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Aussie Can You Say?
I went on a little cruise recently, just to see what it was like. It wasn't on one of those big ships, where you're cheek to jowl with hundreds of Americans all gaining weight simultaneously. There were only 30 of us on this little ship, and aside from the two of us and a couple of Canadians, everyone else was Australian.

Is it just me, or are the Aussies the most personable people on the planet? Friendly, upbeat, self-effacing. Even the quiet ones always seem ready for some jocular give-and-take. They are easy to be around, unlike some other nationalities. I won't name names, but some of our other fellow travelers can be grumpy, rude, arrogant. Yes, including the Americans, and yes, including me.

It's a cultural thing, of course. The origin of any given Australian is irrelevant, at least after a generation of living in The Land Down Under. The Aussies no doubt have their own baggage of the intolerance and boneheadedness we all share, but they carry it in a uniquely agreeable way.

My current theory: it's the accent. Perhaps we should all try it.

To which I hope you reply: Ripper, mate! Good oil.
Comeback From the Undead
Good King Matthias
And Vlad the Impaler
One was a meanie
The other, his jailer

Vladie's bad habit
Was puncturing peasances
Torching their villages
And other unpleasances

Matt, though, was a real prince
(That's besides being kingly)
He stood up for kittens
And butterflies' winglies

He banished the 'Paler
Down deep in a dungeon
Which earned him a plaque at
The Kiwanis' luncheon

Each man is quite famous
In his own milieu
The king for his honor
Vladimir for his e-e-www!

Matt's fame is Hungarian
And his rep is immacula
But Vlad made the big time
As the real-life Count Dracula
I Know Now
If I
Knew then
What I
Know now

I’d screw
It up
Again
Somehow
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.
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Trump supporters are people who know what they believe.
~ JC, Bonny Doon