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We Created This Mess   Leave a comment

I Googled the phrase ‘Mike Pence would be just as bad’ and the top four results came from opinion pieces from thehill.com, thenation.com, New Yorker Magazine, the Twitter account of an Upworthy writer.  All had the same basic theme that despite all the negatives associated with our current President, his resignation or removal and the promotion of the Vice President would not improve anything.  I’ve seen the same comment from no fewer than a half dozen friends on Facebook.

Think about this for a minute:  the current President is a habitual liar, attacks anybody who disagrees with him on Twitter, has been accused of all sorts of sexual misconduct, and has alienated a good chunk of his own political party.  Yet somehow we think a guy who has done none of these things isn’t an improvement?

I have been struggling for a while to encapsulate what is wrong with politics in our country, and I think the “Pence would be just as bad” sentiment does it exactly.  Our politics have become so polarized that we equate everybody on our side as good and everybody on the other side as bad without actually thinking about the people we are labeling.  Yes, it’s true that a Pence Presidency would not likely produce any better results for those who feel strongly about a woman’s right to choose or income inequality, but if we can’t start viewing politicians as individuals who have shades of grey rather than just members of political parties who are strictly black or white, then we are going to continue to have more Donald Trumps, Al Frankens, Roy Moores and John Conyers representing us because we are completely abandoning character in favor of ideology.

This may be easier for me to grasp, because I’m more politically moderate and there are a few things about both parties that I like and a lot of things about both parties that I don’t like.  Mike Pence is far more conservative than I, and Elizabeth Warren is far more liberal than I, but as far as I know both of them are of outstanding character and if either were in an election against a politically moderate candidate with whom I aligned more closely, but were a person of questionable character, I’d have little hesitation in voting for the Pence/Warren type candidate.  I’m just that sick of terrible, despicable human beings winning elections just because of their political party.

I don’t know how to convince people to abandon blind loyalty to a political party, but if we don’t figure it out, things are only going to get worse.  I certainly don’t need another government shutdown that occurs because of blind party loyalty overruling practical common sense.

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Posted December 3, 2017 by Andrew Cabiness in Uncategorized

Notre Dame Football Scheduling   Leave a comment

In this era of the College Football Playoff and the criteria used for selecting playoff teams, I’ve started to think that Notre Dame needs to change how they construct their football schedule.  After learning a couple hours ago that an 11-1 Alabama team, who did not even play for their conference championship and whose two best wins were over #17 LSU and #23 Mississippi State, was selected for the college football playoff, I’m fully convinced that a change needs to occur.

Since 1998, Notre Dame has had a very unusual scheduling arrangement with Southern Cal and Stanford.  In even-numbered years, ND plays Stanford at home in October and at Southern Cal Thanksgiving weekend.  In odd-numbered years, ND plays Southern Cal at home in October and at Stanford Thanksgiving weekend.  As a result, the Irish play in California on Thanksgiving weekend every year.  This arrangement is good for ND alumni, who get a California trip every November.  This arrangement is good for ND students, who don’t have to miss class to take their longest trip of the year.  This arrangement is good for Southern Cal and Stanford, who never have to worry about the weather in South Bend in late November.

This arrangement is not good for the playoff aspirations of the Notre Dame football team.  Every year, they play their last game of the season on the road, almost always against a ranked team and more often than not a highly-ranked one.  In the last ten years, the Irish have won their Thankgiving weekend game only twice, and both of those times were when Lane Kiffin was coaching the other team.

It’s a competitive disadvantage to play your last game of the season on the road against a ranked team.  It’s borderline insane to voluntarily do this every single year.  Now I understand the Southern Cal arrangement has been in place since 1960, so I’m not expecting that to change.  The Stanford arrangement is more recent, and if Notre Dame is serious about ever competing for championships, it has to end.  Either Stanford needs to agree to schedule the game earlier in the year both home and away, or the series needs to end.  A Shamrock Series game (a game played at a neutral site but where ND is the home team for TV purposes) would look good on Thanksgiving weekend in odd-numbered years in place of the trip to Palo Alto.  The game could still be in a warm location like Florida, Texas, or even California, but the game would be at a neutral site against a more manageable (but not pushover) opponent rather than in a hostile environment against what is at worst a Top 20 team and sometimes a Top 10 team.

Yet I would take this even a step further.  In any odd year in which BYU or Army would be willing, schedule the Shamrock Series game on the first Saturday in December instead of Thanksgiving weekend.  You may not even be aware that this is possible.  The first Saturday in December is not reserved just for conference championship games.  Any team not in a conference with a championship game is allowed to schedule a game just like any other Saturday during the season.  The Big 12 and their ten teams did this up until this year when they re-instituted their championship game.  Think about this, Notre Dame could simply schedule themselves to play on Championship Saturday while all the power 5 teams have to work all year to earn the right to play that day.  Guaranteed TV exposure on a day with a limited slate of games right before the playoff committee makes their selections.  Does this not make tons of sense?

Posted December 3, 2017 by Andrew Cabiness in College Football, Notre Dame, Sports

November 17, 2017: Full Circle   Leave a comment

“Back and better than ever”
-Mike Greenberg, thousands of mornings from 2000-2017

Note: I really wanted this post to be more timely, but it’s been a very hectic several weeks.  I hope to get one or two more posts out today after this one because I have a lot on my mind.

On September 27, 1999, when I started my career with the US Census Bureau at the Chicago Regional Office, ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning was still fourteen weeks away from debuting.  It would be another sixteen weeks before I discovered the show that got me through my morning commute to the Census Bureau in three different cities over the next 17½ years.

Friday, November 17, marked the end of one era and the beginning of another.  As ESPN goes through a series of reorganizations of on air talent and programming, that day was the last day that Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg hosted their iconic morning show together before moving on to new and separate shows.  It was also the same day that, due to my previous decision to transfer back to the Chicago Regional Office, our family moved into our new home in Munster, Indiana.

On both the first and last days I ever listened to Mike & Mike in the Morning, I commuted back and forth to the same office (though the office itself did move in the meantime).  While their show was a constant for all those years, my life sure did change quite a bit.  I went from being single and living alone to married with two kids, and too many ups and downs along the way to count.

While I have been very frequently been sternly reminded by a higher power, usually through messages delivered by others, that I am not in full control of my life, I do both hope and believe that I am now settled in a home that will see my kids graduate from high school and my eventual retirement.  While I have visited, semi-regularly attended, and regularly attended many churches over the years, for the first time I’m actually attending a church that I truly feel called to be a part of.  I very strongly believe that I am where I am for a very important purpose, though I don’t know exactly what that is yet.

I’m anxious to reach the point where I’m ‘settled in’ and can start getting more involved in my church and community.  If you live in the Munster/Hammond/Lansing area and happened upon this post I’d love to make some local connections via Facebook and/or LinkedIn.

Posted December 3, 2017 by Andrew Cabiness in Family, Indiana

Holding Out for a Hero (or 25)   Leave a comment

“I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero ’til the end of the night
He’s gotta be strong
And he’s gotta be fast
And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight” -Bonnie Tyler

About eleven months ago, our world entered an apocalyptic age.  Since the triggering event very early on the morning of November 3, 2016, the following things have happened:

  • Donald J. Trump was elected President of the United States
  • A series of four earthquakes hit central Italy, killing thirty-four
  • A magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit China, killing twenty-five
  • Hurricane Harvey hit the Caribbean, Texas and Louisiana, killing seventy-five
  • A pair of earthquakes hit Mexico, killing 457.
  • Hurricane Irma hit the Caribbean and Florida, killing 124
  • Hurricane Maria hit the Caribbean, most notably Puerto Rico, killing at least sixty-eight
  • Tens of thousands of acres in the western U.S. have burned in wildfires
  • The United States is on the brink of nuclear war with North Korea

It might seem that humanity’s headlong rush toward the end times is irreversible, but alas, there is hope.  The number of men who can reverse humanity’s course is few, and their window of opportunity is short, but it is possible.  Between October 3 and November 1, there are 225 men, amassed in groups of twenty-five throughout nine major U.S. cities, who have a chance to accomplish the seemingly impossible task.  They are based in Los Angeles, Cleveland, Houston, Washington, Boston, Phoenix, New York, Denver and Minneapolis.

If you are from one of these cities, you may already be partial to one of these groups of men.  If not, then please adopt one of them as your own.  Cheer for them, pray for them, wear their colors to show your support.  If one of these groups is actually able to accomplish the task, they should be hailed worldwide as heroes, but if we all wake up on November 2 and none of them have been able to succeed, then God help us all.

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Posted October 1, 2017 by Andrew Cabiness in Baseball, Sports

10 Places I Will Miss in Southern IN/Louisville   Leave a comment

Only six more days until I move north.  Before I go, I would like to mention ten places that my family and I will miss about this area (aside from this really awesome house that’s for sale).  Some are local, others are chains that just aren’t in the Chicago area as of now.  I was having a hard time ranking them, so I took the easy way out and listed them alphabetically.

Buckhead Mountain Grill – Very good menu variety and quality with prices comparable to an Applebee’s or Friday’s without the chain feel.  The Jeffersonville location has a great view of the river and of Downtown Louisville.

Bubba’s 33 – A fairly new chain that has a location in Clarksville.  If you like bacon on your burgers, you’ll love Bubba’s because they not only put bacon on the burger, they put bacon in the burger.  My only complaint is that the beer selection tilts too heavily towards lagers and IPAs.  Still, I’m hoping this chain one day makes its way to NWI (Northwest Indiana).

Churchill Downs – I was never into horse racing at all before moving to Southern Indiana, but I love it now.  We’ve never actually made it to the Oaks or Derby because seats are expensive and the infield just isn’t my thing, but we’ve been to the Downs to see (and bet on) races on other days and we’ve loved it.  The movie in the museum is fantastic as well.

Floyd County Brewing Company – This is a fairly new place in downtown New Albany that quickly became a favorite.  Excellent beer, excellent atmosphere and good food.  Not an easy-to-find combination.

Graeter’s – Really, really, really good ice cream.  You know it’s really, really, really good because it’s expensive and people still buy it.  I’ll probably lose weight faster by not living within a mile of a Greater’s.

Huber’s Orchard and Winery – I will admit that our trips to Huber’s became less frequent when they got rid of the animals that the kids loved to visit, but the winery and farm market are still worth a few trips each year.  Heritage is still my favorite dry red I’ve ever had.

Pizza King – If you have kids who like pizza and like trains, the “the place where the train brings your drinks” is probably someplace you frequent.  I was surprised to learn that their footprint does not include NWI.

Rite Aid – What? A drugstore?  What’s special about Rite Aid that you can’t get at Walgreen’s or CVS.  Well, when you spend $1000 or more per year at Rite Aid you get a 20% discount on everything (except alcohol, tobacco, lottery and prescriptions) all year long.  Plus, Norman, who manages the Rite Aid at 10th and Holmans in Jeffersonville is the best store manager I’ve ever met.  If everybody had the same enthusiasm for their job that he has for his, the world would be a much better place.

Turtle Run Winery – It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that Huber’s has, but they have a large selection of really good wines made and sold by a family that’s very knowledgeable and passionate about wine.  Well worth the trip to eastern Harrison County.

World of Beer – On my first trip back to the area after moving away, this is the very first place I will want to go for food and drink.  It’s a fantastic place, and thanks to the new East End Bridge it’s now in a fantastic location for those coming from Indiana.  They have tablets at the tables where you can browse beers by type or country.

Any local places that you think should be included on this list?

 

 

 

Posted August 11, 2017 by Andrew Cabiness in Uncategorized

92nd of 92   Leave a comment

Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, was a French aristocrat and military officer who fought on the side of the colonies in the American Revolutionary War.  In recognition of his accomplishments, there are many cities, towns and counties throughout the United States named Lafayette, LaFayette, La Fayette and Fayette.  Among the most notable of such places are Lafayette, Louisiana, and Lafayette, Indiana.  Among the least notable of such places is Fayette County, Indiana.

 Fayette County has an official population of 24,277, with the county seat of Connersville containing over half the population of the county.  Until yesterday, Fayette County was the only county in Indiana that I had never visited.  Mostly as a result of having lived in six different counties in various parts of the state, I had visited nearly all of Indiana’s 92 counties though the normal course of travel.  The vast majority of counties either contained places or were on the way to/from places I would go as I lived in different parts of the state.  After moving to Jeffersonville in 2006, the number of counties that I hadn’t visited started to shrink very rapidly.  Once the number got below ten, it became a goal of mine to visit the remaining counties so that I could claim to have visited every county in Indiana.  Over the past few years, those handful of counties that weren’t on the way to/from somewhere but not too far out of the way became slight detours from the normal travel routes until only one county remained unvisited:  Fayette County.

 I have nothing against Fayette County.  It just happens to not be on the way to/from wherever I have been going, nor has it even been close to on the way given the places that I have lived.  I figured I’d eventually take a trip from somewhere to somewhere that went close enough to Fayette County that I could detour there and finally cross #92 off my list.  However, when I recently decided to accept a job transfer to the Chicago area, I figured my chances of ever being near Fayette county would diminish significantly.  So, with a day off yesterday and the kids in school, I decided to make a five-hour round trip, just for the purpose of visiting Fayette County and finally being able to claim that I have visited every county in Indiana.

I would love to hear from anybody else who has managed to visit all 92 counties.

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Posted August 9, 2017 by Andrew Cabiness in Geography, Indiana

Major Announcement   3 comments

Ever since my parents took me to my first White Sox game when I was 9, I’ve loved Chicago.  I always imagined I would end up living there someday.  I considered going to college at DePaul before choosing Notre Dame.  I almost went to graduate school at UIC before settling on Michigan State.  I did eventually end up in Chicago for 5½ years when I began my Census Bureau career.  When I left by accepting a transfer to Maryland, and then to here in Southern Indiana, I thought I would be back.  Twelve years and two kids later, the idea of returning to Chicago began to seem less and less likely.

However, and opportunity has presented itself, and after some very serious and careful consideration, I have decided to accept a transfer back to the Census Bureau’s Chicago Regional Office, located in Oak Brook.  Nearly all of the details are yet to be worked out, but my first day there is tentatively scheduled for Monday, August 21.  My eleven years of working for the Bureau’s Jeffersonville (NPC) office have been both rewarding and challenging, and I feel that I am at a point in my career where I need a change of scenery.

We have just barely begun the process of looking for a new home, so I can’t yet tell you where we will be living, but we are focused on the western portions of Lake County, Indiana.  As a native Hoosier, I am partial to my home state and living in Illinois doesn’t seem terribly appealing right now.  Still, I want the commute to not be any lengthier than necessary, thus western Lake County.  I will provide more details once they are determined.

Even though I’ve lived in Southern Indiana for 11 years now, I’ve always favored the northern part of the state over the southern.  There are people and things about this area that I will miss, but the opportunity to take full advantage of everything Chicago far outweighs that for me.  More/better cultural opportunities, closer to White Sox games, closer to Notre Dame football games (which only becomes relevant after they wake up and ditch their coach) and closer to a beach.  Also, you may find this weird, but I’m very excited to be moving back to the Central Time Zone, which is what all of Indiana should be on anyway.

My wife and children have developed strong bonds that will have to be severed, and I am very appreciative that they are supporting this move as one that will be best for the family even though not their personal preference.  My wife will have to leave a job and co-workers that she absolutely loves.  The kids will both have to change schools again, leave behind friends, and find new Cub and Girl Scout packs/troops.  I want to especially thank the babysitters, preschool teachers, elementary school teachers, Sunday school teachers and scout leaders who have all been a very important influence on the first 9 and 7½ years of our children’s lives.  Perhaps the most important challenge that my wife and I face in this move is finding and selecting the right people to fill these new roles for our children.

While there are still a lot of uncertainties that are the source of anxiety right now, I am very excited to start the next chapter of my career and life.  I have updated and will continue to update my About page as we sort out exactly where we are going to live.

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Posted July 13, 2017 by Andrew Cabiness in Family, Indiana

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