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Why Vince Lombardi Had It Wrong

Posted by on Aug 30, 2012 in Blog, Essays | 1 comment

 

Vince Lombardi carried off the field at Miami’s Orange Bowl after winning Super Bowl II
Photo From: www.thegrindstone.com

 

If pro football had a face of God, it would look exactly like Vince Lombardi.

He’s the most revered sculpture on the gridiron’s Mount Rushmore — and deservedly so.

Lombardi won the NFL championship five of the ten seasons he was a head coach, including the first two Super Bowls.  Despite taking over two cellar-dwelling teams prior to his arrival — first in 1959 with the Green Bay Packers and then in 1969 with the Washington Redskins — he never suffered a losing season.

Lombardi is lionized — not only for the way he coached and his no-nonsense philosophy — but for the man he was.  Lombardi was a larger-than life character who symbolized honesty, integrity, hard work, and faith.  To those around him, he as also father-figure, a teacher, a poet, and above all else — a motivator.

He was also one of the most quotable sports figures in history.

Lombardi shared many powerful words and phrases over the course of his life that resonated with millions, including many people who had no connection whatsoever to the game of football.  Arguably, the most famous quote of all attributed to Lombardi over his storied career reads as follows:

Winning isn’t everything.  It’s the only thing. [See Footnote]

The message is clear — do whatever it takes to win.

But go back and read that quote again.  First, you’ll notice that the prose is confusing.  It’s even contradictory.  After all, if winning is “the only thing,” then winning would certainly be “everything.”  But Lombardi is alleged to have said “winning isn’t everything.”  Got it?

Well, neither do I.  But let’s move on.

The Lombardi quote tersely contradicts another equally famous sports quote, this one from old-time sportswriter Grantland Rice, who famously said:

It’s not if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.

Vince Lombardi and Grantland Rice are clearly at odds.  The question is — can both men be right?  If not, then who has the more righteous credo, expressive of the virtue that’s most important?

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Our Leaders are Elected by Morons (a.k.a. “The Undecideds”)

Posted by on Aug 29, 2012 in Blog, Essays, Politics | 11 comments

 

Idiot American Voters

 

Our national leaders are elected by morons.  They are called “the undecideds.”

There, I said it.  Because it’s true.

Since the dawn of the television age, every election has been decided by idiots.

No matter what year, no matter which election, no matter who the candidates are — the voter breakdown always follows the same pattern.  About 45 percent of voters vote for the Republican candidates.  About 45 percent of voters vote for the Democratic candidates.  That leaves 10 percent of voters in the middle who call themselves — “undecided.”

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the most powerful voting block in America — the 10 percent of voters who don’t know and don’t care.  These are the rubes deciding the future of our nation.

Let’s meet them, shall we?

Undecideds are everywhere.

Inside bowling alleys.  Blathering on barstools.  Playing on softball fields.  Ordering hamburgers.  Driving in the far right-hand lane and not making the right turn at busy intersections.  Delaying the TSA checkpoint.  Shopping at Walmart.  They come in all shapes and sizes and colors and ages.

Undecideds are usually easy to identify.  The lack any guiding political philosophy.  They don’t read books.  They don’t read newspapers.  They don’t watch news shows.  They can’t be bothered with complex details about any issue, because “it’s boring.”

Occasionally, news does manage to penetrate their skulls, so long as it airs on Entertainment Tonight or SportsCenter or there’s some scandal attached to it.  Then, they’re certain to have an opinion.  They know more about the life of a moviestar or the starting quarterback of their favorite football team than anyone who holds elected office.  They don’t spend a second thinking about issues, but they have an opinion on just about everything.  Just ask them.

They’re the first to start chanting “U-S-A!  U-S-A!” whenever an American athlete competes against someone from another country.  They’re the first to gloat, “America is the greatest country in the world,” even though they’ve never actually traveled overseas.  They’re the first to attack anyone who dares to question the conventional view of America’s role in the world, equivocating dissent with treason.  They think of themselves as the true patriots, even though they probably can’t name their local congressman.

In reality, they’re phonies and frauds.  And, they’re dangerous.

I have a message for all those undecideds who lack political conviction and who are void of anything that could possibly be construed as a personal philosophy.  Listen carefully.  My message is this:

DON’T VOTE!

I swear.  I will have more respect for you for sitting out another election than pretending that you really care for 5 minutes.  If you can’t spend as much time thinking about the future of your country as deciding what you’re going to order off Olive Garden lunch menu, we don’t need you cluttering up the lines on election day and diluting the end results with your indifference.

I hate voter registration drives.  No wait, that’s not strong enough.  I despise them.  I want them STOPPED.

This time of year, registration drives are everywhere to try and motivate people to get out and vote.  My question is — WHY?

Why should we encourage people with absolutely no knowledge of issues and an utter lack of interest in civic affairs to suddenly enter a voting booth and starting checking boxes of candidates they know nothing about?  It’s like begging a 5-year old to show up on November 9th and be an air traffic controller for a day.

Please, someone, explain this to me.

Why are volunteers out there parading around in parking lots with clipboards begging disinterested people to register and vote when these people obviously lack any desire to exercise their civic responsibilities?  These people haven’t bothered to vote in recent years (otherwise, their registration would automatically be renewed).  Moreover, all prospective new voters (such as those who turn 18, or move in-state for the first time) are given the option to register to vote when they obtain a driver’s license.

It all comes down to this:  The vast majority of unregistered voters haven’t been motivated enough to get involved politically in the past.  So, why do we now want them to barge into the current election cycle and cast ballots based on no knowledge whatsoever about the issues or the candidates?

Do we really want these blathering undecideds stepping into the voting booth and canceling out the INFORMED votes of people who are already registered and take elections seriously?  What kinds of decisions are these kinds of people going to make?  I’ll tell you.  They would likely make some very bad decisions and for all the wrong reasons.  They’re more likely to vote for or against a candidate based on they way they look, the ethnicity of their heritage, or who had the best TV commercial.

This isn’t about partisanship.  Even those I disagree with politically are, at least, engaged in the process and can articulate why they support their candidate.  I respect that.  But do you honestly think some buffoon who’s been coaxed into registering in a grocery store parking lot and who don’t follow current affairs, is going to make an informed decision?

Hell no.

He’s likely to vote based on which television commercial he enjoyed most, which candidate amused him, or something his buddy said in a bar after gulping down his seventh beer.

He’s going to make a presidential pick based on the candidate he’d “most like to have a beer with.”Idiot American Voter

The powers that be know how the game is played.  They know the secret to winning elections.  They know that, in order to win, they must reduce themselves, the political process, and the entire nation to the lowest common denominator.

What does this mean — the lowest common denominator?

Let’s say there’s a stadium full of people.  Someone gets on the loudspeaker and announces that everyone has just won a free dinner.  The only stipulation is — everyone in the stadium must agree on what’s to be served.

A vote is taken.  Thousands vote for steak.  Thousands vote for salmon.  Thousands vote for lobster.  The bottom line is, no one can agree on anything.  So, the meal comes down to a vote where finally, there are no objections, and the lowest common denominator prevails.  The verdict?  Everyone ends up eating beans and hot dogs.

That’s what political campaigns have come down to — beans and hot dogs in a voting booth — trying to appeal to and appease that last sliver of the indifferent, who might actually be motivated enough to get off their lazy asses and go out and pull the lever for their candidate.

These are the people who will decide our future.  The undecideds.

If after all the shit we’ve been through the last two years, you’re still “undecided”…..then please:

DON’T VOTE.  STAY HOME.

__________

 

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A Leaked Copy of the Obama and Romney National Convention Acceptance Speeches

Posted by on Aug 28, 2012 in Blog, Politics | 1 comment

 

You’re not going to believe this.

I got ahold of something no one else has seen yet.  And I’m about to share it with you.

Don’t waste your time tuning in to either of the national political conventions to be held over the next few weeks.

I mean it.  Don’t even bother.

I’ve managed to obtain my own secret copy of the acceptance speech that BOTH candidates will deliver to millions viewers, which officially launches the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign.

That’s right.  The speech that BOTH major candidates — Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney — will give at their respective conventions is right here next to me.  It’s in my possession.

Here’s the most amazing thing — the two speeches are one and the same.

You read that right — they are identical.  Oh, a few names here and there may be different.  But the same tired old flag-waving jingoistic orgy will be on display at both national political conventions, while tens of millions remain out of work and fear for their future.

But to all the pimps, whores, and spinmeisters who have reduced elections and governance to a marketing enterprise, all that really matters is perception rather than reality.  Style rather than substance.  Simplicity and illusion rather than practicalities and pragmatism.

And the toxic poison that keeps millions fooled, stupid, deceived, and in the dark is a 35-minute script that’s about to be read twice in prime time — once in front of Republicans in Tampa this week, and a second time in front of Democrats in Charlotte durng the first week of September.

What follows is a secret memo intended for both major candidates.  The instructions are perfectly clear and they are to be followed to the letter.  Take a look now and tune in later.  Watch how both nominees — President Barack Obama and candidate Mitt Romney deliver their acceptance speeches.

Here’s the actual script to be posted on both teleprompters:

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A Word of Thanks — Actually a Thousand Words of Thanks

Posted by on Aug 28, 2012 in Blog, Personal | 3 comments

nolan-dalla-photo

 

Today is my one-month anniversay.

That’s right.  This website has been live for exactly thirty days.

The time has come to give thanks where it’s due.  I want to thank several people who have been instrumental in creating my personal website.

As you glance at this list of names, by no means complete, the prevailing message that should come to you is how important people are to other people, and especially how certain people are so vital to me and my own happiness.  I would not be who I am without these extraordinary friends and colleagues.

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Music To My Ears (Part 3) — The Worst Pop-Rock Shows I’ve Ever Seen

Posted by on Aug 27, 2012 in Blog, Music and Concert Reviews, Personal | 0 comments

 

Writer’s Note:  This is the conclusion of a three-part series.  What follows are the two WORST pop-rock performances I have ever seen.

 

Bob Dylan Photo

 

SECOND WORST ROCK PERFORMANCE OF ALL-TIME — BOB DYLAN AT PLANET HOLLYWOOD IN LAS VEGAS — 2006:

It’s hard to believe, but Bob Dylan actually won a Grammy for “Album of the Year” for the rubbish that was piled onto the stage during the first and only time I ever saw him perform live in concert.

He was FUCKING AWFUL.

For the 90 or so minutes I had the misfortune of being in his presence, Dylan was disinterested.  Disconnected.  Arrogant.  Thoroughly unprofessional in every sense.  There is not one positive thing I can say about this dismal experience, except seeing the EXIT sign on my way out.  That’s right.  I walked out.  It was a maddening waste of time and money.

The venue was Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas — an almost-perfect arena to see one of America’s last true musical icons.

Mike Paulle (the great poker writer) got us two premium seats in advance.  Right before the lights when down and the show was to begin, Mike leaned over to me and revealed how special this moment was in his life — that he just wanted to be there as if completing some kind of pilgrimage.  Mike was there to pray to the Zimmerman god, raise his hands high into the air, and say “thank you” to the great Dylan for all the magical music that had been given to him, his generation, and the world over five decades.

Indeed.  This wasn’t so much a rock concert as it was a pagen moment of worship.

As things turned out, we ultimately discovered that we’d been worshiping a false god all along.

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Music To My Ears (Part 2) — The Worst Pop-Rock Shows I’ve Ever Seen

Posted by on Aug 26, 2012 in Blog, Music and Concert Reviews, Personal | 6 comments

sex-pistols-photo

 

I’m a changed man.

Moments ago, I thought I knew what to write today.

I thought I knew what to say, and how to say it.

Then, via Facebook, my longtime friend Scott Byron tuned me onto Lee Jones’ personal website and his narrative remembrance of seeing Bruce Springsteen in concert for the very first time. Whatever illusions I had about writing amatuerish music commentary and reviewing concerts has now been shattered.

Check out Lee Jones’ very moving and heartfelt reflections after seeing Bruce Springsteen perform in London a few months ago.  It’s an awesome recollection and just as good a written report of the experience.  Perhaps I identified with his review more than others, since (like Lee) I’ve never actually seen Springsteen perform live — which I’m told automatically disqualifies me from even thinking about creating a “best of” list.  LINK:  LEE JONES’ REVIEW OF BRUCE SPINRGSTEEN CONCERT IN LONDON (2012)

Admitedly humbled by Lee’s impressions of that seemingly legendary performance, allow me now to launch into something completely different.  As pomised, today I’ll be sharing my most disappointing concert experiences.  This list applies exclusively to pop/rock acts.  I shall cover lesser-known performers, international music, and Las Vegas shows at another time.  You won’t want to miss my “best and worst” of the Las Vegas shows.  In fact, I can’t write to write that one.

But first — before proceeding, I’d like to ammend yesterday’s “BEST SHOWS” list with a few additions.  That list was created in a few hours.  Inevitably, I knew I’d forget at least a show or two when I looked at the list again the next day — which is precisely what happened.

Overlooked from that list was Stevie Ray Vaughn, the late blues guitarist from Dallas.  I’ve seen Vaughn perform with his band Double Trouble on three occasions — twice at the Wintergarten in Dallas and once in Washington, D.C.  That show in the nation’s capital was special.  In 1986, he played at the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Hall located on Constitution Avenue, right next to the monuments.  Perhaps it was the surreal backdrop — the venue where all the military bands perform.  But Stevie Ray took the stage and put on a set that was magical.  One image comes to mind.  You know how every concert there are police officers working security.  I had bad seats to that show and was situated next to a crowd of D.C. police officers (needless to say, given the setting, this was probably the only drug-free rock concert ever).  The cops couldn’t help themselves — they were jamming to the music.  I’ve never seen that before — not for U2, not for The Who.  But D.C.’s finest were enjoying that performance every bit as much as the crowd.  If you love blues guitar as I do, this was one of the best concerts ever made even more memorable by the intimate setting.

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Music To My Ears (Part 1) — The Best Pop-Rock Shows I’ve Ever Seen

Posted by on Aug 25, 2012 in Blog, Music and Concert Reviews, Personal | 5 comments

Prince Best Concert

 

We don’t necessarily move to great music.  To the contrary.

Great music moves us.

I think most of us – at least those of a certain generation — think of music as a sort of “soundtrack to our lives.”

I love music.  To me, music is not just heard.  It’s experienced.  It’s emotional.  Music is felt.

Indeed, the greatest music moves us.  It transforms us from one state of consciousness to another.  At certain points in my life, I’ve heard powerful pieces of music and then afterward thought of myself as a changed person after hearing the composition.  That’s the power of sound.

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In Suppport of the Nomination of David Sklansky into the Poker Hall of Fame — Class of 2012

Posted by on Aug 24, 2012 in Blog, General Poker, Las Vegas | 2 comments

David Sklansky

 

Writer’s Note:  The opinions expressed here are entirely those of Nolan Dalla.  These views do not reflect the official position of the World Series of Poker, Poker Hall of Fame, Caesars Entertainment, or its staff.

 

Nominations for the Poker Hall of Fame were opened to the public earlier this week.  Poker players and fans from all over the world over the age of 21 may visit WSOP.COM and nominate any person they wish as a candidate for the Poker Hall of Fame.

The nomination process is only the first step towards selecting who will ultimately be enshrined as the “Class of 2012.”  Usually, no more than one or two persons are inducted each year.

After nominations are accepted and closed, the top ten nominees will be placed on an official ballot.  Those ballots will then be sent to a special voting committee, comprised of all existing Poker Hall of Fame inductees (living) and established media who have demonstrated a knowledge and commitment to the game for many years.

Persons who receive the most votes from the members of the special committee will become enshrined into the Poker Hall of Fame — as the Class of 2012.  The official induction ceremony takes place on the night of the WSOP Main Event Championship finale, to be held in Las Vegas in late October.

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Remembering “Doctor Love” — Leo Buscaglia

Posted by on Aug 23, 2012 in Blog, Book Reviews, Essays | 2 comments

 

Dr. Love Photo

 

I chose to define courage differently than most.

To many, courage is associated with conflict.  The most obvious example of conflict occurs with war.  Sometimes brave acts are performed by extraordinary people in the most trying of circumstances which, no doubt, merits the badge of courage.

But courage is manifested in other ways, as well.  In more everyday settings, not by brave soldiers, but by common people.  By us and people like us.

Alas, we all have the capacity to perform courageous acts and be courageous.  Our challenge is to avoid taking the easy road in life and pursuing the paths of greatest resistance.  To do the things that are the most difficult.  To stand for the things that are least popular.  To fight for the things that are noble and good.

Indeed, courage can manifest itself in much simpler ways.  It need not be a grandiose undertaking.  It need not be associated with parades of publicity.  Rather, some of the most meaningful acts of courage begin with a simple spoken word, a phone call, a smile, or a touch.  Which is not to say these simple acts of kindness are easy.  Some are painstakingly difficult.  Which is what makes them courageous.

The man I’m writing about today spoke, wrote, and lived with passion.  Sadly, he  is no longer with us.  But his many inspirational thoughts and ideas remain with us.  They have become his legacy.  They were his gift to us.  One of the most profound things he wrote was the following:

“It’s not enough to have lived.  We should be determined to live for something.  May I suggest that it be creating joy for others, sharing what we have for the betterment of personkind, bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely.”

What a beautiful idea.

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Movie Review: “Inception”

Posted by on Aug 22, 2012 in Blog, Movie Reviews | 3 comments

christopher-nolan-dalla

 

Writer’s Note:  This is a previously unpublished movie review of INCEPTION, which was released in 2010.

 

WARNING !

WARNING !!

WARNING !!!

DO NOT SEE THIS FILM !!!

What a piece of rubbish !!!

It’s been 90 minutes since I got home and my hands are still shaking.  Seriously, I had trouble driving home.  A throbbing headache.  I just went through 2 hours and 38 minutes of sheer misery.

I just spent $30 dollars on the IMAX version of Christopher Nolan’s INCEPTION, starring Leonardo Di Caprio.  Saw it today at the Red Rock Theatre.  $15 a pop to watch it on the giant screen.  With Marieta, that’s thirty bucks.  Most we’ve ever blown on a movie.

Anyone who had anything to do with INCEPTION should be kicked in the ass, hog tied, and given a one-way Greyhound ticket out of Hollywood.

How in the fuck could they blow $100 million on production and not get someone to write a fucking script???  You know, a SCRIPT!   Some pieces of white paper with some words written on them.  A S-C-R-I-P-T.  Something that has a FUCKING PLOT!!!!!!!!!!

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