The Minnesota Gophers hoops woes

If your a sports fan in the Twin Cities area like myself, you have to be totally disgusted by most of our pro and major college teams. We are named Loserville USA for a very good reason. Our teams flat out suck!! The only exception is probably the Vikings who really overachieved this year and the men’s and women’s hockey teams at the U. The team that has really disappointed many people in this area and are a constant topic on any sports talk show is the Minnesota Gophers men’s basketball team.

There were many high hopes for the Gophers this year. They had everyone coming back from a nice NIT run which resulted in a runner up finish. And to top that off, they were getting one of their best players back from knee surgery. Some experts even had them winning the very tough Big Ten conference. The team got off to a very good start and continued their fine play into the early portion of the Big Ten schedule. However, things have really gone downhill in the last month for the maroon and gold. After being ranked as high as 8th in the nation, they are now unranked and in danger of missing the NCCA tourney. How could this happen so suddenly?

I have watched a number of their games and probably can offer my 2 cents as well as anybody. First of all, they are absolutely pathetic on offense especially against any type of zone. Slap a zone on these guys and they look like a bunch of high school ballers out there! They have no idea on how to attack it and to top it off, the Gpphers have very few good outside shooters to bust a zone defense. Andre and Austin Hollins can get hot at times but neither is the consistent outside 3 point shooter that you need against a zone. Outside of those two players, nobody even comes close to having that ability or even score against any defense. When you need a big bucket late in the game the only guy that really scares me is Andre Hollins.

Any problem this team has is with too many turnovers. They really do not have a true point guard. Andre Hollins runs the show at the point but he is really a shooting guard who is not a good ball handler or passer. Their big men are terrible passers. Double team anyone down low and they have the look of a deer in headlights. You simply cannot turn the ball over 20 plus times a game and expect success, especially playing against good caliber teams.

And how about their bench players? Any good or great team can go deep into their rotation and I do not see that with this team. They have had some injury issues this year and that has hurt them with the weak bench. The best non-starter scoring average is a meager 3.6 points per game. That statistic tells a lot about their lack of firepower off the bench.

There has been a lot of criticism of their coach Tubby Smith and rightly so. I question some of his in game adjustments or lack of. His team’s defense and rebounding are always solid but I often wonder if he should hire an offensive coordinator. The team’s offense is like a sputtering car going down the road. Smith also needs to be held accountable for what I believe is very sub-par recruiting. How many really good blue chip players has he brought here? Not as many as people think.

Smith has received a lot of heat lately but let’s face the facts about this team. They are not as talented as some people think. I nearly drove off the road one afternoon when I heard some sports talk show host talk about the team having 4 first round draft choices. That is totally ridiculous!! There is not a single guy on that team who could make an NBA roster right now. They have a few guys with the potential to do so in the future, but just because you are one of the best dunkers in the country, does not mean that you are NBA material. They have some very good and explosive athletes in the starting 5 but not a good mixed of players to consistently play well and win.

It should be very interesting to see what will happen if the Gophers fail to get an invite to the NCCA tourney. It will go down as the biggest collapse I have ever seen from any sports team, pro or college. What will happen to Smith? In the meantime, there is still time left to turnaround the season. They play Indiana at home on Tuesday night and upsetting them would really turn things around and maybe kick start their season again. But I am just resigned to the fact that this team is no better than a 7th, 8th seed in the NCCA tourney. I would be happy if they even won a game in the tourney but making a deep run is very unlikely. People need to calm down and realize that this team was simply overrated to begin with, pure and simple. Now the reality is beginning to set in.



The Washington sequester battle

Suppose that you got your credit card bill after Christmas and like many people, it was totally maxed out. In order to pay off that debt, you make a bold plan to cut your monthly spending by 3 percent. Do you think you can do that, cut 3 dollars out of every 100 that you spend? Maybe you can make a huge sacrifice at the grocery store and buy a few more generic items or maybe skip a trip to one of your favorite restaurants. I highly doubt most people will have to make any real huge sacrifices and probably could easily manage a small cut in their spending habits. I certainly could!! So why is there so much fuss and worry about the upcoming sequester cuts that will take place on March 1st if an agreement is not reached? 

To put this battle into perspective, the amount of spending cuts is roughly 85 billion dollars out of a 3.5 trillion dollar budget. That is roughly 2-3 percent of the entire budget. And assuming the cuts are made, federal spending for this year will still be higher than last year! Is it really that difficult for our elected officials to knock off that small amount?

If you listen to our president this week and probably for days coming up to the deadline, he is talking like the world is going to end. Thousand of people will lose their jobs, funding for police officers and first responders will be cut, there will be no inspection of meat, teachers will not get paid and long lines will take place at airports because of a cutback on security. It will be doom and gloom for our country.

I agree a little with the president that there will be some hardships for certain folks particularly those in the military. Cutting military spending the most at this time is a huge mistake. About half of the cuts involve our defense spending and I have some issues with that. We live in a very dangerous time in our world and while we do need some cuts in military spending, it should not get the brunt of the cuts. Instead we should look at curbing the out of control entitlement spending. That is the real issue and should receive the most cuts. There is absolutely no reason why we could not cut a small percentage of that type of spending each year until we get our deficits and debt under control.

President Obama’s solution to this problem is in his own words is a balanced approach. Any time a political figure talks about a balanced approach, the t word is sure to come into play. It is absolutely insane to raise taxes again. Our economy is struggling right now and Obama wants to continue to raise taxes on the people who actually create jobs and can get this economy going again. His plan will lead to continued stagnation of the economy and certainly will not help it grow. In my opinion, the best way to get rid of the debt and deficits is to grow the economy and get more and more people paying taxes not just the wealthy. Combine that with small spending cuts and we can easily get our country’s financial mess back in order.

It is a very sad day in our country when there is so much debate about cutting a meager 3 percent from this year’s federal budget. Most normal Americans could easily do that from their budgets and still live comfortable. Why can’t the federal government make a small sacrifice like that? But unfortunately, this battle is just another political game of blaming the other party. I hope everyone in this country can see how ridiculous this battle really is. If there really will be undue hardship to people because we cut a meager percentage from the budget, then this country has some very serious problems.


The unjust elimination of Olympic wrestling

When most people think of wrestling, thoughts of Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, The Rock, John Cena and Ric Flair come to mind. That soap opera brand of fake wrestling has been very popular in this country for years and undermines what real wrestling is about. Wrestling is one of the world’s oldest sports and is one of the purest forms of sporting competitions there is. I personally think many amateur wrestlers do not get the attention they deserve. It is a very demanding sport both physically and mentally and requires an athlete to think quickly. Now the International Olympic committee with no good reason wants to take the sport out of the Olympics and ruin the dreams of many thousands of wrestlers all over the world.

I see absolutely no justification in this decision at all. And no, I am not some wrestler trying to persuade my cause. I can understand the Olympic organization desire to cut back on the number of athletes in the games, but aren’t there other sports they could consider? No offense to any of these athletes but take for example beach volleyball. How many college athletic departments have a beach volleyball team? I am willing to bet many more have a wrestling program. There is already a volleyball competition at the Olympics so why throw in beach volleyball? I love watching the female babes running around in the sand, serious eye candy for a guy!!. But should beach volleyball really be an Olympic sport? And that holds true with other sports. I would try to find ways of not cutting any sports and even add more.

For many amateur wrestlers, the Olympics is the ultimate goal. Many athletes spend hours of hard work and sweat training for that dream of one day standing on the medal podium. I believe taking wrestling out of the Olympics would greatly damage the sport and affect participation not only here in the United States but all over the world. That would be a shame because it is a great sport for many young men and some women to take part in. It is very inexpensive and teaches so many positive things about life to someone.

I hope the Olympic committee will reconsider their decision and not drop wrestling. The Olympics should be about amateur competition and wrestling is one of the last pure amateur sports that we have in the world. It has a long and storied history in the Olympics and cutting it would take more of the already diminishing amateur status from the games. I want to see more, not less, amateur athletes in the games whose ultimate dream is winning a gold medal. The many thousands of amateur wrestlers around the world deserve better. I hope the IOC will wake up and realize what a mistake they just made. Wrestling needs to be saved and be a permanent Olympic sport.


The sad praise of a cop killer

The Christopher Dorner saga finally ended last Tuesday with his death and a closure to a rather scary manhunt that certainly had the southern California community on edge. Dorner allegedly killed 4 people including a police officer and a sheriff’s deputy along with 2 innocent people. He also took hostage a senior couple for a short period.

Like many people in this country, I began to follow this story with a good deal of interest. It was a total mystery as to where Dorner was and if he was going to strike again. It even occurred to me that he could be anywhere in the country, even in my backyard, a rather scary thought!!

But my interest in this story slowly turned to outrage when I heard about people actually supporting this lunatic guy. A Facebook page was put up in his support and someone even had the gall to say he should run for president. He also received many supportive tweets on Twitter. Even the major networks seemed to give this guy a pass and talked about his manifesto and how he was allegedly fired improperly and was a victim.

If Dorner was treated like such, why didn’t he hire a lawyer and sue the crap out of the department? It appears that his main goal was to bring to light, the corruption of the LAPD and how he was another victim. Instead, this guy decided to take matters into his own hands and get revenge by killing law enforcement officers and innocent people. You have to wonder if he was that kind of nutcase while he was on the force and that caused his firing. Anyone who goes out and kills innocent people has to have some serious mental problems and it is a rather frightening thought that this guy was once a police officer with a weapon.

People who support this guy really have some troubling issues for themselves. Do you really support someone who is obviously some bitter maniac with a score to settle? He killed some innocent people and you are supporting him? Come on!! Suppose it was one of your loved ones that he gunned down? Would you feel the same way about him then? How do you know that he was unjustly fired? There is no prove that he was, only his own biased words. I think it is a sad day in our society when people actually throw their support to some criminal and so much attention is given to him instead of the poor victims and their families. Whether he was fired because of race is not the real point here. It is the actions of a rather disturbed individual who decided to harm and terrorize those who did not deserve it. 

I do not like to see anyone die like Dorner did but usually that will happen when you get involved in a shootout with police and law enforcement. In a year from now, nobody will remember who Dorner was. His actions did very little, if any at all, for his cause of exposing police corruption. It may have only reinforced the decision to fire Dorner was the proper one. Sometimes the best method of getting revenge is through the court systems not through your weapons. Your legacy will stand out much better as well. The individuals who supported Dorner and continue to are fortunately, only a small group. Your support for a killer is very troubling and you need to take a good hard look at yourselves. Dorner for president? What has our country come to?!!!



Traits of a perfect woman

The other day, I saw a commercial for Valentine’s Day. In the commercial, a guy was talking about how perfect his wife is and he wanted to buy her the best gift ever. Obviously, this guy has it made or perhaps has only been married a short while!! Maybe he is in her doghouse for failing to complete that honey to do list and needs to score some serious brownie points! We all know that nobody is perfect. I have never met a woman in my life who is completely perfect. They all have some flaws to them, some more than others.

So guys, if you had to design that perfect woman, what characteristics would she have? I am sure most guys would probably bring up someone with drop dead gorgeous looks like a Jennifer Lopez or a Hilary Duff, likes sports and is great in the bedroom. True, those things are great but I often think guys are very shallow when going after women. We are very visual creatures and tend to only look at the cover of the book. I think looks and common interests are very overrated. Looks really diminish with age. That hottie  you were after in your high school and college years may look like crap at the 20 year reunion. However, a great personality does not diminish with age and sometimes gets better as we age. Also, I find it very exciting to meet someone with completely different interests. It is a great way to learn new and exciting things. I have made up a list of some traits that I find very appealing in women and adds greatly to a woman’s attractiveness.

1. Putting others first.  Some women will make huge personal sacrifices in their own personal lives to please their man. Someone who does that is a keeper for life and definite marriage material.

2.  Integrity.  I think having strong character is often overlooked when dealing with relationships. The woman with high integrity is honest, trustworthy and you always know where you stand with her. Most important of all, you know they probably not cheat on you and will probably be more honest with you about the relationship as opposed to someone with less integrity.

3. Communicates well.  Good communication is vital any relationship. A good woman is not afraid to express her feelings and is someone you can sit down with and have open discussions about your relationship and how it is working, good or bad. If something is upsetting her, she will make it know and not be afraid to.

4. Cheerfulness and optimism.  I have dated a few very negative women in my past in it is a living nightmare!! I love calling someone up and hearing their cheerful, happy voice at the other end.  Those women stand out and happiness along with a terrific smile can add a ton of beauty to any woman.

5.  A great sense of humor.  Anybody loves to laugh and be amused. If a woman can make me laugh with her wit and sarcasm, she is in with me.

6.  Highly romantic and affectionate. Things such as leaving a text message saying how much you miss or love me is sure to make some guy’s day. Or maybe it is just simply giving a good kiss, hug or a great massage. A good woman knows to be very affectionate and intimate with her guy.

7.  Intelligence.  I find a very intelligence in a woman to be very sexy. I also find it very appealing to be around someone who can articulate about many different subjects.

8.  Confidence.  As is the case with intelligence, confidence is very sexy as well. A woman who is not confident will not like herself and sooner or later, will not like you.

9.  Takes good care of herself.  I love it when I hear about a woman talking about her daily workouts. It shows that she values her body and wants to look good. That also applies to eating healthy and living a healthy lifestyle.

10.  Non-clingy.  Realizing that your guy has a life to live and not bothering him 24/7. That also includes needing to see him every minute of every day or texting him non-stop. There is no need for that. A good woman will be considerate of her guy’s time.

11.  Being appreciative. There is nothing that upsets me more with women than doing a kind act and getting no thanks or appreciation back. If your guy buys you flowers and plans a very romantic weekend together, tell him HOW MUCH YOU APPRECIATE IT!! Do not think that he owes you it. A good woman does not use guys for their money as well. I can relate to that!! An appreciative woman will find ways to pay back her guy in a delightful way.

12. Looks good in a dress and jeans. I always like women who do not feel that they have to dress up all the time. For instance, on a lazy Sunday afternoon, they feel comfortable wearing an old sweatshirt and jeans.

13.  Generosity.  I may be repeating a few points but I think generosity is a very appealing trait in a woman. It goes back to item number one. Generous women are very concerned about others and are willing to share. That speaks volumes of someone the type of people they are.

There are many other traits that I can include. It is very unfortunate that our society places so much emphasis on women looking beautiful and having a perfect body. A woman’s true beauty is on the inside. There are tons of hot looking women in this world but what are they like on the inside? A woman who looks good on the outside but is the biggest pain in the know you what is not worth my time. They are far from being perfect. Outside looks are only part of the equation. And they never last a lifetime.

Final thoughts on a classic Super Bowl

Flash back to mid December of last year. Suppose you went to Vegas and laid some money down on a Super Bowl champion. Which team would it be? The Green Bay Packers were sexy pick followed  by San Francisco,  Denver and New England. Baltimore? Are you crazy? They are not even a lock to make  the playoffs after losing 3 straight games.  Now a few months later, the Baltimore Ravens are sitting on top of the world as Super Bowl champs. A simply amazing run which seems to be the trend in the last few NFL playoffs. A few years ago, the Packers got hot and won the Super Bowl, last year was the New York Giants turn and this year, the Ravens. None of those teams had great regular seasons and had  to scramble just to make the playoffs. The Ravens had to rely on a miracle pass in Denver to keep their season alive and went on to win that game in overtime. I got the feeling at the time that this was their year. Fate was on their side. Sure enough, they did it and I  have to tip my cap to a very good football team who overcame a lot this year to win the title.  Winning road playoff games at Denver and New England, followed by beating a superior San Francisco team, definitely gives this team a lot of cred. They earned their title and did it the hard  way.  I have a few observations and thoughts from the game.

1.  The power outage.  Listening to those clowns on CBS during the outage was very painful. I would take the Fox crew over these guys any day.  Bill Cowher made a very foolish statement about putting Alex Smith in the game.  Are you kidding me!! When the game resumed after that painful delay, people were talking about how the delay hurt the Ravens and slowed down their momentum. That may be true but did anybody not doubt that  the 49er’s would come back? Even though they only scored 6 points at the half, they were moving the ball up and down the field and Baltimore was fortunate enough to get a couple of turnovers.  Deep down, I knew San Fran  had a run in them.

2.  The non-call in the end zone.  There has been a lot of talk today about that holding penalty in the end zone near the end of the game that was not called. You can debate that play all you want but I believe referees should not determine the outcome of the game, players should. The 49er’s should not use that play as an excuse. They had 4 chances on the 5 yard line to score a touchdown and failed. Blame  the play calling, not the referee. Most refs would never call a penalty in that situation.

3.  Joe Flacko.  Flacko’s contract is up and I would love to be his agent. His post-season play made him a ton of money.  He has got to be the most underrated player in the league. Never gets the attention of the top quarterbacks in the league but the guy is very steady and cool under pressure. I would love to have him on my team. He deserves a nice contract.

4.  The commercials.  I definitely have to give a mention to the commercials . My favorite was the Taco Bell one with the old farts sneaking out for a night on the town. That was a great one!! Very humorous!! The Budweiser commercial was extremely touching and was my runner-up.  I also enjoyed the Tide and Paul Harvey truck commercials.

Overall, this game was one of the better Super Bowl games ever.  It had a lot of drama at the end, a good halftime show and a bizarre power outage. They will be talking about this game for ages. Next year’s game will be played outdoors in New Jersey. How about a big time snowstorm?


Real illegal immigration reform

The topic of illegal immigration garnered some noteworthy headlines last week in the news. Both parties seem to agree that something must be done and it was certainly refreshing to see a bi-partisan commission come out last week in an effort to come up with some sort of reform which is long overdue. There are nearly 11 million illegals currently living in this country and surprisingly, nearly 40 percent of those 11 million are living here with expired visas. So it is just not a bunch of people sneaking into this country from Mexico.

I often wonder why we have so many illegal immigrants living in this country. 11 million is a very high and totally unacceptable number. The real concern I have with this number is that it appears to be very easy for an illegal to gain access to our country. Forget about any of the problem myths that these people may cause. The real issue is with security. Who is to say that a small percentage of these people are terrorists or spies for another county? I don’t think having that many illegals living here really drain our resources as much as it creates a potential security issue for our country. Obviously the rules are not being enforced properly with that many people living here illegally.

Any reform first should look at securing our borders. There is no middle ground or exemption of this idea. We have to do a much better job of enforcing our borders so a potential terrorist or drug criminal has a much tougher time of entering into our country. Sure talk of amnesty is great but until our borders are better secured, the number of illegals will continue to grow and grow along with greater risks of terrorists and criminals. It is an absolute no brainer in first discussing any immigration reform..

So what is to be done with all 11 million people who still live here illegally? Are we just going to kick them out of the country in masses and lock our borders to them? I personally think those people should have the opportunity to live her only and I mean only if they are being productive people in our country. They need to go through the same process as those who live here legally have to go through. Why should there be a separate set of rules for those people who want to move here legally and those who do not? Those individuals who are caught living here illegally should be given a certain time frame for getting legal status or be kicked out of the country. It is the only fair thing to do. Any illegal who has fake documents or has a criminal past should absolutely not be allowed to live in this country. One has to wonder how many of them are living here. Probably more than we care to admit.

Besides the criminals, we need to look at the way companies hire these workers. I do not understand what procedures companies go through in hiring these workers. I am sure many break the rules knowingly because illegals are usually cheap labor. Companies that do this should be fined heavily. Unfortunately, the issue of fake documents comes up again. Maybe the company hired someone who they thought was legal and turned out not to be. It is an issue that needs to be addressed.

Our country should open it’s borders to people of other countries. There are many brilliant scientists, engineers and hard workers from other countries. I have personally worked with people from other countries and they are the hardest, most dedicated bunch of people that you would ever meet. But there needs to be a system that encourages productive people to come to this country but discourages criminals, terrorists and freeloaders.

The number of illegals in this country is shockingly high and growing. It is a major issue that seems to get kick down the road in every administration and sooner or later, it has to be dealt with. This is by no means a simple issue. But a simple start is to figure out how many illegals got here in the first place. Our national security is at risk and that is a serious concern to me and should be for ever American. We simple cannot continue to have porous borders and let everyone come into this country. Sooner or later, it could come back to haunt our nation.