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There Can Only Be One
You’re starting to hear the question more and more these days: Who is the greatest basketball player of all time? Michael Jordan or Lebron James? You hear the question, but you seldom hear a definitive answer.

The “correct” answer for a long while has been MJ, with his high-flying acrobatics and multiple championships. But now Lebron has amassed such an impressive portfolio of performances and statistics that we can no longer fall back on that no-brainer response. As King James has caught up with the reputation Air Jordan, the evasions and weaseling by sports pundits has become more and more difficult to watch.

“You can’t really compare them” is the most common cop-out. The game has changed, these weaselers say, conditioning is different now, they come from two different eras, it’s apples and oranges, blah blah blah. It should be pointed out that the people making these excuses for not having an opinion are getting paid to have opinions. Don’t they realize that every time they hem and haw over this choice that their credibility takes a hit? This is sports we’re talking about, after all, not something of real importance.

This is not to say that passion for sport is without merit. Sports are a safe way to release our combative instincts in a peaceful world, and they should be honored for that. That is all the more reason not to go squishy when it comes to a question like this one. I am not interested in your caveats and your provisos and your it’s-too-haaard. I don’t listen to sports talk for reasoned debate and balanced detachment. I want strong positions, hotly defended.

Still waffling? I’ll make it easy for you. If you honestly don’t think you have a position, try this simple thought experiment: you’re down at the playground choosing up sides for a game of roundball, and the field of candidates includes every player who ever played, each at the peak of their powers. Who do you pick, Jordan or James? (And please, don’t give me Bill Russell or Oscar Robertson.)

You know very well what answer immediately leapt into your mind. But if you still need confirmation, let me ask you this: What if the game is just one-on-one, and you’re betting the house on the outcome…who wins?

Same answer, right? Lebron, of course.

Now stop wasting my time.
President Idiot
I may have been premature in my blog of October 11 last year. “President Moron” was the title. As I explained in that piece, it was not I who was calling our president a moron, but rather his hand-picked Secretary of State, the estimable Rex Tillerson. Who better, I suggested at the time, to judge the intelligence of his boss than someone who worked closely with him on matters of great import?

The answer could only be someone who had worked even more closely with the President over a longer period of time on a broader range of issues. His Chief of Staff John Kelly, for instance, might be able to give a credible, informed assessment of the Commander in Chief’s mental state. We learned this week that General Kelly has provided that assessment (repeatedly, according to sources), and for the record he considers the President to be an “idiot.”

Again, this is not my opinion that I am reporting. It comes from a person close to the President who was also hand-picked for his position by his boss. It is that person’s opinion we are talking about here. He is an ally and a servant of the man he is judging, and he thinks that man is an idiot. I don’t have any regrets about the “President Moron” blog. I was citing the most reliable information available when I wrote it. Still, I don’t like having to update such findings. I try to be accurate in such matters just in case someone’s feelings may be hurt somehow in the course of my eagerness to inform others.

Perhaps I worry too much. “Moron” and “idiot” are often used interchangeably in ordinary discourse — to mean deeply stupid. My guess is that Kelly and Tillerson, though they apparently had differences on matters of style and policy, would surely agree that the President is deeply stupid. However, it is possible that they were actually quite careful in their choice of words. There was a time when psychologists parsed IQ scores in differentiating between idiots and morons. Under this now-outdated system, idiots (whose IQs ranged between 0 and 24) were classed lower than morons. A moron’s IQ might go as high as 70.

As I say, psychology has moved on from these unfortunate classifications, but they might still be useful today in answering this question: Just how stupid is Donald Trump? If his two close associates were using their words precisely, then we can say that General Kelly thinks the President is a lot stupider than Secretary Tillerson does.

But who to believe? Is he a moron or is he an idiot? In the interests of even-handed reporting, perhaps we should split the difference. In that old rating system there was a third category between the other two that described those whose IQs ranged between 25 and 50. Such people were referred to as “imbeciles.”

So, I will henceforth refer to Donald Trump as “President Imbecile.” Just to be fair.
To Summit Up
Kim Jong Un is
A dingy despot
He keeps The Button
On his desktop

He’ll discuss those nukes
With Donald Trumpfish
Whose expertise
Is Forrest Gumpish

A lunatic
An ignoramus
What could go wrong?
Ask Nostradamus
Protestant Christians often recommend that we ask ourselves “What Would Jesus Do?” before committing to action. The idea behind this simple screening device is to put ourselves in the shoes of the nicest guy that ever was (please use Buddha, if he’s your pick). If he (or she) would do it, then you are certainly good to go.

I’m an agnostic, but I have to admit that this is a pretty nifty little trick. For one thing, it takes you outside of yourself and away from your personal demons, including those pesky animal urges. Then it asks you to be as nice as you can imagine being. You don’t have to believe in God to think that might be a good approach to decision-making.

The trick also encourages you to reach beyond your grasp, which is also thought to be a good idea. Jesus may have been a man, but he was also a God. He had superpowers like walking on water, controlling the weather, and raising people from the dead. We are never going to be able to live up to that guy’s standards, but by trying we might accomplish some wonders of our own.

Still, if you are an agnostic you might have a hard time finding an appropriate model. And if you are an atheist (someone who, I am told, is absolutely certain that there are no deities) it might be even harder.

I’ve never met anyone with superpowers, though there are plenty of people who can amaze me with what they can do. That said, I don’t necessarily want to emulate someone just because they can balance five chairs on the tip their nose or solve a Rubik’s Cube in seven seconds. Also, most of the people in the Top Ten of Nice People are devoutly religious. Where does that leave me as a person who doesn’t believe in God? I’m never going to be as nice as Mother Teresa just by trying to do the right thing.

So is there some other way to get there? Is there some non-religious High Standard you can shoot for and therefore catapult yourself into the Top Ten? (Hypothetically, at least — I don’t know if I would have the energy to be that good.)

Well, how about this: WWUD? What Would the Universe Do?

At first blush, this may seem like a bad idea. Non-believers often see the universe as a vast, cold emptiness that does not care about the puny bits of protoplasm wiggling around on a tiny speck of dust in the Milky Way. That doesn’t seem like an attitude we’d want to adopt in our own lives. On the other hand, think of the upside. If the universe doesn’t care about us, then it’s not out to get us, either. There is no all-powerful force trying to make our existence more unpleasant. No Satan, in other words.

What’s more, the universe doesn’t seem to care about itself either. All it is concerned with is being, and — if you accept the current thinking about what black holes are up to — creating more universes. It’s a pretty simple formula, really: live life to the fullest by exploding supernovas, colliding galaxies, and spawning life all over yourself, but maintain your ultimate focus on the generations of existence that will live on long after you have died from the complications of entropy.

To me, that seems like a pretty good plan. Be, in the fullest sense, and do it with an eye to posterity. The universe doesn’t need to perform miracles in the manner of Jesus Christ because the universe is itself a miracle. If you ask WWUD?, that’s the shining example you’ll get back from the void.
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Trump supporters are people who know what they believe.
~ JC, Bonny Doon