Major League Baseball makes the NFL look pathetic

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Major League Baseball took a meaningful stand against cheating.

I could not have been more surprised when the news broke. Major League Baseball took a stand, resulting in the firing of Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and skipper A.J. Hinch.

They’re crime? Cheating.

I know. I almost fell on the floor. Imagine a professional sports organization that actually cares about dishonesty. On top of losing their two top guys – MLB suspended the men for a year, after which the Astros fired them both – the team was fined $5 million dollars and forced to forfeit their first-and second-round draft picks the next two years. The Red Sox then canned skipper Alexa Cora and the Mets parted ways with new manager Carlos Beltran, both of whom were involved in the Astros scandal.

Their crime revolved around the stealing of signs. Baseball purists have long ignored players decoding opponents signals to get an edge, but Houston’s use of electronic gear to systematically capture signs was way over the top.

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The NFL allows coach Bill Belichick to do whatever he wants.

Sadly, for too long, rabid sports fans have accepted cheating, as long as their teams keep winning. The most notorious cheaters, of course, are the New England Patriots. The NFL’s response to the repeated scandals involving head coach Bill Belichick and golden-boy quarterback Tom Brady are pathetic by any standards. Spygate, Deflategate, the supposed bugging of opponent’s locker rooms and scrambling of headset signals, and the filming of the field area to steal signs during the recent contest with the Cincinnati Bengals show a level of cheating that is equally disturbing and unprecedented.

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One wonders how Pats quarterback Tom Brady can look in the mirror.

And all completely unnecessary. Did the Patriots really need subterfuge to beat the 1-12 Bengals? Did they really need to soften up footballs in the 2014 AFC Championship game, a contest they won easily 45-7? It seems as if the Pats cheat simply because they can. The NFL has fined the team piddly amounts of cash. What’s one million to a team valued at a little over four billion dollars? Brady served a four-game suspension, but still wears those Super Bowl rings with pride.

One wonders how they look in the mirror.

As a former amateur sports official, the adage “It’s only cheating if you get caught,” always left me disheartened, especially when uttered by young athletes. Sports are supposed to teach us positive qualities that can help us in life: teamwork, leadership skills, punctuality, and the ability to win and lose gracefully. Cheating was never supposed to be part of the package.

Baseball’s smack down of the Astros makes the National Football League’s response to cheating pitiful. The NFL clearly doesn’t care how teams win, as long as the money keeps pouring in.

I wish the league would consider the message that sends to young athletes who idolize those who play in the pros. Kids who watch closely and do all they can to emulate their heroes.

No wonder they think cheating is just fine as long as you don’t get caught.

A Light in the Desert-cov (6)

Mystery/Suspense

Blank Slate Press/Amphorae Publishing Group

286 Pages

Price: $16.95 Paperback, $9.99 eBook

http://www.midpointtrade.com/book_detail.php?book_id=261955

As a Vietnam veteran and former Special Forces sniper descends into the throes of mental illness, he latches onto a lonely pregnant teenager and a group of Pentecostal zealots – the Children of Light – who have been waiting over thirty years in the Arizona desert for Armageddon. When the Amtrak Sunset Limited, a passenger train en route to Los Angeles, is derailed in their midst in a deadly act of sabotage, their lives are thrown into turmoil. As the search for the saboteurs heats up, the authorities uncover more questions than answers. And then the girl vanishes. As the sniper struggles to maintain his sanity, a child is about to be born in the wilderness.

One-thousand pounds of cat

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Cat people understand the weighty power of their feline friends.

Don’t get me wrong. I do not own a cat that tips the scales at one-thousand pounds. But, every now and again, that’s how it feels.

There’s an expression we use in our household when one is providing seating for a cat or two. Under those circumstances – when our fury friends have plopped into our laps – it is extremely difficult to get up.

But not because the feline beasts weigh a lot. It’s more complicated than that. These lovely creatures, warm and silky soft, curled in a ball or draped across the nearest shoulder, exude something that makes the thought of disturbing them hard to consider.

According to John Amodeo, Ph.D. in his Psychology Today article “If You Love Cats, This May Be Why,” “These beautiful creatures have a rare quality that humans would do well to cultivate: a large capacity to receive affection.”

Cat lovers know this to be true.

“Delighting in our physical presence, they may begin to purr and perhaps roll on their backs, exposing their vulnerability. As if to say, ‘I trust you. Give me some love and make me feel good,’” Amodeo said. “Their gift to us is that they receive us deeply, without any troubling cognitions or disturbing memories of less savory moments, such as when we forgot to feed them or clean their litter box. They let all of that go. They’re just here with us right now.”

Now imagine if we humans could do the same. If we could forget why we are annoyed with someone. No grudges. No animosity. No bitterness. If we could, we’d be more like cats.

The good news is that all this kitty contentment is a beneficial thing.

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Turns out, cats can keep us healthy.

“Research has shown that cats can be very healing for us,” Amodeo said. “A 10-year research study suggests that cat owners were less likely to die of heart attacks than people who have never owned one … Other studies confirm that cats can lower our blood pressure and release dopamine and serotonin, which reduce stress and improve immune functioning.”

Amodeo also explained that cats help us release a substance called oxytocin, which is a substance that helps us care about others. “(O)oxytocin … is associated with the feeling of being in love. As we know, love heals, and perhaps an important aspect of this healing is the bonding created by their ability to receive us deeply.”

I know there are those who dislike cats. But I’m hoping they might reconsider. Perhaps all they need is the delicious weight of a feline in their lap. In our house, that is all the excuse one needs to avoid moving.

“Sorry, I can’t get up. I’m being held down by one-thousand pounds of cat.” And while you might think it strange, everyone here immediately understands. That’s when they get up to clean the kitchen.

Yet another reason to love my cats.

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A Light in the Desert-cov (6)

Mystery/Suspense

Blank Slate Press/Amphorae Publishing Group

286 Pages

Price: $16.95 Paperback, $9.99 eBook

http://www.midpointtrade.com/book_detail.php?book_id=261955

As a Vietnam veteran and former Special Forces sniper descends into the throes of mental illness, he latches onto a lonely pregnant teenager and a group of Pentecostal zealots – the Children of Light – who have been waiting over thirty years in the Arizona desert for Armageddon. When the Amtrak Sunset Limited, a passenger train en route to Los Angeles, is derailed in their midst in a deadly act of sabotage, their lives are thrown into turmoil. As the search for the saboteurs heats up, the authorities uncover more questions than answers. And then the girl vanishes. As the sniper struggles to maintain his sanity, a child is about to be born in the wilderness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boyfriend: an inexact term

 

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How do older dating folks refer to one another? The answer is far from simple

Some words just don’t work. Take boyfriend, for example. I’ve been dating the same man for a quarter of a century. He is far from being a boy and I am approaching my mid- sixties. Yet, this is the term society gives us. So, introductions can be a bit awkward. In fact, just mentioning that I have a boyfriend often has my high school students rolling with laughter. (I think kids believe teachers sleep under their desks and we have no lives outside of the classroom. Sigh…)

By definition, a boyfriend is “a male friend or acquaintance, often specifying a regular male companion with whom one is platonic, romantically or sexually involved. This is normally a short-term committed relationship, where other titles (e.g., husband, partner) are more commonly used for long-term committed relationships.”

Now let’s talk about those other titles. There is a plethora of possibilities and I have tried most of them. While my sweetie pie Ryan is my “friend” that description doesn’t say enough. Lover is a bit too continental: “Here is my love-ah,” I hear myself saying like an aging movie siren. Mi amour, as well, sounds pretentious.

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The term partner sounds too much like a business arrangement.

Then there’s significant other. Hate it. The term lacks warmth and has way too many syllables.

Partner is OK. Still the word rings of a professional relationship, as in my “business” partner.

“What should I call you?” I asked Ryan one day when he was reading.

He pursed his lips and stared at me. “What do I prefer? Call me Poopie Head.”

“Really?” I rolled my eyes. “I’m asking how to introduce you to other people.”

“How about love muffin?”

“Main squeez?” I countered.

He shook his head. “I don’t like main squeeze.”

“OK, so what should I call you?

download-1“How about love of my life?” He grinned.

“And that’s how you want me to introduce you?

“Yes! I am the love of your life, I hope. If not, we have a problem.”

“This is the love of my life,” I practice saying. “Just doesn’t roll off the tongue.”

Ryan shrugged. “Does it really matter?”

“Perhaps not. I guess I could call you . . . Ryan.”

“I still like love of my life.”

A Light in the Desert-cov (6)

Mystery/Suspense

Blank Slate Press/Amphorae Publishing Group

286 Pages

Price: $16.95 Paperback, $9.99 eBook

http://www.midpointtrade.com/book_detail.php?book_id=261955

As a Vietnam veteran and former Special Forces sniper descends into the throes of mental illness, he latches onto a lonely pregnant teenager and a group of Pentecostal zealots – the Children of Light – who have been waiting over thirty years in the Arizona desert for Armageddon. When the Amtrak Sunset Limited, a passenger train en route to Los Angeles, is derailed in their midst in a deadly act of sabotage, their lives are thrown into turmoil. As the search for the saboteurs heats up, the authorities uncover more questions than answers. And then the girl vanishes. As the sniper struggles to maintain his sanity, a child is about to be born in the wilderness.