I JUST can’t stand politicians, either in politics, the workplace, social groups, or anywhere. These frauds will never speak their real mind to your face, but will play you for the fool you are; if you happen to believe in them. And, I’ve been a sucker for entirely too long.

I like it straight up, face-to-face, mano’-e’-mano’. You got a problem? Let’s hear it, maybe I can help or agree or not. But you won’t hear any BS coming from me. If I have one with you, you can bet you will be reminded of it, gently first: then, not-so-much.

This year I’m getting out to vote. I’m motivated this time to vote against the vilest individual I can remember running for President, and yes, I do remember Richard Nixon.

Mitt Romney.

Now, I understand that many of my friends and associates will be voting for him tomorrow. I can only say that I expect that they are uninformed, and likely because they’ve been so busy chasing the dollar that there is not enough time to really explore the candidates and their respective backgrounds and beliefs. If that’s been the case, I’ll try to forgive you.

I won’t enumerate every factoid I know here for sake of brevity. I know folks tire of long diatribes. But, I will say that Mitt Romney made his fortune by bankrupting American companies and laying off their work force. By my count, over 10,000 workers strong. To be fair, some of those layoffs were due to his moving manufacturing overseas instead of keeping those jobs here in America. Which, by the way, how do you like your poison served?

He developed a financially successful strategy with Bain Capital (as CEO) which has been widely copied by others, those being known as Corporate raiders.

It involved buying a company, then borrowing huge sums against it’s arbitrary “market value” (sometimes tenfold its assets), then paying himself and other investors in his scheme ALL that money back in Dividends (he called it “getting back your bait” although sometimes it was the catch too), and then attempting to make a go of the business in question. Most times the crippling debt led to bankruptcy protection and firing ALL the employees. On just a few occasions the business survived and then thrived, which he would then sell at an enormous profit. A can’t lose proposition!

It’s akin to a golfer making a 15 on every hole, except for 3 or 4 where he made double eagles and birdies. Is he to be considered a good golfer?

While that does make him clever, it doesn’t qualify him to lead a Nation of Peoples intent on equality and freedom. To me, it makes him a scoundrel of the highest degree.

Of course, one might say, “I want my piece of that pie!” They surmise that if they put the apparently new “status symbol” a Romney yard sign out like so many in my neighborhood have, they will be a member of the club too? NOT.

To those wannabees I’ll only remind, “You are dreaming people… go find a real life.”

Another bug-a-boo I have with Mitt (and who names their kid Mitt? Sounds more like a pet’s name to me), is his devout Mormonism. Now, I understand about religious freedom and all, but here’s a guy who professes belief in a Religion that has been unquestionably certified as a hoax and a fraud. The cards are now all on the table for us all to read. And it is a normal deck of Hoyle’s playing cards, not some ancient hieroglyphic messages from God to a chosen set of government hating cult members in Ohio. It’s a proven fraud! Do you really want to hire a guy to lead you with such poor judgment in such weighty matters as this?

I’m not sermonizing on Religion here, that’s for another post. Sure, it can be said that I don’t believe in Obama’s professed religion either. But at least there I have no proof, only extreme suspicion. I promise to provide acute details for the morbidly curious later. Religion only matters when it makes you a complete fraud instead of a faithful follower of a yet unproven belief system.

And Romney, in order to win this race has stooped to switching his stance on almost every conceivable issue. I’d as soon go to IHOP if I want flap-jacks! In Mitt Romney, what you have is a slithering moron of epic proportions! Is that really what you’re after for your children’s future? Instinctively I can smell reptiles and they scare the hell out of me.

Since Obama has been vilified as the reason our national debt is so out of control, would it surprise you or anyone that under Obama America has had the LEAST amount of budget increases since Dwight D Eisenhower? Is that how you frame irresponsible, or is it better to call it uniformed drivel you didn’t learn by watching the Fox channel? Note I didn’t say the word “news”.

Another salient point I think, which you might consider a bit obtuse but I find edifying: High school. I don’t know about you but I’ve had the opportunity to re-acquaint myself with a few of my best friends from those glory days of yore. While their paths have rambled, their successes in life as variable as  the weekly winning lotto numbers, at heart these folks are just as I can remember them back in the day. When you read what Romney’s high school acquaintances thought of him and his high school demeanor, you invariably hear that he was considered “a jerk”, “a bully”, and one who felt the rules didn’t include his vaunted status. Now seriously, do you really believe that all his financial success has humbled him?

I could go on and on here but I won’t. My case is clear. I hate liars. Liars come in degrees. Mitt… It’s getting too fucking hot in here… out.

-30-

Liars, Lizards, and Snakes…Oh My!


If anyone has noticed other than me, I haven’t posted much lately (save for one or two Eureka moments when I knew if I was gonna’ say something, I’d better say it then or consider it lost to into the immensity).

My“Ode To Kansas” was particularly inspired though it seemed I was the only one who thought it so. Someday, when my posthumous memoirs are published, I’m sure it will win quite a following in Kentucky and I will be vindicated.

What I’ve been up to lately I think says more about who I am than almost anything else I can place my hands on (which in my poverty is becoming less and less). Though my (as in most of us) childhood dreams always had me as the Hero and some other entity playing the villain, my adult life has seemed to revolve more around that theme than did those formative years. I (call me crazy) tend to take on projects that involve “taking down a big man/woman”, whom I view as a blight on our society and our culture since he/she gained their lofty position through not playing by the same rules as us mere mortals.

As you might expect, those in my viewfinder can be extremely adept at smoke and mirrors, dodge-ball, CYA, and a host of other scent manipulating tricks making my job as HERO an extremely frustrating, time-consuming proposition. Yet, time is on my side, or so it now is beginning to feel. Three years ago I wouldn’t have bet even money I’d be around to write this missive.

But even so, the last three-four weeks have been excruciatingly painful to me and those near to me. No less than 3-4 times have I stayed up all night and day putting together my latest take-down, one that if I succeed in will be one of the most satisfying victories in my 57 year timetable as boy/man/hero.

Actually, I’ve had two of these take-downs in progress simultaneously. The other is also finished (for now) and by all indications seems just as formidable as does the first. Needless to say, I am now in a state of quiet satisfaction. But in both cases, the Fat Lady Has Yet To Sing.

Many “jailhouse lawyers” have found themselves being similarly inspired by their own selves after finding their backs against the wall with no one else to “look out for them”. This keen, “I’m in a corner and there’s a thong of thugs ready to work out on me” (fight without the flight option) does well to inspire many an animal that wishes to continue breathing free air. Most of us wake-up, realizing a bad dream.

But I was not dreaming and I knew it. And though the last 3-4 weeks were brutal mentally, physically, and equally tough on my family, I had to do what I had to do. Albeit, there was no financial gain for us to be realized. Thank god (that’s another post) for all their love and support. Love is such a beautiful thing.

At about age 21 I learned to love reading likely because I moved to a town with no other acquaintances (after college graduation). I parlayed that with a speed reading course and taught myself to read while I was driving (kids: don’t try this at home) since I was on the road from sun up to sun down. Needless to say it became an unhealthy/healthy addiction of which I survived 27 years. I can’t count the missed exits! In those days I could not drive to the Quick-Mart without a book in my hands. Now, Nooks make it less dangerous (kidding!).

Those many thousands of books (of which I can remember few of their Titles) have served me well as I gracefully grey into cultural oblivion. (I know a hell of a lot about something, but what it is I can’t really say). My scope is wide, the big picture quite clear, yet some details are lacking.

But when I see it and feel it, I DO know it.

I saw it. I felt it. I knew it, and I couldn’t stop until he was, and then she was out of business. Since the outcome is uncertain, I do hope the past 3-4 weeks weren’t all in vein. I’ll know in a few weeks. I mean, I got the goods!

If it has been for naught, then our world is much sicker than even I suspected. And, to this would be self-styled hero out to save the world from its tyrants and thieves if only in this limited space, it is quite sick. I see it. I feel it. And…