Make The Marlins Better

I recently read with excitement that the Miami Marlins finally completed the sale of their baseball team to refreshingly new ownership.This latest transition during their 25th anniversary season does not shock me give the team’s recent failures to win consistently on the field Being a lifetime baseball fan who truly loves watching the game in person, I immediately thought of some spirited innovations to inspire a new, winning era of Marlins baseball.

IMG_1458

 

1. Ditch the contorted sculpture presence beyond centerfield that reminds me of a Medusa snake alluring victims to their death every time a Miami home run takes place.

IMG_8802

2. Eliminate the excessive sales billboards around the rim of the stadium. Bring back the out of town scoreboard so I can fill in the agonizingly slow time between pitches by watching the performance of my other favorite teams.

IMG_8792

3. Change the name from Marlins Park for attracting a wider demographic audience to the comforting environs of this park. Some top of the head options” include: “Tropical Paradise Park Beach Party Place, Serenity For Seniors Arena and of course Mother Ship Landing.

9F4CA990-6197-4322-8114-B86AE0B99594.large

4. Energize the lineup call on the “Jumbotron” scoreboard before each home game with a DJ spin. 1st batter – “Yo Miami- – “Give it up for #1 – my main man…2nd batter -” You won’t believe your eyes meet…” 3rd batter – “Cmon man, put your hands together for…” 4th batter – “Show me some some love for…”

IMG_8782

5. Rethink the concept of the Bobblehead Museum at the Park as a more visible commodity. Place giant Bobblehead figures of new,part time owners Derek Jeter and Michael Jordan at all park entry gates to lessen the anger of fan security inconveniences.

IMG_8846

6. Replace the tawdry “Clevelander Club”beyond left field with a family friendly venue. I don’t see the need in bringing small children to a baseball game to watch a stag show of men hanging out after work to watch scantily clad dancers seductively entertain them.

7. If I decide to use my ticket to become a “designated driver” , offer me something healthier than a Diet Coke as an enticement to use this service.

IMG_8775

8. Open the retractable ceiling during games more often. I enjoy watching exotic birds fly in and around the park when the action gets boring.

36104B3B-D2D7-4806-8B0A-15D76BF4B28F.large

9.Use more discretion in live video screening of fans throughout the ballpark (i.e. Kiss Cams and Salsa Dance theatrics). There are enough baseball attendees who preoccupy their time spent at the ballpark by taking selfies of themselves on their mobile phones already. Watching the game itself should be the main focus.

IMG_1456

10. Allow unlimited mascot therapy sessions with fans between innings in cases of “blowout” losses. Hugging and high-fiving can provide a jolt of positive energy to those in a funk because their team has no way to win that day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

College Realities Fill USF Roundup

What made the 2017, University of South Florida “Freshman Round Up” successful last weekend ? It appears that the USF Broward Alumni Chapter had succeeded again in providing an open discussion forum for addressing the many challenges USF freshmen would likely face in their inaugural term in college. As a retired professor and active member of this chapter, I thus embraced my role to engage twenty five, prospective college students and their families in friendly conversation about college success strategies learned from my instructional past.

IMG_8738I imagine the majority of these aspiring, young adults felt comfortable in the tropical confines of swaying palm trees, an expansive swimming pool and open refreshment bar at this beautiful, suburban residence today. As each student arrived for check- in today, I also figured that interest in today’s event would heighten upon being greeted warmly by ushers and given a souveneir-filled, goodie bag as they entered the house. I also reasoned that the presence of close family nearby would provide emotional support to help them network socially.

While this casual setting invited a “cool” vibe of friends, food and fun, I knew, however, knew from my academic past that any failure by these college entrants to embrace the high academic expectations set by the USF classroom experience and this roundup today could gravitate into something entirely more unsettling. I thus posed the following question to several of them today: How would you stay focused to learn in a lecture hall situation when burdened by outside distractions and professor criticism of your academic performance? Take a look at an excerpt from a recent film, “The Gambler ” for some thought provoking insight regarding the student/professor relationship when a college classroom goes awry.

How fortunate that I observed many of these new USF enrollees acted with sincere enthusiasm about their upcoming college experience. On a personal level, I also enjoyed speaking with these students one- to-one- today without feeling the pressure of grading them as their professor in the classroom. As a bird seeks refuge in a freshly made nest, these aspiring scholars must assume responsibility to likewise learn strategies to feel “right at home” in the tough world of high achieving academia.

IMG_8745

 

New Tests Of Travel Awareness

Epiphanies of spontaneous self-insight tend to rule my life at short notice at times. Thus, I was unprepared for the rush of pure emotion that settled over me as I watched an inspiring film,” The Bucket List”, this week. Picture two critically ill, elderly men lying helplessly in a hospital bed facing terminal illness who devise a unique, itinerary to enjoy life while they can in the face of their dire medical prognosis. Imagine that completing their jointly agreed travel agenda in essence helps bond them together as trusting friends in the final days remaining of their lives.

Thankfully, neither my wife or I face such an immediate medical crisis. Nonetheless, I experienced an emotional revelation about “what determines happiness” by watching the featured characters in this movie experience their last days traveling as trusted friends in this film. Such insight thus led me to reassess my own psyche about traveling in greater fulfillment with my wife in our independent travel. Previously , I had blogged about five destinations that aroused my OWN curiosity for future travel: https://onstageformyselfnow.wordpress.com/2016/02/22/immersions-in-wanderlust/
Do these places reflect my current travel interests? Why have most items on the list remained unfulfilled? Have I caved into the egoistic desires of myself to the exclusion of my wife’s needs for future travel? What places provide an ideal match for meeting our united “wanderlust” desires? What travel goals would sustain continuance of our happy marriage? Such questions give reason to present my new travel bucket list as an expression of our shared values and their logical connection to specific places that we aspire to visit. I thus present my “bucket list” plan for pursuing independent travel as follows:

1. Enhance Spiritual Understanding
a. Practice yoga at monastery or spiritual retreat setting in India or Nepal.
b. Deepen our understanding of our shared Jewish religious heritage with guided tour of Israel
c. Appreciate the meditative silence of nature in day trips to Western U.S. National Parks

2. Downsize Materialistic Travel Needs
a. Turn off all digital devices and pack less on upcoming cruises to and from Europe
b. Work parttime for summer season in Lake District of Yellowstone National Park
c. Share one meal entree in restaurants to save money/reduce calories on upcoming American road trips.
d. Use digital apps for determining location/sightseeing in lieu of bulky travel guides

3. Spend “Quality Time” With Distant Friends
a. Tour Edmonton, Canada with past India trip friend
b. Hike in Boise, Idaho vicinity with past condo neighbor
c. Walk along the seashore in California Bay Area with past Alaska trip friend
d. Read poetry in Lincoln Nebraska with past condo neighbor
e. Attend famous jazz festival in Montreal, Canada with online, animal chat friend
f. Eat a leisurely meal with British friends at a London pub during one week apartment visit

4. Restore Faith In American Democracy
a. Tour National Presidential Centers – Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Barack Obama
b. Visit the iconic battlefields of “The Civil War” in Virginia
c. Speak to a political representative of progressive causes in Washington D.C.
d. Feel the strong presence of “playing for one’s country” by attending a football game on our upcoming European vacation.

5. Relive Mellow Spirit Of  The Late 1960s
a. Use online music sources to find locations of classic rock concerts to attend on upcoming road trips
b. Engage in a Beatles history tour during one week apartment stay in London
c. Engage in political demonstrations to support progressive causes before upcoming election in selected American cities.
d. Enjoy a daytime, Major League Baseball game to solidify old friendships

6. Appreciate The Amenities Of Natural Environment
a. Get lost in the jungle along Amazon River cruise in South America
b. Cruise the mountainous coastline of Chile on South America cruise
c. Hike surrounding forests during two-week apartment stay in Seattle, Washington vicinity
d. Safari along the Okavango Delta in Botswana , Africa to observe diversity of wildlife present at dawn

The Circus Of Fools Preview

Ladies and Gentlemen:
Boys and Girls:

Welcome to “The Maddest Show on Earth.” You are about to see some of the most spectacular feats of hostile action that have ever been performed on stage. Tonight’s performance entitled “Obedient Awesome” promises a shocking evening of unforgettable entertainment. Witness our main attraction, ” The Ringmaster of Rage” direct sensational acts of meanful cruelty that will take your breath away. As your senses come alive from such mayhem, do not be fooled by his court jester disguise. If you trust him today, you do so at your own risk.

Please note that the ghastly scenes that you have chosen to witness tonight are no illusion. Trust your very eyes when unsuspecting volunteers build our “Ringmaster” a border wall live on stage. Be assured that you will  be bamboozled at the “edge of your seats” as our participants undergo waterboarding torture onstage to reveal their most embarrassing secrets. Many of you will scream as our unwitting victims stand motionless as our angry host orders his loyal son to aim his beloved handgun at each of them for target practice amusement. You will feel chills upon hearing again the famous phrase, “Get um outta here.” Feverish boos and catcalls will rise throughout the theater as our tyrannical taskmaster orders his followers to pose as “bouncers” to remove any disbelievers in the audience from the venue.

IMG_1316

As you await tonight’s performance, enjoy the challenge of matching wits with our raging star as he prowls the audience to find easy victims for his masterful performance. Avoid his ominous stare as he passes by your seat. Refrain from any urge to take notice when he attempts to insult nearby families. Do not dare laugh at his crude jokes of derision.

IMG_1322

I would urge you to purchase a personalized memento of tonight’s “hellish”experience in the gift shop and check out our artist’s top selling book, ” The Art Of Playing The Fool.” You can also enjoy his reality star presence online as he takes twice daily “potshots” at your favorite celebrities on Twitter. Note that bookings for live performances will be limited this summer as our circus hero leisurely  unwinds by playing golf on weekends.

  Grandstanding Fails With Children

“Who the hell wants to speak about politics when I’m in front of the Boy Scouts”

(Donald Trump, July 24,2017 Rally)

Freedom Kids sing as “Big Brother” inspects
While hypocrisy rises to stir maximum effects
A fusillade of “trash talk” flames the crowd as intended
As catcalls and boos demean our country unmended

IMG_1273When Boy Scouts can be conned in such poorly thought ways
Their idealism of youth makes them vulnerable to “plays”
This leader who “sells out” the truth to capture young eyes
Remains hugely unpresidential through his self serving lies

IMG_1310Heil Hitler demands blind duty to his Fascist cause.
So the youth bred pure “Aryan” will serve without flaws
While children huddle near their “Fuhrer to”seek his like
Their Nazi swastikas soar proudly to serve the “Third Reich”

Students stand with awe despite Russia’s cold past
When the atrocities of Red Communism brought fears of aghast
While the “Iron Rule” of Putin sparks an allure of tough guy
Such brainwashing evades notice that his opponents may die

Kim Jong seeks children who adore him at rallies
While ignoring thoughts of freedoms in actual vote tallies
From younger to older they “bought in” to his show
To think proudly that the prospect of World War III will grow

Reaction:

When a leader speaks to youngsters with serious thought
It makes sense that sound values should always be sought
And while rulers may speak proudly as an issues presenter
They must role model good citizenship as their childhood mentor

 

Sources:

https://www.ushmm.org/propaganda/archive/children-hitler-rally/

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3222051/rare-adolf-hitler-propaganda-pictures-posing-with-kids/

https://www.usafreedomkids.com/

http://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trump-usa-freedom-kids-song-2016-1?utm_source=gatehouse&utm_medium=referral

http://www.newsweek.com/2014/12/05/putin-youth-young-russians-who-see-president-father-figure-286464.html

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/new-north-korean-leader-stages-massive-children-rally-article-1.1090747

 

History Spotlights Autocracy Evils

When Tyrants Ally To Become Friendship Brothers
Destructive Thirsts Foment Silencing Others
When Despots Show Eagerness To Fuse Their Might
Their Lust For Power Creates A Firestorm Of Fright

IMG_1247

When Handshakes Reap Hints Of Secretive Spew
An Invisibility Of True Intention Blocks Public View
When Fear Steeped in Threat Defines Words of Loyalty
Little Effort Arises To Question Such Royalty

IMG_1267

When Castro Woos Khrushchev Over A Glass Of Wine
A Clean Sweep Destroying Freedom They May Undermine
When Adolph Joins Benito In The Glories Of Rome
Their Company Of Unite Finds True Fascist Home

When Hitler And Stalin Agree to A Non-Aggression Pact
An Imbalance Of World Powers Becomes Ominous Fact
When Arafat Serves As Best Man At Idi Amin’s Wedding
Two Despots Later Exiles Enjoy Terroristic Vetting

When Capone Provides Hope For No-Nonsense Protection
His Warped Aims of Loyalty Move In A Violent Direction
When The Allure Of Serving Nixon Spurs Many To Awe
Coverups of Watergate Force A Drastic Show Of Law

Conclusion:

Election Collusion With Russia Deems Serious Attention
Yet Our President Does Not Issue It A Serious Mention
Does The Trail of Evidence Show Making Of Friends?
Or Does Tyrant Meets Tyrant Portend Catastrophic Ends?

IMG_1258

Sources:

http://rarehistoricalphotos.com/fidel-castro-nikita-khrushchev-drinking-wine-drinking-horn-soviet-republic-georgia1963/

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/aug/06/devils-alliance-hitlers-pact-stalin-1938-1941-roger-moorhouse-review

http://www.historytoday.com/richard-cavendish/hitler-and-mussolini-meet-rome

http://www.thedailybeast.com/dictator-bromances

http://watergate.info/analysis/casualties-and-convictions

http://www.myalcaponemuseum.com/id193.htm

No Excuse For Failed Leadership

The current political impasse in the United States concerning affordable healthcare coverage troubles me deeply. Something is clearly wrong and I believe the following poem identifies a key source of such confusion.

PROBING THE LEADER’S MIND

Whenever The Halls Of White Dim To A Still
No Gentleman Nor Lady I Rule Out To Grill
For Nothing Can Stop My Twitter Dumb Reign
In A Stubborn Crusade To Fulfill Personal Gain

There Seems No Point To Question My Blunders
As A Lifetime of Blame Works Fabulous Wonders
Dare Not Question A “Make America Great Again” King
So Let’s Give Them a Taste of My Powerful Sting

I Am a Rich Man Indeed, Yes Richer Than All
How Dare One Accuse Me Of Healthcare Fall
As So Many Look Up To My Legacy of Fame
Then Why Change This One Sided Game

So On I Tweet To Gain Maximum Attention
Yet Never Accept Blame From Any Oppositional Tension
When Sparks Fly In My Direction In Heated Foment
The “Buck Will Not Stop” Here To Destroy My Moment

BLOGGER’S CONCLUSION

Our Freedoms Grow Weaker Amidst Such Egoistic Tension
As Poor, Sick, And Disabled Receive So Little Attention.
Health Care For All Cannot Be Framed By Attack on Obama
When Words Spin Wildly Into A Cold Hearted Melodrama

 

College Criticism Not The Answer

I have always felt strongly as a student and educator that making the decision to pursue a college education should never be considered as a mission of mediocrity or grade 13 so to speak. How true that my adult life story which began as a curious learner  at the University of South Florida provided the impetus  to live a true version of the “American Dream” intelligently and independently.

IMG_1215

I can fondly recall my efforts to instill respect for higher education in my instructional planning. On the first day of college class as a Reading/Writing Professor, I would typically explain to my immature and life challenged students that to to embrace learning excellence rather than passive mediocrity in college would greatly help them to pass their classes. To emphasize this point, I would draw a horizontal line 5-6 feet high along a classroom wall and ask my students to imagine how this height would enable them where score points in basketball more easily. Then I would scrawl another line at the raised height of of an NBA basket and hope to solicit a majority response that it would take greater work at this higher elevation to maintain the same scoring chances. As a result of my demonstration, my students understood that the expectation of academic performance would be much higher in this class than they had experienced in high school. As the term proceeded, I would continually remind them of that.

IMG_1210

(1) Today, I read that a majority of Republican voters now believe that college education is bad for the country. Polls show that the number of them who believe this fallacy has grown over the past few years. Why would academic smartness threaten us today? Would one wish to select a physician who does not show medical competence in their field? Would you feel comfortable on an airplane of the pilot flew on “wits and guts alone? How is ignorance cool?

IMG_1220

A brief sample of research about the general knowledge capacities of our country’s citizenry produces a a picture of dismal failure. Witness the following samples. (2) Recorded responses  from a Newsweek survey reveal that nearly half of a group of one thousand U.S. citizens polled do not know what the basic rights and responsibilities of citizenship means. (3) Random street interviews throughout the country reveals that many citizens have little prior knowledge of American History/Civics. (4) College students at one reputable university could not recognize through facial observation such notable political figures as Ronald Reagan and Joe Biden yet easily identify celebrities from reality television.

 

 

 

Are you shocked that many Americans are not well informed about the general knowledge required for an informed citizenry? If so, then you might see why higher education pursuit seems important to overcome the current threats to democracy today. today. College may not embrace everyone yet it remains a viable outlet for combatting the damage caused by such ignorance in our politically challenged world. An empty mind or an informed mind; I will always choose the latter.

IMG_1214

RESEARCH LINKS:

1

Republican Research

2

Citizenship Research

3

Street Sample Video

4

College Student Video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having Fun with “All Star” Promo

In glamorous downtown Miami lies South Florida’s modernistic, major league baseball stadium: Marlins Park. Its striking retractable dome towering over a “Little Havana” neighborhood steeped in Cuban tradition surreally suggests a massive “mother ship” has landed from the skies above. Marlins fans can now enjoy the fiesta-like atmosphere of “America’s Pastime” in air- conditioned comfort as South Florida celebrates this new era in inner city, urban renewal.

Let the party begin. This week, Marlins Stadium hosts the 2017 Major League All Star Game. In a tourist city that plays well to “big time” events, the stage could not be better for the casual baseball fan. For visual aficionados, begin your experience by savoring the color wall designs that display prominently along the arena corridors and don’t miss the Picasso-like, Home Run Sculpture. Between innings, “lighten up” at the Bobble Doll Museum as your favorite players wiggle and wobble for your amusement. At your leisure, hang out” at the Clevelander Club near left field inside the stadium. Sip your favorite tropical drink there while watching club dancers gyrating freely to your favorite “Miami”sounds.

For more serious baseball fans, like myself, the the “Home Run Derby” and the  game itself serve as statistical celebrations of home run length, bat speed, and other extraordinarly measurable accomplishments. So pony up the money for a prized ticket if so desired. For those who live on a limited budget , I recommend you purchase an inexpensive ticket for the Major League Futures Game, this year. You will no doubt  enjoy watching these talented minor leaguers play “All Star ” baseball in front of a near sellout, major league crowd.

As you exit the stadium to the west, pay a visit to the “Jose Fernandez Tribute Wall.” Observe how thousands of baseball fans have paid their final respect to this legendary Marlins pitcher, who was tragically killed last fall in a boating accident. This youngest participant to ever play in a major league, All Star Game remains a positive presence for the Marlins team and its avid baseball followers. Do you have your own human, All Star hero that serves as a mind diversion from the unpleasantries of life’s realities? Enjoy the game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping Perceptions In Check

“He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster” (Friedrich Nietzsche)

Is one’s state of mind indicated by perceiving a glass container as half empty or half full? Is a 50/50 chance for risking a gambling venture an indication of winning or losing? Does reaching midfield on a football field mean yards earned or yards yet to go? It all depends on your perceptions when seeking answers to such point of views.

IMG_1137
I read today of an NPR report where an elderly woman from rural California liked the modest copays and premiums of the “Affordable Health Care Plan” she was receiving on her modest income. Yet she vehemently opposed the continuation of such coverage when she heard the word Obama to describe the plan she had selected. Apparently, her negative perceptions of the Barack name clouded her judgment at a time when she desperately needed this affordable alternative for health care.

 

Clearly, one’s perceptions of personalities and events that surround them can restrict rational judgment and thus perpetuate closed-minded behavior. When I taught the skill of fact vs. opinion as a professor, I often used visual images to demonstrate the power of perception in biasing our decision-making. Think of the subjective confusion raised by the glass/face”contradiction or the “beautiful woman/old hag” experiment. Ponder whether the ballet dancer balances on her right or left foot depending on which way she pirouettes at the time.

 

The matter of perception seems particularly relevant when one considers the staying power of current Trump supporters in the face of his troubled Presidency. Our current, executive administration uses persuasive images of “bully” pulpit aggression combined with the emotional appeal of tabloid journalism to incite his loyal following. As a result, it seems likely that his base become victims of their perceptual biases as they tune out conflicting evidence of truth that question the veracity of the President’s statements. For instance, the tabloid examples below clearly exaggerate the emotional appeal of the Donald Trump persona and use untruth to cast him as a hero who conquers an allegedly unworthy opponent.

 

On a personal level, I am deeply concerned about the political tone of 2017, where angry pessimism reigns to influence public opinion for closing open borders indiscriminately, disbelieving climate change and annulling Obamacare health care coverage with no adequate replacement. As a responsible citizen, I recognize one’s right to think, speak, and act freely yet I equally value the need to be clear-headed and rational before making important decisions. As a result, I envision two, key behaviors which I will undertake to address my perceptual confusions about pertinent issues.

 

Authenticate The Information Given:

The need to obtain accurate information about a given topic means a great deal to me in deciding whether to believe something as true or not. Secondary news sources like CNN, MSNBC, and FOX, seem to be corporate instigators of misinformation at times while Facebook and Twitter frequently spin into endless rants of anger and blame. Why not put my own investigatory skills to use and directly examine primary sources of information on my own? I can now examine actual government documents in the past by conducting searches on “Smithsonian Learning Lab. “New measurements of political opinion can be easily initiated by my self- creating/sharing of “Survey Monkey”online polls. In the ease of my living room, I can obtain instant fact support from multiple information sources by speaking to Alexa on “Amazon Echo” concerning relevant topics in my mind.

 

Avoid Tunnel Vision:

Tunnel vision is defined as one’s tendency to focus on a single or limited goal or point of view while excluding their awareness of alternate information at hand. In my life, Tunnel Vision takes place when I rush and cannot control life situations. I am standing impatiently in a grocery queue obsessing how slow the expected wait will be. As a consequence of such narrow-minded thinking, I do not consider the benefit of initiating friendly conversation with others to pass the time in line more pleasantly . it seems clear from this example that it would be to my advantage if I let go of the need to rush into such tunnel vision decisions prematurely that interfere with clear-headed thinking. On a deeper level, I also recognize my obsessive preoccupation with the contentious political environment of my country. In this regard, the endless Twitter rants that I read from our President cause unneeded stress in my life and “turn off” my tolerance for respecting opposing points of view. Clearly, I must lighten up, avoid social media more, make use of all of my thinking hats, and divert my mind with meditative silence to provide more outlets of positive energy now.

 

The tabloid culture clearly is not for me as I see no point in making monsters out of those who I fear or threaten me. Keeping my perceptions in check seem particularly vital to me as I experience new cultural challenges in retirement as an independent traveler. “Travel like Ghandi, with simple clothes, open eyes and an uncluttered mind. ” (Rick Steves).

IMG_1142