Sadly here is another farewell post.

My brother-in-law Scott died last week of a massive heart attack.  It was unexpected… though, it shouldn’t have been… he had both high blood pressure and high cholesterol… but, more significantly, a family history of heart disease.

Both arteries were totally blocked.  In this day and age, you would think someone would have told him to get a scan or something.  But that didn’t happen, making this situation extra tragic.

Scott led a simple life… simple in that, among all the people I know, he really knew what the meaning of life was:  Just laugh as much as you can.

That really was his goal in life.  He certainly was a hard worker… and a responsible person… and had his views on politics and the way things should be.  But Scott didn’t care that you thought he was a hard worker, a responsible person, or politically adept… as much as he just wanted to make you laugh… that was always his pay day.

Helping this was a contemporary and absolutely razor-like sense of humor.  More often than not, Scott was the source of laughter in whatever group he was in… a solemn church function or a rowdy boys’ night out.

In a world that’s sometimes not so easy, he was the kind of guy you wanted to be around because, regardless of your situation, he made life a bit more fun for you.

That was his gift to all who knew him… and to all that will miss him greatly.

Until we meet again.

 

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I like guns.  But I don’t like the NRA… in the same way I don’t like most lobbyist groups.

I also like the military.  But I don’t like military spending… by some estimates a whopping 20% of our deficit-growing American budget.

To put that in perspective, we have enough nukes to bury the world many times over.

To put that in more practical terms, we spend more money on the military than the next SEVEN countries COMBINED.

So the last thing we need is more hawks in government.

Yet, Jeff Bezos just donated $10 million to a relatively new organization called “With Honor,” dedicated to electing military vets to office.

As our budget spirals out-of-control, I can’t think of a worse time to elect a more biased group of government officials.

I can’t tell if the flag has “codes” or not.

We appear to have them, but then I’ve also read where the Supreme Court overturned Flag Codes as unconstitutional a few years after the Pledge of Allegiance was deemed a violation of religious freedom, at least for non-military personnel.

Regardless, there are some things that I do know:

*  Kneeling is considered to be one of the most respectful acts in the world.

*  Colin Kaepernick’s protest was passive and peaceful, exactly what we all want to see in a protest.  He didn’t overturn any cars.  He didn’t bash the front windows of shop keepers.  He didn’t use hateful language.  He was just one guy in a sea of guys and all he did was kneel instead of stand.

*  There are lots of violations of Flag Codes that seem to go unmentioned, including the flag used in advertising (Section 8.i… there goes all the 4th of July marketing!) and the most ironic:  “The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.”  (Section 8.c)  So everyone in a football stadium standing to respect the giant, HORIZONTAL flag covering the field is, in fact, disrespecting the flag.  The Kaep anger, in context, seems a bit hypocritical, no?

*  The NFL didn’t even require players to come out for the National Anthem until 2009, so it’s not like it was a long-standing traditional (pun intended!).

…AND…

I also know — as an employer — employees shouldn’t be doing personal things on company time.

So, ultimately, I don’t know why there’s a controversy.

If Colin Kaepernick — or any other American — wants to protest something… a freedom that we’ve fought wars over to protect… they should be allowed to do it peacefully… on their own time.

If they want to do it on company time, though, and what they’re protesting is not part of the job description, then they have the freedom to not do that job.

The NFL should have outlawed political expression after Week 3 of Kaepernick’s protest a few years back… in the same way they outlawed commercial expression in the 80’s… and it was a good thing they did, else every NFL player would look like a walking advertising billboard by now.

So maybe what everyone should really be upset about is why Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL, makes $40 million a year and can’t even put out a simple camp fire in his own backyard.

This is a post intended for Stanford Zetes… about the passing of a brother.  Feel free to read but you’ve been warned.

Bill Buckingham, my Grand Little Bro in the Zete House at Stanford, passed from pancreatic cancer after almost a five year battle.  He was just 57, a youngster as far as many of us are concerned.

The service was stunning, an outpouring of love and respect for Bill… we should all have such a well-deserved send off.

Of course I wasn’t surprised by it, Bill was a stud. Pledge Putnam said it best, he really was the definition of SoCal cool.

My Great Grand Little Bro Pledge Burke Dempsey was also stud enough to send a family portrait… see below… five generations at the Zete Luau… like it was yesterday, eh?

Zete Lineage -- 5 generations!

(Pictured above:  Knowsey, me, Kip, Bill, and Burke.  Is that Mordy and Cubes in the background?)

Bill’s children gave a heart-wrenching send off… and included in one of the stories was our infamous Zete “eeeeeewwwwwwwww” call… apparently Bill used it from time to time (as I think we all do)… and when I asked his daughter after the service if she knew where that came from, she said she didn’t. She gave me a HUGE smile when I told her it was a Stanford Zete thing. “Now it all makes sense, he loved his time at Stanford and he always used that sound when something really happy happened.”

A final thought: Sitting in this huge, cathedral-like church, with all the religious significance present in abundance and a holy, biblical spirit enveloping us all… as the service was concluding and the conclave of holy men beckoned us to look toward the heavens and raise our voices in a final, glorious hymn… all of a sudden, like out of no where, and I’m dead serious about this, a different song popped in my head… one that I haven’t thought about in a very long time. It was irreverent and blasphemous… and risking eternal expulsion, I said fuck it and sang:

A Zete he died, he went to hell
and climbed the fiery hill
He perched himself on a red hot coal
and smoked a lousy pill
And when the devil saw him there he said ‘be of good cheer,
for you’re among your brother Zetes
we’ll open a keg of beer!’

It just seemed like the right way to send off a good Zete… and a good man.

Bill’s passing shall not be forgotten.  We came into this world as a bunch of Zetes… we’re damn well sure going out as a bunch of Zetes, too.

In TKΦ.

Trump just announced a $6 billion subsidy package for U.S. farmers affected by tariffs.

I won’t say I know all the in’s & out’s of this… but I do know we cry foul — loudly — whenever we find other countries subsidizing products or industries.

Why do we even need subsidies?  With all the hunger in the U.S., you’d think farmers would be growing stuff that could also be sold at home.  Even I know about the importance of crop rotation.  And the fact that subsidies aren’t part of a free market.

You know that phrase, “you either love ’em or hate ’em”?

That only half applies to Trump.

You can certainly hate him.  But I believe he’s not lovable.

You can, however, love the things he is doing… he’s getting stuff done at a pace we haven’t seen before.  And when it’s the stuff you want to get done, it’s inspiring to watch.

But, I don’t believe he’s lovable.  He’s immature and a blowhard.  That’s a hard combination to love.

Even when he’s trying to support someone — as in loyalty to a friend or group — he still feels swarthy and slimy and comes off as totally disingenuous… like he’s only doing it because there’s something in it for him.

What does this mean for politics?  I think I’m done electing politicians.  I can’t wait for the next true business candidate, one that I hope is as decisive as Trump… that cuts through the b.s. red tape like Trump… but that doesn’t act like a petulant 5-year old like Trump.

Was looking at some product info and it started out with possibly the best description of kids and parents I’ve ever read:

Kids, especially teenagers, are astoundingly moronic, impulse driven idiots that are typically completely ignorant of their own mortality who spend their time traveling in packs looking for opportunities to trump each other’s stupidity.

Parents, especially American ones, are overwhelmingly paranoid, obsessive, overbearing blowhards that misidentify harmless coming of age behavior and experiences as threats to their child’s well being while ignoring real threats to their mental and physical health such as television and run-amok consumerism.

Painful but true!