For Superbowl 50 in 2016: Fun Superbowl Trivia and Facts

SB50_Primary_Regional_fulldate_RGB-2

As we approach the 50th Superbowl, a bit of trivia here to review and ponder.  As sometimes the case, this one is lengthy, and if of interest, absorb it at your leisure – possibly a bit here and there during Superbowl game commercials.  While I love baseball and basketball more, I’ve always looked in on football AND have seen each and every Superbowl since #1.

Actually, and as to tidbit #1, the game was known as the National Football League and American Football League championship for #1 and #2.  The 3rd championship with the famous Joe Namath/Jets upset over the then NFL (now AFC) Baltimore Colts was the first time the title “Superbowl” was used.  The two leagues merged into one NFL in 1970, after which each side was known as the NFC and AFC.

NFL Championship History: Pre-Superbowl  The NFL was formed in 1920 (known then as the American Professional Football Association), and the first NFL championship was in 1933.  Great teams included the 1930’s through 1940’s Chicago Bears, who won that first championship in 1933 and appeared in the game 9 times in these two decades.  The Cleveland Browns won 10 division titles, and 7 NFL championships in the 1950’s and early 60’s.  Vince Lombardy’s Packers won 6 division titles in his 9 years, with NFL championships in 1960, 61, 62, and 66 – and Superbowl wins in 1967 and 68 – the first 2.

SuperBowl Appearances by City:

8 (eight appearances) Pittsburg – 2011, 09, 06, 96, 80, 79, 76, 75 (Most wins with 6), Dallas – 71, 72, 76, 78, 79, 93, 94, 96, Denver – 78, 87, 88, 90, 98, 99, 14, 16, New England – 86, 97, 02, 04, 05, 08, 12, 15 (last 6 -Tom Brady)

6:  San Francisco – 82, 85, 89, 90, 96 (5-0), then 2013

5:  Green Bay – 67, 68, 97, 98, 2011, NY Giants – 87, 91, 01, 08, 12, Washington – 73, 83, 84, 88, 92, Miami – 72, 73, 74, 83, 85, Oakland/LA – 1968, 1977, 1981, 1984(LA), 2003

4:  Baltimore – 69 (NFL Colts), 71 (AFC Colts); 2001, 2013 as Ravens, Minnesota – 70, 74, 75, 77 (lost all 4), Buffalo – 91, 92, 93, 94 (All consecutive losses)

3:  Seattle – 2015, 14, 06

2:  Philadelphia – 1981, 2005 (both losses), Carolina – 2016, 2004, Chicago – 1986, 2007, St. Louis Rams – 2000, 2002, Cincy – 82, 89 (both losses), Indianapolis – 2007, 2010, Kansas City — 1967 (#1) 1970

1:  LA Rams – once in 1980 (lost to Steelers IN LA) Tampa Bay – once in 2003 (beat Raiders), Arizona Cardinals – once in 2009 (lost to Steelers, St Louis Cards never went), San Diego – once in 1995 (lost to Niners, & Steve Young’s record SIX TD passes), Atlanta – once in 1999 (lost to Elway/Denver), Tennessee – once in 2000 (lost to St. Louis Rams), Jets – Once – won in 1969, as predicted by Joe Namath!

NEVER Been, so far:  Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Oilers or Texans, St. Louis Cardinals

Never Won:  In 50 years, there are still a DOZEN teams in league history that have never won the Superbowl:  St Louis Cards, Titans, Falcons, Chargers, Bengals, Browns, Jaguars, Oilers, Texans, Bills, Eagles, and Vikings.  In saying 50 years, this is my way of predicting that the Panthers will win #50, and I believe, as many, are one of the greatest teams in league history.

Quarterbacks with 4 Superbowl Appearances or more:  Tom Brady – 6, winning first 3 & his last one, with 2 MVP awards; John Elway – 5, winning last 2, with 1 MVP; Terry Bradshaw – went 4-0, with 2 MVP’s; Montana – won 4 of 4, NO interceptions, 3 MVP’s , Highest QB rating ever for Superbowl; Jim Kelly – 4 straight, though all loses, one on the famous missed field goal at the end;  Peyton Manning – 4, winning 1st (MVP) – and we await the result of the 4th in 2016.

Johnny Unitas, Montana, Brady, Elway, and Peyton Manning are currently widely thought of as the best five quarterbacks ever, with others arguing for Bradshaw, Otto Graham, Brett Favre, Bart Starr, and Dan Marino.

Miscellaneous Facts/Trivia:

Kansas City Chiefs played in #1 and lost, #4 and won (1970), and haven’t been since!  (Thus 4 years shy of a half-century, so that Royals WS win is to be cherished!)

John Elway lost 3 before winning two in his last two seasons in the game (amazing what a defense will do…sorry Dan Marino, et al)

Jim Kelly & the Bills lost 4, BUT went to 4 straight;  Miami: only team to 3 straight (2-1)

Miami is still the only undefeated team to then win the Superbowl (1972 season,1973 Superbowl), and though they went to five, they haven’t won in 42 years, nor been in 30 years.

Baltimore, as the Colts, won one in the AFC, but first lost to the Jets as an NFL team before the league merger.  Then won 2 as the Ravens.

Rams went to just one in LA (1980 loss to Steelers), but went twice as St. Louis (1-1)

The Steelers-Cowboys rivalry of the 70’s was special.  Steelers went to and won 4, while Cowboys went to 5 and won 2.  Minnesota was the other power team of the 70’s, going to 4 Superbowls, though losing all 4, although the Oakland Raiders played in 6 AFC championships in the decade (1-5)

Oakland last won in 1984 (32 yrs ago) as LA Raiders, and the Packers, after winning #1 and #2, went 29 years before getting to another one.

And a final, fun 49er (my team) trivia item – John Taylor in 1989 Superbowl:  just 1 catch, 10 yds for his total stats, but oh what a single catch to win that Superbowl late in the game, one of the most exciting Superbowls ever.  Once a football juggernaut, the 49ers have only been once in the last 20 years – and lost.

Any favorite trivia or Superbowl history you would like to share?  e.g. who was that one player who got MVP from the losing team?  A defensive player has won it 7 times, and a special teams player once.  Uh, that would otherwise be 41 MVP’s for quarterbacks, running backs, and receivers.  So as George Will once said, though referring to baseball vs. football, who wants to grow up being a 3rd-and-long pulling guard?

Enjoy the Game!

Roy

Advertisements

Dogs: Seeing Through Their Noses

dogsniffcloseup

I recently decided to chastise myself the next time I grow impatient with my dog having to sniff a dozen spots along a walk, and stop to pee on several of them.  I’m enjoying another book on dogs, Inside of a Dog (and What Dogs See, Smell, & Know), by Alexandra Horowitz.  Her chapter on the way dogs see the world – through their noses – was fascinating and most telling.  I summarize here a few of her insightful details on how dogs discover and perceive so much more with their noses than I ever realized.  It’s interesting stuff:

Smells are minor blips in our sensory day compared to the reams of visual information we take in.  When we do notice a smell, it’s usually just good or bad, and rarely is it a source of information, other than what the source of the smell might be.  Dogs smell the world as we see the world, and then some.  Their universe is a stratum of complex odors at least as rich as the world of sight.  As they sniff and sniff, they are continually refreshing the scent, as though shifting their gaze to get another look.  Human noses have about six million tiny sensory receptors.  Dogs have two-to-three hundred million.  One example of what that difference makes:  We night notice if our coffee has been sweetened with more than a teaspoon of sugar.  Dogs can detect a teaspoon of sugar diluted in a million gallons of water, or two full Olympic-sized swimming pools.

With their Vomeronasal noses, dogs sniff to get information about the dogs and animals in their area, drawing in chemical information through pheromones – hormone-like substances released by one animal and perceived by another. From checking those hydrants and bushes all along the street, dogs can somewhat, or significantly, gauge another dog’s sex, readiness to mate, health, and possibly even their emotional state.  For dogs, humans are their scent, including familiar smells of clothing, soap, cologne, and more.  They can tell if we’ve been on a jog, had something to eat, been around other animals, and even if we’ve had sex! (not that they care).  They can identify individuals through smell, along with some of the characteristics of the individual and their emotions.  The fleeing criminal can be tracked by both his odor and his emotional distress!

So as to being more patient during that walk with my dog:  Unlike popular early theories, dog don’t always urinate to mark their territory – only maybe 20% of the time, and more often when courting or scavenging.  And yes, neutered dogs do this too because their brain function and instincts still carry on the business – to a point – that their reproductive organs can not.  They communicate and convey messages through their urine.  Chemicals in the urine give information about the aforementioned things – sexual readiness, etc. – and other things such as who the dog might be, how often he visits a spot,  and for the female dog, the male dog’s social confidence.  They scratch the ground afterward not to bury their business like a cat, but to add new odor to the mix and have it serve as a visual cue to a urine or feces spot for other dogs to find and examine.

As I said, fascinating stuff, even if perhaps more than you wanted to hear about the toilet habits of dogs.  Simply put again though, dogs emit/relay and gather social information very differently than we do.  The next time you try to hurry your dog on a walk, remember that you’re effectively shutting down his internet and cutting off his social networking time!

Roy Hovey

The Best Shakespeare Movies

sksprcomedyshelf

My list is based on reviews and lists from multiple sites, not my impressions.  I’ve more or less taken the multiple lists and sort of averaged out what films finished where to come up with this top 8, in no particular order, along with alternate versions of the same plays contained within the list, and with an honorable mention list of another 5.  Finally, a final word too on another film one rarely hears of, but is highly regarded. Some on the films are pure send-ups, while others are unique adaptions.  There are of course many other good films that don’t make my list, some of which you may have preferred to see on my lists (please chime in with a comment).

Before I throw down the list, an interesting and important point I’d like to make is this:  Throne of Blood, based on Macbeth and directed by Akira Kurosawa, is frequently cited by cineastes and scholars as the medium’s finest rendering of any Shakespeare play.  Not easy to swallow, as it’s in subtitles, set in Feudal Japan, and is an older film made in 1957.  Here’s some of the reasons for making the case, as written by David Mermelstein on December 26, 2015 in The Wall Street Journal :   “…the most nuanced and unsettling screen version of Macbeth strays from the text, though not in its spirit.  Some actors display severe makeup and an almost immobile manner that lends a disturbing chill.  Minutely calibrated gestures and subtle inflections of language (apparent even to those who don’t speak Japanese) carry an insidious diabolical quality.  Besides superb acting, Kurosawa – always a stickler for details – took enormous care to create an environment at once grittily real and supernatural.  Beyond the considerable merits of the film, Throne of Blood demonstrates that Shakespeare’s concerns and moral lessons are not just timeless but universal.  How better to confirm them than to convey them through a different medium, grafted to a drama in another language, whose action takes place a world away?”

The List

Romeo & Juliet (1996), Dir: Baz Luhrmann’s updated vehicle starring the young Leonardo DiCaprio.  I think the 1968 version by Franco Zeffirelli still holds up well – some think it’s a better version for young students.

Throne of Blood (1957), with Toshiru Mifune, directed by Akira Kurosawa, who relocates the play in feudal Japan.  One critic writes:  “There’s no other Macbeth adaption that captures the play’s creeping doom.”

Macbeth (1971), Dir: Roman Polanski, with Jon Finch.  “Polanski’s unsettling squalid visuals (e.g. a gruesome decapitation) make for a brilliantly unsettling combination with the play’s poetry;  it’s high art as a primal scream.”

Henry V (1944), Laurence Olivier.  Many also liked Kenneth Branagh’s 1989 version -Branagh’s directorial debut with battlefield realism and chaos not possible in the hollywood days of Olivier’s version.

Much Ado About Nothing (1993), Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Denzel Washington.  A fun romp, so more of a broad favorite for the entertainment rather than the film quality and acting performances (well some).

Hamlet (1948) Director & Star Laurence Olivier’s turn in this Best Picture version. Many others also liked the Mel Gibson version (1990) or Kenneth Branagh’s 1996 version, all great efforts, naturally, of perhaps the best known and loved Shakespeare play after Romeo & Juliet.

Othello (1952), Directed by and starring Orson Welles.  One critic said:  “…despite its feverishly disjointed, patchwork quality, the final cut is riveting.  They don’t film Shakespeare like this anymore, and that’s a tragedy.” Othello, 1995, with Laurence Fishburne, Irene Jacob, and Kenneth Branagh as Iago is also respectfully regarded.

West Side Story (1961), is often seen as the best rendering of Romeo & Juliet

Honorable Mentions:  5 often mentioned and/or big on MY personal list:

Prospero’s Books (The Tempest) (1991) My 3rd favorite play after Rich’d III and Hamlet); Dir: Peter Greenaway, with John Gielgud, others.

The Merchant of Venice (2004), with Al Pacino’s Shylock.

Richard III (1995), Dir: Richard Loncraine, setting the malformed king as an English Hitler in an alternate 1930’s, starring Ian McKellen.  Dark fun & wit.

Tutus (1999) Bloody, disturbing, captivating take on Titus Andronicus with Anthony Hopkins’ fiery lead performance.

Ran (1985)  Akira Kurosawa’s famous film and take on King Lear.

Shakespeare in Love (1998) is not based on a play but rather a pseudo-biopic of Shakespeare, though it’s my favorite film associated with The Bard.  Best Picture Oscar too…

Also of Note: (multiple sources, one quoted here)

Chimes at Midnight (1965);  “Atop our list sits Orson Welles, further negating the perception that Citizen Kane was his only masterpiece. (Chimes was the director’s personal favorite of all his films—the one he hoped to “get into heaven” with.) The script comes from Welles’s own condensation of both parts of Henry IV, along with a few other Shakespeare works, which he first mounted onstage in 1939 to a disastrous reception. Ever confident of his own correctness, Welles tended the flame until an opportunity arose decades later to capture the play on celluloid. Though cash-poor, his production is incredibly vivid, featuring noir-ish camera angles and battle scenes that clearly influenced Braveheart. Enlivening the whole is Welles’s immortal portrayal of Falstaff, transposed from a vain buffoon to a perceptive central figure. Finding the movie on DVD is tricky (rights are still in dispute) but the effort is worth it.”

Roy Hovey

shakespeare

The Multi Talents of the Talented

JeffBridges-photographer

It’s no secret that talented people are often multi-talented, including in the film and music industry.  For example, we know that a multitude of actors, if not most, in the old days also could sing and dance too.  But also, there have been – and still are – folks with other talents, such as:  Tony Bennet & Johnny Depp, fine artistic painters; Woody Allen and Clint Eastwood, both composers of music and Jazz musicians – clarinet and piano, respectively.  Yes, I know, there are many, many examples of all this kind of thing among actors.  My favorite dual talent is Sam Shepard, a pretty good actor and an award-winning playwright.

To wit, I share two links here to photo pages by academy award winning actor Jeff Bridges, who is also a skilled photographer (and yes, also a musician).   Check out all the great shots he took and tweaked of many famous folks over the years, and then check out his photo web site.  Fun stuff…

1) Great 11 minute or so photo slide show by Bridges on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-r8oYW6meX0&feature=em-share_video_user

2) Jeff Bridges Photo Web Site: http://www.jeffbridges.com/photojan10a.html

 

 

Roy

The Amazing and Unique Life of Actor James Franco

James-Franco-16

A most educated and interesting fellow, is James Franco.  To wit:

Though he was a drab, aloof co-host of the Academy Awards in 2011, my interest in Franco’s career and life picked up again when I learned he was directing a film on Faulkner’s book, As I Lay Dying (2013).  Upon reading up on Franco some more, I was surprised – indeed stunned – to learn many things about his life:

As a mathematician, Franco interned at Lockheed Martin in the Bay Area, having gone to high school in Palo Alto (during which he acted in plays and had several scrapes with the law).  After several acting jobs, he landed the lead role in the 2001 TV Biop on James Dean.  To immerse himself in the part a learned to ride a motorcycle, and play the guitar and bongos.  For the part, he was nominated for and Emmy, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild Award.  His career took off and you know or can look up the rest, on through his Academy Award nomination for 127 Hours (along with another Golden Globe and SAG award).

Things I recently learned though that blew my mind:  Franco exhibited video, drawing, and sculptures in a solo gallery show at Clocktower Gallery in New York City. Having painted since high school, his paintings were displayed at the GlU Gallery in Los Angeles, and at Peres Projects in Berlin.   While many of his college credits at UCLA were from independent study for his involvement in films, he received permission to take as many at 62 credits per quarter(!) to wrap up a degree.  Besides English and Acting, he studied French, American Literature, Philosophy of Science, the Holocaust, and other things.  He took his degree in 2008, then moved to New York and SIMULTANEOUSLY attended graduate school at Columbia, NY’s University’s Tisch School for the Arts for filmmaking, Brooklyn College for writing, and a low-residency MFA program for writers – for poetry – at North Carolina’s Warren Wilson College.  He received in MFA from Columbia in 2010, attended the Rhode Island School of Design, and is simultaneously pursuing two PhD’s – one from Yale (English), and one from the University of Houston (Literature and Creative Writing).

Franco has directed short films, dance theater, and docudrama.  He has taught classes on screenwriting and filmmaking & production at New York University, UCLA, and the University of Southern California.  He also taught a course on modifying poetry  into short films to graduate students at NYU.  Of all places, Franco began teaching a film course this month (Sept 2015) at Palo Alto High School.  Even though he’s an odd duck, he does charity work, education, and clearly loves to teach in his spare time.  He likes to read James Joyce, the IIiad, and other such famous works between takes on a film set.

Franco made his Broadway debut last year in Of Mice and Men.

That’s new you can use on a most fascinating fellow, like him or not.  Stay tuned for sports and weather.

Roy Hovey

Food Movies – My Favorites and Me Thinks the Best

Big Night (1996) Directed by Campbell Scott, Stanley Tucci Shown: Stanley Tucci (as Secondo), Marc Anthony (as Cristiano), Tony Shalhoub (as Primo)

Big Night (1996)
Directed by Campbell Scott, Stanley Tucci
Shown: Stanley Tucci (as Secondo), Marc Anthony (as Cristiano), Tony Shalhoub (as Primo)

Food Movies – Roy’s Highest Rated and Favorite Dozen

Like Water for Chocolate (1992) (subtitles)

The sensuous Mexican film based on the novel by Laura Esquivel and directed by her husband, Alfonso Arau.  Tita, literally born on a kitchen table, embraces cooking later in her life to release and express her emotions after her lover Pedro must marry her sister (per the mother, but he figures it will let him be close to Tita).  A period piece set in Mexico during the early 20th Century, beautifully filmed.  Food served among things carved like flowers – or was it real flower pedals?  “Nectar of the Gods” Pedro says as he eats one of Tita’s meals, and that’s how she invades his body, though it belongs to her sister. Much more of a drama though than a food movie, but it’s a classic and still holds up fine.  Oh, and the film became an international hit and its admirers paid tribute to it by cooking some of its recipes – and probably still do.

The Big Night (1996).  Largely believed to be the best film in the little genre, two brothers (Stanley Tucci and Tony Shalhoub) open an artisan Italian restaurant near the Jersey shore and try to compete with the big Italian place up the street that serves the average popular meals that cater to American taste and perception of fine Italian food.  As one reviewer put it, this delicate comedy/drama is swatted in lemancholy and mozzarella.  The food scenes are off the charts.

Chocolat (2000)  Directed by Lasse Hallstrom, who later does the wonderful The Hundred-Foot Journey (see below).  A young mother (Juliette Binoche) arrives in a French village and opens the small La Chocolaterie Maya which begins to change the towns people.  She casts a spell on them with both her charm and her confections.  The story is complex and humorous, and very tempting to watch, even if you’re not a chocaholic!

Tortilla Soup (2001)  Hector Elizondo plays a widower and father of 4 daughters in the warm-hearted tale of love that’s full of cooking and dining scenes that will make you want to elevate your cooking skills.  Elizondo is a retired chef/restaurant owner who still loves to exercise his artistic skills at home by cooking a big family dinner each night….

Sideways (2004)  The wine road trip movie that helped Paul Giamatti become famous and Pinot Noir prices go through the roof.  The food is enjoyed at restaurant stops and during picnics, and the food with wine – or wine with food – experience is most inviting in this film.

Julie & Julia (2009)  Amy Adams and Meryl Streep play Julie Powell and Julia Child, with Stanley Tucci appearing again as Child’s devoted husband.  Charming, and it inspires us to still believe in Julia Child (whose memoir My Life in France is explored, detailing her discovery and mastery of French cooking), as it juxtaposes the story of Child in France in the 1950’s and Julie Powell as an inspiring blogger/writer in 2002 who sets out to cook and blog about all 524 recipes in Julia Child’s classic first book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  Another chick flick I have to say I most enjoyed, though there is much more to Child’s story!  Did you know that in her younger days, she was a decorated researcher in the Secret Intelligence division of the Office of Strategic Services in Washington, D.C.?  Furthermore, she met her husband Paul, also and OSS employee, while on assignment in Ceylon.  In a reversal of the “Behind every great man there’s a woman” story, her New Jersey native husband had lived as an artist and poet in France for a time and was said to have an extraordinary palette. (They later built a home together in the hills of France).  He introduced Julia to fine dining, designed the kitchen that was used many of her TV shows, and was her constant encourager and supporter as she evolved into a top chef and built her writing career.  They were married for nearly 50 years.

Love’s Kitchen (2011) With Dougray Scott and Claire Forlani (married in real life in 2007).  Scott (and chef Rob Haley) takes over a pub in the British Countryside in an effort to turn it into a legitimate fine food establishment (“gastropub”).  Food critic Kate Templeton (Forlani-you’ll remember her from Meet Joe Black) is not an ally at first, but then she and Haley fall in love, all during which the pub turns into a very special place to eat.  It builds to the conclusion of what planned visitor Guy Witherspoon (Simon Callow), renowned food critic, will think of the place.  Love this little movie.

The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014).  Chef Hassan Kadam (Om Puri) relocates from India to a quiet village in the south of France to open Maison Mubai restaurant, which soon starts a war among competing eateries.  Helen Mirren plays the woman who runs the restaurant across the street and works tirelessly to undermine Kadam’s efforts to succeed.  Somewhat lacking in food scenes, but the make-peace between rivals omelet preparation scene with Mirren and Kadam’s son Hassan (Manish Dayal) working together is both touching and inviting, and as the movie progressed, it charmed my socks off, down to the unexpected event that results from the combined efforts of Mirren and Hassan after he cooks for her for a time in her French restaurant.  The movie is far from over at that point, with much more fun, drama, and extraordinary food to come.

Chef (2014) Jon Favreau as a chef who leaves a posh restaurant to start a food truck that serves perfectly prepared tacos. There’s a lot more to it than you’d expect, and it’s tons of fun…

And, three more, the last two of which I haven’t seen, but the praise by writers all over tells me these are special and I must see them soon:

Lady and the Tramp — Arguably the most romantic scene in the history of Disney, the Tramp takes Lady to an Italian restaurant where they share a gigantic plate of spaghetti and meatballs – and their first kiss. Yeah, I include this last one – just once scene – just for grins, but who didn’t love it!?  For scene competition, with the nod to humor, one has to include the “hold the tuna, hold it between your knees” (by Jack Nicholson) scene in Five Easy Pieces, and the dialogue on tipping the waitress in the opening of Reservoir Dogs.

Eat Drink Man Woman  (not my write-up:  haven’t seen it):  Before graduating to sensitive independent features like Hulk (OK, just kidding), Taiwanese-American director Ang Lee made his name with this depiction of an emotionally repressed Taipei family. The central character is a master chef whose only real means of communicating with his three headstrong daughters is via the elaborate Sunday dinner he cooks for them every week. By turns funny and poignant, this is a beautifully balanced study that well deserved its foreign-film Oscar nomination.

Babette’s Feast  (not my write-up:  haven’t seen it):  Almost a quarter-century after the film’s release, the culminating scene of this quietly urgent Danish drama still stands as the most beautifully rendered depiction of a lavish meal ever committed to celluloid. But it’s not just spectacle for spectacle’s sake: The triumphant banquet sequence also communicates volumes about the movie’s central theme, the eternal tug-of-war between self-denial and sensual gratification.

Cheers, and Bon Appetit!

Roy Hovey

I’m a Democrat – but not a Liberal

I’m a Democrat, but I’m not a liberal.  As a Christian, I don’t like abortion, but like President Obama – who doesn’t personally like it either – I don’t believe it should be adjudicated in Government (hello, party of “less government”?).  I don’t like to see the terms Communism or Socialism thrown around carelessly, as we typically see in the over-generalized opinions from both parties when speaking of the other.  Then again, I believe in effective government management of programs.  I’m ok when it’s better at the State or local levels, but I like many of the national programs we have, though they can always get better.  Ever heard of the US Postal Service?  The US Park Service?  Social Security?  The FBI?  The IRS?  Yes, as I said, these agencies aren’t perfect and we don’t always love them or what they do, but governing from the Nation’s Capital has worked well in a variety of ways for a long, long time.

I voted Republican a couple of times.  I’m ultimately for the guy (or gal – get ready, that’s coming one day too) who stands closest for what I’m for.  Right now, the “party of NO” as it’s known as is not in my favor.  It’s the party that calls itself “pro-life,” but that starts shameful wars like in Iraq, sending thousands of our young men and women to their deaths to settle an old score.  The party that opposes health care for the poor, and saving the lives of our beautiful resources in opposing/blocking environmental conservation in favor of big business.  The party that opposes stem cell medicine all together, though I get the opposition to excluding embryo stem cells.

Furthermore, I’ve never seen such behavior as displayed in the last several years by a party, in all my days.  Their sore-loser, our-way-or-the-highway mindset, refusing to believe they could lose – or not win every time – is amazing and appalling.  Much of the Republican agenda since Obama first took office has been, first and foremost over the needs of the country, to simply block and stifle everything he’s tried to do.  It borders on treason, in my mind.  I think even Ronald Reagan is turning over in his grave as to how his party has labored recently.

You don’t have to like “Obama Care”, nor anything else he’s done – that’s your choice (oh by the way, the program was largely based on the Republican’s original program, but then when HE dared to try and bring it in, they fought it tooth and nail, and forced him to compromise it beyond what he preferred).  Like any new program though, it needed to get through the door, and can now be tweaked and bettered over the years.  My highly conservative, Republican taxman said in 2008 that the financial mess (uh, caused in the Bush era) would take 10 years to recover from.  In a mere term/4 years, Mr. Obama already has the economy on the upswing (slow, gradual, but in the right direction).  Jobs, housing prices, bank health – all looking much better now.  Foreign relations have been largely repaired from the alienating Bush days.  Immigration reform is on the horizon, that new health care program is unfolding (yes, it will be painful for a while as we adjust), and much more.  Nothing, and nobody, is perfect.  But as Jeb Bartlett said in “West Wing,” I’m not the President of the people who like me.  I’m the President of the United States.”

Roy Hovey