…by CODY CAIN (2016)

So what is Trump up to here in being so overly simplistic? Well, the conventional wisdom is that Trump is a demagogue who intentionally seeks to exploit the “poorly educated” by appealing to them with simplistic messages that in truth carry no substance.

Based on pure demographic statistics, and leaving aside the deplorable lack of ethics of exploiting others, Trump’s approach is grounded in a rational basis. The vast majority of Americans, approximately 70 percent, possess the intelligence level of only average or below, which is roughly at or below a high-school level. Only 10 percent of the population is regarded as superior or above. So Trump’s strategy seems apparent: Aim low to capture more people.

This is exactly what our Founding Fathers feared when they created this new system of democracy. They were concerned that an abominable candidate would come along and charm the masses of uneducated voters, and then the intellectual minority would be forced to suffer the imposition of an imbecile as their president.

It is scary enough to think that a presidential candidate of today would conduct a campaign specifically targeted at the millions of voters with fourth-grade mentalities.

It is even scarier to think that such a candidate is only one step away from occupying the White House.




John Stuart Mill’s essay “On Liberty,” specifically this famous passage:

The whole strength and value, then, of human judgment, depending on the one property, that it can be set right when it is wrong, reliance can be placed on it only when the means of setting it right are kept constantly at hand. In the case of any person whose judgment is really deserving of confidence, how has it become so? Because he has kept his mind open to criticism of his opinions and conduct. Because it has been his practice to listen to all that could be said against him; to profit by as much of it as was just, and expound to himself, and upon occasion to others, the fallacy of what was fallacious.


“Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel”.

“Nero fiddles as Rome burns.”

“The Emperor wears no clothes.”

Senor, senor, let’s disconnect these cables
Overturn these tables
This place don’t make sense to me no more
Can you tell me what we’re waiting for, senor?
Bury the rag deep in your face
For now’s the time for your tears.
While one who sings with his tongue on fire
Gargles in the rat race choir
Bent out of shape from society’s pliers
Cares not to come up any higher
But rather get you down in the hole that he’s in.



Eternal hell fire.  Burn forever.  Scary at age 7.  Fear still in there at eighty.  Doubting Thomas?  “Looking for loopholes”(W.C.Fields).

Madeleine Albright just described herself as religious  with doubts.   Someone suggested one couldn’t be genuinely religious without some doubt.

Don’t know why the Pope’s declaration that there is no hell got so little attention. That’s great news for some of us.  More than anything said in America lately.

It is hard to know who to listen to.  No first to politicians.   Or radicals of either ilk.  Religion was the bedrock of my youth.   I remember people saying about one going to college that “…that will take their beliefs away”.   Christopher Hitchens said one “…can be an atheist and still have beliefs.”  There is a difference between religion and spirituality. There are countless religions world wide and in our country.  There is no telling how many varieties of Baptist churches there are  the South.

Are they all right or only one of em? Which one?

I have collected a lot of  “stuff”.  To follow are a lot of plagiarized comments. And/or unidentified  presentations.   The one below is a  comment on unusual religious beliefs.


I read somewhere there are at least a dozen religions that feature virgin births.   I can’t help wonder if some father didn’t forward this conjecture to save face for ‘”…my precious baby girl”

I have tried to read some writers who seem to be data based in their speculations.  Hard questions arise.  Was there God before humanity?   One of the eye openers from a few years back was A SHORT HISTORY OF NEARLY EVERYTHING by Bill Bryson. 

One example therein explains modern life this way;  the big bang occurred about 13.5 Billion years ago.  Bryson says if you open your arms to full wingspan that the distance from the tip of one middle finger to the wrist on the other hand is the time earth exhibited no life. From that spot to the middle fingernail, as one files off one simple file, represents life as we know it on the earth.

Anything but a “writer”, I consulted THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE, by Strunk and White. Please understand my amateur editing and typing attempts.

Maybe the “glitches” don’t matter as much as Strunk and White’s final advice: “Your whole duty as a writer is to please, satisfy yourself, and the true writer always plays to an audience of one”. It appears that 2000-2008 (Bush 2 administrative years) caused us to “choose sides”. And it seems that feelings were so deep that once committed to their view, very few were willing to listen, much less alter their stance. Winning the argument seems more important than learning the truth of the matter.

“Wicked sins” are racism, war, violence, murder.

“People who fight wars are not the ones who benefit from them”

Dick Cheney is a chicken hawk.  (see above).

“War has a long tail.”

Rush Limbaugh on Obama (“I hope he fails!”)

We butchered 200,000 Iraqi citizens.  Forget hell.

“…you are right from your side and I’m right from mine”. ONE TOO MANY MORNINGS—Dylan.

  • ALOT (A LEVEL OF THINKING) by Tom Parham was published in 2015.  I tried to cover serious topics (war, race, poverty, religion, politics) that seemed to trouble me more and more.  Below I snipped parts of ALOT and placed them in a some what “order”.  Here is a link to a PDF of the full book – https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4Gm-uQHsPd8ZDhJZmJFQy1ZX2tlVDNtYWYwUzJDY3djR1VF/view?usp=sharing
  • I am trying to read Stephen Hawking’s A  Brief History of Time.   Too much for me.   But I did read the conclusion.  The following is pretty clear:

    “ Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists, and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we, and the universe exist.  If we find the answer to that, it would be the triumph of human reason…for then we would know the mind of God.”

Some of these protesters seemed to be reasonable people. Dr.C.H.Hamlin was a pacifist professor. A Southern gentleman, Dr. Hamlin firmly states “…we got no business messing with those “VIANESE”.

I had a son in New York City on 9/11. We didn’t know his whereabouts for several hours. I shared America’s anger over this tragedy and I can understand the desire for revenge. Any good coach knows the adage “don’t get mad, get even”,but it seems the administration at that time could not wait to join in a new war.

If you go in the Middle East you will own it. (Scowcroft)

My years of watching told me to be cautious about getting into war. And the Bush Administration was moving way too fast for me. It was obvious that not much listening was going on. I doubt my conservative friends would know who Jello Biafra is. Jello said …”even the most Bush-happy, flag suckling jack-arse knows deep inside something is wrong”. Were these guys stupid? Evil? Was it pure hubris? E.L. Doctorow referred to “…hierarchal warrior nonsense”. Was it for money? Was it to protect the oil industry? Was this a headlong leap before you look?

They bought a guy named “Curveball”. Chalabi wasn’t it? Never in my life and in certainly no more important moment, or with more surety, did I know someone was lying to the country than the “sixteen words”. (“The British Government has recently learned that Saddam Hussein sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa”…George W. Bush in the State of the Union speech). The main source, “Curveball”.

From Clinton and a rare surplus, to a trillion and a half in the red? Someone explained a trillion dollars this way: If you could initial a dollar bill every second, non-stop for 32,000 years you would have a trillion dollars. The wars “off the books” and the collapse during the Bush W. years created debt that will long be with us, no matter who or what.In the words of the great philosopher, POGO “…it happened during my administration”.

In the impending days before the 2008 election there was at least one agreement. Commonly heard was the statement “…well no matter who wins things are so bad they won’t be corrected in one term, probably not in two”.

Coaches live and die with their win/loss record. George W. Bush was 0-10 for eight years in a row on the economy. Don’t kid yourself. The multi-trillion dollar runaway galloping deficit has its origins in 2000-2008. Don’t forget it.I would have fired Bill Clinton. His total disregard for the dignity of the presidency was grounds for divorce from any number of institutions. And yet it begs the question: Oral sex or the Iraq war and a bankrupted country?

Still I wonder what could have been accomplished if the OBAMA administration had not had to deal with “…harsh partisanship and a GOP leadership interested primarily in improving the fortunes of the wealthy…”The Department of Veteran Affairs announced that we are experiencing 22 suicides daily by veterans of these two wars. This totally shocked ancient me. That is almost one veteran per hour. Similarly, they reported an estimated 1800 total of similar suicides in the first quarter of 2014.

To me, this is among the most startling, sad, and truly disgusting among facts that have accrued from a decision that was so flawed and ill advised. Not one dime for our veterans wounded physically or psychologically should be begrudged, and yet the cost of all this damage, personal and financial, has to be borne by our country. This mistake was colossal. It was wrong. And the message is clear: The decision to go to war must be made with the utmost caution from our leaders.

I am on the”burn and scatter” plan, Cremation, and I have my urn picked out my urn.  Tennis trophy, the cup style. All I have to do is scratch out some engraving and —ready to go. Matter of fact this might be a source of income. Lots of trophies that really are sort of useless.

And Bob, from ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER—a ray of hope:

“But you and I have been through that

and this is not our fate.

So let’s stop talking falsely

The hour’s getting late.”

Faith may come casually. “She said, tell me, are you a Christian, Child? And I said, “…Ma’am, I am tonight!”  WALKIN IN MEMPHIS.

Pete Segar:  “The best thing for the economy is no war!”


I have always lived in North Carolina. I am a true son of the South. I take great pride in the South. A young man commented on a beautiful, full, “southern moon” to Oscar Wilde. Oscar replied “….yes, but you should have seen it before the civil war.” Southerners are unique people. Lots of characters. Some good and some bad. Racism is a part of our heritage. One cannot be from the South and not feel its sting. Sadly too, we have learned it is not limited to our area of the nation.

Someone suggested that racism is the “pox of the nation”.

Dr. Mildred Hartsock was the Head of the English Department at Atlantic Christian College.I became an English major and took 22 hours under Dr. Hartsock. She changed my thinking any number of ways. Non more so than on the subject of race. And nothing she said shook me like a statement she made in class. “If you have a child that you you would not let marry a member of the black race, you are prejudiced.”

As a young instructor in college one of my teaching assignments was First Aid and Safety. Located near both the ocean and the woods—sharks and snakes were subjects that college kids feared, probably to the extreme. I would warn them “…hey, forget the snakes. Worry about those Marines coming down U.S. 301 hell bent from New York for Camp Lejeune, with a dozen beers in them”. Drunk driving, racism and war were the big problems then and now.

2020 is different from all of it.  I was proud of our  country and Barrack Obama and easing off of “Bush bashing”.  I began to try to find better reading.  No one directed me better to current books than my son, Dan.  “You ought to read SAPIENS by Yuval Harari.” SAPIENS consequently stayed on the NYT best sellers list for sixty plus weeks.  Bill Gates and President Obama listed it as their top book recommendation..  Harari since has written two more significant books on humankind.  I can’t do justice to the several sources I am to  mention.  Do you own homework (…the hour is getting late”)

NUTSHELLS––SAPIENS dealt with humankind’s past.  HOMO DEUS, the future.  21 LESSONS for THE 21ST CENTURY, the present.

First SAPIENS.   Harari points out that no much human history occurred before 1500 bc.  Neanderthals showed up about 70k years later and in another 70k were extinct.  Replaced by us, Homo Sapiens.   He contends Sapiens evolved,  and eliminated Neanderthals due to the “ability to gossip”.  Conversations led to groupings, who concocted rules, laws, governance, religion.

Sapiens are the deadliest species in the annals of biology.


Biological knowledge x computer power x data is producing rapid change.  Data reveals truth, not religion or “my gut”.   Data can reshape and reengineer humanity.

“Mankind’s quest to upgrade humans to gods.”

Mankind has almost, and will, conquer the three remaining super problems–famine, plague, and war.

The main task will be to find happiness.

Homo Deus is where mankind is headed.  Artificial intelligence is on its way.

Harari contends the Sapiens may be more like Neanderthals than Homo Deus of  the future.

Terrorism will be dealt with. No reason for war.

Theology is not true enough to survive.

Algorithms rock.

Religion:  All the people think it is true.  All the philosophers think it is untrue.  Magistrates often find it very useful.”

’21 LESSONS for the 21st CENTURY

Present problems to be dealt with:  War, ecological problems, fake news, climate change, dying liberal democracy, immigration, the meaning of life today.

“…the reliance on the heart may prove to be the achilles heel of liberal democracy.”

The truth (accurate data) will set you free.


Jared Diamond authored best seller GUNS, GERMS AND STEEL

Another, UPHEAVAL, lists these reasons for religions:

  1. Explanation 2. Defusing anxiety 3. Providing comfort  4. Organization and Obedience 5. Behavior towards strangers  6. Justifying war.

Michio Kaku  (speaker at High Point University’s TV show.  Author of THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY. )

Another bright one.  Maybe one of the best TV interviews.  Nido Quebein is moderator.  Run it down through PBS

There are three waves of science–mechanical, electrical, technology.

Are we the last generation to die?  Immortality a real possibility?

Advanced civilizations seem possible.  But we will have the courage to leave this home, knowing that we won’t see it happen.   An uninhabitable  earth looming?

Malcolm Gladwell (2 books of many)

OUTLIERS  are not outliers at all.  They are products of history and community, opportunity and legacy.  Their success is not mysterious or exceptional.  Due to advantages, inheritances, luck–some earned, some not, variables critical to making them who they are.

Why were Canadian hockey all stars more apt to have a January birthday?  Bill Gates and computers?    10,000 hours?   Thought provoking.

DAVID AND GOLIATH concludes David was not an underdog at all.  Accurate as a modern .45 with his sling shot.  A near blind giant  ( “…come nearer, David”).   Acromegaly.  Chip shot for David.

Bill Bryson wrote A WALK IN THE WOODS among many books.

A SHORT HISTORY of MANKIND is a godsend for  science teachers.

THE BODY is newer:

***one sliver from a cadaver, one millimeter thick from the epidermis is all that influences skin color.

***a teenage driver adds one more teenager.  Odds of a wreck go up 400x.

***Tie your fitbit to your dog’s leg!”

Exercise—-Average weight for women in 1960 144, up  to 166 today.  Men 166 to 196.

Sitting too much is a killer.

One guy had the hiccups for 67 years.

Others suggested, MY READING LIFE by Pat Conroy.

What is an anti-theist?  Try Christopher Hitchens.  Hitchens concludes that extreme religious suppositions require thorough scienfic support.

Thinking from “my gut?

Religious leaders, politicians, warriors, fox news, history itself reveal mistaken wars, imprisonments,  race, civil rights, lawyers, business tyrants, have led down some dark alleys.  Lying seems an all time high.   Too many to keep up with.  Cadet “Bone Spurs” suggested his attendance  at NEW YORK MILITARY ACADEMY prepared him as commander in chief.  I was on the staff one summer at NYMA.  We had a camp water fight.  The only time battle was mentioned.

Hannity rudely bludgeoned Mark  Cuban with the repeated “what has Biden done?

If for no other reason OBAMA/BIDEN worked our way out of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld catastrophe of a war off the books (fade to trillions) and blood loss indefensible.

By  the way,  They got Osama Bin Laden.  History has and will shake all this data down.

Prescient?  Alexander Hamilton warned democracy of one who would “…throw things into confusion so he may ride the storm and direct the whirlwind!

Bob Dylan quotes:

May you have a firm foundation when the winds  of changes shift.


Strap yourself to a tree with roots.


It is not he or she or him or it that you belong to.


I gaze into the doorway of temptation’s angry flame,

and every time I pass that way it always calls my name.


Most of the time I am strong enough not to hate.


Don’t hate anything but hatred.


I would be kinder.  (Given another chance.)


Sometimes it is stupid to get into any kind of wind.

How did I do?  A quick look at some fun and correct choices

If  you list these you better put your Wife first. Check.

Bear Bryant said “coaching is only for those who can’t live with out it.”  Check.

And, “…if you do, get in a league you can win in.”  Tennis rather than basketball.  Check.

Got up with a hangover to go hear Coach Jim Leighton.  Check.

Tried to do  what he said.  Check.

Read DIE BROKE upon Retirement.  Check.

Quit resisting technology.  Semi check.

Embrace religious doubt.   Out the “snake handlers”   Check.




*****College ideas I pushed:  CPR, VIDEO for athletics, women’s sports (Title 1X).  Women’s soccer.  Start varsity soccer- hire David Adkins.  Pushed men’s volleyball as a varsity sport for southeast, high schools and colleges.  Exposed “spearing” as an unsafe tackling technique.  Bought O. Charles Olsen’s THE PREVENTION OF FOOTBALL INJURIES (1972)   E=1/2 times mass times  v squared.  BIGGER, FASTER, TOUGHER PLAYERS INCREASE FORCE, INJURY TO HEAD AND NECK, DEATH.
















College basketball teammate, Terry Harris and I were  college smoking teammates too.

Called “Hoss”  (he was a small point guard) Terry may have been the best of all of us keeping up.  Phone calls,  people saying he’d asked about everyone.  Then it stopped.  Why hadn’t I made my own attempt at staying up with him  in Autryville, N.C.  Friendship is work, but worth it all.

Friend, “Country” Boykin  ran down Morgan’s (Terry’s brother) phone number.  “Terry has moved to the mountains.”   Low and behold, there’s is Hoss on the other end.  Sounded different.

Finally I asked Terry if he still smoked.   “Gave em up five years ago!”  Knowing he’d struggled with quitting,  I commented,  “hell to quit aren’t they”

“The harder I tried to quit, the better they tasted!”

Friend, Russell Rawlings, said he was worried about our BIG FRIEND, Ralph El Ramey (r.i.p.)  doing the required “REHAB”!  I asked why?  “He ain’t never  done the HAB.”

My quote of this week:  The harder I try to stay healthy, the more parts wear out!



No bridge to our coastal home of Emerald Isle, NC, before the ’70’s. Our end of the island has residue of the wild days.   Sharks, stingrays, copperheads, raccoons, coyotes.  A local gardening shop featured an unannounced 7 and a half foot alligator on the display  floor.  Even the spectre of racism, Trump or the virus pale compared to #1.  Anything but a hurricane is local mantra.  Actually, it is water damage. “Don’t ask for deluge!” (Starbuck a.k.a. THE RAINMAKER).   The pearl of our community is “The Yacht Club”. It has an abandoned flat bottomed Core Sound skiff on top of the building. Thus “Yacht Club”. Three years ago Florence totally flooded many businesses and homes including the “TYC”. Friday night was our developments trip to the YC. Had to be out by nine o’clock pm though. That’s when the bikers came. A roadhouse bar,  the food was getting better before the flood. Head waiter wore a t-shirt that said “NOPE NOT TODAY”. The drink menu included ” The Hurricaine, Yella-God-Amighty, Stranded in Honduras, and the last item was “Sex On The Deck”–$2.50

One fundamental of a healthy retirement is local friends. Randy and Pat Campbell and David and Lynn Odom visited recently. Pat brought a lovely bouquet of 12 yellow roses. A player once told me after all day in the sun playing “Coach, you’re getting up a little bit”. Post op and  everything tastes and smells bad about yourself   So it didn’t surprise me after Randy had posed a single rose behind my ear the lovely yellow petals fell off the bud…all of them. Got a video. Coach Odom has a hometown friend here named Rex Teaney . Rex recalls that every conversation with Mr. Odom Sr. concluded with the questions “is David a good boy Rex, is he a good friend, do people like him?” Rex’s signature story is about his first high school varsity team wrestling match: Rex is not a large man and certainly there wasn’t much to him in the 9th grade (about 90 lbs) It was sort of an odd debut. The high school versus the Goldsboro Boys Home. Nervous but not noticing much but that his opponent looked to be about 25 years old. And he was apparently blind. Back on the mat  and Rex was pinned in 20 seconds. The next realization was he was skinned burned from the guys lack of a shave. David bailed him out: “I don’t think Rex ever lost a high school wrestling match .”

Right down from the Yacht Club is “Phillips Seafood”. Jimmy Clyde Phillips has his market written up often as a tourist attraction. Jimmy has a sign in the front window: “Local As It Gets”!

CUTTING COLLEGE SPORTS from Sports Illustrated (June 11,2020)



It’s not getting any better. So far this spring, tennis has been the most popular choice to cut. Of the 30 teams eliminated, eight are either men’s or women’s tennis. Coincidentally or not, tennis is also responsible for having the largest foreign participation of any sport. About 60% of tennis rosters are not native to the U.S. “There’s somewhere around 7,000 scholarships available (inclusive of D-I, D-II, NAIA, and JUCO), and there are just not enough American juniors to fill the scholarships,” says Tim Russell, the CEO of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. “There have been some schools where the coach only recruits internationally, and there have been some ADs saying, ‘Can’t have a program of all international students.’” There are other reasons tennis is targeted, Russell says. The most common are costs associated with an indoor and outdoor facility.


The first book I  wrote was done much like a blog.  Different articles, all strung together. And, there were some blue or risque subjects and language.  One dealt with elimination on an eight day Colorado river rafting trip.  Potty humor for sure, but pretty much true.  Caught some flak .

Same kind of humor kicked in last week during second hip replacement.   Nothing funny at 4am thought of impending third catheterization.  No details.  Just cannot pee.  There I said it.

My member is saying,  “Coach, don’t you understand that Nurse Ratchet is down the hall, sharpening her switch blade?

Self One  to Self Two: “What part of PEE don’t you understand?”  All you are doing is  faking a pee.  Take a pee.  Take, not fake.

One other unpleasant human phenomenon  was  this pain.  The way hot spots blink–then intensify.   Thinking  I was pain  free,  a single sensation would pop in.  Just like oven burners.  The bb size pain point grows to a hot dime to a hot damn.  Hello drugs.  No lack of vile thoughts drugs can contribute .

Then, the sensation of a positive.  Tingle grows.  Hark is that a valid precursor?  Another fake. Now the dance.  Yes?  No?  The plot thickens.

The number of tubes needed  runs double for me.  First,  the dreaded IV and  tubing.   For me there are about 5 of these crisscrossing my chest, other parts.

Hey  Dumbass,  this is real, gotta go.  Nearly tops on the burner.  Get up and run.  Oops, I knocked the nurses button beyond reach.  Now the scene,  Five days post op it is now a riot.

I can’t figure which tube goes where, can’t holler loud enough to get her.  Prayer changes from go,  to whoa, whoa, whoa.   I was saran wrapped.  duct taped,  mummified.

Covid-19 proved nurses are heroes.  Final scene?  Did we make it?

Wait for the YouTube!




David Odom coached 40 plus years.  And still has a major hand in basketball, as the Director of the Maui Holiday Tournament.   All levels, from junior high, high school. small colleges  to the top of division one.  Head coach or assistant.

We share a love for all sports.  I have a much lesser basketball coaching experience.  His love for tennis and my first love there provides fodder for conversations.

Coach Odom and I share the similarities of background and geography.  Played in the same league, know the same schools and people.

We both love Emerald Isle and our beach.  David is a “dit dotter” (  comes down and goes back) according to local high toiders.  They cast my wife and I  as “dingbatters” (comes and stays).

We both have Wake Forest University ties.  Coach Odom was one of the premier coaches in the Atlantic Coast Conference at Wake during the “golden years”.  Quite differently my knowledge of the Demon Deacons of Wake forest came earlier.  My Father, a Wake ministerial  graduate,  had me indoctrinated by age 7.  From then through high school I bled black and old gold.

Coach Odom understands this and tolerates my questions.

The stats on Coach are available.  Recently he was honored in a special way.   His likeness was hung in the ceiling of Joel Coliseum.  Several comments from him got  my attention:

  1. Question by tp—how did you feel about this event?

Answer by Coach—Most of my former players came.  That was big but I think my best moment was seeing Joel Coliseum happy again.

2,  Question—So most of your players came?

Answer—Yes almost all.

3 Tim Duncan came?

  Yes.  Several players called him.  Has busy schedule but he showed. 

Tom:  How was Tm?  Did you get to talk to him?

  When it was over I  told him what impressed me about him this time was I watched sign autographs, hug old ladies, talk with every one who approached  him.  Tim  does a lot of impressive things.

Tom:  How about Randolph Childress?  You have expressed a lot of admiration for him.

David:  Sure.  Randolph was there.  Pause.  Randolph was the best clutch shooter I knew.  Early on, and down 1 point with few seconds left , Randolph told me “Coach, tell them to give me the ball and get the heck out of my way”.  Worked then and almost every other similar situation.  Clutch.  Confident.

Tom:  What player showed up that surprised you?

Coach:  Rodney Rodgers.

Tp: Wow.  Rodney was there?  (Most tragically Rodney was rendered quadriplegic  in an earlier accident.) 

Coach—Yes and several people were most helpful.  Great player and person.   

I got a little worried when they called me to the floor for the National Anthem.  I looked  everywhere and didn’t see the wheelchair.  Then I looked down the well at the gym’s opening.  There they were. Several friends and his personal aide.  He wore a cap.  As National Anthem was about to begin you could see Rodney speak to his aide.  The aide took his hat off.