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Politics and Sports,Rants and Rambles

January 24, 2017

WOMEN’S MARCH GREATEST PROTEST IN WORLD HISTORY

Peaceful. Purposeful. And a Real Movement.

Greetings from Portland, Oregon –

What took place around the world on Saturday, January 21st, may have been nothing less than the first salvo of something extraordinary. An explosive and heartfelt outpouring of protest. Like a 21st Century Fort Sumter and the beginning of a non-violent Second Civil War for justice and equality and human dignity.

Here’s why.

women's march

Hundreds of marches, tens of millions, peaceful and purposeful.

The signficance of this real people juggernaut of a protest is dwarfed only by what it’s not.

The protest isn’t sour grapes about the outcome.

DJT’s the prez, but the story will be a long time unfolding as truth is separated from fiction, and reality from delusion.

The impact of Putin from the outside and Comey from within will be assessed, debated and perhaps even litigated ad nauseum. Of course it mattered, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Saturday’s Women’s Marches across the country and around the world were the authentic outpouring of heartfelt rejection of the man in the office; his heart, his character, his brain.

And his policies, however vague, thin, shifting and conveniently tuned to each audience.

And his values, if we ever really find out what they are, and aren’t.

The marches were the for real grassroots eruption signaling that the “fight” is on. Beyond politics for the soul of a nation.

Mitch McConnell had his way – obstruction, opposition and in the case of the High Court, refusal.

The opposition has found the genesis of a better way. I’m sure they’ll obstruct as they can, it’s the most immediate political policy weapon.

Added to that, is the people talking in a way we’ve never seen before. Mobilizing, getting involved and their activism can reengineer the political landscape, maybe at hyper-speed.

The real people. All ages, colors, genders across the demographic spectrum around the world.

Okay, here’s why they’re talking.

Because the new president is a flavor we’ve never been served before. His lack of most every tool to do the job is scary, not funny. Hey, Big League he ain’t.

The reality showman, grand promoter, con man huckster, rich man’s son and business bully, world class liar, serial kisser and privates grabber whose greatest skill is the ability to magically reduce the most complex and critical issues facing mankind to 140 characters.

In tweets always ending with an exclamation point in self-aggrandizing self-congratulation.

They’re tremendous and the best ever.

Worst of all, is a quality never seen in any previous occupant of the office he now holds, which is beyond frightening:

There is and never will be a dissenter, however small, he’s too busy to attack.

The prez can’t rise above anything, can’t let anything go, and the collateral damage is a savage attack upon the dignity of the office. A self-inflicted character flaw that could be potentially critically fatal at the wrong time with the wrong enemy.

The job is to lead the world not preach to the choir, guided and defined by our values not personal delusions.

Drain the swamp? He’s restocked it with billionaires, cronies and insiders.

The Elite, baby. The United States of Goldman Sachs.

During the campaign, everyone that opposed him was a liar and a crook.

In the end, he’d out-lied ‘and out crooked ‘em all. That’s who he’s always been.

2018 may be the most entertaining and crucial off-year election ever.

What will his newbie base do when promises he made are broken, as they inevitably will be, because he never meant them?

He never really believed any of it because Donald J. Trump only believes in Donald J. Trump, and couldn’t care less about folks he snookered into voting against their own best interests.

And as he’d end a tweet with that statement: SAD!!!!

Losing by nearly 3,000,000 popular votes isn’t a mandate, except in his mind, where if he says it, it’s true.

Like George Costanza told Jerry: “It’s not a lie, if you believe it.”

The popular tally aside, it was less than 80,000 votes that cost his opponent Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, and the White House.

The ‘movement’ he boasts carried him to his ‘tremendous’ victory was no movement at all.

The for real movement was out walkin’ January 21st around the world. Sending a message that it’s not okay, we won’t just take it, and the fight is on.

If only this could be the beginning of the new beginning.

The tens of millions around the world*, like the hundred thousand plus in the January Portland, Oregon rain spoke loudly and clearly today; they are the real movement.

And the Second Civil War for justice, equality and opportunity for all has peacefully, but oh so admirably, begun.

A little post on Facebook started it all.

If what I’ve written has resonated with you at all, I ask that you share it.

I’ve been a lazy blogger. Writing for clients, neglected my blog. Sat out the campaign and the most recent sports seasons, but what happened yesterday called to me.

Doing nothing is not okay.

Share this with others – together, let’s make a difference.

*So maybe it was only five or ten million – only. Besides, if Donald can tell the CIA and the world that his Inaugural crowd ‘was the biggest ever’ and insist that 3-5 million illegals cost him the popular vote, I feel ‘empowered’ to offer a few alternative facts of my own.

All the best to you and yours.

May the pages keep turning and deprive you of sleep!

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Politics and Sports,Rants and Rambles

October 22, 2014

NOTES ON A GRINDING BASEBALL SEASON

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Greetings from Portland, Oregon –

A great yet painful but inspiring baseball season. My Cardinals made it to the NLCS for the fourth straight year, but exited on a three game losing streak for the third straight year. A fitting end to a season that was predictably unpredictable but painfully so. A season of grinders.

Jeter

Youth Ruled
The number of terrific young talent across baseball was unprecedented and suggest the game’s best days – at least between the lines – are ahead.

Money Didn’t
The Dodgers, Tigers, Yankees, Angels and others proved that spending the dough for a great fantasy team isn’t a sure path to success.

Streaks Ruled
Getting hot at the right time was never such a critical ingredient to success. Look at the sweeps, and tip your hat to the Royals for theirs. And to the Giants that seem to know what October is all about … again.

Starters Didn’t
Spotty results from most every #1, but more and more games became bullpen games and teams with the deepest relief corps survived and thrived.

Injuries Ruled
The Rangers, Reds, Rays and many others got hammered, ridden hard and put away wet. Tommy John injuries at a historic level. I’ll have more on this later.

Power Didn’t
Only Nelson Cruz cracked 40 HRs, speed and defense made a comeback, and small ball returned to the baseball lexicon.

Trades Ruled
Except when they didn’t. The A’s big deadline deals weren’t enough, but the Royals trade for Shields and Davis a few years ago sure looks good.

Class Ruled
Thanks to Derek Jeter for a career that exemplified all that is wonderful about the game I love above all others. If he’s not a unanimous first ballot HOFer, it’s just wrong.

Flawed Cards
I saw the Cardinals as a flawed team in April. Injuries, under-performing core players, bullpen issues and perplexing managerial moves proved it.

Better Days
This time of year the reality is 29 of 30 fan base watch the Champs, whoever they are, celebrate. But hope springs eternal and pitchers and catchers report in April.

The Royals and Giants weren’t expected to represent their leagues this year.

Both should be commended for grinding it out.

Thanks for reading. May the pages keep turning and deprive you of sleep!

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Politics and Sports,Rants and Rambles

January 14, 2014

WHEN THE LAST TEAM STANDING ISN’T YOURS.

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Greetings from Portland, Oregon –

Sports perspective time. In the end, every team except one goes home wondering what might have been, thinking of next year and what the future holds. When the better team wins and it ain’t yours, loss and finality trump hope and possibility. Ouch.

That’s baseball. And football. And basketball. All sports.
Niners logo
The Niners face Seattle Sunday in the NFC Championship. Win and go to the Super Bowl. Lose and go home. Here we go again.

I’ve been a very lucky fan during my life, treated to more than my fair share of the highest highs along with at least my share of the lowest lows.

In recent years my teams have fared really well, enough to almost feel guilty. Almost.

I remind myself I shouldn’t complain, and that’s true. Or is it?

I looked deeper and made a list.

Yeah, I have been a very lucky sports fan, but still have every right to complain, or at least whine and wallow a bit.

Thanks to the one constant in sports: The yin and yang of victory and defeat; pain and pleasure; the agony and the ecstasy.

Cardinal baseball has been amazing, reaching the post season 10 of the last 14 years with four trips to the World Series and two championships since 2006. It’s hard to complain.

Oregon Duck football has been elevated to elite national status, with a near miss in the 2011 BCS Championship an injured QB from another one this past year, and BCS bowl games four of the past five years.

The 49ers have resurrected themselves under Jim Harbaugh and nearly won the Super Bowl last year and just missed an appearance the year before thanks to a fumbled punt. All we have to do Sunday is win in Seattle.

The Blazers have me considering actually caring about the NBA again for the first time in over a decade. The thugs are gone and although Paul Allen still owns ‘em, great young players that play hard and seem to like each other is compelling and fun to watch.

Oregon Duck basketball is relevant again even if the floor in the new arena is bizarre. That said, if Uncle Phil likes it, who am I …?

The Portland Winter Hawks deliver great minor league hockey, and while I can’t generate much enthusiasm for soccer, the Portland Timbers made it to the MLS finals.

But while I’ve been a ridiculously fortunate sports fan, I suffered inordinate fan pain.

Here’s the list of what I mean by that, and it’s only the past year.

October 2012: Leading 3 games to 1 over the Giants in the National League Championship Series, the Cardinals decide to take an early vacation and blow it.

November 2012: On their way to the BCS Championship and controlling their own destiny, the Oregon Ducks can’t make a field goal and fumble it all away to Stanford.

February 2013: The 49ers fall short, and narrowly lose the Super Bowl to Baltimore.

October 2013: Leading the Red Sox 2 games to 1 in the World Series, the Cardinals, after hitting .330 with runners in scoring position all season, forget how to hit.

November 2013: For the second straight year Stanford hangs on to derail Oregon’s clear path to the National Championship. This one was tough to watch, tougher to take, and for me the hardest of all to get over.

Go Niners!

Thanks for reading, and all the best to all of you and all of yours – but before I go, one more thing –

If you enjoy the blog, you’ll love my books.

My newest novel, The Do-Over, is a hoot. Different by design from my thrillers, I hope you enjoy it.

If you’re a crime thriller aficionado, Rush to Dawn is the first in the Cups Drayton Series and Part I of The Mirano Trilogy. Like the other books in the series The Old Dog’s New Trick and Imperfect Resolution, available in paperback and Kindle eBooks.

To get the books click: To get the books click: Get the Books!

To learn about the books click: About the Books!

May the pages keep turning and deprive you of sleep!

Visit me on the Web

www.PleaseReadMyBookBeforeIDie.com

Check-out the Blog

www.ReadersandWritersCommunity.com

Show me some ‘Like’

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Politics and Sports,Rants and Rambles

June 26, 2013

OREGON FOOTBALL ESCAPES NCAA HAMMER

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Greetings from Portland, Oregon –

The NCAA, in their classically myopic and enigmatic fashion, rendered judgment after over two years of investigation. Duck football got a mild slap on the wrist and the post-Kelly era escaped unscathed without the dreaded ‘Bowl Ban’. Go figure.

dm_130416_ncf_oregon_major_violations_spielman

Hey, the loss of a scholarship, reduced recruiting visits and two-years probation – whatever that means, I surely have no idea – and Chip Kelly having to ‘show cause’ for 18 months – huh? –all of that is astonishingly less than the critics championed and the faithful feared.

To tell you the truth, I’m inured and numb to sports scandals, anyway. I never understood what the big deal was, what the egregious violation was. They did what everybody does in the pursuit of ‘amateur’ athletics. Not saying it’s right, just that it’s how it is.

There sin, apparently, was in getting caught.

Which must mean that their only real crime was overpaying.

Thankfully, now that the dust has settled, they’re dumb but Bowl Eligible.

Now we can play, and the NCAA can continue their efforts to safeguard truth, justice and the American Way.

On a totally unrelated note, genuine thanks to all of you for the kind words about my Mac tribute post last week.

Mac was a helluva guy, loved and accepted me unconditionally in spite of knowing me so well, and I miss him terribly. He was a true friend and the dog of my life.

Thanks for reading, and all the best to all of you and all of yours – but before I go, one more thing –

If you enjoy the blog, you’ll love my books.

My newest novel, The Do-Over, is a hoot. Different by design from my thrillers, I hope you enjoy it.

If you’re a crime thriller aficionado, Rush to Dawn is the first in the Cups Drayton Series and Part I of The Mirano Trilogy. Like the other books in the series The Old Dog’s New Trick and Imperfect Resolution, available in paperback and Kindle eBooks.

To get the books click: To get the books click: Get the Books!

To learn about the books click: About the Books!

May the pages keep turning and deprive you of sleep!

Visit me on the Web

www.PleaseReadMyBookBeforeIDie.com

Check-out the Blog

www.ReadersandWritersCommunity.com

Show me some ‘Like’

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Politics and Sports,Rants and Rambles

February 17, 2013

THE RITE OF SPRING THAT FEELS JUST RIGHT

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Greetings from Portland, Oregon –

Whether or not groundhogs in whatever location saw their shadows, or didn’t, renewal is confirmed as Spring Training 2013 is underway in Florida and Arizona. In a perplexing and increasingly off-kilter universe, I see that as legitimate cause for jubilation.
st_2013
Cardinal Nation has already been hit with our annual hammer of doom, with the uncertain but expected end of Chris Carpenter’s playing days. Carp, the greatest Redbird hurler since Gibson, injuries derailed what might have been a HOF career. His last masterpiece, the 1-0 victory over Roy Halladay in Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against Philly, ranks as one of the best-pitched games ever. His flawed comeback late last year was nothing short of heroic.

For the off-season roster overhaul, Cardinal prospects are bright. A talented core comes back and the top-rated farm system in MLB is cranking out talent. They’ll compete as they usually do, and that means a shot at a meaningful season, maybe a run.

But I’m been around long enough to know the truth about even a best-case scenario. More likely is the usual reward for fans: The statistically almost certainty of a near-miss, falling just-short and suffering a bittersweet end to most every season.

What’s true for every team is that winning it all is a rare gift, most years you won’t. You lose.

On-track in the 21st Century, the game is financially healthy, has survived the PED era, and the players flat scary good. Youth is winning the day, more and more days, in dramatic fashion.

Young stars, amazing talents like Trout and Harper. A boatload of great young pitching, and like a rush of uber-prospects like the Cards’ Oscar Taveres, stepping up with impact contributions right away.

My Extra Innings cable, GameDay Audio and XM Radio packages are in place. Preparations are underway for our 32nd Annual Rotisserie League auction-drafts, quite simply the greatest weekend every year. My buddy in Bethesda, as passionate and knowledgeable a Nationals fan as I’ll ever know, will delight me with phone calls and texts starting last week.

Youth baseball will be soon cranking up, assuring Oregonians of the inevitably soggy spring. A phone call to help my grandson’s team may lure me out of a coaching retirement I’m not sure I want.

Days getting longer, trees budding and flower shooting-up, and soon the sounds and smells of lawn mowers doing their weekly deed.

Spring has almost sprung, except in Oregon we know better.

We could get buried in snow or be building arks tomorrow.

Thanks for reading, and all the best to all of you and all of yours – but before I go, one more thing –
If you enjoy the blog, you’ll love my books.

My newest novel, The Do-Over, is a hoot. Different by design from my thrillers, I hope you enjoy it.

If you’re a crime thriller aficionado, Rush to Dawn is the first in the Cups Drayton Series and Part I of The Mirano Trilogy. Like the other books in the series The Old Dog’s New Trick and Imperfect Resolution, available in paperback and Kindle eBooks.

To get the books click: Get the Books!

To learn about the books click: About the Books!

May the pages keep turning and deprive you of sleep!

Visit me on the Web

www.PleaseReadMyBookBeforeIDie.com

Check-out the Blog

www.ReadersandWritersCommunity.com

Show me some ‘Like’

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Email me, I’ll answer

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Politics and Sports,Rants and Rambles,Uncategorized

January 27, 2013

BOB COSTAS EULOGIZES STAN THE MAN

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Greetings from Portland, Oregon –

A fitting, moving goodbye to baseball’s “Perfect Knight” from the broadcaster that has, himself, raised the bar in so many ways over the years. Don’t miss this one, folks. Find the link to the MLB video pasted below. Tissues required.

http://stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=25574499&topic_id=40773316&c_id=stl

stl

Everyone has memories of this wonderful man and one of the greatest ballplayers of all time.

What set “The Man” apart, as Costas said earlier during the week, “He batted 1000 as a human being.”

There couldn’t be a more fitting goodbye to a man, the likes of whom, we’ll never see again.

Thanks for reading, and all the best to all of you and all of yours – but before I go, one more thing –
If you enjoy the blog, you’ll love my books.

My newest novel, The Do-Over, is a hoot. Different by design from my thrillers, I hope you enjoy it.

If you’re a crime thriller aficionado, Rush to Dawn is the first in the Cups Drayton Series and Part I of The Mirano Trilogy. Like the other books in the series The Old Dog’s New Trick and Imperfect Resolution, available in paperback and Kindle eBooks.

To get the books click: Get the Books!

To learn about the books click: About the Books!

May the pages keep turning and deprive you of sleep!

Visit me on the Web

www.PleaseReadMyBookBeforeIDie.com

Check-out the Blog

www.ReadersandWritersCommunity.com

Show me some ‘Like’

www.facebook.com/andrewhesselnovels

Email me, I’ll answer

andrew@PleaseReadMyBookBeforeIDie.com

Friend Me on Facebook

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Politics and Sports

January 20, 2013

STAN THE MAN – RIP

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Greetings from Portland, Oregon –

Lynne and I toasted Stan last night. Baseball’s Perfect Knight and greatest ambassador, the greatest Cardinal of them all, and a gentleman of a class and caliber we’ll never see again.

Baseball Hall of Fame members and former Cardinals Musial and Brock ride in a golf cart on the field before the start of play between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers in Game 6 of MLB's World Series baseball championship in St. Louis

Fourth all time in hits (3630), and how about this … 1815 at home, 1815 on the road. So many records I won’t even begin to list them.

23 seasons with Cards, my first glove was an entry-level Rawlings Stan Musial model.

I was at his last game with my Dad in ’63. He went 1-3 and believe drove in the winning run.

Here’s a link to Sports Illustrated piece from 2010 … tissues required.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1172566/

Thanks for reading, and all the best to all of you and all of yours – but before I go, one more thing –
If you enjoy the blog, you’ll love my books.

My newest novel, The Do-Over, is a hoot. Different by design from my thrillers, I hope you enjoy it.

If you’re a crime thriller aficionado, Rush to Dawn is the first in the Cups Drayton Series and Part I of The Mirano Trilogy. Like the other books in the series The Old Dog’s New Trick and Imperfect Resolution, available in paperback and Kindle eBooks.

To get the books click: Get the Books!

To learn about the books click: About the Books!

May the pages keep turning and deprive you of sleep!

Visit me on the Web

www.PleaseReadMyBookBeforeIDie.com

Check-out the Blog

www.ReadersandWritersCommunity.com

Show me some ‘Like’

www.facebook.com/andrewhesselnovels

Email me, I’ll answer

andrew@PleaseReadMyBookBeforeIDie.com

Friend Me on Facebook

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Politics and Sports,Rants and Rambles

January 19, 2013

RANTS, RAMBLES AND NEW YEAR’S BITS & BYTES

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Greetings from Portland, Oregon –

May I be the last to wish you and yours a Happy 2013. Never had a busier Holiday Season; from the traditional – watching all of our Christmas movies – to the unthinkable – flying out Christmas morning for an unforgettable family reunion in SoCal, courtesy of Lynne’s uncle.

This was the first time in my life that I wasn’t home for Christmas. The very notion of it was disconcerting, but the occasion was a glorious once-in-a-lifetime celebration of family. Amazing.

The reunion, at a jaw-dropping oceanfront resort in L.A., brought the family together from all across the country. Spending time with relatives we rarely see, reminding everyone that those rare moments of being together trump nearly everything. That all the things that divide us pale in comparison to what brings us together and what really matters.

The reunion rescued a year that, as it drew to a close, truly belonged in the rear-view mirror.

Think of how it ended.

Hurricane Sandy devastated the Northeast, followed by an endlessly exhausting and mostly discouraging Presidential Election, the horrific Newtown school and shopping center shootings that underscored our societal vulnerability, and the looming, insoluble specter of the fiscal cliff.

And 2013 is off to a contentious and perplexing start. Here are few items of note.

The gun control debate is sure to satisfy no one and piss-off everyone, but isn’t it time to rethink it? Is it really un-American or an attack on the Constitution to limit assault weapons to soldiers and law enforcement?

Whatever happens, too much or not enough depends on which side you’re on, but I’ve got to believe that freedom comes with the responsibility to accept responsible restraints.

We owe our children, and each other, that much.

One more political question: Does every budget, debt ceiling and tax issue have to take on a fiscal cliff sense of doom and gloom?

Coast-to-Coast the weather is weird and after the warmest year on record, ya gotta wonder … ark-building season in Oregon has been temporarily suspended for sustained cold, dry winter weather unheard of in January.

On a more positive and upbeat note, Downton Abbey is back and man, what great television. The Homeland and Dexter seasons were sure … fun.

I’ve got two questions for movie lovers.

How could they fail to nominate Ben Affleck for Best Director (Argo)?

Is it time to call Daniel Day-Lewis the greatest actor of all time?

Staying with the movies, even if you’re blood-shy, Django Unchained is a must see.

Last weekend’s NFL Playoff games may go down as the greatest playoff weekend, ever.

In college football, Oregon continued to make news as the Chip Kelly era – no fooling this time – finally ended. He’ll be perched in a new nest and wearing a new visor in Philly next season.

Duck fans owe Chip thanks for two things.

First, doing the once unthinkable and elevating the program to elite status.

Second, charitably subjecting us to only two Brett Favre-like I’m-leaving-staying-going years.

Speaking of college football, the expanded BCS Playoffs can’t get here soon enough and we can only hope the extra round is enough. It makes no sense that a single stumble – like a missed field goal overtime loss to Stanford – ends a championship caliber team’s shot.

In a break from the norm, while I’m reading a Nelson DeMille thriller at the moment, the five books before it were not thrillers.

A couple of months ago, Lynne brought home a bag ‘o books from the annual sale at our neighborhood library. Usually, it’s a bag ‘o clunkers, but this time she hit a real home run. GREAT stuff, highly recommended reads I’ll write about them soon.

Mac the Wonder Lab is lumbering along towards his 14th birthday in June. Slower, sweeter, totally deaf and more demanding and more medicated than ever.

Dogs are products of their owners and in this case I’m getting what I deserve.

And finally, I’ve said goodbye to the ePub eBook format and made my novels, for those digitally inclined readers, exclusively available in the Kindle format. There’s more on this at my website for those who are curious.

Thanks for reading, and all the best to all of you and all of yours – but before I go, one more thing –
If you enjoy the blog, you’ll love my books.

My newest novel, The Do-Over, is a hoot. Different by design from my thrillers, I hope you enjoy it.

If you’re a crime thriller aficionado, Rush to Dawn is the first in the Cups Drayton Series and Part I of The Mirano Trilogy. Like the other books in the series The Old Dog’s New Trick and Imperfect Resolution, available in paperback and Kindle eBooks.

To get the books click:  Get the Books!

To learn about the books click:  About the Books!

May the pages keep turning and deprive you of sleep!

Visit me on the Web       

www.PleaseReadMyBookBeforeIDie.com

 Check-out the Blog

www.ReadersandWritersCommunity.com

 Show me some ‘Like’

www.facebook.com/andrewhesselnovels

 Email me, I’ll answer

andrew@PleaseReadMyBookBeforeIDie.com

 Friend Me on Facebook       

 http://www.facebook.com/andrew.r.hessel

 

 

Politics and Sports,Rants and Rambles

November 13, 2012

(007) SKYFALL – REVIEWED BY THE ACCIDENTAL MOVIEGOER

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Greetings from Portland, Oregon

The other day I ducked out to catch a movie.  Argo was the plan, but the online time was incorrect and I arrived with the movie well underway.  Sigh. Skyfall turned out to be my only option. Although uninspired at the prospect, I took it.  And LOVED IT.  Why might surprise you.

Skyfall marks the 50th Anniversary of the Bond Franchise.  Yet another unnecessary reminder I’m no longer a kid.  Although I loved ‘em back in the day, I’m embarrassed to say how long it had been since I’d seen one.  The bottom line is that everything there is to love about James Bond was there, really there.

Daniel Craig was sensational. Cool, tough, charming, irreverent and irresistible to drop-dead gorgeous women, the dude can take a punch, dish it out, and single-handedly defeat an army of bad guys.  The story was actually believable, and that’s saying something considering it’s wholly implausible international espionage in the 21st Century.. The action scenes were nothing less than jaw dropping and the ending, intelligent and even moving.

I had a helluva good time at the movies and can’t wait for the next one.

But let me tell you what impressed me more than anything, what knocked my socks off and what I kept thinking about after leaving the theater.

It was the panoramic shots of the Shanghai skyline at night.

It was simply beyond words, and I’m a wordsmith by trade.

Extraordinary architecture and lights showcasing China’s energy, wealth and, a youthful vitality that western cities can’t rival, at least not on the same scale. It made realize the modern cities, in every era, are products of their fiscal youth and an energy that is short-lived.  It made me wonder if our time has passed, not as a nation or an empire, but as a builder of bold, bigger than life new cities. I can’t imagine anything on such a scale in North America or Europe.

China, of course, as a nation, is older than almost anything, but economically, a relative newbie hitting on all cylinders and sprinting at full stride. It struck me that China’s tenuous truce and Faustian Bargain with free markets and international opulence, was sure a sight to behold, especially at night.

The Big Apple and Sin City, comparatively, aren’t even in the same visual ballpark, and that’s saying something.

Thanks for reading, and all the best to all of you and all of yours – but before I go, one more thing –

If you enjoy the blog, you’ll love my books.

My new novel, The Do-Over, is now available.  You can download a Free, No-Strings Test-Read – the first seven chapters.  I hope you’ll give it a taste.

If you enjoy crime thrillers, please download my first novel, Rush to Dawn, for FREE!

Rush is the first Cups Drayton crime thriller. Like the other books in the series, The Old Dog’s New Trick and Imperfect Resolution, also available in paperback and eBook; PDF, Kindle and ePub.

To get the Free Download click:  Get the Books!

To learn about the Series click:  About the Books!

May the pages keep turning and deprive you of sleep!

Visit me on the Web       

www.PleaseReadMyBookBeforeIDie.com

 Check-out the Blog

www.ReadersandWritersCommunity.com

 Show me some ‘Like’

www.facebook.com/andrewhesselnovels

 Email me, I’ll answer

andrew@PleaseReadMyBookBeforeIDie.com

 Friend Me on Facebook       

 http://www.facebook.com/andrew.r.hessel

 

Politics and Sports,Rants and Rambles

October 24, 2012

CARDS CRASH AND BURN, END 2012 WITH AN UGLY THUD, BUT …

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Greetings from Portland, Oregon –

I admit it:  2012 was far better than any Cardinals fan had any right to expect.  Defending a World Series Championship is nearly impossible. A flawed team over-achieved while under-performing, and after disposing of the upstart, but better, Nationals, showed its feet of clay.

Albert was gone. Tony was gone.  So was Dave Duncan. A rookie manager led a team decimated by injuries, but with more solid rookies than I can ever remember.  They responded by going manically hot and cold and up and down like-a-toilet-seat for a perplexing 162 games.  The team that could but too often couldn’t offered abundant early evidence to ratchet down expectations.

Not that any fan can prepare for a debacle. Hope, despite overwhelming evidence, is fan capital.

Still, what made this season unforgettable and often joyful for me wasn’t the Cards, but a season long dialogue with a friend in Bethesda. A die-hard Washington Nationals fan, a lifelong baseball fan, that was living his first pennant race and having way too much fun along the way.

There were regular calls and ongoing texts.  I think he watched nearly every game.

It was hard not to envy him. That we faced off in the NLDS was too incredible.

In the end he also experienced the soul crushing disappointment of destiny denied by the baseball gods.  The other side of the Cards comeback in Game 5 had to be beyond brutal.

I couldn’t help feeling a little guilty for how lucky I’ve been over the years.  .

The Cardinals have made nine trips to the World Series in my lifetime, winning five times.

Their eleven World Championships are second only to the Yankees.

In the past thirteen years they advanced to the post season nine times.

2011 was hands-down the greatest season of my lifetime, maybe anyone’s.

Then I remembered some of the epic sports lows my selective memory benevolently filters.

The Cards also lead baseball in the number of series lost with a 3-1 lead.  2012  was 1996 all over again.  This time we were only outscored only 20-1 in the three games.

It explains why I never felt comfortable with this team, even up 3-1 over the Giants.  Fans by definition can’t feel comfortable.  Sports is where the improbable is probable.

Sports pain doesn’t get much bigger than blowing a 3-1 series lead, but a few other moments are so profoundly horrible they shouldn’t go unmentioned.

Curt Flood blowing the fly ball in center against the Tigers in’68, and then blowing a 3-1 lead; Don Denkinger’s blown call in Game 5 against the Royals in ‘85; the collapse against the Braves in ’96;  getting swept by the Bosox in ‘2004 after winning 105 games; Matt Holiday dropping the pop in short left against the Dodgers a couple years ago … and just last January, a muffed punt reception that cost the 49ers the NFC Championship and a trip to the Super Bowl.

For all the pain, the chance of more high-highs and low-lows is why I can’t wait for next year.

I know my buddy in Bethesda feels the same way.

Thanks for reading, and all the best to all of you and all of yours – but before I go, one more thing –

If you enjoy the blog, you’ll love my books.

My new novel, The Do-Over, is now available.  You can download a Free, No-Strings Test-Read – the first seven chapters.  I hope you’ll give it a taste.

If you enjoy crime thrillers, please download my first novel, Rush to Dawn, for FREE!

Rush is the first Cups Drayton crime thriller. Like the other books in the series, The Old Dog’s New Trick and Imperfect Resolution, also available in paperback and eBook; PDF, Kindle and ePub.

To get the Free Download click:  Get the Books!

To learn about the Series click:  About the Books!

May the pages keep turning and deprive you of sleep!

Visit me on the Web       

www.PleaseReadMyBookBeforeIDie.com

 Check-out the Blog

www.ReadersandWritersCommunity.com

 Show me some ‘Like’

www.facebook.com/andrewhesselnovels

 Email me, I’ll answer

andrew@PleaseReadMyBookBeforeIDie.com

 Friend Me on Facebook       

 http://www.facebook.com/andrew.r.hessel