The Gospel Truth

Convictus

June 29, 2010
5 Comments

Now for the worst president in United States history.

As I said earlier, making value judgments depends on the beliefs of the judge.

My judgment is based on the belief that a president should try to direct his policies in conjunction with the limitations of the U. S. Constitution while affording equal respect to all citizens as best as that is humanly and reasonably possible.

I want him to strive to inspire, maintain and improve upon all Americans’ love and respect for their country.

I don’t want a super-patriot, what the French call a chauvinist, such as naval officer Stephen Decatur, who gave us those immortal words My country right or wrong–but always my country.

I want a president who will love his country and its people so much that he follow a mature religiously-based moral conscience in doing the right thing, though not all Americans will approve of his actions.

I want a president who will bring the people together without using our differences for political gain.

In a word I want a president like former South African president, Nelson Mandela, as depicted in the recent East-Holly-wood movie, Invictus.

I can’t really be certain that the former Marxist and political prisoner Mandela was anything like Morgan Freeman’s portrayal but is was an uplifting and hopeful portrayal just the same.

I was all aglow when Freeman made a direct effort to use the national rugby team, the Springboks, with only one black player, to bring his people together.

The most prejudiced principle was Mandela’s Head of Security and by the end of the film, he was hugging a white colleague after their world title victory.

As far as I could see that same spirit seemed alive and well a few weeks ago, some 15 years later when South Africa’s World Cup soccer team, Bafana, became the first home team to be ousted in the first round.

Mandela had just suffered the loss of his granddaughter in an auto accident and seemed subdued but still trying keep his nation together.

I kept thinking–wouldn’t it be great if we had a president that put the nation first–one who wished to enhance our two centuries of Exceptionalism, and help maintain its place as the envy of the world.

That’s not likely to happen under Barack Obama whom I think represents the personification of everything I do not want in a president.

Jimmy Carter can now go to his grave knowing that he no longer had to wear that ignominious worst president crown.

With our current president’s Chicago style of corruption that includes bullying, and thuggery, abetted by yellow and purple-shirts hoodlums, sweet deals, pay-offs, unilateral aggrandisement of power, any movie about Obama would more likely be called Convictus.

Convictus?

In talking about thuggery,  just read Tony Blankly’s column on Ken Salazar.

On CNN’s Sunday State of the Union show, Secretary of the Interior Salazar explained the Obama administration’s role in dealing with BP:

Our job basically is to keep the boot on the neck of British Petroleum to carry out the responsibilities they have both underthe law and contractually to move forward and stop this spill.

Now this tough talk happened right when BP was working feverishly to plug the leak.  Real leaders save the tough talk until AFTER the problem has been solved.   Where was our president during the aftermath of the spill?

Why does he seem to display a Hamletesque posture toward any legitimate national or regional crisis?

Or maybe it is the fact that the gulf states are mainly red states?

Salazar’s remarks were reminiscent of George Orwell’s character Winston Smith, who received this advice from O’Brien:

But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling forever on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.

But it doesn’t require an Orwell to understand the brutalizing, sadistic nature of the image of a boot on the neck.

Salazar’s Orwellian imagery reveals the temperament of the administration — which is to publicly brutalize the company that, whether they like it or not, they are going to have to work with to mitigate the environmental harm.

This is Obama’s style or what Michelle Malkin calls Chicago thuggery.

Eliot Ness call your office!

What does this say about the president’s deep hatred of American capitalism?

It seems that these bully tactics are fitting for all businesses, especially the demon of the moment.  First it was the insurance companies.

Then it was the bankers and now all the oil companies.

The president got a promise of $20 billion from BP.  That’s just the beginning.

Smells like another Shakedown, in the image of another Chicagoan, Jesse Jackson.

This president presides over the most anti-business administration in history and he seems intent on what the WSJ called the criminalization of business.

Oliver Stone’s Gordon Gekko personified all the evil businessmen in the country.  He went to jail and it seems the intention of the Obama administration all CEO’s belong there as well.  Now he’s back!

Greed is not good but businessmen seem to lust only for the profits from consumers choices.  What about government greed? They lust for all the money in this country and seem hellbent on taxing our wealth, spending it or inflating out of existence.

What about the greed of government that seems to lust for all the money in the private sector?  Are we to believe that government greed is good?

This encouraged Obama to issue a moratorium on all off-shore drilling in this country.  Much to the delight of the radical environmentalists who applaud his hatred of big business.

On a recent show Glenn Beck revealed that while Obama was against off-shore drilling for Americans, he was all for it when there were big profits in it for one of his key benefactors–George Soros.

Obama’s relationship with Soros, is just another example of his Chicago style of business.

George Soros’ hedge-fund has invested heavily in Petrobras the main Brazilian oil company to the tune of roughly $900 million, making it one of his hedge fund’s top investments.

He is also the prime mover of the Center for American Progress, founded by John Podesta who is a chief adviser to President Obama on energy policy, including the infamous Cap and Trade.

In 2009 Obama commits $2 billion to Petrobras just days after Soros’s investment.

Now a year later Obama uses a crisis to ban Petrobras’ American competition from opening new deepwater wells.

It’s all about failure!

Right after Obama’s election in 2008, Rush Limbaugh said that he wanted Obama to fail.  He took a lot of flak for his prescient comments.

There are those who believe that the president has sat on his hands with the clean-up on the Gulf Coast because he WANTS the crisis to continue.  He wants more people to fail so they will need his solutions.

There are so many books out there that expose our president’s agenda for America.  You must start reading them.

Start with Obamanomincs by Tim Carney.  But even more informative is Aaron Klein’s The Manchurian Candidate: Barack Obama’s Ties to Communists and Other anti-American Extremists.

Everything you have heard about Obama is detailed and analysed in this text.

Klein quotes David Horowitz with regard to his 2009 pamphlet Barack Obama’s Rules for Revolution: The Alinsky Model.

Writing about the sixties’ radicals strategy of boring from within, Horowitz wrote that Alinsky and his acolytes had infiltrated the War on Poverty and siphoned off funds for themselves.

Like termites they set about to eat away at the foundations of the building in expectation that they might cause it to collapse one day.

After understanding Obama’s agenda, all Americans should hope and pray that his policies end up in the graveside of history.

I would feel better about Obama if he had been raised by a pack of wolves, rather than the influences he experienced from avowed Communist Frank Marshall Davis and Sol Alinsky.

They were his mentors and they bent the twig that became the presidential timber that is in the White House

To those who know all these facts and still think Obama is a great president, I can only assume that they want America to fail or they are too dumb or insane to know what is happening.

If you seek more of my opinions on our current president, please check out my monthly essays at mindszenty.org.

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The Worst President?

June 25, 2010
5 Comments

When they don’t know what else to write about historians will play games like who was the best president or what would have happen had… I have even seen a book about Virtual History.

Scores of books have been written on such subjects.

Of course they are all very subjective and often deviate from the reality of American life.

Over a year ago my perspicacious granddaughter, who was still months away from her 7th birthday, asked me out of the complete blue—Daddy Bee, who do you think was the worst president?

I have no idea why she asked me this or what discussions she had heard at home.  Perhaps she listens to NPR.

I proceeded to explain that I thought the current president was making a good claim for that dubious distinction.

Were she to ask me today, I would have a whole lot more information to pass on to her.

Granted that as I have stated most of these historical rating games are mostly subjective but all of them revolve around a special kind of relative criteria. One man’s king may be another man’s knave.

To fully understand the selections, one must know the criteria.

THE BEST PRESIDENTS?

In the case of the “best” presidents, the answers usually start with Lincoln, Washington, FDR, Teddy Roosevelt and probably Thomas Jefferson.

Three of the top five exercised a good deal of federal power and helped advance the size of government, especially FDR and Lincoln.

Lincoln’s interpretation of the U. S. Constitution helped to precipitate a war that quite possibly could have been avoided.

FDR used his expansion of power in time of economic crisis to promote and expand government, much to the detriment of America’s economy.  he was saved by the bells of WW II.

His desire to join the British and the Russians in a world war cost billions and nearly a half a million American lives.

As a result we replaced Hitler with Stalin and a 50-year Cold War.

Andrew Jackson often makes the list because of the unilateral way he handled disputes with Indians, recalcitrant soldiers and unfriendly foreign diplomats.  He usually shot or hanged them.

Ropes or Bullets

Teddy Roosevelt had some of that relentless fire in him, as evidenced by his near-sighted charge up San Juan Hill in Cuba(TR had 22 pairs of replacement glasses sewn in his military tunic in case his main pair got broken or lost.)

He used his presidency as a “bully pulpit.”  And when that didn’t work, he put on the iron gloves.

He’s the kind of Republican that liberals can relate to.

One president who revisionists are starting to praise is Grover Cleveland, the only president to serve two terms that were not consecutive.  He was a fiscal conservative who resented spending someone else’s money.

Both parties could use someone like that today.

Ronald Reagan was by far the best president in my lifetime.  No one is even in second place.

The Best in my Lifetime

However he was only half successful.  He did rescue the nation from Jimmy Carter’s malaise and he made people proud to be Americans again.

Arguably he also helped to end Soviet Communism by bankrupting them in the Arms Race and his support of the mujahideen, including a wealthy rebel, named Osama Bin Laden, made Afghanistan a Russian Vietnam.  Geopolitics is very complicated.

But Reagan failed to curtail spending and mistakenly tried to compromise with Tip O’Neil and his band of cronies.  The Democrats renege on their promises to cut their profligate spending while Reagan signed a tax increase in 1986.

Woodrow Wilson, the bane of Glenn Beck’s existence, often makes the top echelon.  After Lincoln, and TR, Wilson, the only president with a Ph.D.—that should have disqualified him right there– was the third big government president.

The Bane of Glenn's Existence

Wilson’s Progressive philosophy of using big government ends to enact Jeffersonian ends of rights, compassion and material benefits invariably led to the welfare state and 100 years of American self-destruction.

His foreign policies helped to engineer two world wars that killed millions of people.

Other than that, I can’t say much about him.

Woefully Unprepared

Personally I believe that until the current occupant at 1600 Pennsylvania, and the Georgia peanut farmer, Truman was probably the most inept and least prepared president we ever had.

Of course he was better than Henry Wallace, FDR’s second veep.

I would take Wallace with his purebred socialist ideas, way ahead of President Obama.

Truman was like the Joe Biden of his era–plain clueless, though in honesty it was all by FDR’s design and not a personal limitation, like Biden.  Stalin knew about the bomb before Truman did.

Unfortunately Truman was ruthless in his relations with the Republicans and was apparently unaware that the Executive branch was riven with Communists.

This was more FDR’s color-blindness for the color red.

Not to pop anyone’s balloons–more qualified historians have done–but McCarthy was right!  Of course I mean Joe, not Gene.

Several card-carrying members, ousted by the 1990’s publication of the KGB archives, known as the Venona Dispatches, clearly identified Harry Dexter White, Lauchlin Currie and Alger Hiss, among others as Soviet agents.

Many of us are still waiting for the left’s apology for having allowed America’s infiltration by people intent on destroying our country.  I will not hold my breath.

THE WORST PRESIDENTS?

The worst presidents often have to do with scandal.   Richard Nixon would have been impeached had he not resigned.

Ford’s pardon, which probably did the country a good deed, cut off Gerry Ford’s career at the ankles.  Ford personified dullness but he did veto a lot of harmful legislation in the wake of Democratic demagoguery and the Watergate Scandal.

Both Warren Harding and U.S. Grant’s administrations were adrift in a sea of corruption, though neither man, especially Grant was personally corrupt.

While Grant had his corrupt cabinet members, the Teapot Dome scandal rocked Harding’s administration.  A premature death mercifully handed the presidential baton to the dour but efficient Calvin Coolidge, who no one ever called cool!

Of  course there was Harding’s fruitful tryst on the floor of the Senate with his girlfriend, Nan Britton, but he wasn’t president then.

One of the Worst

I judge a president’s success by how much harm he causes to the country.

I would put LBJ in the worse than most categories because he probably did more harm than anyone, save Wilson.

Johnson’s War on Poverty was precisely that–a war on poor people.  It impoverished the black community by substituting a welfare check for a husband in the home.

The black family was actually stronger during slavery and the Great Depression according to Alan Keyes.

Johnson’s Vietnam War, without a set plan for military exit or victory, broke the back of fiscal conservatism, which had been revived for a moment at least under Kennedy.

His total disregard for the economic principle of guns and butter has led us to the brink of bankruptcy in 2010.

Lost Both Wars

I think Clinton did a lot of harm, but most of it was confined to the White House.

He did encourage other Democrats to take the low road in defending him but he could have wreaked far more harm on the economy.

George W. Bush did that for him and was an even bigger disappointment than Nixon.

Tell me whom do you think was the worst and or best president?

Stay tuned for Part II and my full answer for the worst president in history for my granddaughter.


A Weekend of Yesterdays

June 22, 2010
1 Comment

PART II

Saturday morning was the most memorable part of the entire reunion weekend.   It began with an Economics lecture from a member of the Department.

The professor spirited approach melded nostalgia with some current economic data.  He compared the prices of goods, and services as they were in 1965 and what they are now.

According to his calculations, gas was surprisingly cheaper today in minutes one had to work to earn the $2.65 a gallon.   Of course this was before the BP spill and the government’s failure to act swiftly to coordinate the clean up.

During the Q&A, his discussion of the national debt, which he described as a manageable $10 trillion, was less than stellar.

If he read the WSJ or listened to Fox News, he would have known that the official National Debt was more like $13 trillion but what is a few trillion among friends.

When asked about the unfunded debt of nearly $100 trillion for SS and Medicare, his thinking got even more fuzzy–like Robert Gibbs trying to explain ObamaCare with all of its self-contradictions.

(It just dawned on me that the two words that never came up the whole weekend were prostate and Obama.)

When the professor ventured into Theology during his lackadaisical attempt to show his mild concern about run-away  government spending he was on even thinner ice.

In talking about Congress’s in-born reluctance to cut spending, he quoted what he thought was St. Francis…Lord make me celibate but not just now.

Two ‘mates beat me in yelling out…Augustine! The real  quote was Lord make me chaste, but just not now!

None of his economic naiveté distracted from the best thing he did all day and that was–his opening theme–a rendition of the Beatles’ #1 hit from 1965, Yesterday.

Though it sounded more like an historian’s lament, it was a perfect characterization of the purpose of a reunion weekend for us as we recalled the many memories that we have from our yesterdays at Holy Cross.

Our very own tag-team of brilliant doctors provided some very practical and rudimentary ways to keep the memories warehouse functioning.  Next to my big mouth, a very good memory is my strongest feature.

What good will our yesterdays be when dementia has robbed us of our ability to remember?

My mother died of Alzheimer’s on 3/11 and her gradual memory loss sometimes torments me.  My theatrical production, The Last Memory of an Ol’ Brownie Fan deals with my fear.

Both doctors, Joe from Harvard and Leo from Yale were compelling.  How fortunate is our class to have these two consummate medical professionals instruct us about the ravages of age with the most up-to-date information on dementia.

While Dr. Joe gave us the scientific skinny on dementia, its roots, causes and treatments, Dr. Leo related the practical side with suggestions for picking good parents, eating right–little red meat and fatty substances– exercising,  and drinking red wine moderately.

It was obvious that the menus for all of our meals were not prepared by either of our doctors

One of their colleague, Dr. Phil, was seen bellying up to the red wine bar on every occasion–just for medicinal purposes.

The only thing I think that they left out was–laughter.  As the Readers Digest says, Laughter is the Best Medicine.

On a sidebar, during the Q&A I attempted to find a restroom in Fenwick.  I wandered all over the buildings until finally I found one.  I had neglected to drop bread crumbs.

I had to exit the building and I was somewhere near the library on the opposite side of our talks.

By then the gloom of a rainy day had set in Worcester and I got wet.  The unabated rain was in stark contrast to the sunny camaraderie that filled our meeting room that morning.

Next came the Class Mass, arguably the high point of the weekend.  It was concelebrated by Fathers Charles Dunn and our ‘mate Father Paul.

I believe Father Paul is the only mate of the seven who entered the priesthood after graduation.  (One was murdered years ago on the island of Jamaica.)

I did the 1st reading and it was loaded with tough words, like Elijah, Elisha, Baphomet and a bunch of oxen.

Another ‘mate read the intentions, followed by four other ‘mates who provided a requiem for our dead.

I waited until my roommate of three years, Peter L.’s name was called and blessed myself.   I think I still grieve his memory.

Father Paul was ebullient and had the enthusiasm of a rookie priest.

Father Dunn alluded to Paul’s bold imitation of himself during one of our banquets.  Father Dunn was our Prefect of Discipline–a man whom I vowed NEVER to encounter for my four years.  As was part of his job description he never smiled!

When Paul walked in dressed in Father Dunn’s dower attire, he marched around in front of over 700 shocked students, who sat it stunned silence as the proverbial pin crashed loudly on the floor.

I thought they were going to toss him out of school–maybe they made him become a priest because of his stunt.  (They should have made him a bishop.)

I suspected Father Dunn’s comments were payback for what had been one of our class’ most memorable events.

Father Dunn, who was nearing 87, appeared fresh, fit and not only smiled but laughed throughout his talk.  He was like fine wine, which just reaffirmed Dr. Leo’s comments about wine and its medicinal properties.

Father Dunn told us that there was a war going on–against hedonism, materialism and modernism.  He didn’t name the collective enemy but I think he meant the Culture War, which is unlike anything the country has seen since the 1860’s.

He also used St. Paul’s fight the good fight in the same context.

I don’t know if I was the only one to remember this but in 1961 during our orientation period, an English Professor–Edward Callahan also told us to fight the good fight.

Without really knowing it, Father Dunn had brought us full circle from nearly 50 years ago.

It was good advice then and it is good advice now.

I saved the most inspirational moment for last.

Just before the talks began, one ‘mate came in the back door of the room, pushing a walker.

A couple of people were on canes with broken limbs but no walkers.  We’re too young for them, I thought.

Well on Saturday night, while in the red wine line, with Dr. Phil, I asked him about it.

He said quite casually as someone might say they had allergies— I have ALS.

My only response was amyotrophic lateral sclerosis–as if I wanted him to say it was something else.

He nodded and all I could think to say to him was I’ll pray for you.

I have and I will.  I can’t express the gamut of emotions that flooded my mind at that precise moment.

It wasn’t so much the seriousness of his illness but the calm, matter-of-fact resignation in his voice that stuck in my mind.

He was all right with the hand he had been dealt and that was quite an inspiration to me.

I saw Jim E. just before leaving on Sunday.  I was making the rounds, trying to get my last bit of the EA’s (environmental applause) and at the last table I stopped, he looked me right in the eye and gave me that peaceful nod again.

Again at a loss for words, all I could muster was Take care of yourself.

It was at that moment it all came together.  I don’t know if I will ever see Jim or any of the others again.

Life is terminal as Dr. Leo reminded us.  We have to Carpe Diem…in the Christian sense and cherish each moment together–each old memory because our postcards are already printed and waiting in the outbox of our history.

They are only waiting the word from the Divine Postmaster General.

That’s why this past weekend of yesterdays at Holy Cross was so vitally important to me.

The site of My Yesterdays


A Sally Fields Moment

June 17, 2010
4 Comments

The Best One Yet

This past weekend I went to my 45th college reunion at Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.  On the last night at the class dinner, they provided an open mike.

I usually never and I mean never let such an opportunity go by because no one that I have ever met in my radio experience, ever met a mike he didn’t like!

But this time I had to let it go because–first of all the first speaker–the Judge was better prepared and far more eloquent than I could have been. (I could have hung with George A.!)

And secondly I had the mental equivalent of a stimulus package of so many thoughts, ideas, feelings and emotions flooding my consciousness that I had no idea of what I might have said.

This was the 5th reunion I have attended–everyone including the 25th in 1990.

I had always had fears about going to reunions.  I think a lot of people do.  In fact I’ll wager a large percentage of alumni never go to their reunions.

I used to quip that losers–you know people with failed marriages, stalled careers, the very unpopular and miserable people many of us knew and maybe were during our collegiate years, never went to their reunions.

Who wants to hear a lot of sad stories!

I think I had not gone to any of the first four, partly because I was in the midst of trying to establish my family doing my part to coach and rear our three children.

But I think those still waters ran a lot deeper.  I was in such unadulterated awe of the people around me that I think I went around the campus with my mouth open for four years.

We had so many quality athletes and smart people that I was terrified that I would not last the four years.

So I didn’t rush to our past reunions because I did not know how well I would be accepted.

I went to Holy Cross with the anticipation of having those brothers I never had in my life.  I had no sisters either though I can’t remember looking for one of those, especially while at Holy Cross.

I remember Paul Hayes, our senior adviser saying with an intentional clever pun that there were no hazing at Holy Cross. The entire campus was one big fraternity.

That was exactly what I wanted in my search for the purple brotherhood.

During my early experience it didn’t exactly turn out that way.

My first roommates were OK guys though–the football player once told me to stop breathing.  I couldn’t help it!  The air on Wheeler Four was the purest I had ever breathed.

I did my best to accommodate him.

I think the scariest moment of my years at the Cross was when two rather imposing members of the football team came to my room seeking information about a possible breach of the unwritten student ethic.

There was a rumor that someone had a prior copy of the standard Theology test we all had to take that year and somehow they thought I had informed the administration.

The whole matter was a complete surprise to me and for a hard second I thought they were going to teach me a new word—defenestration.

I guess I got off easy–other weaker classmates suffered more than hazing under the hands of a dominant few.  Their stories are legendary and make for great conversations many years later but they still conger vivid images of there but for the grace of …!

Things improved as I advanced with the Class of ’65 however I always knew that I didn’t quite fit in with the ruling clique that usually runs things in all similar situations.

I mean the same 40-50 guys that are always at the center of all things.  Such are the ways of the world we live in.

I am not trying to suggest that this is all part of a Pat Conroy novel.  I think such cliques are part of human nature and there will always be those who want to lead and those who don’t mind following.  I don’t seem to fit in either category.  It just makes it harder when you are not part of the establishment.

One of my standard self-effacing lines is when I lead, no one follows!

While at Xavier HS in New York, a Jesuit military school then, my freshman year I was banished from the school, regiment because I was marching to my own inner drummer during a First Friday parade in February.

A neighbor a year ahead of me at Xavier, who was headed for Holy Cross got me back in the marching regiment a year later.  So it was natural that I followed him to the Cross.

While I was terribly embarrassed by the incident, it did give me a metaphor for my life–I often march to my inner drummer on many of the issues of the day.

So with all this as background I was pleasantly surprised how friendly and accepting virtually all of my former ‘mates were when I set foot on campus 20 years ago.

I have been quipping since then that they have treated me better at the reunions than when I was treated as a student.

Each new reunion, the feelings of acceptance get better.

I have had so many Sally Fields moments that I feel light-headed.  The 45th was the best.

I had at least a half-dozen ‘mates ask me about the Browns, baseball in general, my radio show and at the Sunday brunch a departing ‘mate told me he was on chapter III of my last book, The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy.

I am very prone to what another ‘mate later described in a larger context as environment applause or what they used to call,  the roar of the crowd.

I know I owe a lot to our unofficial class president of 45 years Dave M. and his trusty sidekick, Tom Mc.

Without their generous inclusions of my exploits in the infamous Poop-Dispatch, things might have been a bit different.   Half of life is good public relations.

One of the people I had missed since my first reunion was Dr. John from Rochester.  I asked him why he had not been to any since then and he told me of his bouts with melanoma that just reinforced m y feeling of the ticking nature of life and our short times together.

This reinforced my brief encounter with our quarterback, who had suffered his own physical infirmities years ago.

His eyes lit up when I recounted what a thrill his engineering of our 9-0 upset of BC the week after the Kennedy assassination.  I had stayed up on campus just to see the game and wound up seeing one of the biggest wins in our history.

I have a scar over one eye from one of our great moral victories against Syracuse the year before.

Holy Cross has meant so much to me over my life.  I think I put it best I can in the book of reminiscences they publish 20 years ago.

I wrote that for most people April 17, 1961 was the date of the Bay of Pigs (No that was not a mixer).  For me in a way it was the beginning of my life because I got my HC acceptance on the same day.

I still feel that way.  HC is a vital part of my identity. In making a new acquaintance, it takes only minutes for me to boast how I went to the Cross.

Dr. John again reminded me as to how close we both came to not becoming a part of the Class of 1965.

I remember that in 1990 we were walking near the Chapel and we started doing the math.

We had 512 in our freshman class exactly. ( I remember that because only 12 made the Dean’s List that first semester and my 2.67 put in solidly with the other 500.)

Since they started accepting women, even in the larger class of 750, the class would have maybe 375 men in it.  John was one of approximately 100 freshmen who had to live off-campus for lack of rooms.

One of my 15 Xavier HS classmates with me had grades just a bit below me.  He also resided off-campus.

The numbers did not lie.  John who is a prominent GI doctor would have had to study pre-med elsewhere and I would have had to go to BC, which had accepted me on February 3rd.

How I HATE that thought! I know my life would be far different today. (I probably would have become a lawyer.)  If the hand of God was not at work in that, nothing was…

I think the theme for this past weekend was set by the faculty lecture many of us attended on Saturday morning.  But that’s a story for another day.

To be continued…..


Wide to the Right

June 16, 2010
2 Comments

Part III

Madden 10 is the ultimate reality show.  There is nothing like it.

Of course I have not seen Madden XI yet.

I have had a bit more trouble with the new version.

Tyler tells me that because it is more realistic, it is much harder.   What he left out was–for people like me!

Gone are the days when I can just sit back and throw the long bomb.  I now have to work much harder for my points.

Maybe that’s a good thing. I must admit I was getting very cocky.

Madden football had affected the way I walk and my relationship with youngsters grew a little more aggressive.

After seeing Tyler and his buddies destroy some team in flag football, a couple of his friends said to me we hear you are good at Madden!

I just looked at them and giving my best Elvis drawl…I can play.

It got so bad that after an event that our Godson Evan performed in I started canvassing all the boys in his class about Madden.  I guess I was trying to drum up future opponents.  Evan was in the 1st grade.

By that time I had already destroyed the teenage grandson of a friend of ours, who told me he liked the NCAA Football game better.

Too bad I said to myself!  This is Madden Football, not some silly college game!

I Can Play This Game!

It go so bad I thought about hanging around the school yards to find some more Madden victims.

My wife counseled me against that by saying, to her knowledge there’s no Madden football in prison!

Good idea I said.  I wouldn’t want to go anywhere where there was no Madden football.

It was just as well because as I started playing Madden X things started going against me.  Many of my long drives end at the wrong side of the goal line with an interception or some other mishap.

I wasn’t beating the computer as much.  My son Matt started beating me a few times.  I think we stood at 11-7.

My nephew David beat me four games in a row…in his college dorm room and took great pleasure in destroying my confidence.

His older brother Jonathan did the same thing to me on my home field.

I couldn’t beat Tyler any more.  I could play with him but he always did something that I could not handle.

So we now played with both windows wide open just as reminder.

Tyler also did unpredictable things.  Well now there predictable.  He will go for it on 4th down…after I had killed myself stopping him and usually make it.

He would then punt when I wasn’t prepared for a kick on 4th down and beat me this past Easter twice because my returner fumbled both times for easy TDs.

He will often do an on-side kick on every kick-off.  When I play for it, he would kick regularly forcing my returner to sprint back like a madman. This cost me another game that afternoon.

I went back to the drawing board and started to practice against teams I thought Tyler would choose.

He pretty much plays any team now.  I guess I should consider that a compliment.

He has made a point of stopping my running game, which was one of my best features.  I could never run the corners the way he does

I have started playing solitary games and have won four in a row–two by last-minute field goals.

Kicking is not something I am good at.  Wide to the right explains my career as a player.

Many years ago–about 30BM–that’s Before Madden I used to play the old electronic football game with my brother-in-law.  It was the closest to reality they had back in the stone age.

He surprised me one Christmas with some new teams for his game and even though I was sick with the flu, we proceeded to play like the kids on the floor.

Well the game, which depended on vibrations from the electric current was really boring, because you could spend an hour until a player broke free or was touch-tackled.

Their idea of passing was silly and virtually useless.

So we added an ordinary deck of cards that revolutionized our play.

It took us three years of sporadic play to complete a season but we finally had our Super Bowl of his Vikings vs. my Bears.

He was whipping me 21-7 when he had to leave to go on a date.

I just sat there and studied the board.  I didn’t tamper with anything but just studied the game and thought cool thoughts.

When he returned for the second half I scored three straight TDs and got ready for the extra point, which I conveniently missed.  WIDE TO THE RIGHT!

Needless to say with just two minutes remaining, he engineered the final drive that tied the game and he did not miss the extra point and I lost 28-27.

I don’t think I ever beat him more than 2-3 times…if that many.

That’s why Madden has been so important to me.  But I digress.

In one of my practice  games with the computer, I suffered five interceptions and still won.

I noticed Tyler is always moving his fingers when he runs and also on defense.

I tried doing that but really had no idea what was happening.

I just need a little more guidance on how to work some of the buttons.

I often wish they had a Dummy Book for Madden X. I once got their Chess for Dummies but had to quit after eight pages because I didn’t understand any of it.

My son-in-law works for the Dummy publisher but discouraged me when he said that I would probably be the only one who would buy such a book.  He’s probably right.

I guess it is time to go to practice.  My once four-year-old son beat me three straight times—all humiliating losses after I had beaten him 49-40.  We now stand at 12-10.

I scored only 4 TDs in those losses and did not even have the satisfaction of hiding behind my shibboleth WIDE to the Right!




My Dad’s Dad

June 8, 2010
3 Comments

PART II

Tyler and I have something else going for us.  We have John Madden.

If you have been paying attention to this blog, you will realize that I am a realist.

My reaction to a glass being half-full or empty depends solely on whether or not I am thirsty at that particular moment.

I was never good at video games when my boys were young.

The games then by comparison were primitive.  I remember losing to Matthew in a NBA basketball game by the score of 83-3.  I think he was four-years old.

The kid showed me no mercy.  Kids can be very mean that way.

Well I never played those kind of games with them very much after that.

For those who don’t like sports, John Madden is the grandfatherly, sometimes verbally inarticulate former football coach, who was probably the best analyst in all of sports.

Over 20 years ago, he helped develop an electronic football game that is fast becoming more realistic than any other game on the market.

It is perfect for the armchair athlete who thinks if only…he could have been the quarterback to lead New Orleans to the promised land last February.

My nephew David was the first to introduce me to Madden several years ago before the game by today’s standards seemed to duplicate the real thing.

The first time I tried to play it solo against the computer, I thought it was easy because I was winning 50-0.  Dave hated to tell me that it was the computer that had the 50 points.

Years later Tyler had an XBOX version of the game and we would play..or I would try to play. He scored virtually every time he got the ball and I am as helpless as I was when I was playing in the NBA with Matt 30 years ago.

Bonding with XBOX

Then something happened.  His mother got me my own Madden 5, made for Nintendo for Christmas so I could practice at home.

Well I started feeling my oats and actually learned to do a few things..like run and throw the ball!

When I  was ready I tried to test myself against Tyler and I felt good if I could prevent him from scoring 100 points.

Then one day, it happened.  I actually beat him.  By three points I think.

What a way to bond with your only grandson!

I think this was very important for me.  I don’t do any of the standard grandfatherly things, like hunt, fish, play golf or run wild in the woods.

Let others have the fantasy games.  Tyler and I have Madden.

Well that year we must have played 30 games and I actually won three of them.  I mean I went 3-27 and I am as proud as if I had run in the Kentucky Derby and run the horses off the track.

After one of my three victories, Tyler says to me: Daddy B: You Can Really Play This Game!

Those precious few words ran through my mind as the most beautiful words another human being…especially a grandson can ever say to his grandfather.

It was as if he was saying to everyone That’s My Dad’s Dad!

Now I really believe those who say praise can go a long way.

Well needless to say I went back to practice on my Madden IX.  Gone was the Nintendo.  I now was the proud owner of an X-Box 360!

An expert even then, Tyler was just four-years old when he recommended about X-Box.

I practiced every day and beat all the teams in the NFL–I have to confess I cannot play All-Pro but play merely Pro which is the third or fourth level.

I always play the Giants as my team and with Eli Manning and wide-out Plaxico Burress.  No one could stop my long bombs to the end zone–that was before Plaxico shot himself in the leg in real life–albeit accidentally and wound up going to prison for illegal possession of a firearm.

That’s Mayor Bloomberg for you!

I guess if he ever comes back, he will run with a limp–such is the realism of Madden.

With my new XBOX I must have played 35 games by myself.  It got so where I felt I was invincible!

I even started regularly beating the son who skunked me 83-3 over 30 years ago.  Ah revenge your name is Madden!

Tyler and I have had some memorable games. We must have played 26 times and I won 11 of them.  That means I almost broke even with the Madden Master.

If there were a black belt for Madden,Tyler would have three of them.  He plays all kinds of adults on-line and beats them handily.

He told me before this year he was 200-6 with half those losses with me.

I beat him 11xs!   He was not happy about some of them–actually he didn’t like to lose at all!

On Easter Sunday of 2009 I beat him 26-0. Tyler just dropped the remote control, and left the run, shaking his head and mumbling something like…but I’m his little grandson…!

I had one requirement–he could not play teams that have explosive running backs.  Anytime he had someone like Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson, I could never stop him–he scored every time he touched the ball.

One time I let him play me with Minnesota and it was 55-0 with just over a minute to go.  Ty kicks off to me. He did an on-side kick, which I was not prepared for and got the ball back.  Needless to say, i was not amused as he made it 63-0.

I told him that I wanted to teach him a new word.  The word was defenestration, which I defined as bodily throwing your grandson out of your second story window. And I was willing to demonstrate it for him.

Now we always play with a window open.  Just as a reminder!

Well for my birthday in 2009 I got Madden X but I’ll save that story for another day.

Look for Part III Next Week!


My Boy’s Boy

June 4, 2010
5 Comments

After attending a banquet for the Italian-American organization UNICO, I was fortunate to meet the late Dean Martin’s oldest daughter Deana Martin and her husband.

I always liked the films that he did with comedian Jerry Lewis.

One of the earlier one I saw when I was about eight years old was That’s My Boy, which also starred Eddie Mayehoff.

He played Jarring Jack Jackson, a former gridiron hero who wished that his son would be the All-American player he had been.

Well after a series of plot twists and subplots, Mayehoff gets his earthly wish and utters the title of the movie with great parental pride:

THAT’S MY BOY!

During my two sons’ active sports life, I had a number of occasions to summon a similar kind of paternal pride.

I guess the high point of all the games I coached and watched had to be my son Matthew’s seven straight foul shots for Priory’s 7th Grade team to win the game by two points.

I kept yelling to myself Bend your knee and dip and shoot before each one hit the cords.

But the biggest accomplishment had to be the year–1977 I think it was–when my oldest son, Mark and our 2nd through 4th grade team went 12-0.

It was truly THE PERFECT SEASON.

Mark was a good little left-hander, who could throw a ball before he could walk.

He couldn’t break a pane of glass but he consistently got people out.

I started calling him, the Mad Bavarian, a mock salute to a local player, Al The Mad Hungarian, Hrabosky.

The latter would stomp around the mound, pounding the ball into his glove to get himself all lathered up!

He was also a lefty and like most of them, somewhat on the eccentric side.  He had this dark Fu-Manchu mustache that I wanted Mark to have.

Well he wasn’t 10 yet and so I thought about pasting some blonde hair from his head over his upper lip.

As great as these memories were, having grandchildren is an entirely a new and different ball game.

With my interest in baseball, I thought for sure that my three children would bless their mother and me with at least enough for a Borst Family team.

But as my destiny would seem to have it, I have just enough for BRIDGE!

What kind of name is that for a game?

It sounds like something a dentist would do!

And I don’t even know how to play…though I am told they do have a rubber like baseball.

So I have to resign myself to the fact that I have just the one grandson.

Perhaps that’s the way it was meant to play.  This is no reflection on his two sisters or his one female cousin.

I often tell him he is my favorite grandson. The first time I used that line he thought for a minute and finally said:  Daddy B (that’s what they call me– sort of glorified uncle because I am not mature enough to be a grandfather.) I’m your ONLY grandson!”

And I tell him: That’s right and that means you got it LOCKED!

I have tried to bond with him but being his grandfather is much different then when I was teaching, coaching, cheering and disciplining his father.

I don’t have that awesome responsibility any more and quite frankly I don’t miss it.

But there is something extraordinary about having just the one and only grandson.

And Tyler is very special indeed.

I have not over-indulged him the way I did his father, whom I coached for six baseball seasons and  a pair of  basketball teams.

I have only gone to a dozen or so of his games over the years but what I have seen has given me a boatload of thrills.

Baseball was the family sports when I was a new father.

Tyler’s first experience with baseball was not a pleasant one.  He was a year younger than most of the players–it was obvious that he was not ready.  He was timid and shied away from the ball.

Like kids his age, he liked to pick flowers in the outfield.

I fought the fear that my only grandson might have been…a…. But I still would have loved him anyway!

It was at a flag football game a few years later that I saw the big change in his athletic demeanor.

All my grandchildren can run like the wind–that was the only sport I had a modicum of success with–track.  I garnered three medals in my life and got one of them just for finishing the race.

Well in this one game he is running all over the field, anticipating every play in an uncanny fashion.

Finally he corners one runner at the sidelines.  The poor boy falls–maybe I tripped him–I can’t remember– and I saw something I had never seen in all of the kids I have coached or watched in my life.

It was his eye–his absolute focus on the ribbon or flag, hanging from the fallen player’s belt.

Rocky Balboa called it the Eye of the Tiger.

I called it the Eye of the Tyler.

Daddy B and the Eye

Never taking his eye off the goal he pounced like a tiger on the other player and separated him from his flag and held it up high in a moment of triumph like an Iroquois warrior ripping the scalp from a fallen colonial in a James Fenimore Cooper novel.

Since then I have seen him play tackle football, soccer, lacrosse and basketball.

While his dad thinks lacrosse will be his best sport, I love to watch him play basketball.  He has a court-awareness that neither his dad nor his uncle ever had.

But alas he can’t shot foul shots like Uncle Matt.  I still yell Bend your knee…dip and…

He drives to the hoop on every basket and more often than not, pays the price with a quick bounce on the hard court floor.

When I see him drive without a license and with total self-abandonment I want to stand up and shout…like Eddie Mayehoff.

That’s My Boy’s Boy!

Look for Part II Next Week.


Stick It To ‘Em

June 1, 2010
2 Comments

I was thinking about bumper stickers today.  I don’t remember when I saw the first one in my life.  It was probably during the 1964 election when I drove around in my first car in Worcester, Massachusetts.

I know I had a Goldwater sticker on my new car, a 1965 Mustang.

I had to replace that sticker three or four times because Democrats kept ripping them off.  That’s probably why LBJ carried the state by 80-20% if my memory serves me.

I love driving around and seeing all the people who keep political bumper stickers on two, four and even 10 years after an election.

With the case of Gore or Kerry, I just shake my head and wonder why some people would advertise their ignorance years after the balloting.

I haven’t had a political sticker on since Reagan.  None of the last candidates have appealed to me at all.  I guess after RWR all else has been prologue.

And as for McCain, he was only my 4th choice in 2008–after Romney, Huck and none-of-the-above.

Many were too hard to remove when I traded the car in and politics has become far nastier today.

Some stickers are funny.  I particularly like the one where it says: My child can beat the $%#&% out of your honor student. This kind of puts that issue in perspective, doesn’t it?

I met a fellow from North Carolina on a trip to France one time and he told us about a sticker they had in his state that was as prescient and pithy as 150 years of verbal and written discourse on the issue of slavery.

We Should Have Picked Our Own Damn Cotton! I think he about covered it all in that.

I’ll bet everyone has seen the sticker COEXIST, spelled out with symbols from all the major religions in the world.

It’s a nice idea but a little unrealistic, since most of the major world religions contradict the others on many of the answers to the vital questions of human existence, such as Why was I born?, Is there a God? and Is there sin and evil in the world?

People who accept the premise of COEXIST reduce all religion to a meaningless bundle of platitudes and New Age good feelings that have no substance and cannot answer any of the serious questions in life.

My old friend from WGNU radio, Charlie Geer had his own version that read: Pray for Whirled Peas!

I used to have a number of pro-life stickers on but I started getting the latent fear that the other guys would try to drive me off the road or damage my car in some remote parking lot.

I am seriously thinking of actually putting ED MARTIN for Congress sticker on!

Some of their stickers have been beyond the pale of civility and fair play.

Well I guess that is to be expected from people who advocate the butchering of human beings in the womb.  What does someone else’s life really mean to them?

It is all about their own small lives.  The consequences of their actions have no part in any moral equation in their twisted minds.

Some of their stickers reflect that misanthropic attitude that is contrary to Christian principles.

I think that explain their auxiliary movement to remove God and his commandments from the public square.

I think the Constitution has been re-interpreted to restore a separate but equal kind of discrimination toward religion instead of race.

Check out my favorite all-time pro-abortion stickers.

Against Abortion–Don’t Have One!

I just love that one.  Substitute any other word and seem how really nasty and inhumane it is.

Again Slavery–Don’t Own one!

How about?   Against Child Abuse–Don’t have any Kids!

Against Rape–Don’t Date!

I think you get my point.  Then I love the religious sticker that compels the reading public to:

Keep Your Rosaries off My Ovaries! Personally I have trouble even visualizing just how that could ever happen.  If taken literally I bet it would be terribly painful.

The there’s the combination slogan that is filled with, alas tragic irony: I’m Pro-Woman, Pro-family, Pro-Life and Pro-Choice!

Pro-life?  I seriously doubt the veracity of that statement.

I’ll be it’s a very small family–maybe two adults, a few pets and maybe a child.

Who needs a child for the new kind of family the left has invented?

How about this one: I’m Pro-Choice and I Vote! Wow that’s a good one.  I am quaking in my boots.

Of course in Chicago, she probably could vote several times and then I would have reason to be afraid.

Pro-life slogans are much more friendly and human.  It’s a Baby, not a Choice! Would any human being with a brain, not understand that?

I saw one recently that said she was Pro-Woman, Pro-Child and Pro-life. Now that’s an inclusive statement that doesn’t leave the ultimate victim out of the equation.

Right now I do have a bumper sticker that partially visible from my rear window (a window sticker that’s not stuck?) that says:

May God Touch the Hearts of Those Who Would Kill the Inconvenient!

It is the best prayer I can find to stick it back to them and it is certainly better than Whirled Peas!

This Picture Says a 1000 Words!

While this is not a bumper sticker, I think its meaning is clear as rain water.   (Taken during by the author during a Pro-life Protest outside the Planned Parenthood Center at Boyle and Forest Parkway in St. Louis.)


About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at bbprof@sbcglobal.net

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