My Response to Clay Travis’, “Kentucky vs. West Virginia: The Dumbest Sweet 16 Game of All Time.”

Being from West Virginia I’ve grown accustomed to being the punchline or punching bag for others. And even I’ve made the occasional joke or two about being from WV, and don’t mind a good-hearted “ribbing” from friends. I’m also one of those people who believes most others are too sensitive and need to learn to take a joke. However, I recently read an article by a Vanderbilt educated attorney (turned sports writer), which stirred a mixture of anger and sadness. His name is Clay Travis and the title of his article was, “Kentucky vs. West Virginia: The Dumbest Sweet 16 Game of All Time.” And here are some quotes from Clay’s article:

Tomorrow Kentucky and West Virginia will play in a Sweet 16 match-up pitting the two dumbest fan bases to ever compete for a spot in the Elite 8.

This game will be like Woodstock for dumb people, a modern day Hatfields vs. McCoys.

Of course, basketball isn’t really life if you have anything better going on in your life, but we’re talking about people from West Virginia and Kentucky. They really don’t have anything better going on in their lives. Especially not now that “Breaking Bad” showed everyone in the entire country how to make high-quality meth.

But it’s not just me saying these fans are dumb, Kentucky has recently been ranked as the fourth dumbest overall state. West Virginia? Well, West Virginia was ranked the dumbest overall state, with just 17.3 percent of the population having a bachelor degree.

It’s an upside down world when it comes to Kentucky and West Virginia — fans in single wides cheering for coaches in mansions, basketball fans without teeth cheering for basketball players with teeth, fans who have no hope of being admitted to academic powerhouse universities like Kentucky and West Virginia living or dying to the beat of a basketball’s dribble.

Now, let me ask you a few questions, and I want you to truly think about the answer. What if Clay had written the above statements about a specific race? What would happen if he claimed that all Hispanics, African Americans, or Caucasians are dumb? What if he used statistics to prove and demonstrate that certain races have a low college graduation rate, which he correlates to stupidity? We all know the answer to those questions, but at the end of the day this is no different. To literally be cruel to a specific group of people based on where they live is no different than racism.

Clay is an example of what I see in the media on a daily basis, which is the narcissistic personality disorder. He has an insatiable need for power and attention, and will do whatever it takes to get it. And if that means stepping on and being cruel to others so be it! And I don’t say that with anger, but with sadness. It saddens me that an organization like Fox Sports would allow a man to hurt others simply to get traffic generated to their website.

Finally, let’s make no mistake about it…this is a great example of bullying those who appear to be weak. Fortunately, I was raised on the Kentucky and West Virginia border, and I can tell you we are by no means weak people. Many may not have graduated from college, and some may live in a “single wide”, but does that make them inferior to others who did graduate and live in a large home?

What do you think Clay Travis? Does your law degree and college education make you better than others? Does your nice home in Tennessee mean you are superior to the hardworking man living in a double wide a few miles away? Apparently you believe it does and that again saddens me.  Do you need to feel as though you have some power. Well congratulations, because Fox Sports has given you some power, and a very large platform. Unfortunately, you have taken that powerful platform, and used it to hurt others. It’s a shame that a great writer is simply not a good man.

I find the anti-bully message from Fox Sports below ironic: 



Posted in sports, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why We can’t Handle The Truth!

In the clip below from “A Few Good Men” we see the famous scene where the classic line, “YOU can’t handle the truth” is delivered. I was only 25 years-old when I watched that movie, but I can remember feeling the power of Jack Nicholson delivering that line as if he was speaking directly to every person in the theater. As I near 50 I find it ironic that I now realize how true that statement is for most of us. The truth is, as Jack said, most people can’t handle the truth. I believe this is apparent in the way we handle our religious and political beliefs

Think about all the different religions of the world. Each major religion has held tight to their beliefs despite scientific or archaeological evidence proving some of them to be incorrect. And so we continue to battle and stand our ground based on ancient beliefs that are based on false information. And some have even used their religious books to condone discrimination or even to kill or enslave others.

And what about those who hold tight to being politically left or right? When faced with the fact an opponent’s policy benefited the American public they “spin” it until it looks as though it’s a complete failure. They can’t say to the other side, “Well done.”

So why can’t we simply accept the truth? Why can’t we listen to the small voice in our shallow mind, which encourages us to question those beliefs or convictions we hold to so tightly? Because to do so would make us do something we truly despise. And that is to admit we are wrong.

As I move through my midlife years, and hopefully into old age, I hope that I will continue to learn and grow. We often encourage people to speak the truth by saying, “Remember, the truth will set you free.” However, that statement was originally used to encourage people to accept the truth, because it is then we are truly free. Anything else is simply living in a land of make-believe.

Posted in faith, Midlife, politics, religion, spirituality, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Older Men have Big Balls

Big earsThis morning I just sat and stared at my feet. And as I was looking at them I wondered if there is anything on a man’s body that shows his age more than his feet? And then a disturbing image popped into my mind.

Recently a 75 year-old dude strolled passed me in the locker room of a gym. You would have thought he was a 25 year-old gigolo with his towel draped over his shoulder. Yes my friends, there are a couple of things that truly show a man’s age! And I’m not talking about the ass that looks like someone let the air out of each cheek. No, a man’s age, like the rings on a tree, can be found just north of the deflated cheeks and prehistoric feet.

The testicles are where a man really shows his age! Apparently there are a few things on a man’s body that never stop growing, and it isn’t just his ears! I check my ears everyday, and they are without a doubt growing. In fact, that is a scientific fact. And being the genius that I am…I believe that it may be nature’s way of balancing out the man. You know, our ears seem to get huge so something has to keep us from getting top heavy. So the testicles are like the pendulums of stability. So ladies, I say this with love and for the benefit of all of us guys in the next half of life, you need to take them out of your purse and give them back to us. They are finally good for something.


Posted in Midlife | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Human Agenda: Conversations about Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity

weddingringesequalitysamesexmarriage2Today I’m joined by Joe Wenke who has written the book, “The Human Agenda: Conversations about Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity.” Please listen to the entire segment and I would LOVE to get your comments in the discussion section of my website!



Posted in christianity, GAY, LGBT, LGBTQI, Midlife, The Next Half Podcast, TRANSGENDER | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

For My Friends Around The Country Who are Ready for The Snow to Stop!

On Fitz in The Morning today we introduced a new song for all of our friends across the country ready for…well…the snowmen to die!

Posted in Midlife, Psychology, The Next Half Podcast | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Cindy Crawford Untouched: Get Real

cindy-769x1024On the show today I said that Cindy Crawford’s stomach doesn’t look good in the recently released photo. And it wasn’t long until the texts, phone calls, and emails came rolling in to say I was a horrible person and that I am everything wrong with men in this country. I don’t understand why someone can’t give an honest opinion.

Cindy Crawford is a beautiful woman, but like all of us she has gotten older. And when we get older our bodies change and NEW FLASH…it ain’t always pretty. And that is okay! My concern is that as Americans we are so focused on being politically correct it leads us into denial and dishonesty. Secondly, people are saying Cindy was trying to show America that it is okay to get older and have some flaws. Well, from what I understand that photo was leaked, and had it not been…you and I would have seen a picture that made 48 year-old Cindy look like a 21 year-old Super Model. My point was not to be cruel, but we don’t have to bullshit each other either. Getting older is awesome, but it ain’t always pretty on the outside. What people need to get from the photo is that despite not having the body she did at 25…she hasn’t stopped being sexy and saucy!

Posted in Diet & Excercise, Midlife | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

What to Do When They say, “I love you, but I’m no longer in love with you.”

iloveubuti27mnotinlovewithuI can’t count the number of times I’ve heard someone say, “I love them, but I’m no longer in love with them” when referring to a spouse. And unfortunately I can’t count the number of people who have told me that they have had that statement made directly to them. I recently spoke with a woman whose husband had used that heart piercing statement when discussing the difficulties in their marriage. She then asked me how she should handle it. So let me share my answer with you as well.

My first word of advice is to not overreact, and I know that makes you want to slap me, but the statement can mean many different things. And this is especially true if a man says it, because we can rarely communicate feelings clearly! So the first step is to clarify what your spouse or significant other is saying. They could actually mean any of the following:

  • It’s over and I’m ready to move on.
  • My love is so buried underneath of hurt and frustration that I can’t feel it.
  • I want to feel like we are in love again.

As you read through those you can easily see that most men will not use those statements, but I promise you that “I love you, but I’m not in love with you” can mean one of the three.  If a woman says it then she will usually follow up with the clarification before being asked. She will usually follow “I’m not in love with you” by either letting you know she wants to work it out or throw you out.

Once you clarify what is being said you are truly the one with the decision to make. You can run like a bat out of hell or run directly into it! Choosing to stay and make your marriage work will at times feel like you are in hell, but you can survive and come out of it with a little piece of heaven on earth. Do everything you can to save your marriage before giving up or allowing someone else too. When I officiate weddings I say something like the following:

May you always remember that love is not always something that you feel, but it is something that you do. To love is to listen, learn, labor, and laugh. You must be willing to listen to each other, learn more about each other, work on your relationship, and laugh at how silly you both can be in trying to get your way.

The most important point may be “to love is to labor”, because having and keeping a good relationship takes work. And yes there will be times when you or your spouse doesn’t feel in love, but that doesn’t mean you stop actively loving each other. And that is my main point today. Don’t stop loving someone even when they say they have stopped loving or being in love with you. And I wish I could end with that sentence, because it sounded so damn good, but I can’t stop there.

I want to be honest and say there may come a time when you have to let someone go. Please never stay in a relationship where you are being abused emotionally, spiritually, or physically. Life is too short for you to live that way. I’ encouraging you to not allow the pain and anger of hearing, “I’m not in love with you” to cause you to quickly give up. Simply let that person know you are willing to get help and do your part to change things for the better.

My Favorite Book on Marriage:

The Heart of the 5 Love Languages (Abridged Gift-Sized Version)


Please click a link below and share The Next Half with your friends on social media! 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How to Help & Handle Grief

grief1If you have dealt with the loss of a dear friend or family member or recently gone through a relational breakup then I hope you will take the time to listen to this interview. My guest is Janelle Breese Biagioni who is a trusted friend who offers practical advice from both her personal experience and education.

You can purchase Janelle’s book through Amazon 

Life Losses - Healing for a Broken Heart
Click to Checkout

Posted in Grief, marriage, Midlife, Psychology, The Next Half Podcast | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

You’re Too Old

I was recently speaking with a gentleman that is considerably older than myself (I’m 48), and he said those three words you see in the title for my post. I’m sorry but my midlife crisis is still in full swing, and I just can’t bring myself to repeat the title again. He was explaining to me that it would be difficult for me to begin a new career, because employers would see my age as an issue. My first thought was, “I should really go buy a Corvette!” My second thought was in the form of one word, “Seriously?” I don’t feel old, and surely I don’t look that old? Hell, I’ve finally figured out who I am and what I want in life!

The very successful business owner who dropped the three words of despair on me wasn’t trying to be cruel. He simply believes that employers are looking for younger employees. And at first I thought that he was being ridiculous, but then I began thinking about a few of my middle-aged friends. They are highly educated, have an incredible track record of success, years of experience, and yet…they are unemployed.

So I wonder if others of you in your forties, and beyond feel as though your age is hindering you in the marketplace? Do you think it is keeping you from moving forward or even getting a new job? We all know that age discrimination is illegal, but once you meet a hiring manager or they look at your resume they have a good idea of your age.

It must be an issue for many, because Liz Ryan wrote and incredible article about it on She even gives us “forty to fifty somethings” a plan of attack when in an interview:

You don’t want to be in that police lineup, and the way out of it is to use your interview time to probe for business pain. Get your hiring manager talking about what’s really going on behind the job ad, and you’ll find that the quality of the conversation shifts dramatically. All of a sudden, you’re not a supplicant but a trusted advisor, a consultant digging to learn more about what’s not working. Job-seekers who use their interview air time to ask questions about the processes, the obstacles in a hiring manager’s way and the thorny problems they’ve seen before in similar situations vault themselves to a higher level of conversation than the ones who don’t.

Ms. Ryan says the hiring manager will forget about your gray hair shooting out of your ears if you show them you have the answer to their problems (my paraphrase). Because if they need to hire someone they have some form of a problem that must be solved.

I know and you know that those of us in midlife are far from being too old for a new career, promotion, or position. However, maybe the cards are stacked against us when we apply for a new job. So, we need to go into the interview with an energetic attitude, discover why they are hiring for a specific position, and then show them how we can solve their problems! And then once we get the job maybe we can afford that Corvette!

Tony Russell

Posted in Career, Midlife | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Three Comments to Ignore When Dieting

untitledI am somewhat of a yo-yo dieter. Meaning, that about every two years I have to go on a diet to lose about twenty pounds. Yes, it’s frustrating, but its just the way it goes, and I know what causes the weight gain, I know how to lose it, and at my age I’m just happy to be able to see my…shoes. However, over the years I’ve learned that when you tell others you are on a diet they will say one of three things, and I want to discuss them.

1-On that die you’ll lose the weight fast, but you’ll gain it right back.

Over 80% of people gain their weight back on ALL diets. Follow the plan and increase exercise as you reach your goal weight.  Doctors say being overweight still outweighs the risks of yo-yoing

2-Don’t call it a diet, it’s a lifestyle change.

No, it’s a diet. You are changing your diet to include healthy foods and reduce or get rid of bad food. If you don’t eat less then you won’t lose weight. Call it eating crap, call it hell, call it a lifestyle change if you want, but follow the plan and you’ll be successful.

3-You just need to exercise and eat better.

No shit! But increasing exercise while dieting may actually work against you for weight loss. Donald Hensrud, M.D who is a preventive medical specialist at the Mayo Clinic says that reducing calories is the most effective way of losing weight. The key is to consume less calories than you burn. Cut 500 calories a day from your diet and you will shed a pound of fat in a week, far more quickly than trying to burn it off by exercising. Don’t believe me? Train for a marathon and see if you lose weight.

My point is this, if you want to lose weight then find a healthy plan, and get on it. If you stick with the plan then you will lose weight, and if you begin exercising while eating healthier you will keep it off.

Posted in Diet & Excercise, Midlife | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment