Thoughts on entertainment, politics, technology, and of course, The Dallas Cowboys

Letter to the editor of the Santa Clarita Signal


Dear Editor of the SCV Signal,

This week parents were told that the Saugus High School Band would not be playing at home basketball games because the represent a “disruptive influence that provides and unfair advantage.” As I understand the story, a coach of a rival team across town complained to the district and league officials that Saugus, who had won the game in the night in question, had an advantage because the visiting team was distracted.

Well boo hoo. Forget for a moment that this so-called “disruptive influence,” failed to secure victories at any other home contest last year, there is a reason why it's called a home field advantage. There's more fans rooting for the home team, there's cheerleaders, alumni, and the fact that the home team is on their home court. Having a band to play during breaks in the action is just a part of the pagentry of high school sports.

And even then, there's another side of the gym that has the same amount of bleacher seats and if a visiting team wants to be represented and equal the proverbial playing field, they are more than welcome to bus their own ticket paying fans to the game, and if memory serves, their fans just didn't turn out to the support their team. And this wasn't a case where a high school was traveling a hundred miles or so to play a contest and so few fans make the trip, this was merely across town, and only a few dozen showed up.

How will this silly rule prepare high school players for the loud and hectic pageantry of college sports? How will limiting a band's performance time make them better or give them exposure to playing before large crowds? The answer is, it won't.

What's next? No cheerleaders? Maybe limiting them to only three or four pom poms? Limited home seating? Why not just play without any fans at all? Just two teams always on a neutral court behind closed doors. How boring.

To tell the band they are limited to no more than 25 players, and eight minutes of total playing time for all games on any given date is the latest “gem” from the thinking that giving participation trophies make kids feel better after they've lost, and good intentions rarely prepare them for the real world where there are winners and loosers. Thats' why it paves the so called “road to hell.”

I'm reminded of the words of legendary football coach Steve Spurrier who responded to a complaint by a losing coach … “Well, if you don't like it, get some better players and coach better.”

The Saugus High School, or any other band for that matter, should not have to suffer or be to blame because of the sour grapes of a bad sport who isn't teach his team how to overcome adversity. But the team leader in question instead cries to league officials with an entitled spirit.

It is my hope that district and league officials will reconsider this silly decision, and remember what high school sports is all about … the competition, and teaching students how to overcome difficult conditions, because life doesn’t always play by the rules.


James DeRuvo
Saugus, CA

Memo to 2016 GOP Candidates ... My Power Rankings


With just two weeks to go to the first GOP Presidential Debate, I thought I'd give my first impressions of the lineup of declared GOP candidates.  

Carly Fiorina ... she's been crushing it lately, gives a great speech, and handles interviews with aplomb. I like her ideas and her wry sense of humor. She would've been made a great governor for California, I think. But without having that experience, I find it harder to consider her for President of the United States. Sure, she ran HP, so she has executive experience, but she also nearly ran it into the ground.To the point where she was removed as CEO. But I'm paying attention to her, to see what her ideas are and if she can crack into the top 10. 

Chris Christie ... I love that he pretty much tells reporters off when they ask a stupid question. He's not afraid of the fact they buy ink by the barrell. And I dig that. It's refreshing. But even though he's a Republican that's gotten elected in a state that is dominated by Democrats, he hasn't done all that well as a Governor. His hype is way better than his track record. But he should be fun to watch on the campaign trail.

Lindsay Graham - One minute he's a valuable conservative asset, the next minute he's part of the gang of eight selling us out. So frankly, he just can't be trusted.

Ted Cruz. I love Ted Cruz. And that's why he needs to stay in the Senate. He takes bold stances and isn't afraid of ruffling Mitch McConnell's feathers. He's an excellent foil and at the very least gives conservatives that Mr. Smith vibe. So I think he should stay right where he is. In time, he could become the new lion in the senate.

Marco Rubio. After a hiccup with immigration reform, Rubio has been doing really well taking principled conservative stands.  But at this point, if he left the Senate to run, he'd likely end up being in a similar fashion as Dan Quayle as VP. And I think he can do better than that. So I'm looking at him down the road. He should stay in the Senate for while longer or run for Governor before going after the big chair at 1600 Penn. But he could be a very good president some day.

Rand Paul. Though he's a conservative Republican, he listens to his dad WAY too much. And that gives me pause. Plus, I'd rather stand with Rand in the Senate. Still, he's about the best looking candidate in a pair of ray bans since Kennedy.

The Donald. He may be a successful business man (who filed bankruptcy at least twice, btw), but as a public figure, he's a buffoon. I like that he's willing to say things that nobody else has the balls to say, but that's a two way street and there's likely more skeletons in his closet that would make him more ofa  liability than an assett. He also said in an interview that he "identifies as a Democrat," which leads me to believe his political philosophy is like his business ... he'll go where the wind blows. I also haven't discounted that he's part of what I call Clinton's Perot strategy. Get an outspoken popular business man who has a nacissistic ego to run, and when he doesn't get the nomination, decides to go third party and split the GOP vote, giving the Democrat the win with less than a plurality. It worked for Bill, it could work for Hillary.  So Trump has to go, brutally, and quickly. 
And who the hell says that if his daughter wasn't related to him, he'd probably be dating her?! Please, Donald, go away. Your fired.

Sarah Palin. Please god, don't let her run. She's not only a distraction, but she quit when the going got tough. She may be a fun annoyance and a fireball for delivering the red meat at CPAC, but if you nominate her, you may as well just give the Democrats another four years.

Dr. Ben Carson. Not even. I like his voice as a talking head, but the last thing we need is another candidate with no experience trying to learn how to run the most powerful country on earth through on the job training. That's what we got the last time and we all know how that has ended up. He just doesn't have it. He can learn to have it, sure. Run for Congress. Run for Senate. Run for Governor.  Would I want him in my head saving my life? Absolutely. Would I want him going up against ISIS or being strong standing up against Putin? He's not the guy.

Mike Huckabee. I'll never forgive him for what he did to Mitt Romney in 2008. That pretty much guaranteed Obama was president. 

Bobby Jindal. We need strong governors, and the fact that he's popular in Lousianna, a largely blue state means he should stay there and be a driving force in the party. At best, he'd be a VP and he may be running for that. But he'd do way more good staying where he is.

Jon Kasich. I like him. But I like Walker better.

Rick Perry. Though he's done well bringing jobs to Texas, my understanding is that he wasn't very popular with the people I know who live there. And that tells me something. Still, I liked his stand on the border, and I like him in the race. But he's kind of a stuffed shirt.

Jeb Bush. He kind of has an entitled attitude about him. He's a Bush, that should be enough. Well, sorry. Please, no more Bushes. But outside of his name, everthing you need to know about Jeb can be summed up in two words ... common core. He helped craft it and still believes in it. That's enough for me to say no thanks.

Rick Santorum. While I like his stance on abortion, I really don't want a repeat of the New York Senate race. Hillary knows how to beat him. Let's not go there. Also, he's been out of the game for awhile and I don't think he could gain that kind of momentum.

George Pataki.  I've always liked him. Was elected twice in the bluest of blue states. Good fiscal conservative. But I'm unsure about his social stands. he's also been out of the game for awhile. But as a VP, it could be a good choice.

One choice I would love to see in the mix ... Nicki Haley. She's awesome. Successful governor in South Carolina. And I'm torn to keep her there. She's got a future, to be sure. Another ... Alan West. Love that guy. Wish he had won his congressional race. Tough conservative. Marine. He'd definitely have our back. Also, Tim Scott. but again, we need him in the Senate for at least another term. Good guy though.

But so far, here's my pick ... Scott Walker. He's the guy. He stood up to the most powerful union in Wisconsin twice ... and WON. He has proven he can take the heat in the kitchen. He took a deficit and turned it into a surplus and was relected for his trouble. He's got the skills, the track record, and the experience. Couple his conservative bonafides with the mettle to fight the fight, and in a perfect world, this election would be his to lose.

Memo To: Chef Mario Batali


re: The wrong challenge

Dear Mario ... first off, let me say, loved you on Iron Chef, but I hate the Crocs.  Now that's out of the way, we can get to your Food Stamp Challenge and why I submit that it's the wrong challenge for America to take.

I will say this.  Raising awareness is always a good exercise and has value.  But when you're advocating only half the solution, it's really not going to help anyone.  I do agree that as Americans, we need to understand the challenges that come with making a nutritious meal on a Food Stamp budget.  It's hard.  Damn hard.  Especially when kids want Happy Meals and mom is dreaming of the  Food Network lifestyle that is your reality.

And I also agree that we as a nation should decide that “there has to be a standard of living that we [nationally] decide to support.”  But what we don't agree on is how to get there.  You want the government to provide more services, which means a greater drain on limited treasury.  Sure, we could tax people like you at a far higher rate.  But then you wouldn't have that extra money to hire that young, up and coming chef or you'll have to raise the prices at those posh 4-5 star restaurants you own to cover the shortfall.  Either way, jobs aren't being created and people are being taken off those Food Stamps.

Since the current Administration came into power, over 15 million Americans have been added to the Food Stamp rolls, nearly 1 in 4 Americans getting food stamps from the government. And you know, that sucks.  You're right.  It's not enough.  But we don't need to be aware how getting help to feed our family sucks.  That's a given.  We need to be reminded HOW TO GET OUT OF IT.

You want richer Americans to live for a week on a Food Stamp budget.  That's a good idea.  But it's only half the solution.  And that's where I have another challenge for you ...

My challenge for you is to call your buddies Michael Symon, Bobby Flay, Paula Deen, and any other Food Network celebrity that owns a bunch of successful restaurants.  Then, have them call their buddies who have restaurants.  And so on.  And get them to have a week where your restaurants will serve ONLY FOOD STAMP recipients.  Give them the royal 5 star treatment in exchange for their food stamps.  Remind them what they should be striving for.  And then remind them that after this week is over, they'll never be able to get that life living on those same Food Stamps.  While they're thinking about it, hand them a lighter and ask them to BURN THEIR FOOD STAMPS or pay the restaurant bill.

Now sure, you and your A List Celebrity Chefs will take a bath on restaurant costs for a week.  But so what?  You can afford it.  And I bet you can even get some of your Food Network and ABC sponsors to underwrite it all.  It makes for great PR.

And a year later, how many people do you think will still be on Food Stamps because of your challenge, or mine? Because at the end of the day, it's a taste of what's better that motivates us, not being given more of what doesn't.

Memo To: Colin Powell


re: Resignation from the GOP accepted. Feel free to add a (D) to your name at any time.

Hearing your comments regarding Governor Palin and Rush Limbaugh I had to laugh at the typical nature of how you do business. Always embracing those outside our party, and thumbing your nose at the base. You feel that way? You want to grind an axe over how silly you looked after no WMD was found in Iraq (yet). Feel free.

But at least Sarah Palin had the balls to run for national office. What did you do? Oh yeah, cower and listen to the wife say you couldn't lead because she feared your safety. Hell, even President Elect Obama had the courage to run for change.

What did you do? Deny your place in history and make him the "transformational figure." You could've been that first African American president. Instead, you turned your back on a party which had tried to get you into the race for three election cycles now.

You don't like Rush? Fair enough. But I don't see you showing up every day and offering cogent analysis of how the government is run. I don't see you running a daily national talk show and showing up every day to offer pearls of wisdom on how to make this country better.

The bottom line,is you've become too used to playing from the sidelines. Being the Monday morning commander in chief. And since you've left the State department, you've consistently tossed in w/ the left. So go. Good riddance.

To paraphrase A Few Good Men: "We use words like tradition, values, low taxes and liberty. You use them as a criticism. I have no inclination to listen to a man who rises and sleeps under that freedom and then questions those who seek to serve it.I would rather you just said "thank you" and be on your way. Otherwise, I suggest that you get on the campaign trail or pick up a microphone.

Either way, I don't give a damn how you think the Republican party should act."

You left it a long time ago.



re: Mentors

Gentlemen, in case you haven't noticed, Green Bay's #4 wants a to come back to the game and wants a new home. You've got his #1 fan starting at QB. So how's this for an idea ... trade for Brett and pay him bank to be Romo's backup.

Sure, Brad Johnson is a fine backup, but I'd bet #9 would rework his deal so you can afford #4 for the chance to learn directly from the man he's play like since he was a kid.

Just a thought.

Billy Ray Cyrus


re: One word - RESTRICTION

Dude, you need to take that cellphone away from your daughter and get her one that doesn't come with a camera.

Mémo à Barack Obama:


re: La langue écart

M. Obama, avez-vous parlé avec Condoleeza Rice en français récemment? Peut-être Russe? Espagnol alors! Allemand? Pas du tout?

Г-н Обама, вы побеседовали с Condoleeza Райс на французском языке в последнее время? Значение русского языка? Испанский то! Немецкий? Не на всех?

Sr Obama, ¿ha hablado con Condoleeza Rice en francés recientemente? Quizás ruso? Español luego! Alemán? No, en absoluto?

Herr Obama, haben Sie sprach mit Condoleeza Rice in französischer Sprache vor kurzem? Vielleicht Russisch? Spanisch dann! Deutsch? Überhaupt nicht?


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