Hey, Look! Dale Jellings Has a Web Page    
"I got 99 holes in my head, one more can't hurt me much."  -- 99 Holes by Butch Hancock.

  And what kind of stuff would I put on a web page if I had one?  Stuff like Butch Hancock song lyrics, apparently.  Or Matthew Grimm Lyrics:

When the paycheck just ain’t stretchin’ like it might’ve once before
‘Cause the good jobs all are gone and left you in some big-box store
Between food and rent and medicine, the suits just rate a whole lot more.

When the bosses cut that last corner and you walk out those doors
When the truckers hauling sweatshop stuff won’t stop there anymore
When folks won’t cross your pickets cause their boat’s the same as yours
That is one big union.

One Big Union
Matthew Grimm

There's Intermittent Blogging and all My Recommendations Down Below:



I Recommend: The Rum Blog:  (More rumination than Hunter S.;  more bourbon than rum;  more ranting than fun)

My Top Ten Favorite Movies of 2017:

My Top Ten Favorite Novels of 2017:

Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner

Gunmetal Gray by Mark Greaney

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Righteous by Joe Ide

Two Kinds of Truth by Michael Connelly

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Crime Song by David Swinson

No Man's Land by David Baldacci

The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash

Special 11th Novel:

Universal Harvester by John Darnielle

Honorable Mentions:

Blood Truth by Matt Coyle

Robicheaux by James Lee Burke

Tool of War  by Paolo Bacigalupi

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My Top Ten CDs of 2017:

These are my favorite CDs released in 2016. My tastes run to Americana, roots, alt country and folk. In the case of close calls, I am likely to err on the side of the lesser-known performers who need more exposure. It is a loose top ten with no real effort made to order them.

A Long Way From Your Heart by Turnpike Troubadours

Adios by Cory Branan

Ghost on the Car Radio by Slaid Cleaves

Last of the True by Ronnie Fauss

Tennessee Night by Ed Dupas

Bone on Bone by Bruce Cockburn

Trinity Lane by Lilly Hiatt

Nashville Sound by Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit

Big Bad Luv by John Moreland

Walk in the Dark by Rob Lutes

Tied for 11th:

First Cigarette by Travis Meadows

Letters Never Read by Dori Freeman
Careless Soul by Cale Tyson

Darkest Darks, Lightest Lights by White Buffalo


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Just to make it clear I don't really give a rats ass whether Kyle Busch or Kyle Larson wins a NASCAR race in Joliet, Illinois

However, with NASCAR slipping badly in the TV ratings and losing money at the live gate, I would recommend an injection of reality and credibility.  If you don't want to be viewed as a similar extravaganza as WWE or GLOW, it might be time to stop pretending your so-called sport is not rigged or moderately scripted.

If Kyle Busch is celebrated as a winner of a race he won by crashing full throttle into the back of the car in front of him, then you no longer have an event decided by the rules of fair play.  You have an event where the rules are arbitrarily enforced to favor the  teams and personalities the event has determined to be most advantageous for the governing body.  

If Matt Kenseth or Chase Elliott or Matt Dibenedetto had won the race in the same fashion there would have been a change in results or monumental penalty levied (you can look it up).

If you think I'm over-reacting to impact of the results of the Overton 400, I offer the fact that there was so much boo-ing and detritus hurling that Busch insulted the fans twice on an open mike and then flipped off the fans as he got back in his car to drive to a special makeshift, indoor victory lane so NASCAR and NBC could have a properly quiet and predictable celebration.

If anyone thinks that NASCAR won't lose a percentage of live race fans they can't afford at Chicagoland Speedway and as fans of TV broadcasts, then you haven't been paying attention.  NBC which took over as the network for the last half of the season has been pointing to their use of popular driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr. as a way to return the sport to some of its late 90s early 2000s glory.  In the face of this embarressing finish, both Dale, Jr. and Jeff Burton gushed over the action of winner Kyle Busch that neither would have tolerated when they were on the track.

My only comment on this relatively inconsequential episode in sport is the same I would make pertaining to consequential evidents in the column to the right.  Don't show me one thing and describe to me that it's different than what I just saw.

Update: Three weeks later, Kevin Harvick bumped Kyle Busch out of first on his way to a victory.  Busch could only comment, "I’m not sure he had to do it, but he did. It’s fine. How you race is how you get raced, so it’s fine.”

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Much was made of
2018 NFL Draft Report (with Team Grades)


Minnesota Vikings: A
•    Immediate Help:
Daniel Carlson, K, Auburn
•    May Play:
Mike Hughes, CB, Central Florida
Brian O'Neill, OT, Pittsburgh
Colby Gossett, OG, Appalachian State
Tyler Conklin, TE, Central Michigan (Good Value)
•    Too Early:
None
•    Why Draft:
Ade Aruna, DT-DE, Tulane (available after)
•    Watch:
Korey Robertson, WR, Southern Miss (UDFA)
Holton Hill, CB, Texas (UDFA)
Tray Matthews, S, Auburn (UDFA)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: A
•    Immediate Help:
Vita Vea, DT, Washington
Justin Wilson, WR, Penn
•    May Play:
Ronald Jones II, RB, USC
M.J. Stewart, CB, North Carolina
Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn
Godwin Igwebuike, S, Northwestern (UDFA)
•    Too Early:
Alex Cappa, OT, Humboldt St.
•    Why Draft:
None
•    Watch:
Jack Cichy, LB, Wisconsin
Sergio Bailey, WR, Eastern Michigan (UDFA)
Cole Boozer, OT-G, Temple (UDFA)

Complete Report

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My Top Ten Favorite Movies of 2016: (follow the link)

Hell-or-High-Water-2016.jpg ElvisNixon.jpg The-Accountant-2016.jpg theConfirmation.jpg 

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My Favorite Novels of 2016:

Redemption Road

by John Hart

Shaker
by Scott Frank

Faithful
by Alice Hoffman

The Promise 
by Robert Crais

Wrong Side of Goodbye
by Michael Connelly

End of Watch
by Stephen King

The Second Girl

by David Swinson

American Girls
by Allison Umminger

As Good As Gone
by Larry Watson


Time Zero
by Carolyn Cohagen

Honorable:

 Find Her by Lisa Gardner

 Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian

 Close Your Eyes by Michael Robotham

 and

 Special kudos to Maggie Stiefvater for how she wrapped up the Raven Boys series with The Raven King.


-------------------------------------------------------

My Top Ten CDs of 2016

These are my favorite CDs released in 2016. My tastes run to Americana, roots, alt country and folk. In the case of close calls, I am likely to err on the side of the lesser-known performers who need more exposure. It is a loose top ten with no real effort made to order them.

The Wild Swan by Foy Vance 

Rangers & Valentines by Trapper Schoepp

Dream Anyway by Markus Rill and the Troublemakers

Midnight Motel by Jack Ingram

Dori Freeman by Dori Freeman

Sean McConnell by Sean McConnell

Down in a Hole by Kiefer Sutherland

Willow Springs by Michael McDermott

I'm Not the Devil by Cody Jinks

The Very Last Day by Parker Millsap

Tied for 11th:

Lovers and Leavers by Hayes Carll

The Narrows by Grant Lee Phillips

American Band by Drive-By Truckers


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Table of Contents Archive


 

The Sudden Passing of Duncan the Dog

-- February, 2019


In the past, when people would ask what kind of dog he was, I would just reply, "beagle."

Now, I tell them he was the kind of dog who gently licked the fingers of small children because any hand might contain a treat and, even without a treat, small hands were often covered with the sticky remnants of earlier treats.  They would giggle and ask him to do it again, but he was already sniffing their pockets and then their shoes.  A beagle, after all.

He came to us as a shelter dog.  He had been transferred from a shelter in a different town and had been on his own for some time. He had either been abandoned or had run away, perhaps following his beagle nose. When my son visited the kennels, all the other dogs were barking and jumping around or huddled shivering in a corner.  Duncan walked right up to him and sniffed his hand.

There was never any question that he was my son's dog.  They were best pals.  They hung out and did everything together.  Duncan slept on a cushion alongside my son's bed.  But the rest of our family got to be his pack. He loved to go for walks with all of us.  He was just the dog we needed. Every day, he helped me learn to be as good a companion and benefactor as I could be.

He leaves a gaping hole in my heart.  He filled empty spaces I never knew were there.  How can he just be gone?  He came back from an afternoon walk, almost inside the house, stumbled a bit, and fell over.  He never got up.  There was no Duncan left inside what we knew as our precious dog.

As close as we could tell, he was 11 years-old, maybe 12.  Not that old for a dog, but old enough to start preparing for his decline, joint pain, eye sight and hearing loss.  Friends had recounted their dogs becoming disoriented and incontinent. The difficult decision of knowing when love and affection would not be enough to counter a dog's deteriorating life was a future possibility.  Duncan's body decided that for himself and for us as well.

Around the house, I sit in all his usual haunts, all the places we once sat together.  I pretend, but I don't feel his presence.  I tell him he can hang around as long as he wants or he can go when he needs to leave us if he hasn't done so already.

Like most animals, dogs are creatures of habit.  Their days are guided by routine, their own, and the humans they interact with.  So, now, for someone like myself who works at home, every part of the day includes reminders upon reminders that he's gone.  In the morning, he doesn't meet me by the coffee maker to share a bit of donut or frozen waffle.  He doesn't check my office mid-morning to see if there's a snack.  The mailman comes and goes without a chorus of barking. His leash and harness lie in an empty bundle by the door.

When I tell friends about how empty the house is without him.  Some will say, "Why don't you just get another dog?" The idea that a dog is a dog is a dog.  Replaceable, like a new phone or a new TV.  People who ask a question like that rarely have dogs or have never really gotten to know one.  Perhaps, only we, as his family, could understand that it isn't just about having a dog, but rather about having Duncan.

The days go by and we barely mention him, if at all, for fear of opening the recent wound.  We need to get to a point where enough time has passed that the mere thought of him does not bring us to tears at his loss. We need to be able to think about him, and talk about him, and laugh about his antics so he can rejoin our lives.  So, he can be all that he was to each of us.


It's Just Politics as Usual, Right?

But isn't the Supreme Court supposed to be different? -- October 1, 2018
I heard on the radio today that political parties when in the majority are supposed to get anyone they want on the Supreme Court. That was not the intent of the original rules adopted in 1806 nor even the rules of 1917 which required a nominee to be acceptable enough for 3/5 of the body to vote for cloture of debate and subsequently a vote on a nominee.

The obvious intent was to make certain Presidents had to nominate judges impressive enough in character, qualifications and temperment to satisfy members of all parties.

This fact has been negligently under-reported by the media and totally absent in the majority of debate and commentary in the recent supreme court nomination debacle.

Since the U.S. expanded to 50 states in 1959, only 3 justices have been confirmed with less than 3/5 of senate members voting for their confirmation, all under Republican presidents: Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch.

Meaning if Kavanaugh is confirmed, 4 of 9 of the justices will have skirted the intent of the process.


Apples and Oranges:

On the August 22nd NPR program, On Point, the host, Megnha Chakrabarti was overjoyed to have, what she decided, was the perfect intersection of callers -- her opportunity, she kept saying, to get both sides of the issue out there.  

One caller voiced the opinion that the president should not be above the law and given the mounting evidence and guilty pleas implicating Trump, if he were the average person he would have been indicted by now.

The other caller countered with the opinion that he backed the president no matter what he had done.  Asked if there was anything the president might do which would change his mind, the caller said there might be, but he couldn't think of anything.

Chakrabarti couldn't have been more pleased with herself for getting both sides of this.

This is a prime example of what is drastically wrong with this type of so-called balanced media.  This exchange was NOT two sides of the same issue.  The first caller was talking about whether a president should be able to avoid prosecution for crimes simply because he was holding the office.  The second caller was conveying his belief that we shouldn't have a president but rather an untouchable despot.  It was an apples and oranges comparison.  One person said the rotten apple should be thrown out. The other person said he liked his rotten apple just fine, even though it was a rotten orange.


And, it needs to be okay and strongly encouraged for the moderator in such cases to make those distinctions clear.


Can Issues be Polarizing When the Public Supports Them Overwhelmingly?

Over and over, political commentators describe the U.S. populace as polarized, and every issue as polarizing. That's false, or, at least, a mischaracterization, and it is another example of how the media does a grave disservice to the public and to our democracy.

Polarization implies forces strong enough to create equally opposite forces causing at least two distinct poles.  To describe political issues like healthcare or Social Security are polarizing is disingenous when 75% or more are in favor and only 10 or 15%are opposed .  Regardless of personal approval ratings, it should always be pointed out when issues lack polarity, when the public strongly favors one position especially when the less popular decision is the one being pushed by the administration.

Also, in this regard, when did it become acceptable by the media for a President to speak to his base, to appease his base, to essentially govern only for his base?  This guy only carried slightly more than 25% of the eligible voters and lost the election by three million votes.  There would be nothing biased about stating that 75% of the voting public is not being represented by the executive branch of our government.


Why Should I Join A Political Party Which Has Factions Lining Up For Some Useless Infighting

The Democrats should not take the bait

-- July 3, 2018

After recent primaries, editorial pages and TV news was filled with comment on the squabbles inside the Democratic Party.  Strategists, both inside and outside the party, were adamant that the Democrats needed to "speak to their base."  "Speaking to the base" had become a euphemism saved for when Trump pumped out bombastic, ignorant lies to the small percentage of Republicans who still approve of him or his performance.

The Democratic Party by its ideals and character should not have a base.  If it did, it should be made up of whichever citizens are being disadvantaged most by the government, the economy, or the social structures in place.  It should always be changing, depending on the advances made by the party, the country, and the government.

 Recent reviews of the existing party have supposedly discovered an old guard (too old some say), a moderate faction (which claims to be nervous), and a troublemaking progressive movement (looking to rip the party to shreds according to critics). Democrats regardless of their chosen label should support the most important, pressing issues which will get voters to the polling places:


  • Trump Damage Control
  •  Expanding Affordable Healthcare to every citizen in the country
  • Raising the minimum wage
  • Protecting and strengthening Social Security
  • Rolling back tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy
  • Stopping toxic pipelines and refusing to weaken environmental protections
If there are Democrats who don't believe these are the crucial issues of our time or oppose any of them, it might be best for them to join a different party.  Debate over strategies to accomplish these goals might be constructive as long as they did not become the ends instead of the means.

Politics is sometimes more of an ego-driven endeavor instead of a public service one.  It can carry with it a false sense of importance for those who believe they hold sway.  The election results can become the gold ring instead of the results of better governing.  When being a player in the party becomes more important than what the party claims it wants to provide for party members and the represented public.


When Exaggerated Civility Becomes Passive Assent:

The state of news media in the country, most specifically Public Broadcasting

-- June 30, 2018

  A lie is a lie, and when the emperor has no clothes, he has no clothes.  If you keep acting like your job requires you to report on his clearly nonexistent garments, then please stop asking me for money to continue your charade.  Your charade is doing more harm than the emperor's grotesque nudity.

When a cabinet appointee like Scott Pruitt, for instance, spends his entire confirmation hearing outlining his intentions to weaken and dismantle the agency he has been nominated to lead, then the reporting on the hearing should reflect that.  If the nominee is confirmed, the reporting should not merely report the vote totals.  Instead, using the nominee's own testimony, the reporting should highlight the preposterous nature and the obvious destructive intent of the action.

Supposedly, this occurs because the media does not want to "take a side." There is no "other side" when both sides agree in testimony and assent about the intended damage being enacted.  Always, henceforth, it should be reported that these individuals testified to being unqualified and even hostile to the agency they were confirmed to lead.  Betsy DeVos is always the education secretary who opposes improving public schools and is ignorant of education. Ryan Zinke intends to reduce the National Park System he is charged to protect and oversee.  Ben Carson is reversing and ending enforcement for housing discrimination.

In an effort to appear fair and balanced, news programs continue to invite reprehensible right wing demagogues who support taking children from their parents, call for discrimining against people based on their religion or their skin color, and purposely misstate facts, promote false information, and repeat specious talking points ad nauseum. Some issues have no credible counterpoint in our society.  Arguing against issues like a woman's right to vote or a gay couple's right to marry or civil rights for all citizens were once considered legitimate positions in a debate, but, as a country, we progressed to a more enlightened place where those who lack tolerance and compassion can no longer legally deprive citizens of those hard-won rights.

When was the time in our history when headlines beginning with "The President's ‘profanity-laced tirade..." occur with such regularity that it failed to raise an eyebrow, let alone a backlash beyond an eye roll? 

Public broadcasting was singled out in the title for this rant because it is the supposed last bastion of media not controlled by owners, conglomerates, and ratings machines.  Tom Ashbrook may have been an abusive boss to WBUR employees, but since his departure, the hosting chores for NPR's crown jewel morning news program, "On Point" have been handled by a revolving door of disappointing replacements trying way too hard to tiptoe that middle ground. Ashbrook was well-informed, prepared, and willing to truncate unsubstantiated nonsense or slick propaganda.

Time and again, in recent months, I have heard right-wing trolls allowed to spew talking points while callers with reasoned, thoughtful opinions are cut off and thanked for their "passionate" responses.  The implication is clear every time.  "Hold on there, sounds like you're getting all Robert LaFollette on us.  Maybe you forgot you were calling NPR."

Stop trying to report the news from a middle ground that does not exist.  It does a disservice to your profession, to our country, and to our futures

I'm happy that Seth MacFarlane donated $2.5 million to the idea of public broadcasting.  I am not going to stop listening, but I'm going to be listening ever more carefully.  If I do decide to donate again, it will depend upon whether I see the public good.



 

Deep Cover by Tim Eagan
June 12, 2012

 

 


 

"A person’s last days can be spent in any number of ways. But on the phone pleading with an insurer, that’s only in America."

-- from ABIGAIL ZUGER, M.D. review of T.R. Ried's Healing of America

 

"One Injury, 10 Countries: A Journey in Health Care"
NYT, September 14, 2009

 



Sidebar Archive

Who Am I?
(I digress, therefore I am)

I was born a 53 year old grandmother.  I was the kid who was always telling the other children not to run with scissors,
don't climb up there; don't ride no-handed; you could put an eye out with that!  I'm afraid of everything, especially heights.  I'm only 5'7" but I don't even like being that tall.  I hate going fast. I do not peddle downhill.  I prefer ski lodges to skiing.  I don't even like being able to run as fast as I can. (I hate rollercoasters:  "There are no atheists in foxholes or rocko planes." -- Mark Hobson)
 
I grew up in Lodi, a small town in Wisconsin, hometown of Tom Wopat and Suzie the Duck.  My only claim to fame is that I was once a member of a national trivia bowl championship team and was elected to the Trivia Bowl Hall of Fame.  Check back, I'll add more if I ever do anything else.  You won't want to miss that.

Hey, look, I did something:

I finished fourth in the 2013 Lyrics Only category of the

 

Don't get too excited about this e-mail link>

(I almost certainly will not respond to e-mails.  I simply do not have time.  Also, I have no intention of printing e-mail opinions or rebuttals.  If you have a differing opinion, get your own website.  However, if you feel you absolutely must send something to this website, the link below is provided as a sort of receptacle.)

daleje2@dalejellings.com

My All-Time Favorites: