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Showing posts from March, 2011

Totally Random 5.4

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* Fog and light snow were part of my ride home from work yesterday. March came in like a lion and is going out like a confused paranoid schizophrenic.

* Travel is one of my favorite activities but an upcoming 4-day road journey may be my only trip this year; although it is likely that I’ll play hometown tour guide for a few friends this summer.

* Sometimes reality is a pain in the ass. Specific case in point: too many things on my personal agenda over the next few months and I know from experience that prioritizing keeps me sane. Result: Italian lessons are coming off the list again, at least for the spring.

* Thirty years ago this week President Reagan was shot outside a hotel in Washington DC. He was only ten weeks into his presidency. He survived and went on to serve two full four-year terms. Tough old guy.

* If you want proof that country music is growing in popularity again, check out this sampling of artists from other genres who have either recorded country songs in the pa…

Celebrity Crushes

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Have you ever had a celebrity crush? (OK, in case nobody uses that term any more, alternate opening question: have you ever been infatuated with a celebrity?). Please post a comment telling me who yours was/is. I will now admit two of mine: Dana Delany (China Beach, Desperate Housewives and many more) and Marg Helgenberger (China Beach, CSI and others).

I first noticed these two actresses when they were both in the cast of China Beach which aired from 1988 to 1991. I liked their looks and their characters. I knew nothing about them as real people, but that isn’t really the point of a celebrity crush anyway, is it? It’s usually about how they look and act in their characters.

Dana and Marg then, in China Beach:



Dana now, in her new series Body of Proof:



Marg now in CSI



OK, so who was/is yours? Inquiring mind wants to know.

Miles and Carlos

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I was never much of a Miles Davis fan but I have always liked Carlos Santana. A facebook friend posted this today (he's actually a co-worker and more of a music freak than I am). This is a 1980's performance featuring Santana with Davis's band. Awesome. Enjoy.

Random Quotes, Mostly About Friendship

Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength.
- Sigmund Freud

We have enough youth, how about a fountain of smart?
- ??

I'll lean on you and you lean on me and we'll be okay.
- Dave Matthews Band

At the shrine of friendship Never say die, Let the wine of friendship never run dry.
- Les Misérables

Two may talk together under the same roof for many years, yet never really meet; and two others at first speech are old friends.
- Mary Catherwood

Life is partly what we make it, and partly what is made by the friends whom we choose.
- Tehyi Hsieh

See you and me have a better time than most can dream of, better than the best, so we can pull on through, whatever tears at us, whatever holds us down, and if nothing can be done, we'll make the best of what's around.
- Dave Matthews Band

Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty.
- Sicilian Proverb

A good friend is a connection to life - a tie to the past, a road to the future, the key to sanity in a to…

Carpe Diem Update

A month ago I wrote about an attitude I was trying to adopt in which I would do at least one thing per day that is out of my normal routine. I admit I haven’t done much pattern changing since then but I instinctively have done a few things.

Different wines. I like merlot and cab savs, so I continue to drink them. Last year I added Spanish wines to my list and have always sampled pinot noir, shiraz, pinot griggio and chardonnay. Recently I added Zinfandel to the collection. I’m sipping one as I write this.

Workout routine. I got into a fairly specific pattern at the gym so I decided to break the pattern. I did a completely different routine during each of my three most recent visits, including today. A few more months of this and I might actually look like I’ve been going to the gym for the two years that I actually have been going.

My temporary SUV. The friend who died over a month ago owned an SUV. It has been in my driveway for several weeks and occasionally I take it for a spin. Did t…

Other People's Agendas

Why do we so often live our lives on other people's agendas? Parents, friends, bosses, society - all are entities that influence our choices and often we spend so much time living up to or down to those expectations that we neglect our own goals and desires.


I have been lucky to dig myself out of that pattern in my professional life. I initially dove into my career against the advice of parents, the first media pros I met and even my first managers. More than thirty years later I am still in that career, at the top of my game. Many of those naysayers are doing something else. Plenty of my work is evaluated at the whim of others but I do get a great measure of freedom to reach their goals in my own way. The balance works.


Living on my own agenda in my personal life has been more of a challenge but I am determined to get what I want. Those who take the journey with me will benefit from my tenacity as I do from theirs.


In life you generally have to ask for directions from time to time, …

Totally Random 5.3

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Just a few random things swimming in my head tonight:

- Liz Taylor died this morning. I know who she is, know she is a famous and well-respected actress, know she had seven husbands during her life and actor Richard Burton was two of them, know she had a diamond collection, but I don’t think I ever saw one of her movies.

- There are storms in my area tonight. Great lightning show in Middletown Valley.

- Bought a bottle of Vampire Cabernet Savignon tonight. I liked the label. Turns out it tastes good.

- Went on a client call with a sales person from work today. The meeting only took an hour but the ride there and back was almost two additional hours plus 30 more minutes for a lunch stop. We had a great non-work conversation about everything from real estate to relationships. I learned about her boyfriend and her attitude toward dating and marriage. I have determined that when it comes to women, I am a sensitive, romantic caveman. Hopefully that’s a good combination.

- Snow is in the for…

Where No One Has Gone Before

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Television: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Shatner, an actor who turned 80 this week, who became an icon, then an unemployed actor living in a truck for awhile, then an icon again.

There are many places online where you can read all about actor William Shatner. My observation in this post is to note where he’s been, connections he made then and how those connections return in the present. I am always impressed by people who survive in their chosen profession for decades and continue to make a living long after others have given up. They serve as great role models for the rest of us.

While digging for info and pictures, I learned a few things I did not know about Shatner and others he has worked with.

Before Star Trek, Shatner and future cast mate Leonard Nimoy both appeared together on an episode of the TV spy show The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Here they are with Robert Vaughn, one of the show’s two main stars.



Here is Shatner with the other U.N.C.L.E. star David…

Writing Bug

Several months ago I went through a bit of writer’s block but another blogger (Eliz, who is now an actual in-person friend) suggested a few story ideas and I’ve been on a roll ever since.

Today I’m writing about writing, one of my favorite hobbies. I started this blog just over two years ago as a successor to my first blog and I am proud (and shocked) to say that March 11th was the 5th anniversary of my first post on the original blog. Five years of blogging and more than a thousand posts! Hard to believe.

I write and produce commercials for a living and I started this as a creative outlet to give me something to write about other than my most frequent clients (my radio station, a garden center, a window and door company and a car dealer) and numerous other one-time advertisers. I’ve written about aging, music, travel, friendships, NASCAR, dreams, myself, politics, religion, media and random things I see and think about. There is no compensation. I do this for me but there are actual…

Class Of

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I hated high school. There is no better, more succinct way to phrase it. Those naturally volatile years of my life coincided with volatile years in our society. It was a time when youth questioned and rebelled against everything and I was right in the middle of it all. I questioned authority, religion and parental expectations and developed a type of sarcasm and skepticism I employ to this day.

I was one of those nerdy “picked last for teams” guys who looked as goofy and awkward as I felt at the time. I reached my present 5’11” height as a freshman, which means I towered over my classmates, making it difficult to be as invisible as I wanted to be. To make matters worse, I was smart and did well in class during my freshman and sophomore years, something I’d respect now but hated then because it made me stand out even more. My junior and senior years were filled with doubt, distraction and lack of motivation and I nearly ‘flunked’ out. My final grade ranking upon graduation was dead cen…

The Shooting Has Begun

It appears that a United Nations-sanctioned air strike has begun in Libya. One of the planes doing the shooting is American, but a French plane took the first shots and the British military is also involved. It does appear we have learned something as a country, in that this truly appears to be an international coalition. What I see, however, is American military involvement in another Middle Eastern country.

Right or wrong, we are involved once again in being the world’s police. Why is that our role? Yes, conditions are horrible in Libya. Yes, innocent citizens are being harmed by their own government. Yes, something should be done about it. But were all other options exhausted? It this the last resort? Will this ultimately solve the problem or will it only make matters worse?

The U.S. is not the lead nation this time but our involvement may still lower our status in the world court of public opinion. We don’t have to make decisions based on international popularity but we certainly…

Extra Full Moon

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Tonight the moon appears bigger and is actually closer than usual. It’s called a ‘perigee’ moon and this is the biggest and brightest since 1993. Here is my attempt to photograph it through the trees in my yard a little while ago. CLICK HERE for more info on the moon.


Interesting Quote

"Every human being should keep alive within them the sacred flame of madness but should behave as a normal person."
~Paulo Coelho~

Royal Mistake

The Unexpected

I’m early for a meeting so I stop for coffee. As I sip on delicious dark roast, I notice the pleasant earth tone wall colors, pleasing abstract wall art and a light brick fireplace. The chairs are comfortable, seat cushions are black leather (or high-end vinyl).

Classical music flows from the speakers; light, flowing melodies, piano mostly, Mozart perhaps.

Where am I? Panera’s, believe it or not. Big surprise because my normal Panera experience is at the crowded, noisy location near work at lunch time. An unexpected, pleasant start to what turned out to be an otherwise frustrating morning.

Money Randomness

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I paid $3.63 per gallon for gasoline tonight, up another four cents since Sunday.

$5 is a trendy price for lunch food. I’ve had many “5 dollar foot-longs” at Subway and tonight I saw an ad for a $5 lunch special at KFC.

I paid $10.50 EACH for a glass of wine tonight. I often buy entire bottles for that price. My first time at that restaurant/bar; possibly my last.

A recent Toby Keith’s song includes the line “I put a dollar in the jukebox and played that girl a tune.” I could download that song for a dollar! Remember when a song in a jukebox cost 25 cents? Remember when it was even less?

I worked in the hotel business one year, just long enough to know first-hand that room pricing is all about supply, demand, expectation, location and timing. Two hotels I regularly use on southern road trips (I’ve stayed in each six or seven times) have cost me as little as $74/night and as much as $115/night for exactly the same class of room.

The hotel next door to work has charged me as little as …

Old? What the Hell Is That?

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He travels with his wife on a motorcycle. The expiration date on his driver’s license is six years from now. He regularly drinks martinis, rides 17 miles a day on a bicycle and is a competition skier … in a 70+ Ski club in Michigan. But wait. That’s not the best part. He just celebrated another birthday, which moved him into the next age category in the ski club. Lou Batori is now 100 years old. OK, so he is the ONLY person in the 100+ category, but there are many skiers in that club with 90+, 80+ and 70+ designations. Next time I hear a 45-year-old co-worker whine about being old, I will give her this link.

I have said many times that I plan to throw a 100th birthday party for myself. My friends who read this are mostly in their 40s and 50s … you know who you are and you better well stay alive and healthy because I expect you to be at that party, even if I have to drive over and pick you up myself.

My friends of all ages know how much I hate talking about my own age and they probably…

Totally Random 5.2

I am warming up to the idea of socklessness. I wore my new sandals nearly all day Sunday, even though it was 55 degrees. My warm weather attire is usually shorts, low-rise socks and walking shoes. I usually do not like wearing sandals but these are great.

Hawaii does not recognize Daylight Savings Time, which means they did not change their clocks Sunday.

I just got the latest brochure from the place where I started Italian lessons a few years ago. I dropped out that time after only 4 weeks. I plan to start again next month and will not drop out this time.

Hawaii and Italy are on my mind because those are two places I want to visit. A ‘situation’ prevents me from booking either trip at the moment, but I am determined to find a way.

Arizona also does not observe Daylight Savings Time, except for the part that is Navajo Nation where they DO spring forward and fall back. If you take a summer drive from Flagstaff AZ to Moab UT along Highways 89, 160, 163 and 191, which take you through p…

Sports Randomness

Despite all the fitness talk I spew on the blog I actually don’t play any sports. I used to run and hope to take that up again. I wanted to learn tennis but my recurring right shoulder problem combined with how ridiculously right-handed I am makes that a challenge. I used to bowl, but I have the same shoulder issue; at least that’s my excuse for not showing off how bad I am at bowling. Tossing a Frisbee is something I can do, as long as I’m not going for distance or accuracy; my dogs look at me and seem to say “hey, I’m over here – there is no dog where you threw that thing.”

I do, however, like to watch some sports, but not with the intensity of ‘real’ fans. I like basketball but haven’t paid much attention to March Madness yet. My 5th favorite NFL team did well this season but not the 4 I really like. Baseball hasn’t begun yet but at least I have a ticket connection for my local team; going to those games is a pretty good excuse to drink with friends outdoors.

NASCAR is one of my fa…

Eventually

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This post is partly about creative aging, even though I still hate to admit that I’m over 50, uhh, I mean 40. If you’ve been following along, you know I’m trying to lose some weight and gain some strength, balance and the appearance of being in good shape.

This is me a little more than twenty years ago, when I was in pretty decent shape:



Here’s another shot (these were taken on a vacation to Jamaica):


This is me now:

OK,

did you

really

expect

me to post a

current picture?

I’m making progress but I’m not quite ready to be photographed shirtless. Maybe this summer. Meanwhile, I’ll just say that going to the gym on a fairly regular basis for two years now is finally starting to pay off. I feel and see a difference. I’ll never be in the shape I was in my 20s but I’ll defy the stereotype for my real age. And very few people in my circle of friends know the exact number. I’m OK with that.

I Still Want To Go There

I was thinking about my friends on the Big Island as I watched a Hawaii TV station website’s live coverage of the first and second tsunami waves washing ashore yesterday. It was 9 AM where I was and 4am there. I wanted to call but didn’t want to wake them, although I was sure the tsunami warning sirens already had.

When we did make contact later via email I learned they were up. She had been helping out at the local radio station and online news service for several hours. I keep forgetting that her ‘retirement’ job is in the media, something she was not involved with during her career.

There was definitely water damage in Kona but she and her husband are fine. Their beautiful house has a view of the ocean but from a nice high spot well up from the shoreline. I am still hoping to visit them again someday, maybe next winter. If I’m lucky I can stay at their house again and not at an ocean front hotel in the tsunami zone.

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Related item: The Ameri…

People I May Know

I stumbled onto an interesting part of Facebook tonight called “People you may know.” This feature now lists a link and profile picture for everyone you may know. The reason you may know them is apparently because you have mutual Facebook friends. I was surprised by how many hundred people I may know (and don’t, by the way) as well as who they are.

I did look at every name and picture. The list includes people I used to work with and like and people I used to work with and, well, don’t like. I saw former networking contacts, executives who have interviewed me for jobs (and did not hire me) and two former managers who I’m not sure I want to keep in touch with.

The lengthy list informed me that I may know some famous people like a guy that owns two local professional sports teams, for example, and the Governor of Maryland. I don’t know either but maybe I should “friend” them. Apparently I may also know a few attractive local female TV reporters; I would like to meet them but isn’t that…

Women: Good News Bad News

Yesterday (March 8) was the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. According to a press release I received from a local Senator, this day celebrates “the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future and is a day to recognize the obstacles that women still face in the struggle for equal rights and opportunities.”

Celebrating women is a good thing, in my opinion, but why should we set aside a special day to celebrate women? Shouldn’t we do that every day? Setting aside a specific day to honor women seems to indicate that women are not yet considered equal to men; if they were, then there would be no need to set aside a day to honor something we should consider the norm anyway. There isn’t an International Men’s Day, is there?

My opinion: women and men are different but they are definitely equal. I am not saying this to impress any women; I truly believe it. The first time I had a female boss was decades ago when I was in college. The two best ma…

Dream Quote Randomness

A good friend got good news today about something she has dreamed about and struggled to achieve for years. She has a long way to go before reaching her career destination but this first step is a big one and her persistence has a lot to do with getting to this point. Even in the face of many obstacles she stuck with the dream and that tenacity has begun to pay off.

We’ll toast the good news next time we see each other, but meanwhile here are a few quotes about the power of dreaming.

Dreams are like stars … you may never touch them, but if you follow them they will lead you to your destiny.
- Unknown

Dreams are illustrations … from the book your soul is writing about you.
- Marsha Norman

There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality, and then there are those who turn one into the other.
- Douglas H. Everett

So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.
- Unkno…

Mardi Gras Lagniappe

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Lagniappe, pronounced LAN-yap, is a common Louisiana word and custom that means ‘something extra’ at no extra charge, sort of like a baker’s dozen (13 or something instead of 12). Here is some musical lagniappe to help celebrate Mardi Gras today.

There are several songs by New Orleans artists that boomer-age New Orleanians associate with Mardi Gras. These three are my faves because they embody the spirit of the day and are done in a style unique to that town during the years of my youth. Enjoy!





Your Inner Yat

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Mardi Gras is tomorrow (Tuesday) in New Orleans and I was thinking about that goofy town where I grew up. Here are a few observations.

How are you, what’s up, how yoo dooin’ and wazzup are typical American English greetings, questions that do not necessarily need an answer, faux interrogatories that are used in the same way as the words hello or good morning. A typical greeting in parts of New Orleans is where y’at. It is used in the same way as the others but is unique to New Orleans.

Sometimes people from New Orleans refer to each other as yats. I have lived away from New Orleans for long enough that most of my accent is gone; I didn’t have that much of one anyway. I don’t remember if I greeted my friends with 'where y’at' but the term was so ubiquitous there when I was growing up that it does roll off my tongue easily when I say it to make an example or to mimic the New Awlins dialect.

Yat is interesting enough to some people that it is the subject of detailed study. As I be…

Politics and Busting

The situation in Wisconsin annoys the hell out of me. The Governor claims that he has to bust the unions to meet his budget. I think he just wants to bust the unions, period. How dare he! The right to bargain collectively is one of the sacred rights of American workers, in my opinion.

Doesn’t this jerk realize that those union members are citizens of his state? They are voters. They are the people who make his government work. Some of them probably helped elect him. If he believes that the current collective bargaining agreement is hurting his ability to meet his budget, then he negotiates. It’s that simple. He works with the union to make things happen and the union has the same obligation to work with him. Busting the union should be out of the question. The whole purpose of collective bargaining in that situation is to prevent exactly what he is trying to do: take away rights. The big, bad government is trampling on the individual citizens in the same way large corporations used t…

Dig That Crazy Beat

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If you play music, you know what a time signature is.  The typical song is in 4/4.  It's counted as 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4.  Waltz or some western swing is in 3/4 time ... 1-2-3, 1-2-3.  But this song, one of the most famous jazz compositions ever, is in 5/4 time ... 1-2-3, 4-5, 1-2-3, 4-5.  Very cerebral.  Very cool, daddy-o (to borrow phrasing from the era).  Enjoy.  Follow along if you can.

Worth Repeating

This quote lives in the left column of this blog but I'm featuring it today because I think it is worth repeating.  I want this to be how I describe my own life and every day I get just a little bit closer.

Live like there's no tomorrow,
love like you've never been hurt,
and dance like no one's watching.


-- Unknown

Positive Quote

"Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behaviors. Keep your behaviors positive because your behaviors become your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny"


--Ghandi

Just Positive Stuff

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I've been posting plenty of frustrating and negative depressing things lately. Let me change that, at least for awhile.

Today is the start of 'meteorological spring.' The weather forecasters call this the beginning of spring but the 'official' start is March 22nd, which is only 22 days away. Spring is a great season because it signals the end of dark, cold winter. There is rebirth and color all over the place, which serves as the ultimate photo opportunity.

I'm going somewhere soon, for just a few days, to either mountains or beaches. It's a pattern-changer that will involve one of my favorite non-work passions: photography. First choice is mountains because they are more colorful.

Staring at women's breasts is apparently healthy for men, possibly adding years to a man's life. That story, claiming to be from a medical study, keeps popping up; I saw it again this week. And you wonder why I think I'll live to be 100.

If I thought the truck in …