Following the Minnesota Vikings at DraftFest at U.S. Bank Stadium was a whole lot harder than it was to do so on Twitter thanks to general manager Rick Spielman, who has made 24 draft day trades over four drafts and made seven trades over the three days of the 2017 NFL Draft. Spielman was the biggest reason why the 2017 NFL Draft had the most trades ever. He didn’t change his approach from years past, and it paid off again.

Spielman had to know this year’s draft would be deep when it came to the Vikings’ needs (OL, RB, LB, S) when he moved a 2017 first-round pick (No. 14 overall) for quarterback Sam Bradford. That didn’t stop him from getting first-round talent, though.

Spielman traded up to get Dalvin Cook, who fell to No. 41 overall mostly due to off-field issues despite being the top running back on multiple analysts’ big boards. No general manager should avoid drafting a player because he has incidents of growing up. These are kids after all, and kids make mistakes. The greatest rookie of all time, Randy Moss, spent time in jail before falling to the Vikings at No. 21 overall, and 20 teams now regret passing on him. The NFL is a business, so these decisions should be purely economical. Unless you think the “red flags” would adversely affect revenue, you draft the player. That’s why Spielman moved up seven spots to draft Cook, and every team in the league will learn to regret passing on him.

The addition of Cook makes the Vikings’ backfield a triple threat, with Latavius Murray wearing down defenses with power up the middle, and Cook stretching the edge and catching passes either as a running back or wide receiver. He’s the steal of the draft in my opinion and will have a chance to prove it immediately.

The Vikings weren’t done improving the running game, though, and Spielman wasn’t done drafting talent that fell into his lap. Ohio State center Pat Elflein was widely considered a second-round talent, and Spielman moved up nine spots in the draft to get him. After signing top free agent tackles Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers to large, long contracts, Spielman added Elflein as additional depth on the interior. Elflein can also play guard, and likely will, given Joe Berger’s veteran presence at center. That’s two starters who will have an immediate impact despite not being first-round picks, which will save the Vikings money over the course of their rookie deals.

My favorite deals Spielman made went mostly unnoticed, but he flipped the Vikings’ No. 86 pick to the Chiefs for No. 104, No. 132 and No. 245. Then he traded No. 104 to the 49ers for No. 109 and No. 219. Pick No. 109 became defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson out of Iowa. He’ll serve as insurance if Shariff Floyd decides to retire due to surgery complications with his knee. Johnson is a perfect fit for the Vikings’ defense because he’s a pass-rushing tackle and lacks run-stopping ability, which the Vikings don’t need with Linval Joseph at nose tackle. That’s another potential starter drafted in the fourth round.

It was no secret the Vikings would be looking for linebacker depth, and Spielman got it in Ben Gedeon. Gedeon, out of Michigan, was the strongest and most agile linebacker at the NFL combine, and went to the Vikings at No. 120. He’s a “tackling machine,” according to Darren Wolfson, and will immediately contribute on special teams. The special teams help kept coming from Spielman, with wide receiver/kick returner Rodney Adams expected to fill the big shoes left by Cordarrelle Patterson. Adams was picked 170th overall and shed tears of joy when he received Spielman’s call.

At pick No. 180, Spielman got even more offensive line depth with Danny Isidora, who will provide competition in camp. A red zone threat followed at pick No. 201, after Spielman traded No. 199 and No. 230 to the Washington franchise for No. 201 and No. 220. Bucky Hodges, Captain America’s best friend and tight end out of Virginia tech, should contribute as a wide receiver in red zone situations because he’s six-foot-six and was the best jumping tight end at the NFL combine.

Miami wide receiver Stacy Coley could stretch the field for the Vikings and was taken at No. 219 overall. His biggest question mark is his passion for the game, though. With the very next pick, Spielman added depth to the defensive line with Ifeadi Odenigbo, who had a higher passer pressure rate than some first-rounders.

Spielman provided more training camp competition at linebacker with the addition of Elijah Lee at No. 232, who could be a starter in the NFL eventually. At No. 245, the Vikings finally got some depth at defensive back. Jack Tocho is expected to move from cornerback to safety.

Once again, Spielman moved back in the draft to acquire more picks, and once again, it paid off. Drafting three potential starters without a single first-round pick is impressive and fun. It makes me wish Major League Baseball would allow the trading of draft picks so we could see what the young Derek Falvey could do with the first overall pick.

(Spoiler alert: RHP/SS Hunter Greene will likely be the pick. Can you imagine drafting a starting pitcher who can hit for power and play shortstop? You could even bring in a reliever to face tough right-handed hitters late in the game, move Greene to shortstop, and put him back on the mound after replacing him with your utility infielder. It would also give you an extra pinch-hitter on the bench since Greene would hit for himself. Then you could move Greene back to shortstop for the rest of the game so you don’t lose his bat in the lineup. That would be so fun to watch.)

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If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows: View From The Couch

“I don’t want a nation of thinkers. I want a nation of workers.” –John D. Rockefeller, created the General Education Board (GEB) in 1903 to dispense Rockefeller funds to education

It has been documented that former slave and abolitionist Harriet Tubman said, “I freed a thousand slaves.  I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew that they were slaves.”

What a powerful statement. Yet, how true it is.

The Adults

Do remember when Architect of Romneycare, or Obamacare, Jonathan Gruber said, “This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes… Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage… And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass.”

Do you recall when the late Senator John Glenn said, “Americans just want us…not to be concerned if they can be constitutionally justified…Why if we had to do that (Follow the rule of the Constitution), we could not enact most laws we enact around here.”

There’s no better way to make slaves out of men than to pervert and reverse law, and to redefine their history by allowing the corrupt to lead the way (Matthew 15:14).

This week, I noticed a live feed that was posted from the American people that stated, “The Democrats did this and the Democrats did that,” and going off on American “democracy,” which we are not.  We are a republic and we only have one Constitution (Matthew 3:25).

“There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.” -President John Adams Article 4, Sections 4, US Constitution (Jeremiah 5:21)

Divide and Conquer

Republicans vs. Democrats   

Then another conservative asked, “Who is worse, Korea, Russia, Syria….etc.?”

The suggestion is that the corrupt politicians who are allowed to run counter to American government under the guise of American government, somehow or another must be telling you the truth when they go to war with an alleged third world dictator. These are the same people who continuously advocate what God condemns, such as lying (Exodus 20:16), stealing (Exodus 20:15), sodomy (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13), redefining marriage, pedophilia (Exodus 22:23) and the sanctioning of the murder their own children (Proverbs 6:17).

“Every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac.

In our time political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.

All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting.

Political language...is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidarity to pure wind.

War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.

Nationalism is power hunger tempered by self-deception. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. (On the manipulation of language for political ends.) We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men. If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act.”  -George Orwell

Furthermore, just ask former US diplomat, National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger as to what his corrupt take on the military men are that fight those wars.

Military men are “dumb stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy,” he said.

On March 10, 1975, after meeting with the Turkish foreign minister in Turkey, Kissinger said, “The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer.”

The above said are the “grown-ups,” the adults. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to their genius (Romans 1:22).

Their Children

After speaking at 360 high schools and a number of colleges nationwide, it never ceases to amaze me that these young people know more than those who founded this country and established the rule of law to keep us free (Psalm 119:45).  How could this be? It is what has been allowed by the parents who have delivered their children to be taught by a bunch of dumbed down “Useful idiots,” who have been appointed to indoctrinate (Luke 7:35).

My War Trailer

The Testimony of Bradlee Dean trailer

Then again, they are simply the fruit of the media that they continuously denounce as “Fake news.”

Modern Day Psalm 23

"The TV is my shepherd"

The result is that they are creating people smart enough to repeat what they are told, to follow orders, and dumbed down enough to think this makes them smarter than everyone else.

Look at what they are teaching illegally in American indoctrination centers, known as public schools.

They are Teaching What in Public Schools?

Public Schools are Teaching What?

How do you make slaves? (Hosea 4:6)

 

 

If you have not watched Heineken’s, “Worlds Apart Experiment”, you should take four minutes and do so. The experiment ad quickly went viral with most of social media & the internet heaping high praise for its tasteful, simple approach in tackling controversial topics. I agree. It’s lovely and I adore it. I’ve watched it several times and I think it’s an important, very well produced video. It’s also completely staged.

 

Now, by, “staged” I don’t mean, “fake.” The video was produced by a UK based ad agency called Publicis London. I think they do an exceptionally fine job of realistic deception. For context, I worked in video / film on and off fort twenty years, I ran hundreds of casting sessions in NYC, I’ve directed a thousand actors and I’ve spent about fifty thousand hours on set and in an editing booth.  I can spot an actor ad-libbing from ten paces away. I can also spot -- acting. No matter how good.  I bring this up because the minor backlash against the ad comes from a feeling that it’s staged and that the people in the experiment are actors saying scripted lines which, to them, means the entire thing is fake and not to be liked.  

 

Okay. Well, Heineken responded on Twitter, saying there was no acting, and that the ad features "real stories.” I must say, based on my experience I’m going to out on a limb and say, I'm mostly siding with Heineken here. The people in the video are non actors. That being said, the participants in the experiment all recorded an introduction video and it’s the intro that I do sense a bit of “acting.” But that’s to be expected because, people, when they are in front of a camera, they change. They posture, they don’t know what to do with their hands and they exaggerate and / or deflect in equal measure. Basically, they do everything they can to look and sound what they consider to be the most “sincere.”  And that generally leads to --- well, bad acting.  

 

In the intro video, I have little doubt the people are saying things they truly believe. But I’m willing to bet some of them did multiple takes. And when non actors do multiple takes they tend to get more and more "actorly". So I think both sides are, essentially, correct. The people in the video are non actors saying things they believe in and they end up a bit stagey because it is a recorded, produced advert that probably forced them to tell their stories again (and maybe again, and again).   

 

I will also admit that the costuming bothered me. In the intro video the clothing choices are a bit too, on-the-nose. In that, obviously, the feminist has to be wearing a ,“smash the patriarchy” shirt.” and the alt right kid has to be dressed in a slick suit that immediately makes you think, "smarmy salesman." You’ll note when the experiment begins everyone is wearing completely different clothing. The second set of clothing is probably more like each person’s actual style.

 

Then, you’ll note, multiple camera are used when they run through the experiment. Either Publicis London used  a dozen cameras and shot each experiment in one take, or they did multiple takes of each experiment. Both ways could produce the slight “stagey” effect that has put some people off.  

 

Again, this doesn’t mean the people in the video are actors and are saying scripted lines, it just means that, like all reality television, nothing is one hundred percent authentic. It’s very possible these are non actors saying things they believe in, using anecdotes from their own lives and when confronted with multiple cameras and multiples takes and multiple costumes they come off staged and over directed. Because the whole thing is staged and directed.

 

My personal take is that, staged or not, this is a great ad from Publicis London. It produces sincere emotion and it really makes no difference if the entire video is scripted &  fabricated & built in editing or if it was entirely as realistic and truthful as the ad suggests. Either way, it’s an effective ad that genuinely says something about life. It also tries to sell you beer. It is, after all, a beer ad.  

 

You can be as cynical as you want about it but in this very divisive world of Brexit and President Trump the differences in their conversations are all too real. All the ad suggests is that maybe the best way to tackle extreme difference is to listen and to talk.

 

Does that sound way too asinine to work? Could a man who said, “Women should be at home making my babies,” and a woman who wears a, “smash the patriarchy” shirt, ever find common ground? The  snotty side of my brain laughs at the very thought.

 

But I offer anecdotal proof in “Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race & America,” a documentary about Davis, an African American musician, who has spent decades trying to befriend KKK members in order to change their mind about people of color. Davis found that the more he was willing to listen to their grievances, the more willing they were to listen and talk to him. You should watch the documentary. Davis has been quite effective on his journey. His journey to change people's mind -- by listening and, talking to them.

 

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If you like this you might like the radio talk shows, Bill Martinez Live, Freedom Feens, Free Talk Live.

 

I am just like you. Like you, I have a favorite NFL team. Perhaps we share the same team, perhaps not. Like you, I’m no expert in football but again, like you, I’ve watched a lot of games. Every Sunday and Monday. And now sometimes on Thursday. And watching a lot of football has -- well, you know -- pretty much made me an expert. Just like you.

I love the Minnesota Vikings. I don’t know why. Season after season of disappointment, regret and shame. I blame "The Curse." Okay, to be fair, we all know that curses don’t actually exist. Except for the one on the MN Viking, obviously!

Maybe there is no curse. Maybe all the other Super Bowl winners catch lucky breaks and the Vikings just happen to catch unlucky breaks. Repeat. Or maybe it’s Murphy’s Law. Or maybe it’s the coaching staff. Or the owner. Or the players. Or the fans. Or the curse.

Whatever it is, it certainly is exciting. I mean, the 1998 Vikings go 15-1 and still find a way for “Automatic Anderson” to miss a field goal and lose in the Championship game. I’m sure  eighties / early nineties Bills fans feel my seventies pain when I say, “Bloody hell! How can you lose four super bowls in one decade?” Or in 2009, how can you have Brett Favre, Adrian Peterson, Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin and still lose? Oh, right, because All Day fumbles the ball, like, sixteen times in the Championship game against the Saints! Good times, good times.

Maybe the Viking’s aren’t cursed, per say, but they sure do find creative ways to lose. So, why do I love the Vikings? Why am I still a fan? Loyalty? Marketing? Nostalgia? The fantasy? Is it the fantasy that we all crave? We watch a game and think to ourselves, “I could have done that. I could have caught that ball. Made that kick. Hit that hole. I could be rich and famous. I coulda been a contender.”

Maybe. But maybe it’s really, really simple. Maybe I just love the Vikings because it’s my home team. And, also, because American football is the greatest professional sport the world has ever known. Like, ever. Including all those super cool alien sports ball games that earthlings will compete in in the distant future. Don’t believe me?  Check out the competition:

The Competition, or, "A totally off topic rant against other sports that should probably be cut but won't be."

Baseball. America’s Pastime.

Yeah, um, sorry but no. Baseball is about as exciting as watching ice cream melt. Each score is worth the same amount of points. One. Holy F’ing boring! Ninety percent of your fielded athletes do nothing. Oh, look over there at that ridiculously high paid star athlete -- the way he stands there and does nothing over in left field -- it really is an inspiration to us all!  My favorite interview with a baseball star came about fifteen(ish) years ago, I don’t even remember the player’s name. A reporter asked him a question about being a “star athlete.” The players snorted and replied, “I’m not an athlete. I play baseball.”  Yes! More of that please!

Hockey. The sport of “The Great One.”

Hockey can’t be taken seriously for one significant reason: too many games end in ties! How the hell can you have a professional sport that ends in a bunch of ties?!!? Besides, we all know hockey is just "awkward padded boxing" on skates. Occasionally, the fighters break up the cage match and shoot the puck around the ice for a while. Oh, look, another exciting ass ice boxing match that ends in a 0-0 tie! Thankfully I only paid $125 for my ticket or I’d be really disappointed in this sport (note the sarcasm).

Basketball. The court of “Air Jordan.”

Basketball has too many points involved for it to be continuously engaging. But at least basketball has a range of points. Shots can be worth one, two or three. And the pace of the game is break neck. Something is always happening. Have you ever watched fans at a basketball game cheer their heads off when their team scores that first two point bucket? Notice how the enthusiasm is gone by mid game where their home team has scored its thirty third 2 point shot. Points become meaningless when they are handed out so frequently which is why you hear the oft said expression, “You only need to watch the last ten minutes of a basketball game.” I guess, to be honest, I don’t mind watching basketball (it’s not like it’s bloody baseball for Christ’s sake!) but it’s no American football.

Tennis. (I have nothing snotty to say about tennis).  

I kind of dig tennis. Unique point system. One-on-one or two-on-two competition. Steffi Graf. Pete Sampras. Good stuff. It’s just no NFL. We all know that.

Golf?

Please. It’s not a sport. It’s a skill. No competition.

Soccer. The world sport. Loved by billions.

Meh. Another game that ends in ties. And each score is worth one point. Not much in way of scoring strategy. Oh, you beg to differ? Quick, what’s your sports ball plan for your soccer team?  Oh. What was that? You plan to kick the ball into the goal. For a point. Yeah, that’s what I thought. I know the world loves soccer (football). Fair enough. You keep your soccer, I’ll keep my American football. Again, it’s no NFL.

So what makes American Football so great? (If you really dislike football you might want to just skip this part and move on down to the open letter sections).

You’re either on my side or not. No need for a seven page discussion why football wins. It just does. The strategy. The symmetry of the formations. Substitutions. Play calling.  ffensive strategy. Defensives strategy. The deceptions. Consider that every single play requires dozens of off field personnel to predict the opposing side, call the play, get substitutions in and out, communicate the play, line up in formation (which suggests a certain type of run or pass play but is usually disguised as something other than it looks), hard count to draw the defense offside (or not), focus (do not get a penalty), execute the play (all eleven people on the field have to do their jobs or the play goes to shit), out play your opponent.

So, for every play that happens in the NFL that’s the culmination of anywhere from twenty to twenty five people all coordinating their jobs every five minutes. Over and over and over again. Compare that level of detail, coordination, teamwork and the individual chance to rise up above another player or entire team to just “make a play," with, “Pitcher tries to throw ball past batter.” Yes, yes,I know baseball is slightly more complicated than I suggest. But only slightly. And it’s no football. And there is no comparison.   

Anyway. I’ve made my point. You’re now convinced (or not). American Football for the win. Allow me to get back to the matter at hand.

The Open Letter Section. Out with the old. In with the new and I'm really sorry about that curse, guys.

Dear Mr. Peterson.

We have never met. We probably never will. I just want to say to you, farewell. You’re a great athlete. I have enjoyed many an hour watching you turn defensive lines into Swiss cheese. I marvel at how you can still get five or six yards when defenses stack eight men in the box and send them all after you. I love that, with one hand, you can shove an NFL player away from you, hardly breaking stride. You single handedly carried the MN Vikings into the playoffs in 2012 with your 2,097 rushing yards. You will go down as one of, if not the, greatest running back the NFL has ever seen. Well played, sir. Thank you for your hard work and fair game play.

And I’m soooo glad to see you gone! The Vikings have been ruined with you in the backfield. Several years of completely predictable and uninspiring offense designed to hand you the ball launched the Vikings into mediocrity. Other teams pretty much knew you were getting the ball 25 times per game. And, for a long time you were still great. And then the injuries and the scandal and the drama struck. And suddenly you were no longer, Adrian Fucking Peterson!  You were just Adrian Peterson, a very expensive, pretty good runner.  And while other team is passing for 5,000 yards, year after year the Vikings are at the bottom of the league in offense. It’s time for a new plan.

I am glad to have seen you play for the MN Vikings and I hope you continue to have a fine, injury free career on other teams. Perhaps you’ll get a super bowl ring behind Drew Brees. You deserve one. Of course, I’ll be honest with you here ... "The fucking Saints!" How quickly you forget!  I mean, they were the team who paid their players extra money to injure opponents. And that’s exactly what they did in the 2009 Championship game against you and your team. (Grumble, grumble, grumble). Which is why the Vikings lost.

Oh, and the Vikings also lost that game because you fumbled and lost the ball, like, sixteen times. Maybe you're cursed? Anyway, you should try not to do that so much in the future.

Unless you’re playing the Vikings.  

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Dear Mr. Bridgewater.

You have a great name. I love it. By all accounts it seems you are a really, genuine, decent man.  Young, smart and talented you are guaranteed to have a great future in the NFL. Unless you play for the cursed Vikings that will inflict a freak, horrible injury that will probably end your career. 

On the bright side, the NFL has an unlimited budget for medical care and you are young and strong. You’ll recover. But there’s, "recover," and there’s, "RECOVER"! It looks as if the Vikings will not pick up your option. Which means they, and the NFL doctors expect you to recover. But not RECOVER.

You might play again. I hope you do. Because of your injury the Vikings might be able to re-evaluate you in another year. Perhaps you’ll recover enough and they’ll sign you as a back up. And you’ll probably be -- okay. It’s hard to evaluate your career as you were only the starter for a year and a half. But you do have an overall winning record totaling a W/L/T of 17-12-0 (See! No ties!).  In 2015, you led the Vikings to the top of the division with an 11-5 record where your numbers were:

GP    CMP    ATT    CMP%       YDS         AVR    TD     INT    LNG  QB-RAT

16       292     447     65.3%        3,231         7.23     14        9       62         88.7   

Aside from a flat line TD / INT ratio those numbers are -- well, they’re okay. You were sacked 44 times that season for a loss of 307 yards. About three times per game. Pretty impressive record for getting knocked around that much. It’s also interesting to note that Adrian Peterson was healthy in your 2015 season. Peterson played 16 games and rushed for league high 1,485 yards which probably took a lot of pressure off you. The previous year when you took over for injured Matt Cassel you went 6-6 but Peterson was inactive the entire year. Tough road for a rookie.  It also suggests you might need a great back in order to win.

Anyway, you know all this. But I, along with many other Vikings fans, had high hopes for your future with the Vikings. I’m sorry that the curse struck you down. You did not deserve it. I hope you are the physical freak of nature that Adrian Peterson proved he was when he came back from his horrible knee injury and rushed for more than two thousand yards. I hope you can come back from your injury and throw for five thousand yards!

I really do.  Good luck kid!

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Dear Mr. Bradford.

Hey, dude. I like you. I really do. You quietly put up impressive numbers in 2016.

GP    CMP    ATT    CMP%       YDS         AVR    TD     INT    LNG  QB-RAT

15      395      552      71.6%       3,877         7.02      20        5        71        99.3   

Almost four thousand yards in fifteen games. Nice TD to INT ratio and an almost seventy two percent completion ratio! Which is insanely high! And an NFL record. It was certainly your best year as a pro. Excellent work!

Buuuut -- I gotta be honest with you.  It’s, um, your W/L numbers. that concern me. You went 7-8 as a starter. True, the losses are not all on your shoulders. Far from it! The MN Vikings had a dismal running game. Another AP injury and arguably the worst frontline in the league. A frontline, I might add, which allowed multiple games with five or more sacks on you. That doesn't even include the amount of time you were hit (but not sacked). To be honest, I don’t expect my team to win when the line gives up five sacks per game and probably twice as many QB hits. All in all you were sacked 37 times for a loss of almost 300 yards. Which isn’t as much as I thought. Brdigewater went down more times in his full season start. But still, the line has to improve and when it does and you’re a bit more protected, I see that you can get the ball into receiver's hands.

Buuuut … it’s still that pesky win / loss ratio that bothers me. You were drafted in 2011 for the St. Louis Rams and had largely mediocre to not very good seasons. Also, you were injured in four of your seven seasons. Not promising. Finally, you had a mediocre season in Philadelphia and then got traded to the Vikings in 2016.  Your overall W/L/T record is a sad looking 32-45-1 (stupid tie!).

Thankfully, in 2016 you had  two rising superstar receivers in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielan.  Bridgewater was throwing to folks like Charles Johnson, Mike Wallace and Cordarrelle Patterson -- three players that always should have been better than they were. So, Sam, I’m glad you have that going for you.

But man. We could have had Teddy "GUMP" Bridgewater. (Great Under Major Pressure). And he coulda turned into a star. Probably.

But Sam, you're not bad, right? On one hand AP was down for the year, and you did what you could do.

On the other hand, Bridgewater went 11-5. With subpar receivers.  

On the other hand, he had a healthy AP to back him up.

On the other hand, Bradford, you had the worst offensive line in the NFL.

On the other hand, Bridgewater was sacked more than you were in that year by year comparison and he still won eleven games.  

On the other hand, the NFL has never seen a more accurate passer than your job in 2016, Mr. Bradford.

On the other hand, Sam, you didn’t really get a lot of yards per pass. And you lost more games than you won.

(I ran out of hands).

Well, Mr. Bradford. I’m not here to make you feel bad (which, you probably don’t). You seem like a stand up guy. I never heard you complain about losing or whine about the O line.  You took your hits, took your blame and moved on to the next game. I approve.

I pretty much have faith that you’re going to be A-Okay here as a Viking especially with those two superstar receivers aforementioned  I expect all your numbers to go up. And we have a new running back. Latavius Murray seems like a good egg.

Oh, and one final thing. Sam, if you hear anything about “a curse,” just totally ignore it. None of our quarterback are ever injured! I mean, except for like the last twenty of them. But aside from that our QB is never injured. We always make the clutch field goals. We always have a winning record. Our players have an insane amount of super bowl rings. Like, seriously, you would not believe how many super bowl rings the Vikings have! So, there is totally, no curse on the MN Vikings. Okay?

Besides, curses are not real. I mean, obviously, except for the one on the MN Vikings that we all know exists. But aside from that one, curses are not real. So don’t worry about it!

Just go play ball. Have fun. And let’s try and get that W/L ratio up a bit, shall we?  

Thanks for reading!

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If you like this, we will review the Vikings' NFL Draft straight from the Draft Party from U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday.

 

So you’ve built the all-American home, furnished it with American-made appliances and furniture, filled the fridge with food made in the U.S.A. and use American energy sources to run your appliances, lights and heat. But America is vast, and you want to see it all.

If you tried to travel 2,680 miles in any direction in almost any country, you’d end up in an ocean. But not in America. The U.S.A. is known for its diversity, both demographically and geographically. That geographic diversity wouldn’t be possible if America wasn’t the third largest nation. That vastness requires transportation solutions in order for Americans to see their nation.

American-made Shoes

When you’re not going far, you can walk in American-made shoes. I would recommend Keen for all-purpose shoes. I’ve been wearing a pair I got at an REI garage sale for about five years. Red Wing and Wolverine make the best boots money can buy. My dad has worn Red Wing boots to work for over 40 years and has a pair of Wolverine galoshes for wet days. Schnee’s in Bozeman, Montana, makes the best hiking boots I’ve seen. There aren’t many options for sneakers made in America, but SOM Footwear is one, and some of the previously mentioned companies have expanded their catalog to include a few pairs of everyday shoes. If you prefer to bear your feet and walk like Jesus, Okabashi makes 100-percent recyclable sandals and flip-flops right here in the U.S.A.

Bicycles Made in the U.S.A.

You really can bike from one edge of America to the other. People do it every summer for about $5,000. It’s understandable if that’s not your idea of fun, but I urge every American to bike to work or the store when they can. It will save you money, and it’s great for Americans and America, especially if you do it on an American-made bicycle.

I haven’t owned a bicycle made in the U.S.A. since I was a kid because Huffy has since moved its factories to China. Even great bikes like Surly have their components made in Taiwan and are only constructed in Minnesota. But since I can’t recommend an American-made bicycle, Inside Hook has provided a recent list of the top five bicycles made in America. Firefly is the only one on the list I recognize.

Public Transportation in America

I take public transportation as often as I can because it’s better for the environment and employs nearly 400,000 Americans, according to the American Public Transportation Association. Think about this: every person on a bus or train is generally one less car on the road. It’s the easiest way to decrease car traffic and emissions, so we can continue to breathe clean air.

Public transportation is also incredibly convenient. I have a bus stop just down the street from my house, and I can ride one bus all the way from the Mall of America to Target Field in less than an hour for less than $2. I can even load up my bike and ride to and from the bus. I even get to read while riding a bus or train, so I’m using that extra time more constructively. But 45 percent of people don’t have access to public transportation because it’s not available where they live, which is why we own so many automobiles. (If you’d like to remedy the lack of public transportation access in America, visit Voices for Public Transit.)

American Automobiles

The American automobile industry is a driving force of America. The automobile industry is the seventh largest in the world according to Forbes, and half of the Dow Jones Industrial Index companies rely on automobiles to create revenue. The automobile industry contributes nearly a trillion dollars to the American economy each year and is responsible for 7.25 million American jobs, according to AutoAlliance.org. But many Americans perceive American cars to be inferior to foreign cars. They’re wrong.

I’m not one to use personal experience to make an argument often, but if you don’t think General Motors makes a quality car, say that to my face when I’m behind the wheel of my 1957 Chevy 210. Toyota exported its first car, the Toyopet Crown, to America in 1957. A CNN Money slideshow informs that “Toyota soon recognized that the Toyopet really didn't warrant being taken seriously, whatever it was called. It was underpowered, uncomfortable, lacking in even basic amenities, and it cost more than better offerings from European competitors.”

From the Crown Wikipedia page: “As a publicity stunt to demonstrate the car's reliability, Toyota staged a campaign common to American automakers: a coast-to-coast endurance run from Los Angeles to New York. The Toyopet was barely able to limp into Las Vegas before the project had to be called off.”

It doesn’t matter what decade, American automakers have made higher quality cars than their foreign competition. This list of former Motor Trend Car of the Year award winners proves it, with American automakers taking down 55 awards to the rest of the world’s nine. General Motors led the pack with 26 awards, Chrysler and Ford each scored 14, AMC added two and Tesla picked up one. Leading the rest of the world was Volkswagen with a whopping three awards, Toyota and Nissan had two, Honda and the French car company Citroen had one each. That’s right: AMC has the same number Motor Trend Car of the Year awards as Toyota and Nissan, and twice as many as Honda.

Again, if you don’t think American automakers make quality cars, consider my 2004 Ford Taurus with over 202,000 miles, no body rust, no interior damage and no major issues. I’ve replaced the starter and AC pump. That’s it. Compare that to my dad’s 2007 Mazda with 120,000 miles and body pieces falling off due to cheap, plastic clips holding it together. Consider my father’s 2005 Ford F-150 with over 180,000 miles. He just put significant money into it for the first time, replacing the front end when his four-wheel drive went out during one of the snowiest winters Eastern Montana has seen in decades.

So now that your perceived quality of American automobiles is no longer misinformed, let’s explain why it’s so important for Americans to buy American automobiles. Too many Americans think buying American-made cars doesn’t matter for America because foreign automakers are hiring Americans to construct their cars in America, too. They’re wrong.

According to Roger Simmermaker’s How Americans Can Buy American: The Power of Consumer Patriotism, “When you buy an American-made Chevy, you not only support more American workers, you also support American investors, owners, and stockholders. When you buy an American-made Toyota, you may help your Uncle Bob if he’s on Toyota’s payroll, but you’re hurting Uncle Sam since American companies pay about three times as many taxes to the U.S. Treasury as do foreign-owned companies.” That doesn’t even include the insane amount of tax breaks foreign automakers have gotten to open production facilities in the U.S.A.

From Forbes: “Alabama offered Mercedes-Benz more than $250 million worth of tax breaks, training and land, and South Carolina won BMW’s only U.S. plant with state incentives worth more than $130 million, according to a 2008 report by the University of South Carolina Moore School of Business. The gifts to Kia that helped win the plant for Georgia total more than $258 million.”

Most importantly, American automakers employ more Americans -- nearly three times more than foreign automakers as of 2012. The jobs putting the cars together aren’t the only ones that matter, though. Plenty of materials go into making a car, so the more materials used that are made in America, the more American jobs are created. Simmermaker cites a 2002 Business Week story that states “each auto-assembly created by an American company also creates 6.9 other American jobs, where each auto-assembly job created by a foreign company creates only 5.5 other American jobs.”

While there isn’t a car entirely made in America, the Tesla Model 3 is likely to become the most American car on the road, with 95 percent of its parts made in the U.S.A. You can find out how much of each 2013 car was made from materials made in the U.S.A. by visiting here. No surprise, General Motors tops the list, with Ford and Chrysler filling out the top 10. Toyota has the only foreign car in the top 10, and Chrysler is now Italian-owned.

So I hope the next time you’re buying a car, whether new or used, you buy American, because you’re supporting American jobs when you do.

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If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows: USA Prepares, Building America, Free Talk Live, American Survival Radio, Jim Brown’s Common Sense, Drop Your Energy Bill, Auto World, Auto World AM

The 56 year old actress was receiving chemotherapy and radiation treatment for throat cancer.

A statement released by her husband, Steve Fleischmann, revealed she had back in 2016 woke up noticing a small amount of blood on her pillow case thinking she had bitten her tongue.  A biopsy later revealed she had squamous cell carcinoma on her left tonsil. The cancer eventually spread not allowing her to eat or drink and she required a feeding tube.  This week she died peacefully at home in bed next to her husband and the coroner revealed the cancer had spread to her spleen and brain.

 

According to Erin Moran’s costar, Anson Williams who played Potsie, “She kept very quiet”……”We all kept quiet too, out of respect for Erin. She couldn’t speak, but her texts were very [positive].”

What is “Throat Cancer?”

The throat, pharynx, is divided into three parts.

Nasopharynx – above the soft palate, the upper part of the throat behind the nose

Oropharynx – between the soft palate and the epiglottis, the middle part of the throat including the back wall, sides, tonsils and posterior 1/3 (back) of the tongue.

Hypopharynx – the lowest part that leads to the esophagus and larynx (voice box)

Cancer in any of these anatomical sections can be considered “throat cancer”.  Cancer of the larynx (voice box) is called laryngeal cancer and is considered separate from hypopharyngeal cancer.

Esophageal cancer is cancer of the esophagus (gullet) and is considered separate from “throat cancer” as well.

 

What are the symptoms of throat cancer?

Symptoms of throat cancer include:

  • Chronic sore throat

  • Hoarseness

  • Voice changes

  • Chronic cough

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Painless lump in the neck

  • Neck Pain

  • Ear Pain

  • Weight loss

 

to name a few.

What are the risk factors?

Risk factors for throat cancer include:

  • HPV (Human Papillomavirus) – causing rising rates of especially oropharyngeal cancer

  • Epstein Barr Virus – related to increased risk of nasopharyngeal cancer

  • Tobacco Use

  • Alcohol use

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (heartburn)

  • Poor diet, especially lack of fruits and vegetables

How is throat cancer treated?

 

As one can see by the list of symptoms, throat cancer often gets mistaken for common cold symptoms.  Unfortunately, by the time throat cancer is diagnosed, it has reached a more advanced stage.  Depending on where the cancer is located, various treatments can be instituted including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and targeted drug therapy.

Which famous people battled throat cancer?

 

Celebrities who succumbed to throat cancer include:

 

Sammy Davis Jr., age 64

Michael Crichton, suspected throat cancer, age 66

President Ulysses S. Grant, suspected throat vs. esophageal cancer, age 63

Bob Denver (Gilligan’s Island), age 70

Carl Perkins, age 75

 

to name a few.

 

In 2010, Actor Michael Douglas successfully battled “throat cancer” that originated from a tumor at the base of his tongue.

 

LearnHealthSpanish.com / Medical Spanish made easy.

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a Board Certified Family Physician. The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00am-2:00pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00pm (Central) at GCN.

 

Is another Cuban Missile Crisis at hand between the U.S. and North Korea? A little history can tell us just how dangerous a nuclear confrontation can be.

 

Fifty-four years ago, America faced another perilous moment and was on the brink of a nuclear war. The Russians were building missile sites in Cuba, allowing the potential for an all out nuclear attack on the United States.  Younger Americans today are not aware of how close the world came to nuclear war, as historians would argue that this would become the most dangerous moment up to that time in human history.

 

In the fall of 1962, I had traveled to England to undertake post-graduate work in English Literature at Cambridge University.  From breakfast seminars to daytime lectures, then afternoon readings and evening tutorials, I was immersed in English literature. International politics and foreign intrigue were the furthest things from my mind — that was, until the Cuban missile crisis.

 

I had rented a room in the house of an English family who lived a few blocks from the Cambridge campus. Mrs. Davenport, the lady of the house, awakened me at 2:00 A.M. on October 22, 1962. She said a neighbor had just called and told her to turn on the radio to hear a major press conference by President John F. Kennedy.

 

It was an extremely cold morning, and there was no central heating in the house, so I grabbed a blanket off my bed, threw it around me, and went downstairs to the living room. A fire was burning in the fireplace, and the Davenport family had gathered around the radio. President Kennedy was just beginning his remarks.

 

The President announced a naval blockade of Cuba, which he called a “quarantine.” He made it clear that any ship bound for Cuba that was carrying offensive missiles, or any other military hardware, would be stopped and turned back.

 

As he ended his speech, the neighbors from next door joined us in the living room. I was not sure how serious the matter was, but there was no doubt in the minds of my British hosts, who had lived the day-in, day-out horror of two world wars; they believed that we were on the brink of another world war, and they were devastated. The women in the room were crying. Eventually, everyone turned to me and asked why the President would want to start such hostility over a minor island south of Florida. I had no idea how to respond.

 

The next day several members of the Cambridge Union, the local debating society, approached. They had sought me out to debate America’s actions because I was one of very few Americans at Cambridge. I knew I was in over my head, and I needed help. The only place I could think of was the American Embassy in London; maybe someone there could give me some background information about why the blockade was necessary. After a ninety-minute train ride, I was in London by mid-day.

 

On my arrival at the Embassy, a staffer gave me a verbal briefing and a little background information. It is an understatement to say that I was lost in the forest of international conflict.

When I spoke up for the American position and tried to defend my country that evening, I was hissed and booed by the majority of the crowd. The Russians had stated that the only missiles in Cuba were “defensive,” and that America was the villain. Try as I might, I could not convince the Brits any differently. I was up against several other speakers who rattled off numerous dates, events, and consequences of World War II and the Cold War. They were well versed in the politics of the day, and it was clear that I was less than qualified to be my country’s sole defending voice.

 

Cooler heads prevailed fifty years ago, under the leadership of John F. Kennedy, and nuclear war was averted.  We can only hope that President Trump can offer the same leadership on a cross section of international issues that both serve America’s interests and defuse the violence taking place across the globe. Benjamin Franklin summed it up pretty well many years ago. “There never was a good war or a bad peace.”

 

Peace and Justice

 

Jim Brown

 

Jim Brown’s syndicated column appears each week in numerous newspapers throughout the nation and on websites worldwide.  You can read all his past columns and see continuing updates at http://www.jimbrownusa.com.  You can also hear Jim’s nationally syndicated radio show each Sunday morning from 9:00 am till 11:00 am Central Time on the Genesis Radio Network, with a live stream at http://www.jimbrownusa.com.



 

On Monday, members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) overwhelmingly voted for their union to strike. This gives the union permission to strike but does not necessarily mean they will strike. The current WGA contract expires on May 1st and negotiation between the union and studios continue.

 

The last WGA strike was in 2007-8 and cost the state of CA approximately $2 billion dollars and about $250 million in lost wages for writers. In 2007 the strike was about the usual suspects - wage increase, &  health care  but mainly about streaming residuals. You see, if a writer writes something and it airs, the writer gets a “residual payment” when the program (or film) shows and / or when a DVD sells. Actors, directors, executive producers, producers all have similar deals depending on the media.

 

The problem was with said residuals for streaming service. How much, if anything, does a writer get when someone streams said content from the web. At the time this whole streaming thing was up and coming and the previous WGA contract had never considered “streaming” to be much of a thing so contracts focused on DVD sales and ancillary rights for cable service (HBO, Showtime, etc).

 

And you know what that means. If it’s not in the contract, you don’t get it. So writers were getting paid nothing for streaming services. Streaming services loved it! They raked in the cash and didn’t have to pay those uppity writers a dime!

 

Hence the strike. Which last for about 100 days. Keep in mind when the writers strike the entire production is shut down. Deals are canceled. Lots of people are laid off or fired. It’s not just the writers who are out of work. So are the camera operators, the craft service employees, the production assistants, and office personnel. Some restaurants & shops that were entirely dependent on the thousands of cast & crew walk ins had to permanently close without the film / TV traffic. The strike hit hard and in the end the WGA didn’t even really get a great deal. They got a mediocre deal because everyone was just weary from the strike and gave in.

 

Well, we still have shows on TV, Hollywood cranks out 150 movies per year and Netflix is bigger than ever. So despite their mediocre deal I guess the writers won. Right? Until the next time! Contracts seem to last about three years in Hollywood so it was inevitable there would be a “next time”.

 

Which is now. So what are those writers complaining about this time? They already make $250 thousand per year! Now what do they want?  

 

Wait, writers make how much? And now that I know that, why should I care they are demanding more money?  

 

I know. It’s hard to find a lot of empathy when the average TV writer makes approx. $250 thousand per year. The average screenwriter is paid slightly less. Those numbers are driven high by a couple of key things -- titles like “producer / writer” and showrunners on TV who are the “executive producer”  all demand much higher salaries than a typical writer, but are considered “writers” for the purpose of the WGA. So, mostly likely, a typical writer on TV probably makes about $180 thousand per year. Which, as they say, is better than a sharp stick in the eye.

 

The most important thing to remember though is -- that’s what the market says their job is worth. It’s not the writers fault that s/he makes that much. And if the market suggests writers should be making more than they do, then a contract renegotiation and / or strike is appropriate.

 

A few things to consider. First, TV writers get paid per episode. In the way back time of 2008, TV networks any given popular show produces twenty two episodes per year. That number has plummeted to anywhere from eight to twelve episodes per year for most scripted programing.

 

Second, writers usually have an exclusivity deal which means they are unable to work on multiple shows at once. So even though there are more scripted shows now than ever before, a writer can only work on one at a time. It doesn’t matter that the market pays a TV writer very well they now collect about half what they used to. No one should be happy with that deal.     

 

Of course, thankfully, there is a silver lining here. The WGA contract still offer writers residuals from DVD sales. You remember DVD’s, right? You used to buy a bunch of them. So even if a writer was out of work for a season or two, s/he could depend on residuals from DVD sales to help pay the mortgage.

 

Except, of course, for the fact that DVD sales peaked in the early 2000’s and bottomed out around 2006 (as more folks switched to online streaming and / or stole the movies on sites like bittorrent). In fact, DVD sales continue to plummet about 10 percent per year. Another line of revenue that has quickly faded for writers.

 

Which is why the negotiations between the WGA and the studios continue. But no one actually wants a strike. True, the WGA just voted to give the union heads the authority to strike if need be but, seriously, no one really wants to.  

 

John Eisendrath, WGA member and executive producer of the show, “The Blacklist,” has an excellent piece over at latimes.com called, “I voted for a Hollywood writer’s strike but I don’t want one” where he offers his views on the possible strike (and solutions). His insider opinion is much like the title of his piece but you should read it over anyway. I like his solutions.

 

The main hold up is, obviously, money. The studio’s don’t want to give up any more of their large share of the pie. To be honest, they are kind of struggling this year what with only having been able to scrape together a measly $51 billion dollars in profit in 2016.

 

What? Did you you just say $51 billion? As in the number “fifty one”, followed by “billion?” Profit?

 

Yes. I did. The studios are arguing against paying writers more because there isn’t enough of the $51 billion dollar pie to go around. No, seriously, that’s what is going on.

 

Writers, the folks that create every single character, every line of dialog, every plotline and every story you consume on media, those folks, ask for better health coverage and a raise. Unlike the 2007-08 strike, I expect that they’ll get their wish this time. Unlike the 07-08 strike the studios just don’t have a lot of leverage. Profits are too high. The Directors Guild of America just signed a new contract making much of the same adjustments the WGA is asking for. The holdup, I suspect, is simply a matter of how to dot the i’s and cross the t’s.

 

So, don’t panic. I doubt there will be a strike. Late night talk shows & SNL are posting record ratings and would go dark if the strike went through. Think of the lost ad revenue. Networks won’t like that at all. So, I think there will be a new contract before the deadline.  “Walking Dead” and “Game of Thrones” will come out on time. Tentpole blockbusters and the Marvel Universe will get their features out and we’ll all be able to watch Star Wars Episode VIII at Christmas. Seriously, no one wants a strike to happen.

 

But, if the WGA does strike, they have every right to do so. I know writers already make a lot of money but Hollywood is drowning in profits. I think the writers deserve their fair share and should not be making less than what they did ten years ago.  

 

Finally, if you don’t think the writers should strike I offer this: a list of movies that were rushed into production with unfinished (or completely unwritten) scripts:  “Transformers 2”, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, “Terminator Salvation”, “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra”, “Quantum of Solace,” “Land of the Lost,” “Dragonball Evolution.”

 

See any hidden gems there? Or just a big pile of steaming, poorly written crap? You’re probably thinking that “Quantum of Solace” wasn’t THAT bad or that none of those films would have been masterpieces, regardless.

 

I’ll give you that. You may have a point. But there are even stories that came from the JJ Abrams “Star Trek” that, because of the strike, his team was unable to make changes to the script once they started shooting. That film was well liked and received generally well. But could it have been even better? Maybe. You know, for example, just off the top of my head, it’s not like this has ever bothered me before, but do you think the Trek writers would have been able to come up with a better idea than, “Kirk is coincidentally marooned on the very same planet that future Spock crashed on and they are coincidentally not far away from each other allowing future Spock to save Kirk’s life from a giant snow monster?”

 

Aside from that, generally just kind of being a dumb idea, the odds against a scenario like it happening are astronomical. Suspension of disbelief is one thing, actively making audiences less intelligent is something else. For example, in “Star Trek into Nonsense,” the second of the poorly written Trek remakes, the Enterprise crew uses a “cold fusion” bomb to freeze a volcano.  Even though, you know, cold fusion is a hypothesized type of nuclear reaction which creates, well energy. And therefore heat. And bombs that produce heat probably wouldn't be able to -- well, you know -- freeze anything.

 

Sigh.

 

But that’s what the writer is there for! Sink or swim, your writer(s) are there to craft the characters, mold the plot and shape the story. And take a lot of blame when things go wrong.

 

And get virtually zero credit when things go right. Quick, name your favorite episode of any TV show you’ve ever watched? Now tell me who wrote it. Sure, you’ll probably remember all the Joss Whedon penned “Buffy” episodes, but that’s about it.

 

In Hollywood there is a saying: writers are a dime a dozen. That may be true. And now they’re asking for a raise. And I’m looking at you Mr. Studio Man when I say, you should give it to them.


Because no one wants a strike. Seriously, I can’t say it enough. Like, no one.

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If you like this you might like Americanuck Radio, Freedom Feens or Free Talk Live all live on GCN.   

My dad has been visiting Sin City for years, and always seems to leave Las Vegas with cash. Many times his entire trip is paid for thanks to thoughtful gambling practices like knowing when to cash out and knowing when to raise the bet. Instincts aren’t teachable, though, so here’s a foolproof way to leave Las Vegas with cash.

  1. Give yourself a budget and stick to it

Budgeting for Las Vegas is the most important thing you can do before you leave for Las Vegas. Right around the time you book a flight to Sin City, and that should be at least two weeks in advance (and departing on a Sunday and returning on a Tuesday), start putting some money aside specifically for entertainment, which includes gambling, shows, activities and escorts. While prostitution is not legal in Clark (Las Vegas), Washoe (Reno/Tahoe), Douglas and Lincoln counties, there are brothels in the rural areas of Nevada where you can pay for a legal, good time. GCN Live does not condone these activities. I’m just giving you the facts.

I started an automatic transfer from my checking account to my savings account and withdrew the accrued amount in my savings before boarding my flight to Sin City. That way when I arrived in Las Vegas, I knew exactly how much cash I was willing to lose. This is the key. Once you’re comfortable losing that money, you’ll always come back a winner as long as you don’t allow yourself to lose more. That money doesn’t belong to you anymore. It belongs to Las Vegas. This mindset also improves your chances of winning money, because the best way to win is to act like you’re playing with someone else’s money -- as long as you play the games you can control.

  1. Only play the games you can control

This is the toughest part for people visiting Las Vegas. The bright lights of the slot machines stretching to the ceiling and featuring their favorite celebrities (Cher, Britney Spears, etc.) or television shows (The Walking Dead, Big Bang Theory, etc.) can be overwhelming. Don’t give into your urges, but if you must play the reel games or keno, play on the outskirts of the Vegas Strip. The slots are looser the farther from the strip you get because it’s harder for casinos farther from the strip to entice customers to make the trip. The slots at Fremont Street and the South Point Casino are said to be loosest according to locals, with South Point’s tagline being, “The point of more return.” If the slots are your bag, play where the locals play.

Otherwise, play the games you know you can control, which means play the games you know something about. My dad plays blackjack because he feels it’s a game he can control, especially if you place yourself properly at the table and are strong in math (not to count cards but to get a sense of what the odds are that you get a card you need).

I stick to Major League Baseball betting because it’s the sport about which I know most. I play fantasy baseball every year, so I’m already doing a bit of research everyday. I’m pretty good at picking pitchers who will toss quality starts, and you can even place bets on the first five innings of a game. Placing just a couple of bets a day, including a parlay that pays, I not only limit the amount of money I can lose, but I’m entertained the entire day by games I wouldn’t normally watch.

I’ve also been known to play No Limit Hold ‘Em poker, both cash games and tournaments, because it’s “the only pure game left.” You can outplay your opponents in Hold ‘Em by simply observing their mannerisms and remembering the patterns of their play. It’s a beautiful game, and you can generally find a freeroll tournament in any casino that will help you learn the game at no cost to you.

  1. Leave the plastic at home

Leaving your credit cards at home ensures you won’t attempt to make back your losses by taking an expensive cash advance out on your credit card. Credit card companies love people with gambling problems because they get to charge a fee between two and five percent for you to withdraw the cash and then charge a daily interest rate between one and seven percent higher than your interest rate for purchases. The easiest way to avoid this is to leave the plastic at home, and it will also force you to stick to the cash budget you set in step one.

  1. Read the coupon books and local publications

Reading the local newspapers and free publications is the best way to get to know any place you’re visiting. Buffets, drinks and entertainment in Las Vegas aren’t as cheap as they once were, but coupon books and local publications like The Sunday and even the Las Vegas Sun newspaper can steer you in the right direction for cheap eats, drinks and entertainment.

Most hotels will issue visitors a coupon book in an attempt to keep them in their casinos and restaurants, because the longer you stay within their walls, the more likely they are to get your money. The coupon books usually provide a few free drinks and cheap buffets, discounts on show tickets and other entertainment, and even free casino play for joining their members club. Do yourself a favor and join all the clubs. You might not win on the casino’s dime, but you’ll be entertained for free and your cash budget will be affected that much less.

Travel blogs can also be helpful in finding bargains in Sin City.

  1. Utilize the Groupon app and others

The best deals on food and drink are also off the strip, but you can find even better deals by using the Groupon app. Imagine getting $30-worth of food for $12. That’s what Groupon can do for you. It can get you a spa day for half price, too. There are also discounts on VIP Vegas club entrance, limo rides, painting and singing lessons, buffets, etc.

You can also save money using Expedia to find discounted activity tickets if you purchase in advance. Tickets to The Mob Museum are about $24 at the door, but just $19 if you purchase through Expedia a day in advance. It’s a very cool museum and fitting for Sin City. I highly recommend it.

This is how I’ll leave Las Vegas with cash, and it’s how you can, too.

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If you like this, you might like these GCN Live talk radio shows: Travelers411, What’s Cookin Today, Free Talk Live, View from the Couch

Unless you intend to light your all-American home with candles, and there are plenty of American-made options, you’ll need energy made in the U.S.A. to power your American-made lights and appliances. While America’s energy self-sufficiency rate has declined the last few decades, it still produces and consumes more energy than any other nation besides China. America is also one of the countries leading the shift to renewable energy sources.

Back in 2014, a solar power system was installed in America every 2.5 minutes, and that pace hasn’t slowed thanks to a 60-percent drop in price for solar panels. The solar power industry employs nearly 260,000 Americans at more than 9,000 companies, with 360,000 American workers expected to be working in solar power by 2021.

Solar power is booming in America because it saves Americans money. Actual savings, of course, depend on where you live, but are anywhere from $43,242 in Portland, Oreg., to $19,074 in Austin, Texas over a 20-year period. The average U.S. household can break even on their solar power system in just 7.5 years, but in many cities payback periods are four years or less. If you live in these 20 states it behooves you to install solar power, as it’s cheaper than grid energy already.

Buying American-made solar panels is as easy as visiting here and picking out what you require. You can even deduct 30 percent of your solar installation costs from your federal taxes. You can find solar installers here. But if you live in an area where the sun doesn’t shine very often, a wind turbine might be a better fit.

If you generally have a 10- to 30-mile-per-hour wind where you live, installing a wind turbine could be a better fit for your home energy needs. But you must make sure your home is zoned for wind turbine installation. Also be aware that any wind under 9 miles per hour or above 33 miles per hour won’t allow most turbines to harness energy, which is why combining a solar array with a wind turbine and battery is the best way to go. You can also connect either your solar array or wind turbine to your grid energy if you have access, which would allow you to sell your excess energy to the grid. But many states, like Minnesota, have passed or will pass grid fees that make it more expensive for Americans to hook their renewable energy sources up to the grid. Big energy isn’t making it easy for Americans to become energy independent.

You can find a list of large wind turbine manufacturers here, but small wind turbines are likely what you’ll require for your home, which you can find here. You can double check to make sure your wind turbine is certified here. Wind payback periods range from six to 30 years.

It’s that easy to become energy independent and do so with American-made energy sources. Next up in our Made in America series, we’ll look at how to get yourself where you need to go with a look at transportation made in the U.S.A.

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If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows: USA Prepares, Building America, Free Talk Live, American Survival Radio, Jim Brown’s Common Sense

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