Jeff Pearlman

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This has been shared on Facebook 23,258 times …

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… and it perfectly speaks to the stupidity of a large chunk of America. Or, perhaps, the simplicity. And I’m not even going right v. left here, or Trump v. Clinton. I’m referring to this new, wacky thing our people do, which is ignore legitimate news outlets in favor of Facebook and Twitter postings and memes and the like.

We believe them, without double checking, because our brains are small and busy. And, truly, why confirm facts then the words before you support the very ideas you forcefully express.

So, yes, it must be asked—why is the media so heavily focused upon Donald Trump, when Hillary Clinton has soooooooooooo many scandals? Like, for example, the four dead people in Benghazi. Which, um, isn’t really a scandal, but an example of (one could say) poor judgement or misunderstanding the pressing severity of a situation. Of course, something that isn’t a scandal becomes a scandal when we want it to be a scandal. Therefore, supporting the arming of Syrian jihadists is a scandal, because it formed ISIS. Even if, ahem, the information simply is not true. But, wait, that’s OK—because Hillary’s “mentor” was KKK LEADER Robert Byrd! Holy shitballs—what a fucking huge scandal! Oh … wait. Robert Byrd, indeed a Klansman, hadn’t been in the KKK for decades when Hillary first met him; and he denounced everything the group stood for; and he wound up fighting h-a-r-d for civil rights. But … scandal! Yes, scandal!

You know what else is a scandal? Hillary laughing as she freed a child rapist!!! Oh … not true. Well, what about the Russian uranium deal? Also false. Ah ha! Well how about …

•••

Here’s the truth: Hillary Clinton is a flawed political candidate. No doubt. The e-mail server? Fair game. Questioning the role of the Clinton Foundation? OK. But when we exaggerate, lie, create “scandals” that aren’t scandals, we reduce ourselves to moronity—which isn’t even a real word.

My exact point.

PS: Trump’s tax returns. Trump’s ties to Russian. Trump’s refusal to pay employees. Trump’s lying under oath in the USFL trial. Trump’s treatment of women. Trump’s using his charitable foundation to pay legal fees. Trump lying about almost everything.

The quirkiness of life

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About, oh, seven years ago, our across-the-street neighbors moved from their house in New Rochelle, N.Y. to San Diego, It was an interesting family of four—two brothers, a best friend and a woman named Carmen. My wife used to call them, “Three men and a little lady.” They  could not have been more lovely, and we were sad to see them depart.

Anyhow, it was a weird relocation, in that they left most everything behind. About two weeks after the foursome bolted, a huge sale was held inside the house. We were away for most of it, but rummaged through the remains on the final day. We bought a big drum and a painting. While peeking here and there, I came across a rolled-up thing of paper. I removed the rubber band and uncovered what turned out to be (oddly, randomly, inexplicably) an autographed poster of a professional lacrosse player named Mark Millon.

Our son Emmett was 2 or 3 at the time, and I thought the poster would be a cool addition to his wall. So I asked the woman who ran the sale how much the treasured print was selling for. “Ah,” she said, “just take it.”

We did—and Mark Millon has graced Emmett’s walls for years. First in New York, now in California.

Anyhow, about two years ago I did a Quaz Q&A with Mark, primarily because of the poster. I mean, I had no idea who he was until that day in the neighbors’ largely abandoned house. He was terrific and cool and agreeable, and I was happy such an upstanding guy was a part of Emmett’s world.

A few weeks ago Jonathan Powell, one of my closest friends dating back to childhood, asked if I knew Mark Millon. I said I did—and he wondered if I could possibly make an introduction. Powell is involved in the Maryland younth lacrosse scene, his kids play, he wanted some advice. So I reached out to Mark, gave him Powell’s number … and they had breakfast.

All because my neighbors moved to San Diego.

The death of nostalgia

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Seven years ago, I was one of a small handful of people who organized the Mahopac High School Class of 1990 20th reunion.

It was, for me, a labor of love. I’ve always been a nostalgic person, and—even though I was neither particularly popular nor particularly successful back in the long hallways of MHS—there was a genuine longing to reconnect with people; to see what they became. Hence, I devoted myself to tracking down each and every classmate, one by one by one. It took hundreds upon hundred of hours. As did booking the hotel, planning the food, creating the montage video. Again, it was a labor of love. I had a wonderful time, and the event itself was one of the most joyful moments of my life. I didn’t want the evening to end.

It is 2016. My feelings of nostalgia have shriveled up. I will almost certainly never attend another class reunion.

Why? To a degree, Facebook—the slayer of nostalgia. Any curiosity over what became of, oh, Kim Davis or Larry Glover has pretty much died. I can glance downward at my phone and see photos of their kids, their spouses, their lives. The mysteries that once existed no longer exist. There is no, “Holy cow, you look great!” surprise because I know, holy cow, you look great. I see you on my screen.

And yet, the above paragraph is somewhat incomplete. Yes, Facebook has largely squashed my longing to recover yesteryear. But the real culprit(s) is Facebook—plus the 2016 presidential election. You see, I come from a v-e-r-y conservative town. A good number of the citizens are lovely, and also set in their sheltered political ways. Which is, of course, generally fine. You believe in lower taxes and a bigger military? OK, I can understand. You think standing for the National Anthem is a must? Not a big problem. You think Hillary Clinton would make a bad president? Fair enough.

You want to elect a man who aspires to ban Muslims?

You want to elect a man who Tweets anti-Semitic images?

You want to spend half a decade questioning Barack Obama’s citizenship?

You want to post images of Obama wearing a turban?

And images of Obama’s wife compared to an ape?

And images of a black person beating up a white person—your proof that blacks are “thugs” and “animals”?

You want to applaud a man who rooted for the housing collapse? Who calls women fat pigs? Who suggests a turn toward violence against the other candidate? Who says a judge with Mexican parents can’t serve honorably? Who says we need to stop and frisk black citizens?

Fine. Go ahead. Do what you do. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it or digest it or continue to associate with you. It doesn’t mean I have to pay you mind, or listen to your bullshit xenophobic racist spewings because, hey, “everyone’s allowed to have his opinion. It’s a free country.” I know what many of you say about me; that I’m this arrogant asshole who thinks he’s too good for Mahopac and blah blah blah.

And, you know what—you’re right. Your belief system makes me arrogant; makes me feel like I’m far more intelligent than I probably am. Your belief system makes me sad for Mahopac—a town that nurtured me, but one that seems to have (in many regards) lost itself (or, perhaps, simply exposed itself) in its lack of diversity and open-mindedness.

I have probably blocked 100 classmates over the past year, and I’ve probably been blocked by another 75 to 80. I have no interest in forging friendships with racists, bigots, xenophobes, homophobes. I don’t want that in my life. Even my relatively meaningless Facebook life.

I no longer care.

My nostalgia is dead.

PS: I know … I know. “Well, fuck you Pearlman, you asshole. I never liked you or your fucking stupid books.” Great. This works out well for both of us.

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Matt Webb

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Two years ago, when we first relocated to Southern California, our son befriended a lovely classmate who was polite, courteous, fun—and the son of a man who sells guns.

I did not feel particularly great about this.

I mean, what did I know about guns? I was never aware of any of my New York pals and/or neighbors owning one. I certainly didn’t feel the need to keep a firearm in our house. So, again, being a guy who believes strongly in greater tracking and less access to firearms, I was not euphoric upon learning this little piece of information.

Then I met Matt Webb.

First, he was simply a nice guy. Second, he was a ridiculously involved father. Third, he was open minded and a fantastic listener. And, fourth, we talked about guns. And talked more about guns. He was chill and up front. He taught me some things I never knew, and was far from enamored by the NRA and the idea of unlimited, unchecked weaponry. When our son went to the Webbs for a play date, and the wife asked about a firearm in the home, they could not have been more decent. In short, Matt Webb is good people.

Hence, I asked him to come and be the 275th Quaz, and talk about guns and protection and hunting and safety and the NRA. Matt’s company, Badrock Tactical, can be found here.

Matt Webb, you’re the magical 275th Quaz …

JEFF PEARLMAN: Matt, I’m gonna throw one at you, because it’s always fascinated me and you’re a good person to ask. So I often hear people with guns in the home saying they have a weapon present for safety. “I want to protect my family,” etc … etc. And I get it. I truly do. But statistics seems pretty clear that a gun in the home is far more likely to kill/injure a loved one than stop an invader. So why, in your opinion, is it good to have a weapon in the abode?

MATT WEBB: Let me start by saying that “having a gun in the home” isn’t a universally good idea at all. So, in my opinion, one should only have a gun in the home as a mechanism for protection if they are equipped to have said weapon. To provide detail on what I mean: Are you trained in handling a weapon? Do you have adequate weapon storage security? Do you have a FEAR of handling the weapon? If there is ambiguity or uncertainty when you answer any of these questions, then you 100 percent SHOULD NOT have a weapon in the house. If you are a safe, have adequate storage and training, then having a weapon in the house can provide peace of mind in knowing that you could neutralize or eliminate a threat should one arise. The reality is that the police and 911 are not tasked with protecting you. They will actually tell you that if you ask them, so if one feels threatened, it is a way to provide security if proper measures have been taken to ensure safety.

J.P.: Your business, Badrock Tactical, specializes in the selling of—among other things—high-end AR platform tactical rifles. I am not a gun expert by any means, but the wording “assault rifle” immediately causes me to shudder. I ask with total seriousness, and zero snideness: Are you selling dangerous weapons that should not be out there? Why is it OK to sell assault rifles? And how can dealers like yourself make certain they don’t wind up in the wrong hands?

M.W.: The first thing we should do with respect to this question is clarify a detail that may seem frivolous to you, but it really grates on knowledgeable firearms owners … we DO NOT sell assault weapons. An AR-15 is not an assault weapon. What may seem like semantics to you is in reality a very big detail that gets glossed over by mainstream media. An assault weapon is a “select fire” (meaning it has the ability to shoot in full automatic mode). Now I realize that legislatively we as a society have started to lump many firearms in as “assault weapons” simply by visible characteristics (pistol grip, detachable magazine, flash suppressor, folding stock) … which, by the way, none of these attributes makes a firearm more or less dangerous. Now, with that out of the way, we do sell AR platform weapons, which are no more or less dangerous than a lever-action, bolt action or other semi-automatic type rifle or pistol. They simply “look scary” and the platform is used by our military, so it is assumed it is more dangerous.

The reality is that an AR type weapon is popular because it is highly modular, highly accurate and simple to operate. As far as sales of firearms, it doesn’t matter if it is an AR15 or a wooden-stock 22 long rifle … a purchaser in California (the only place we, as an FFL, can sell firearms) is required to complete a firearm safety course, submit to a background check, provide a thumb print and go through a 10-day wait/background evaluation before a firearm can be purchased. So is it possible to 100 percent guarantee that a firearm won’t end up in the hands of someone with ill intent? Of course not. No more so than I can guarantee a person won’t go into a hardware store and buy an axe or a Wal-Mart and buy a knife or get behind the wheel of a car drunk.

J.P.: We’ve spoken at length about the NRA, and you’re a gun owner who seems somewhat turned off by the organization. Why?

M.W.: My thoughts on the NRA are that it is far too stodgy and inflexible. As a responsible firearm owner, I feel like both sides (pro and anti-gun) need to look at options to make our country safer. I think the NRA falsely represents a “redneck” stance that does not embody all firearm owners. I, for one, am in support of waiting periods and background checks in every state. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to require a test and a license to own a firearm. We do it with a car, so I have no problem with that concept and feel that it should be a part of firearm ownership.

J.P.: What do people like me not understand about guns, gun ownership? What do you feel like we’re missing?

M.W.: I don’t know that people like you are “missing” anything, per se. I think that more knowledge about firearms in general would help curb some of the preconceived notions about different types of firearms. The media gets it wrong so often and really tends to generalize, which is very frustrating for someone like me. But I think it’s just a cultural thing. People either appreciate and/or enjoy firearms activities (target shooting, competition shooting, hunting, etc) or they don’t. Obviously, given the large percentage of firearm ownership (in both absolute numbers and percentage of Americans who own firearms), firearms are popular to own in America. For those who don’t “get it” … my guess is that they have only focused on the negative and they have never had the opportunity or interest in exploring any of the positive or enjoyable parts of shooting sports. If you grow up in New York City, for instance, owning a car may be “odd” and taking a train is absolutely the norm. To someone growing up in North Dakota, this would seem extremely odd and they may not “get it” … but it’s just an exposure thing, I think.

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J.P.: How did this happen for you? Like, what’s your background? How did you first become familiar with firearms? With shooting? What was the draw for you?

M.W.: I’ll start by pointing out that I grew up in Montana. Specifically, Badrock Canyon, in Northwest Montana near Glacier National Park. The actual community was Columbia Falls, MT located in the heart of the Flathead Valley. As a Montana boy, I spent much of my free time hunting, fishing, camping, target-shooting and just being an outdoorsman. I was raised in a house that had guns, obviously, and I learned to shoot at a very young age (probably about 5-years old) from my grandfather. Both my step-father and my grandfather were avid hunters and shooters and both had been in the military (Vietnam and Korea). For me, guns were not a big deal in the sense that I had a very healthy respect for them, but I didn’t view them as evil or an instrument of violence. They were used for hunting and for sport shooting. Now that I live in California, I certainly don’t hunt anymore, but I do enjoy target shooting still when I have the opportunity.

J.P.: Whenever a school shooting happens, we wind up in this huge, ugly, unproductive political debate. The left screams about cutting back on guns and increasing background checks. The right insists a gun is merely an instrument, that we need to focus on mental health. Matt, what says you? What can we do that would have a legitimate impact on safety?

M.W.: Nobody likes when there is a mass tragedy of any kind. Whether it’s a shooting, or a train derailing, or building blowing up or a multi-car freeway accident … on and on. As you pointed out, though, when such a tragedy occurs with firearms, it provides a political platform and the bickering starts. My feeling on it is that I think we could always do more to help in the areas of mental health, but I don’t think it will stop mass tragedies. We could completely ban firearms, and it’s not going to stop mass tragedies. The reality is (in my opinion) that bad people find ways to do bad things. It is naïve to think that a “gun ban” would take the guns out of the hands of the people who are causing harm anyway.

And even if it did, just for the sake of argument, bad people would still do their thing. It’s incredibly simple, fast and cheap to make a homemade bomb. You don’t need a driver’s license, you simply need YouTube and Home Depot and about five minutes of free time and you could make a device far more devastating than a firearm. I’m not sure what we can do to have a legitimate impact on safety. I guess if I were allocating dollars for programs it would be on teaching tolerance and promoting civic activities that brought people together rather than politicizing everything and tearing us apart.

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J.P.: It seems like some guns are demonized more than others—and that gun owners often say, “Dude, you guys have NO idea what you’re talking about here.” So what’s an example of a gun people fail to grasp? And why?

M.W.: Some guns are definitely demonized more than others—like the AR15!! I kind of covered this a little bit before, but it’s worth repeating. The AR is demonized because it is popular to pick on and it has the “look” that it should be more dangerous. There are far more crimes committed with handguns. A high-powered rifle (.300 Win Mag, .338 Lapua, .50 cal, etc) are far more lethal, yet an AR is an easy target because our troops carry it, so the thought goes that the general population should not. I obviously do not agree with that stance.

To me, in my eyes, the AR is simply a firearm no more or less deserving of our care and respect as firearms owners than any other weapon. It is not an assault weapon, capable of full-automatic firing. Those types of weapons are for our military or for those that are willing and can afford the nearly two-year long and extremely expensive process of getting approved for one.

J.P.: In 1994 Bill Clinton signed the Federal Assaults Weapons Ban into law—and many Democrats and Republicans cheered. It expired in 2004 under intense pressure from the NRA, and now no longer exists. What did you think of the ban? Was it useful? Useless? Important? Unimportant?

M.W.: The 1994 Federal Assault had no impact on gun crime. The FBI Crime Reports support that fact unequivocally. Primarily because, even prior to the 1994 Assault Weapon Ban, less than 2 percent of gun crime was committed with said weapon. The reality is that violent crime with a firearm has continually declined in total for the past 25 years—and the crimes that do take place are primarily committed with a handgun. So, no, an assault weapon ban will have zero impact in my opinion. Because like with most gun control laws, it only will impact law abiding citizens. I hate to point out the obvious, but people who commit crimes, with or without guns, are by definition criminals and couldn’t care less about whether there is a “ban” or not.

With wife Robyn

With wife Robyn

J.P.: You have three kids. What is the best way to approach gun safety with children?

M.W.: With my three youngest boys, we have taken the position that they should be comfortable with the idea of firearms. What I mean by that is that we have taken the time to teach them basic firearm safety. I’ve taught them how they work and what they are used for. We have also instilled a healthy respect for their power and capability of devastation. Since they have been exposed to them in a safe, non-threatening manner and had the opportunity to ask questions and go target shooting … they have become a “non-issue” in that they don’t even think about them being at our home because they are completely unaware that they are in the home due to the type of safe we choose to keep in our home.

I should point out that I’m a firm—absolutely firm—believer that firearms in the home have to be in a gun safe. There is never a scenario that a firearm that is in the home shouldn’t be locked away and inaccessible to anyone other than the owner. I was raised that way and we never had anything that came close to an accident or problem and I feel the same way as a parent.

As a matter of fact, in today’s world it is a good idea to inquire about homes where your kids may go to play or hang out. It was something I took for granted until your lovely wife Catherine made the inquiry to us … and it really hit me that we should be asking that question too. Not everyone is as responsible or as careful as us, and we should know what kind of environment our kids are hanging out in. I know my kids won’t pick up a gun that isn’t theirs or play with a gun, but I have no idea what other kids may do …

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QUAZ EXPRESS WITH MATT WEBB:

• Rank in order (favorite to least): Matt Kemp, Chubby Checker, David Beckham, E.T., Flo Rida, Spotify, Montana State, Jude Law, Judy Dench, Kiki Dee, boogers: 1. Flo Rida, 2. Spotify, 3. ET, 4. Chubby Checker, 5. Matt Kemp, 6. David Beckham, 7. Judy Dench, 8. Kiki Dee, 9. Boogers, 10. Montana State.

• Five all-time favorite ice cream flavors: 1. Salted Carmel, 2. Cherry Cheesecake, 3. Cookies and Cream, 4. French Vanilla, 5. Chocolate

• What scares you more: Ebola or climate change? Why?: Hmmmm … Ebola because I don’t know how I would get it and it would freak me out. With climate change, I feel like I’m already “dealing” with that and it’s going as well as can be expected.

• Tell me your best joke: Teacher: Whoever answers my next question, can go home.  One boy throws his bag out the window. Teacher: Who just threw that?  Boy: Me and I’m going home now.

• One question you would ask Garry Templeton were he here right now?: If Garry Templeton were here right now … I’d ask him how he ever blew a gig like managing a baseball team in Maui.

• Would you rather eat a 12-inch log of Jeff Beck’s poop or stick a needle in and out of your eyeball?: I’m going for the needle in the eyeball over Jeff Beck’s 12 inch poop log … in a landslide. Great guitar player, but the poop? No thanks

• Who wins in a 12-round boxing match between you and Jerry Brown? What’s the outcome?: I crush Moonbeam in a scheduled 12 round bout. It’s over in the first round. His corner throws in the towel.

• Greatest movie line of all time?: Val Kilmer in Tombstone. There are actually two. The first one is when he and the gang are going room to room in the brothel and they tell everyone, “Don’t move!” Then he sees a couple getting busy and he says, ”No, no, by all means … move.” The second one is, of course, his very famous line: ”I’m your huckleberry.”

• In exactly 17 words, explain why Beverly Hills Cop II is a superior film to Gone With the Wind: My wife said this is a ridiculous question because Gone With the Wind is so much better

Trinity-Chapman over Stanford-UCLA

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So the son and I had a tough decision to make yesterday. We could attend one of two college football games:

Stanford v. UCLA at the Rose Bowl

Trinity v. Chapman at … um, whatever Chapman’s field is called.

I asked the boy. He’s 9, and digs our sports outings.

“Whatever you want,” he said.

“No,” I said. “It’s your call. Stanford and UCLA is a big game at an awesome stadium [we’d gone once before]. But Chapman is closer, and we’ve never been there.”

He thought. And thought. And thought.

“Let’s go to Chapman,” he said.

So we did.

Tickets to the UCLA game would have been about $45 a pop on StubHub. Tickets to Trinity-Chapman were $15 total—$10 for me, $5 for him. We sat along the 30 yard line. There was a giant Panther mascot roaming around. The cheerleaders were peppy, the, oh, 700 fans in attendance enthusiastic.

Once the game started, we could have been at DI. Or DII. Or even the NFL. But we were at DIII. And it mattered not. Football is football, and talent is relative. We’d never heard of Trinity, but the team featured a 5-foot-7 quarterback named Austin Grauer, who bobbed and weaved and reminded me of a small-scale Doug Flutie. They had a workhorse halfback named Evan McDowell who could certainly play at a higher level. They had a vocal sideline and a coach, Jerheme Urban, who’d spent a decade in the NFL.

Chapman, meanwhile, played a ferocious brand of defense. They have a bunch of defensive linemen who look like fireplugs, and a couple of genuinely impressive defensive backs.

Division III is funny. And, in many ways, joyful. Kickers are as inconsistent as the Toledo weather report. Quarterbacks often possess singular skills, or certain warts. Chapman had a kid with Brett Favre’s arm strength and the accuracy of a blind leapfrog. Everyone plays hard, because they love the game. But deficits abound. Size deficits. Speed deficits. Somehow, it all combines to bring forth a really fun show.

So, no, we didn’t catch the big game at the Rose Bowl.

But we still felt the warmth.

Gennifer Flowers

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Gennifer Flowers is allegedly attending Monday’s debate as a guest of Donald Trump.

This is a potential gift for Hillary Clinton.

If I’m her, I’m hoping a moderator asks Trump about it; throws something like, “You’ve been accused of not having much taste in this election. For example, you invited Gennifer Flowers here and …” He’ll reply, and then she’ll get her shot.

And this is exactly what she should say …

“You know, this is not something I have discussed very much in a public forum, and for obvious reasons. But here we are, and it’s been thrown in my face by a man with a hollow heart. This is, truly, how it works with Donald Trump. That’s been made obvious by now. He’s a bully. The class bully. He finds something about you—something he wants to expose, whether it’s true or not, whether it will cause great heartache or not—and he goes after it. He accused Ted Cruz’ father of being involved in the JFK assassination. He said John McCain—who spent four years in a Vietnamese prison camp—wasn’t a hero because he was captured. Again, this is what the bully does.

“So, yes, I see Gennifer Flowers here, and I know Mr. Trump invited her. And I am humiliated. That’s the word for it. Humiliation. I was cheated on by my husband, and for years I’ve had to live with that. Many people watching know what that’s like. It’s painful. It’s horrifying. You question yourself; your worth; your pride. And that’s when it happens in the privacy of your own home. Now imagine having millions of people discussing it; looking at you and snickering, and judging, and mocking. So, yes, it’s been humiliating, and it took e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g I had to forgive my husband. Everything. And I still struggle with it. But that’s love, isn’t it? When you care about someone so much that—even when others fail to understand; even when your soul has been crushed—you stand by him; you forgive.

“Donald, you brought Gennifer Flowers here to hurt me, and it has worked. It’s painful. But it also speaks to who you are, sir. It speaks to a man’s character; to his sense of empathy; to his core decency. You, yourself, have bragged about your own marital infidelity. That means the same pain you mock me with, you have inflicted upon others. So, truly, I hope people see this for what it is. And, on behalf of women who have been cheated on by their spouses, I say shame on you.

“Shame on you.”

The worst things you can do as a parent …

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A quick list, off the top of my head. I’ve got 13 years in the game. Which doesn’t mean I’m great or terrible.

But I have experience …

• 1. Not be there: By far the lowest of the low.

• 2. Scream at your kid during youth sporting events: Accomplishes nothing, makes him/her feel like shit.

• 3. Hear someone make a racist/xenophobic comment while you’re with your kid—and not say anything: It tells him/her the words are OK.

• 4. Hold your kid back a year so he’s one of the oldest in his grade—even if he’s old enough and mature enough to be in a different (regularly scheduled) grade: I’m sorry, I know this is popular. But at some point Junior’s going to have to face adversity.

• 5. Shield your child from failure: Your child needs to get a D, drop a crucial fly ball, accidentally spit on himself in front of his peers.

• 6. Shelter your kid: I have a friend from my 99-percent white hometown of Mahopac, N.Y. who told me his dad used to take him to play sports in the Bronx. I asked why—”Because,” he said, “he wanted me to be exposed to the world.”

• 7. Never show your kids empathy: There’s a legitimate value in your sons and daughters seeing you ask a homeless person if he needs a sandwich.

• 8. Blame teachers/umpires/officials for things that go wrong: I’ve known too many adults who always make excuses who began as children who always made excuses.

• 9. Never read with your kids: First, it’s educational. But more important, it’s phenomenal bonding time,

• 10. Six hours of golf every Saturday: You’re missing the good stuff. And it doesn’t last long.

• 11. Leave all the diaper changings and feedings to the wife: Again, you’re missing the good stuff. You’re also sending a horrific message about men.

Pussies

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I was thinking about something just now, and many of you won’t agree.

Namely, I think we’ve become a country of pussies.

I know … I know—”pussy” is a derogatory term. And I don’t mean it as such, in the literally bullshit way. I’m thinking back to boyhood, when kids—not even knowing what a pussy actually was (or meant)—would use the word to describe someone who wouldn’t enter a dark building, or wouldn’t ask a girl out. “Pearl, stop being a pussy and talk to her …”

Fine.

“You’re not talking …”

OK … fine.

“God, you’re such a pussy.”

We’ve become a bunch of pussies. See, there are these refugees. And we can help them. Actually, “help” is the wrong word. We can save them. From terror. From waywardness. From death. We, the great United States of America, have a chance to do what we do best—spread justice and liberty; to open our arms wide and accept and embrace those who need us at their lowest moments.

But, no, we’re not that country any longer. Why? Because we’re a bunch of pussies. Because terrorism has turned us into a nation of cowardly xenophobic spores. Now we see people with brownish skin and unfamiliar languages from faraway lands and immediately think, “Terrorist.” We lock the door and throw away the key. We prejudge. We presume. We no longer aspire to help, because helping leaves us vulnerable. And vulnerability isn’t America’s bag in 2016.

Shame on us.

I hear people like Donald Trump talking tough, and I think, “You’re such a fucking pussy. You, with your silver spoon and your $2,000 loafers and your ridiculous haircut. Have you ever been to the inner-city of anywhere? Trenton? Gary? Do you know what it’s like to scrap for food? Do you know how it feels to be dislodged from your home? Hell, do you even care? You, with your orange glow and your golf resorts. Do you have any empathy? For anyone? Ever?”

We’re following this man’s lead, and it’s a phenomenal thing. Make America great again? How does closing our borders do that? How does cutting back on First Amendment rights do that? How does ripping federal judges for their ethnicity do that? How does mocking POWs do that? You are a man of no moral compass, taking advantage of followers who seem to lack the curiosity to understand the depths of your awfulness.

You are a pussy.

And, by default, so are we.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life