Les Cochran Blog

Fiction Author

March 8, 2016
by lescochranblog
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Leave the Clowns Behind

Super Tuesday was the last call for the Republican “Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Greatest Show on Earth.” It’s time for Marco Rubio to leave the clowns behind, take his troop north, and help the elephants regain some common sense.

Our Senator needs to swallow hard one last time, throw away the script and help revive the Grand Old Party. Traveling to Ohio, he can hitch onto the John Kasich bandwagon, the only Republican candidate who beats Hillary Clinton in every poll.  Putting his ponies behind the Kasich horses will ensure success in the primaries and a win for a Kasich-VP Rubio ticket at the Republican Convention in Cleveland.

Sitting in the second seat for four or eight years is just what Senator Rubio needs—time to gain experience and mature as a leader.  His other choice is to stay with the clowns and watch his career get trumped.

By rallying behind John Kasich, Marco Rubio will ensure the continuation of the tradition that no man has ever become president without winning Ohio.  If he chooses to remain with the clowns, he will help foster a new tradition—no man or “woman” has ever become president without winning Ohio.

Putting oneself behind what is best for the country may be difficult to do, but it is the type of leadership our nation needs.

December 29, 2015
by lescochranblog
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College Bowl Games: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous

Published in Naples Daily News, Dec. 29, 2015

Not long ago playing a college football bowl game was something of institutional pride—parades and other events occupied the days in advance. Alumni filled the stadiums. Players were student-athletes, most graduated, and their teams were coached by men for the love of the game. All of that has changed!

College football bowl games have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. This year’s forty bowl-game schedule tipped the scales of all reason. Having teams with 6-6 records was bad enough, but this year the NCAA reached an all-time low. Three teams with 5-7 losing records will play. To provide credence for this decision the NCAA used the team’s most recent Academic Progress Rating to select the teams—even that doesn’t take away the bitter taste!

The teams included in the list were Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and San Jose State. Missouri declined; with all of their problems at least they got this one right. The others jumped at the opportunity, so the three will be playing in the Foster Farms Bowl, Quick Lane Bowl and the Cure Bowl.

Once again our nation’s foremost college presidents have taken another step in their long-standing practice of succumbing to the almighty dollar. Somehow they continue to miss the point—athletic expenditures are growing faster than new income and at a rate significantly higher than increases for academic programs—it’s about spending!

The latest comprehensive study reported that when governmental, student and university subsidizes were removed from the nation’s major athletic programs only eight institutions broke even or turned a profit. Hats off to the real winners—Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana State, Michigan, Nebraska, Penn State, Oklahoma and Texas at Austin.

Over the last thirty-five years, the number of bowl games has increased from fifteen to forty. This timeframe also witnessed the greatest spike ever in college costs. While medical costs escalated six times, student costs jumped ten-fold at private institutions and skyrocketed twelve times at public universities.
Rising student athletic fees and the use of institutional subsidizes to athletic programs are a part of these costs, and contribute directly to the $1.3 trillion in student-loan debt now faced by college graduates.

More bowl games are not the answer; certainly fewer would be a step in the right direction. The University of Connecticut lost over in million dollars in their recent bowl appearance. Average attendance is at the lowest average in thirty-five years. President’s bending down to take teams with losing records is not the answer. More of the same won’t work.

University presidents must rethink the entire athletic paradigm and then commit to a long-term process that eliminates the use of student athletic fees, eradicates real and hidden institutional athletic subsidizes and make athletics fully responsible for living within the funds it generates. Such reform will be long and tedious, but without significant change both athletics and academic institutions risk the likelihood of an unpalatable political solution.

Rather than waiting, university presidents should seize opportunity by passing NCAA resolutions to:

• Reduce the number of football bowl games to twenty-five with the selection of teams based upon poll and computer rankings of the top fifty teams, expand the playoff system to the top eight teams and schedule the bowl games in the rank order of the teams playing. (Rationale: Restore the dignity of football bowl games, select teams based on the quality of their records, place more emphasis on playing the game on the field rather than having “experts” split hairs, and provide a sense of order to the culmination of the season.)

• Establish a ten-year process that will result in athletic programs “living within their means.” (Rationale: Eliminate the use of student athletic fees and dollars from other institutional sources currently used to support athletics; thereby, reducing the costs of higher education and reallocating dollars to academic programs.)

• Negotiate an ongoing contract with the National Football League that will annually increase the League’s subsidization of football scholarships in the nation’s major football programs. (Rationale: Currently universities function as a “quasi minor-league system for the NFL. It’s time for the NFL to pay its fair share so the financial burden on students can be eliminated.)

• Negotiate an ongoing contract with the National Basketball Association that will annually increase the Association’s subsidization for all Division I basketball programs. (Rationale: Same as for the NFL.)

• Establish an open process to measure institutional progress toward “living within their means,” and that significant scholarship reductions would result for those found in non-compliance. (Rationale: Create a public process with stringent penalties.)
It’s time to restore dignity to college bowl games—make them meaningful and uplifting again rather than sticking with the mundane.

October 12, 2015
by lescochranblog
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LIFE WITH A LEXOPHILE!

OK, I’ve been writing very serious blogs recently. Perhaps it is time that I lighten up a little. Since I’m a writer I thought I would pass on what I learned about “Lexophiles.”   Please note that is Lexophiles not Sexophiles. They can definitely be described as . . . a love for words  And I have a love for words, so enjoy a few lexophiles on me!

… When fish are in schools, they sometimes take debate. 

… A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months. 

… When the smog lifts in Los Angeles U.C.L.A. 

… The batteries were given out free of charge. 

… A dentist and a manicurist married. They fought tooth and nail. 

… A will is a dead giveaway. 

… With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress. 

… A boiled egg is hard to beat. 

… When you’ve seen one shopping center you’ve seen a mall. 

… Police were summoned to a daycare center where a three-year-old was resisting a rest. 

… Did you hear about the fellow whose entire left side was cut off?   He’s all right now. 

… A bicycle can’t stand alone; it’s just two tired. 

… When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds. 

… The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine is now fully recovered. 

… He had a photographic memory which was never developed. 

… When she saw her first strands of grey hair she thought she’d dye. 

… Acupuncture is a jab well done. That’s the point of it. 
 And finally, the cream of the twisted lexophile crop:

… Those who get too big for their pants will be totally exposed in the end.

—————————————-

If you have a lexophile to share, please do so here.  I will happily share with others.

ALWAYS LAUGH WHEN YOU CAN; IT’S CHEAP MEDICINE!

COMMON SENSE ? ? ?

October 12, 2015 by lescochranblog | 3 Comments


Guns

Last week the faculty at a local university stood tall, giving a glimmer of hope for our community and the State—they opposed the possession of guns on campus.

It’s hard to believe this issue of allowing guns on campus would even come before the Faculty Senate but it did, thanks to the wisdom of the state legislature.  Interestingly, in making Florida one of twenty states to pass such a bill, the legislature didn’t remove the restriction of guns at their meetings or those of any other government agency.

All but one Republican supported the bill; all of the Democrats opposed it.  Strangely, the legislation eliminated stun guns and other devices designed solely for defensive purposes making the intent clear—legislators were NOT interested in personal defense; their vote endorsed vigilante action— a concept rejected by wild-westerners decades ago.

All of that aside, you’d think politicians would follow the lead, or at least listen to those closest to the situation, but they failed to respect the fact that:

  • State University Presidents OPPOSED the measure.
  • State Police Chiefs OPPOSED the measure.
  • State University System’s Board of Governors OPPOSED the measure.

On the other side, the National Rifle Association supported the bill. Their lobbyist said it all:  “College campuses are gun-free zones, where murders, rapists and shooters can commit crimes without fear of being harmed by their victims.”  I spent over thirty years of my career on college campuses and NEVER heard such a definition of university life.

Fact is, deranged individuals do not follow normal logical patterns; they have no feelings for their victims nor fear of the police. And now, they’re protected by the National Rifle Association.

__________________________________________

Common sense?  

By the university faculty?  YES!

By the legislature in Florida?  NO WAY!

By the National Rifle Association?  NOT EVEN CLOSE!

Well, that’s my opinion – – – what’s yours?

September 21, 2015
by lescochranblog
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SEX ADDICTION AND EDUCATION REFORM?

SmileyYour first reaction to the title of this blog post may be that I’m a little crazy to juxtapose these two concepts.  You’re probably right . . . but that is exactly what I did in Presidential Affair, the conclusion of my “Love, Lies and Liaisons” trilogy.  The key character, Steve Schilling assists the first female president of the United States in passing legislation to reform our dysfunctional education system and finds his way into her White House bedroom.  Hmm . . . sounds like a twist on reality in Washington, D. C.

You may think that compulsive human behavior and educational change are as unrelated as two topics might be, but combining them was the plan from the beginning—show the disconnect and then attach them. It’s the same dichotomy sex addicts deal with all the time—a double life.  On one hand, they may have highly honed decision-making skills capable of running a major corporation; yet, the rest of their life may be totally different—multiple sex partners, lying and cheating, doing whatever it takes to sustain their desires.  We might see their life as a waste, a life of disarray, but to them everything is fine.

In my writing I try to narrow the line between fact and fiction—drawing together reality and my creative liberties. The key character Steve Schilling is handsome, powerful, and an excellent university president with great leadership skills in changing and improving the quality of education.  However he is a sex addict, like roughly six percent of the nation’s population.  He has fine-tuned his leadership and love making skills. What better catch might a woman have?  For some, that question might seem appalling, hypocritical, but not for all.

Twenty-five years ago, women libbers would have called Steve a “womanizer,” though no one in those days ever heard of a “manizer.”  Since then, cultural standards have changed dramatically.  Most women are better educated and more aware of their sexual needs. They are encouraged by the culture to seek their own fulfillment. Many are powerful women in their own right making decisions, deciding what they want, and determining their own lifestyle, including sexual behavior.

So in Presidential Affair, it’s not just a man dealing with a sex addiction problem. Some of the women are complicit with his advances; others pursue him for their own pleasures—it is reality. As an author, I’ve used the key character to combine the issue of addiction with the need to change education in our country.  I had to do a lot of research on sex addiction to accurately write about it. At the same time I used the storyline to share my knowledge about the need to make massive changes in the quality of education in our country.  Are the two issues related?  I think the answer is “No” and “Yes.”  No – one issue doesn’t fix the other and Yes – a sex addict could be a leader in changing education in America. AND Yes – an author can combine the two and they become related.  Well … enough of that for today.

Next time, I’ll focus on our nation’s most critical problem—the need for educational reform.  I’ll provide examples of the needed changes and suggest ways to bring about reform.  It’s a heady issue Steve tackled in Presidential Affair, but he was up for it!

September 18, 2015
by lescochranblog
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EVEN THOUGH WE KNOW . . .

Not so long ago our educational system was the best in the world.  No one questioned the numbers. Today (using the same statistical ranking system) we place twenty-sixth out of thirty industrialized nations!  Whoa … we rank 26th??

The enormity of technological and social change over the past decade has been mindboggeling; yet, today most of our schools strangely remain the way they were.

EVEN THOUGH WE KNOW there is a twenty percent loss in knowledge during the summer; today only the most progressive school districts require homework throughout the summer months.

EVEN THOUGH WE KNOW it is virtually impossible for a student that falls behind a grade level or two to catch-up in the current system; today we continue to promote students with deficiencies.

EVEN THOUGH WE KNOW most high-school dropouts are headed for a life of despair—drugs, crime, prison, and welfare at the best; today we do nothing to change that cycle.

EVEN THOUGH WE KNOW most college freshmen must take one or more “remedial” courses in reading, mathematics or writing; today we don’t insist that ALL high-school graduates have these basic competencies.

 EVEN THOUGH WE KNOW universities are known for athletics and “after-hour sporting activities;” today they’ve done nothing to control costs; they’ve simply raised tuition rather than change the way they do business.

EVEN THOUGH WE KNOW most states have defined “proficiency” well below what is needed for students to succeed in college, carve out a career, or stand on their own two feet; today many resist the Common Core—a states-driven, Republican initiative—designed to dramatically increase the expectations for elementary and secondary youth.

These are real concerns faced by President Janet Stetson and Steve Schilling in Presidential Affair: Love, Lies and Liaisons.

EVEN THOUGH WE KNOW the story is fictional; today (in the novel) their leadership in passing legislation to reform our schools is real. They have a single goal to make our education number one in the world.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

My Question:

EVEN THOUGH WE KNOW our education ranks number twenty-six in the world, why aren’t we doing anything to massively change the quality of education in America???

Hmm . . . perhaps we need to learn from President Stetson and Dr. Schilling. Check it out.  These characters may be fictional, but they clearly share my thoughts about education in America and the changes that need to be made ASAP.

May 17, 2015
by lescochranblog
2 Comments

My Mother-in-Law Strikes Out Against Drugs!

Carol Stockman with grandson Sam

Carol Stockman with grandson Sam

Yes, that is exactly what my mother-in-law is doing. Last September drugs took the life of her 24 year-old grandson who lived on the family farm next door.  Although her heart aches, she is fighting back rather than mourning quietly.  Carol Stockman doesn’t want other families to experience the agony she and Sam’s family are currently enduring.

While visiting me in Florida this winter she said that even though she would like to stay longer she needed to get back home to Michigan.  “I want to do whatever I can to help fight drugs in Berrien County while I am still able to do so. Access to drugs in my county (and all over America) is way too easy. I have to help families learn to recognize and fight it so they don’t lose a family member like we did.”

My mother-in-law is 87 years-old and runs on EverReady batteries – I’ve know her for nearly forty years and she has never stopped giving to organizations and people in her community. She clearly has and continues to provide leadership for the betterment of her community; youth organizations, church activities, political campaigns, street ministry programs, women’s groups, charitable fundraisers, creating an educational foundation and so much more.

Today she has helped organize a community effort to form a county-wide FAN (Families Against Narcotics) program as a mechanism to strike out drugs.  Lots of schools and families are joining hands to attack this problem and support one another in their efforts to deal with the personal drug issues affecting so many families and friends.

The picture above showing Carol and her grandson Sam was posted on the front page of the Hearld Palladium, her local paper in southwest Michigan. The commitment of a grandmother inspite of her loss was picked up by the Associated Press and has appeared in news releases all over America. Nationwide support and encouragement inspires her to continue.

I have always been proud of my mother-in-law, but today words cannot describe how I feel about all the wonderful things she has done and still continues to do to help others.

April 26, 2015
by lescochranblog
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Don’t Forget Your Mother – May 10th

Mother's Day GiftI was at a book signing event the other day when a young man stepped up and said, “I want to buy all three of the books in your trilogy for my mom for Mother’s Day.”
WOW – what a great idea!

Is your mom an avid reader?
Mother’s Day is just around the corner. Give her a chance to read and relax. Order my “Love, Lies and Liaisons” trilogy as a gift. Each book will be autographed and the three tied together with a ribbon and a little note saying the gift is from you.

Just for Mom

Just for Mom

Order today, click here: https://squareup.com/market/les-cochran-author
There is a special package listed for Mother’s Day. Be sure to include your mother’s shipping address and any other instructions.

“Love, Lies and Liaisons” trilogy by Les Cochran
1. Signature Affair
2. Costly Affair
3. Presidential Affair

April 24, 2015
by lescochranblog
4 Comments

Another Affair? This Time It’s Presidential . . . OMG!

Steve Schilling Creates a Rush

Steve Schilling Creates a “Rush” in Washington DC

OMG – – – Steve Schilling is at it again; but this time he has moved up in the ranks – – – WAAAY UP!

In Presidential Affair, the 3rd book in the ‘Love, Lies and Liaisons’ trilogy, Steve is recruited to Washington DC by the
first female president of the United States
. She needs his leadership skills in developing and passing legislation to reform our nation’s educational system. Their teamwork is impressive as they win the support of senators and representatives on both sides of the aisle.

JUST RELEASED!!

JUST RELEASED!!

In fact, they work so well together that President Stetson periodically has a “rush.”

Ahhh . . . but she isn’t the only woman to have a “rush” as the “Steve-a-mania” epidemic hits Washington DC.

To learn more, order Presidential Affair. It is available in all formats at Amazon.com, and other online sources.

Or better yet, order an autographed copy by visiting my website www.LesCochran.com so you can brag that you know the author!

April 22, 2015
by lescochranblog
0 comments

Reforming American Education – Could That Be Fiction?

cochran-presidential-affair-3DThe answer to the question above is . . . YES and NO. Presidential Affair, the last book in my “Love, Lies and Liaisons” trilogy was just released and it tells the YES and NO story – loud and clear!

YES, the story is fictitious as it follows key character Steve Schilling to Washington D.C. to assist the first female president of the United States to develop and pass legislation to reform our nation’s education system. They make a great team on the Hill by day and in the White House by night. . . Hmm.

NO, the need to reform education in the United States is NOT fiction. The quality of education in the USA has dropped from 1st to 25th among the 30 industrialized nations of the world. PLEASE . . . GO BACK AND READ THAT LAST STATEMENT AGAIN! We have way too many uneducated and under-educated people in our country. If we maintain the status quo, the future of our country is in deep do-do!

To prove the point, I could share many other stats with you about our nation’s beleaguered education system. But, instead of me spewing forth raw data about the poor quality of education in our country, I urge you to read Presidential Affair. It is an exciting fictional story based on real facts and figures that result in a major effort to reform education. (Oh and by the way, Steve creates a “Steve-a-mania” epidemic as he learns and earns his way around the nation’s capital!)

Even though the story is fiction, the reforms proposed could be real. Oops! That should say, they could be real if enough citizens gave a damn about the quality of education and its impact on the future of our country!