Showing posts from November, 2010

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

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

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

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…


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

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

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…


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

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

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

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…


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…


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

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…