We all try to put on the happy face but let’s face it we all have our moments. Nobody is perfect and no one is always happy but its a shame more of us aren’t as happy as often as we should be. I thought the recent Time magazine issue on the “Pursuit of Happiness” was revealing on several levels.

Apparently we should all move to Iceland which according to the 2012 World Happiness report is the happiest country in the world. The United States is ranked…..23rd almost right in the middle of the 50 countries who obtained a ranking. The USA trailed the likes of Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia??

Often it seems everybody on social media in our country is very happy whether its showing pictures of your kiddos, your meals or your latest endeavors but that’s not the case either. According to the Time poll, 60% of those surveyed say they do not feel better about themselves after logging in on social media. Additionally, 76% believe other people make themselves look happier on either Facebook or Twitter. While I agree with some of that to a degree, I’m here to tell you the Naborhood always promotes happiness, so hopefully in the next few paragraphs we can change your outlook on life. Don’t worry, be happy…one of many hot topics…..

FREE PETE ROSE: Alright enough already,its time and the more I think about it— this would be the perfect time. The Baseball Hall of Fame this year is taking a timeout—inducting zero players in this year’s class thanks to the recent run of steroid abusers. Pete Rose’s records aren’t tainted but his credibility and certainly his judgment have been and for good reason—-but he’s more than paid the price. Pete Rose bet on baseball and then lied about it but never bet on his own team which to me isn’t nearly as bad as the lies we’ve heard recently from the likes of Ryan Braun and the finger pointing of Rafael Palmeiro. I say keep out all the steroid guys who tarnished the game’s legacy but please let in a man who seemingly has only harmed himself.

Rose’s records aren’t tainted. He is the undisputed All Time Hit King and despite what you think about him as a person, he played the game like you would want your favorite player to–all out. Charlie Hustle was 48 years old when he was banned from baseball and this year he turned 72. 24 years is enough time to lie in Baseball purgatory—set Rose free and put him in the Hall. Its time and frankly its overdue.

RAYS CRITICS: As I type this, those Tampa Bay Rays are 1/2 game out of 1st place. They have won 19 of 22 and are the hottest team in baseball, but if you lived in Tampa Bay and read the newspapers or listen to sports talk radio you would have thought this was virtually impossible back in May and early June. I never did and have reserved judgement until the All Star Break which everybody should when it comes to this game.

I understand the need to be objective and critical but I will never understand the impatience and overreaction of many who cover this team. Baseball is unlike any other sport in regards to playing 162 games—-let things play out.

I have heard several say James Loney couldn’t keep up his hot hitting—he has. Several called for Fernando Rodney to have his closer title stripped but that would have been foolish. Many said get rid of DH Luke Scott when he was struggling but that would have been a bonehead move as well.

The critics at times, especially early picked apart the off season acquisitions of  Yunel Escobar, Kelly Johnson and Loney—all three have been huge for the Rays. Every year GM Andrew Friedman pulls a journeyman or a malcontent off the MLB scrap heap and turns them into a contributor and knows when to let guys go as well. (see Upton, BJ)–when will the critics understand this???!!

Thank goodness this team has the cool hand of Joe Maddon who year in and year out proves his patience and contrarian thinking crushes those critics who cover him. Its been the same formula for years now, you would think people would catch on. I don’t know if the Rays will  win it all this year but I’m confident they will be in the hunt all the way till the end.

ROYAL RIVALRY: I admit I’ve never understood the dynamics or the importance of the Royal Family. I understand its a grand tradition but what exactly do they do and why are they still so revered? Congrats to Prince William and his wife Kate for their recent addition in the future King of England, George Alexander Louis aka the Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge.

With that said, its another tough blow for little brother Harry in my opinion. The Royal family is to me as outdated as the 8 track player. Why is it that the oldest son gets handed everything?

In this day and age of reality TV, let’s spice things up for the Brothers Royale and let these men earn the right to be King? A true test where you could have William and Harry go mano e mano. How about this—the brothers play a round of Jeopardy, maybe step into the octagon for some MMA fighting and then top things off with an elegant round of Dancing with the Stars? Its good to be King but c’mon let’s make these brothers earn their stripes!

SORRY CHARLIE?? : Has any coach in America gone downhill faster than Charlie Weis?  After mentoring Tom Brady with the Patriots and being hired by Notre Dame its been a tough ride. After getting fired by the Irish, Weis was one and done as the forgettable Offensive Coordinator for the Gators and then you have his recent comments as head coach of lowly Kansas.

Charlie was asked how he sells recruits to play for a program which resides in the basement of the Big 12? Weis clearly not a Wise man came back with this anything but smooth sales pitch; “Have you taken a look at that pile of crap out there?” Yeah he actually said that and no Big Charlie wasn’t done “If you can’t play here, where can you play?” If that doesn’t make you want to run through a wall for dear ole Charlie what will?

If I’m the AD, I might just fire him now and get it over with. That’s one of the worst things I’ve ever heard a coach say. How do you feel if you’re a parent and more importantly how do the players now feel about giving their all to their coach. The answer not good and we’ll see—sorry Charlie that was pathetic!

CHICKEN & WAFFLES: I heard the rumors for years but just recently had the guts to take the plunge. Have you ever tried Chicken and Waffles in one sitting? Folks I highly recommend it. The combination doesn’t roll off your tongue like peanut butter and jelly but the end result is much much better.

Recently, at one of my favorite restaurants in Tampa, Lee Roy Selmon’s I gave it a shot and was pleasantly surprised. My dad and Uncle Mike used to play a funny game where they would come up with the worst food combinations—say baked beans with syrup on top? I”m not touching that, but I’m here to endorse chicken and waffles— the perfect marriage of sweet and spicy!

NOBODY ASKED ME BUT…I’ve always been intrigued by the rivalry of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Talk about two completely different human beings—Woods was always the focused winner while Phil was often lampooned the lovable loser. But it wasn’t just golf that often defined these guys, you had their image off the course. For years, Phil was considered by many a phony where he talked to everyone and seemingly hammed it up with his Norman Rockwell like TV moments with his family, after winning a tourney. Tiger was once considered a family man as well but we know how that has changed.

The recent British Open showed how things can vastly change. Mickelson played the best round of his life while Tiger is still searching for his first major in five years. Mickelson is considered more of a family man than ever having supported his wife through her bout with breast cancer and when he traveled to the US Open overnight after attending his daughter’s 8th grade graduation. All of this should teach us not to rush to judgement. Lefty has proven in Majors that he can play in the clutch and it seems his act is genuine. With that said, like some ruled out Lefty, I won’t give up on Tiger and feel he will win another Major and break Nicklaus’ record. Often we lose faith too quickly in those we once rooted so hard for, this rivalry is surely proof of that.

EXTRA POINT: Back to the Rays who are enjoying the success of rookie outfielder Will Myers who recently said he is getting used to the Tampa Bay area and has found a few of his favorite restaurants. When asked what those restaurants are?  Myers said ” Chick Fil A, Chipotle and Subway.” Oh to be 22 again—I loved that answer!




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