Month: August 2016
You can either feel sorry for yourself or get back to the proposition of life. I’m clearly opting for the latter. Moving forward.
More Songs for My Father
As a family we’re putting a play list of songs together for my father’s memorial service. So far, the bag pipes, Cats in the Cradle/Harry Chapin, A Song for Dad/Keith Urban, Time of Your Life/Green Day, and Sweet Caroline/Neil Diamond.
This may be my favorite in the group. The lyrics so connect with our family and the journey.
For My Father
My father passed last night after a nine month battle with pancreatic cancer. He went peacefully with loved ones nearby and his blonde lab Bailey at his side. It was serene and not the horrific type of ending which sometimes comes with pancreatic cancer at the end.
In November my father was diagnosed with the disease and given a two to six month window to live. There was nothing medically which could have been done given my father’s age of eighty-one years of age. Our family drew close together determined however long he had it would be quality time dedicated to my father.
Up to just ten days ago he still had his appetite, was still driving the short distance to his law office, and was getting around fairly well. He reached his eighty-second birthday on August 10th.Ironically from that day forward his condition began to gradually worsen.
My father leaves behind his wife of sixty-two years and my mother who was a champion in every regard these past nine months as she made sure every thing my dad needed was always there. His will to live and her courage will inspire me for the rest of my life. My younger brother, a close inner circle of family and friends, and of course Bailey, were always there as well trying to make sure every day was a good one and not one being taken for granted.
Dad leaves behind him a legacy of many friends and people who intertwined his career as a lawyer from 1963 to the present. My father was an interesting lawyer. He’d have made a compelling character in a John Grisham novel. He graduated in 1963 from Oklahoma City University Law School and graduated number one in his class. He went to work for a well established firm, but after a while decided he would be better suited to be in practice on his own. He and his best friend started their own small practice in a tiny office in front of a laundry in downtown Oklahoma City. They were still practicing together up until several weeks before my father’s passing.
It was a general practice firm where everything from criminal defense work to divorce to insurance defense to products liability law made up the core of their client list. But my father’s ultimate love was always being in the courtroom in a criminal defense case. He became known within the legal circles in Oklahoma City as one of the better criminal defense lawyers.
But as a son what made me most proud of my dad was the fact he almost never said no to a prospective client who had a cause or a good human story, but maybe not much money. I can not even begin to estimate how much pro bono work my dad did over the years. My father had a heart in a profession where many don’t and it was his heart which most defined him as a human even when it was to his own detriment at times. Even if he had not been my father he would have had my friendship, love, and respect because he never said no to an underdog. And in the end, this is what I’ll remember most about my dad…his genuine love of people and his heart.
This is not hyperbole from the lense of an oldest son, but I can never remember a boring day with my father. Those weren’t in his DNA. Every day was an adventure, every conversation an intellectual challenge, every friend a treasure. And if you didn’t know much about Vincent Bugliosi or his more famous cases you’d be in trouble in a hurry. Bugliosi was easily my father’s favorite trial lawyer of all time. Suffice it to say—I’ve read almost everything Bugliosi has written.
In 1988, my father became a grandfather for the first time. In all, he would become a grandfather of five. Christopher, Nick, Noah, Simon, and Sil would become the center of his universe and my father thrived as a loving, nurturing grandparent. Some of my favorite memories of Dad were with him with his grandchildren.
Selfishly, I realize I’m losing my dad, but I know he’s leaving behind this body on this plane of existence for something better, more glorious, and ultimately moving on to another curious segment of the journey of which all our souls travel. But again, selfishly, I’m hoping I see my dad and friend down the road so we can talk and enjoy time together.
In closing, I write this. My father wasn’t without warts, wasn’t without blemishes, wasn’t without setbacks. It wasn’t perfect. But none of us on this earth are prefect. It’s called being human.
But what most defined my father in my heart was his heart, as in he had my heart from Day 1 till his very last breath. No regrets. No what ifs. No excuses. None of that. Only love and gratitude to both of my parents.
What To Expect From the Thunder This Season
I need a break from Trump so I thought I might do something Thundery.
Given the departures of Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka this is clearly a new era in Oklahoma City Thunder basketball. Expectations have to be lowered, but it should still be an entertaining team which should make the playoffs. Other than the AAU team in Oakland and the Cavs this Thunder team should be capable of beating any of the other twenty-seven teams in the league on any given night, but by the same token they could also lose to the other twenty seven teams on one of those nights where Westbrook goes 7-27 from the field or so.
OKC will put the most athletic backcourt in the league on the floor in Westbrook and Oladipo. Steven Adams should continue to evolve as one of the best centers in the league as his offensive pick and roll game with Westbrook should be even better.
Enes Kanter should be a solid offensive contributor with an expanded role if he can be decent on the defensive end.
Andre Roberson will continue to find ways to score based on some of his post season success against the Spurs and Warriors.
I feel pretty good about those five in relation of what to expect.
Cam Payne to me is a big key to the season. He needs to be markedly better and more consistent than last season and I think he will if he has no problems with the Jones’ fracture surgery.
Ersan Ilyasova needs to be a consistent contributor shooting threes. OKC lost its two best three point shooters in Durant and Ibaka and how OKC as a team shoots the three will determine if they can become say the seventh, sixth, or fifth seed in the West. But the math is very simple. 3>2 and even with Durant and Ibaka the Thunder finished last season in 17th place as far as team three point shooting. Guys like Ilyasova, Oladipo, Kyle Singler, and Alex Abrines all have to give the Thunder three point scoring. It has to be a team goal in that regard.
I actually think Kyle Singler will rebound from his horrific season last year and give the Thunder some respectable minutes. If Singler could just give this team 12-14 minutes a game and contribute some threes, instant energy, and overall intangibles off the bench it would be huge for this team as they seek to create their new identity.
The rookie big Sabonis should get some time and give flashes of his promise as the season moves along.
Abrines played very little for Spain in the Olympics and his ability to improve defensively will determine if Billy Donovan can put him on the floor for more than just spot minutes here and there.
Mitch McGary is suspended for the first five games due to failing a drug test. Who knows what to expect from McGary? It’s a shame because he’s actually a guy with some nice offensives skills and instincts.
Anthony Morrow gives Donovan an excellent vet catch and shoot three point shooter on nights where Donovan wants to use him.
Nick Collison enters his final contract season with the Thunder and should give Billy Donovan a vet big who can be a positive teacher for the Thunder’s young bigs, plus play on the occasional night.
Veteran backup point guard Ronnie Price should give the Thunder decent depth as the third true point guard on the roster.
Billy Donovan should be more comfortable this season and won’t have to worry any longer about walking on eggshells with the burden of a Durant free agency season to deal with. He can just be a coach. He and his staff know that while they lost Durant in free agency they still have one of the two best point guards in the league quarterbacking their young team.
OKC should be the best offensive rebounding team in the league, in either conference and should rank near the top in overall rebounding. Losing both Ibaka and Durant should mark a decline defensively for the Thunder. Adams, Westbrook, Roberson, and Oladipo are all good defensive players, but Durant will be missed defensively as he improved his game markedly in that regard towards the end of last season.
I’m thinking OKC could go let’s say 48-34 and finish as the fifth or sixth seed in the West. Depending on how much some of the other players improve it would be a solid season if the Thunder could get out of the first round and advance to the conference semis.
Russell Westbrook should compete for the league MVP award to the final night of the regular season.
So while the Thunder can’t be regarded as a title contender, neither can twenty-seven other teams in the league as presently constructed.
But all in all it should be an interesting season as far as Westbrook chasing the MVP and the team hoping to finish higher than fifth or sixth in the West.
What We Should All Know About Roberto Clemente
Mine and John Kasich’s favorite ball player of all-time. Given what I’ve seen in this presidential election so far by both Hillary and Birther Boy this alone is enough for me to ultimately endorse John Kasich.
Trump Has No Idea What He Even Stands For At Times
This is so pathetic when you really think about it. With all of Hillary Clinton’s email and Clinton Foundation woes all the Republican Party had to do was nominate a viable canidate. You know, maybe like the guy who’s favorite ball player of all-time is Roberto Clemente and was beating Hillary Clinton in every single head to head poll this past spring when none of us then knew Kevin Durant was already a secret member of the Golden State Warriors and would go 10-31 in Game 6.
But no, these people decided that in perhaps America’s most important presidential election in history the thing to do would be to embrace Birther Boy who had his cult followers chanting ‘Build the Wall’ even though it would have created an estimated annual budget shortfall of $6.4 trillion dollars to implement this idiotic plan.
But now, you just view this pathetic excuse for a presidential campaign and truly wonder how America has fallen this far this fast. He’s so bad he makes Sarah Palin almost seem reasonable. Almost.
As we watch these new days unfold it’s obvious even people like Kellyanne Conway know Trump’s immigration plan gives her no chance whatsoever to ultimately steer Trump’s campaign out of the ditch it’s been in ever since the conventions passed this summer.
Here’s Donald in 2002 chatting with his sex talk chat bud Howard Stern on a myriad of topics including the invasion of Iraq. This is actually one of their more intelligent interviews which is genuinely scary when you think about it deeply for more than two seconds.
What Donald Trump Should Have Said in His Almost Apology to America
If Donald Trump were truly serious about becoming President of the United States and leader of the free world this is more in line of what his ‘almost’ apology should have contained.
Where do I start since I’ve been such a douchebag in general to almost everyone during the past fourteen months?
Let’s start with veterans, our military, our Gold Star Families, and POWs. I’m truly sorry for some of my callous and extremely immature comments. I can’t possibly empathize with the sacrifices so many of you have made to keep our country free so that a prick like me from Queens, New York could embrace my First Amendment rights to say some of the things I’ve said the past fourteen months in relation to your service, sacrifice, dedication, and loss in serving our country. I never served. Not that’s that an adequate defense for my stupidity, but I’ve just never served anyone except my own ego and net worth. Please be patient with me.
Women. Again I just don’t know any better. I’ve never had a serious meaningful relationship with a woman. How could I know? I’ve collected bikini model wives like I’ve collected golf courses, casinos, hotels, and office complexes. It’s given me something to talk about with Howard Stern during our idiotic interviews. Howard loves this. It’s not that I hate or overtly disrespect women it’s maybe that I really haven’t ever had a relationship based on love rather than cup size– and this is on me.
Hispanics, African Americans, and Muslims. What can I say? It’s not that I could possibly even in my own mind believe some of the things I’ve said about you during my reality television/Twitter campaign for the presidency, but the thing is I figured if I could garner 65% of the white vote in America I could possibly pull this caper off. Do you honestly think I’m stupid enough to think we could round up eleven million people, send them back to Mexico, and have Mexico pay to build a friggin’ wall? Do you honestly think I hold Hillary Clinton responsible for where blacks are or aren’t in our nation today since I endorsed her for president in 2008 and tried to buy her influence on numerous occasions? And do you really think I’m not aware that the Muslim population in America is one of the highest achieving segments in our country?
To several of my fellow GOP presidential canidates. To Lyin’ Ted Cruz–I’m sorry I called you a liar and a total idiot even if it’s true. To Marco– I never should have called you Little Marco and disparaged your penis in front of the world. And to Low Energy Jeb Bush, it’s not that I think you’re a bad guy because like your brother I endorsed the War in Iraq back in 2002, but I knew in my heart of hearts if I could bully you out of the race early I could easily beat what would be left standing. It was easy and when I put you away in South Carolina it was over. Kasich would have been the obvious choice, but do you really think the people who follow me on Twitter would vote for John Kasich? Not likely, although I could possibly sleep with his wife. Howard will love this one almost as much as when I said I might like to have sex with Ivanka at some point.
But in closing, most of all I want to apologize to every American who’s done the right things in your lives. Gone to work, paid your taxes, raised your children the right way, done everything possible to make America the greatest country in the history of the world. None of what I’ve said in this campaign was intended to be taken seriously. But when it started sticking and gaining momentum what was I suppose to do? So I’m somewhat genuinely sorry for what has transpired the past fourteen months.
Donald J Trump
Pivoting With Trump
Since there’s not really all that much to do running a rogue Thunder blog in mid August unless I opt to write a meaningless piece on Kyle Singler’s off season (Erik Horne, newsoksports) or a going through the motions piece on how many games the Thunder will win next season (Royce Young, Daily Thunder) — I think what I’ll do instead is pretty much pivot with Donald Trump for the next few weeks and see what happens with this rogue presidential campaign of his.
I’m a political junkie and it’s always been a fantasy of mine to follow a presidential campaign. One of my favorite books of all-time is Losers by Michael Lewis of Moneyball, The Blindside, Liar’s Poker, and The Big Short fame.
If you love presidential politics Losers is a must read. Order it on Amazon and I assure you you’ll love it. The book was written by Michael Lewis as he followed the 1996 presidential election which pitted incumbent Bill Clinton against the GOP nominee Bob Dole. It’s actually my favorite book written by Lewis. Please read it if you get the chance. It makes what’s happening twenty years later in American presidential politics seem plausible.
Anyway, as Trump attempts to pivot and see if he can maintain at a level above an average fourth grader for longer than three days I think I’ll follow his campaign a bit. I’ll start tomorrow by going over his ‘almost’ statement of apology to America he ‘almost’ gave on Kellyanne Conway’s first day on the job as his new campaign manager.
I have no idea whatsoever what these other Thunder bloggers are doing, but I think I’ll cover the presidential election until we get to early October. If Presti makes a trade of any consequence I’ll pull off the campaign beat and write something Thundery. If Draymond gets Durant to marry him and shows Monica Wright how to get it done I’ll get it on here.
But for the time being, I’m on the Trump beat with Katie Tur of MSNBC. She looks like she could use some help.