Tennessee Vols Ramblings – 9/21/2019

I feel a little “I told you so” is in order. Back in November 2012, I wrote a piece about what a mistake it would be to fire Derek Dooley at that point. The program was still reeling from the Lane Kiffin betrayal, and my point was that for the sake of stability and recruiting, not to mention the opportunity to search for a top-notch coaching candidate, the university should have given Dooley one more season. Of course, at the time, I was shouted down, ridiculed, and lambasted for saying such a thing. I wish I still had some of the screen grabs of the comments I got on social media.

You rabid fans, full of pipe dreams of Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher, wanted Dooley gone. Everything wrong with the program was HIS FAULT. You were the same fans who had said the exact same things about Randy Sanders a few years before, but I digress. In your irrational fervor, you were absolutely certain that a big name celebrity coach was going to waltz in, wave a magic wand, and return the program to glory.

Today, nearly seven years later, your football team is a joke, and I told you so.

Butch Jones was a terrible hire, but he was the best you were going to get amidst all of that chaos. To put it in perspective of how bad of a football coach Butch Jones actually was, he had Jalen Hurd starting in front of Alvin Kamara. That should tell you everything you need to know. To be fair, under Jones, the Vols played fairly well against the mediocre opponents, but your record against ranked SEC teams was 4-18.

Once again, you rabid fans are calling for the coach’s head. This time, Jeremy Pruitt has only been given a season and a quarter to rebuild the program. Barely two full recruiting classes. Still, you have been inundating talk radio with more venom and bile, flooding social media with negativity, and burning jerseys. After a season and a quarter. You idiots have no idea how much you are hindering recruiting and miring the university in less than mediocrity.

Until you accept that a coach, ANY COACH, needs time to bring talent into the program, you will remain a joke. Until you accept that the vast majority of the players currently in the starting lineup couldn’t make the roster of the elite SEC teams, you will remain a joke. Until you accept that it has been 20 years since you have been relevant as a national powerhouse and none of current recruits coming out of high school have seen this school compete for anything that matters, you will remain a joke.

And I told you so.

Tuesday Morning Ramblings – 9/10/2019

It’s becoming more and more difficult for me to get on social media these days. The constant flow of hate from Republicans and Democrats is overwhelming.

I can’t understand why anyone would want to spend so much time scouring Mr. Trump’s Twitter feed for something to be angry about. And vice versa. Conservatives are equally guilty of looking for the slightest little injustice to feed their daily outrage.

We are steadily marching towards civil war. Both sides have so dehumanized the other that it’s no wonder we have a fairly regular stream of mass shootings. All of the hateful memes and snarky posts and bellyaching commentaries about every single perceived injustice move us closer and closer to all out bloodshed.

I’m powerless to stop it. I’m one small voice in the wilderness, insignificant compared to the perpetual surge of hate that flows from social media each minute. All I know is that more hate will not defeat hate. Deeper darkness will not brighten the world. Only love and light can.

I know this blog entry will only reach a small amount of people. Those who engage with it will be far too few to make any difference in the coming storm, but those of you who do read it, I implore you to prepare what is coming. We as human beings cannot lose the good we have, the lofty ideals that we aspire to. Democracy, free markets, self-determination, free speech, free thought, the scientific method, personal accountability, empathy, competition, and cooperation, these concepts are what make us great, not the hate and vitriol of social media.

That’s all for now.

Sunday Afternoon Ramblings – 9/8/2019

It’s opening weekend in the NFL. I’ve been a football fan my entire life, and my love for the game is still strong even though it has evolved away from running and defense. No other sport compares to the level of teamwork required to be successful. All 11 guys have to be in sync each play, and every play is an orchestra of strategy.

For the first time in my life, I am entering the season not as a Steelers fan. I just can’t continue to cheer for Mediocre Mike Tomlin. Once the team wises up and parts ways with him, I might return to the flock. Until then, I’ll just cheer for the players I like.

That’s all for now.

Thursday Morning Ramblings – 9/5/2019

Today is my youngest son’s 13th birthday. I have a hard time believing that much time has passed, but it’s true. He’s a wickedly smart kid, who has completely taught himself more about computers than I can fathom. Once upon a time, I built one from scratch to put that in perspective.

He also marches to his own beat, unapologetically so, and could not care less what you or anyone else thinks about him. He’s observant and perceptive, has a poet’s soul, and possesses a scathing wit. He reminds me of a better version of myself, and I hope he finds his way in this world more easily than I have.

Happy birthday, son. Your dad loves you more than all the sand on all the beaches on all the world.

That’s all for now.

Friday Afternoon Ramblings – 8/23/2019

In my previous post, I mentioned Nick Hanauer and his belief in a wealth tax. I also pointed out what I see as the shortfalls of redistributing wealth via the government. However, it’s not productive to do that without offering an alternative solution, so as promised, here is my idea for how the super wealthy could impact the lives of average Americans.

On a completely voluntary basis, people with a net worth over one billion dollars could establish foundations that help individuals launch small businesses. Right now, there are millions of working people around the country who have the knowledge and skills to run a small business in their area of expertise, but they lack the capital to purchase the equipment, form the proper entity, and take the plunge into self-employment. They also might lack the knowledge to navigate all of the legal and bureaucratic obstacles.

However, if wealthy individuals like Nick Hanauer provided grants and also business coaches to assist with getting small businesses off the ground, more individuals could have opportunities to be self-sufficient. Because the money is not being filtered through the bloated bureaucracy of government, more of that wealth goes directly to the people Hanauer wants to help.

The major advantage of following this path is that people will have the opportunities to build businesses and wealth for themselves. Instead of government handouts, people will be offered a hand up to self-reliance. Instead of being tethered to larger businesses that may or may not pay decent wages, people from every social stratum could have more equal opportunities based on the effort they are willing to put into growing their businesses.

Obviously, this is merely a thumbnail sketch of the idea, but I believe that it is an idea worth pursuing by those who have the means to make it a reality.

That’s all for now.

Wednesday Afternoon Ramblings – 8/14/2019

Recently, I heard a podcast on Planet Money in which Nick Hanauer described his trepidation about the widening wealth gap in America. In case you aren’t familiar with him, he was an original investor in Amazon. Needless to say, he is on the wealthy end of that equation, and his opinions have ruffled a few feathers. His TED Talk on the subject has been removed, and many wealthy, powerful people disagree with his premise that the wealth gap is an issue.

He proposes that we should implement a wealth tax on the super wealthy in an effort to reinvest that money into communities. While I do agree with him that we need to close the gap, I vehemently disagree that a tax is the correct way to solve the problem.

First of all, the government is too inefficient and too bloated to make a substantial transformation. Maybe, maybe 50 cents on the dollar would get back to the communities that need it. The rest would be sucked into the bureaucratic black hole.

Second, nobody likes to be taxed. Nobody. We pay them because we must, but nobody likes it. Taxation simply feels like extortion. So gathering support for Hanauer’s will be difficult.

I have an idea for a system that would be better, and over the next few days, I think I will share it on here. In the meantime, you should check out Planet Money. It’s a pretty good podcast with a lot of informative stories about economics.

That’s all for now.

Monday Afternoon Ramblings – 8/12/19

I’m happy.

No qualifiers, no hyperbole, no BS. I’m happy.

I can’t explain exactly why. My life is far from perfect, and by many objective standards, my career has been a failure. I don’t have many creature comforts, and I basically live day to day financially. However, when I wake up each day, I’m grateful for the food in my fridge, the roof over my head, the opportunities in front of me, and the people who are close.

Many of my clients have plenty of money, but I wouldn’t classify any of them as happy people. Some are too petty to find joy in anything. Some are too selfish to appreciate the warmth that comes from sharing with those less fortunate. Some are just miserable individuals. I wouldn’t trade lives with any of them.

I know that a major contributor to my happiness is the gratitude I feel for the positives I do enjoy. If you are not happy and want to change your life, that’s the first and most important step you can make. Find the good aspects of your daily life and take a moment to feel real, sincere gratitude for those items or moments or people. That simple act transforms your perception. Instead of dwelling on all the things you don’t have, which is an infinite loop of dissatisfaction, you will begin to appreciate the little stuff that enriches you.

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. Happiness is choice. So is misery. You are in control of which way you perceive the world.

That’s all for now.

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