Friday, October 30, 2015

This is Men! Real Men

Ok, one more about hockey. Though, as you can tell by now, my stories aren't about the surface topic. Though we'll start there.

This one is about men. Real men. Now for those of you who may think this topic sexist or old-fashioned or silly, you may be right ... and you can excuse yourself if you want. 

Back to topic, where else will you find some examples of real men but - where else - NHL Hockey?

Here is the scene. It's the first game of the Stanley Cup Finals between the New York Rangers and the LA Kings in 2014. Uber LA defenseman Drew Doughty believes he has been intentionally banged with the end of a Ranger's stick. On the bench he pleads his case with the officials getting visibly upset. Two of his teammates, Matt Greene to his left and Jeff Carter on the ice, attempt to calm down their irate teammate. How do they do it? Gently? Calmly? With the sort of deep empathy and compassion that would soothe Doughty's inner child?

Hell no. 

They let their bud have it. Greene is barking "Come on!" Carter is poking Doughty's arm and jersey. Still in the heat of battle, Doughty then looks over at Carter and jabs his teammate with some strong language. Not a lip reader myself, my guess would be "Shut the F&*# Up!"

Click this link for a view and then come back: CLICK HERE

Now where does the "real man" part come into this story? Not in the strong language or the barking. Not in the emotional upset of any of the players, though this is justifiable for men in battle. Where does the "real man" aspect arise in this scenario?

It's subtle, but it's right there - in Carter - as he skates off. It's right there in the silence of his non-response, in his knowing there is nothing to take personal in Doughty's verbal onslaught. It's in a man who couldn't care less about another's emotions even if they were directed at him. It's in a person who sees through surface feelings and realizes the truth of the moment.

Now I don't live inside Carter's head and don't know if his teammate's words wounded him or not. But I'd put big money down on the fact it didn't reach him one bit.

Warriors have a job. Men on missions have a purpose. And no amount of emotion will sway their purpose.

For you men out there - consider this any time you start to engage with another person's emotional jabs. Consider this any time you take anything personal or choose to be pulled into a fight with, say, a girlfriend or a wife. Would a warrior battle his woman? Would a leader get emotionally tangled by another's supposed attack?

A real man wouldn't even SEE the attack. A man worth his weight would stay on course no matter what is happening around him. No matter the storms of life, a man stays steady with the job at hand. And in the end, when the storms are over, the man may stand proud, with the award raised above his head, as a real man, as a winning warrior, as a triumphant King.

Jim Ellis is an LA Kings fan who is quite proud of all the LA Kings players, especially the likes of Doughty who lets his passion out. More good stuff at

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Top 10 Crazy Things We Do Around NHL Hockey

With the start of the hockey season, we are in full force of pendulum swing emotions, crazed high-fives and some heart-stopping, full-force game-viewing participation. Yup, it gets nuts. So what are just 10 of the crazy things we do around our LA Kings hockey team?
  1. Drive in traffic to LA, drop off our dog with pet sitter in a questionable part of town, pay $25 to park and then get best seats where we can hear the cursing.  
  2. Hire Bailey the Mascot to come to Lemon Grove near San Diego for Jennifer's birthday celebration.  
  3. Give in to superstitions so our team wins, such as wearing Kings' beanie from 1978. (See picture)
  4. Get a small game of air hockey to play during the period breaks.
  5. Create a Facebook message thread over 1,000 posts long with buds from across Southern California, as we chat during the game.  
  6. Invite my men's team over to watch certain games, and serve cookies with the LA Kings logo on them.  
  7. Tweet announcers Patrick O'Neal and Jimmy Fox to get some clarity around some plays.
  8. Get up at 4 am to make it to Redondo Beach so we can do a run/walk 5k with some of the players ... and their dogs.  
  9. Jersey Quick 32 for me; Jersey Kopitar 11 for Jennifer.  
  10. Hold breath for 2.5 hours every single game.  

Jim Ellis has liked the Los Angeles Kings ever since he was 9 years old. He even went to the Miracle on Manchester comeback game in 1982. Yes he did. His family can vouch for that. Other topics at

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Capitalism - For Profit or Pigs?

Now I don't pretend to be an economic expert, or someone who really holds an answer to the best socioeconomic infrastructure for our fair land. And I don't know about "isms" such as communism and socialism, which apparently are – from all the public relations media kits – horrible systems that would crush the wonderful free market we enjoy in America today.

But there has got to be something inherently evil in this capitalism thing ... or perhaps it’s just something inherently evil in the humans who would use the system to apply leverage over others less advantaged. 

Yes, leverage. I mean it truly IS a system of leverage right? And – given the proclivities of any of those humans who wield an ego within a societal structure – can such a system ever really work? 

Now again, my brain – it ain’t that big. I don’t understand the ins and outs of our capitalism society, even though my pop was an Economics Major and I have an outrageously high credit score. 

So I just keep it at a simple level for my understanding.

It doesn’t take too much analysis to see that the word “capitalism” has at its root the word “capitalize.” Capitalize? Capitalize on what … and over whom?

We live in a world where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, and the middle class – normally burdened with the highest tax load – starts to fade from view. This means that some people at the top (the infamous 1 percent) experience powerful leverage over others, as they capitalize on their good fortune.

Now, I’m all for healthy competition and believe hard work should be rewarded. But just like the competition found on the baseball diamond, the football gridiron or the hockey rink, our economic landscape must have hard-and-fast, black-and-white rules and regulations that are applied equally through impartial means. This way, no one agency, person, corporation or monopoly can completely squash competitors because of some unfair advantage.

But who are the referees and umpires within our economic landscape? Are they impartial? And do the laws created here apply equally and to everyone?

I am guessing that the game is rigged. I have a friend who says those wielding power in the business world – the bankers, the mortgage lenders, the politicians – are INDEED living by "The Golden Rule.” And that sounds so incredibly sweet and honorable and loving ... until you hear him define it as “those who have the gold make the rules.”

Such a sick reality is seen clearly when, for example, banks are bailed out with funds supplied by tax money from those ripped off by the poor practices of the same institutions. It’s seen when the common person gets dinged with a financial penalty when they can't afford manditory healthcare, while healthcare CEOs make upwards of $50,000 per day. It’s seen when one pretty-boy pharmaceutical owner chooses to raise the cost of an AIDS medication Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per pill because he notes how undervalued it has become, and because - well - he can.

I have also run into this imbalance on a very basic and personal level. A simple example comes in bank fees. Whenever we make a mistake on our checking accounts, say in a late payment, we are accessed a $25 to $35 fee by the bank. However, when our banks make a mistake on our account, what fees do they pay?

The game is rigged.

What results have we seen when the leverage is held by those who have climbed up the ladder, through either sheer hard work or a silver spoon leg-up from a family link or a crony member of a “good ole boys club?” The result is the growing gap between classes, as those with the leverage apply it harder and harder and harder, in order to get their way … in order to capitalize.

It’s put well in an October 4 story by freelance writer Jennifer Lea Reynolds: “It's no secret that various industries increase customer pricing so the company can make a profit. That's Economics 101. However, when prices surge so exorbitantly that the average person can barely afford an item while the company walks all the way to the bank, that's Greed 101.”

Whatever label we assign and whatever level we are looking at it, there must be something wrong with a capitalistic system that rests on this strategy: “How can I get the most amount of work out of this person and pay him or her the least amount of money?” Compare that to this strategy: “How can I take the best care of a vendor, employee or consultant who is taking care of me?”

We meet up with the latter consciousness very rarely, perhaps because of being trapped in puny identities as lizard-brain humans with separatist personalities, lowly individual competitors without honor. The idea – at this point in our evolution – that people will rise above their competitive and capitalistic traits and then, just because, be generous and trickle down the wealth to all is ludicrous and naive.

No – there is a conflict of interest in this system. We want the most out of someone and reward them the least in return. This is a system based on separation, a care for the little self, and a disdain for the other. The interests rest with the individual, and not the collective. This is not about a relationship or the trade of goods and services in a win-win, but rather it's about how one person can best USE another for their own sake. At core, it’s rotten. At root, it’s darkness. At the center, it is evil.

It is a haven for the ego to push for its will over the good of another. It’s the prison system where someone dominates over another, calling the shots, having the upper hand, holding the cards, and wielding the weapon.

You have experienced the negative aspect of this system in various ways I’m sure. I have a friend who lives in a rich neighborhood, drives a nice car, has all the money he could need. And even so, instead of paying a Webmaster what he had bid and what he deserved on a web design project, this friend asked, "Can’t you come down in price for me and help me out?"

In his warped haggling, it wasn’t ever going to be about the win-win or the right action born of generosity and an abundant mind. It was all about what he could get for himself regardless of another person’s good. Even after getting an incredible discount on the project, was my friend gracious and full of gratitude? No, that would not be the behavior observed in what could only be called a “capitalistic pig.”

And what does all this come down to? Leverage. There is that word again. That is the bottom line in this capitalistic system, and it does not work. Not in the long run. People who wield leverage will always fight to maintain that leverage. It is what separates them from their brothers and sisters. It is what makes them "powerful," and in the end ... wretched and ruined.

I’m reminded of the bad guys and good guys of the old myths and movies that included a scene involving a duel. Routinely, the scene was set up the same each time, and for dramatic effect. The good guy would be in a sword fight with the bad guy, and the bad guy would accidentally drop his sword. What would the good guy do? He would throw him the sword to continue the battle, on even and fair terms. Then when the good guy dropped his sword, what would the bad guy do? He would totally use that leverage to attempt to kill the good guy. And the viewing audience would feel the rage.

On the deepest level, we know that right action is not based on advantage or leverage, but rather fairness and equality.

So what would work here? I don’t know about an “ism,” but I believe the structure that would ultimately work in any society is one based on an honor system, as we remain in honor and integrity with a higher law – called “natural law." It would be a system based on a unity founded on a common denominator of which no one would rise above in stature, self-interest or entitlement. It would be based on the win-win consciousness where all parties’ needs are considered and covered, where giving equates to having and hording equates to lack, where abundance is found in a flow that starts from within, where a community so aligned in abundance and care would be able to take care of its own … where as Creedence Clearwater Revival sang, “people on the river are happy to give.”

Whereas I may or may not have some of the solution, I do know that the leverage found within a capitalizing society and mentality will not get us to where we want to be. Nor to a place of being who we need to be.

James Anthony Ellis is a writer and producer who isn't sure which "ism" would ever be attached to him. Colloquialism? He can be reached at