Sunday, February 7, 2016

The 2016 Presidency

This is a bit of navel-gazing as to who I am supporting for the US Presdidency as of February 7th, 2016.  Feel free to ignore if you don't care.  

I determine who to vote for based on four criteria:

1)  Their policies and philosophy
2)  Are they trustworthy and respectful (the character factor)
3)  How well can they actually govern?
4)  Can they win?

The first factor is important- I'm a Conservative politically, and think the government would do better if it pared down what the size of scope of what it tries to control.  Someone like Bernie Sanders, who wants to vastly increase the amount of government influence in our lives, doesn't appeal to me.  It's the reason I'm most likely voting for a Republican this November.

But within the GOP, the differences are relatively minor.  I don't like Trump for a lot of reasons, but his love of Eminent Domain is a big factor.  But Marco Rubio vs. Ted Cruz vs. Jeb Bush vs. Chris Christie vs. Carly Fiorina... there are differences, but compared to what they agree upon, it's small potatoes.  Every time I take one of those "Who do you side with?" tests, I get a group of about 6 people all around 75-80%  So the policies are an important factor- but it still leaves a wide selection of candidates.

The character factor?  The only two candidates I don't trust are Trump and Clinton- Trump because he's a bully, Clinton because she's secretive and paranoid to the point of breaking the law.  I wasn't supporting either of them anyways.  Ted Cruz is arrogant, and I think his arrogance will hurt him running the country- but that arrogance by itself isn't something that is a bridge too far for me.

How well can they actually govern?  This is a big one, and the problem is, we can only make educated guesses.  I think Obama's biggest problem wasn't his philosophy (though I disagreed with that), but that he never had any executive authority.  He treated every problem like it was a PR problem, and wasn't able to do half of what he wanted to- because he didn't really understand the tasks involved in running the country.

The people who had the best track record in this- Governors Walker, Perry, and Jindal- all quit the race before I could vote for them in the primary.  By the time Ohio votes, there's a good chance Bush and Christie will also bow out.  I like Rubio and Cruz, but I admit being worried about electing a first-term Senator to the White House.  OTOH, Bush has been out of the Governor's office since 2007.  And Christie has been a good governor of New Jersey, but I haven't agreed with his all of his stances.  Then again, I wouldn't agree with all of the stances of any Governor. 

It would be nice to have a longer track record of accomplishments to see how Rubio and Cruz would do.  But the people who could best make that argument are already off the ballot.

That leads to the last factor- can they win?  I know people who won't vote for any candidate unless they agree with them completely, refusing to vote for the 'lesser evil'.  I understand that- not sure I agree.  I don't need 100%, but I'm not sure where that line is.

Right now, there's three candidates who appear to be in position to win the GOP nomination- Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and Marco Rubio.  I don't like Trump- really, for every reason listed above.  I agree more with Cruz and Rubio, and I think Rubio has a better chance to win.  I don't know which one would do a better job governing the country- my gut is saying Rubio, but would like a better track record.  If one of the other GOP candidates get into position to crack the top tier, I will have to reassess this.

On the Democratic side, it's down to Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.  I don't agree with Sanders at all.  I also think Clinton would do a better job at the actual task of running the country; whatever her faults, she is very hardworking and wonkish.  But I also think she (like her husband) cuts too many corners, and while I agree with her more than Bernie Sanders, I tend to disagree with her on most positions.  

Ask me who I'd support today, and the answer is Rubio.  But the Ohio Primary isn't until March 15th- we'll see what happens by then.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Permit me a small sports rant:

I've been a sports fan since 7. I've been a Cleveland sports fan since I first moved to NorthEast Ohio at 14. I've seen the Drive, the Fumble, Jose Mesa. The Greatest Coach in the NFL couldn't win here.  Carlos Boozer- the second banana people were saying young LeBron needed- stabbed the team in the back.  
Worst of all, I saw the Browns move to Baltimore- and turn around to become the EXACT type of excellent team, complete with 2 Super Bowls, that Cleveland had been begging for.  Meanwhile, the current Browns' franchise is a joke until proven otherwise.
LeBron leaving and winning two titles for Miami? A distant second in terms of misery. But it still sucked.
Right before LeBron returned, I really was liking the Cavs team that was being assembled. Kyrie, Tristan, Dion, and now add Andrew Wiggins? Everything I heard about Blatt was promising. They were young, they were all on good contracts.... I was really looking forward to watch them. Hell, I still thought Andrew Bennett could bounce back (I still think so, dammit...)
Then LeBron returned. And Wiggins was traded for Kevin Love (nothing against Love; I just liked Wiggins' youth and athleticism). And we were in 'Win Now' mode, because LeBron was still in his prime.
And I said, several times, "If THIS Cavs team- with LeBron still in his prime- can't win a title, then Cleveland will never win one in my lifetime." After all, there had been so much bad luck regarding sports in Cleveland that there HAD to be a payoff, right?
I don't think that way today. Not after another reset.
I don't think it's going to happen. Not in my lifetime. And I need to accept it and move on.
Good luck to the Cavs. I hope they succeed. And I'd like to be wrong.
Rant over.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Closing out 2015

2015- It was a year.

On a personal level, it was a good year.  My parents moved back to Cleveland.  Katie joined the Angry Ladies of Improv .  I've started taking guitar lessons- after 25 years of teaching myself, there's some bad habits I need to unlearn.  We celebrated our tenth anniversary with a trip to Toronto and an appearance in a Rush Concert video.

It wasn't all great- I lost one of my oldest friends early in the year.  My weight crept up to the point that I'm now on a diet and starting up the YRG program.  

On a global level, 2015 just feels like a year where the people who were supposed to act like adults stopped doing so.  Both parties seem to embrace people that didn't belong to the parties- Bernie Sanders for the Democrats (because he considered himself a Socialist instead of a Democrat) and Donald Trump for the Republicans (because... I still don't get this one myself).

The first votes in the Primaries begin in February.  We'll see if the voters are just blowing off steam or are serious about the candidates.

And the people who were already elected didn't act like adults, either.  Terrorism is a growing threat, there is a growing divide between the police and the people they are supposed to elect, the economy looks great in the stock market yet most people think we're still in a recession... and the people in charge are busy rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.  The only thing both parties agree on is that they like to spend money that someone else will have to pay back.

Here's hoping 2016 is a better year for everyone.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

A brief cameo of immortality

This summer was Katie and my tenth wedding anniversary.  We went up to Toronto (where we went for our honeymoon), saw some friends, and went to a concert- Rush, on their R40 tour.  Since Toronto is Rush's home base, they recorded a DVD of the concert, and well...

We're on the video!

Katie's headbanging- I'm the grey-haired goofy one standing next to her.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Survivor Series 2015

Survivor Series is upon us...

The WWE is in trouble.  Not only have they been clobbered with injuries and  people taking time off, they've spent the past year pushing the very people who are gone at the expense of those who are there.  The WWE has been using people who only wrestle on a part-time basis as their focus point- Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, the Rock- and that has diminishing returns.  The one active wrestler they've pushed to a long reign with the title- Seth Rollins- in out for months with a knee injury.

So they've held a tournament for the title, and the final four are the US Champion (Alberto Del Rio), the IC Champion (Kevin Owens), and two members of the Shield (Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns).  The winner will be crowned at Survivor Series.

Let's get to the matches:

WWE World Title Semi-Final match:  Alberto Del Rio vs. Roman Reigns

What should happen:  Del Rio is one of the few guys who works better as a smartass face than as a heel.  He needs to be returned to the character he was at Lucha Underground.  Reigns is the guy they are pushing to the moon, and should have a clean win.

What I expect to happen:  Reigns will win.  There's no way Del Rio gets to the finals

What I'm terrified will happen:  Del Rio advances to prove me wrong

WWE World Title Semi-Final match:  Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose

What should happen:  Owens came in red-hot, beating Cena... then lost to Cena twice in a row.  Now he's treading water as the IC Champ- still an incredibly hot heel, but not as over as he was the first two months.  I think Owens should keep the IC belt until Sami Zayn returns (because those two can have one HELL of a match)- but Owens doesn't need the World Title today

What I expect to happen:  Ambrose wins to set up an All-Shield final

What I'm terrified will happen:  The Authority comes down, what appears to help Owens, but 'accidentally' helps Ambrose win to set up Ambrose's turn in the finals.

Tyler Breeze vs. Dolph Ziggler

What should happen:  Ziggler's been booked so poorly he might as well be called 'Cesaro 2.0'.  breeze has had great matches in NXT, and can easily be a workhorse.  Give these two thirty minutes and let the audience be begging for a rematch

What I expect to happen:  This is Breeze's PPV debut.  I think he wins

What I'm terrified will happen:  Ziggler wins.  Breeze goes to Superstars.  So does Ziggler

Kane and Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt and Brau Strowman

What should happen:  I'm not sure how you restore Bray Wyatt's drawing power- he's lost too many times.  Maybe have his flock turn on him and have Undertaker take him under his wing as a protege to set up Undertaker's final match?

What I expect to happen:  The part-timers win.

What I'm terrified will happen:  Kane turns on Undertaker to set up their Wrestlemania match

Traditional 5 on 5 Survivor Series match

What should happen:  They haven't even announced who is in it, so who knows?  Either have Cesaro survive or the New Day survive, as both are the best people not on the card.

What I expect to happen:  Cesaro is the sole survivor on the face team (say him, R-Truth, Ryback, and the Usos vs. New Day, Wade Barrett, and the Miz)

What I'm terrified will happen:  Ryback turns heel and helps the heels win

WWE Divas match:  Charlotte vs. Paige

What should happen:  The WWE has botched the "Diva's revolution" so badly... and bringing up Reid Flair was low.  Forget that, have Paige win the title, drop it in two weeks to Sasha Banks, and begin the reign of the Boss

What I expect to happen:  Paige to win to set up her dominant heel reign.

What I'm terrified will happen:  Ric Flair comes down and turns on Charlotte to be at Paige's side

WWE Title match and Tournament Finale- Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose

What should happen:  The story has been the Authority trying to find their new heel champion- so I would turn that around.  Have HHH approach Ambrose before the match and make it seem like Ambrose is open to it.  After a 15-20 minute match, the Authority comes down, distract the referee, hand Ambrose a chair- and Ambrose blasts HHH with the chair.  Ambrose and Reign chase the Authority from the ring, continue their match, Reigns wins cleanly, and the Shield celebrate

Now the Authority have two faces to go after- Reigns for holding the title, Ambrose for rejecting them.  Keep them as faces and at Wrestlemania, have Reigns face Brock Lesnar while Ambrose and HHH have a street fight.

What I expect to happen:  The Authority will come down and help one of them, turning them heel.  I don't know if the fans will boo Ambrose.  I think they will boo a heel Reigns (in fact, I think Reigns HAS to win, or risk being labelled as a Choker by the fans)- but what faces will he defend the title against?

What I'm terrified will happen:  Sheamus cashes in his briefcase and wins the belt.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

My Dream Iron Chef card

So here's the challenge from discussions with my lovely wife.  Come up with a Dream set of Iron Chef America matches (Basically, Wrestlemania for the Food Network).  Here are the rules:

  • Pick the opponent and secret ingredient for each current Iron Chef
  • Each opponent can be anyone except the other current Iron Chefs
  • Pick the matchups that appeals to you the best

Here's my choices:

Monday, October 19, 2015

NBA 2015-2016 Predictions

NBA Predictions

Eastern Conference:

New York

• Cleveland over Chicago, Miami over Atlanta, Washington over Boston, Milwaukee over Toronto
• Cleveland over Milwaukee, Washington over Miami
• Cleveland over Washington

Western Conference:
San Antonio
Golden State 
LA Clippers
Oklahoma City
New Orleans

LA Lakers

• San Antonio over New Orleans, Golden State over Phoenix, Memphis over LA Clippers, OKC over Houston
• OKC over San Antonio, Memphis over Golden State
• OKC over Memphis

More notes:
• Really high on Milwaukee this year
• The West will be a dogfight. Golden State’s a great team, but they had phenomenal luck last year. I think they stumble sometime this year
• Lottery: (1) Boston (via Brooklyn) (2) Philadelphia (3) Sacramento
• The Clippers are the team that is the biggest Wild Card; I could see them win the title, I could see them blow up completely.
• The Finals: I thought Cleveland would pull it off last year. Despite injuries to two of their big three and one of their key roleplayers, they took a loaded Golden State team to 6 games. LeBron’s peak window is closing- he’ll still be a great player for another decade, but the era where he’s clearly the best player in the NBA has only a year or two left. If the Cavs are going to win a title with LeBron as the best player, this is the best year to do it. CLEVELAND OVER OKC IN FIVE GAMES.