Notes and Asides …. Life’s Reset Button

A dear friend came to see me yesterday (you might even say she’s like a daughter to me) and she said “Glenn, I wish life had a rewind button.”  That got me thinking.  There is no rewind button, what’s done is done,  but there is one that is almost as useful.  It’s life’s reset button. It’s the realization that yesterday is history.  It’s about letting go of the guilt and regret of missed opportunities or of things undone but still learning from it. It’s about giving a fresh start to someone important to you.  It’s hitting the reset button that allows you to get up each morning, view each new day as fresh start and another opportunity to do better.  It’s the reason I keep coming back to this blog and to writing.  It’s the notion that even if I’ve not done as well as I would have liked I can still come back and give it another shot. Maybe if I keep coming back to it enough times I will eventually get it right.  The beauty of it is anyone can do but you have to have the mindset that you can do better.  You just need to give yourself the opportunity and let go of those things that are holding you back.  I will admit that it sometimes can be difficult especially if you have dug yourself a pretty deep hole (and I have at times).  Often I’ve found it difficult to give myself that reset but I always do, which is why you are reading this right now (maybe).  Guilt and regret are powerfully destructive emotions.  They are assassins that conspire to robs us of our peace and happiness.  Don’t let them.  HIT THE BUTTON NOW!

Notes and Asides – ABC’s Assault on Christians…..

I only want to spend a little time on this because I generally think these topics get much more attention than they deserve.  I briefly want to comment on the latest assault on Protestant Christians in America.  ABC network recently premiered a new series entitled “G.C.B.” aka Good Christian Bitches.   For those who want to know all there is to know about this allow me to introduce the former Speaker of House and current GOP presidential contender the Honorable Newt Gingrich:

“Here’s to show you the biases of the elite media, look at the new show that’s on that has the word ‘Christian’ in it and I want you to take the exact name, drop out Christian and put in Muslim,” Gingrich said. “And ask yourself, is there any network that would have dared to run a show like that and you know the answer is not a one because anti-Christian bigotry is just fine in the entertainment industry but they have to be very protective of Islam.”

 By the way, if Mitt Romney is wondering why he can’t seem to close the deal on this nomination it’s because he doesn’t say things like Newt just did.  But I digress. Since Newt said all there is to say I want to address my comments to American Christians.

There is an old saying “You teach people how to treat you.” For far too long Christians have been too eager to merely go-along-to-get along and too eager to “turn the other cheek” when assaulted by the popular culture or media.  The same generally holds true for the Catholic church but they, at least, have a staunch advocate and fierce defender in Bill Donohue, the president of the Catholic League.  He is first on the scene when the Catholic is demeaned, slandered or mocked.  Where is the defender of Protestant Christianity?  Does he or she even exist?  As Newt said, in the United States of America, where we often tolerate even the intolerable,  there is one form of bigotry that is not only tolerated but encouraged and that is against those who worship Christ.

Just something to think about.

Sports – The Future Belongs to Sanchez…

So it would appear that MetLife Stadium will not become “Peyton Place”.  The Jets decision, last night, to extend the contract of Mark Sanchez all but precludes the possibility of the Jets making a play for Peyton Manning.   I know that there has been some disagreement amongst Jet fans on this issue. Many felt the availability of Peyton Manning represented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring the future Hall of Famer to the Meadowlands and in the process make the Jets a sure favorite to be play in the Super Bowl next February in New Orleans.  I, however, am not one of those Jet fans.  I think the Jets made the right decision and will tell you why.

First, Manning is 35 and coming off a lost season in which he did not play at all due to pre-season surgery on his neck.  The Jets have had experience with QB’s in the 35+ range.  Does anyone remember the Brett Favre fiasco?  Now I understand that there are those that will say that there is no comparison.  That Peyton is a much better QB than Favre.  That may be so but we were sold the same song and dance four years ago with Favre; about how he is surefire HOF’er and how he would put the Jets over the top.  Furthermore, a move for Manning on the heels of the Giants winning yet another Super Bowl would reek of a level of desperation that would overwhelm the stench of the swamp on which MetLife Stadium is built.

Second, bringing in Manning would have all but guaranteed the release of Mark Sanchez.  While not a perfect QB, Sanchez does not deserve to be discarded.  Sanchez’s numbers have steadily improved over the course of his three years in the NFL.  As a matter of fact, his first three seasons compare favorably, at least statistically, with those of Eli Manning, now considered amongst the “elite”.  In their first three full seasons as starters Eli Manning is 29-19 while Sanchez is 28-20.  Not to mention the fact that in his first two seasons he won four road playoff games and took the Jets to two straight AFC title games.  The big difference is that Eli made the GIANT (no pun intended) leap of leading the Giants to Super Bowl in his third year but had lost is first two playoff starts in prior starts.  Also consider that Eli spent part of his first year as understudy to Kurt Warner, a pretty good QB in his own right. Sanchez, by comparison, was all but immediately named the starting QB of the Jets, anointed the “Sanchize” and savior of the Jets, after only one season as starting QB at USC.

I have long said that Sanchez is the kind of QB you can win with but probably not because of.  While talented I do not think he can single-handedly lead a team to victory but he is still young and that could still come. Does he need to step up and take that next step? Yes.  Does he need to concentrate more on football than on super models, starlets and celebutantes?  Yes.  Do the Jets need to bring in a credible backup to push Sanchez to excel?  Yes. Do they also need to improve his protection?  Yes. BUT the future still belongs to Sanchez.

Lastly, I firmly believe that one of the prime reasons the Jets have been such a disappointing franchise throughout their history is because of impatience and institutionalized chaos.  Since the year 2000 the Jets have had four different head coaches.  The Giants have had two.  The Pittsburgh Steelers have had two since 1969!  Since 2000 the Jets have had four different starting QB; the Giants two; the Steelers three.  They have repeatedly and consistently shown an inability of draft a plan and carry it out.  This destruction pattern has to stop if the Jets are ever going to be successful.  In my 30 years as a Jet fan I think Mike Tannenbaum is the best GM they have ever had.  He has drafted well and has brought in good free agents when available.  My one complaint is that he has tended to churn the roster a bit too much from one season to the next.  However, he has put many excellent pieces in place and we all need to have the patience to see it through.

There is little doubt that 2012 will be a critical season for the New York Jets.  After a meteoric rise in their first two seasons together Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez came back down to earth last season.  Yet they finished the season 8-8 not 4-12.  While not a great result it was not a disastrous one either.  The old saying goes that the true test of a man is how he handles adversity.  Rex, Mark and the rest of the Jets have experienced their first taste of adversity.  They are either going allow it to make them better and come back stronger or they are going to let it tear them down.  I certainly hope it’s the former.

Politics – The 2012 Election….We’re Screwed…..

Let me begin by saying that I kind of envy other Republicans and conservatives who are genuinely excited about their candidate.  Me not so much.  I look at the field and I see four fatally flawed individuals who do not stand a snow balls chance of beating Obama.  What’s worse is that Obama himself is, or should be, fatally flawed himself.  Granted the economy sucked when he was elected (by the way he did ask for the job so he should quit whining) but after three years and untold trillions of federal spending are things really that much better?  Consider that economic growth is at a feeble 3 or so percent a year, pathetic! Consider that their are million upon millions of Americans that are either unemployed or underemployed.  Consider that the price of gas is heading toward $4.00 and it’s not even Easter let alone Memorial Day when prices start to rise anyway.  And I am not even mentioning Obama-care,  Iranian nukes, the “Radical Islamic Spring” I mean the “Arab Spring”, botching the 2009 Green Revolution inIranand throwingIsraelunder the bus on a regular basis.  WHEW!  Give me a second.  All that being the case Obama should be toast, right?  No and for these reasons; he’ll have a billion dollars in the bank, he has the power of incumbency, the aforementioned pathetic GOP field and most importantly a slobbering, compliant and eager to please media at his beck and call. Which leads me to the conclusion that the GOP, and the country in general, is screwed in November.

Yet all that is not the purpose of this essay.  For months now Rush has been castigating the GOP “establishment” for backing Romney on the basis that although he might lose he might to well enough to give the GOP a chance of holding the House and gaining the Senate. I say what is so wrong with that?  Is half a loaf better than no loaf at all?  Divided government is better than the alternative.  Now I understand that Romney is not as conservative as many of us might like but should he lose I believe it would be by less than it otherwise might be.  I believe Rush and others like him want to swing for fences with Newt or God-forbid Santorum.  I think both those options result in not only a landslide for Obama but a good chance that Nancy aka “Stretch” Pelosi will once again be Speaker and Harry Reid remaining as majority leader in the Senate.

The bottom line is that I am nominally a Romney guy.  I am not excited by this yet I do think he is well qualified for the job.  Who knows he might even give Obama a run for this money and if the stars align and God is good who knows he might even pull it out.   But I doubt it.  I only pray there is a country left in 2016 for us to put back together.

Notes & Asides – Where the Hell Have I Been … AGAIN?!?!?!?!

Let me begin by saying that I am not even going to try and explain where the hell I have been since the last time I posted regularly.  I’ve covered that once before in an earlier post and the reasons now are pretty much the same as then.  Furthermore, I have pretty much given up on trying to explain why I do or do not do certain things.  Besides, anyone who followed my year-end Twitter/Facebook feed (which is probably not many of you) knows that for a whole host of reasons (which I might or might not elaborate on) I SUCK. Yet despite that here I am again and I intend to keep coming back, however infrequently, for however long it takes until I get it right.

I think the thing that is bringing me back again this time is the untimely death of the great Andrew Breitbart. He and I were the same age and there was something about seeing that 1969-2012 on the screen under his name that kind of freaked me out just a bit.  It made me just a tad aware of my own mortality and what a dismally small contribution I have made when compared with someone like him. Now I don’t expect to be the next Breitbart but I have to have something more to give to the world than a decent latte!  That brings me back to the written word and this blog.  It always generally comes back to writing.  I enjoy writing, I feel better about myself when I do write regularly and I think I have knack for it (but I guess that is for you all to decide).

Anyway,  here I sit once again behind a keyboard making another go of it.  How will long will this next “chapter” last?  Who knows.  I do know this, however.  There WILL be a next chapter because I do intend on coming back as many times as it takes until I get it right.

Andrew Breitbart – RIP …….

An already crappy day as been become much worse with news of the passing of the great Andrew Breitbart.  Those of you who are not political junkies probably are not familiar with him.  However, for those of us who are, and particularly those of us on the right, his passing represents an almost incalculable loss for the conservative movement.

While there remains a universe of prominent conservatives out there e.g. Rush, Hannnity, Levin, et. al. Andrew Breitbart was different and special.  He was not your average right-winger. He was not the white bread, pious and square stereotype of a conservative.  He was not, to use the cliché “your father’s Republican”.   He was a guerilla fighter.  He loved to engage the hard-core, Obama-worshipping left on their own terms. Be it Media Matters for America, Occupy Wallstreet or Anthony Weiner,  Breitbart would get in their faces and give as good as he got.  He was not afflicted, as too many of us on the right are, with the almost pathological need to be nice, liked, polite or popular when dealing with the left. He took no crap and was not afraid to defend what he believed. He reveled in making enemies; the more the better as far as he was concerned.  Breitbart also had  unique appreciation for the importance of pop culture, an appreciation which is lost on most conservatives.  He was not overtly religious, was actually kind of hip and could be delightfully irreverent, never more so then when appearing on Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld on Fox News.  He was also a genius.

His latest, and tragically last book, “Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World” is as clear eyed and dead on a dissection of the left and what it has “accomplished” over the past 50 years as anything I have ever read. It stands alongside William F. Buckley’s “God and Man at Yale” and Barry Goldwater’s “Conscience of a Conservative” as a 21st century conservative manifesto in the intellectual battle against the collectivism and stateism of modern left; which is perfectly embodied in the Obama administration.

Given the pathetic weakness of the GOP presidential contenders and faced with a billion dollar reelection campaign teamed with a slobbering media we can ill afford a loss of this type.

 

A sad day indeed.  Rest In Peace Andrew Breitbart.  You will be sorely missed.

SmashBurger…

Went to the new SmashBurger (http://www.smashburger.com/) in Florham Park last night for dinner.  SmashBurger is the latest in the string of gourmet burger joints joining Five Guys Burger and Fires (http://www.fiveguys.com).  I’ve eaten at both and I will tell you which I prefer at the end.

SmashBurger is clean and modern with a wait staff and eat in booths.  I had a half pound burger with mayo, “smash sauce”, fried haystack onions and cheddar cheese.  I also tried their shoe string fries, haystack onions, sweet potato fries, fried pickles (yes you read right!) and their Jersey Dog (it was a meal for two!)

The burger was a nice size, well cooked, served on good roll and was generally tasty.  What I could tell of their signature smash sauce it was creamy and tangy.  It struck me as ranch dressing-like with tomato notes. I would give it 2 1/2 stars out of four.

The  shoestring fries were good but generally indistinguishable from McDonalds.  2 1/2 stars.

The haystack onions were excellent although a bit too salty.  They were very finely cut, battered and deep fried until shatteringly crisp.  3 stars.

There is something a bit perverse about a fried pickle but it works.  It is a pickle chip, battered and deep fried and was oddly tasty.  It is served with a ranch dipping sauce.  Not something to be ordered every time but a nice change of pace. 3 stars.

The sweet potato fries were exceptional.  They are a fine, shoestring cut nicely fried and seasoned with rosemary.  They were pleasantly savory and a little sweet.  Easily the best of the three sides I tried. 3 1/2 stars.

The best thing I tried was oddly enough the Jersey Dog.  It was a large, meaty, grilled all beef hotdog with a nice smoky flavor.  It was served on soft poppy seed roll and topped with grilled onions, sauerkraut and spicy mustard.  It was as a good a hot dog as I’ve had lately.  4 stars!

The presentation was nice as was the overall feel of the restaurant. 3 stars.

Now to the real question.  Five Guys or SmashBurger.  Five Guys is much more minimalist it is appearance and presentation than its competition.  However, on a burger for burger comparison I give the nod to Five Guys.  On a restaurant for restaurant comparison I give the nod to SmashBurger.  The burger was not quite as good as Five Guys but SmashBurger was an overall better dining experience.

SmashBurger 3 out of 4 stars.