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My Hippie Van

Yellow and gold were popular car colors in the 1970s. I had a gold Plymouth Duster for a few years but as my lifestyle became a bit more loose, and with the encouragement of a girlfriend, I decided to trade in that boring sedan for a van. A bright yellow Ford Econoline Van. 

In order to save money, I ordered a stripped down version with 3-speed column shift, no AC, no power steering, a 6-cylinder engine. No radio (even though I had begun my radio career at that point). The only options were captain’s chairs and that bright yellow color. The rest was a basic shell. 

My dream was to customize the interior as a combination “hippie van” and travel van. Plush carpet, strobe lights, sound system and a sofa bed. I envisioned a year-long road trip to see America. 

It never happened. 

A year later, I traded the van for a Toyota sedan - yellow - with radio, power steering AC ... and a radio. 

I’ve had sedans, station wagons and an SUV in the ensuing years, but that dream never really died. It’s stil…

He Knew How To Do It

Our country is based on the concept of seeking common ground among divergent ideas and ideals.  John McCain knew how to do that.

Senators Bob Dole and the late Ted Kennedy as well as the late Representative Tip O’Neill were also known for “reaching across the aisle.”  Former Representative John Boehner seemed to be able to do that too, when he was representing his constituents and not just being a puppet of the party leaders.

Both major political parties are filled with politicians whose “my way or the highway” attitude silences those who are willing to listen to other points of view.

This crap HAS TO STOP!

McCain did not have to cross his personal Republican ideals in order to get things done. If there was only one correct way to do everything, everyone would do it. There is nearly always more than one way to do something, including running a country.

Liberals have it right. And wrong. Conservatives have it right. And wrong. When Democrats and Republicans listen to each other and fin…

The Eagle and a Real Leader

During a speech before a Joint Session of Congress in May, 1961, President John Kennedy set out the ambitious goal of sending a man to the moon and back safely before the end of the decade.

On July 20, 1969, forty nine years ago this month, Astronaut Neil Armstrong spoke the words “the Eagle has landed” from inside his space capsule, indicating that he had successfully landed on the moon, just a few months short of Kennedy’s ambitious goal. All three astronauts returned safely and 12 more men walked in the moon during the next 3 1/2 years. Nobody has been there since December 1972.

It’s hard to believe that defining boomer moment happened that long ago. It’s also hard to believe that it was only 66 years from the first powered human flight at Kitty Hawk to the moon landing.

Recently our poor excuse for a president said something about the moon and Mars, but his attempt to inspire our return just won’t work.

The race to the moon helped unite our country during one of the most turbu…

It Ain’t No Rehearsal

This is our life. Every day, every hour, every minute. It is not practice for later, because there might not be a later.

A car runs a red light and hits you, a burglar stabs you, lightning strikes you. Or me. Life can end in an instant.

Most of us get 75 to 95 years to live our lives, so basically there is a 20-year window during which death can occur. If we shoot for 95 but only make it to 80, what did we put off till later?

Pardon me; I’m giving myself a pep talk in this post. I do believe, in my heart, that we should try to live for today. In my head, I keep waiting. I enjoy myself, but my ‘bucket list’ keeps growing, unattended.

Balance is my favorite word and concept and I believe we should strive to find a balance between living for today and planning for tomorrow. I tend to lean pretty far to the ‘plan for tomorrow’ side. Why? Not sure.

What about you? Today? Tomorrow? A balance between both?

This isn’t a rehearsal for life, it IS life. Time to lean more in the ‘today’ dir…

Famous Friendly and Committed

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One part of my radio job is interviewing people connected to non-profit organizations. Sometimes those people are famous.

I recently interviewed Tim Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics International. Boomers like me know the Shriver name, even if we don’t always remember the details.

Here are some details. Tim Shriver is the son of Sargent Shriver, a Vice Presidential candidate in 1972, and Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of John, Robert and Ted Kennedy. That means those Kennedy’s were his uncles. Maria Shriver is his sister. His mother Eunice founded Special Olympics fifty years ago this month.

Before I pressed ‘record’ that day, I did mention that I’ve followed his family for decades. I remember exactly where I was at lunch time on November 22,1963. I also told him I am impressed by his family’s dedication to public service.

People of wealth, fame and power could certainly live selfish, luxurious lives and care only for themselves. Our current president is a good example of th…

Health Aging Retirement and Other Random Observations

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A study connecting drinking coffee with longevity was released last week. I read about that as I sat down to drink my morning coffee. Odd personal fact: the last time I missed my morning coffee was in June of 1991. Really. I had switched to decaf for a few months after a hospital stay that year. The office ran out of decaf one day and I thought one cup of regular would be ok. My caffeine addiction returned immediately and I haven’t missed a day since.

As I began to write this while sipping coffee at my neighborhood Panera, a 65-year-old friend walked by. He retired two weeks ago and Panera and Starbucks are among his new daily rituals, replacing the stressful traffic-filled commute on the Capitol Beltway from his home in Maryland to his job in Virginia. He is a young, healthy 65. He liked parts of his job but doesn’t really miss the rest or the commute.

I saw this same friend last night at a neighborhood wine bar. There are many studies touting the health benefits of wine. I have a…

Staycations

Taking time off can be a powerful method to recharge, both physically and emotionally. Visiting a new place, revisiting a favorite destination or embarking on an adventure filled with settings and activities that are out of your normal patterns or comfort zones can be exhilarating.

The point of vacations is to disconnect from your daily work routines, with the goal of appreciating your job more, or at least taking a break. Which means NOT going anywhere during time off from work can have similar benefits.

The Independence Day holiday is on a Wednesday this year, so I decided to take Monday and Tuesday off, which means I am in a 5-day weekend. Where am I going? Nowhere. A "Staycation".

We Americans work too much. Some research indicates we only take a week off in addition to a few holidays on which our workplaces are closed, even if company policy allows for more. Workers in many countries get a whole month off. In some countries that vacation is mandatory.

I’ve worked a…