Monday, November 13, 2017

Why Can't EVERYBODY See This?


Boomers generally grew into adulthood as independent thinkers. Many of us rejected things our parents taught us about politics, religion and life. We were the rebels. Aging sent some of us back to those earlier beliefs we rejected or to a blend of the best parts of what we were taught and what we grew to believe on our own.

One cohesive belief, in my opinion and observation, is that we are free. Freedom is an overriding part of what makes the USA great.

We are free to believe what we want, we are free to vote for candidates of our choice, we are free to debate issues and we are free to agree to disagree. We are supposed to be free to express our beliefs without retribution. Our press is supposed to be free to question and investigate the sincerity or accuracy of statements made by our elected officials.

Even though I would not have voted for trump last year, even if he was the only candidate on the ballot, I understand why many people did vote for him. He was fearless in expressing his opinions, often giving loud voice to fears and beliefs many voters were reluctant to speak out loud themselves.

He threw a bright spotlight on racism and made it ok for people to bring their closeted racist attitudes out of the closet. He played on fears many citizens had/have that all people of specific countries or religions are out to get us. The incredibly poor choice of an opponent with a lot of baggage made it an easy choice for many voters to choose the loudmouth candidate, without truly exploring the issues or questioning the qualifications or integrity of each candidate.

His bold, impossible promises of a wall, of ‘draining the swamp’ of career Congress people, of rebuilding crumbling infrastructure and of rejecting ‘those who are out to get us’ were so much simpler to grasp than Clinton’s wonky, Ivy League pronouncements.

Now, ten months into what in my opinion is the worse administration in our history, we are living in the shadow of a president who is more dangerous and un-American than my wildest imagination conjured up.

Words that come to mind: liar, childish, coward, stupid, sexual predator, narcissistic, lacking compassion. He has no heart, no soul, no grasp on what it’s like to be a ‘normal citizen’. He seems to have no idea how he proves my assertions every day. He wants to censor those who disagree with him. He labels facts as fake when he doesn’t like the facts. He claims regularly that “nobody is more (______) than me”. He’s the best, the smartest, the most caring ... all proven lies!

Why can’t everybody see this?  How can those well-meaning, Clinton-hating supporters who voted for him see that he is NOT the guy they thought he was?

One hundred Senators and 435 Representatives have the power to replace him and stop this insanity. Pelosi and other whiney Democrats won’t be able to do it alone. Republicans need to stop being cowards; they must speak out like the three bold Republicans who have taken a stand: McCain, Flake and Corker.

I ask again: why can’t everybody see this?

The three Presidents in my lifetime who I liked the least were Bush 43, Bush 41 and Reagan; NOT because they were Republican. I just didn’t like many of their policies. BUT I never questioned their patriotism, compassion, integrity or fitness for Office.  Trump has no integrity, no compassion, no patriotism and is unfit for Office.

Same question again: why can’t everybody see this?  More importantly: when will somebody do something about it? Legally. It’s time to put our founders’  ‘checks and balances’ concept to the biggest test in our history.

In the 1990s, some in Congress  wanted to impeach a President who lied about an affair, but they give a pass to a president who lies about everything. WTF?!

Why can’t everybody see this?

Friday, November 10, 2017

Third Chapter


A boomer buzzword I’ve heard lately is ‘third chapter’. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, it’s two words.  The term ‘third chapter’ refers to a portion of a senior’s life. First chapter, growing up, second chapter, career and raising a family, third chapter, retirement and/or Post-career career.

In my case, that first chapter lasted longer than it should have. My adolescent immaturity stretched into my 20s in many ways. Chapter Two was mostly about career, but I never did raise a family.

So now, like many boomers, I’m contemplating Chapter Three. We’re often told this is the time and opportunity to finally do what we’ve always wanted to do. In my case, I’ve been doing most of what I always wanted to do for the past 43 years.

What do I do now?

I realize I ask this question a lot in this blog. Sometimes my answer is to continue doing what I do, but maybe cut back the quantity. Lately, however, I’ve been thinking that maybe there are a few things I’ve always wanted to do that I haven’t done yet.

My bucket list includes two items I might actually be able to make a small amount of post-retirement money with ... writing and photography.

Both of those fields require some level of skill, which I think maybe I have. Both are hard to break into and to be successful in and they offer little financial security. That should not stop my pursuit, should it?  My 43-year career in radio was hard to break into and offered questionable financial security, but I eventually thrived in it.

The lesson here is to pursue whatever you want to pursue, regardless of the obstacles. Desire and determination help break barriers.

I have been engaged in writing and photography my whole life. My radio jobs included both, at various times, and I’ve occasionally made a few freelance dollars doing each.


What have I got to lose, right?

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Knee

Ears, eyes, noses, throats, legs and arms are probably pretty jealous lately. Why?  Because knees are getting all the attention.

Football players taking a knee during the National Anthem started as a statement by one player, with the intention of drawing attention to social injustices in our great country. Other players have since joined in on this practice and a national conversation about race, the 1st Amendment, patriotism, policy and law is the result.

Sadly, the conversation is often more of a shouting match and the loudest voices are at each extreme ends of the debate over the appropriateness of taking a knee, rather than the original issue.

As each side digs their heels in (more body parts), the conversation has become more about perceived patriotism, or perceived lack of patriotism, than about the social injustices that led to this behavior. The loudest voices ignore the underlying issue and forget that kneeling is in its own way a sign of respect. Those players are not turning their back on the flag or setting it on fire. They're not waving a middle finger. They are exercising their right to point out problems in our great, but imperfect nation.

If our president (lower case p is my version of taking a knee) wants everyone in the country to think alike, speak alike, vote alike, then he is forgetting the entire foundation of our country and urging us to become a totalitarian state.

By the way, he proved again that he is a lying, fake leader by laughing and joking during a military flag ceremony he attended recently.  That action is far more disrespectful than taking a knee at a football game. His mouth again proves he is unfit to be president of the greatest country on the planet.

My suggestion for use of a body part: use your fingers to write, email or call members of Congress to demand they take action to remove this incompetent and dangerous person from office before it's too late.

His reckless lies and narcissistic attitude could very well be a plan to bring all of us to our knees to bow down and worship him. You can't get more un-American than that.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Click Click Click


A late-morning Wednesday in October.

News
Wendy Williams talks to Joan Rivers’ daughter
Vaping made simple


I was home alone, sick, sitting on my living room sofa. Channel surfing.

Darius Rucker performing on The View
The Price Is Right.
Harry Connick trying to make us believe he can host his own show
.

I was so bored. Too feverish and weak to work from home or to exercise. Not up to writing anything more significant than these few observations.

Whiney ultra-right, arrogant talking heads on Fox.
Whiney ultra-left, arrogant talking heads on MSNBC
.

I am rarely sick, so I’m way out of my usual behavioral comfort zone when I’m so sick that I stay home. In my 40s, even 50s, I would have gone to the office, armed with DayQuil and determination, totally ignoring how that attitude is bad for my health and not thinking that I might be contagious. Now I sit here all concerned. And bored.

Days Of Our Lives
Hair growth miracle.
Ellen.


Well, that was my whole Wednesday, except for the inconclusive doctor appointment. Thursday was pretty boring too. Friday I felt great, visited the doc again, left with orders for more tests, did some work from home, took naps and did more boring channel surfing. The fever returned Saturday, so I did almost nothing again. Boring.

College football
College football
Hair restoration


Them came Sunday, the fever was gone and I was hopefully optimistic that this roller coaster health ride was almost over.

The test results finally indicated, two days later, that I had pneumonia. Doctor O prescribed antibiotics and some rest.

Yesterday, two weeks later, after cancelling some great plans with friends twice, missing a week of work, working from home most of another week, then missing an annual black tie event I look forward to, I felt pretty good. And I channel surfed again, looking for a New Orleans Saints game.

Click click click.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A Scam Or Not A Scam


I must have "nice guy" tattooed on my forehead. Or sucker. People, total strangers, seem to single me out when they need something.

I was in the middle of a group of several people exiting the grocery store recently when a young woman sheepishly approached me with sad eyes and a story. She said her car wouldn't start, she had called police and others and needed twenty seven dollars; even one dollar would help, anything. She appeared to be in her thirties and dressed in typical casual attire for the neighborhood and the season. She said she could show me her driver's license, credit cards, etc., I assume to prove she wasn't just scamming me. I told her I thought there was an ATM in the store and she spoke a partial sentence indicating that wouldn't work.

I told her I was sorry but I only used cards, didn't have cash and couldn't help her; all lies, by the way. There are a few reasons why I didn't want to give her twenty seven dollars ... I was skeptical about her story, I've been scammed in similar fashion in the past and refused to let it happen again, didn't understand the exactness of her $27 request.

In the thirty seconds of our conversation, I considered asking her to show me her license, as she had offered, explain what exactly was wrong with her car, tell me what the police have to do with her situation, show me her car, explain why she needed exactly twenty seven dollars.

Later I wish I had asked her why she singled me out of the four or five people who exited the store at the same time. I was in the middle of that pack. Was it because I was the only guy? Because I appeared to be the oldest? Because I walk with a cane so maybe I'm more likely to help?  Do I have "nice guy" written on my forehead?

What would you have done?

Was this a scam or did she truly need $27?  If you were in need of a few dollars, would you ask a stranger outside your local grocery store?

I feel bad that I am so skeptical in these situations but I also believe I'm a target for scams. I wonder what I'd do if I needed money to get out of a jam.


Saturday, October 21, 2017

Jealous


Boomers get credit for many wonderful things ... DNA fingerprinting, the artificial heart,  Bob Dylan, the Internet, Viagra.

But boomers, as a group, aren't prepared for retirement. It seems that our parents saved and saved and saved; we spend, spend, spend.

Some of us got it right, however, and I'm jealous of them. Many of my bar friends are retired. They travel to exciting places like Italy, Ireland, Thailand, New Jersey. They live in houses that are paid for or close to being paid for.

Some of them worked their asses off to reach this delicious point in their lives and now reap the rewards. Some of them were blessed to have the resources to live these adventures while working.

I'm doing my best to not be jealous of their good fortune or good planning. Sometimes I have to force myself to remember that I've had a great life up to this point. I played and spent more than saved, so now I still have to work. Retirement won't be at all what I had hoped.

The point is this: we shouldn't be jealous of what other people have or do or can do. We should just work at being what we want to be.

Right?

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Count To Twenty


Try this experiment (you'll need a partner in another room, house or city).

First, pick a starting time, then wait twenty minutes. Now phone your partner and after she says hello, wait twenty minutes, then respond.

Your partner should then wait for twenty minutes after your response, then wait another twenty minutes to begin a conversation.  Each response in the conversation should be separated by twenty minutes for the send and a pretend twenty minutes for the receive.

That is how a conversation between a person on Earth and a person on Mars would play out. The signal takes twenty minutes in each direction.

The effect of a twenty-minute delay in communication was one of many factors being studied during an 8-month isolation experiment that ended a couple of months ago. Six NASA volunteers lived in a 1200-square-foot structure near a volcano in Hawaii. Picture 6 people living together inside a two bedroom, one bath apartment for eight months, with no option to go outside without wearing a space suit, no open windows, no fresh food from a local farmer's market or grocery store (only freeze-dried food). And a twenty-minute delay in every communication from outside.

To be fair and more accurate, the delay could be less than twenty minutes. The range is between four minutes and twenty-two minutes. I don't know what factors determine the exact amount of time. Try my experiment using four minutes each way. It's still an issue. This particular experiment used twenty minutes for their timeline.

The experiment was designed to simulate a trip to Mars; it takes at least eight months just to get there. The volunteers wore sensors to study moods, played games to measure compatibility, stress and personal space issues and used virtual reality devices to 'escape' their surroundings if needed.

Could you do it?

Pack up some freeze-dried food, lock your doors and start counting.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Wet Perspective


If you want just a hint of what people in storm-ravaged Puerto Rico are going through, shut off the water in your house for a weekend. Our water heater sprung a big leak on a recent Saturday morning. Fortunately the maintenance super was already on the property fixing another problem (on his day off). He couldn't replace the water heater till Monday and had to shut off water to the entire apartment because the water heater shut off valve was also broken.

Picture routine water-related activities you take for granted: flushing toilets, brushing teeth, making coffee, rinsing dishes after breakfast, taking meds, cooking almost anything. I lost count of how many times I instinctively turned on a faucet, sometimes after already pumping soft soap into my hands.

Fortunately we could turn the water back on a few times for a few minutes to flush toilets and fill containers and we could use a guest apartment to take showers.

Our 'ordeal' only lasted two days. Most residents of Puerto Rico still don't have running water weeks after hurricane Irma.  Many people there are without electricity and cell service too. We watched tv in air-conditioned comfort while texting friends.

That weekend provided some first-hand perspective on how fortunate we are.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Knee


Ears, eyes, noses, throats, legs and arms are probably pretty jealous lately. Why?  Because knees are getting all the attention.

Football players taking a knee during the National Anthem started as a statement by one player, with the intention of drawing attention to social injustices in our great country. Other players have since joined in on this practice and a national conversation about race, the 1st Amendment, patriotism, policy and law is the result.

Sadly, the conversation is often more of a shouting match and the loudest voices are at each extreme end of the debate over the appropriateness of taking a knee rather than the original issue.

As each side digs their heels in (more body parts), the conversation has become more about perceived patriotism, or perceived lack of patriotism, than about the social injustices that led to this behavior. The loudest voices ignore the underlying issue and forget that kneeling is in its own way a sign of respect. Those players are not turning their back on the flag or setting it on fire. They're not waving a middle finger. They are exercising their right to point out problems in our great, but imperfect nation.

If our president (lower case p is my version of taking a knee) wants everyone in the country to think alike, speak alike, vote alike, then he is forgetting the entire foundation of our country and urging us to become a totalitarian state.

By the way, he proved again that he is a lying, fake leader by laughing and joking during a military flag ceremony he attended last week.  That action is far more disrespectful than taking a knee at a football game. His mouth again proves he is unfit to be president of the greatest country on the planet.

My suggestion for use of a body part: use your fingers to write, email or call members of Congress to demand they take action to remove this incompetent and dangerous person from office before it's too late.

His reckless lies and narcissistic attitude could very well be a plan to bring all of us to our knees to bow down and worship him. You can't get more un-American than that.

Monday, October 2, 2017

No Words

It’s hard to mentally process the mass shooting in Las Vegas last night.  Fifty-eight people are dead, at the time I’m writing this, and more than 500 are injured.  The shooter is a 64-year-old retired accountant from Orlando who lives in a retirement community near Vegas.  He killed himself as police were breaking into the hotel room where he was doing the shooting.

The casualties were among the 20,000-plus fans at the third day of a country music festival.  Jason Aldean was singing the third line of one of his hits when he dropped his guitar and ran off the stage.  He probably couldn’t hear the shots, but he saw the crowd reacting and I’m guessing a sound tech was able to warn him in his ear monitors.

The videos and news reports I’ve seen so far show the obvious panic.  Nobody knew where to run.  The tendency is to head toward the entrance where you came in, but it turns out that was the spot most in the sights of the shooter.  Artists who were still there when Aldean was performing reported hearing bullet hitting stage trusses and sound and light towers.

This kind of inexcusable, unforgettable tragedy hits each of us differently.  One of the most chilling parts for me is that I know that venue and hotel.  My company’s two-night iHeart Radio Music Festival has an afternoon component staged in that same spot.  I’ve stood on that spot three times in past years. This year’s event was only eight days ago and I know dozens of people who were there. 

The shots were fired from a room in the Mandalay Bay Hotel.  I stayed in that hotel a few years ago.

I’ve also met many of the singers who played this weekend, including Jason Aldean.

Enough about me!  Can you imagine the horror that was felt by those at the festival?  Realizing what sounded at first like fireworks was actually automatic rifle rounds.  People were looking in all directions for where the gunshots were coming from, but few looked UP.

I’ll never understand what can lead someone to plan - and this was definitely premeditated – to check into a room at a fancy hotel, bring in high-powered firearms and ammunition and a hammer-like tool to break the shatter-proof hotel windows that aren’t made to open … and shoot at thousands of people having a good time at a music event.

No words.

I have words to describe the scene and words to narrate the horror but no words to explain why someone would do this.

It is certainly terror in its most basic form, actions that scare people.  I’m planning to attend an outdoor concert in my area in just a few days.  There are no high-rise building near the venue and there has been security there for a long time, upgraded after mass casualty shootings in recent years. But there is still some underlying fear in my heart.

When disgruntled or power-hungry terrorist groups stage mass casualty scenarios, they usually have a stated reason and their members often fit known profiles of various types.  But a 64-year-old retired accountant with a penchant for playing high-dollar games in Vegas??? 


He’s dead, so we may never know his motive, but fear, anger, agitation, sorrow and depression are among the results of his actions last night.