Some Old World Wisdom, by Rich Paschall

When thinking of blog topics, there is no shortage of subject matter. Some general areas offer a lot of topics.  With a bit of extra thought, there’s an endless supply. Consider well how many areas you can pursue if you are willing to delve into sports, politics, or religion. Each is bound to set some readers ablaze. Would surely bring lots of comments. You do want lively discussion, don’t you?

How lively do you want it?


Venture into a sports bar well into the evening and you are likely to find plenty of spirited discussions regarding sports.  These ideas should help you out.  Will the Cubs win another pennant?  Will the White Sox ever get the love the Cubs get?  Will the Blackhawks win another Stanley Cup?  Will the Bears defeat the hated Green Bay Packers?  Will the Bulls beat the hated ____________ (fill in New York team here)?  There is little reason get into crosstown rivalries. Dissing out-of-town teams only works locally.


We could always take off after the Yankees and A-Rod, the Patriots and _______ (name your alleged scandal here), or Jerry Jones and the Cowboys. But why alienate readers in New York, Boston or Dallas? Perhaps we should just write about the ridiculous BCS Bowl series or the commissioner of _________ (name your least favorite here).

A good informational, yet rather neutral article might find favor.  Others might concede that you are trying to make some point of view, like promoting someone’s stats for the hall of fame. A discussion of gays in sports or an Olympic diver coming out of the closet, might get up into your politics, so we may have to think carefully about those.  Yes, we will leave the political area of sports alone.


Speaking of your politics (or mine), perhaps we can find common ground there. I could write short stories with a political theme, or write about a run for office that brings victory, but no win for the candidate. Too improbable?

How about the death of democracy through campaign spending?  Imagine buying an election. Maybe this hits too close to home … or do you think it merely fiction or satire?  Political satire is sure to get people thinking and arguing, especially if you throw in climate change as the kicker. Then again, maybe no one will bother to read this stuff. Maybe a bad idea after all?

How about hitting the topics head-on in a nice well-researched article? We can talk about Democrats, Republicans, capitalists or socialists. On second thought, that could split the audience from the get-go. Better to look at the subjects of the debates and write a well-reasoned essay.

women's suffrage-2

Where to begin? Abortion? Immigration? Gay Rights? Civil Rights? Gun Control? Campaign reform? Welfare Reform?  Any reform?? National defense?  Can’t we all consider that without alienating people? There’s always alienating the aliens. Can’t go wrong with that, right? Well, maybe not.

If politics is too risky, how about the world’s great religions? They’re all rooted in love, are they not? We could discuss the philosophies that ignite the passions behind our beliefs and thus find common ground. Peace and harmony at last.

Except that so many people believe their god is the only way. Some believe their god is calling them to harm others which sets religion against religious … and alas, there’s nothing new about that. Belief is supposed to bring hope and joy … not more war.

God in on every side of every war, or so they say. Who goes into battle without the blessing of their particular deity? How can I expect to have a civil discussion in such an emotionally charged arena?  I have innocently had to extract my foot from my mouth before … maybe I should let the Dalai Lama write on this topic.

The "Dodge City Peace Commission", June 1888. (L to R) standing: W.H. Harris, Luke Short, Bat Masterson, W.F. Petillon. Seated: Charlie Bassett, Wyatt Earp, Frank McLain and Neal Brown.
The “Dodge City Peace Commission”, June 1888. (L to R) standing: W.H. Harris, Luke Short, Bat Masterson, W.F. Petillon. Seated: Charlie Bassett, Wyatt Earp, Frank McLain and Neal Brown.

Years ago, when one of our favorite innkeepers was still alive, we used to drop by his establishment.  It was a great place for lively discussion. If anyone got a little over-heated, the owner walked over with a wink to say, “No Sports, no politics, no religion!”

Seemingly a strange thing to say when a sports channel was almost always playing nearby, but he meant arguments, not discussions. If arguments got out of hand, he’d say “No Sports, no politics, no religion — or you’re out of here!”

That seemed a good approach to barroom politics. These were the areas of discussion that often ended with unpleasantness. Especially when dialogue was fueled by alcohol. Maybe it short-circuited a few lively discussions, but no doubt he cut off some brawls, too.

Let’s avoid them in the blog-o-sphere and cyberspace too. If Facebook is any indicator, that sounds like a plan!


    • Rich Paschall November 15, 2015 / 2:08 am

      I watched a short film. It was an award winner, something debates will never be.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Garry Armstrong November 15, 2015 / 11:36 am

      That debate supposedly featured the more intelligent candidates. Mother of mercy!


      • Rich Paschall November 15, 2015 / 11:48 am

        Even the neurosurgeon needs some more education and you would think he’s the smart one.


        • Marilyn Armstrong November 15, 2015 / 12:50 pm

          They all remind me of stuffed dummies only able to say what they are programmed to say. The moment they are forced “off course,” they start to mumble and search for words. Sad and more than a little pathetic. Is this the way it is in other countries too? Or is it just us?

          Liked by 1 person

          • Rich Paschall November 15, 2015 / 3:11 pm

            It sounds like that in England. France has its extremists but I am not sure they all get in the clown car together like here. I am not familiar enough with others, but probably true in other countries.


          • Taswegian1957 November 15, 2015 / 5:14 pm

            I think it’s probably the same everywhere. They have their prepared answers for a variety of topics but if someone asks one they don’t have an answer for they just talk around the question without actually answering it. I think most politicians, except the extremists, would rather not give any answer that is not as “Yes Minister’s” PM Jim Hacker used to say “a vote winner.” We loved “Yes Minister” a British political satirical comedy series but it was scarily like real life sometimes.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Marilyn Armstrong November 15, 2015 / 5:27 pm

              I had just hoped to hear one response that sounded like it didn’t come from the speechwriter. Well, maybe next election. I’ll have to look and see if “Yes, Minister” is on Netflix or Amazon. I remember it being a very funny show.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Taswegian1957 November 15, 2015 / 6:01 pm

                It was hilarious. Two seasons of Yes Minister I think and one or two of Yes, Prime Minister. There are also books of the episodes. Writers were Jonathon Lynn and Antony Jay. .

                Liked by 1 person

            • Rich Paschall November 15, 2015 / 5:36 pm

              Good comedy is OK, but our politics is bad comedy right now.


  1. swo8 November 15, 2015 / 11:28 am

    Debate is good short of fist a cuffs. Interesting to see the old picture of Wyatt Earp and company.
    I don’t think the Dali Lama would have much to say on this topic. He’s a wise man.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rich Paschall November 15, 2015 / 11:46 am

      I thought the Wyatt pictures was great. I don’t know how Marilyn locates all the great pictures so fast. It is not like I write these things well in advance.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Raewyn's Photos November 15, 2015 / 2:37 pm

    I love a good debate – my children were always up for one too. I have just had my mother to stay for a week. She has Alzheimer’s – needless to the say there was no discussion – just endless repetition. So a good debate/discussion is good for the mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rich Paschall November 15, 2015 / 3:14 pm

      The Republicans have not given us a good debate yet. We are still waiting.


  3. Soul n Spirit November 15, 2015 / 3:50 pm

    Really very interesting to read and I agree readers want to read blogs for fun, some positive and cheerful stories and happy pictures. For other things there is always facebook.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Charlie@Seattle Trekker November 15, 2015 / 4:03 pm

    I love a lively discussion, but unfortunately I find it really attracts those who are angry and hateful who seem to pitch their tent across the political spectrum I now absolutely refuse to discuss politics, or religion on my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marilyn Armstrong November 16, 2015 / 6:37 pm

      Mostly, I’m with you. Every once in a while, something annoys me or seems important enough for me to break my own rules, though I often regret it afterwards. I find I don’t want more response. I have about as much as I can handle dealing with angry ranters just makes me tired.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Rich Paschall November 16, 2015 / 9:12 pm

      I will take on sports and even politics from time to time. It is best to leave religion to the theologians.


  5. Rich Paschall January 8, 2017 / 2:48 pm

    Reblogged this on Sunday Night Blog and commented:

    This past week I stopped by a local inn to see some friends. Two people ended up having a “lively” discussion on the outcome of the recent national election. Naturally, I thought of this guideline.


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