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Greetings! The first day of Fall happened this week, but it did not bring the expected fall weather, not that I’m complaining.

This week also brought some interesting experiences, and I plan to discuss them in this week’s edition of Doyle’s Half Dozen. Let’s get to it!

  1. The Pope pays a visit

Pope Francis has come to America. The leader of the Catholic Church received quite an acceptance in Washington, D.C. and in New York City.

One of the most discussed aspects of the Pope’s visit is his speech in the U.S. House before the many political dignitaries. He covered an array of social issues from environment to family, from immigration to sanctity of life.

There is a lot of selective hearing involved in what the Pope said. People hear what they want to hear. My only wish is there would be more discussion instead of talking over, but who knows if such would occur.

  1. The Donald at the fair

Donald Trump is speaking at the Oklahoma State Fair this evening (Fri., Sept. 25). Thankfully, I have other plans, and even if I didn’t I’m sure I could make some quickly.

Mr. Trump is a polarizing character, but he has caused more people than usual to pay attention to politics, which explains why he is favorable in the polls. My only hope is that those whose ears are bent due to the Donald would be willing to listen to other candidates and take interest when it comes to important issues.

  1. Rubio on the rise

Another reason for Trump’s success is the popular dislike in experienced politicians. People are unhappy with how things are going in the country, so all current elected officials are experiencing the wrath.

One such candidate, though, seems to be taking some favorable nods. Marco Rubio, the junior senator from Florida, gained some success from the two presidential debates and appears to be separating himself from other established campaigners. Though the three “non-politicians” (Trump, Carson, Fiorina) are still leading, Rubio is making traction and is one to watch down the stretch.

Here’s a recent interview where I think Rubio gives a positive dialogue:

  1. Thunder beginning to strike

Talk is growing around OKC about the Thunder returning for preseason training, which starts in less than a week. Thunder G.M. Sam Presti met with the media last week and gave an encouraging report on Kevin Durant, stating he has been cleared to fully participate in all practice sessions and scrimmages.

The Thunder look to be in the best condition from a preseason perspective. The roster is deep with talent and experience. The coaching staff also is looking solid and capable with new head coach Billy Donovan and former head coaches and top assistants Monty Williams and Maurice Cheeks leading the squad.

Two concerns are remaining healthy (a notable hindrance in the past) and the level of competition, especially among the Western Conference foes. Staying healthy is a common burden, but even though teams like San Antonio, Golden State, Los Angeles Clippers and Houston, have made great strides and impressive off-season moves, I still like how the Thunder match up against the field, heading into the season. Many of the Thunder players have played together for almost seven years. That’s a huge advantage many teams don’t have, and chemistry has been a huge factor for the Thunder. Let’s see how that materializes on the court starting Oct. 28.

  1. Praying at the Pole

See You At the Pole observed its 25th annual gathering at schools across the country. I heard many reassuring reports, including one Oklahoma rural school, Empire near Duncan, drawing more than 100 students.

Be encouraged with these reports, knowing that prayer continues to be practiced among young people.

  1. A view on Aerial America

I’ve been watching a show on the Smithsonian Channel called Aerial America. Each episode focuses on a different state while featuring beautiful overview camera shots of landscape. It’s a simple concept with a voiceover sharing historical facts about that state, but I’m fascinated by both the information and the video presentations. So far, I’ve watched New York, Michigan, Vermont, Washington, Washington, D.C. and my homeland. Here’s a snippet from the Oklahoma episode.