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Showing posts from 2010

Sorting Photographs

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I have just begun to sort and edit the 450 photographs I shot during my recent road trip.  I don't even know where to begin, so I picked a few at random.  Visit my photo blog to see some of them.  More will be added over the next few days.

Here is one.  This face is in a tree and one of several on this particular property.  Pretty cool.

My Keyword

For the past two years, I have adopted an annual goal-setting tradition used by my friend and colleague Mary. She begins each year with one word that sets the tone for the coming twelve months.

Last year my word was ‘play.’ Items I attached to play were things I wanted to do just for me that have nothing to do with work or chores; just activities that I think are fun like going to concerts, listening to blues bands in bars, photography, happy hours with young friends and visits to museums. I did a pretty good job of living up to the keyword.

This year, my word was ‘simplify.’ There was/is plenty going on in my life, personally and professionally. I wanted to make my life simpler. That has been more problematic but I did make at least some progress toward simplification.

Where I differ from Mary’s tradition is that I continue each keyword into the next year and beyond. So I am still playing more and continue to work on simplifying my life.

So what is my keyword for 2011? I’ve been thin…

A Nice Wake up

I tried to watch the Saints game last night but just couldn't stay awake.  They were leading when I turned the TV off at halftime, but Atlanta was playing better.  Fortunately, the Saints didn't give up and I woke up this morning to learn they won the game ... and a wild card playoff spot.  MAYBE they'll go to the Super Bowl again and maybe they'll win it again.  Geaux Saints.

Picturing It

Every time I visit New Orleans, I allow myself a few minutes to picture living here again.

I try to visualize what my life would be like in this funky town I left more than thirty years ago to chase my career dreams. I think about where I’d live, who I would spend time with, where I would socialize and how I would make a living.

My social life would probably be active because people are born gregarious here. It is hard to be a hermit in New Orleans. I am regularly in touch with two of my oldest friends, occasionally in touch with two more and family contacts come and go but are always easy to re-establish so I would probably never be lonely. Would I make new, younger friends? Probably. I hang out with younger people now anyway because too many people my age think of themselves as old. I don’t, although I have ridiculous issues dealing with my age; I’ll save that for another post. One of my best friends doesn’t even know my exact age and until I get past that obstacle (maybe next year…

Buuuurrrppp!

Random Road Trips Notes:

- Six days in New Orleans. I'm afraid to get on the scale. I ate every local food item on my 'must eat' list.

- Saw every friend and family member I planned to see on this trip. It is an awesome feeling to be connected to so many wonderful people.

- Anyone who knows me for more than a few hours knows I am a story-teller and I love to talk, probably to a fault. Spend time with my relatives on all sides of the family and you'll see where I learned this behavior. Except they are louder than I am.

- I heard more family stories I had not heard before, including a few from my sister about our parents. Some of the tales are sad, some funny.

- Now comes the hard part: driving home. Wish I had taken two more days. There are two stops I want to make that I won't have time for.

Merry Christmas

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December is a great time for celebrating. Whether it's Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice or even Festivus, families and friends gather to celebrate. It is a season to share time, joy, food, conversation and more. I am especially lucky this year; by the time my road trip is complete, I will have spent time with nearly all of my favorite people.

Hope your December 25th is great!

- Bernie

Water

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To understand New Orleans, its people and, well, me, you have to understand water.


Locals might not realize or admit this, but New Orleans and the immediate suburbs are completely surrounded by water. The entire northern boundary is Lake Pontchartrain, which I believe is the largest lake in the U.S. other than the Great Lakes. Most of the southern boundary of the city is the Mississippi River. There are some smaller lakes to the east and the Bonnet Carre Spillway, which connects the River to the Lake for flood control purposes, is to the west. There is no way to drive into New Orleans without crossing some body of water.

Water has both literal and metaphorical affects on people who grow up here.

Some literal examples …

Even before the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleaneans dealt with flooding. Smaller hurricanes, days-long rain storms and spring flooding on the Mississippi all could lead to some amount of water in the streets. Usually it drained off within hours or a couple…

New Orleans Culture Randomness

This town and surrounding area are unlike any other. The people, the mindset and the multifaceted mix of influences combine to make a cultural gumbo that is hard to define or explain.

- Various races have always coexisted here but to this day New Orleans is a largely segregated city.

- Outsiders think Cajun is the dominant influence, but Louisiana has lived under at least five national flags through its history: French, Spanish, British, Confederate States and United States. Cajun French is in the mix, as is Creole, Caribbean, Italian and Native American.

- Many names are not pronounced as you think they would be. Some examples of street names: Esplanade is pronounced ess-plah-NAYD. Burgundy is burh-GUN-dee. Calliope is cal-ee-OHP. The emphasis is on the ‘wrong’ syllable.

- Many Cajun French inspired names end in X but the X isn’t pronounced. Boudreaux is pronounced BOO-droh. Comeaux is COH-moh. The local cheer for the famous NFL team is spelled Geaux Saints!

- The accent here is not…

Road Trip Meals

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I am almost breaking my promise to myself to keep my eating under control this holiday season. It is a major challenge to not over-eat in New Orleans. So far, I've had two big meals with my two oldest friends, a big meal with my sister and her new guy, another meal is coming tonight with my sister and her best friend. Two feasts are planned for Christmas Day. I'm doing some solo sightseeing in the tourist areas tomorrow. Yum. Burp!

A side note, this is my best friend from high school. During my meal with him and his wife, we talked about their success with a well-known weight loss program. I should have taken notes.

Holiday Lights

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A slightly blurry picture of one of the displays at Celebration in the Oaks, an annual holiday light event at CIty Park in New Orleans. This used to be a drive-through, but they scaled it down to a walk-through after Hurricane Katrina.

This is the Cajun Night Before Christmas exhibit. Note that Santa's sleigh is powered by alligators.

Mixed Emotions

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Visiting my hometown New Orleans is usually a challenging experience for me. I grew up here, left it half a lifetime ago, but still have family here. In fact nearly every family member who grew up here still lives here. People don’t leave this area.

I usually stay at my sister’s house, our family home. Her guest room was my room in my youth. The house is small and it is hard to believe that four of us lived here. She lives alone and this house is perfectly suited for one person.

Despite Hurricane Katrina’s devastation five years ago, most of the visual cues of my childhood remain. St. Dominic Church and school have been rehabbed and remain a cultural and spiritual center of the Lakeview neighborhood. The Harrison Avenue ‘neutral ground’(local term for median) still has parking spaces in it, something I’ve not seen anywhere else.

I took in the view while sipping Starbucks outdoors this morning. Yes, outdoors on December 22nd, not wearing a coat. Seventy-degree temperatures in winter ar…

Deep South Randomness

My holiday road trip has now taken me through Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.  I grew up in these parts so nothing should surprise me, but sometimes it still does.

- Gasoline is 15 to 20 cents per gallon cheaper in the south than in Maryland, where I live.

- I stopped for gas in Tuscalousa.  Good thing I was not wearing my LSU cap.

- Clerks at some gas station marts in the south are as rude and clueless as they are further north, they just do it with fewer words and at a slower pace.

-  I hate Hattiesburg, Mississippi.  I swore I would not stop there, yet I needed gasoline, a restroom and lunch and that was where I was when I needed those things.

-  I have nothing against the deep south.  It will always be part of me.  I'm just not in sync with it any more ... except for New Orleans.  I'll always be in sync with that beautiful, goofy place.  More about that later.

Winter Is Here

Saw this interesting quote on a co-worker's Facebook page. An interesting thought for the first day of winter.


"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer."
-Albert Camus

Holiday Road Trip Randomness 2

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More random observations from the road:

- The further south I go the warmer it gets.

- One objective of my road trip is to break some patterns and I have.

- I turned off the radio/CD player in my car for the first hour driving out of Asheville. No music, no voices. Just the sound of tires on pavement and the sights of beautiful scenery in Pisgah National Forest and the edge of the Smokey Mountains.


- Good news/bad news about my road trip dietary habits: The good news: I have not purchased any food at a fast food restaurant and I did not over-eat snacks while driving. Bad news: I drank more alcohol than usual during the first three days of my trip and I just had a tasty-but-high-calorie Mexican meal. Yum. Buurrrp!

- DC is not the only city with asshole drivers. In fact it appears that every city with a population of 250,000 or more has them.

- The first twenty minutes in Alabama were awesome because there were few cars and no trucks.

- The further I get from home the more ME I become. …

Holiday Road Trip Randomness 1

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I’m on the road for my first winter road trip since 2003. That trip ultimately involved unrealistic 10-hour driving days with hyper active dogs, packing a trailer with Dad’s old tools, some furniture and other things, and a final day of travel just hours ahead of a record-setting blizzard.

This trip is off to a great start and I’ve already had the longest single-day drive of eight hours. And no blizzard in sight.

- First stop was Asheville, NC. I love this town and this is the first time I’ve seen it in winter. Beautiful.

- Spent time eating, drinking and talking with one of my best friends.

- Had an early Christmas feast with said friend and several people in her family circle I’ve never met. I enjoy meeting new people, especially artsy and literary folks (Asheville has many residents like that).

- The setting for that feast was in the mountains northeast of Asheville. (I'll post better pictures than this later)



- Still ahead, New Orleans.

- That agenda includes a day with anothe…

Counting the Days

My first long Christmas road trip in decades is coming soon.  I did go the NC beaches for Christmas five years ago, but that's 'only' five hours away.  The first day of is year's trip is longer than that. 

I am so ready for this one.  Friends, family, very little access to email, minimal scheduling, hanging out with people I don't see much, meeting some new people, listening to plenty of music.

Changing the routine is good for the soul, the mind and the heart.

Holiday Randomness

A few assorted personal observations about the holiday season this year:

I’m only buying presents for 3 or 4 people this year. Something must be wrong with me.I have gone to absolutely no holiday parties so far. I skipped my company’s ‘during the business day’ party this week because I have too much to do before leaving for my Christmas vacay. I am actually going to a small party during my road trip, one in which I know exactly one person. I do like my co-workers but this party of strangers will probably be more interesting than my office party would have been.Family socializing is on my agenda this holiday season for the first time in years. Looking forward to it.Still waiting for the usual holiday depression to kick in. So far it hasn’t. I’m happy about that. Maybe this is the year for ‘depression lite,’ where I’ll shed a tear or two while watching “It’s A Wonderful Life” but will be smiling the rest of the time.I do like several Christmas songs but so far I haven’t allowed myself to…

Gray

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This morning is dark, cold, gray and misty. That is my usual mood at this time of year but this year is different. I have plenty to be dark and misty about but those things are not bothering me much. I decided at the beginning of the 'depression season' that I would keep those feeling to a minimum and that strategy is paying off.



But a dark, cold, gray and misty photograph still appeals to me and I decided to share. There are a few more on my two photo blogs (Middletown Daily and Photo Bernie). Enjoy.

Who Needs Money and Time When You Can Have Tires and Brakes?

I hate car repairs and auto service centers.

A little background: my dad repaired cars in his ‘spare time’ and although it was a hobby, he was good enough to be a pro. I learned from him and used to do much of my own routine maintenance and helped him do more involved repairs on my cars. That was all long before automotive computerization and my subscriptions to Consumer Reports. Now I have to trust auto centers and/or local mechanics. The two repair shops I do trust have inconvenient locations and aren’t open on weekends, my only ‘spare time’.

My car needs tires and a brake job before I begin my holiday road trip and today, a Saturday, my only free day before the trip, I am at the mercy of a well-known tire and auto repair store with a convenient location and Saturday hours.

Here is one part I hate: I did my research, chose my tire brand and model, hunted online for a dealer, found one and … they don’t have the tires I wanted and can’t get them till Friday, the price was higher than …

A Little Holiday Madness

Imagine

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As I stumble across various news stories flashing back to tonight 30 years ago, the night John Lennon was shot and killed by a psycho fan in front of his apartment in New York, I try to imagine what he would be doing if he had lived.

In December, 1980 he had new music out for the first time in five years, he was uncharacteristically upbeat in interviews and photographs that week and seemed to be looking optimistically to a happy future. The first single from his new album was “Just Like Starting Over,” certainly an indication of personal rebirth.

He had turned 40 just two months before that fateful night so he would be 70 years old now. Maybe he would still be recording and touring, like the two surviving Beatles Paul and Ringo. Perhaps he would have done more collaborations with other artists, as he did with Ringo, Elton John and David Bowie in the post-Beatles 1970s. His song themes might still have been about love and peace, especially after the terrorist attacks of September 11…

Edwards Update

I wrote the previous post this morning. At the time the latest story I heard said Elizabeth Edwards had a week or two to live. Sadly, she died today. The reason you might know who she is is that her then husband John Edwards was running for President in the Democratic party primaries. Her cancer was talked about then and they split up some time after he dropped out of the running, partly because news stories about an affair he had turned out to be true.

Elizabeth Edwards was more than just a politician's wife and I plan to read up on her life. I'll try to write about this again soon.

Powerful Belief

I did not actually hear these words spoken, but they have impact when read and I wanted to share. This is from someone who has just been told she has only weeks to live, someone you probably know from seeing her on the news over the past few years.

"The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And, yes, there are certainly times when we aren't able to muster as much strength & patience as we would like. It's called being human. But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope & in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful & precious. And for that I am grateful.”

-Elizabeth Edwards

Ho Ho Ho

Half of me is in the holiday spirit and half is not. I do not plan to decorate this year but I do plan to visit family and friends on my holiday road trip. I might even wear silly holiday clothes.

One of my radio stations is playing Christmas music 24/7. I listen to it for about one or two songs a day; that's enough for me for right now.

I had nothing else to say tonight, so I decided to post a Christmas song. I was tempted to go the scarcastic, humorous route (Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer) but chose this instead. As sappy as this is, it happens to be my favorite holiday song. There are a couple of other versions I like better, but this is probably the most famous.

Another Cool Quote

"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm."

– Sir Winston Churchill

All Night

It’s 4:00 AM. Yes, 4 o’clock happens early in the morning too. In fact, in countries using the 24-hour clock system, 4:00 is only in the morning; the other 4 is called 16:00.

Three different times during my media career I was an all night radio DJ. The first time, my all night show played Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd songs for drunks and insomniacs in New Orleans. Years later I had an international network show that played Madonna and Bobby Brown songs in sixteen different time zones, but the biggest concentration of listeners was in central Europe, where my show ended at 4:00 AM. Many of those listeners were also drunks or insomniacs.

My next overnight DJ job involved playing Garth Brooks songs in Washington DC. Some of those up-all-nighters were drunks and insomniacs too, but many listeners were on the job. I learned a few things about the culture of overnight workers and developed a great respect for them. A small sampling of people working at 4 in the morning in the DC area…

Totally Random 4.6

- There’s an old Billy Joel song that includes the line “bottle of red, bottle of white.” Not sure why I just thought of that.

- I had an eye exam today. That doctor was probably the most beautiful doctor I’ve ever met. I could tell that about her with and without my current glasses.

- I’ve taken a few days off from work. They are vacation days I have coming to me anyway, but if I didn’t have them, I probably would have just called in sick. Sometimes the best stress relief is to just change the daily routine for a few days.

- Nicolas Cage is an amazing and versatile actor. His movie “Gone In 60 Seconds” is on some channel right now. He can go from sensitive wimp to cold-blooded murderer in half a second and convince you he is both. I wonder what his non-actor personality is like.

- Within the next three weeks I am going to see my sister, two of my best friends and several of my favorite cousins, all either on or near Christmas. This has not been one of my happiest years, but it w…

Life and Love Randomness

A friend sent me a page full of quotes about various aspects of life and love, two of my favorite topics. Here are two quotes that stuck out above the rest.

- Giving someone all your love is never an assurance that they'll love you back! Don't expect love in return; just wait for it to grow in their heart but if it doesn't, be content it grew in yours. It takes only a minute to get a crush on someone, an hour to like someone, and a day to love someone, but it takes a lifetime to forget someone.

- The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.


I'd tell you the original source of the quotes if I knew it, but I don't.

Sharing Blues

I love blues music! One of my favorite blues songs is "Stormy Monday" and until I saw this on a co-worker's Facebook page today, I did not know that Eric Clapton has done it too. Maybe every blues performer has played or recorded it.

Here is his version. He is an awesome blues man!

Don’t Call Me Shirley

Actor Leslie Nielson died yesterday at age 84. During his 54-year acting career he played in more than 100 films and over 1500 television programs. He is best known for his deadpan comedy roles in movies like Airplane and Naked Gun, but he played mostly serious characters in the early years.

Airplane was a 1980 spoof on disaster movies but did you know he was the ship captain in The Poseidon Adventure, one of the more popular disaster movies of the 1970s?

There were many punch lines in Airplane. This is my favorite:

Totally Random 4.5

When do you think “ginormous’ will make it into the dictionary? Maybe it already has.

Every man should learn how to do this: Prepare slowly, taking time to handle all the parts just right. When everything is ready, then it’s time to turn on the heat for several minutes, blending all the ingredients. With a mix of skill and good luck everything finishes at the same time. Then relax for awhile and savor the results. Much satisfaction is to be had cooking omelets.

My three favorite TV shows from the 1980s and 90s are Hill Street Blues, Homicide: Life on the Streets and NYPD Blue. Where are they now? Even constant rerun channels like A&E and USA Network don’t have them.

My cable channels include England’s BBC News, which I thought I was watching one recent morning because the lead story was about the Royal Engagement. But it was a local TV station and that story was on before the one about the arrest of a local county Executive and his wife on corruption charges. I don’t get it…

Random Subway Riders

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Who are those people you see on the subway? Do their clothes and mannerisms reveal their true identity or is it more fun to guess?

I scribbled my guesses during a twenty-minute ride between Rockville and Chevy Chase two months ago and just found the notes in a pile of papers on my home desk. Here are my observations of three riders that got my attention that evening.

Self-conscious Girl.
What I saw: Quiet, shy, mid-20s, dark hair, average height, basic blue suit with an off-the-rack fit. She spent most of her time on Metro looking around but mostly avoided eye contact with anyone. She read the ad banners inside the car and the LED display of station names.

What I think: She is an administrative assistant in one of those drab, government office buildings in Rockville, Maryland and lives in Bethesda with two or three roommates because the rent is too high there to go solo on her salary. She is shy around guys but has had a boyfriend or two, but none now. Wants more in life but do…

Dancing With Alaska

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I do not like most reality TV shows because they generally are not very real. I also do not like most competition-based TV shows like “Survivor” and “Biggest Loser” because so many of them lace the competition with fake drama.

But this post is not exactly about TV shows.

I do not like Sarah Palin. She is dumb and annoying and I believe many of her public statements are as much about getting attention as they are about trying to make our country better.

But this post is not exactly about her either.

The 2-hour “Dancing with the Stars” finale was on TV Tuesday night and much to my surprise I watched the entire show. Bristol Palin, Sarah’s daughter, came in 3rd. That’s what this post is about.

More precisely, these observations are about what appears to be a real coming-of-age experience of a young girl who happens to be famous. Most “stars’ during the 11 seasons of that show are or were famous in some way before competing. Some are actors and singers who are past their prime, such as M…

Beauty and the Bleak

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A cold, rainy Thanksgiving morning can be depressing. But it can also be beautiful in it's own unique way. I picked up my camera a little while ago and shot some photos around my house. Here is one of them, a wind chime making the only sound I heard outside:



CLICK HERE to see the rest of this series of photos.

Thanksgiving Randomness

Thanksgiving Thursday, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday … all terms representing the increased commercialism of holidays that began as celebrations rooted in survival and religion. Here are a few random thoughts on the season:

When did Thanksgiving begin? According to the History Channel web site: "In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies."

Turkey and pumpkin pie are two traditional menu items in contemporary Thanksgiving feasts but the ‘first Thanksgiving’ feast most likely consisted of deer, seafood and corn and probably no desert.

Thanksgiving was celebrated many times and in many ways after that but did not become an official American holiday till 1863, in the middle of the Civil War. President Abe Lincoln’s proclamation asked “all Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, …

Fading History

I almost understand how my parents felt about the blank stares they got when talking about significant historical events that happened in their lifetimes. Their reference points were often centered on events relating to World War II … the Pearl Harbor bombing, Hiroshima and President Franklin Roosevelt’s death. They would talk about those things sometimes and I would listen but it meant nothing to me. Even after studying about those events, I only knew them as something from history.

Every American alive on September 11, 2001 will remember and talk about the terrorist attacks of that day and the weeks of fear that followed. Those in their 20s that day will be telling their children and grandchildren forty or fifty years from now about how citizens felt but those grandchildren will likely react with respectful blank stares.

So some readers of this post will look at their monitors with blank stares when I remind them/you that today, November 22nd, is a significant day in American hist…

Yesss!!!

Wow, the Redskins won, the Saints won and Jimmie Johnson won his unprecidented 5th Sprint Cup Championship! And all 3 of the college teams I follow won this weekend. Let the good times roll! And let some positive energy spread into the week.

Random Sports Questions

As I am getting ready to go to my office this morning to do some work so I can have a few days off at Thanksgiving, I was thinking about some sports things:

Will Jimmie Johnson get enough points in the final NASCAR race of the season this afternoon to break his own record and win the Sprint Cup for the 5th year in a row? He's in 2nd place going into the race, but only 15 points behind. The top three are nearly tied. Anything can happen.

Will the Redskins lose another one? They had such promise at the beginning of the season. I guess it's another rebuilding year ... decade.

Will the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints win today? More importantly, will their game be on a TV channel on Comcast Cable in Frederick MD so I can watch it? Many Saints games were on Fox this season, but my local Fox station ran Simpsons episodes instead. Why?

LSU and Arkansas both won their games yesterday but both were hard-fought victories. Exciting games too! They face each other n…

Herding Cats

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I regularly use the expression “it’s like herding cats.” When I say that, I’m usually referring to the difficulty of getting the highly creative type-A personalities on my work team to form a consensus about an issue. “Getting them to agree is like trying to herd cats.”

One of my team mates told me the other day that she had never heard that metaphor before. As she searched for information about it, she found this video. Enjoy.



And here is a picture of my cats during one of our weekly meetings.



We did actually agree on a bunch of things this week. These cats are awesome. And this picture makes us all look like the "before" examples in a diet product commercial.

Awesome Advice

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I saw a few minutes of an interview with Bruce Springsteen this morning. Bruce recently turned 61 and completely defies the stereotype of someone that age. He is a great role model for aging.

My favorite quote from the interview clip: instead of running from the years, you gather them in.

That is awesome advice. I hope I feel that way when I’m that age. Right now, I’m still running.

All Is Fair In Love and War

Have you ever wondered why love and war are often connected?

That thought crossed my mind recently as I listened to Sade’s latest song “Soldier of Love.” The song begins with a military style snare drum cadence and some of the lyric content includes military imagery.

Another song I heard recently: Pat Benatar’s “Love Is a Battlefield.” In what way is love a military skirmish? I don’t get it.

Then there’s the old phrase about the fine line between love and hate. I think there is a Grand Canyon-sized line between love and hate. How are those two things connected in any other than they both happen to be emotions?

Love – caring, fondness, strong affection, warm attachment, maximum friendship, wanting the best for someone

Hate – intense hostility, maximum dislike, loathing, wanting the worst for someone.

How can you call the line between those extremes “fine”?

And then there’s the old standby “all’s fair in love and war.” That implies that trickery and deceit are allowable strategies to gai…

Weight

I'm making more progress on the health front. Now down to my lowest weight in a year. One more pound and I'll be down to my lowest in a decade or more. Only five more to hit the goal.

Just wanted to share that and celebrate it ... because the food holidays begin next week. This year I am determined to survive them without a weight gain. Wish me luck (I'll need it).

Feeling Lucky This Weekend

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This weekend has been good for my favorite sports teams, so far. Here is the run down:

Maryland beat Virginia in Charlottesville 42-23. I am loyal to this team because I’m an online student at Maryland, unless they’re suspended me because I haven’t signed up for a class in two years.

LSU shut out ULM (Univ. of Louisiana-Monroe) 51-0. And it was LSU’s homecoming game in Baton Rouge. I have cousins and friends there who are probably still cheering this morning.

UA (Arkansas) demolished UTEP (Univ. Texas-El Paso) 58-21 in Fayetteville. I follow Maryland, LSU and Arkansas for various reasons and always want them to win … except on Nov. 28th, when Arkansas will lose to LSU. I think a bet is in the making on that one. I won the bet last year but still haven’t received the payoff. Hmmm.


One of eight touchdowns in the Arkansas game yesterday

Saints are off this week.

Redskins play the Eagles tomorrow night.

NASCAR – The race in Phoenix today is the 2nd-to-last race of the season. Jimmie Johnson, my …

Random Colorfulness

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Feeling creative today! I engaged in a photographic self-assignment: random color statements. Dug through some of my recent photos that were already on my computer and did a little photoshop treatment on them. Here is one; click on the link below for the others.



CLICK HERE to see the others.

Veterans Day

Today was pretty emotional for me. Some of it was good, some bittersweet.

The good part was a combination of things, including a great feeling about some audio work I did that helped make my radio station sound great all day. It’s a country music station, so interest is always high the day after the Country Music Association Awards show and Veterans Day seems to be extra special because this music genre has so many soldier-appropriate songs. I produced the ‘warm and fuzzy’ audio pieces that played around the patriotic songs as well as the CMA winner songs. In addition, I made the audio parts for our part of a company-wide all day fundraiser for Fisher House, an organization that provides housing near medical facilities for the families of injured military personnel. That all adds up to genuine positive emotion through the day.

The bittersweet part is the memory of my Dad, who died on this date nine years ago. We had an up-and-down father-son relationship but there was never any do…

Blogger Plugs

Just sharing links to a few blog I visit regularly. Maybe you would enjoy them too.

Still Learning About Me – fun, interesting, a Gen-Xer who is approaching one of those zero-year birthdays. A blogger who is also an awesome in-person friend.

When the Muse Strikes – a novelist who blogs sometimes, most recently about bikers and Dave Matthews. Read her blog. Read her two books!

And so I write … - interesting observations about surviving some complicated life challenges

An Unconventional Life – the title says it all. One of a handful of great long-time in-person friends.

Sarasota Daily Photo – great photography from Florida.

The F-Stops Here – international photography. She has lived in Washington DC, Washington state and now France. Great photography from all over.

Sharing A Secret

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OK, after searching high and low to find the secret to staying young, I can honestly say that I finally found it. And I am sharing it with you in this post. Actually, my sister found the secrets and she emailed them to me. It is sort of the 11-step plan to staying young. Read these over and over till they become part of who you are.

1. Try everything twice.
On one woman's tombstone she said she wanted this epitaph:
"Tried everything twice. Loved it both times!"

2. Keep only cheerful friends.
The grouches pull you down.
(Keep this in mind if you are one of those grouches!)

3. Keep learning:
Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever...
Never let the brain get idle. 'An idle mind is the devil's workshop.'
And the devil's name is Alzheimer's!

4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh often, long and loud.
Laugh until you gasp for breath. And if you have a friend who makes you laugh, spend lots and lots of time with HIM/HER.

6. The tears happen:
Endure, gri…

Deep

Have you ever been deeply in love with someone? That kind of love that involves a total connection, finish each others’ sentences, read each other’s minds, reach for the thing the other person asks for before they ask?

When your connection is that strong, do you ever hide anything? If you are involved with someone so much that you share everything, do you really share everything? And should you?

Are there thoughts that should remain entirely yours? Little private pictures in your brain that are uniquely yours. You are not necessarily hiding anything from your significant other or anyone else, you’re just keeping some things to yourself. Those thoughts belong to you and no one else.

Is there anything wrong with that strategy? If you are that connected, is anything off limits? Does it matter if some things are off limits?

I have an endless curiosity about people. I often want to know their deepest thoughts, secrets, parts of their past. Some of my friends share amazing private things with m…

Elevators

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Do you ever think about elevators? I didn’t think so. Next time you are on one, pay attention to the details and oddities associated with elevators. Elevators provide more than just effortless transportation to the upper floors of a building.

Here are some random observations and questions about elevators:

Which way do you face? Some (it seems most) people enter, push the button for their floor, turn and face the door and wait till they reach their destination. Others move to one side of the other with their back to the corresponding wall, which means they are standing with the door to their right or left rather than facing it.

Which way do you turn to find the row of buttons? In the building where I work there are buttons on both sides, but it seems that almost everyone turns left to find the buttons as they enter.

What do you look at? Do you make eye contact with other people riding with you? Do you avoid eye contact? Do you look at the display indicating each floor, maybe stari…

Celebrate the Eclectic

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If you are a regular reader or if you know me in real life, you know I have eclectic taste in music. My iPod on shuffle mode could yield this mix: Led Zepellin, Frank Sinatra, Kenny Chesney, Rachmaninof, Coldplay, Tommy Castro, Willie Nelson, Dave Matthews, the Beach Boys and Billie Holiday. It would all make sense to me. The playlist I’m listening to as I write this includes Santana, DMB, U2, Shinedown, The Cranberries and Elton John. It is not on shuffle; I made this one.

Most Boomers I know are stuck on one kind of music, usually songs they liked in high school. The funny thing is this: in the middle of the Boomer time frame, radio stations played a variety of songs almost as eclectic as my own taste. My earliest radio listening memories included a station that played the Rolling Stones back to back with Barbara Streisand.

I have always had the highest regard for people who are open to a wide variety of ideas. Eclectic is good and something that should be celebrated, in my opi…

Smells Like

Here is another video mash-up of two unlikely songs. Enjoy.

Toby's New Song

I don't have anything else to say tonight, so here is some music. This is a special live performance of Toby Keith's latest song. I like this version but check out the audio CD version some time for an awesome beginning.

And the winner is …

The election results are in (mostly) and the winner is … to be determined.

The Republicans won back the House, Democrats still control the Senate and the American people will get either real compromise and change or worse gridlock than ever. It is much too early to tell. I am hopeful yet skeptical.

In my opinion, the election this week was NOT a mandate for the Republican viewpoint; it was a mandate for more change. That can be a good thing. One part of the traditional Republican stand that I agree with is the need for smaller government. Yes, registered Democrats like me can hold that view. Get over it. In fact that is one thing that backs up my belief that we do not live as Democrats or Republicans; we live as individuals with concerns about things that affect us on a personal level on a daily basis, like traffic jams and rude people at the grocery store.

One take away I have from all the television news election results babble this morning is that independents held the most inf…

Today’s PoliSci Lesson

So here is something I didn’t remember from Political Science class, or from the general knowledge we should all have as citizens and voters: House of Representative terms are two years and EVERY member of Congress is up for election every two years. Did you know that?

If it seems like your Congressperson has been around forever it might be because they keep winning re-election. There is no limit to how many terms they may serve.

Senate terms are six years long and one-third of the Senate is up for election every two years.

Presidential elections are every four years … I assume you do know that. The two-year election cycle for Congress happens in the middle of each Presidential four-year term; that is why it’s called the ‘mid-term’ election. Doh!

I should know this stuff. You should too. Just sayin’.

Class dismissed.

Quotus Randomus

And when you've found another soul, who sees into your own--take good care of each other.
-Jackson Browne

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
- Ghandi

You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life
- Winston Churchill

Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.
- Dr. Seuss

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
- Steve Jobs

Never give up on a dream just because of the length of time it takes to accomplish it. The time will pass.
- Not Sure

Who you were might explain some things but it’s who you are now that counts.
- I Wrote This One

Flip A Coin?

Tomorrow is Election Day. The right to vote for our leaders is a fundamental and precious right we have as Americans. It is the mid-term election, a time when many seats in Congress are up for grabs and in my state more singularly significant offices like state governor are also in the voting mix.

The challenge comes when you don’t like any of the choices or when you’re not even sure what you are voting on or why.

Among my choices tomorrow are Register of Wills and Judge of the Orphan’s Court. For one thing, I don’t understand why Register of Wills is an elected position and not an appointed position, or more realistically, a government job. And there is only one candidate running for that office, unless I want to write one in. Hmm, maybe I could be the Register of Wills. And that Orphan’s Court thing? I just don’t know anything about that, but I can vote for up to three of the six candidates. Or, you guessed it, I can write some in.

The three most important offices on my ballot t…

The Example

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Saturday began with a quiet, peaceful fall morning, the perfect contrast to a fairly stressful week. I woke up early to take sunrise pictures in a nearby town. The temperature was a crisp 42 degrees.

There were very few people in Middletown Park. The loudest sound was the honking of geese on Kingsbury Pond. The sunrise was brilliant, with just enough golden clouds to compliment the yellow, orange and red of the leaves on the trees surrounding the water.

Fall has a different feel than the other seasons. The air flows with anticipation on its breath. Sounds echo a bit as the trees lose their sound-absorbing leaves. Shadows are long and linear.

Nature sheds its skin during fall as the beginning of a cycle of renewal and it can be a good time for humans to follow the example.

Sanity

I had planned to attend the Rally for Sanity and/or Fear in Washington DC yesterday but chose to do some other personal things instead. However, I did watch some of it on C-SPAN and I wish I had gone.

Jon Stewart, the organizer and star of the show, is a comedian by profession and this rally was partly a spoof on rallies. But taken as a whole, this event came much closer than most to representing the majority of Americans and their beliefs.

Most of us live in the middle, we don’t always agree but we do compromise and our whole government and way of life is based on diverse people getting along.

I’m not going to attempt to describe the whole thing here. Just let me share some highlights:

- No accurate crowd estimate is available, but those who speculate on such things seem to think the crowd size of this rally was at least as large the Beck rally a few months back. One survey says it was twice as big.

- A wide range of famous people appeared on stage during the rally, including Sheryl…

Last Day of October Randomness

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- This year October had 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays. That won’t happen again for more than 800 years. Feeling pretty lucky, I played the lottery this week. And I matched (drum roll please): no numbers.

- I got up at the crack of dawn yesterday to take this picture. This is the last week this year that the crack of dawn is after 7:30 am.



- Some business surveys indicate that Halloween is the second most commercial celebration of the year, right behind Christmas.

- I’m used to getting Christmas cards, birthday cards, Valentine’s Day cards, even Thanksgiving Day cards. This year I got a Halloween card. How cool is that?!

- Fall is my favorite season. Fall can also be a depressing season, but I am determined to keep most of my usual fall depression at bay. When it rears its ugly head, it’ll only be for minutes, not weeks. I’ll allow it to visit me for a couple of select days this year, but that’s all.

- Can you believe it’s already the last day of October?? Where did t…

I Ain't 'fraid of No Ghosts

Happy Halloween from BOOmer Randomness!!

A Good Run

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I’ve had a pretty good run of creativity during the past couple of weeks. Lots of posts on this site, two new posts on the poetry blog, daily photos in my nearby town blog and some seasonal shots on my photo blog.

I am lucky to have a job that involves creativity, mostly with audio, but challenging myself in other creative outlets is good therapy for me.

I appreciate that you visit my various blogs, whether I know you or not. I enjoy sharing.