A Millennial’s Evolution to “Libertarian-ish”


The Compass

Have you ever seen a picture of this above graph floating around? You’ve probably had friends take it and share it, especially around a National Election year. The graph above is my results, and yes, I have taken it a few times over the years and have watched the red dot move a little more to the right and a little more downward each time.

You may be asking “why have you taken it multiple times,” and it is not a bad question to ask. The answer is quite simple, really, and that is I know as a person I tend to evolve. Not majorly, mind you, I do have some corner stone principles that build an unshakable foundation, but I have come under certain realizations.

I want to start with when I first remember taking note of politics. It was 2000, and I remember my at the time Geography teacher, I believe, ask us 6th graders what we thought about the Election that was underway. At that time I recall my mother liking George W. Bush over the dashing, dapper, former Vice President and “lockbox hero” Al Gore. I recall this time frame being the first time I glanced at a President Debate, and not too much sticks out in terms of memories of it or recalling information.


I guess more than anything, I trusted in my mother, and therefore leaned toward favoring Bush.

Now remember, this was before 9/11, before the wars, before the election debacles. In fact, the “recount” election debacle was what first drew my deeper attention to detail at such a young age. I had questions about that; who made a mistake, who messed up what, did Jeb pulls strings to help his brother out, and so on. It was a controversial subject that I recall living out, and piqued my interest in the political world ever so slightly.

The birth of interest.

But then came a real changing historic point in 9/11/2001. Being as young as I was, the first thing that set in my mind was fear, and honestly, fear probably settled in the minds of a lot of Americans. It was the single most devastating act of terrorism conducted on U.S. soil ever, with nearly 3,000 lives gone in the blink of an eye on a Tuesday Morning that seemed to begin as a beautiful and sunny day.

And here is where I will maybe lose some people…but I believe George W. Bush was the right man at the right time, if just considering what he did to try to bring the country together. This was that pivotal moment where everybody went to the store and bought a flag-hanging kit, nearly every house on every street covered with a flag hanging on the front porch. There seemed to be a genuine unity, and President Bush solemnly declared in front of a Joint Session of Congress a mere 9 days later:

Americans are asking: What is expected of us?

I ask you to live your lives and hug your children.

I know many citizens have fears tonight, and I ask you to be calm and resolute, even in the face of a continuing threat.

I ask you to uphold the values of America and remember why so many have come here.

We’re in a fight for our principles, and our first responsibility is to live by them. No one should be singled out for unfair treatment or unkind words because of their ethnic background or religious faith.

I ask you to continue to support the victims of this tragedy with your contributions.

George Bush ultimately in my mind did not live up to those words, albeit it probably was not all in his hands anyway (This includes the controversial PATRIOT Act which was not an executive order so we could shift responsibilities and blames to the congressional/senatorial level, the course of the Afghanistan and Iraq War which could also be shifted that way, but regardless, the figurehead is the figurehead.) Despite all his imperfections, despite all his shortcomings, I did not then believe, nor do I now, that George W. Bush was a bad person. Misguided, with the very wrong key players surrounding him, for sure, but not bad. Not evil. Simply just as most people are, not perfect.

In fact, a little digging into the past and you will find that President Bush, in terms of gallup numbers at least, held both the record highest and lowest job approval ratings.

Needless to say, this is where the birth of my political interest and involvement sparked. The words of the speech are resounding: be calm and resolute; Uphold the values of America and remember why so many have come here; We’re in a fight for our principles, and our first responsibility is to live by them. 

The world was changing around me, and really for the first time I took note that being an American (which, guess what folks, is true Privilege) did not mean that bad things would not happen because we’re in the greatest country on earth.

That weird kid…

At that time I would have told you I was a happy, proud Conservative Republican. While I was lost and struggling in my personal spirituality due to several life factors, I was still a devoted weekly church goer. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck were a constant for listening when it came to political discourse.


What used to be my trifecta in the years 2001-2008; Now I only have respect and listen to Beck, who has more Libertarian leanings, staunchly did not fold in the direction of Trump for popularity, and I will admit, still occasionally wrong about things but has progressed over the years and the difference is day and night. 

My friends and fellow students could tell you; I went to Cab Calloway School of the Arts, and a good to fair amount of the students there at that time (probably safe to bet now as well) I would label today as liberal progressives. I was the kid that went to the GOP Headquarters after school, which was conveniently right across the street. I would stop in, talk with the receptionist, the chairmen, occasionally be lucky enough to cross paths with Former Governor and then-current Representative Mike Castle, who at that time was virtually the only winning Republican in Delaware, and more-so a moderate.

I would grab a yard sign or two, a bumper sticker, a campaign button, and everyone who knew me could tell you I may quite a few “political statement” t-shirts. I recall being on a class trip and one of the patrons of the event actually approached me and had a lengthy discussion, noting that he did not agree with my points of view but had to ultimately respect and even find it a little cool that I was willing to put my own creativity into play to create my own shirts and be so open to talking about politics without being judgmental about it.

At that time, I was firmly in favor of the “War on Terror.” Chalk it up to being young and naive, but honestly, we were targeting at first organizations of oppression and violent tendencies, like dismantling the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. However, in that I was never one to speak out against an individuals faith. I perfectly remember the days following 9-11 one of our teachers asking the class to air out our thoughts. One student said “We should just nuke them. Nuke them all.” I stood firm, saying “No, that isn’t right. There are innocent people there…more terrorized than we ever will be. They need our help, they don’t need that sort of hell brought upon them.

A Political and Spiritual Struggle seemingly lose ground…

It was always important to me to not single out Religious peoples because I myself, even in my struggles, was always considered one of those outcast, fringe, devoted people, and I never liked that feeling, the feeling of so many not even bothering to try to understand what exactly you believed or why, just what they read about your beliefs, or heard, or joked about. I still held to my convictions, and I didn’t want to be treated that way, so I therefore was not going to treat others that way.

…Except I did. Not toward religions, but towards other things. Sexuality, for example, especially in terms of the LGBTQIA+-$&%AndWhateverOtherLettersNumbersOrSymbolsTheyMayAdd…Thanks to struggling spirituality and the dogma laid out…while it was never along the lines of “You have to hate the gays,” it was a “love them but reject their lifestyle” sort of message, one that I truly struggled with every day, because attending the progressive environment of Cab Calloway, I was virtually surrounded by different people, and I always carried that belief of “Not my business, not my life, not affecting my life” attitude.

That was the first political awakening, and maybe even spiritual awakening, that I ever came across in my life. “Who cares what consenting people do in their lives?” I would think to myself. “Why am I debating and discussing if it is ‘normal’ or ‘natural’ for someone to be gay?” At the end of the day I didn’t care what a person was, as long as they were respectful of me as a person, and I always had the intention of respecting them as a person. Did not matter if I “agreed” with their “lifestyle” or not.

I did not know it then, but that was the birthplace of a future Libertarian (Libertarian-ish, at least). 

John Kerry, John Edwards, and my continued support for W. 


The 2004 Election came up and I was truly in deep. The GOP headquarters knew my name, I was attended rallies, they sent me and my buddy on a trip to CPAC in D.C., we had the workings for a Young Republicans club for me and my friend to chair, we were frequently meeting candidate for Governor Bill Lee, who enjoyed our youthful enthusiasm.

At that time, we had already begun the invasion of Iraq, which many were opposed to. At the time, foolish me thought about all the bad things surrounding Saddam Hussein, the Weapons of Mass Destruction, the chemical weapons, the people there at the mercy of an authoritative regime…and we had begun already. The respective branches of the Government conceded, so did some key ally nations.

Virtually every student I can remember was in support of John Kerry. In their eyes, George W. Bush was a warmongering doofus who wanted to take all the oil Iraq had to offer and evoke a little revenge on behalf of his father, George H. W. Bush.

There I was, wearing my own self-made Bush shirts, sporting political phrases I came up with, being the fringe, not caving to the popular opinion, still moderately favoring President Bush all the way through, not believing in ulterior motives and actually lacking confidence in people like John Kerry and many of the Democrats, who at that time, a majority favored and voted for in favor of the Iraq War, including Kerry himself, who then continually struggled backtracking and defending himself.

Then along came Obama. 


Brace yourselves for the hopey-changey-hope.

When Barack Hussein Obama stepped into play, it was against John McCain and Sarah Palin, neither of which I could say I was a true fan of. At this point in my life, I was stepping away from Mormonism, and started becoming a little more socially liberal. At this phase, I started asking the questions “why should Government have the power over Marriage? Why are we having a legal fight over whether or not Gays can be wed? Who cares that deeply what another person is doing with another person, which is virtually not the business of anyone else.

There was many aspects to Barack Obama that were off-putting to me, namely when he declared Universal Healthcare. At that time I was slowly realizing that I did not support the ideas of Government having limitless powers over such unique, individualistic issues such as health care on a wide-scale. At this time, I was still covered by my Mother’s health insurance, but I knew that sooner or later I would be an adult and have to worry about this issue on my own. I took no comfort in the idea that the Government would mandate me into the collective for my own good.

And that is shortly what it became, did it not? People were told they could keep their Doctor, and they couldn’t. People were told they could keep their plans, and shortly some were consolidated and even eliminated. Those who refused to purchase Health insurance on the exchanges because of astronomical pricing or the feeling it was a useless wasteful expense opted to not sign up for insurance and pay a Government enforced penalty for not buying a service they either did not want or could not afford.

And in came rolling the turn toward Libertarianism…

Mind you, at this juncture, Obama had some slight wins in my book. Wanting to get out of Iraq, for one, as I was fed up with the continual struggle, was a positive, even if Obama turned out to be an utter failure in my opinion in terms of being “anti-war” (drone bombings abound, terrible ISIS approach, terrible Syria strategy). One thing Obama was excellent at: using technological platforms to push a message at the time that people felt was needed: Change. Thus in 2008, he narrowly swayed me to pulling the lever for him.


But the next 4 years were quite lackluster, and I was swayed by Mitt Romney in 2012 to vote Republican, along with a wave of tea-party conservatism. Obama stayed, some promising tea-party Republicans came into town…and nothing happened. Literally nothing happened. Only a few of those tea-party players turned out to be genuine in their character and conviction. It gave us names like Rand Paul, Thomas Massie, Mike Lee, Justin Amash, maybe a handful of others, but the rest were seemingly a charade. The Republican control did nothing…it quite literally sat on its hands, lead by Mitch McConnell, and waited for 2016.

2016: The Year of Insanity, The Final Straw, and the Limited Government Awakening


Then came 2015, Pre-Election season, the birth of FritzCast. I pretty much had enough, I was done playing games with such serious issues. I began reading the Declaration of Independence over and over again. I started to re-immerse myself in life long passions of American History, of Liberty, Freedom, Exceptionalism. I started off with it feeling promising…I had fallen prey to those sappy dank Bernie Sanders memes with the inspiring things he would say with all the socialism rhetoric seemingly cut out, thinking he was a likeable guy with high odds of beating establishment groomed and hand-picked Hillary Clinton. The Republican Party had 16 (SIX-EFFIN-TEEN) candidates…surely we would come to a head with great debates of different ideologies.

NOPE. Nope nope nope. Turns out Bernie, while a nice guy, was the polar opposite ideology of me, and he didn’t win anyway, so in turn you received a Legacy Name candidate (Hillary Clinton), and an unruly glorified Reality Television Star in Donald Trump, providing three of what I believe are the worst Presidential Debates to ever be aired on Television, two campaigns that were incredibly divisive, an ever more increasingly divided America that is continually losing sight of the ideals and principles that the nation was founded on, brilliantly written and highlighted in The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, all of which are whipped and beaten to the point where they’ve lost their spirit.

Consider this Chapter I, and I have only just begun.


Significant: Rand Paul endorses Gary Johnson


Gary Johnson, the man Libertarians love to hate. When Johnson was running for President in 2016, an often touted criticism was that the man “wasn’t Libertarian enough.” Some even outright disavowed him, saying that he didn’t fit the true Libertarian build. Austin Petersen, a rival nominee seeker, often coaxed Johnson into answering a question of whether a Jewish Baker should be forced to bake a cake for a White Supremacist Nazi (bridging the argument from recent disputes that were in the national spotlight surrounding MasterPiece CakeShop, an establishment refusing to bake cakes for Same-Sex wedding services on religious grounds). 

Gary Johnson is by no means a perfect man or a perfect Libertarian, but when people conjure up these images of the perfect person, the ideal person, I defy them to point out the one who WOULD be best suited and have no flaws, and that answer is always the same…there is none.

Gary Johnson may not have won the Presidency, but as a Libertarian (Third-Party) candidate, he did make history, almost hitting 5,000,000 votes (oh lets play a blame game…if it wasn’t for Stein/Baraka, he’d have surpassed that! Did that sound stupid? Good…stop using that lame excuse when your candidate loses and you try passing the buck to third parties…). While it did not achieve a 5% goal vote, it unlocked a lot of potential for the independent wave that is seemingly creeping in the American voter.


Many figured, myself included, that Gary Johnson would kind of just disappear after that. He’s had two presidential campaigns under his belt (2012; 2016), and for all intents and purposes it appeared as though he was not going to throw his hat in for a 2020 Round Three.

The funny thing about his Senate Seat run is that he wasn’t planning it.

According to this KOB4 TV article, The Libertarian Party of NM voted to nominate Gary as their candidate for Senator, after lone candidate Aubrey Dunn dropped his campaign citing that he needed to focus more time on his duties as New Mexico Public Lands Commissioner. Gary hadn’t campaigned, and when interviewed after receiving the LP nomination, stated he was “mulling it over.”

Then he graciously accepted, the media appearances are slowly rolling in, but just Tuesday evening, big news broke for Gary. He got a heavy hitting endorsement:


Kentucky Senator Rand Paul came out and officially endorsed Gary Johnson. Rand stated on his personal twitter account:

is a true fiscal conservative. As Governor, he reduced the size of government while improving services. He will be an important ally and a critical independent voice in the US Senate.

On the surface, a suppose someone not well versed in politics probably would think “OK, and is this significant or something?” BOY is it.

As you probably saw in the first image of this blog, Libertarian National Committee Chairman AND Libertarian Candidate for Mayor of Phoenix Nicholas Sarwark tweeted the truth: This is the first time a sitting Senator has endorsed a Libertarian candidate.

But what is even more telling is the fact that its a clear breakaway for Rand Paul in towing the GOP line. The current Republican nominee for New Mexico Senate is Mike Rich, and he has yet to secure any endorsements, even President Trump’s, though that could be forthcoming and possibly even stir in more juice to this story.

Without predicting such future moves however, let’s focus on this:

This is without a doubt a big opportunity for the Libertarian Party, even if Gary Johnson isn’t that quintessential Libertarian you want. To earn the endorsement of a Republican Senator known for his impact in the Republican Based “Libery Caucus/Liberty Movement,” who self-describes himself as “libertarian-ish,” is stunning, given the current political environment and absolutism in the current divide of party politics. A good check-up on this is Reason Magazine’s Matt Welch, who noted in this article that Johnson and Rand Paul aren’t exactly “buddy-buddy.”


Presently, Gary Johnson holds three individuals endorsements (his GOP and Democratic opponents hold only endorsements from organizations): Bill Weld, his former VP for the 2016 Presidential Election; Aubrey Dunn, who is already an elected LP official in New Mexico; and now REPUBLICAN SENATOR Rand Paul. Imagine what could happen if Representative Thomas Massie broke ranks and joined Paul in endorsing Johnson. Imagine if Justin Amash did so. Ben Sasse.

It should be noted that Gary Johnson is currently polling competitively against the Democratic and Republican nominees, with many polls still showing a healthy undecided voting body.

If Gary pulled out a victory, he would become the first elected Libertarian US Senator, shattering a wall that to this day mainstream media struggles to hold up, but still holds it up: that the Third Party isn’t legitimate. How often have you heard the words: It’s a wasted vote; Those voters are selfish; Those voters are causing all the problems; Just pick a side.

So with that, Gary my friend, FritzCast endorses you. I may be but a small man building up an independent podcasting network, but you had my vote for President in the 2016 Election, and were I a New Mexican, you would have it for Senate.

July 4, 1776


And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor. 

I have been very lite on producing blog posts lately, and my last podcast episode titled “Wit’s End” may be an indication of how I am too wrapped up in work and everyday life in the past few weeks that some of the political world matters just seem so trivial to me as of late.

For those who may not know me well, I take a deep pride in reflecting on history, and absolutely love American history, especially the period of the founding of the Nation and the Civil War era. Mind you I do not try to view these events in rose colored glasses, or unrealistically as to judge all those events by modern day standards and morality.

Independence Day has always been a significant, important day in my life. I grew up Mormon, a religion which extended even more gratitude for a Nation built on the concept of being free to practice ones religious beliefs. Because of that, it meant that Sunday School around the Fourth would more-so become a deep appreciation and history lesson in the founding fathers.

Part of me is having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that a church I have all but completely disassociated with planted such strong seeds of recognizing the value and remarkableness of America’s founding.

Another huge source of that appreciation was my family, through various forms of media, first and foremost namely a musical called 1776.

Yes, I said musical.

That musical.

You see it’s here-a-LEE, there-a-LEE, everywhere a-LEE-a-LEE.

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Is that silly? Probably, but even a quirky 70’s Musical telling of how the Colonies came to an agreement on the Declaration of Independence is not without its sincere and moving moments. That musical taught me (or at least planted the seeds that would soon be sparked with interest) so many different, actual things from the founding.

Things like the horror of war: A courier from General Washington is always bringing in dispatches to the Politicians. One evening while talking with the congressional custodian Andrew McNair, he sings a truly gripping song called Mama Look Sharp about a boy shot and wounded, his mother trying to find him before he dies for a last goodbye.

Things like the great struggle of the time period: Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence and therein included a scathing review of slavery you can read here. 1776 actually includes this passage in a scene where delegate Edward Rutledge of South Carolina questions Jefferson’s meaning of the passage, and then sings a truly haunting song called Molasses To Rum, in which he more or less calls out hypocrisy over the issue of slavery, noting how the Northern colonies benefit from the slave trade.


Things like the insurmountable odds of the Revolutionary War: Periodically, Secretary Thomson reads dispatches from General George Washington. As we watch the congress bicker, fight and eventually agree on the Declaration of Independence, Washington sends his final dispatch, which reads: At this time, my troops consist entirely of Rhode Island militia, and Smallwood’s Marylanders, a total of five thousand troops to stand against… twenty-five thousand of the enemy. As I write these words, the enemy is plainly in sight beyond the river, and I begin to notice that many of us are lads under fifteen and old men, none of whom can truly be called soldiers. How it will end, only providence can direct. But dear God, what brave men… I shall lose… before this business… ends.

These are all truly powerful messages wrapped up in a goofy musical, but I also believes it pulls it back into a little more realism: the founders were men, breaking away from one of the largest reaching nations on earth, with little in terms of resource, fighting against the oppression of a King they believed became a tyrant.

Add in a little line from a film called The Patriot, and you can start to see where even more of my philosophy and appreciation of politics and American History comes in to play: Why should I trade one tyrant 3,000 miles away for 3,000 tyrants one mile away. An elected legislature can trample a man’s rights as easily as a King can. 

It’s the Fourth of July, and I have no qualms about saying it: No, America is not perfect, nor was it ever. It’s founding was not some uphill battle, rather it was more like a mountain of severe impracticality. No founder was clean, pure, innocent or without flaw. They were human.

As we celebrate the birth of our Nation, let us return to the roots found in the Declaration of Independence:


Happy Fourth of July…I’ll live by these words til the day I die.

Why I Was Skeptical: The Tale of North Korea


Kim Jong Un with all the ladies…

Within the past day, reports have been dropping that Kim Jong Un and his North Korean regime are cancelling talks with South Korea and firing warning shots to the United States that it can more or less forget the planned summit between Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump if the talks and negotiations focal point will be the complete denuclearizing of North Korea, which they adamantly state is out of the question.

When reports first broke on ol’ Kimmy having a change of heart and wanting to talk, I thought to myself that it was just too good to be true, however in an effort to remain thinking positively, I adopted a cautiously optimistic approach to the situation, because at the end of the day, if North Korea and South Korea were gonna reunite and hold hands and love each other, that is without a shadow of a doubt a good thing, right?

Such a good thing in fact that it using it would be the perfect facade.

Trump and Kim meet? Shake hands? Sit at a table and discuss things? In front of the entire world? SET UP. I was literally Admiral Akbar in those moments, screaming:


Mind you, initially I did not believe in any of the unification talks about befriending South Korea, and was stunned when their peace summit came and went without a hitch, in a very positive and uplifting manner that was full of deep rooted symbolism. I did not expect that in the slightest, and watching it unfold was at times dare I say rather amazing.

Despite the grandeur, I still had very skeptical vibes going on about the whole situation. Things just were not adding up to justify such an abrupt change of heart.

Then some real dirt came into the news, but surprisingly mainstream sources really weren’t talking about it: Chinese scientists and surveyors believed that North Korea’s Nuclear testing site, Mount Mantap, had collapsed from sustained and prolonged testing, which it feared could mean radiation leaks that could find itself wafting towards China itself. See: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/04/25/north-koreas-mountain-mystery-is-punggye-ri-nuclear-test-site-still-functional/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.9f2500ffc792

I would like to rephrase that last paragraph to truly highlight the point: China came to town, found a Mountain in shambles and told Kim Jong Un that he was done.

Think about it for a minute. China is a Nation that while stumping on the campaign trail, then-Candidate Trump did not shy from saying that China was a good potential influence when it came to talking about North Korea and “rocket man.”

Well, no matter now right? Kim Jong Un and North Korea played a game of appearing soft and changing, but now it seems that just a few weeks away from another historic meeting, things suddenly intensify and things may in fact go wrong, so wrong that the historic meetings don’t happen.

This brings me to a Tom Nichols article that brilliantly highlights how Kim Jong Un possibly stacked the deck in such a way to make himself the stronger, smarter, “more winning” leader.

So now we have seemingly come full circle, as it were, where ol’ Kimmy has played South Korea, President Trump, the United States, and yes, the world, as fools. The cautious optimism is waning and slowly being replaced with more fierce skepticism, and undoubtedly as more information is revealed, the more my shift toward less intervention and affairs with North Korea becomes stronger.

Maybe it is too early to tell, but I will always remain extremely skeptical of political madmen (or women for that matter), even when the motivations at the moment seem sincere and noble. I always appear to be left wondering what the ulterior motive is.

But alas, my initial reaction when this news first broke in March:


Cars Are Killer


Disclaimer: I actually do not believe that there should be a ban on human operated Motor Vehicles. I simply wrote this, with statistics and data that I can most assuredly assume will someday soon, come to a heated political debate over a group of people who believe that any motor vehicle operated by human beings should be banned in the name of safety. In the words of Steven Crowder, Change My Mind…

In the United States, for the year 2016 there were 37,461 deaths that occurred thanks to 34,439 fatal car crash incidents, as reported by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute (IIHSHLDI) which was taken from the U.S. Department of Transportation Fatality Analysis Reporting System. Those are simply the fatalities, that does not really encompass other data such as: were the instances distracted/inattentive driving; Were drivers under the influence; Were any linked to safety failures or hardware/mechanical failures of the car itself; Were any of these in the elements of heavy rain/snow/ice; and so on.

Just for comparative purposes, Everytown For Gun Safety and Support Town, an organization that has been widely used to cite information and also contributed to the recent March For Our Lives event, gathers information from the CDC and FBI statistics. According to their estimation based off the numbers, Gun Homicides every year are almost 13,000, a marginally lesser number than car fatalities, in fact approximately 24,000 less. According to Everytown, it is roughly 96 Americans per day lost to gun violence, while Motor Vehicle Accidents roughly make up about 102 persons per day. If you think the numbers don’t add up, it’s because Everytown’s 96 per day estimation includes suicides, which even a quick Google Search of that fact will lead you to the New York Times of all places which will tell you practically two thirds (2/3rd) of gun related deaths are suicide.


That should not underplay the severity of suicides committed. The fact is that suicide typically isn’t accidental, rather it is an intentional act, and when factoring in someone’s state of mind or mental health when they have been pushed to the edge enough to be willing to take their own life, it becomes difficult, and there are so many what-if factors (including those who would be qualified in the assisted suicide category were that a legal option everywhere).

We could even phase out the suicides committed by firearm (according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, in 2016 just over half of the suicides were committed by firearm: 51%). Think of Japan, a nation with a pretty strict law against most every type of gun except for hunting and sport and even then a lengthy process for obtainment, yet they still hold one of the higher rates of suicide in the world.

Just for the bigger picture, the CDC puts the total US suicide rate for 2016 at 44,965. Sure, a little over half of them were committed via firearms, but that leaves almost an equal number where a firearm was not used, and reasonably we cannot assume that had a firearm not been accessible that the people who used firearms would not have still attempted suicide (again, see Japan).

According to Statista, one the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 55 is, *bing bing bing*, you guessed it, Motor Vehicle Crashes, a statistic you can double check on worldlifeexpectancy.com, where you will see from teenage years up through about the age bracket of 55-60, Motor Vehicle Incidents are easily always in the top 5 causes of death, and almost always beating out homicides.

Now, I know what route you are going to take in arguing against me on America’s huge Motor Vehicle problem, and that is that in many of the cases of the motor vehicle, killing was not intent. I will submit to you that cars are not a person’s first choice when choosing to kill someone, nor is it when choosing to commit suicide, though the suicide rate for cars is higher than the homicide rate.


But then I see things, like the videos or memes about “what if guns were as regulated as cars?” and I am left baffled for more than a few reasons, first and foremost being that driving a car/operating a motor vehicle is not a Constitutional Right. If you wish to operate any sort of moving vehicle other than a bicycle on a public roadway, you have to obtain a license which you have to purchase and either pass a written and practical exam or complete a Driver’s Education course which STILL requires a written and practical exam. You, for all intents and purposes, have no “right” to drive, even though there are some of my Libertarian friends who would claim that the whole driving eligibility process is a monopoly by the government and shouldn’t exist (Different argument for a different time, and none of this talk encompasses the Right to Travel arguments, that is a whole different can of worms and research that can be explored some other time, just roll with me theory here).

So think of this, yes, cars and driving are heavily regulated and yet STILL we have an astronomical death rate, with the leading cause being accidental, which breaks into varying different statistical categories like negligence and distracted driving, aggressive driving, driving under the influence, driving with a suspended or revoked license, driving without insurance and so on.

Nearly 40,000 deaths, yet safety regulations, licensing, inspections, and insurance requirements only seemingly keep that “low” number just off of the highest 1972 number of 54,589.


Why do I bring this entire thing up? Because despite those numbers, despite distraction and technology, despite the overall lack of safety…Americans still get in the car, still have their cell phone in reach, and according to a Survey conducted by All-State in 2011, willingly admitted to finding themselves engaged in these dangerous activities:

  • 89% driving faster than the posted speed limit; 40% admitting to over 20MPH over the posted limit (Ah, everyones doing it!)
  • 45% driving while excessively tired (I work long hours I can’t help it)
  • 15% driving while under the influence (…there is no justifiable reason)
  • 1/3rd sending a text message or an e-mail while driving (It’s only 2 seconds looking away). By the way the demographic breakdown of this 1/3 of drivers:
    • 63% of 18-29 year olds texting/driving
    • 58% ages 30-44
    • 25% ages 45-54
    • 6% ages 55-64; 2% above the age of 65
  • 7 out of 10 admit a distraction caused them to slam on their brakes and swerve to avoid an accident; miss a traffic signal, or actually cause an accident.

This does not begin to encompass other factors surrounding cars, like Fuel economy and pollution, the “carbon footprint” that you leave, if you will, but that cracks open the climate change debate which could blow this thing way in left field.

What I do know is the statistics. The National Safety Council breaks down your odds of dying:

1 in 91 for Suicide (#4 in the top 5 odds of dying, but the first one that isn’t some form of medical illness)

1 in 102 for Motor Vehicle Crashes

1 in 109 for Opioid Pain Killers

1 in 119 for…simply Falling down

1 in 285 for a Gun Assault

1 in 8,305 for an accidental gun discharge

That should not downplay someones point of saying even just one intentional death in cold blood by someone using a gun isn’t a worthy cause, because it is. It absolutely is a worthy cause. So is not wanting even one murder committed by knife, or blunt object, or bare hands. Do your odds change depending on the situation? Absolutely.

I am in no way suggesting that people haven’t done bad things with guns, or with cars, or knives, or with drugs, or with bombs, or with airplanes…but I am speaking honestly here. Car accident deaths lead in many demographics despite the fact that it is a common school subject in which kids are taught, and STILL Americans simply don’t care about it, sometimes willingly distracting themselves while driving with the odds ever high that their stupidity could possibly not only kill themselves but worse, others.

In all of that, however, I am not actually calling for a car ban, despite the fact that the data and statistics can all be lined up to make a compelling case that even though there are 220-ish million licensed drivers in the US, the risk is just simply too high: We’re all a bunch of douchebag cell phone checking speed gunnin’ distracted drivin’ bunch who won’t give up our cars.

Tell me I’m wrong…seriously, I don’t have any personal stake to claim, I just wrote it for S&G’s.







Social Media: A Cautionary Tale

Amid our hectic news weeks piled on with all sorts of junk you could get angered or enraged by, did a headline flash across your screen surround Facebook? Specifically something like this:

Facebook Cambridge Analytica Scandal

Well, if you haven’t, you can start educating yourself by reading up at these links:




courtesy of http://nymag.com/selectall/2017/09/the-following-me-list-on-facebook-is-a-hoax.html

To give you a very brief, run-down, small picture in my own words: Facebook had dealings with companies that ended up essentially mining data from users activity regardless of whether or not they directly permitted access to it. Cambridge Analytica is a company that had over 50 Million users data, and it is alleged that they also played a hand in Donald Trump’s election campaign.

The SCARY bit is this excerpt from the Ars Technica article sited above:

Where conventional political advertising uses crude demographic factors like age and ZIP code to target advertising, Cambridge supposedly used a technique called psychographics, which involves building a detailed psychological profile of a user that will allow a campaign to predict exactly what kind of appeal will be most likely to convince any particular voter.

Pyscho-whatnow? This all sounds pretty scary.

But fear not, according to this Fortune article, Cambridge Analytica were just real good at being players and getting saps to pay them attention or money, but really couldn’t deliver: http://fortune.com/2018/03/25/cambridge-analytica-wasnt-quite-what-it-claimed-to-be/

BUT WAIT…now that I have calmly reassured you that there aren’t big organizations out there that can build a fake you into algorithms and spin information to you a certain way, I will say this: We should probably be more cautious of what we do on the internet, we should probably demand more accountability of platforms like Facebook to safeguard privacy as they promise, and we probably should be mindful of every little thing we come across using technology.

For example, I forget the cool little things cell phones can do now, and my iPhone freaked me out a few weeks ago. The reason? My Bluetooth. At home, my bluetooth is almost always off, because I do hook up my phone to speakers all that often. If I go out to my car, however, when my car starts, my bluetooth in my phone kicks on and links up to the car.

OK, that is actually cool AND efficient, but it threw me for a loop for a day.

But you know what else my phone (or rather an app on my phone) did? It knew I was in my car, it knew where I was (at home), it knew I was going to work…because it gave me a brief report on traffic and an estimated arrival time. It will do the same thing when I leave work.

I have not set either as markers in my maps app. The phone simply has enough data to suggest that my home address is in fact home, and that my work address which I’m going to 5 days out of the week, is work.

REALLY handy feature, right? Hell, my wife for S&G’s (that is my family’s politically correct way of saying “shits and giggles,” so as not to offend, by the way) actually pinged my phone the other day and followed me on my drive home while we were talking.

These aren’t new functions, this is something that most cell phones have been capable of for at least 5 years, I just never actively thought about it or really used it, plus as the years change these things become more efficient.

But the whole experience really freaked me out, that my phone essentially knows exactly what I am doing, even if the data collection is merely time and location. When my wife was spouting off landmarks I was passing: “hehe, you just passed Wal-mart. You’re on the highway now. You just passed Arby’s.” This all SHOULDN’T surprise me considering how often I bust out the GPS, but more often than not I am surprised at just how much I am letting the technology in my life with rather unchecked power.

On the internet and social media, it is real easy to lose sight of that. When you sign up for a Twitter account or a Facebook page, Instagram, Snapchat, e-mail accounts, sure there are privacy settings you can utilize as provided by the company. You, as a user, instill trust on the organization to obey those standards they are saying they provide you, but even in those cases, anything and everything you do is out there. Yeah sure, you’ve put a padlock on it, but one good breach/hack and its sayonara info.

That does not even begin to factor in nefarious, deceptive, or lax practices on account of these social media platforms and even other websites. Read in a little deeper to the Facebook Data Breach, the Time Magazine article in the link back above:

 The company (Cambridge Analytica) is accused of buying millions of Americans’ data from a researcher who told Facebook he was collecting it strictly for academic purposes. Facebook allowed Aleksandr Kogan, a psychology professor at the University of Cambridge who owns a company called Global Science Research, to harvest data from users who downloaded his app. The problem was that Facebook users who agreed to give their information to Kogan’s app also gave up permission to harvest data on all their Facebook friends, as well, according to theGuardian.

See? It all started innocently with users consent, but quickly broke out of the agreed parameters. And this, by the way, stems back to 2014.

More reasons to be more cautious.

FritzFreshLook: Nintendo Switch

Before we begin the blog this week, I would like to introduce: FritzCast FreshLook, where I review something new to me just because. You can expect these periodically when it tickles my fancy. 

I remember when I was roughly 4 years old or so, maybe a bit younger, going to the store with my mother, who was buying one of the latest and greatest items of the time: A Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Prior to that I actually remember being very young playing the original Mario on the original Nintendo Entertainment System, and my personal favorite because of the plastic gun which made it a “point and shoot” game, Duck Hunt!


I remember when this was the coolest thing ever…and if the game cartridge didn’t work, you would blow on it and somehow that fixed it…

My childhood (any millennials from the very late 80s and early 90s) really had a chance to see the unique technology boom that encompassed nearly everything: video game console wars and evolution from Super Nintendo to disc based PlayStation to today’s 4K gaming; Beta Max to VHS to DVD to Blu-Ray to digital streaming services; cassette tapes and boom boxes to CD players (and the horrendous quality of portable ones), to iPods and finally your cell phone becoming an entertainment hub for ALL of the previous mentioned things; and the advancement of the world wide web.

That doesn’t even begin to cover the subgenres or how much detail you could go into with each category.

But Nintendo specifically is a company that has always held a standard somewhere in my life when it has come to gaming. I wouldn’t say that I am a big ol’ Nintendo fan boy, especially because I haven’t played every single “niche” or “highlight” Nintendo title; playing whatever the latest iteration of Mario really doesn’t count. I always thoroughly enjoyed titles on the Super Nintendo, the N64, the GameCube, but when we think of recent and current generation gaming, Nintendo was falling short in my eyes.


The Nintendo Wii system, the console that single-handedly made grown adults invite each other over to play with their Wii…

Take the Nintendo Wii for example: a system that was hyped up to change the gaming world, one that Nintendo slowly rolled out creating what seemed to be a huge market demand. I remember for a few months not actually being able to find a Wii in Delaware consistently; every store was getting a shipment of about 20 or so units in, you had to be in a line outside the store prior to opening, and they handed out a few redemption tickets to account for their stock.

Eventually, I did get that system and got to play some truly innovative games like Super Mario Galaxy, and enjoyed the gimmicky games like WiiSports that came with the system. Aside from a few games here or there, however, the entire system was a gimmick. Madden was a little fun at first, but in comparison to its competition, far too watered down. Shooters like Call of Duty 3 and Medal of Honor had an interesting new aspect to playing, but the controls always lacked a certain refinement, and again, war games were becoming graphical, life-like powerhouses on other systems. That left Nintendo driving the true innovation with their library of titles, all of which aren’t bad…just limited.


Nintendo Wii U…now with bulky, touch-screen game pad!

WiiU came out with another innovative twist: your controller was a giant game-pad, with a touchscreen built in to add a dynamic to gaming that previously didn’t exist. Many games were also able to utilize the gamepad screen as a secondary television, so someone could watch Netflix on TV while someone else played a WiiU game on the gamepad. Again, however, the system, not being a graphical powerhouse but respectable, relied too heavily on a gimmick and lacked third party support, thus making the console itself suffer. Nintendo put out respectable titles, third party slowly lacked, though I do recall Splinter Cell and Call of Duty Black Ops II, and where they lacked was more features compared to other consoles and online playability based on numbers alone.

Ultimately, the Wii and the Wii U ended up collecting dust. Nintendo DS, and 3DS had far more going for it and I figured I would just keep Nintendo in the back pocket as the mobile gaming option.

And then came Nintendo Switch, and with it a dynamic change.

So far with my experience, I like to tell people this is the one Nintendo “got right.” Taking all the elements of their previous two systems and integrated them to full potential, Switch is unique and innovative. Think about it, what gaming system do you know that you can plug into a dock to be hooked up to your TV, and play with either separated handheld motion capable controllers OR you can plug them in to a provided “joycon” which essentially turns your completely separate controllers into one solid pro-style controller? Not only that, some games can be two player affairs with those singular remotes (No need to buy a second remote in some cases). Finally, can’t use the TV? Want to take the game with you? Slide those controllers on the console, take it out of the dock and BOOM, you have a near-HD (720p) on-the-go take the whole game with you experience.

What’s that? You don’t like this lil’ Nintendo Wii-mote thingies? Fine, if you can’t adjust to using the joycon (which essentially is a pro-controller, just a tad bulkier), you can get Nintendo’s pro-controller and roll with that. Not only that, you can take this system on the go, utilize the built in kick-stand, and use it as a smaller portable television to play your game.


These controllers are versatile. Play the Switch like this; or attach them…


Simply lock the seperated controllers in this, and BOOM…one solid controller.


Or you can take those controllers, attach them to the console itself, and take that console on the go with its innovative touch screen.

And. It. Works.

It works beautifully, and I have only played three games on this system: Rocket League, Super Mario Odyssey; and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

I have played all games on both my 4K television and on the gamepad itself, and allow me to say that when the system is docked to your TV, you really do have a full-fledged 1080P system, and it looks mighty impressive. Mario in true HD is a gem, Zelda feels massive, and Rocket League is literally a junker game I bought because once upon a time when my ps4 account wasn’t down, I got it free and just fell in love with the silliness of radio controlled rocket cars playing soccer in a demo-derby style.

All three games are nearly flawless on the big screen, but the fact that you can slide the controllers onto the unit itself and take it wherever, still having full fledge wonderful games is spectacular. Not only that, Nintendo Switch has engaged various third party producers for older games that still hold up. Successful ports include Elder Scrolls Oblivion (…yes, the whole game, in HD, and can play on the go); L.A. Noire, which is a crime classic throwback which I enjoyed with a few storyline gripes; Payday 2; Bayonetta 2; Resident Evil: Revelations collect; all of which have received stellar or mostly positive reviews for the Switch editions, and there’s rumor more will come, including a possibility of Diablo 3 getting a port. This tells me that the Switch has market appeal for resurrecting somewhat older but wildly popular games and giving them a breath of fresh air.

Not only that, but this gives me hope that third party appeal upticks a little bit. For the first time in a while you can find a major sports title on the Switch with FIFA and NBA 2K, as well as WWE 2K…however two of those received well less than favorable reviews, which may be expected with a new system and the games themselves being mere ports from mega-power house systems.

Nintendo Switch just crossed its 1 year anniversary and the only shortcoming may be available titles right now, but if the scuttlebutt is true, there is massive potential for this very innovative, multi-faceted system. It could use some support, like third-party apps (think Netflix, Hulu and the like), but for what it is worth:

Overall, I would say this system has a lot going for it.

The Constitution, Rights, and Restriction


“The constitution is not some list of the limited rights that the people have because in our system the Government is limited, and the People’s rights are limitless,” is a quote I once heard in a video of speech delivered by Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse. It was a line that really made me think deeply…the constitution is something I often take pride in knowing, take pride in keeping my pocket edition around with me just to read occasionally, and as a more libertarian-leaning millennial, I have comes to grips with some facts about the constitution, rights, and regulations.

The Constitution needs serious respect, especially in a day and age where more and more we find stories in the news targeting the rights listed therein. While to some it may be some aged piece of paper, written by only men in the 17-somethings, and they argue specifically that the second amendment was written at a time of “flintlock muskets,” a gun in which military men could at extreme proficiency fire off three shots in a minutes worth of time, people seem to lose sight of the actual underlying purpose of the constitution.


The founders in framing this document wanted to declare rights, and it is brilliantly stated in the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident…

We believe that these are facts, and that they are obvious…

That all men are created equal

That every human being is level, sharing a commonality especially at their very birth,

That they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights

That whether you believe it be given from a God or simply ingrained in nature itself, every person has rights which CANNOT be taken from them or given to them. They simply HAVE these rights.

That among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

That they most importantly include an individual’s right to their own life, they have the freedom from restrictions and oppressions from an authority in terms of their life, their behavior, their religious practices and their political views, but also that there are many more inherent and essential rights of the people.

As much respect as I have for the constitution, I have slowly evolved from calling myself a “constitutionalist,” as we all have seen throughout history that the Constitution has not been implemented perfectly, and has been subject to change at the guise of “democracy,” which Plato called “A charming form of government, full of variety and disorder.”


Democracy is a word I often cringe at, because Democracy is falsely equated to what our system of governance is. Democracy is in all factuality the tired saying of “two wolves and a sheep voting on what is for dinner.” A “majority-rules” aspect should always frighten people, and with good reason; majority rules means that the mob can rule. It was a majority of people at one point who thought it was OK to own individuals and treat them as they saw fit, including rather inhumane things, based on the differences in their skin color; it was a majority of people that agreed that the indigenous people could be taken advantage of, ridiculed, killed, and driven off to reservations, and that was ok; it’s a line from the movie The Patriot that truly is remarkable for a film of loose history and more creative fictionalization, when the main character Benjamin Martin exchanges words with Peter Howard:

HOWARD: We are citizens of an AMERICAN Nation, and our rights are being threatened by a tyrant three thousand miles away!

MARTIN: Will you tell me, please, Mr. Howard, why should I trade one tyrant three thousand miles away for three thousand tyrants one mile away? An elected legislature can trample a man’s rights as easily as the King can.


Yes, a majority declaring something does not inherently make that thing a good or a wise or a “right” thing, and part of the idea in the construction of the Constitution was to set barriers in place to try and carve in stone certain things that a Government should have no power over, and you would think with advancement in humanity, that we would be in an even freer state than the years before, but in reality, it has become a sharp game of give-and-take.

Think on the grander scales, but ones that are far less talked about in the media. Thanks to intelligence gathering, Americans Fourth Amendment right to privacy and protection against warrantless search has been eroding. People say you sacrifice it by simply owning a smartphone, but that isn’t necessarily true. As technology continues to expand and dominate our lives, Fourth Amendment battles arise, whether it is the Government trying to force a private company to create a back door access for them or simply mass meta-data collection of everyone’s digital footprint just because.

The first amendment, protecting some quintessential freedoms from Government abuse, include the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, freedom to peaceable assemble to petition the government for a redress of grievances. This is something we have seen battled across college campuses and in political discourse, with safe spaces and trigger warnings and social media alike. It has broadened the debate.

With a rise in school shootings comes the debate over the Second Amendment, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” This is taking on a very heated debate, in what I described in my latest podcast episode as a “sharp divide” in the people, and that the dialogue taking place has boiled to extremes. Take CNN’s town hall on the matter: An event packed with a local community, with kids and their parents who have been shaken to their core, their lives forever changed, trauma that can never be erased or fully healed. Emotions were at an all-time high.

And when emotions are at an all-time high, sometimes the discussion becomes arguments of absolutes. The dividing lines become sharp: either you agree to our requests, or you hate children and love the fact they die at the hands of guns; a sentiment that simply is not true. The other hand, is a crowd who says “The second amendment is non-negotiable; no we won’t agree to mag limits, to bump-stock bans, to ammo restrictions, in fact we don’t even like the auto ban,” and so on. The “WE WON’T COMPROMISE” crowd. The two clashing against each other creates sharp divides of extremes that leave those of us in the middle, as we are on a lot of other issues, in the dust with no legitimate shot of discussion because of how absolute these two extreme and vocal divides have become. Who wants to try to stand up to a sea of voices yelling, screaming, who won’t even initiate an open dialogue about it, they’ll simply point at the gun and tell you you’re wrong so long as you support the gun; that you supporting a person’s right to own a firearm means you have hate in your heart, that you like killings, that you want to do nothing, that you do not have a genuine care for any of the victims.

This is what I have viewed, and it has left me in a very lost place. I won’t stand atop my soapbox screaming to everyone and over everyone that I absolutely have a perfect idea that is sure fire and will work. I am not going to say that my answer will please everybody. I will not conform to either side of the argument to appease the masses of those sides. The dialogue that should be had is lost in the fray of two volatile groups that consistently find ways to turn the heat up on each other.


No Controversy: The Philadelphia Eagles


Here come the UNDERDOGS!

It has been one of the most unprecedented seasons I have ever watched as an Eagles fan, a journey that began LONG ago, watching Donovan McNabb place in amazing performances with a somewhat lackluster offensive supporting cast. The names were like Freddie Mitchell, nicknamed Fred-Ex, who once said of a LUCKY 4th and 26 catch “I’d just like to thank these hands…”; Or Todd Pinkston, whom I am not sure I could even give you a rough stat line of. That isn’t to say the team was completely void of talent, but The Eagles of the 2000’s leaned heavily on a strong offensive line, the feet and unpredictability of Donovan McNabb, the quick footed and hard to keep down Brian Westbrook, and a STELLAR defense headed by Jim Johnson, with names like Jeremiah Trotter, Jevon Kearse, Lito Shephard, Sheldon Brown, and the icon Weapon X, Brian Dawkins.

The Eagles of the 2000’s I often remember being “close, but no cigar.” Year after year I watched success, playoff games, and stinging NFC Championship losses, all the way up until the acquisition of Terrell Owens, which bolstered the team into Super Bowl XXXIX against The Patriots. Oddly enough, the Eagles faced The Vikings in the Divisional round of the playoffs, and the Falcons in the NFC Championship to secure the Super Bowl trip…this year they defeated the Falcons in the Divisional round and the Vikings in the NFC Championship. But let me not get ahead of myself…this all started at the beginning of the year.


Carson Wentz

Last season, which was the first year for Head Coach Doug Pederson and Star QB Carson Wentz, the Eagles went 7-9, which in my book was respectable as hell. Brand new coach, brand new #1 draft pick QB…we’re gonna have a little growing pains. I fully expected a better season this year. The Eagles started strong, with Carson Wentz looking comfortable heading into his second year, hell even somewhat dominant. Carson was building up an MVP season. Despite struggles game-by-game, the Eagles kept winning…even in the face of great adversity.

When 9-time Pro-Bowler Left Tackle Jason Peters was injured and lost for the season, many of us Eagles fans felt that it was a heavy hit. Yet somehow, even through a few rocky games, Halapoulivaati Vaitai sealed the deal in the NFC Championship game proving a worthy heir.

But then Running Back and Special Teams god Darren Sproles was lost for the season, an explosive option that often can be the spark to really get the offense burning. The Eagles solicited help from former Eagle Kenjon Barner for the returns, but went a step further with a brilliant stroke of luck nabbing Jay Ajayi from a Dolphins organization that wasn’t liking him, and with Legarrette Blount and Corey Clement, the Eagles Rush game can become quite a handful.

Jordan Hicks, often cited as the Quarterback of the defense, took an injury leaving him out for the season sometime in October, yet the Defense persisted as the ranked #4 unit in the NFL. Kicker Caleb Sturgis also suffered an injury, but his lead to the emergence of rookie sensation Jake Elliot, who most memorably booted a 61-yard Field Goal as time expired against team rival New York Giants.

But all of those injuries were just the tip of the iceberg…Carson Wentz, having a breakout year, shattering Eagles records, persisting, utilizing his heavy X-Factor to make plays that are just quite frankly impossible, you’ve never seen any other Quarterback pull off what this kid pulls off. And in one fatal moment, Carson Wentz too succumbs to Season Ending injury.

The critics had spoken: This was it. That’s too much. You Eagles are done. There’s no chance for playoffs or a Super Bowl now.


Nick Foles, back-up Quarterback to Carson Wentz, and former Eagles starting QB for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. 

Nick Foles is an interesting story, and truly a victim of circumstance I believe. Chip Kelly waltzed in to the Eagles with Nick, who took off with his offense, produced a 7-Touchdown pass game against the Oakland Raiders, and registered a Pro-Bowl year. Then, for some bizarre reason (Because Chip Kelly was a HORRIBLE NFL coach) he found himself traded to St. Louis, in exchange for Sam Bradford.

I never forgave Chip Kelly for such an abominable move, as I had developed into a pretty huge Nick Foles fan and felt the guy got snubbed by Mr. Know-It-All. I still followed Nick hoping he would find his success, while watching in frustration as Chip Kelly single handedly decimated the Eagles team. When Chip got the boot…I was not the least bit upset. Good riddance.

And here Nick sits, among some of the worst doubters in the media, taking the reigns of Carson Wentz’s Philadelphia Eagles, somehow someway having driven them through the playoffs to Super Bowl LII. In fact, Nick turned in one of the best performances of a Quarterback through his two playoff victories. And his stat line against the Minnesota Vikings, holding the #1 Ranked Defense in the NFL? Look:


Mind you, the true testament here is the TEAM work. This team bonds unlike most any other football club in the NFL, and a lot of it revolves around faith and spirituality (SEE: https://www.foxsports.com/nfl/story/strong-faith-binds-eagles-attracts-new-fans-012818) but also in chairty, not only from Carson Wentz but players like Chris Long who donated his entire salary (https://www.inc.com/brian-hart/philadelphia-eagles-star-chris-long-donated-his-entire-salary-to-charity-heres-what-leaders-can-learn-from-it.html); but also because as you’d hear from most of the players, its all about having fun.

So the Eagles, down-trodden and marked as the underdog in every playoff game this year, including in the Super Bowl show-down against the Patriots, continue to fuel their game with the hate and doubt cast their way.

And this is a big game, and this is a big moment. I am well past where I was years ago in 2004/2005, Super Bowl XXXIX, watching Andy Reid mismanage a clock and Donovan McNabb undergo some sick vibes as the Patriots booted a field goal and took the win.

This whole year has been a different year, this whole team has been a different team, this whole season has been unprecedented…

And we ain’t done yet. There’s one more game to go. And if this team does it…they will forever be solidified as THE team.

BRING ON SUNDAY. I will be wearing my trusty authentic #54 Jeremiah Trotter Jersey, with friends and with family. Never before have I been this pumped for my Eagles. Tom Brady and the Patriots don’t scare me.

We all we got, we all we need!


FLY, Eagles FLY!

On the road to victory!


Score a touchdown 1, 2, 3

Hit ’em low!

Hit ’em high!


FLY, Eagles FLY!



My True Meaning of Christmas


This past week on my podcast, in the episode titled “Christmas and Taxes,” I discussed how Christmas was when I was a kid; basically an excitement fueled day on Christmas Eve, with a sleepless night filled with my mini-TV playing 24-hours of A Christmas Story to pass the time til Christmas Morning, when I could wake everyone up at 6:30 or 7:00 in the morning. There was a genuine magic at leaving the living room Christmas tree, with a barren tree skirt underneath, and trotting down the stairs hours later to see it flooded with wrapped gifts. Being the youngest in my family of 8, it was always a sea of gifts, and Santa Claus somehow knew every year which section of the space around the tree belonged to which sibling (mine was the far right corner, and subsequently also bridged to in front of the television).

As an adult looking back, I wonder if it was bad that I found such joy in that. That pure excitement of gifts, that drove me to the point of never sleeping (and I mean, not even a wink. I never, ever could get to sleep Christmas Eve. Maybe I dozed by 4 or 5 in the morning, but just for that hour before it was actually time to wake everyone up.) But something truly sticks out to me every year, and partly because of how I am employed in Corrections and actually haven’t had a full Christmas Day off at all in my 5 year career. Did I really enjoy getting stuff at Christmas as a kid? Yeah, I did…but more so I enjoyed the entire family being gathered to be together, to give and receive gifts, to enjoy a buffet dinner laid out, and really to not have another care or focus in the world…all the things that I seemingly do not get enough of now.

Ask my wife and she will probably tell you that I have a deep love of the season, but not a moment before thanksgiving. Thanksgiving Day or immediately following, however, I bring down all our Christmas decorations. I grab the step ladder, head outside and begin setting up my humble display (Which right now consists of icicle lights that we agreed I would replace after this year, two strands of blue Christmas lights which we agreed I would replace after this year, and a lawn inflatable Yoda, standing atop a stack of Christmas presents, wearing a Santa Hat and holding a candy cane cane, which we agreed I will never replace and will remain forever…)

We sit down and assemble our ever-expanding Lego Christmas Town, each year traditionally buying the new release of the set. We got to the local gardening center and find a fine, real live Christmas tree and a wreath for the front door. I assemble an epic playlist of Christmas Music headlined by The Rat Pack, Elvis, and even my quirkier modern-day likes of The Piano Guys, Chicago, and We Wish You A Metal Xmas (the latter for some reason doesn’t go over well with a lot of people…but Lemmy Kilmeister sings a mean Run Run Rudolph, and what doesn’t beat Ronnie James Dio singing God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen?).

It is funny, because you would think for someone like me, a struggling agnostic who removed himself from religion but not necessarily the principles he was taught from it, would probably have mixed emotions about Christmas, but I don’t really. It is a season that truly brings a little joy and festivity, a spirit unlike any other in comparison. It is a time for gifts and giving, a time for family and friends gathering, for festivity, for bright Christmas lights and decorations, for classic Christmas cartoons and Rankin/Bass musicals. Yes, it’s even the time of nativity scenes, lit candles, and memorials.

But most importantly, it is the time to recognize how blessed you truly are despite all the little things that pile up and overwhelm you. The things that make you think life is terrible. That seemingly always happens to me around this time of year…really at Thanksgiving and just beyond. Recognize the blessings: Health, family, a house, a car, a job, healthy pets, good friends.

Merry Christmas.