What I Believe

Man of the mortal world–do you believe in me or not?”Marley’s ghost

“Once we decide that anything goes, anything can come home to haunt us.”Bill Moyers

The Christmas tradition, whether it be secular or spiritual in practice, asks that we suspend our skeptical ways in favor of believing fantastic possibilities, and I have concluded that there resides within the human brain a place that allows children to believe in Santa Claus and adults to believe in the Saviour–a wonderful place that operates on simple faith and is more often than not a source of peace and comfort. But unfortunately, those same neurons and neural pathways that can foster strong beliefs without the benefit of any tangible evidence can also give rise to dangerous distortions of the facts when driven solely by fear and prejudice. So the question is, what dubious beliefs are currently under consideration?

There is, of course, that one about the hijacking of the 2020 presidential election being perpetuated by citizen-elect Trump. And with 55% of Republicans believing that the election was rigged in favor of President-elect Biden, and with 126 congressional representatives backing that belief by way of an amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court, one might believe that there is some truth to this one. But as to those members of Congress that sought a judicial Hail Mary from the Court, I suspect that many of them arrived in Washington on the Tea Party Express. And while they know that Joe Biden’s ascent to the presidency is legitimate, their innate distrust of government coupled with their hopes of dismantling the Federal Bureaucracy might be reason enough for this particular group of presidential patsies to favor despotism over democracy!

Now, as to what the Republican voters that are yelling foul truly believe, admitting defeat doesn’t come easy to anyone. And when a country’s politics become as personal as an English soccer match, the hooligan contingent seldom exits the game gracefully. While that crowd is usually content just making noise, on occasion, their grievances are aired in a somewhat more aggressive fashion. But this is not Liverpool vs. Manchester United. It’s the Proud Boys and the other 1,000 hate groups now operating in America challenging the Constitution, the rule of law, and the peaceful transition of power. And when we consider the cult-like behavior exhibited by some Trump supporters, the potential for an armed response is all too real. To downplay that threat would be to deny the bloodshed and loss of innocent life caused by people believing the lies and distortions disseminated by past Svengalis, false prophets, and ruthless leaders. America can ill afford another Charlottesville–nor the world another Nuremberg!

Now, as to the matter of what I believe–I believe in love, kindness, compassion, tolerance, and that divine spark which offers to all the Scrooges of the world a shot at redemption. In short–I believe in Christmas and everything it represents–but after a year of pandemic and presidential politics–I believe I’ll have another drink! Pour me whatever the ghost of Christmas Present is having.

The Ghost of Christmas Present

To all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

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To help you celebrate the holiday season we’ve created some timely programming, including our free downloadable director’s cut version of A Christmas Carol. This Dicken’s classic features past performances originally recorded and broadcast over WDVR-FM. Click on Sit Downs and Sessions or the Podbean logo above to listen.

Posted by: Chris Poh for American Public House Review

When Life Imitates Art

There are those truly extraordinary moments in sports that rarely ever happen.  And when they do happen, you know right then and there that you will never forget it.  Wayne Rooney of Manchester United provided just such a moment this weekend with a piece of skill that was nothing short of spectacular.

In the Manchester Derby, against United’s local rivals Manchester City, Rooney won the game with an overhead “bicycle” kick that brought ever one who saw it to their feet.  While not unique, Rooney’s goal was an breathtaking strike late in the huge game, just the kind of drama that makes us love sports.

While watching the replay in slow-motion, I couldn’t help but recall another equally dramatic and similarly struck goal.  And I am certain that after seeing it I was not at all the only person who thought of Pele’s goal at the end of the film “Victory”.  Sometime, life does imitate art.

by Dave McBride

 


Published in: on February 15, 2011 at 11:59 am  Leave a Comment  
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Can “King Eric” lead the Cosmos and American soccer to victory?

Last week saw what was perhaps the most bizarre, and at the same time potentially the most important, signing in American soccer history.  Eric Cantona, Manchester United legend and world football icon, was hired to become the Director of Soccer for the New York Cosmos, or I should say for an organization hoping to become the New York Cosmos.

The bizarre aspect of all this is that Cantona has the “overall responsibility for all soccer-related matters” for a team with no players.  The Cosmos are currently a club without a team, and with no guarantees that any top-flight team will exist in the near future.  Also, I don’t believe Cantona has any knowledge of the MLS or American soccer nor any front-office experience, but obviously that is not the point here.

"King Eric" Cantona joins the semi-fictional New York Cosmos

While Cantona’s position may very well be nothing more than a publicity stunt, it is a publicity stunt with huge significance.  What it tells us is that the folks running the Cosmos brand are not only looking to become an MLS franchise, they are looking to once again become the biggest and flashiest soccer team in the country.

As a child growing up in the New York area during the 1970’s, there truly was nothing bigger in sports than the New York Cosmos.  I remember going to Giants Stadium packed to the rafters with fellow fanatics to see world-class legends like Franz Beckenbauer and Carlos Alberto.  It was certainly the glory days of soccer in the United States.  Despite our recent successes with the US Men’s National Team, when the rest of the football world speaks of the United States they still tend to speak in somewhat derogatory terms about our inability to understand or play the sport.  But the one phrase they still recognize as a positive in our soccer history is the “New York Cosmos”.  It remains our one great contribution to world’s most important game.

Pele and the New York Cosmos

That team and those players inspired me to play the sport as a child, which led directly to my adult obsession with the world’s most popular sport.  And I am not alone.  Since the inception of Major League Soccer, fans of the sport have been waiting for the Cosmos to return.  Now that the league has established itself and soccer has made serious progress, it is time for the country’s most storied franchise to return to the pitch.

I have been a fan of the New York franchise in Major League Soccer (once called the Metrostars, now the Red Bulls) since the league began.  For those who don’t know much about the MLS, the team has been nothing short of an epic failure on the field, the polar opposite of my first love, the Cosmos, who were the most successful of their generation.  But despite those hardships we have stood by the Red Bulls all these difficult seasons.  Finally, we now have a stadium, ownership, and players worthy of our support.  There is no doubt that should the New York Cosmos enter the MLS they would instantly become our biggest rivals.  But I will be honest, it will be very hard for me to root against that shirt.

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