Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Nation Mourns

"Let the record show, I took the blows, I did it my way."
-Frank Sinatra "My Way"

I will never forget where I was when I heard the sad news today about the passing of a true American original, Al Davis. I was on the beach when the calls, e-mails, and text messages started to pour in with condolences and remembrances of our visionary leader. The emperor is dead. Long Live Al Davis! And so it begins, in death, Al Davis will get the credit that he was denied in life. He is being remembered for his three Super Bowl championships, his commitment to civil rights, and his devotion to his "Rada" players and fans. He was a man who was bold enough to assert his will upon the world and shape the NFL in his image. He was the last of the breed who did things HIS WAY and had no time for the timid and weak souls who doubted his vision. Al was a living legend and a throwback to an era when men were men. Al was like a Shakespearian character who seemed to exist more as a myth than a real man. People believed that he called in the plays, made half-time adjustments, benched Marcus Allen (a guy by the name of Bo Jackson took his spot) screwed over Mike Shanahan, (the rat was fired for cause) and endlessly feuded with the NFL (well, the last part is true.) Al was a rebel, Al was a gangster, Al was a leader of men. But most importantly Al loved the Raiders with every fiber in his body and you never doubted his commitment to excellence. The Pride, The Poise, The Passion. Tonight I will raise a glass to my lips, pause to remember a great man, and utter a simple toast:
"Just Win Baby"

If there is a heaven, Al is up there diagraming plays with God and asking him what the heck happened with Jamarcus Russell. A nation weeps for its fallen leader......

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Nation Unites

Mark Sanchez was left bloody and dazed on the grass in Oakland. He was begging for mercy at the end of the game. He had broken his nose. He was sacked four times in the second half. He got punched in the face. He threw an interception. It was a far cry from two years ago when he munched a hotdog on the sidelines during a Jet 38-0 route of the Raiders. Hue Jackson repeatedly showed the Raiders that clip during the week of an arrogant Sanchez disrespecting the Raiders. The Raiders promised to make him pay, and boy did they! The Raider nation was on fire on Sunday as the fans united behind McFadden and his 177 rushing yards and two TDs. Three years ago I wrote about staying loyal to your team, one year ago I said the Raiders were a nation on the rise.......this year we are A NATION UNITED! We just destroyed a team that has been to the AFC championship twice in the past two years. We are going to finish the year 10-6, we are going to the playoffs and we will beat the Patriots next week. Believe it Son!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Kings Canyon

In Kings Canyon, in Kings Canyon you can:
-Play horseshoes with Kevin "the ringer" Riley
-Listen to Zach tell amazing add-on stories about Nachos and cheese around the campfire
-Tour boydens cave and look at the wedding cake, bacon, the lost city and experience total darkness
-read by the river
-build campfires and sing songs........"rock the boat"
-sleep in an open air tent and look at the stars at night
-backpack 13.5 miles to Paradise Valley with your Dad on Father's Day
-forget how to drive and get ice-cream before dinner
-leave your Iphone, Ipad, T.V. and movies at home
-sleep peacefully to the sound of a roaring river
- be on the lookout for a tall, well built, talkative Austrian man in his 60's
-discover the wonders of the JetBoil
-enjoy your family in God's country

Thank you to my Dad, Denise, Garrett, Tasha, Kevin and Zach for a great trip! Let's do in next year!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Les Guthrie 1926-2011

Les Guthrie died on Saturday night at the age of 84. He was a visionary developer and business man who pioneered the development of King Harbor Marina in Redondo Beach. I will always be grateful that he took the time to meet with me, in his home, to discuss the founding of my company. Les was ill at the time, but his mind was actively engaged, and he pushed and prodded me to define my company, and more importantly my goals for myself. I came to know Les as Nicole's grandfather, who stood as a towering presence and example in her life. My father knew Les when he was city manager of Redondo Beach and together they worked to bring the Super Bowl Sunday 10K to Redondo. I mostly knew Les from the stories and conversations that I had with my Dad and Nicole about him. He was a risk taker, a thinker, an innovator, a reader and a man excited by ideas. He was a wonderful Grandfather to Nicole and pushed himself to overcome his illness to repeatedly take trips with his family to Hawaii. I did not know this man well but I cried in my office when I heard the news that he had passed. It just seems that they do not make men like Les anymore. He was a man that was excited by life and had the will to go after what he wanted and make his dreams reality. I only wish I was able to spend more time with this man among men.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Matt the Aquatic Ape

"All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea-whether it is to sail or to watch it-we are going back from whence we came."
JFK 1962

"Only a Surfer knows the feeling"
-A popular slogan on Billabong's T-shirts

I have been reading recently that many biologists and anthropologists increasingly believe in something know as the aquatic-ape theory. They believe that our ancestors, unlike other primates, had to wade and swim in order to survive. The theory is that this is why we have hooded noses, which enables us to dive deep, and a lowered larynx, which allows us to hold our breath. We have nearly hairless bodies to reduce friction while swimming and we cannot live without a few key nutrients found in the oceans. I have often been fascinated as to why I always feel better (mentally and physically) after I immerse myself in the ocean. In fact surfers have a term they use for going out even if the waves are small: they say, "I just want to get wet." And everyone that surfs understands that feeling. People say that swimming is the perfect exercise for your body as it works all of your major muscles and does zero damage to your joints. Is there something inherent in our DNA that releases a feeling of peace and joy when we see the ocean? I would have to say yes. When I was in Nicaragua a local guy asked me why I like surfing so much that I would pay money to leave the U.S. (with McDonald's, electricity and Starbucks) to come to a poverty stricken area ( with pigs, blackouts and no coffee). I tried to tell him about the allure of the ocean and ridding empty waves but something was lost in translation. If you look at all of the major sports what do guys give up their entire life for? I only have three answers:

1. Surfing
2. Rock climbing/Mountaineering
3. Skiing/Snowboarding

I have never heard of a guy rearranging his entire life to play more basketball or shoot pool. So we have three major sports that have nature at its core and all get you outside and interacting with nature. When we face challenges in nature, say surfing a big wave or climbing a mountain, our primal DNA (our aquatic-ape) is cheering us on because we are showing survival skills and will thus continue the existence of the species. Americans are so obese because sitting in a cubicle and yakking on a cell phone, only to than come home for TV and computer games, does nothing but make our aquatic-ape very sad. I say embrace your inner ape, go surfing, go sailing, go body surf, go swim, go boogie board, go dive, go SUP, just go and make your inner aquatic-ape happy!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


"Man, you are living the life!"
-19 year-old kid at the Apple Store in Manhattan Beach

Nicagragua is:

Anticipation, surrender, ears slicing, blood flowing, tonas, flur de cana, two bucks for the rodeo, backside barrels, seabiscuit, el jefe, mexican bandit with two guns blazing, "pelicula star," snake pranks, the quiet assassin, the tilten hilton, the feral kingdom, the monkey broke loose, who won the sleeping contest? 5 am wake-up calls, off-shore winds everyday, Jimmy, Lance's parents, adios Mateo, Bin Laden is dead, dirt roads, tortugas, colorados, allicero, Travis, sunburns, hair getting blonde, "look at that chick," "we can butterfly the ear back on," just gaff that guy, Popoyo, chococinco, living a waking dream.........

Did all of this happen in a week? Or was it all just a dream?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Inside Job

A classic skit on the Dave Chappell show portrayed what would happen if white-collar financial crimes were treated in the same manner as street crimes. In this hilarious bit of satire Dave exposed a massive double standard that we all know exists, yet do nothing about. We cheer on the police and call them "heros" for writing traffic tickets or enforcing the no cell phone rule while we drive, yet we expect law enforcement to do nothing when the greedy men who run wall street literally steal billions out of their pension and retirement plans. After they have have traded, bundled and sold billions of dollars in "crap" (quoting a Merrill Lynch e-mail here) and paid themselves out massive bonus and cashed in their stock options they than turn to the government to bail them out because they are "too big to fail." I am writing this piece on Rileyrandr because both Bush and Obama deserve the blame for an incredible failure to regulate the financial industries.
I would encourage everyone to watch the documentary, Inside Job, to gain an understanding and an insight as to what happened to our financial solvency during the past eight years. As one congressman put it, "we put people in jail for robbing banks, but we do nothing when the people who are robbing the banks are the CEO's". This film will force you to take a hard look at the players of all the major financial institutions, the Fed, the SEC and yes, even Spitzer himself. The Wall Street players want to make things complicated with words like "credit default swaps," "sub-prime" etc but it is really nothing more than a classic ponzi scheme with the American worker playing the role of the sucker. Watch this documentary and take a look at what "deregulation" has done to America.