Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Jim Brandstatter Out as Lions Color Man? Wow.

This was rather surprising news today (for Brandstatter too!).  Given the proverbial "going in a different direction" by WJR execs today.  Being replaced by Lomas Brown?  Really?  I loved Lomas as a player but he's hard to listen to as a speaker.  Just another painful color man to go along with a pretty good play-by-play guy, joining Jim "art of pitching, double buggywhip" Price (Tigers), Paul uhh Woods uhh (Red Wings), Jason "that's right George" Strayhorn (MSU Football).

It almost makes me want to listen to a UM Football game, just to hear someone who knows the game and can speak intelligibly as well.  Almost.

Jim Miller deserves better, as does Dan Dickerson and George Blaha.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Dear Mr. President: No Pardon for Kwame

Yes, for those of you who follow my blog, I am still alive and kicking, and have finally found a topic that has my dander up enough to fire up the computer and write about it.

I nearly choked on my morning peanut butter sandwich when I read in The Detroit News that Kwame Kilpatrick, former Detroit mayor and current federal inmate, has appealed to President Trump to commute his sentence for swindling the taxpayers of Detroit, Wayne County, and the State of Michigan out of millions of dollars during his term of office.  To say nothing of the excruciating process and more millions of dollars it took to drag Detroit through the bankruptcy that got it back on the right track. 

It is not known if he has filed a new request or if this is a holdover from his prior appeal to the now ex-President Obama.  The article goes on to detail Kilpatrick's conversion to Christianity, his earning a Culinary Arts certificate, and all the mentoring he does in the prison as reasons for the pardon.  Additionally (and incredibly, in my mind) Kilpatrick actually has supporters out there who have given statements in the article and have set up a website to garner support for him.

So, since I know he reads my blog whenever I post (although probably at 3 am while he is Tweeting!), here are my thoughts, Mr. President:  DON'T YOU DARE!

Now, if Kilpatrick's prison conversion and subsequent good work with young prisoners are all true, no one will be happier about it than me.  God rejoices when anyone finds his way back to him, and all Christians should do the same.  So God bless and keep you Kwame, and guide you in all his ways.

However - none of this really releases you from the consequences of your prior actions that led to your conviction and incarceration.  You still have to bear the consequences of that, and that means a long prison term for you to serve.  Billy Graham would still have to pay his speeding ticket if he had been caught speeding.  His relationship to Christ would have no bearing on that infraction or it's consequences and he couldn't expect to get off because he was a really godly man who made a mistake.

So Mr. President, as a citizen of Michigan whose tax dollars have gone to recover from the mess this guy made in our state, I implore you NOT to pardon Kwame Kilpatrick.  It would be a slap in the face to all of us here in Michigan who still suffer from his past corruption.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Astroturfing the Brat March (via Aaron at "The Shekel")

Reposting Aarons summary of a Sultan Knish article on the Malevolent roots of the supposed Parkland Kids and their F-bomb dropping leader, young Mr. Hogg.

Aaron's article

March For Our Lies

Over at Sultan Knish, there's a very thorough look at the forces behind the so called "student-led" March for Our Lives push: Who Runs March For Our lives?
Interestingly enough, checking the Delaware Corporations filings, you can see that within 7 days of the Parkland shooting, on February 21 the March for Our Lives Foundation, the March For Our Lives Action Fund (Per Sultan Knish donations are funneled to a company in California) wre incorporated. The March for our Lives Lodging LLC soon followed on March 2 (you have to wonder what that one is for exactly - providing hotel space for activists perhaps?), and were all setup as Delaware companies.
If you think a bunch of teenagers set these up, that quickly, there's a lovely bridge in Brooklyn up for sale woth a special deal just for you. On top of that there was a very, very quick 501(c)4 filing to allow donations without disclosing the identifies of the donors. Kids did not set these up.
Professionals setup the Delaware corps and did the IRS elections, not your average teen that just learned to stop eating Tide Pods.
It's astroturfing from the Bloomberg and Friends through and through with the kids as a front.
If you think this was a sudden spur of the moment teenage-led attack on our rights you're wrong - it's a professionally planned, professionally propagandized, professionally organized, and professionally funded effort and needs to be answered accordingly.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

A Great Kindness of God

This summer and fall has been a momentous one for me and my family for many reasons, positive and negative.  But today, as well as earlier this summer, I was privileged to participate in baptizing my two daughters.

For those of my readers who may not be familiar with the Christian faith, baptism is a ceremony in which a person affirms his acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior, and joins himself to Christ, both in his death and burial, and in his resurrection, by which God accepted Jesus' atonement for the sins of his people.  Our tradition uses immersion in water as the representation of this burial, resurrection, and washing - others use the sprinkling method which basically involves either a wet hand or a small container of water being poured on one's head. For some traditions baptism is a necessity for being accepted by God, and others it's more of a public profession of the decision you have already made.

When we had our kids, we had the intention (and indeed, the responsibility) to raise them in the faith so they could make the decision to follow Christ for themselves, rather than thinking they were saved because mom and dad took them to church and read them Bible stories. So for both my girls to decide on their own to do this, and pursue it with the church all on their own without any prompting from us parents was really an answered prayer.  Many prayers for many years, actually!

So for me to be able to participate in the moment for both of them was a very great joy for me, and I am thankful to God for his kindness toward me and my children.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

MSU Radio Network Needs a New Color Analyst

Listening to the MSU-UM game on the radio tonight, and frankly, the Spartans radio network needs to find a new color analyst.  I've said it for years, but Jonathan Strayhorn is just painful to listen to.  His favorite saying is "That's right George", and he uses it on nearly every play.  There's no insight, just agreeing with consummate pro George Blaha.  If that's all you're going to do Jonathan, why do they need you in the booth. I know you're a Spartan through and through, and God bless you for it, but you are not cut out to be a broadcaster.

And I'm just going to say it - George Blaha is the Earnie Harwell of foorball announcers.  He is so smooth and so good, you love to listen to him. Football or basketball, it doesn't matter.  He's just that good.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Gotta say - I liked the White Helmets MSU Wore Today

This is apparently their alternate helmet this year.  In the past they have had a bronze one and a shiny metallic green one.  I like this white one a lot better than either of those.  They wore an all-white uniform today, even though it was a home game.  Which was a win, 28-14 over WMU.

I think they should wear the white helmet, white jersey, and green pants when they visit Michigan in a few weeks. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

One thing I'd like to see...

Given the daily reports and videos of the peaceful, tolerant, understanding, benevolent Antifa thugs beating the crap out of some poor schmuck because he's perceived to be a Trump supporter, what I would love to see sometime is to have one of these thugs pick on someone who is an MMA guy or a 5th degree black belt in some martial art, and have the tables totally turned on him. You know it would go viral very quickly on social media.

Yeah.  That would be completely worth watching.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

So now that the Tigers are out of it...

The question I'm asking myself is "Who do you keep and who do you get rid of for next year?"

Position Players
Keep:
Mahtook, CF.  He's played way above expectations and deserves to return as the starter next year.
Cabrera, 1B.  You have to keep him because of his contract, but confound it Miggy, you have to find a way to get your back fixed this offseason.
McCann, C. Still developing, and playing better of late.  Best of the bunch between Hicks and Holaday.
Romine, OF/IF.  Fills the role that Don Kelly used to, only he hits a lot better.  Useful guy.
Upton, LF.  If he wants to stay, keep him.  He's been the most consistent hitter on the team since last August.

Trade:
Kinsler, 2B.  If you can get something for him, do it.  Seems to have hit the age barrier and performance seems to be declining.
Castellanos, 3B.  Defense has regressed, probably better at first base going forward, but unless Cabrera moves to DH, it won't be in Detroit that this happens.
Iglesias, SS.  Machado seems to be ready to go here, and is a lot cheaper.  Get what you can.

Fence Guys:
Assorted pieces and parts, keep or package as needed for depth or prospects.
Adduci, Pressley.

Cut:
V. Martinez, DH.  God bless him, he's been a great Tiger and a great hitter, but the legs are gone and he's just a singles hitter now.  The shift has been his downfall.  Give him a coaching job, make him a scout, or put him in the front office, but his body has given out on him.

Pitchers
Keep:
Fulmer, SP.  New #1 guy, someone you build a staff around.  Only trade for multiple spectacular players.
Saupold, RP.  Found his niche as a long man and has done really well this year.
Greene, RP.  Only thing resembling a closer on the roster right now.  Eventually the closer will be Jiminez, but not yet.
Jiminez, RP.  Just needs to pitch in the bigs.  Nothing left to prove in the minors.
Zimmerman, SP.  Going nowhere because of the money he is owed, but he needs to find himself next year.
Norris, SP.  Another guy that needs to find himself, but too much talent to let go of.
Boyd, SP.  Just needs to pitch in the bigs.  Probably a 3rd or 4th starter long-term.
Bell, RP.  Another guy who is doing well in the long relief role
Stumpf, RP.  Has shown some progress since returning from the minors.

On the Fence:
Rondon, RP.  Big arm, no maturity.  Has to show up to camp in shape and ready to rock or he gets cut.
Wilson, RP.  Another guy who needs to find himself.  Still has potential.
Verlander, SP.  Never thought this day would come, but he deserves to go to a contender and get a championship.  I just hope it isn't the Yankees he goes to.  Must bring a big haul of prospects wherever he goes.

Cut:
Sanchez, SP.  Whatever he may have found earlier, he has lost again.  Time to let him go.

Lots of roles left after this list, particularly Right field, but there's some guys waiting to step in and some other guys that will be on the market for cheap trying to revive their careers.

One big question left:  Manager.  I always liked Ausmus as a player, but I don't see any fire in these guys.  Jim Leyland used to instill it, but you haven't seen it since Ausmus has been here.  Everyone's cool, calm, collected.  "That's baseball" is a common refrain - "nothing you can do about it.  Just show up tomorrow and start over".  No grit.  No toughness.  No fire.  I say find someone who will light a fire under these guys.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Beautiful Stained Glass

Was at my nephew's wedding recently and saw this beautiful stained glass window above the altar.
It's a little fuzzy, and not as bright as it was in person, but it was the best my old iPod Touch could do.  Still, it's a very moving piece of art.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Well, National Match Week is here again

And how do I know this, you may ask?  A couple of reasons:
  1. The house is quiet again after last minute brass-cleaning sessions with the vibratory cleaner running for hours on end cleaning brass because there aren't enough cartridges made. Also, because my daughter and the usual whirl of activity isn't here, having been dropped off with the team yesterday for an 0300 departure this morning.
  2. A car is available for use by someone other than her.
She is fresh off a 2nd place finish with her partner Jed at the NRA's Whistler Boy match in Indiana last weekend.  Rather an underwhelming event this year as it was not held in conjunction with the National Matches at Camp Perry as hss been their usual practice.  So instead of 20 or 30 teams as there would usually be, there were only 4.  Of those, two of them were from our Junior team from Michigan.

The winning team was a couple of high-masters from Illinois using scopes, while our kids all used their irons.  Still, they showed up and shot, which is more than most did, so they got the hardware.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Your 2017 ID4 Overall winner is...

Lauren Smith.

Yes, this is a brag post.  For those of you who are or have been members at the Capital City Rifle Club you know what the ID4 match is.  For those who don't, it's the way our club celebrates Independence Day every year, by shooting a match with rifles that have some significance in the different wars the United States has fought in.  You can bring a flintlock if you want to! Don't know how well those round balls will do at 200 yards, and rapid fire is out of the question, but it's still kind of cool to think about it.  One of my bucket list items is to build up one of the 2 U.S. Krag-Jorgensen receivers I have into a shootable rifle and have a go at it with that.

Mostly people use Garands, or Springfield 03A3's.  One of my friends shot it this year with a 1917 Eddystone Enfield.  A couple years ago they allowed AR's in, but they are not eligible for prizes, as it really is no contest against all those antiques.  Lauren shot her AR (since we don't have any of those other rifles) so she got no prizes, but she did get the admiration of  other shooters on the line, which is no small thing.

So congratulations to Lauren.  A nice lead-in to the National Matches coming up soon.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Calls to investigate mosques to have a backlash against Christians, Jews?

In the wake of the murderous Manchester bombers, there are increasing calls for investigation of the religious activities of the plotters, and the teachings of the imams in various mosques they attended.  Compounding the angst is the fact that once again the bomber was on the radar of the authorities, but they "didn't do anything to stop them".

An article on WND.com today tells the tale of two Minnesota muslim men who were arrested recently with ammunition, rifles, "electronic bomb making materials", and a grenade in the trunk of their car, and the outrage that one of them has already been released.  The other is being held on federal weapons charges.  The gist of the article is that we should be asking them about their religious beliefs and the preaching they have been listening to at their mosque.  It also talks about the islamic enclaves that have formed in many places around the world (this location in Minnesota being one of them), and the fact that Sharia law is the defacto law in these areas, rather than the laws of the localities and countries that contain these enclaves.

Finally, I am reminded of the court battle a few years back where the Mayor of Houston, Texas was embroiled in a battle with several area pastors over a local gay-rights ordinance and the effort to repeal it.  The Mayor, Annise Parker, subpoenaed sermons and other materials from these pastors, allegedly to investigate any disparaging comments they may have made about homosexuals, gay marriage, or other topics the mayor didn't want them preaching about.  This act by the Mayor was roundly criticized on First Amendment grounds, and ultimately the courts rejected the Mayor's actions.

These kinds of things are testing the boundaries of the First Amendment, and I'm honestly troubled by the knee-jerk reactions of most of the comments I have seen toward increasing the reach and power of the security state even into religious matters.

So here is the question: if we are outraged by Annise Parker's actions, shouldn't we also be outraged by the calls to investigate imams, if we want to be consistent?  Isn't that the state trampling on the religious freedoms of the muslims? Aren't we all equal before the law?

And if the answer to this question is no - we're going to investigate the imams and mosques because one or two or some of their attendees killed a bunch of people while chanting an islamic text - then we have just given the state jurisdiction over the things that are said in any church or synagogue or temple in addition to the mosques in question.  And if the state doesn't like that fact that a particular religious assembly speaks out against gay marriage or school prayer or any other topic that society has deemed "wrong", then we're going to investigate you and possibly shut you down because you don't agree with "us".

And yes, I understand that this sort of thing could happen regardless of which side of the political spectrum the Mayor/Governor/Attorney General/etc. comes from.  Power is a seductress, and those who can stand up to the seduction are rarer and rarer.

So, in our haste to root out the evil among us, let's not give politicians the right to govern our religious speech at some (near) future time.  Because we all know what happens when politicians get involved in things like this, and it isn't pretty.

Monday, May 22, 2017

My Little Girl has Graduated

Yes, this is a proud parent post. 

We had my daughter's Senior Recital and Open House this weekend, and it was wonderful.  She is a terrific flute player, and it showed.  Here are a few pictures.

First up, just Lauren-


Next, with her friend Allison.  Who wrote the piece they played.  And is getting some notice from people who know about such things.  And who is going to Interlochen this summer to study composition.  And she just gave it to Lauren, and played it with her.  Yes, I'm bragging on her too, because she is all this and just as nice as can be.  I'm glad Lauren has friends like you, Allison!


And finally, Lauren's private teacher, Dr. Tess Miller.  We're very grateful to her and all the work she has done with Lauren - both musically and personally.  If you are looking for a flute instructor, you can't go wrong with Dr. Miller.





I have some video coming, and I'll post that when I can.

Lauren - you have become a very lovely young woman, and I love you dearly.   Can't wait to see what your life has in store for you.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

The Nuclear Option? I'll believe it when I see it

Speculation is swirling in Washington as the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court continues to make its way through the Senate.  Reports are now that there are 41 Senators committed to support a filibuster when the nomination comes to a vote.  These reports then blithely state that the Republicans will "invoke the Nuclear Option" in order to confirm Judge Gorsuch.  For those of you who went to public schools and thus never had a civics class, the Nuclear Option means that the Senate will change its rules to allow confirmation of a Supreme Court nominee via a simple majority (51 votes) rather than a three-fifths super-majority (60 votes).

The first thing we all need to realize is the Republicans, especially their leadership, have no courage at all.  They have proved this over and over during the 8 year reign of Barry the First, and even during the W administration when they didn't do anything they said they were going to do when they had control of both the legislative and executive branches.

So when I read these offhand remarks about Republicans invoking the Nuclear Option, I have to laugh, because they have never shown the least inclination to do anything that is hard, or will subject them to criticism.  And the criticism will be loud, long, and intense, starting with the vote they will have to take to change the rule in the first place.  Mitch McConnell has never shown the courage to face the outrage the press would put out when they find that this rule change is going to be brought to the floor.  He will pull the rule change, allow the confirmation vote to go forward and lose, and then shake his head sadly while lamenting the democrats intractability and unwillingness to cooperate on this very important nomination, and how sad it is that such a good man and eminently qualified judge will not be on the Supreme Court.  And once again a party and a philosophy that has lost over a thousand seats nationwide over the last decade will have won the political war, over the clear will of the people of this country.