Unpopular Opinions

Unpopular Opinions
“Duuuude, I have an unpopular opinion. Is it cool to say it here?”

It is a scary proposition when you offer an unpopular opinion (or UPO on this blog going forward). For one, you worry about the instant reaction of people (who don’t read the “why”), and two you worry about how your interaction with people will go moving forward.

There are far too many folks carrying grudges, past and present, that will ultimately kill them. Karma has a way of doing that.

There are those who, agree or disagree with you, who are willing to let you offer your opinion and your rationale, without getting pissy about it. For me, I will give an opinion and I drop it after that. I said what I needed to say and I move on.

It’s called civil discourse. Sadly, way too many people doesn’t think that being civil does anything. I disagree with that. It depends on the individual and how they respond to it.

If you interact with an overly emotional person, they will talk with their hearts. With an irrational person, they will be all over place. A person who will think about it without haste and offer a salient observation, might offer some points that you may not think of.

As a way to get back into my writing mode (and start rebuilding content), I will offer some unpopular opinions and a reason for them.

Remember, you don’t have to read them, if you don’t like them. There are plenty of other blogs and written materials you can read. Or, you can write your own blog.

UPO #1: Pseduo-celebrities like Mr. Sulu (George Takei), Matt Walsh, D.L. Hughley, Henry Rollins , Shaun King, and other who feel the need to offer an opinion on everything. Chill with the Facebook posts, fellas. It’s alright to take a “topic” off once in awhile…or maybe a few more.

UPO #2: I’ve never watched Jon Stewart, Bill O’Reilly, Bill Maher, Keith Olbermann (post-ESPN) or Stephen Colbert. It doesn’t make me a conservative nor a liberal. I was never interested in them, just as much as I was not interested in “Friends”, reality television shows, and various people and things.

An observation came to mind: are there viewers like me that are tired of hearing middle-aged white men (on both sides of the ideological aisles) bloviating to no end about how the world should look like in their own eyes?

UPO #3: Award shows for entertainers. It has become social media troll fodder for people who aspire to be Siskel and Ebert, but they tweet more like Waldorf and Stadler.

UPO #4: Barack Obama isn’t the greatest President we ever had, and I’m not a fan of the incessant lovefest.  Each president is just a guy who was elected to keep us from being one step closer to going nuts as a nation. History will determine Obama’s tenure in about a decade. To add, the presidents, in my view, are just humans. Not perfect, not completely flawed. I only vote for the person who I view can do the best job, not who’s more “presidential” based on looks and presence.

Best Presidents: Washington (he was the first, so he had to set a precedent), Lincoln (for the Civil War, freedom of slaves), Franklin D. Roosevelt (WWII, WPA, and Great Depression), and John F. Kennedy (NASA, and introducing a new generation to public service).

UPO #5: This isn’t “Trump’s America” Cut that shit out. This is AMERICA. We’ve been through wars, tragedies, bad decisions, and everything else since our existence.

We will get through this. If you doubt that, then you doubt yourself.

I feel better now. Okay, on to other stuff that isn’t political, divisive, and tiresome.

Wait…I sort of lied. I need to get this off of my topic pile.

Colin Cowherd, who is notorious for “hot sports takes”, from time to time will offer something about his profession that can be considered as “ugly truth”. He laid out something that most Americans are too lazy to figure out, especially when it comes to political and sports shows: it’s not about information. It’s about being “interesting”. Saying something outrageous turns more heads than a sabermetrics geek talking baseball numbers and a policy wonk explaining nuances of a bill. Viewers only care to see what you will say next, and if it’s more outlandish than the next.

The idea of substantive and nuanced discussion with subject matter experts certainly exists, but doesn’t work as well as selling certainty and hot takes to a droll mainstream audience clamoring for more buffoonery.

Clemson being a fraud (or any team getting that label) is what the audience wants to hear. People tweet it, post it on message boards, and talk about it in their social circles and on talk radio. It reverberates. Agree or disagree, it’s something to talk about, and regardless if he’s wrong, you’re going to keep coming back if you like this particular flavor of hot take.

The idea of him (Cowherd) and others saying something like “Clemson has had an up and down and year and I think they’re going to have problems against Ohio State or Alabama. I don’t know, we’ll see……should be a good game”, does not payoff in the sports media world. – Ben Koo, Awful Announcing, Jan 10, 2017

As Koo pointed out, sports isn’t the only place where this tactic takes place.

Politics is loaded with this. Koo finished with this line in his column, “Until people opt to tune out personalities and shows that make noise for the sake of making noise, this is what you get.”

Several years ago, I wrote suggesting that people “tune out” Iowa congressional representative Steve King. A good number of Democrats thought my suggestion was dumb. “WE HAVE TO MAKE PEOPLE NOTICE ABOUT  HIM!!”

How’s that going, Democrats, RAYGUN, and everyone else?  He’s still in Congress, so your efforts to “bring light” about his antics backfired.

It’s Psychology 101: the less attention you give to an attention-seeker, the less relevant that person becomes, because people will stop listening.

If the story of Senator Joe McCarthy doesn’t ring a bell….Google it up. Read what happens when attorney Joseph Welch calls McCarthy out over the Communism “blacklist” hearings. No one paid attention to McCarthy after that.

That’s how you handle an attention-seeker. Not printing t-shirts with catchy slogans, jumping on social media and retweeting statements.

But telling that to a Democrat or a Republican is like talking to a…ahem…wall. They’re too obsessed to let go from a mental aspect.

But, what do I know? No one’s going to read this blog post anyway. I write about topics that no one is “interested” in.

Pretty much the case with any blogs.



Sports Media, You’re Missing an Opportunity to Make a Real Difference

It’s not normal for me to take long breaks between posts, but this summer is an exception to the rule.  I’ve been running out of stuff to write about.  Yes, I could write about and offer a few thoughts about current stories, but to be honest, I’m burned out and I’m ready to move on after being inundated by the excessive reaction, over-reaction, analysis, and over-analysis (namely The Freeh Report and Jerry Sandusky).

I’ll give you two clichés that should sum this story up:  the coverup is always worst than the crime, and if you think you know someone, you really don’t, and you never will. Too bad a lot of people, especially a large number of those in the national sports media doesn’t get the message.

I wrote a blog in January 2012 and no one gave a damn to read it.  I think you should read it today, because it was my opinion then, and now, that the sports world, especially sports writers and bloggers like Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead, Brooks Melchior, Colin Cowherd, Rick Reilly, among others, are missing out on an opportunity that could be a huge benefit for the public:  using their platforms to foster change.

Rather than reacting and over-analyzing the damn story, why not promote, support, or encourage their readers to donate to organizations that are committed to eradicating all levels of abuse towards individuals, from sexual to verbal, from elderly to domestic?

If ESPN can use all of their platforms to promote The V Foundation, MLB for Komen, and NBA Cares, it makes sense to support anti-abuse support groups, especially the talking heads on sports radio, television, and social media.

For them not to, it would be a shame and would be a sign that the sports world, and those who cover sports, would rather hear themselves talk, than use the tools they have to help people learn about a topic, how to get involved, and in turn learn how to be a better person.

What I’m saying is this:  take all of that energy that being used to talk about a negative story and use it in a positive way by encouraging people to learn about the efforts being made to stop all levels of abuse, and in turn, give back to the community.

It’s interesting to me that most sports people usually don’t lend their names to causes that they can have a direct impact on.  Some of them do, but for the most part, they sit behind a computer or a microphone, and tell people their opinions.  If they were challenged or encouraged to get involved like they do at ESPN for The V Foundation and Make-a-Wish, surely they can do this for anti-abuse organizations.

I’m hopeful that some will consider it, but I doubt the majority of them will.  They’re missing out of something that could make a real difference for society.

Talking about a damn statue isn’t a priority.

Helping exploited children, battered women and elderly pick up the pieces of a shattered life and rebuilding it is a bigger priority right now. 

Not Just “One Day”, It’s “Everyday”

Community service is more than a glorified one-day deal. It's an everyday job.

Today, everyone will talk and espouse about community service and peace toward mankind, for this is a national holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King.  Community service and peace were two of the main facets that made Dr. Martin Luther King one of the most revered Americans ever during a time where our nation went through a period of evolution that challenged our societal attitudes and way of life. 

But as I think about this day, I can’t help but to ask this yearly question to myself…

…have we really learned anything from the words and actions of King, Mother Theresa, Gandhi, and others? 

My answer is a resounding “no”.  We say we want to adhere to those principles of civility and peace, but we feel the need to say, act, or behave in ways that we know is wrong, but we do it anyway. 

Remember last January and the Tucson, Arizona shootings?  Everyone was quick to say that the shooting was triggered by the political rhetoric.  It wasn’t.  Jared Loughner had a history of being an unstable individual due to mental illness, and Loughner acted out randomly as he fired upon a crowd, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.  It was never directly due to political rhetoric. 

We ignored the real problem:  the state of mental health in this country

After that tragedy, we “pledged” to be kinder and gentler when it came to poltiical discourse. 

That was short-lived.  Our attention span is so short, we can’t even recall who was in the 2011 Final Four besides Butler and UConn.  We’re back to the same old thing, because we “chose” to continue this silliness ourselves.  It’s not just the Republicans’ or the Democrats’ fault. 

It’s ours.  We encourage the unruly behavior as a way to satisfy ourselves and what we want.  And I doubt if we’re really going to make an effort in being civil in every day life. 

Many of you are not fans of ESPN Radio‘s Colin Cowherd.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  I’m one of a few that like him, regardless if I agree with his opinions or not.  I bring him up because of a video clip after the jump that I’ve adopted in 2011 as a mantra for myself.  The clip is worth listening as he asks “Why are we always looking to strike back (or seek revenge) when someone says or do something wrong towards us?” 

If we really care about being civil, then I wouldn’t be writing this, or Character Counts In Iowa wouldn’t be on the forefront of fostering civil discourse and behavior in this world.


Also on this day, everyone will be participating in a “day of service” across the nation.  I’m for community service and individuals who are dedicated in helping their communities in the spirit of charity and service. 

But what I have a hard accepting is the notion that we should set aside this national holiday as a “national” day of service.  “Everyday” is a national day of service.  Police, fire, and EMT personnel don’t take 364 (365 as 2012 is a leap year) days off, so they could put all of their efforts into doing a “day of service” on this day. 

They are on call every second, minute, hour, and day to provide service to those in need. 

If you're going to do community service, don't half-ass it like Lindsay Lohan. She's only doing it to wipe that jail conviction off of her record.

There are people who need help everyday, not just on the Dr. King holiday.  From the homeless to those battling cystic fibrosis.  From battered women and children to military veterans battling Post-Traumatic Syndrome Disorder. 

For those who think they feel they have done something good by doing “a day of service” on this holiday, I want to challenge you to do more than just one day of service. 

In fact, I want you to find an organization, charity, or a group, join it, and immerse yourself into community service.  If you’re going to do it to “pad” your resume and look good in the community, you are better off not doing it at all.  You’re wasting your time.

Please don’t just show up for one day and then go back into hiding until the next Dr. King holiday.  It’s an insult to so many people who constantly provide community service worldwide. 

“Let Them Own It”

Recently, I’ve noticed how people are obsessed with getting revenge or demanding their recourse over things that have happened to them, or something that was said to them.  They feel the urge to respond to everything angrily and emotionally. 

No wonder why we’re on a one-way trip to a nervous breakdown. 

This week, a 2 minute video clip has made re-think how I feel about reacting to everything that is being said of me negatively, also how I was treated or had something done to me.  I would listen to it a few times, in order to fully understand the point. 

Let them “own it.” 

You don’t have to reply to everything that’s being said, demand something, or expect anything.  Let them “own it.”  Why?  As ESPN’s Colin Cowherd explains in the video clip below, they’ll feel guilty about it (mentally, and do what they can to hide it).  Secondly, on that same psychological line, you will get your own satisfaction and peace. 

Once you have discovered that, you have moved on.  No need to ask for recourse or compensation.  What’s done is done. 

Mentally, by walking away and letting them “own it”, you break free from obsessing about it, ruminating and being angry about it. 

Initially, you want to react, reply, and attack everything in your path, but eventually you have to free yourself mentally.  We’re big boys and girls.  You know how to move on with your life.  You should move on with your life. 

If you don’t walk away, that’s a you problem, and you’ll never move on. 

“Really New York?!” No, “Really Des Moines?!”

The "Sign" that is getting Des Moinesians in a tizzy (Andrea Laug)

See this sign above?  This was taken on May 21, 2011, by Andrea Laug.  Andrea is a great friend of mine.  She moved to New York City two years to take a job at a salon after graduating from Aveda in West Des Moines.  She posted this picture on her Facebook page.  I sarcastically posted a comment saying “Booo!” in jest.  I thought it was funny.

Apparently for a few folks in Des Moines, they don’t see it that way.

In fact, this sign is a non-story, but it is a story because some Des Moinesians can’t help but to act offended.  Note I didn’t write “feel offended.”  Feel and act are different actions.

New Yorkers have been known to be the brunt of jokes longer than Iowa has been a state (okay, I’m stretching that a bit).  For as much crap as they get, if anyone saw a similar sign and it had “New York” and not “Des Moines” on there, their response would be “fugetaboutit!”  Most New Yorkers would scoff or laugh at it, and then brush it off and go on with their lives.

Des Moines, on the other hand…

…is acting like someone walked up to them and asked if their Mom was a Cougar.

“Really, New York?!”

No, “Really, Des Moines?!” Do we have to overreact to everything emotionally?  Hell, I have a bigger issue on how the headline was written on Radio Iowa‘s blog.  Then again, I’m no journalist or headline writer. 

Sorry, but I don’t buy the notion that NYC was dogging us out.  In fact, it helps Des Moines and its profile.  How many New Yorkers have heard of Des Moines, outside of every four years when the caucuses roll into town?  Secondly, as Suzanne Hull pointed out to me while I was writing this, “No P.R. is good P.R..”  I have good friends who offered their comments to this story on different sites.  I could not disagree with them more on this.  That sign was not put up to “intentionally” demean Des Moines.  To suggest that it is, I think it’s ludicrious. 

If you can’t laugh at yourself and let this go, then that’s a “you” problem, as ESPN’s Colin Cowherd would say. 

This “story” is an non-issue.  Des Moines, take a chill pill and relax.  We are who we are.  Much like New Yorkers, you take it or leave it.  They don’t care if you don’t like them, but they sure as hell wouldn’t be stopping in their tracks and whine about it.

Let it go.

Plus, Andrea should get credit for finding the sign first and then taking a picture of it. 

“Winning” is No Longer Funny


Charlie Sheen thinks he's "Winning". He's losing much more than a show.


For the past two weeks, we have been subjected to the foilables and rancor from actor Charlie Sheen.  From his public criticism of producer Chuck Lorre (from Two and Half Men) to spitting out amusing lines like “Adonis DNA” and the rage of the Twitter hash tags “#Winning”

This morning, Joe Winn from Lessing-Flynn tweeted this: 

If you have to tell people you are winning, you are already losing – both people’s respect and attention. Don’t perpetuate dumb cliches.

Earlier this evening, CBS decided to fire Sheen, likely ending his show “Two and a Half Men” completely.  They originally suspended productions as Charlie was put on suspension (or something to that effect). 

The #Winning tag has been used in jokes and have been bantered by everyone across the world.  But, when you strip everything down, for Charlie Sheen, it’s no longer funny to be “Winning”. 

It’s downright sad. 


Colin Cowherd didn't mince words on his Monday show about Sheen. It's a dumpster fire right now.


Colin Cowherd from ESPN’s “The Herd” pointed out something on his show this morning that was lost in all of the Sheen hubris:  his personal life.  Not just his personal life, but the people around him are in disarray, much like him. 

Did you know he has five children (one with a former girlfriend, two with actress Denise Richards, and two with actress Brooke Mueller)?  Mueller was reportedly in rehab last year for substance abuse.  His penchant for porn stars isn’t new news.  He’s been around them since the 1990’s.  He shot ex-fiancee Kelly Preston in the arm, was arrested for domestic battery against Mueller, and Richards divorced him on grounds of violent behavior and substance abuse. 

Don’t take my word for it.  Wikipedia has a list. 

And in the age of “news A.D.D.”, last I checked, nobody cares about the ongoing Wisconsin collective bargaining saga.  Everyone’s enjoying the train wreck that is Charlie. 

Charlie is out of control.  Drug and alcohol abuse, penchant for violence against women, his interest in adult film actresses, et cetera, has created a perfect storm…in the worst way possible.  All of us think it’s funny and wild, but go ask his kids about watching “daddy” behave like this.  You don’t think they’re embarrassed, confused, and scared about what their dad will do next?  Why is he acting like this?  Is he running from his “shadow”?   

Charlie Sheen is not hurting himself, but everyone around him.  His kids are going to suffer, directly and indirectly, from his actions and behavior.  And we continue to endorse this by giving him what he wants…attention.  It’s pathetic that no one has offered to pull him by the collar and get him “real” treatment, and not the half-assed “celebrity” rehab Hollywood prefers. 

Earn a Place at the Table

A few years ago, I overheard a statement someone said.  The person said that young professionals “want” a place at “the table.”  “The table” was probably referring to sitting next to very important/high level individuals like CEOs, business leaders, and elected leaders on boards and commissions.

If I win a major award, I want to win this! (“A Christmas Story” website)

I was struck by that statement.  I am from the old school philosophy that you have work and earn respect from leaders if you want to be considered as one.

ESPN’s Colin Cowherd echoed a similar opinion this morning on his show.  Some young professionals are under the impression that if they do or accomplish one big thing, they feel they deserve an award or to “have a seat at the table”.

It takes more than volunteering at a booth for two hours and not do anything else all year.  If young professionals, such as myself, want to be taken seriously and sit at “the table”, we have to earn it.

By working or contributing every day.

I haven’t received a “40 Under 40” Award, named Juice YP of the Year, or received a “major award.”  And yet, I volunteer to several organizations for a little over 5 years now. I know that I may never be nominated or acknowledged by the heavy hitters in this town.

And it’s okay.

I have to work hard to earn it.