President-elect Trump

        I was surprised, but admittedly not shocked, with Donald Trump’s election. I wasn’t shocked because all my Trump-shock had been used up when he won the Republican nomination. That the so-called Grand Old Party allowed that to happen is stark evidence of its disarray and Republicans should consider themselves extremely fortunate that they have four years to get their act together. Whether they have the skills, solidarity, and will to do so remains to be seen.

        Of course, only time will tell what the long-term effect of Trump’s presidency will be. It’s going to depend a lot on the people he gathers around him, both in cabinet and as advisors. On the hopeful side is that as a successful CEO he must have the ability and attitude to effectively delegate and listen to advice, although some former employees say he doesn’t. On the worrisome side are the incredibly bad judgement, thin skin, and impetuousness he consistently exhibited during the campaign.

        Some people I’ve talked to feel that his demeanour since being elected is a positive sign. Others feel it’s just proof of a deep hypocrisy, which would lump him in with virtually all other politicians of every stripe.

        It’s good to remember that the checks and balances which the founding fathers built into the U.S. constitution are very effective. Each of the three branches of government -- legislative (the house and the senate), executive (Trump and his cabinet), and judicial (the courts) -- is able to limit the powers of the others with the result that no one branch can become all-powerful.

 Leonard Cohen

         I never had the pleasure of meeting Leonard Cohen, but I’ve been enthralled by him since the first time I heard him sing, which was about forty years ago.. Hallelujah is one of the greatest compositions ever. If this world still exists a hundred years from now, Cohen’s Hallelujah will still be performed. Over 300 cover versions of Hallelujah are said to exist.

         Three Leonard Cohen songs are on my list of all-time favourites. In addition to Hallelujah, (my number one favourite) I also include Bird on a Wire and Closing Time. Even though it’s not a hymn by strict religious standards, I’ve told my family that I want Hallelujah played at any funeral or memorial service for me.

         No right-thinking person would ever question his writing skills, but many people have questioned Cohen’s singing ability. A Columbia Records executive (Cohen’s record label at the time) famously remarked, “Leonard, we know you’re great; but we don’t know if you’re any good.”

        There’s no doubt a great Canadian treasure has been taken from us. He would have been as deserving a recipient of the Nobel Prize as Bob Dylan; and my guess is that Dylan would agree.

 Blue Jays Bid Dickey Farewell

        It’s no surprise that R. A. (Robert Allen) Dickey is no longer a Blue Jay, but it’s also no surprise that he’s still a major league baseball player, having signed a one-year deal with the Atlanta Braves. He’s a useful inning-eater who will likely work a couple of hundred of them next year and not cause much damage to a non-contending National League team.

        I like Dickey a lot as a person. He’s a classy, intelligent, and enormously interesting human being. He just wasn’t right for a contending Blue Jays team (or any contending American League team for that matter), where he had to face a competent designated hitter every three innings or so rather than a useless hitting pitcher or a mediocre pinch hitter.

        There’s another advantage accruing to the Jays from Dickey’s departure; they can now sign a competent back-up catcher to spell Russell Martin. Josh Thole, Dickey’s personal catcher, is simply not a major league calibre player and was basically a waste of a roster spot.

         Alex Anthopoulos’ worst trade ever was when he sent pitcher Noah Syndergaard and catcher Travis D’ Arnaud to the Mets for Dickey and Thole. If you doubt this, compare the records of the players involved.