Showing posts from 2011


It’s thirty minutes till 2012 here in the Eastern Standard Time zone. I am counting the minutes to the new year, a ritual I have observed for as long as I can remember. New Year’s Eve used to be a lot of fun for me and I remember many of them. Sadly, the last fun one for me was the beginning of Y2K. I had a small party and brought in the new year and century with a few select friends.

I had a pretty good year but fell short of many goals. I am very optimistic about 2012 … it will be ‘my year’ on many levels.

I just re-read my post from the end of last year in which I explained my “process” and declared my keyword for the year. Three years ago it was “play,” two years ago “simplify” and this past year was supposed to be “focus.” Funny how the process post I wrote a few days ago declared “focus” as my word for the coming year. I definitely need it and so I’ll stick with that because I did not do a very good job of it in 2011. I have, however, done well with “play” for the past few years…


I'm in a writing and chatting mood today, like I often am on New Year's Eve.  I'll probably post more later and will likely text several friends tonight as midnight draws near. Meanwhile, here is something I saw on facebook today. Don’t let someone who gave up on their dreams talk you out of going after yours.

A Religious Thing

Religion is a personal matter in my opinion and that is why I moved away from most organized religions. I did, however, help start a Unitarian Universalist congregation fifteen years ago. I am no longer a member of that particular group but I still identify with the general principles of the UU denomination. It is a very open faith that explores wisdom from many faiths. Services are often inspired by those of other religions and cultures and some of my favorites draw from Native American beliefs.

A few nights ago I was reading a section I had marked years ago in a book called “The Wisdom of the Native Americans,” a collection of Indian oration edited by Kent Nerburn, a religion and art expert from Minnesota. This part is very much in sync with my beliefs.

The worship of the Great Mystery is silent, solitary, free from all self-seeking. … It is solitary because we believe that God is nearer to us in solitude and there are no priests authorized to come between us and our Maker. … Our fai…


Everything in life involves some kind of risk. We risk our lives just driving to work every day. Travelling by plane, opening the front door, falling in love all involve some element of risk. I am not known as a risk-taker but I have certainly taken my share. I am usually more subtle about it and I tend to favor calculated risks. I want to fully weigh the odds before deciding to risk anything.

This is on my mind tonight because a few hours ago I had my final pre-op doctor visit before eye surgery. The guy who is doing the surgery has a very calm nature and inspires confidence. He also outlines in excruciating detail the risks involved in cataract surgery. I think I heard him say “the risks are very small” at least five times. I asked him if I was turning green. He said no. That kind of surgery is almost routine for most people but I happen to have another eye issue that increases some of the risks for me. Most people have good outcomes with this surgery and most patients are older tha…

Today Was Better

My first day back at work after the December Road Trip was much better than yesterday.  Things are too busy, as usual, but the work is fun.

I'm tired, so that's all I have to say for now.

Thanks for visiting.

Today Sucked

Warning: this post is entirely negative except for the very last part. I apologize in advance. I’ll be better tomorrow.

Today was crappy.

It rained all day.

I miscalculated today’s trek from Birmingham to Roanoke by 90 minutes, then encountered another 90 minutes of delays due to three traffic jams near Chattanooga and two more near Knoxville.

I respect truckers but I hate that I have to share the road with them.

Two of the afore-mentioned traffic delays involved accidents in which 18-wheelers were on their sides.

Some drivers are just plain stupid. Many others are bullies.

I was in a great mood when I started out this morning but that changed 30 minutes into my drive.

In the midst of a miserable drive I started thinking about how busy it’ll be at work when I return there tomorrow.

Blah, blah, blah, whine, whine, whine. You know I’m usually positive, so maybe I’ve earned this departure from the norm.

There is a positive.  Except for today, this December road trip equaled last year’s,…

The Process Returns

It’s that time of year again, my faithful readers, where I begin my annual “process,” a month long look back and look forward evaluation of where my life is and where it is going. I start around New Year’s and continue through my birthday near the end of January. I have been writing about it since this blog began and have been utilizing this technique for much longer. Some years it serves as great goal-setting and other years it makes for a nice blog post but is ignored starting the next day.

This past year seems like the latter, partly because I don’t remember what I said last year (I’ll look it up before completing this post) and partly because action on one very important personal matter is still stuck in neutral. I know, however, that I spent more time with people who are important to me, which included some travel to Virginia Beach, Asheville and New Orleans. I saw plenty of live music, including concerts by U2, Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, Keith Urban and Duran Duran. I connected wi…

Home and Home

Well, time for the homeward part of the road trip. This is always the hardest part. I am very much connected to New Orleans and feel at home here but this hasn't been my home for a long time. My home is definitely Maryland but sometimes I don't feel a deep connection there. Even if I could make a good living in New Orleans, which I can't, I would probably still choose Maryland. 

People who move away from their home town or state often develop personalities and lives that are different from siblings or friends who stay behind. When they visit home, they are still connected but feel a bit disconnected. That's my story. I think I retained some of the positives of growing up here and discarded what I believe are the negatives. 

Visiting here and spending time with friends and family from the past help me appreciate them and the uniqueness of New Orleans. At the same time I appreciate the directions my life has taken. I am lucky to have the best of both worlds.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from my New Orleans road trip.

I Know I Know

Men can be sensitive and emotional without having to surrender their man card. I am totally secure in that part of my own personality. I am just as much 'cave man' as the next guy but it's usually subtle. I choose to show more of the sensitive side.  Maybe that's a mistake. Tough shit.

All that is prelude to this:  Sometimes I get emotional when I visit New Orleans during the holidays. I was pretty cocky when I left this place decades ago. I knew there was so much more world to see, experiences to live, people to meet and things to learn. I was right. People here can be so narrow-minded and isolated from the real world.

Something I have learned since, however, is that people here instinctively know things others from elsewhere don't know. For example, having a good time is just part of the local DNA. Dancing to music in the street while holding a drink you walked out of a bar with. (bad grammar is part of life here too, by the way).

Acceptance is another one. Peopl…

Ghost of Christmas Future

Wow, a five-hour gab fest with the cousins. This is the third time in three years my sister threw a small party for me and the cousins on Dad's side of the family. It is always fun to see what paths they have taken over the years and this time we just couldn't shut up. It was great. 

These cousins are all older than me so maybe I'm seeing into the future when I spend time with them. Some of the conversation is about our youth, some relates to our present, some is sharing various 'family secret' items we've picked up along the way. And I got to hear enough about medical stuff to last a lifetime  We all look like our parents did at our present ages, which is kind of amusing too. 

I'm happy to see I'm not the only one without children and some of us do not live in houses we've paid off. Three of us have not retired and two of us probably never will. 

Except for time in the military nobody in the room last night has lived outside of southeast Louisiana …

An Interesting Lesson

When some people think about New Orleans in the six years since Hurricane Katrina nearly destroyed the town they think residents are crazy for sticking around and rebuilding. My take is different. I see a lesson in survival. 

I'm writing this while sitting on my sister's front porch in the Lakeview neighborhood, a part of town that sat in eight feet of flood waters for three weeks after the storm.      When I lived in this house as a kid this porch was three feet above the lawn. Now it's eight feet up. Damn flood ain't gonna mess with this house again. 

The street I'm looking at has better blacktop than before Katrina, the sidewalk is now smooth and level, unlike pre-K days when it buckled from uneven settling ground and the grass is green. I still clearly remember this scene six weeks after the hurricane. The street was torn up, the ground was brown with caked dirt leftover from the receding cesspool flood waters and there were abandoned cars in the median, parked…

More Road Trip Randomness

Today is the first day of winter and I'm wearing a t-shirt.  I woke up in Birmingham, Alabama, where it is 67 degrees at 8am.  Every now and then I miss living in the south.  After a week I come to my senses. 

The fitness room in this hotel actually had more stuff than just a treadmill.  Real weights.  Three mornings in a row of success in my new fitness plan. 

I'll be in New Orleans for the next few days, staying in my sister's guest room which was my room when were kids growing up in that house.  It is an interesting experience because after extensive post-Katrina renovation, the house isn't really the same as it was.  Yet in many ways it is.

I am stubborn yet flexible, cold and hot, emotional and lacking emotion, giving and taking, secure with dots of insecurity, logical yet artistic and all of that comes out during a road trip to my hometown.  Why?

I spent two and a half days in Asheville and did not take one picture with a real camera.  Kind of odd.  Being that …

December 2011 Road Trip Randomness

Well, I’m on the road again, eating and drinking my way through the south. Here is the first round of random thoughts.

- I totally love Asheville NC. It feels like home. Have now visited six times. Would live there if I could make a living there, but that’s just not in the cards.

- Part of what I like there is a very awesome friend. We are just friends but feel free to use us as proof that straight men and women can actually be friends without any drama.

- Saw the David Sedaris-written one-man play called Santa Land Diaries. Awesome fun.

- Two doctors I saw last week suggested I lose weight and exercise five times a week instead of just two or three. That’s a challenge on a road trip, but so far so good. Most of my breakfasts so far have been yogurt and cereal; most other meals were salad-oriented. Wine and a couple of beers – well, this IS a vacation. But I have used hotel fitness rooms two mornings in a row and will do the same again tomorrow.

- This is my first paperless vacation. N…

Another One

And so I’m offering this simple phrase to kids from 1 to 92, although it’s been said many, times many ways …..

((Sorry about the commercial))

Naughty or Nice

So what is more fun, naughty or nice?

Most people think I am a nice guy. My own take on me is that I am a nice guy with a naughty streak. That’s funny to me because most people in my current circle of friends and acquaintances can’t picture the naughty side unless they’ve actually been around me during those moments. Those from my past who know what I’m talking about aren’t telling. Hmm, I wonder if Santa knows.

The up side to nice is that it is reliable, dependable and desirable over the long run. Honesty and trust are good qualities. And they’re boring, which is the down side. Naughty is a lot more fun. Or is it? Being nice has cost me jobs and girlfriends. My naughty side has led to the occasional slap in the face or embarrassing conversations. My naughty streaks were often fun, sometimes odd and definitely memorable. I can’t really talk about most of it. Sorry.

Naughty might be more fun but if given the choice, I’ll pick nice every time. Well, almost every time.

The correlation be…

Back Roads

I'm going to see this guy and six other country music singers tonight, partly for work and partly for pleasure.  As I was watching this video a few minutes ago I was thinking about the two-lane backroad I live near.  Mine is a fairly well-developed state highway but it is only two lanes, it runs througn several small towns (the largest has a population of 3500) and sometimes there are large, slow-moving tractors slowing the pace a bit and reminding us that this county was and to some degree still is filled with farmland.  I sort of like the relaxed life of living here but I can't actually make a living in these towns, so I take two Interstate highways filled with traffic jams to my work place more than 40 miles away.  The commute is killing me.  I will be moving, hopefully early in the new year.  I'll miss the two-lane backroads but I will not miss the commute or the sense of isoloation or the ridiculous distance between where I live and where my real life lives.

Anyway, w…

Good Point

The one who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. Those who walk alone are likely to find themselves in places no one has ever been before.

-A. Einstein

Stand Up and Focus

That pesky holiday depression keeps sneaking up on me. Actually it’s more like regular depression. I think the real cause is that there is just too much on my plate and not enough time to get it done. I’m a bit of a control freak and big chunks of my life are not within my control this month. Way too much to do and way too little time to get it done.

Over the past twenty years I have read at least five self-help books and countless self-help articles, interviewed three different psychologists on my radio shows and even took one of the recorded Tony Robbins courses. All of that advice is pretty much the same and can be summarized in two thoughts: 1) you get what you focus on and 2) every time you fall, stand up.

We can choose to focus on the negatives in our lives and if we do, we will usually find more negatives. Conversely, we can choose to focus on the positives and, well, we will find more positives. That is the advice I give others and usually follow myself. I am self-aware enough…


If your native language is American English, you might think it is a fairly easy language to learn. Remember, however, that you’ve had a lifetime to learn the nuances. But try to find logic in some of our language and you might understand why it is so difficult for immigrants to learn it.

Here are a few examples, starting with one inspired by my early morning hunger pains today.

Break fast and breakfast. I believe the terms are related, but the words with identical spellings have different pronunciations. When you eat for the first time after fasting for awhile, you break your fast. Break is pronounced like brayk, with a long a, and the a in fast rhymes with ass. But the 1st meal of the day, when you break the fast of not eating since dinner last night, is pronounced breck, rhyming with wreck, and fast said more like fust … shouldn’t it be spelled breckfust?

Here’s a threesome: Signature, nature and natural. In signature, the nature part is pronounced nah-tur. Actually the t is said li…

Bucket List 3.0

The ‘bucket list’ concept has appealed to me ever since I first heard the term used more than ten years ago. I have been a list-maker as long as I can remember and it seems natural to list things I want to do before I “kick the bucket.” It is a logical form of goal-setting. Making lists for my career has helped me hit many goals, such as working in several big cities, hosting a radio show heard in multiple time zones, hitting certain income levels; list-making for personal goals, no matter how out of reach they might seem, makes perfect sense to me and is a great first step toward hitting the mark.

I have started bucket lists a couple of times in the past few years but was inspired to share this list this week by a recent blog post from my friend Eliz in Asheville. Here are some of the items I am willing to admit out loud.

- Hike the Bright Angel Trail into the Grand Canyon

- Visit the Tuscany region of Italy

- Learn to speak Italian

- Learn to play an instrument well enough to play …

Words To Live By

Jimmy Valvano was a famous basketball coach, most notably during his years at NC State in the 1980s. Being the occasionally clueless guy that I am when it comes to college basketball, I never heard of him … till today. He was also a broadcaster and motivational speaker during his relatively short life. A friend posted a partial quote on Facebook and I made light of it. She responded diplomatically and posted a link to the speech she was quoting.

It is well worth your time to watch this 10-minute video, even if you have seen it before. He died of bone cancer at the young age of 47, less than a year after the diagnosis, and this speech was delivered as he accepted the first Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award about a month before his death. He apparently was an inspiration to the teams he coached but the things he said in this speech are an inspiration to me and others now. These things reinforce some beliefs I hold and often talk about. He sums it up better than I can.

Watch th…

Sunday TV, Campaigns and Football

My usual Sunday morning rituals include a big breakfast, plenty of coffee and watching parts of TV talk shows. I only watch a few minutes of those programs because they don’t really accomplish anything beyond giving political pundits air time to spew their carefully-crafted talking points.

Case in point: the CBS show this morning hosted by Bob Schieffer. He has been a journalist for more than fifty years, much of it on TV. He is smart, well-prepared and has pretty much seen it all; but like many of his colleagues, fails to dig deep enough. The segment I watched featured a strategist or executive representing each of the two major political parties. Schieffer asked the Republican guest about significant inconsistencies relating to Gingrich and Romney, the current leading contenders for a Presidential candidacy. His response repeatedly avoided answering the questions and re-stated the talking points, which basically is that their strategy is to make Obama a one-term President.


Sharing a Song

This is one of my favorite songs on Coldplay's new CD.  Enjoy.

Ho Ho Ho and Bah Humb….

Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to admit having the problem. So rather than trying to ignore it, I’ll just come right out and say that I’m struggling with holiday depression. I go through this every year, so I’m used to it. Fortunately it comes in waves, usually just a few days or hours at a time, and not the months-long emotional adventure it used to be.

I’ve studied it, read about it and interviewed experts on my radio shows. I know plenty about holiday depression. In my case, part of it is a lingering set of mismatched expectations. I grew up in a stable, predictable family environment in which each holiday season was pretty much like the previous one. Mostly it was good, enjoyable and pleasant. Things changed in my adulthood, as it does for most people. My life is generally good but I’ve had periods of instability, unpredictability and dysfunctional family and personal situations. Those emotional and situational extremes fight with each other.

I don’t really expect th…

The Holiday Spirit

I'm trying to get into the holiday spirit.  Music usually helps.  This is my favorite Christmas song (although my 2nd or 3rd favorite version - but his recording is the most famous version).  Merry Christmas.  Happy Holidays.

16 Puns

Timing is everything and maybe so is laughter. I was in a bad mood at work this afternoon, took a break to check personal email and found a note from a friend that contained a list of puns. These are the ones I laughed at and that laughter pulled me out of the bad mood. Enjoy. And laugh.

1. The fattest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.

2. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.

3. She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.

4. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class because it was a weapon of math disruption.

5. No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

6. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.

7. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.

8. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.

9. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall.…

Random or Fate

Friendships are often random and “just happen” but sometimes you get an opportunity to actually design a friendship. Meeting this person might start as a mix of randomness and fate but when it becomes obvious that a genuine friendship connection has been made, two people can determine exactly what defines that friendship. Some of it might still be a natural evolving process but it is shaped by communication and mutual agreement.

Can a real friendship develop online? I believe some of that growth can happen in the cloud but real friendship usually involves at least some in-person time and a sharing of experiences unique to those two people.

Some of my best friendships began in person and the internet has enabled them to continue across time and distance. I’m mostly thinking about my closest friends from my teens and twenties. I am currently in touch with most of the ones that really mattered.

Funny thing is that one of my closest friends is someone who I met online, eventually in pers…

Ignoring the Obvious

The ‘politically correct’ mentality that leads businesses and local governments to avoid using the word Christmas annoys the crap out of me. Those who say that saying the word Christmas in connection with this time of year because it might offend somebody completely miss the point.

No matter what you believe or do not believe, Christmas is obviously named for a person, a very influential and well-known person. Whether Jesus Christ is your lord and savior, a messiah, a prophet, a historical figure or some random eloquent speaker from two thousand years ago with a good public relations agent, you can’t ignore the fact that his birthday is celebrated all around the world and that day is named for him.

Christians believe Christmas is a celebration of the widely-agreed-upon day of his birth (no existing document verifies an exact date). A large number of non-Christians acknowledge Christmas Day and the Christmas season as a time to celebrate peace, love, family and friends, things they all …

Black Friday Randomness

Macy’s opened at midnight last night/this morning. I was asked to be the driver on a little ride to the nearest one, a request which I initially turned down. After looking on their web site, however, I decided to go, partly because there were some sale items I wanted, partly because the crowds would probably be less than the middle of today and partly out of curiosity.

My observations:

The crowds were less than they probably are as I’m writing this at noon, but by 1:00 a.m. the store was definitely crowded.

The stuff on sale looked better online than in the store, so I only bought two things: flannel sleep pants that I’ll probably use a lot and a Jerry Garcia tie that I might only wear a couple of times a year (but it was half price).

For the first half of my sixty minutes in the store I was sure we were the only shoppers over the age of twenty. It was apparently teen date night.

Five other stores in that mall were also open, including Radio Shack and Victoria’s Secret – which both ap…

Looks Fake but ...

Clouds are amazing things, aren't they?  I took this yesterday with my iPhone, while in my car at a stop sign.  The clouds look fake but they are real.  The only enhancing on this shot is a little bit of added contrast thanks to Photoshop.  The little crescent shaped black thing in the middle-right is a smudge on my windshield.


Happy Thanksgiving Day !!

Outlet Mall Randomness

Yesterday I visited a “snooty” mall and a “normal generic” mall. Today’s little shopping adventure involved going to a nearby outlet mall.

I shop here several times a year, always visiting Eddie Bauer and Reebok/Rockport and usually buying something at one or the other.

All I wanted today was shoes, specifically casual shoes in some shade of brown with a sole that might not be slippery on wet pavement like the shoes I am about to throw away because they are slippery.

Reebok and Rockport did not have what I wanted, which is a first. I’ve always been able to find what I’m looking for there.

Nike, Bass and one or two others did not either, not in my size anyway. Am I too picky?

Last time I tried on Timberlands was ten years ago. They never fit right. But I walked into their outlet store anyway, just to see what they had. I walked out with two pairs of casual shoes in shades of brown. Maybe I found a new brand today. Maybe I was duped. I’ll let you know in a few months or the first time …

Mall Randomness

Like many people, I have brand preferences in certain product categories. For clothes, I usually buy Eddie Bauer and Dockers and if I go to a typical mall I usually shop at Macy’s. My first stop at a local outlet mall is the Eddie Bauer store. Those choices probably put me one or two notches above the very middle of middle class, but I am just as much at home in Wal-mart as I am in Macy’s.

All of that is a setup for these random observations about two malls I visited today:

First stop was a “high end” mall I hadn’t visited in years and I entered through Bloomingdales, probably the most “common” of the stores there. Every sales clerk who said “can I help you” seemed snooty; maybe it was obvious I was wearing Bauer.

I immediately checked out the “sale” rack of men’s shirts. Regular price: $135. WTF?!?! Even at 30% off, the price was still $95. No way. I don’t pay even half that much for ordinary shirts.

Bloomingdales oozes elegance, yet there was a stock clerk hauling boxes of stuff th…

This Day in History

Do you know what November 22nd means to some boomers? Those who know might remember details of that day in the past. Some won’t remember or care. Gen X or Gen Y might think it means Thanksgiving is coming.

I remember my parents talking about the day President Franklin Roosevelt died. His death was tragic but not caused by a person. He died from a stroke on April 12, 1945. I don’t know if my parents remembered that date or not.

November 22, 1963 is a day I remember surprisingly well. I didn’t understand what it meant at the time, or why so many adults were crying and nervous. Teachers were having hushed conversations in the hallways at lunch time. An announcement was made that school would be closing early, which seems like happy news because it was Friday and that meant an early start to the weekend. But why were the adults so sad?

At 12:30 p.m. on Friday, November 22, 1963 United States President John Kennedy was shot and killed on the streets of Dallas, Texas. People loved Kennedy, …


If the eyes are the windows to the soul, what happens when the window gets foggy?

I have been thinking about my eyes a lot lately. Why? Because I am fifty days away from cataract surgery. That makes me feel a lot older than I am. Medical treatments like that are more often associated with 80-somethings than with 50-somethings.

I first wore glasses in 7th grade and began wearing them nearly every day fifteen years ago. For the past year I have worn them nearly every waking hour of every day. My vision is rapidly deteriorating, which is what led to the decision to finally have this surgery.

Loss is the biggest single issue we face as we age. Loss of friends and family through death, loss of youth, loss of various body and mind functions. We start losing brain cells in our late teens, so this should come as no surprise as we reach 40, 50 or more, but acceptance doesn’t equal liking it.

Loss of vision scares me more than loss of mobility, hearing, money or libido. Fortunately, of those f…

Who Are You?

Have you ever seen those self-help books or web sites that ask you to define who you are? If you’re like most people, you instinctively answer with a description of what you do. That is probably the point of those self-help queries … you are not ‘what you do’ you are ‘who you are’.

In our American society, however, we are often defined by what we do for a living or by our primary hobbies or interests. I am a radio commercial producer, talk-show interviewer, former DJ working for the biggest owner of radio stations on earth who is also an avid photographer, traveler, car enthusiast, blogger and would-be musician. But that is not really who I am, it is what I do.

So who are you?

I have a life-long friend who if asked that question, might say she is a teacher, mother, wife, female gear head and music enthusiast. But that is what she does or is interested in. My take on who she is: an adventurous, moderately risk-taking, caring educator who is passionate about life, love and music, an ide…

Saturday Morning TV Randomness

Watching cartoons and old cowboy movies on television was a Saturday morning childhood ritual for me. There were only three or four channels at the time, so there weren’t many choices. This morning I made a partial list of viewing options on the hundred or more channels I currently have.

- Grease 2 (Michelle Pfeiffer – yummy)

- A History Channel show about salvaging a giant B25 World War II bomber sunk in 300 feet of water in a South Carolina lake.

- Countless news channels, two of which seem more like infomercials for left and right wing political interests.

- A Law & Order episode from 2008.

- College football previews and an interview with the LSU coach talking about his 10 – 0 record so far this season … and how they will beat the crap out of Arkansas next week. (OK, I made up that last part – I have a friendly bet riding on the game).

- Deer hunting tips

- A 30-minute program about a vacuum cleaner

- Celebrity hair-styling tips.

- Paula Dean making Thanksgiving cupcakes

- A Jo…

Not Bragging, but ...

Nothing new to say today.  I'm in the middle of writing a couple of posts, but meanwhile here is a little gem relating to my Italian heritage.  Caio.

Job Stuff

I wonder what it's like to have a 9 to 5 job in a business that is only open during those hours. Or a job that is mostly in the moment, one that stops when you leave for the day and doesn't have work that has to be done in advance of vacation, like retail sales clerk or burger flipper I've rarely had a job like that.

My business, media, is alive 24/7. My duties continue whether I'm there or not, so much of what I do has to be done ahead when I'm going to be out of the office. I'm not complaining; I love my job. But I hate the week before a vacation because I have to do two weeks work in one.

I go through this angst every time I'm coming up on a week off. I'll be fine as soon as vacay begins. I'll say this again: I do love my job.

I Was One Too But Don't Thank Me

When I see the tributes and thank you messages to vets around Veteran’s Day each year, I usually embrace the message and in some way add to the salutes. I want to praise “them” for their service. Then in the middle of it all, I remember that I am a military veteran too. I do not usually include myself in the praise.

I have served my country in many positive ways over the years but my military service is not one of them. I hated the military at the time and most of what I thought they stood for then. I enlisted in the Army but only because I thought I lost my college deferment because of bad grades and I mistakenly believed I would have more choice if I joined rather than being drafted. The draft ended soon after and I would never have had to go. Fate works in mysterious ways, doesn’t it?

My three-year enlistment lasted only one year. The details are my business and I’ve only shared them with a few friends. Let me just say that it was perfectly legal and I was honorably discharged with…

Blame It On the Asteroid

An asteroid flew by Earth earlier this evening, coming closer than the moon. Even though it was “only” the size of a city block, and not nearly as large as planets or the moon, it did have some influence on human and environmental activity on our planet. Or at least some people think so. I heard about a coastal flood watch on the Chesapeake, for example, even though there has been no rain in the area for days. That could be blamed on the gravitational pull of the asteroid.

I wonder what else we can blame on this potent little astronomical body.

Today was an odd day for me, with some normally predictable behaviors just slightly askew. For one thing, I didn’t have lunch till just past 3pm. I am obsessed with having lunch around Noon or 1pm, but I had to record an interview at Noon, this session is usually 30 minutes but today it went 50, which kicked it up next to my 1pm meeting, which is usually 45minutes but went a full hour, followed by my completing two more overdue projects, taking…

My Aging Prayer

Dear Lord, when I'm 75 please don't let me be one of those people who is so interested in that thing across the hotel lobby that they stand up from their chair and walk across to get a closer look without realizing they just walked right in front of three other people. Just sayin'


Cool Quote

Nothing is impossible. The word itself says "I'm possible."

- Audrey Hepburn

Kids and A Learning Op

A work friend is going through a rough patch right now. He has finally convinced his mother that she needs more help than the family can provide, and they are shopping for assisted living or a nursing home. I am a long way from that for myself but listening to his story reminds me of what my sister and I went through when faced with similar choices for our parents; and that puts an image of my own possible future in my head. I don’t like the image, in part because I don’t have children, which means I probably won’t have the type of support my parents had from us or my friend’s mother has from him and his siblings.

It seems like everybody I know who is over 30 has kids, but when I think that through, I realize there are several people in my friend circle who do not. Sometimes I ask them if they regret that. Some are childless by choice, some by circumstance. My situation began because of circumstances, mostly short-term failed marriages, and eventually by choice. I don’t regret it but …

The Big Bucks

Lottery fever is in the news this week because the Powerball jackpot is $245 million tonight. The odds of winning are ridiculously small (1 in 195 million) but everybody suddenly plays anyway. Why not play when the local jackpot is only a million? That’s a lot of money to most people too, isn’t it?

So what would you do if you won $245 million?

My plan is funny because very few people would know I won, at least not at first. I'd tell my sister, a couple of very close friends and my accountant. I'd keep my job but eventually cut back to just the parts I like. I wouldn't buy crazy expensive stuff but I would buy several properties, one here as my primary residence, one on a beach, one on the river in New Orleans and a couple in other places I like to visit. I'd pay off all of my sister’s debts and some big bills for a few close friends. I’d probably buy a 2nd or 3rd car. And take quiet but insanely expensive vacations. Fly 1st class, of course. Buy box seats at concerts an…

Who Has Time to Read

A friend had a great idea a couple of years ago – a travelling book. She sent me a book with instructions to write my name, town and the date inside, and then send it along to someone else who might want to read it. Her plan was to try and keep track of it to see where it travelled, hoping it would eventually find its way back to her. It travelled from her in North Carolina to me in Maryland to two friends of mine in Wisconsin, back to me in Maryland, back to her in North Carolina. I inquired about its whereabouts yesterday and she told me it was travelling around … in the back of her car, mostly because she hasn’t had much time to even send it along to another destination. Meanwhile I sent her a book with the same instructions. That went to a co-worker of hers who is now a former co-worker and she doesn’t know its whereabouts.

The point is this: Who has time to read anymore?

She and I are avid readers but neither of us have time to read these days. I love to read and almost always ha…

Power Outage Randomness

Heavy wet snow from a rare October storm accumulated on tree limbs and power lines Saturday, leading to a power outage in parts of the mid-Atlantic and northeast, including my part of Maryland. I began writing this post three hours into the outage and here are my random thoughts, roughly in a timeline starting late Saturday afternoon.

- Every time I walk into another room this evening, I automatically flip a light switch, even though no lights are on.

- Cable and internet were out earlier in the day. Thirty minutes after they came back on the power went out. But my iPhone still connects to the internet.

- I am writing a draft of this with pen and paper. How odd.

- The outside temperature is in the 30s. It was 72 inside before the power went out and not it’s in the low 60s. I’m lucky to have a fireplace. I might be sleeping on my sofa tonight.

- Dinner tonight: cold jambalaya.

- Hmmm, I think I now know why farmers in the pre-electricity days went to bed so early. And why they had so m…

Totally Random 7.1

Usually the vacation effect takes weeks to wear off but this week it only took a day. I’m ready for my next vacay already.

Aging isn’t for the young. I don’t think they could handle it well. They’re just not strong enough.

I like the new Coldplay CD. The new Toby Keith CD is sitting on my desk waiting for my ears. Bet I like that one too.

Snow is predicted this weekend in my part of Maryland. It’s still October!! Mother Nature, what’s the hurry?

I’m never sick, but this summer I had two colds and skin cancer surgery. Today I tripped in a parking lot and bruised my knee. And I need eye surgery. None of this is unusual but it is way off the chart for me.

Favorite line in a current country music hit by Alan Jackson: “I’ve got a bug in my margarita; seems bad luck won’t leave me alone.”


Don't read anything into this one way or the other, just laugh if you think it's funny.  I don't have anything else tonight anyway.  More L.A. stuff coming soon.

Travel Randomness

I'm sitting in an airport, bored and inspired to write. Here are a few random thoughts:

My vision is a bit challenged at the moment but I'm happy to report that I can see the Starbucks logo from six gates away.

Dulles Airport is surprisingly empty.

This airport is also bigger than I remember it from the last time I flew from here. They've done plenty of remodeling since 1996.

Welcome to my first post written on my iPhone.

To my friend 'Eliz': I found the bar but decided 10 am was a little too early to utilize their facility. I'll be sampling plenty of adult beverages this weekend.

Hard to believe I'm going all the way from the east coast to the west coast just for the weekend. I should have added some days.

Traffic I'd so unpredictable in DC that I allow hours for problems. There were none ... no traffic jams, no wrong turns, no long lines at security. I still prefer being ridiculously early than missing a flight like I did a few years ago becaus…

Duran x 2

I like 1980s rock but I don’t really know why. Favorite music is often associated with a person’s developmental years or through some other emotional connection. My emotional development decade was the 70s and most of the 80s music I like I first discovered in the 90s or early 2000s. Maybe there was an emotional connection because of the awesome DJ job I had in the early 90s in which I played some of that 80s music too or maybe it’s just great music that I finally found.

Duran Duran is one of those bands I ‘discovered’ in the 1990s. I especially like their 80s music, which I don’t really remember from the 80s. They are touring this year in support of their new music and I saw them a few nights ago at Constitution Hall in Washington DC.

I took 25 pictures and a few short videos with my new phone but all were deleted with a software upgrade the next day. Wow, remember when phones were for making phone calls? Anyway I retrieved one 50-second video (further below) and this one picture of …

Phone Randomness

I work around technology all day, mostly audio editing software and digital cameras. I am comfortable with tech stuff but I am not an early adopter. I prefer to let other people work out the bugs. I also want to see if the devices or formats will still be around in a few years … remember beta video recorders? 8 track tapes? One day we’ll add Blackberry to that list. But over the weekend I upgraded my cell phone from this 3-year-old flip phone ….

… to this iPhone 4:

Random thoughts:

- It’s not the brand new iPhone 4s, it’s “merely” the iPhone 4 that’s been on the market since February.

- When I first decided to get a smart phone, which was almost a year ago, I thought I’d get a Blackberry because they were dirt cheap with a 2-year renewal. My procrastination led to choosing a Droid (four months ago). After spending a week with a fancy new iPod, a gift from my employer, I decided to get the iPhone.

- The iPhone is basically an iPod that makes calls too.

- I can put the 1300 songs that …

So True

Saw this on a friend's Facebook page.  Thought I'd share.

A General Observation

Just a general observation to my friends:

Email and Facebook are great if that's the only way to keep in touch, and sometimes it is.  I have been able to keep many friendships alive over time and distance using these digital tools.

But I'd prefer to be sitting next to you sharing a glass of wine.

Two Doctors and the Blues

High Laurie, who plays Dr. House on the TV show House, is a musician. Who knew? And his new album includes this song with legendary New Orleans performer Dr. John singing. Two ‘doctors’ singing the blues!! Enjoy.