Sunday, June 5, 2016

rethinking my 'dukes of hazzard' moment

Until I looked down and saw a deflated airbag in my lap, I had no idea I had just crashed or that my car was destroyed.

This was three weeks ago.

I was driving on the freeway, less than a mile from my house, heading downtown, when I suddenly knew that I was blacking out.  I recognized the sudden, overwhelming dizziness because I had just blacked out the day before at the gym, bloodying up my hard head, which led to the onset of paramedics and an ambulance trip to the E.R., where they tested me for stuff and decided that I was just super-dehydrated.  Good guess, but wrong.

These blackouts were not your run-of-the-mill fainting spells, where you have some idea that your head is spinning and something ain't right and you better sit down fast.  In both cases, there was, out of nowhere, maybe ten seconds of warning, which, when you happen to be driving a car at 60 m.p.h., isn't very long -- for me, just enough time to see that I was at an exit.  The last thing I saw was the exit sign.  I was unconscious almost immediately, but my foot, unfortunately, was still on the accelerator.

At the scene of the accident, it took me a while to realize that amazing passersby had stopped to help me out, that something really bad had happened, that I couldn't just put my car in reverse and drive off.  Cops were there, the paramedics (again!) were on their way.

It wasn't until later, when I was in a hospital bed, that I was told what had happened.  After I had turned onto the exit, my car kept moving at a high speed, zooming through an intersection, knocking down signs, jumping curbs, then careening off a hill, "Dukes of Hazzard"-style, and landing in a clump of trees and bushes, pieces of my car's engine scattered behind me.

My injuries from the accident were minor, but I was kept in the hospital for observation to figure out why the heck I was passing out.  They hooked me up to monitors, and it wasn't too long before I had another blackout, lying there in bed.  This time, thanks to the monitors, they had the answer:  my heart had stopped for 18 seconds.  Obviously, a problem.  When I came to, the nurse said, "Looks like you'll be getting a pacemaker!", which I did, and I'm doing fine now, have a beautiful new car, and life goes on.

But an incident like that will make a person a bit more introspective, sort of a wake-up call to how vulnerable we are all and reminder of how everything can change in a second.  As I now think back to the whole dreadful experience, these are the thoughts that haunt me or encourage me:

-  Considering what my car went through, it's amazing that I was not more injured that I was.  Kudos to Volkswagen engineering for producing well-designed and relatively safe vehicles!
-  How thankful I am that my out-of-control car passed through a busy intersection without hitting anybody else.
-  That North Memorial in Robbinsdale, Minnesota is a great hospital... and these words are coming form me, who has a general distrust of the U.S. medical establishment.
-  That there are a lot of wonderful, helpful people in this world.  The bystanders -- all strangers to me -- who stopped to help -- they were so kind and patient and caring -- both the people at the accident scene and the guys the day before at the gym.  If I were a person who believed in angels ......
-  That I have more friends in my life right now than I have ever had before, and I felt their support and love through all of this.

Okay, that's enough of that.

The "General Lee" -- minus the Confederate flag, of course.

Sunday, May 1, 2016


So ends another vacation.  Three nights in Vegas, a couple days of beautiful scenery in the California Sierra Mountains, and two nights here in Reno, from where we are flying home, changing planes in Salt Lake City.

Monday, April 25, 2016


With Jerry and Tom, heading back to Las Vegas, my escape from reality place...

Saturday, April 23, 2016

at the thai restaurant tonight

For once, a fortune cookie connected with the thoughts that have been noodling through my brain --

"Affirm it, visualize it, believe it, and it will actualize itself."

It's coming and I'll tell you about it when it happens, but I needed to hear that, even if it just comes for a fortune-cookie factory...

Friday, April 22, 2016

the treasury does its history lesson

The U.S. Treasury this week announced that it was making a change, starting in 2020, to the 20-dollar bill.  For many years, the image of Andrew Jackson, President of the U.S. from 1829 to 1837, has appeared on the bill.  He is to be replaced by Harriet Tubman, former slave and active abolitionist  hero from before and during the U.S. Civil War.

Some (e.g., Trump) would call this "political correctness", but the irony is outstanding.  Here is an African-American woman who risked her life many times to help slaves get to freedom (the "Underground Railroad")  taking the place of a man who actually owned slaves.

Out of curiosity, I googled the phrase "presidents that owned slaves" and found the list.  There were twelve U.S. Presidents that owned slaves.  George Washington ("the Father of Our Country") owned more than 300 slaves and did not free them during his lifetime.

Amazing.  And this was only a couple hundred years ago.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

a local prince who happened to love purple

It may have been a big story today across the country and across the world, but here in the Twin Cities it was the number one conversation of shock and grief.  Prince, local music icon going back to his prime in the 1980s, died suddenly this morning at age 57.  He was the guy who wanted to "party like it's 1999" when 1999 was far off in the future.  He put Minneapolis and the "Minneapolis Sound" on the musical map and kept Minneapolis as his base of operations and his life.

Appropriately, it's been raining here all day today, but the rain isn't purple.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

one way to end a career

It's not often that I have one of those dreams that go on and on for what seems like hours and is in reality probably just a few minutes, and it's not often that I remember a whole lot of detail about my dreams... But I had one of those on-and-on ones last night, and I remember bits and pieces of it...

It's one segment of the dream that I recall vividly.

In it, I was a concert pianist, playing before a large audience.  The piece I was playing:  Piano Concerto No. 2 by Camille Saint-Saens, one of Saint-Saens' most popular works.

If you happen to know that particular Piano Concerto, you know that it has three movements:  an andante, an allegro, and a presto.

So there I am, playing the piano beautifully (obviously a dream), the audience is getting into it, and then I reach the end of the second movement... and stop.  I stand up to take my bows.

Now this was no run-of-the-mill audience.  They knew their Saint-Saens, and they knew that this beautiful piano concerto had three movements and that the third movement was the wild climax and that I had skipped it.

So there I stood like a fool, alone on the stage.  There was a smattering of polite clapping -- obviously not the Saint-Saens fans.

Most of the rest of the dream was about how I had destroyed my concert-pianist career by skipping that movement.  I don't think I cared very much.

I woke up this morning, got out my vinyl recording of the 2nd Piano Concerto (Earl Wild on the piano), and listened to the whole thing.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

when 15 april isn't 15 april

Sometimes, deadlines control...

April 15th -- generally the date when tax returns are due -- has been a controlling deadline for me for the past 38 years, and, while my involvement is much less now than it used to be, this past week was crazy busy with last-minute client stuff...

April 18th (tomorrow) -- is this year's tax deadline because of Emancipation Day in Washington, DC, which means that since April 15th fell on a Friday, it coincides with the legal holiday in DC, which somehow means that it couldn't be the IRS deadline.  Don't ask me to explain that, I'm done with the topic.

Anyway, I'm done with all of it.  Get away from the desk, get away from the computer.


Grass is green, the buds in the trees are out ahead of time, the yard is beckoning.... or the garden center.

Monday, April 11, 2016

is it time for ice cream yet?

This might be the first time I ever blogged on my iPhone, so who knows what auto-correct and my fat-fingered mistyping will do to it.

I just finished eating a tough overpriced bratwurst sandwich while sitting here at Target Center in downtown Minneapolis watching basketball-- our Minnesota Timberwolves playing horribly (so far) against the Houston Rockets.  Across the street it was baseball, the Minnesota Twins just had their chilly home opener and are now 0-7, their worst season start in franchise history.

Meanwhile, across town in downtown St. Paul, hockey playoffs start soon, and the Minnesota Wild somehow made it into the playoffs even though they lost their last five games.

And now you are up to date on the state of Twin Cities professional sports.  And typing this nonsense on an iPhone isn't easy.  Remind me not to do it again.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

going to hellenium

My son Jon, the would-be horticulturalist, dropped by today to plant three new additions to my front garden, all helleniums (hellenia?).  Jon is major fan of the hellenium, a beautiful and versatile perennial.  He had me plant several last year, and they turned out great -- for instance, here was how one of them looked mid-summer 2015:

Thanks, Jon.... Looking forward to seeing how this year's bunch turn out.  Try the hellenium, readers, if you can find any!  It's spring!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

stall thrills

The latest pretend crisis in the right-wing political world is the transgender "which-bathroom-to-use?" thing.  These idiots that are proposing and sometimes passing the "biological gender" laws seem to be implying that men are going to dress in drag just to be able to be in the stall next to a woman as she pees.  I mean, really??  In a world of real anxieties and problems, these are the fears that some legislators fantasize about?

A sidenote:  Europeans often get a kick out of American use of the word "bathroom" -- when there are no bath options in sight -- just so that the more graphic word "toilet" can be avoided.

Friday, April 8, 2016

when good friends move away

They move away, and you realize you didn't spend enough time with them when they were here...

And they come back to town for a three-day visit, and they have a lot of friends to see, and you are on their list of people to see... and it will briefly seem like they never left...

See you tonight, Jamie and Alan.... 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

that twangy stuff

As I was driving around, I had the Willie Nelson station on my Sirius satellite radio.  It might surprise you that I would ever listen to a country-music station, but I do flip by there now and then, partly because it's amusing, partly because I'm off and on reading Willie Nelson's autobiography (amusing in the extreme), partly because the old "classic" twangy country music from the '50s and the '60s is a thousand times better than current "country" music, which, let's face it, is pretty obnoxious.

Today and yesterday, though, the station is focusing on Merle Haggard, the country-music icon (what is the definition of "icon"?) who died yesterday on his 79th birthday.  I knew little of Merle Haggard, whose main irritation to me was his 1969 hit song, "Okie From Muskogee"...

We don't smoke marijuana in Muskogee;
We don't take no trips on LSD
We don't burn no draft cards down on Main Street;
We like livin' right, and bein' free.

etc., etc., etc..

That irritation came partly from being stationed in the Army (against my will), where everybody in my ranks was either a drunk or a pothead, and the potheads happened to be more interesting,... It was a difficult anti-Establishment period in our history, and Merle was there to irritate some of us...

But listening to this Willie Nelson station tribute to Merle Haggard's sometimes sad, personal music has made re-think some of this... I raise my drink to you, Merle, and may you find peace always.  We're all in this together, and we all share much.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

eight is enough -- or maybe way too much

Being about the same age as Hillary and Trump and a few years younger than Bernie, I gotta say that the one good thing to say about this goofy and stupid election season is that AGE is rarely being mentioned.  The effect of that open-mindedness (?) on me personally is to let me know that I might still have a few good productive years left in me, and, whatever I do, it should be a whole lot less strenuous than being President of the U.S.  Have you ever seen photos of past Presidents that compare what they looked like on Day 1 of their Presidency to how they looked eight years later?  Check it out sometime, or find a photo of how President Obama looked when he was first elected.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

giving the finger to north carolina, mississippi and the other 'religious liberty [a/k/a religious bigotry]' states

And let me remind you -- or tell you in case you didn't already know -- that these people are the same ones that used to cobble together unrelated Bible verses to preach why it was "Biblical" and in accordance with their "religious beliefs" to discriminate against and refuse to serve African-Americans.

Monday, April 4, 2016

'take me out...

to the ball game...'

Well, don't take me too often.  I mean, baseball generally has about much action as watching paint dry, but the season has started, it's April, and there is something comforting about knowing that it's there, even though I don't have the patience or spare time to sit through much of it.  "Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks, I don't care if I never get back..."

Sunday, April 3, 2016

don't spit on my wedding cake

In recent days, Republican legislators in several states, desperate for ways to discriminate against the gay community now that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states, have come up with some really silly, far-fetched  proposals and laws based on some sort of cockeyed "religious liberty" (which in itself is a crock because they only want "liberty" for their own man-made religion).

In a future post, I'll rant about the goofy "transgender bathroom" panic, but for now let's chat for a minute about the urgency of their need to "protect" bakers and florists from being forced to provide services for same-sex weddings (There are straight florists?).

First, why would these fictional bakers and florists turn down the business?  Do they do a background search on all their prospective customers to make sure they don't disapprove of something about them?  Do they think they will go to hell for baking a cake?  Or are they just full of disgust and hate, which to me is a much better reason for ending up in hell?

Second, what self-respecting gay couple is going to want to do business with people that would just as soon see them dead or in a concentration camp?  Do they think they're going to get good service from people that are forced to do business with them?  If some creep says, "I don't want to do business with you!", find another baker or florist!

And third, why the heck don't these state legislators have something better to do with their time and positions?

Saturday, April 2, 2016

after the bachelor party

If there are any regular daily readers of this blog, how devastating for you that I skipped yesterday, and you were thinking, "Hey, the dude has fallen off the Blog Post wagon again", but April Fool, it was just a one-day blip due to a over-booked day.

The evening was devoted to a bachelor party last night for a friend who is getting married next week, a friend who is marrying for the first time at age 48.

When I think of bachelor parties, I think of guys in their 20s, not guys middle-aged and up, but there we were, drinking beer and wine (and Scotch for me), talking about middle-aged-and-up stuff and not very much about the upcoming wedding.  It could have been just a Friday night of guys getting together to drink.  It was fun though.

We have several weddings to attend this year.  Not my favorite of events!  But good luck to my friend and his lovely bride.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

april come she will

Another March of our lives fades into history, this one coming in like a lamb and going out like a lamb, with jackasses baying and political yahoos squeaking in between... The next month rolls around, which  comes in another couple hours, with its own set of Fools...

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

a mad man, again

Bingeing is how people watch TV now.  Someone recommends a show to you, you find it on Netflix or somewhere in the cloud, and, if it's a show that grabs you, you watch episode after episode, season after season, all within a short time frame, until you've watched them all, commercial-free and ending before you really want them to end.

This is the first time I have re-binged, though.  I'm re-watching Mad Men, probably my favorite of the shows that we've binged on, and am back in the middle of Season 6.   It's a drama about a Madison Avenue advertising firm, all taking place in the '60s, which of course is my era.  Ya gotta love main character Don Draper, the ultra-suave yet screwed-up ad genius, and all of the other characters that play out during the most tumultuous yet lovable decade of my lifetime.

My other favorite binge-worthy shows so far:  Breaking Bad, Six Feet Under, Downton Abbey, The Newsroom.

I'll be looking for a new one soon.  Got any suggestions?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

her name really was Anna

Patty Duke, circa 1965
Sad day, the actress Patty Duke has died.  She and I were the same age, and I've been a Patty Duke fan since the early '60s, when she was still known as a "child star", winning awards for her portrayal of the young Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker.  From there she moved on to play "identical cousins" in the TV sitcom, The Patty Duke Show.  Behind the scenes during those years, she had a rough time of it, as she reveals in her autobiography, Call Me Anna.  It takes a great actress to be able to hide anguish.  The leftovers of us from my generation of Americans will always remember Patty.

Monday, March 28, 2016

the problem with for-profit TV news

How do TV-news networks make their money, you ask?  Commercial advertising, of course.  And what are commercial advertising rates based on?  Ratings!  Viewers!  So the more viewers you can maintain, the more money the network makes.  It's capitalism at its finest and, if irresponsibly cultivated, its most disgusting.

Therefore, it is in the best interest of the network to keep people watching.  There can't be any "slow news" days anymore.

In the "old" days, there were no 24-hour news channels.  There was a half-hour a day of Walter Cronkite, who, no matter what was going on in the world, made us all feel like everything's gonna be all right.

With TV news available 24/7, we should be the most well-informed people ever.  Instead, we too often get over-reported, sensationalist garbage (CNN) or politically biased lies and nonstop fearmongering (Fox News) that drive the news rather than reporting it.  It's all about, "Keep watching us!  Keep watching us!"

Follow the money.  It's bad, and it's hurting us.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

going over to Dan and Kathy's for dinner later

"So what are you doing for Easter?"  It's one of those Minnesota-nice I-can't-think-of-any-other-conversations-to-start defaults.

And I have nothing really to say about Easter.  Either you believe in the Easter Bunny or in that other Easter thing or it's just another Sunday, unless we see you at Dan and Kathy's house, where it is always fun even though the topic of Resurrection might or might not come up over a Jack Daniels or a beer.

Enjoy your marshmallow bunnies....

Saturday, March 26, 2016

demolition is imminent

Suffering from kitchen-designer fatigue.  We've signed a contract to have our kitchen destroyed before a hoped-for majestic user-friendly, cuisine-enticing room takes its place.

Okay, we knew from Day One when we bought this house two years ago that it was an awful kitchen, but it's amazing how a person can get used to less-than-ideal living conditions and after a while you don't even notice.

Being a person who prefers Instant Gratification after spending a bunch of money, it's hard to think of (at least) six weeks of contractors and noise and mess.  Demolition doesn't start for another month or so, but, if my blog posts get dusty and cranky for a while during the process, hang in there.  Photos of the finished product will follow.  Unless I hate it.

Friday, March 25, 2016

what's so good about good friday?

I thought about googling Good Friday (who named it, which, if any of this really happened, was pretty awful??) but was kind of tired, and what would it mean anyway?, so I didn't.

Easter approaches, and somebody asked, "what are you doing for easter?".. and my answer was, "what does person do about easter?"

When I was a kid, I hated Easter candy -- all that overdone chocolate and coconut and marshmallow. One year I happened to have the measles or chicken pox or something, and my Aunt Florence felt bad for me and brought me an Easter basket with fruit instead of candy.  I loved it and always asked my parents after that for a fruit basket instead of chocolate bunnies, but never got it.  Tradition won out.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

america on line, 1996

I once was ahead of the game with my first computer and installing America On Line (AOL) for internet connection.  It was the thing, although in hindsight amusingly primitive.

To this day, I have stuck with my original AOL email handle -- my "screenname" -- and AOL has progressed with technology advancements, and it's still my primary email address.

The reason I am mentioning this is because twice lately people have laughed at me for still having an AOL address, like "gmail" (or something else by now) is way cooler.  Well, folks, I have gmail also (which I check out maybe once a month), but AOL somehow seems a lot better to me ... Or maybe it's that dang loyal streak in me... or nostalgia for the mid-'90s, when it was all so new.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Heading back North to a land of very few Southern accents.  Will be back soon to Mississippi, as long as they keep giving us these occasional free trips.  There are some really lovable things about the Deep South, especially here on the Gulf Coast.  It's a shame that this state's history and politics are so screwed up.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

'trash-talking' in the real world

trash talk


  1. insulting or boastful speech intended to demoralize, intimidate, or humiliate someone, especially an opponent in an athletic contest.
Some professional athletes are experts at trash-talking, just trying to throw their opponents off balance.  Jared Allen, formerly of the football Minnesota Vikings, and Kevin Garnett, currently back with the basketball Minnesota Timberwolves, are good examples of exemplary trash-talkers.  Maybe it works some of the time.

I'm thinking of "trash-talking" on this day that happens to be Belgium's turn -- in this perverse "new normal -- to mourn the deaths and injuries to dozens of innocent victims of terrorism, a terrorism intended to make everyday life seem unsafe.  It's also become predictable, this year especially, for political candidates to talk tough to fight what is essentially worldwide guerilla warfare. Fine.  But when they start ranting about how they, once elected, will "carpet-bomb ISIS out of existence" or torture ISIS prisoners beyond world law to get the supposed answers that will cause the destruction of ISIS forever, that is nothing but trash talk.  None of that is doable, but simplistic but empty threats  play to the minds of conveniently under-educated supporters who know not nearly enough about history or geography or the world beyond their own noses.  It won't work when ISIS is not a country, so who do you bomb?  Or it won't work when so many ISIS recruits are longing for martyrdom -- so how is threatening to murder them (and their families) any kind of deterrent?

The world situation is complex.  This isn't a video game -- or, for that matter, a football or basketball game or school playground.  It's the real world. 

We offer hands of human compassion to our brothers and sisters in Brussels, Belgium.

Monday, March 21, 2016

random thoughts while feeding a Mississippi slot machine

Yesterday my sister Joan says to me, "Oh, you just want everybody to LIKE you!"  She meant it as a put-down, not a compliment.  In addition, my sons Jon and Tom say that the problem with me is that I LIKE everyone, which means to them that I have no "standards"!

So what is wrong with me??
Here we sit in Mississippi.  It's the state out of the 50 that is 50th in literacy rates and is 1st in obesity rates.

So why can't they quit electing idiots to political office and find somebody that at least sees some cultural and social advantage in helping the state rise to 49th and lower to 2nd, respectively??

On the other hand, if I lived in Mississipi, being constantly exposed to this yummy Southern food, I'd be one of the obese ones for sure.

I wonder if Donald Trump, in his heart of hearts, ever wonders if his supporters are nuts.

This slot machine is giving me a warm comfortable feeling, which probably means it is just about to screw the hell out of me.

Oh heck, I'm going to the fitness center and spa.

Sunday, March 20, 2016


Heading south --  Biloxi, Mississippi -- for three days of southern food, casino action, the Gulf Coast.  Hey, it's free airfare, three free nights in a beautiful hotel, irresistible comps -- a cheap getaway unless I hit a deadly slot machine.... I bet you have a guilty pleasure or two yourself...

Saturday, March 19, 2016

plus: he's not a drug dealer or a serial killer!

42 years ago today, I was anxiously pacing hospital hallways, and, 42 years ago tomorrow, he was finally born.  And then your life changes.  And you do the best you can, but even then there are no guarantees that he will turn out right.  And then when he turns out to be an intelligent, witty, horticulturally-talented gentleman that you are immensely proud of, you realize how lucky you are....  and, if I say any more than this, he will say that I'm being overly corny....

Friday, March 18, 2016

i need more time

"From the day we arrive on this planet
And, blinking, step into the sun
There's more to see than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done..."

"The Circle of Life" from The Lion King
Tim Rice/Elton John

Thursday, March 17, 2016


Here it is, St. Patrick's Day, that day each year when we all celebrate Ireland and/or just needed a reason to drink.  I have plenty of Irish in me, and it's the first St. Patrick's Day following an actual visit to Ireland -- three weeks ago.

How about a couple of photos that I took at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland?  Have a Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

it's not debatable

It was bound to happen that Donald Trump and I would agree on something eventually, and here it is:  He is saying today -- That's enough debates!  We've already had 11 or 12, how many times do we have to answer the same questions?

Blame TV if you wish -- can you imagine George Washington in a Presidential debate? -- but how did exemplary debating skills become part of the top requirements to be President?  This year in particular, the debates have become a bizarre reality show -- sort of a talking American Idol -- that killed lackluster low-energy guys like Jeb Bush and Scott Walker and gave attention to the loudmouths that were mostly just shouting B.S.  (Jeb's and Walker's B.S. was just too understated for sleepy viewers).

Look for future Presidents in the current high school debating clubs.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

beware -- oh, never mind

There was a time when March 15th would roll around and it was fun to say, "Beware the Ides of March!", and most people would know what you're referring to.  That was back when most had been required to read Shakespeare in English class.  Now I could explain that the Ides of March is when Julius Caesar met his Waterloo -- but that would, first of all, bring in two unrelated historical moments -- and many would say "Julius who?"

Monday, March 14, 2016

when you're from anywhere near Philly

Not long ago in the downtown Minneapolis skyway system, I happened upon a guy, wearing a Philadelphia Flyers sweatshirt, asking for money so that he and his woman could have shelter for the night at the Salvation Army.  Call me cheap if you wish, but I generally never give money to panhandlers.  In this case, what the heck, I handed him a few bucks which was apparently enough to get past the Salvation Army moneychangers.

HIM (raising his arms in the air as he was walking away):  "Thank you, Jesus!  Thank you, Jesus!"

ME (raising my own arms):  "It wasn't Jesus, man!  It was the FLYERS!!"

Sunday, March 13, 2016

i pity the poor immigrant

The U.S. media is too focused on Trump and our political circus to notice much else going on in the world, but there is much happening in the world, too much of it bad.  Call me soft if you want, but my mind keep heading back to all those refugees flooding Europe and the heartbreaking stories that follow each one of them.  My good friend Elke in Germany keeps me updated on six Syrian families that have been moved to her village in Northern Germany and the struggles they -- each one of them -- are going through on top of the trauma they've experienced just getting there!

I'm of course disappointed in American attitudes toward these refugees -- plus toward the innocents that are still stuck in the chaos rampant in certain areas of the Middle East.  I'm especially dismayed by the so-called "Christian" groups that only want to help some of the "Christian" refugees and the hell with the rest of them.  Even though these type of "Christians" don't usually refer to the Gospels -- preferring a twisted "dark side" of the Bible to a positive loving message -- I recommend that they go back and read the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).

That's my Sunday sermon for the day.  Don't expect any more of them any time soon.  :-)

Saturday, March 12, 2016

one of the bigger things on your bucket list

About a year ago, we (Jerry, my son Tom, and I) spent a couple days in Northern Arizona, specifically in Sedona and at the Grand Canyon.  Since I was in a blogging funk a year ago and didn't post much of anything, how about a few photos now from that trip?  If you have been to the Grand Canyon, you can relate to the scenery and the fact that it is impossible to capture the grandeur of the Grand Canyon in photos.  If you haven't been to the Grand Canyon, it needs to be on your Bucket List!


My son Tom

Friday, March 11, 2016

little marco isn't dutch

Remember the old story about the Dutch boy who saved Holland by putting his finger in the dike to plug the hole that would have let floods destroy his country?

For some reason, I thought of that story last night while watching what I could stomach of the latest Republican Presidential debate, when Little Marco Rubio was asked by the mayor of Miami, Florida (a mayor who for some reason has endorsed Rubio, in the state that Rubio theoretically represents) about the rising waters that are already flooding some Miami streets, that if the trend continues will eventually drown and wipe out the city of Miami.

Marco, true to the wishes of his corporate backers, repeated his robotic mantra that climate just naturally changes, and even if the cause of climate change is man-made, so what?  If we tried to be better ecologically, India and China would still stick to their standard polluted ways, so it wouldn't help save the earth -- so, in other words, why try?, the hell with Miami! (I'm paraphrasing!)   I wonder if the mayor liked that answer.  Shouldn't Little Marco have at least said, "We'll save Miami even if I have to go pack sandbags and put my finger in a dike myself?"

Thursday, March 10, 2016

it's coming up roses, dude

While in downtown Minneapolis this morning, after checking in at the office for a short visit, I did my usual routine -- meaning, my workout at the downtown YMCA -- then stopped to buy theater tickets for tomorrow night.  We're going to see Gypsy, a new production by Theater Latte Da, one of the top theater companies here in the Twin Cities, at the lovely Pantages Theater.  Gypsy, of course, is one of those good old musicals, this one from 1959, and although I've seen the movie version (starring Rosalind Russell and Natalie Wood), I've never seen it on stage, so I'm looking forward to that.

So, since I'm now in a Gypsy mood, I looked for a link to the most popular of the Gypsy show-stoppers, "Everything's Coming Up Roses", as sung by Ethel Merman, the original Mama Rose in the 1959 Broadway production.  If you listen to it, I bet it will cheer you up.  Hey, don't complain, I could have posted "YMCA" by the Village People, although I bet that would have cheered you up too.  If you're outside the USA, this video probably won't open for you.  Sorry.  Be cheered anyway. Life is good.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016


So yesterday, while the weather was beautiful outdoors, I sat in the Apple Store for maybe three hours, being shifted from one "tech specialist" to another to another (lunch breaks, of course), having what I thought was an easy-to-fix problem that turned into a crisis.  My iPad is a mess now, and the initial problem is still there.  Whatever.

But let me ask you this question:  have you ever sat in an Apple Store for three hours and watched the comings and goings?  Even though I was annoyed, I was also fascinated.  The place is hopping!  Sure, there are some people buying stuff, but there are way more customers coming in -- constantly! -- with problems with their iPhones, iPads, iWhatevers....  A few years ago, a place like this wouldn't have even existed.  Now we -- all of us, old and young -- are dependent on our devices and at the mercy of tech people.  I hope this CLOUD doesn't ever Burst!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

an apple at 70 degrees

As I write this, I am sitting in the atrium of a shopping mall -- Ridgedale, in the western Twin Cities suburbs -- drinking Caribou coffee, while outside it's a remarkable, sunny 70 degrees.  And before you yawn and say "What's so remarkable about that?", let me remind you that I am in MINNESOTA and it is the 8TH OF MARCH!  Yesterday, it was warmer here in Minneapolis than it was in Los Angeles or Las Vegas!  Weatherpersons are telling us that Spring might be here.  Something ain't right, folks!

Nobody here, of course, is complaining except for snowmobile salespeople and ski resort operators.  Ice fishermen had a brief winter, so they had to find other places to drink beer instead of in their ice houses on frozen lakes.  But this is the Frost Belt!  Again I say, something ain't right!  If you didn't hear Leonardo DiCaprio's Oscar acceptance/climate-change speech, find it on YouTube!

Since there is no more boring subject for a Blogger than the weather, I'll move on to something else.

So why am I sitting in a mall instead of outside in the beautiful weather that I'm done mentioning?  I'm outside the Apple Store, impatiently waiting for a "tech specialist" to help me with a minor iPad problem.

Whoops, just got texted.  They are ready for me.

A little trivia for you:  the first enclosed mall in the world was here in the Twin Cities -- 1957 -- but not THIS mall.  Also, the largest mall in the country is here in the Twin Cities.  Minnesota is apparently a natural for indoor malls because of the frigid temperatures.  Oh damn.  There I go mentioning the weather again!

Monday, March 7, 2016

feeling a little sad about Nancy Reagan

I was never a fan of Ronald Reagan -- in fact, I was very anti-Reagan -- but I always kind of liked his wife Nancy, who died yesterday at age 94, even through her lame "Just Say No" solution to the illegal-drug problem.

We'll be seeing a lot of tributes to Nancy and glamorous photos of her over the next few days, so I thought I'd look for a photo of her that would seem sort of un-Nancy.... So here it is.. It's cute.  It's Nancy, while she was First Lady, 1983, with "Mr. T", who was a TV star at the time.  Hey, it was the '80s!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

one of the zillion cousins

This morning I called one of my cousins in New Jersey to wish her a Happy Birthday, and I've been thinking since then about how lucky I am to be from a big family.  Both of my parents had a lot of siblings, generating for me about a zillion cousins, many of whom I still have contact with even though we're scattered all over the country.  Bev, the cousin I called this morning, is one of my most special relatives, and I miss her.  I hear a trip back to Jersey calling to me.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Friday, March 4, 2016

waxing the royal family

If you're thinking of going to Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum the next time you're in London, just know that you can expect to stand in line for a long time just to buy your tickets (I hate lines!) and then to wait patiently for other people taking their selfies before you get to stand next to your heroes-in-wax for your own photos.

Here, in all their waxen glory, is the British Royal Family.  If you look closely, you're see a real-life interloper -- that's my niece Becky.  Of the Royals, Prince Harry looks the best and the most life-like... Of course!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

a Beatles hangover

A couple nights ago, we stopped in at the bar, first time since we've been back from our trip, and were greeted with 'welcome backs' from our friends, along with comments about how much they enjoyed seeing the photos (Thanks, Facebook).  What's funny is that the Facebook post everybody mentions is not Buckingham Palace, not Stonehenge, not castles.. it's the post about us crossing Abbey Road, the intersection where the Beatles crossed (right next to Abbey Road Studios) for the cover of the album of that name...

... so I spent the evening reconnecting and playing mostly Beatles songs on the jukebox.  Being back home isn't all bad...


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

all in all, i'd rather be in London

It was funny.  Taxi drivers and others in London and Dublin, after asking where we were from, would ask very hesitantly what we think of Donald Trump -- like they were afraid we might say we are fans.  Once they would find out that we definitely are not Trumpsters, they seemed relieved and were free to talk about him, along the line of "What are Americans thinking?"  Europe in general seems mysified and appalled by the Trump thing and this goofy 2016 election.  It's embarrassing.

Super Tuesday is done for another four years.  I hope we don't have to stand in line next time quite as long just to get into our precinct caucus.  I hate lines.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

stupor Tuesday

Super Tuesday, that overly-emphasized political landmark that we go through every four years in our embarrassing process of electing a President, is upon us today.  Citizens in twelve states, either in primary voting or caucus, leave their TVs and trudge out of their homes to feel like they are having a say.

Here in Minnesota, we have the caucus system, and I hate the caucus system -- because it is generally so unrepresentative.  Only a small (but loudmouthed) percentage of the voting population goes to their caucus, so it's too easy for one-issue groups and special interests to pack a caucus and potentially gain a disproportionate share of delegate strength...

but, having said that, Jerry and I will head to our Democratic precinct caucus this evening...

... and, most likely, cancel out each other's vote.

Monday, February 29, 2016

leaping back into the groove

Last evening brought us back into the reality of where we live and away from a carefree European vacation..... It also brought the televised Academy Awards into millions of homes, including ours, which means my self-imposed pressure to see nominated films is over for another ten months or so.

And, thinking about the Oscar voters' usual tendencies, I shouldn't have been surprised that Spotlight won Best Picture over The Revenant, which is a much more ambitious and accomplished film:  They love giving the Best Picture Oscar to a "message" film instead of a  movie that relies on what some would see as excessive brutality and violence.

The Oscar telecast in general?  They just aren't as much fun as they used to be.  Chris Rock as host was just sort of "meh".  Leonardo DiCaprio's acceptance speech was probably the highlight.

So we settle back into that once-every-four-years extra day of February, of which I have little to say this year.  I'd like to have extra days in every month's calendar, let's stretch them all out.

I decided to look back at my Leap Year blog post four years ago today, which ironically leads back to my blog post eight years ago today.  Here's the link:

So, if you are reading this today, 29 February 2016, Happy Leap Day!  If you are reading this sometime after today, Happy Whatever Day It Is!

Sunday, February 28, 2016


Jerry and I are, as I write this, enjoying a cheesesteak during a layover in Philly before we board our flight home following what is destined to be a memorable trip with Mary and Rebecca to the UK and Ireland.  We accomplished a lot in ten days and covered a lot of ground and a variety of experiences. While it was still fresh in our minds, I had each of us, as we sat at the Dublin Airport, write down our favorite five things from the trip (in no particular order).  Here's what we individually came up with:

Mary (my sister):  1). An overnight in a castle (Thornbury Castle in Thornbury, England);  2). Abbey Road (the crosswalk where the Beatles crossed on their album cover) in London;  3). Buckingham Palace, London;  4). Harrods Department Store, London;  5). Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, London.

Rebecca (my niece):  1). The Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff, Wales;  2). The gin and tonic at the Six Bells Inn in Colerne, England;  3).  Abbey Road; 4). The Camden Town neighborhood of London;  5). The Tower of London.

Jerry (my other half):  1). The pot stickers at a corner shop in Chinatown, London;  2). Riding "The Tube" (London's subway system);  3). Thornbury Castle;  4). Camden Town, London;  5). Meeting the owner and chef at the Six Bells Inn in Colerne.

Howard (that's me):  1). Abbey Road;  2). The Tom Dixon Cafe at Harrods Department Store;  3).  The Temple Bar in Dublin;  4). Seeing "The Book of Mormon" in London;  5). The Tower of London.

So ends a great trip and my little travelogue about it -- except for maybe some photos I might add once I get back to my laptop.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

the Dublin vibe

No, I hadn't ever been to Dublin -- or anywhere in Ireland, for that matter -- but, based on who-knows-what, I had pictured Dublin as a place of escape someday to write "my book".  Maybe it's the history of writers coming from here -- James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, etc. -- or maybe it was the city's image of unprentiousness, leaving the imagination to explore and just be focused on LIFE.  And, if a person is going through a writer's block, take a break down at the corner pub and be reinvigorated while having a Guinness with friendly mates.

Dublin, as it turns out, feels good, a place where I could hang out for a long time.  There's the history, the grittiness, the friendliness.  Maybe I'm connecting to the Irish blood in me -- and I don't know for sure what that percentage is, but it's fairly substantial.

Unlike London, which is much bigger than Dublin and could keep you busy for weeks just seeing the "must-sees", this is a fairly compact city without a lot of tourist distractions. Take one of those "hop-on, hop-off" bus tours to get an overview of the city, figure out where you want to be, and walk the streets, taking in the Dublin vibe.

Our apartment is in the Temple Bar District, which is a vibrant fun area, named for the centuries-old Temple Bar, a sprawling pub that might be my favorite place in the city so far.

I for sure could stay in Dublin for an extended period and maybe even be inspired...

... but we go home tomorrow.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Howard ranks the Oscar nominees

Reporting direct from Dublin, Ireland --

And taking a break from my half-assed British Isles travelogue --

It's time for my annual rankings -- not predictions -- of this year's Oscar nominees, from my "most deserving of an Oscar" to  "what the heck is this movie doing on this list?".  I make it a point to see all Best Picture nominees, of which this year there are eight, and rate them from my slightly twisted and unscientific point of  view (but who cares, it's MY blog).  It usually means doing a binge in January and February, because I don't go the movies nearly as often as I used to.

Overall, I'm not excited or blown away by any of the nominated films, but tradition is tradition, so here goes:

1.  THE REVENANT.  This might be the first time I am picking the actual winner, although my blessing might be a jinx.  I didn't want to even see this movie because I knew there were some gory, bloody scenes -- definitely not my thing -- but I ended up being thoroughly engrossed and impressed by the overall picture:  the story, the acting, the cinematography.... Pretty amazing.  Oh yeah, I know -- "How did the guy not die from hypothermia ?"
2.  BROOKLYN.  This film is sort of the opposite of The Revenant -- quiet and sensitive.  Set in the early 1950s, it's the story of a young Irish woman who moves to the US to find opportunity and has to figure out where "home" really is.  Saoirse Ronan is terrific.  Beautifully filmed.
3.  THE MARTIAN.  Can you believe I ranked this mass-appeal outer space movie so high?  The story is crazy and far fetched , but Matt Damon and the disco music are great.
4.  SPOTLIGHT.  OK, back to a serious film.  It's the behind-the-scenes-at-the-Boston-Globe intriguing story about the reporting of the priest/children sex abuse.  A good topic well done, to me just not outstanding filmmaking.
5.  BRIDGE OF SPIES.  I was thinking, oh here we go -- another Steven Spielberg/Tom Hanks movie, but it's not bad.  Set in Cold War 1957, it's about the attorney trying to obtain the release of Francis Gary Powers, the US spy pilot shot down over the USSR.  The scenes set in "East Berlin" felt especially well-done and suspenseful.
6.  ROOM.  A small but good film.  The first half of the film is especially small since it takes place all in one room, a mother and young son.  Very well done.  The second half of the film is more like a Lifetime Movie of the Week.  Still, it's very worth seeing.
7.  THE BIG SHORT.  This is the story of the people who figured out the housing bubble of 2007.  I'm not a stupid, uneducated person, but much of the dialogue was incomprehensible to me since it had so much Wall Street insider lingo.  HBO could have done this one -- maybe better.
8.  MAD MAX: FURY ROAD.  So how the heck did this post-apocalyptic special effects car chase thing get nominated for Best Picture (Are they cars, or what?).  Since this is on On Demand now, I even sat through it a second time and still haven't quite figured out who the good guys are.  But the special effects and film editing are great.

Some picks in the other categories:
BEST ACTOR:  Leonardo DiCaprio for THE REVENANT.  He will finally get an Oscar.
BEST ACTRESS:  Saoirse Ronan for BROOKLYN.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:  Rooney Mara for CAROL (A film that should have been at least nominated for Best Picture).
BEST DIRECTING:  The guy with the unpronounceable, unspellable name, director of THE REVENANT.

Whew, that's it for another year.  The Oscars will be on television this Sunday night.


Tomorrow, I give my impressions of DUBLIN.  What a great city!

Thursday, February 25, 2016


The Wifi is working for the moment, so I'll sneak in a quick post.

In a few minutes, we leave Thornbury Castle, where we spent the night, and head over the river to Wales.  We're spending most of the day in the city of Cardiff, where Rebecca wants to go to "The Doctor Who Experience" (Who is Doctor Who, you ask?).  Then tonight we return our rental car and fly from Cardiff to Dublin, Ireland, where we will spend the next three nights.

It's been an awesome trip so far, and I'm hoping to love Dublin..  You'll hear from me if I do or don't.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

what, no text??

OK, here's the deal.  We are doing an overnight in the gatehouse of a very old castle -- Thornsbury Castle near Bristol, England, almost to Wales -- and the Wifi is on the fritz, so I can't use the iPad, which needs Wifi, so I am attempting to write this post on my iPhone, which is maddening, so if I drop off in mid-sentence, it's because I gave up and threw the phone out the window.  Speaking of sentences, wasn't that last one a doozy?  Don't you just love the English language?

If I had patience and stamina, I'd write something about our day today at Windsor Castle and Stonehenge and the beautiful English countryside and charming villages but

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

what, no photos??

What a fool I was, not bringing my laptop!  I mean, I know lugging a laptop around through airports and city streets is a drag, but, if you happen to be one of those no-life people  who reads my blog posts every day, I'm sure you're thinking, "Why does this dude drone on through his lame British travelogue without posting any pictures?"

Hence, the issue!  I just have my iPad, and I can't for the life of me get my photos to transfer over to my posts on it.  And now you're thinking, "Oh, you pathetic dork!  All you have to do is push this button or that button..."  Well, I've tried all those buttons and they don't work!  So I'll post my photos -- today that being Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, London Eye, Tower of London, etc. -- when I get back to my trusty laptop!

Or maybe I blame Blogger.  I knew I should have used Wordpress!  😢

Tomorrow I regret that we are leaving London -- I sure hope I get back here someday before I'm dead -- and heading by car in the direction of Wales.  Tonight will be our London theater night -- THE BOOK OF MORMON -- which I've seen once before and loved, but Mary and Becky haven't seen. I hope they can handle it!!

Monday, February 22, 2016

history, old and new and yet-to-come

With so much old history and ancient structures in a city like London, I was thinking, as we visited today the crosswalk known to the world as the street the Beatles were crossing in that photo on the cover of their album, ABBEY ROAD: here we are celebrating new history..... But then I realized, Hey, ABBEY ROAD was recorded almost 50 years ago -- not so new at all.  If my legs weren't already reminding me of old age, that thought would have done it.

A big topic right now here in the UK is whether to leave the European Union.  There is a referendum on this issue scheduled for June.  Honestly, I don't know the issues, but the whole concept of European Union has seemed a bit of a fragile political/economic concept anyway.  I'll check it out.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

18,041 while surrounded by englishmen

 I walked 18,041 steps today, or so the "health"/fit-bit app on my iPhone says.  It's London.  There is a lot of ground to cover, and we've covered a bare fraction of it.  The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace.  Harrods Department Store.  Interesting streets.  People-watching. Lots more to see tomorrow and Tuesday, and, even though it's not my first time in London, none of it loses appeal.  It could be a great city to live in if a person could afford to do it right.  We don't get those choices.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

greetings from london

I'm not the travelogue sort of guy normally, but here we are in London and Mary and Becky have never been here, so we'll be doing some of the usual London tourist must-sees, so what the heck.

It was a night flight from Philly to London, so we arrived mid-morning to clouds and rain (Rain in England?  Big surprise!), all of us mostly exhausted having slept hardly at all.  We checked out our rental apartment (located in Chinatown, conveniently close to Leichester and Piccadilly), then cabbed over to Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum -- a Becky request because she wanted a photo of herself with the waxed Royal Family.

Well, the Madame Tussaud experience turned out to be more than I bargained for.  There was a two-hour wait in line just to get in, mobs of people (none older than myself) inside and out, and you know I don't do those scenes.  Then it was a couple hours (or so it seemed) of wandering through mazes of waxed famous people with hardly a place anywhere to sit and have a little rest.  What I'm saying is this:  I've finally caught up with my age.

Tomorrow Buckingham Palace and Big Ben and whatever else.  Pray for my survival!

Friday, February 19, 2016


Well, today's the day we head out of the country for a few days.  It feels like a good time to go.

First, though, we fly to Philadelphia, meeting up there with my sister Mary and niece Becky, where the four of us board our seven-hour flight to the wonderful city of London, England.

See you soon, mates!

London, here we come!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

'england swings like a pendulum do'

Sorry about posting a silly country song from 1965, but the tune popped in my mind as we pack for our flight to London tomorrow.

Jerry and I, along with my sister Mary and my niece Becky, are going to hang out in London for a few days, then swing through Wales, followed by a couple days in Dublin.  I've been in England once before, but this is my first time for Wales and Ireland.  For Mary and Becky, it's the first time in each.

Excited for the trip.  I'll blog throughout!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

what 2000 taught me

The 2000 Presidential election:  Al Gore vs. George W. Bush, with Green Party candidate Ralph Nader off to the side nipping at the ankles of Al Gore for not being left enough on certain issues, implying that there was no real difference between Gore and Bush.  Ridiculous, of course, but it was his way, I guess, of getting his issues into the national discourse.

There was a time, back in the '60s and '70s when I was a huge admirer of Nader, back when he had his book Unsafe At Any Speed, exposing the deceptions of the automobile industry and then later with his work on environmental issues.  But I'll never forgive him for being a spoiler in 2000.

The election turned out to be close.  Gore won the popular vote by half a million votes but lost in the electoral college, thanks to the conservative Supreme Court deciding that Bush had won Florida.  Bush went on to be a terrible President -- starting the Iraq War, wrecking the economy, etc.  Gore might not have been perfect -- and he certainly made some mistakes in his campaign -- but Nader without a doubt took away enough votes to give the election to Bush.  In my opinion, Nader has blood on his hands, and what good did he accomplish?

I guess my point is that pragmatism usually trumps pure idealism (Sorry to use the word "trump"!).  Our country needs a President elected to be President of the whole country and not just there to cater to his or her supporters.  A unifier, not a divider.  Both parties have immovable factions that are making divisions permanent and worsening.  There are problems to be solved, and cooperation is needed and seems out of reach, and I despair for what might be coming.

Examples of what I consider to be my pragmatic bottom line at the moment:  1)  Ted Cruz, even if in some horrific scenario he became President, there is no way he would be able to implement the oppressive theocracy that he wants.  Not in this diverse country.  2)  Bernie Sanders, even if he could find a way to win a general election, would never be able to replicate here the Scandinavian socialism that he preaches.  Not in this plutocracy.

Deal with the realities of what can be done and what can't be done in the here and now.  Don't waste your energy and your votes.

No politics tomorrow.  I promise.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

what 1968 taught me

Don't get nervous.  Not all of my posts are going to be political.  Give me this one and maybe one more, then I'll go on to another topic.  It's just that it won't be too many more months until I'm starting my eighth decade, and I have all this elderly-statesman wisdom to impart!

Picture it:  April 1968.  I get drafted into the Army at the height of the Vietnam War.  LBJ had just announced that he would not run for re-election so that he could theoretically concentrate on ending the war, a war that he had botched big time and that now most people (including me, of course) were against.  One of the main reasons I even let myself be drafted was because Bobby Kennedy was running for the Democratic nomination on a platform against the war and had an excellent chance of winning the general election in November, so the end of the war seemed to be in sight.

Early June 1968:  While I'm still struggling through Basic Training, Bobby Kennedy is assassinated in Los Angeles, throwing me and millions of other Americans into panic and grief.

June through November 1968:  Eugene McCarthy and, to a lesser extent, George McGovern step in to carry the anti-war banner and challenge the presumed mainstream candidate, Hubert Humphrey, an amazing public servant with experience second to none, who just happened to be in the awkward spot of being LBJ's Vice President at a time when Johnson's approval ratings were in the toilet.  The Party split, there were riots at the Democratic Convention, Humphrey was picketed by the McCarthy people throughout the campaign, and he lost to Richard Nixon by a small margin in November.

Hubert Humphrey, I have no doubt, would have made a great President.  Instead we got Nixon, ironically campaigning on a pledge to end the war, and he and his fellow criminal Henry Kissinger kept the Vietnam War going another six years or so, at the same time ruining Cambodia for at least a generation.

As much as I liked Gene McCarthy, did he and his we're-not-going-to-take-No-for-an-answer followers, by doing much harm to the Democratic nominee, help give the election to Nixon, thereby harming their own cause?  You tell me.

Monday, February 15, 2016

what 1964 taught me

I'm sort of amused (but not really) that Hillary Clinton is being attacked because she was a "Goldwater Girl" during the 1964 Presidential election between Senator Barry Goldwater and President Lyndon Johnson.  Her father was some sort of hotshot Republican, and at some time or other Hillary was photographed wearing a Goldwater campaign hat.  She was 17 at the time and didn't become a Democrat until several years later (This desperate attack comes from her opponent for the Democratic nomination, who ironically isn't a Democrat even now).

Why this is amusing for me is that I, at age 17 also, in my juvenile naivete, was an avid Goldwater fan, perhaps because he was plain-spoken and direct and perhaps because I didn't care for LBJ.  Goldwater was very right-wing (although not nearly as what the 2016 Republican Party has become) and split the moderate segment of the party.  His conservative purism led to a disastrous defeat in November.  Extremism in a two-party system rarely prevails.

By the time I was old enough to vote (age 21 back then), I had seen the light and had matured into a constantly-evolving Democrat, so I did no damage in the voting booth, at least.  I would say that "when I became a man, I put away childish things" (I Corinthians 13:11), but, to tell the truth, there are some childish things that I still like.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

does anybody blog anymore?

If I tell you that I am hereby reviving my blog, it's perfectly understandable if you say "How very 2009 of you!"  Blogging was a thing, then faded when along came Twitter, which is basically idiotic, and Facebook, where the only way to not piss off a friend is to just post photos of kids and dogs.

But I started this humble little blog in 2007, was fast and furious at it for a while, even posting 856 days straight from August 11, 2010, to January 2, 2013, and it has mostly suffered from benign neglect since then.

All it took was hearing a couple of people last week say that they missed my blog, and I look and see that the site has had more than 100,000 page views, some views still every single day, and I realize I need to get with it.  Besides that, there is a bunch of stuff I need to spout off about, and this is an outlet for some of that.  I realize that blogs can be pretty lame -- the whole reverse-chronology thing -- but, if you want to follow me, I'll try to be at least marginally entertaining, probably offensive at times.

I own the domain

and, if you go to that site in your browser, it will automatically forward you here to my blog,  It's just easier to remember.

Other reasons that I am getting back to blogging:
--  I need to rant about our embarrassing political system, religious extremism, and various other aggravations in our current world;
--  I have more spare time than I did in '13, '14 and '15;
--  I'm going to London next week and might want to post pictures;
--  Life is short -- every day is important -- and we need to celebrate even the small everyday pleasures;
--  Occasionally I might want to post pictures of kids and dogs!
--  I'm in the process of starting my book -- my "manifesto" -- and I need constant inspiration, and blogging helps me stay on track, even if nobody ever reads a single post.

But someone will.