Alright 2020…the good news you’re halfway home.
The bad news…… your midterm grades are un-precedented.
Un–believable and un-expected certainly apply too.
Un—fortunately 2020 we can’t un-ravel a lot of your mess, but those who enjoy making New Year’s Resolutions how about we serve up a big ole mulligan?
For me, was thinking I would select a new resolution based on what many of us have learned so far, even though our 2020 vision has left us collectively with bags under our eyes and masks over our faces.
Sure we’ve seen the advent and subsequent continuation of COVID-19 which makes us wonder when we will see life without it, but that’s hardly been the only low point.
We’ve also seen another tragic chapter of police brutality on African Americans, which has again sparked anger, angst yet hope that this time we can really turn the corner on race relations.
Maybe 2020 your legacy still has some hope…..we’ll see.
I’ll never understand what it feels like to walk in the shoes of a black man, woman or child and knowing that have spent the past few months trying to do something I constantly strive to improve on….
The art of listening.
Many of us want to speak our minds and I’ll get to speaking in just a bit, but a key to understanding is listening. There is a lot of yelling, a lot of loose lips and a great deficiency of self awareness these days especially on social media platforms.
Trust me, I don’t want to preach. My goal here is to unite where I have two friendly “suggestions”…..
Can we listen and…..can we talk?
While we’re at it can we continue to talk instead of text? instead of tweeting? instead of Instagraming?
The texting, the tweeting the incessant posting—can we just put the phone down unless we are dialing up a constructive conversation…?
And how about this, if you can’t reach your desired friend, family member or significant other, it would be great if you left a voice mail to clarify your feelings? I believe this lost art would lead to more meaningful conversations.
I know the race issue isn’t going to be solved with merely a few conversations and/or voicemails, but I believe talking presents a powerful means to a better end rather than dealing with our differences via modern technology.
Think about it–how many times have you been at odds with a friend, co-worker, significant other or family member and worked it out through a text or social media message?
It’s NEVER happened to me.
The best relationships I’ve had were the ones where we would disagree but always work it out via a great conversation. Frankly, my worst relationships would be dealing with those who don’t want to talk it out.
Ironically, I saw on social media of all places, just days after George Floyd’s death, an African American friend post that he felt better after going to a “cigar bar” and having a healthy “conversation” among friends of all races about the issues on their minds.
We need more of this!
Again, not preaching, just a simple suggestion.
Can we talk?
It’s not a cure all, simply a first step.
We have to start somewhere?
More conversations our first of many stops in another well-rounded trip around the Naborhood, as usual thanks for stopping by.
LYING LANCE: Speaking of talking, Lance Armstrong has done plenty of it lately and for some it will never be enough to clear his name. After admitting he lied about using performance enhancing drugs to Oprah seven years ago (can you believe it’s been seven years?) Armstrong has since settled his lawsuit with the government yet continues to try to come clean, when it comes to public opinion.
The latest was his “seemingly” brutally honest 30 for 30 documentary on ESPN simply titled “LANCE” where I walked away wondering and maybe hoping it was the whole truth and nothing but …..but you wonder?
The doc opens with an emotional Armstrong telling you after years of lying and bulling his detractors ,he fully expected people to confront him on a daily basis. To his amazement, it initially didn’t happen, it took years until his first awkward encounter where a crowd shamed him at a bar. Armstrong, embarrassed and angry chose to vent in another direction. He walked out only to call the bartender, give him his credit card number and told him he would pick up the entire tab of the angry crowd with the instructions to deliver the message “tell them Lance sends his love.”
Always a little swagger and arrogance with this Lance Armstrong fella —it’s what made him great and polarizing his whole life.
The doc profiles how Armstrong while talented and respected was always a tough guy to be around. It included interesting stories of how he wasn’t a natural athlete in the major sports and didn’t find his true calling as an athlete until he was on the local swimming team practicing with kids half his age.
It was strange seeing him at his son’s college football practice and not knowing his number? It seems once you want to trust Armstrong he does something to make you wonder? Sure he helped raise millions to fight cancer but in the end was living a lie…his story is complicated and he admits it.
So my deal with Lance is this, I appreciate his talents but like many can’t fully embrace his success given the lies. You wonder in a sport where most everybody was cheating how he would have fared on an even playoff field? That is one truth we will never know the answer too.
MCGWIRE/SOSA: Speaking of lies and performance enhancing drugs, we make the smooth segue to Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa who were featured in another ESPN doc which fell as flat as the steroid era in baseball.
I love ESPN’s work with their 30 for 30 docs but this was by far their worst effort…
A two hour look at these two star studded yet shamed sluggers, yet only approximately 15 minutes were devoted to steroid use? C’mon world wide leader, you’re better than that?
I bought into the McGwire and Sosa HR ride they gave us back in the summer of 1998. I remember working in Jacksonville, FL where the story was so big I looked up Mark McGwire in the phone book and we found one who was a postman where we preceded to do fun take on the HR chase. It ended up being a good big.
Big Mac and Swingin’ Sammy led every sportscast and along with Cal Ripken’s streak helped save the game of baseball.
But then the truth came out….and that’s what I wanted to hear about here but there wasn’t much to chew on.
McGwire came clean years ago yet Sosa still dances around the PED questions. Neither gave us any more insight in this doc which was disappointing.
I’ll always maintain Sosa should never be a Hall of Famer while McGwire would have been if he could have stayed healthy. If he had, McGwire likely wouldn’t have ever need the PED’s but like Lance Armstrong we will never know? People forget a skinny McGwire hit 49 HR’s as a rookie, he had the ability with the drugs but in the end couldn’t play without them.
MICHAEL MCDONALD: From one Big Mac to another, McGwire to McDonald. McDonald as in Michael, one of my favorite musicians of all time.
He and his Doobie Brothers will finally be inducted in to a belated Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony this November and recently I saw an interesting breakdown of McDonald’s musical genius.
On the website, AmericanSongwriter.com, writer Paul Zollo had an revealing interview with McDonald on his career and specifically how he came up with some of our favorite songs.
The most interesting revolved around one of my all-time favorites, “What a Fool Believes.” I’m a sucker for these types of stories.
As McDonald tells it— he had been toying with the melody for weeks when his sister recommended he finally finish it but it wasn’t until his first meeting with another young performer you may have heard off (Kenny Loggins) where it all came together, literally the first time they both met.
According to McDonald….
The doorbell rang and I go to the door and it was Kenny. I said, “Hey, man, come on in. I’m glad you made it down okay.”
And he said, “Man, before I say anything else, you were just playing something on the piano. Is that new?”
I said, “Yeah. As a matter of fact, I was playing it in anticipation of thinking about playing it for you.”
He said, “That’s what I want to work on. Let’s go right into that.”
He liked the feeling and the piano figure and everything. So we did. And then within two days we wrote the song.
I may not believe Lance Armstrong, Sosa or McGwire but this fool believes this story—great stuff!
NOBODY ASKED ME, BUT…..Speaking of music after not having it for years, finally re-subscribed to XM Radio again which reminds me to never leave home without it moving forward. No commercials, loads of variety but the best part is hearing a song you never hear on “mainstream radio” and haven’t thought about for years?!
I love 80’s music and have got both of my daughters hooked on it as well. It’s always funny to me how they think of 80’s music in the same vein as I think of my parent’s favorite 50’s music…can my generation be that old??! Crazy
So many great one hit wonders during that time but XM will also remind you of the other songs those one hit wonders delivered too which makes it a fun experience to share with your family.
With that said, I was amazed when the immortal Rupert Holmes “Pina Colada song” came on the radio and my 15 year old told me it was one of her and her friends’ favorites?? I loved it.
Thanks XM radio (and thank you too Rupert) one of the many benefits of the new toy in my car that I will never lose again.
EXTRA POINT: A sad goodbye to the legendary Carl Reiner, what a talent. From the Dick Van Dyke Show to The Jerk and all the great qualities you passed on to your gifted actor and filmmaking son Rob—you will be missed but your work will last forever.
UNTIL NEXT BLOG,
PHOTO CREDITS: meetup.com, weio.com, American Negotiation Institute, ESPN.com, Sporting News, awful announcers, Rolling Stone, etania, strong automotive, Al Wagner, Invision, AP & New York Times