Showing posts from January, 2012

Nuthin’ But A Number, Sort Of

Over the past few years I’ve made tremendous progress with the few personal issues I have, but I’m still not comfortable revealing my age. That is almost my only remaining issue. If you’ve known me 35 years or more, then you know the number. If you’ve known me less than ten years, you probably don’t know it; I’ve made one exception to that and sometimes I regret that. Sorry, it’s complicated.

I’m usually the first to point out that age is just a number, but age discrimination runs rampant in our society, in my opinion, and that is especially true in my profession (media). Of the hundred or more full time employees in my division of my company, only five or six of us are over 50. The very top boss isn’t out of her 30s yet. People make too many assumptions, wrong ones, about age and I refuse to be caught in that trap.

Sadly, age paranoia is something I learned from my Mother. She wouldn’t even tell me and my sister her age; we found out when she was in her 50s because of something writte…

You Do Know How To Whistle

OK, I admit it: I’m a bit of a geek about old movies, especially Bogart movies. I was in a film club in high school and we spent time analyzing movies. Movies made in the Bogart era, mid 1930s to mid 1950s are stylistically different from movies made in the mid and late 1960s, which are much different than movies made today.

Each style has its merits and represents in some way the general social tone of its era. Today’s films show off technology and often seem made for sequels, with endings that tease another chapter in the plot line. Many movies made in the 1960s do not have happy endings; Cool Hand Luke is a pretty good example of that. Movies in the Bogart era mostly made some point and most ended with some hero winning some kind of battle or walking away into the sunset, metaphorically at least; Casablanca comes to mind. That is simplistic analysis but you get my point.

Casablanca is my all time favorite movie. I’ve seen it at least twenty five times and have read many books and …

Slight Correction

I made a mistake in my previous post. The primary is Tuesday.

That Guy Again

I was tempted to post this after hearing the results of today’s Florida primary, but why wait?

In case you hadn’t figured this out yet, I think Newt is a ridiculous phony who would be dangerous for the country if elected President. One part of me actually wants him to be the Republican candidate because that would guarantee Obama’s re-election. But another part of me wants the election to be about fair choices between two decent candidates.

You also know I voted for Obama last time and although it is not a certainty, it is likely I’ll vote for him again. My biggest disappointment with him has been his lack of standing up and fighting. However, it looks like he’s warming up to that idea. I read this earlier in the week (sorry I don’t remember where):

Obama also pushed back on Gingrich’s oft-repeated “food stamp president line,” saying, “I don’t put people on food stamps. People become eligible for food stamps. Second of all, the initial expansion of food-stamp eligibility happened under…

Please explain this to me ...

It has taken me ten minutes to navigate the "new" Google/Blogger/Gmail/YouTube login just to get to this page ... and it would have been longer if I had the time to read all the new allegedly simplified policies.  All I wanted to do was see if a friend was successful in posting a comment; she has had trouble getting to that part of my blog.  Now I know why.

I am not resistant to change.  I don't have a problem with the same company owning most of my online life ... i.e. Google, Blogger, Gmail and You Tube ... I have some kind of presence on all of those ... BUT I want simplified things to be simple.

Google People ... in case you don't know this, there are other search engines, other blog sites, other email services and other video posting sites.  You own a lot but you don't own it all.  If I was trying to make money using any of your products, I would be seriously exploring other options right now.  Just saying.

Interesting Quote

All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on

- Henry Ellis 

Questions 5

And the last in this series ...

Do you care who wins the Super Bowl this year?

Do you follow any teams? Why? City pride? Sexy athletes? I follow some teams and mostly for city pride. I've lived in six different cities so sometimes it is tough to pick one over another. My current faves are Washington DC teams, partly because that's my current home town; or more like home region. I still like the Cowboys, the Packers and of course the Saints, my original hometown team. I lived in Chicago too but not long enough to love a team. I like the Baltimore Ravens too but they came into existence after I moved away (a whole 35 miles). Teams tend to have interchangeable players and sometimes interchangeable cities. Before Baltimore had the Ravens they had the Colts, who are now in Indianapolis. The Washington Nationals used to be the Montreal Expos before they became DC's first major league baseball team since the Senators became the Texas Rangers decades ago. So who is your team??

Questions 4

Would any of the current Republican candidates be a good president?

On Sunday I watched the entire Meet the Press and heard commentary about the election. Consensus of those panelists is that Newt won't be the nominee. My real takeaway, however, was the positive feeling I have about a popular Repub who is not running ... New Jersey governor Christie. He's the guy to watch in the future.

Questions 3

Is your attitude about snow different when it happens in November than when it happens in January?

A friend posed this question as I was text-whining about snow last weekend. Hmmm. It always snows here in Maryland during January but it doesn't snow in November every year. It did snow here last November and I was probably whining about it. Does it snow in November where you live? In January? At all?

Questions 2

Are you afraid of dying?

The older you get the closer you are to the only certainty in life: death. Family members start dying, maybe friends too. You start to see the reality of mortality. Does that make you fear your own mortality? Why? Sometimes that thought scares me to death, so to speak. I think it is because there is so much more life to live. I'm just not done yet. And hopefully I have plenty of time left. Your thoughts?

Questions 1

I'm doing a series for the next few posts. Here is the first one.

Where do you buy gasoline? 

Do ads touting the qualities of various brands influence your decision?  Or do you choose the gas station on the right side of the street with the low price?

Newt? Seriously?

So THIS is who the conservative, evangelical, tea party, righties of South Carolina want to run our country? The guy who while publically criticizing President Clinton for having an affair was having his own affair at the same time? The guy who as Speaker of the House CAUSED the government gridlock?

I can write off one state, but heaven help us if voters in other states pick this sanctimonious phony too.


I love most music but my favorite is blues. A legend of that genre died today. Etta James had a powerful voice and this signature song from early in her recording days makes that point.  Enjoy.

Float like a butterfly

Muhammad Ali turned 70 this week. He has lived with Parkinson's disease for nearly half his life. He won many fights during his boxing career but this is a battle he will never win.

Back in the 1980s I had never heard of Parkinson's; then my Dad was diagnosed with it. It started with a small occasional shake in his hand. Over the next fifteen years it robbed him of his hobbies, his retirement, his self esteem, his mobility and his smile. Eventually it killed him.

Seeing a recent photo of Ali brought a flood of memories back ... thoughts of how vibrant he was during his career, like my Dad, of his sneaky sense of humor, like my Dad's, of how some of those characteristics peeked through the progressively worsening disease, again like Dad.

Some negative health issues are preventable or manageable but others like

Parkinson's are not. There is no cure, although there is a little progress in managing symptoms. It helps when famous people like Ali (and Michael J. Fox and J…

Some Stuff

- Yesterday a co- worker said to me, "Aren't you too young for cataracts?" I said "Yes."
- I was in a meeting today with eight co- workers and I am pretty sure four of them have ADD. Is it contagious?  We have an agenda for the meeting and try to follow it oh look there's an ambulance what time does it start my ears get cold. 
- Is standing in front of a snack machine when you're on a diet anything like standing in front of a bar when you're an alcoholic?  Face the demon but don't succumb to the temptation. 
- Speaking of addictions, I heard recently that there might actually be something called iPhone addiction. I would believe that.  From personal experience. 
- I've lost the first few pounds of the twenty but it's taking more time than I had hoped. 
- This is the second post of assorted observations in which I didn't use the 'R' word (as in the name of this blog).  Sometimes I embrace a challenge.


I have been writing about my self-discovery journey for a few years. The project has been mostly successful, with just a few loose ends remaining. But I have been thinking about a companion project that is more like a reinvention.

I have a much better understanding about myself and the various beliefs and personality traits that make me me. A possible next step is to change the balance of those factors, specifically which ones I show. That might be just a little too much strategy. After all, I am who I am and anyone who is close to me eventually sees the whole picture. Part of the self-discovery was for me to see the whole picture myself and change some parts.

Have you ever gone through this yourself? Do you know who you are? What parts do you share? Do you want to be somebody else? Do you want to change the way others see you? Do your closest friends ever see the whole you?

I see myself as a moderately interesting man who leads a very interesting life. I make a good living, have a …

Timely Quote

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

There she is, Miss ...

I took a channel surfing break from football last night and stumbled on the Miss America competition. Wow, I haven't seen that in years. I used to watch it as a kid, before I could fully appreciate the result of watching fifty scantily clad females parading before my eyes. Mom, Dad, my sister and I would try to predict the winner.

On one hand, how could I not watch two hours of beautiful women today? On the other, why would I watch this obviously phony throwback to an era when women were objects?

Some contestants do actually go on to have careers that show off more skill and intelligence than what we see during the pageant. Some examples:

Vanessa Williams 1984 - singer/actress

Gretchen Carlson 1989 - Fox News anchor

Debbye Turner 1990 - CBS reporter

Leanza Cornett 1993 - actress/TV show host (Entertainment Tonight, Who Wants To Marry A Millionaire and dog shows on Animal Planet)

Delta Burke 1974 - Actress (Designing Women)

Phyllis George 1971 - TV host and anchor (CBS Morning News…

Oh Well

My New Orleans Saints got into the playoffs again, which is still relatively rare when considered over their whole time in existance.  But they lost tonight to the San Francisco 49ers.  The lead changed three or four times in the last four minutes, making it a very exciting game. 

And my lucky hat didn't help. 

Next year!  Geaux Saints!

Is It or Isn’t It?

3pm Friday:
“Hey, where is everybody? Oh, I forgot, the office closed early for the holiday.”

Monday is Martin Luther King Day, celebrated on the third Monday of January, close to the civil rights leader’s birthday. It was first observed as a federal holiday in 1986, a state holiday in many states over some time and observed by all states by 2002.

3:30pm Friday:
“See you Tuesday.”
“Tuesday? Don’t you mean Monday?”
“No, Monday is a holiday. See you Tuesday.”

But many businesses did not observe it as a ‘close the office’ holiday but rather as a floating holiday or an optional holiday for employees, along the lines of Veteran’s Day. I don’t remember when my company began to close the office for this day, but it doesn’t seem that long ago. I do know it’ll be closed this year and our offices were closed early today in honor of the three-day weekend.

So, do you think it is a holiday or not? And should it be? Or not?

Anyone alive in the first half of the boomer era knew of Dr. Martin Luther …

Assorted Thoughts

Normally I would use the word ‘randomness’ in the title of this post but a friend suggested that I stop using that word. I’ll take her up on the challenge, for now.

- I continue to be in awe of medical science, specifically with respect to eye issues. The sharpness and clarity of what I see through the eye I had surgery on is amazing. The word ‘focus’ in this picture is on a bulletin board above my desk at work and it is now actually in focus … through that eye … not through the other one.

- It’s kind of cool that my keyword for the year is ‘focus’ and the first major thing I did this year is have eye surgery.

- The New Orleans Saints are in the playoffs. Maybe they’ll be in the Super Bowl again. Geaux Saints!

- Only forty days till NASCAR season begins. This is the year I will finally get to a race … I hope. A new work friend has some very interesting access and he knows I’d like to join him on some of those adventures. Maybe I can be his photographer.

- This winter has been warmer t…

Education 101

A co-worker and I were having one of our regular winding, long-winded conversations the other day and at some point the topic turned to education. He was wondering why some states have education systems that are so much better than others. I mentioned that Maryland, where we are, is usually on any list of high quality education and the bottom of the list usually included Louisiana (my home state), Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas. Two of my best friends are products of Louisiana and Arkansas educations and they are pretty smart, so maybe lists don’t mean much.

By an interesting coincidence, I got an email today from a Maryland Congressman congratulating Maryland for coming out Number One on a just-published list of states with the best overall education systems. Yeah us! So I dug a little in search of the whole list. I was wrong about most of it.

The states I thought were at the bottom were not. Mississippi is close, at #45 and Alabama is #32. Louisiana is just above mid-point at #23…

Funny but Not Funny

Republican candidates in the primaries are providing great drama and comedy these days. I wish they were actually giving us truth and problem solving. I normally don’t care about Republican presidential candidates but this year is a little different.

I nearly always vote Democrat but that is not an automatic choice. I truly believed in Obama last time and I have not given up on him, but I am at least looking at options. Until recently there was exactly one acceptable Republican candidate but now I don’t know. First, my view on the UNacceptables. Bachman – geez, I am so glad she dropped out. This is not her time and maybe it never will be. Gingrich – Godfather of Gridlock. Come on, doesn’t anybody remember the shit that pompous hypocrite caused when he was Speaker of the House? A dangerous man to be Chief. It bothers me that there is even a chance. Perry – stay in Texas, dude, nobody outside of that state believes a word you say. Santorum – believable, but I don’t especially believe I …

Eye Sight

I am no rookie when it comes to understanding vision issues. For one thing, my Mother had eyesight problems for as long as I can remember and was nearly blind when she died. For another I have interviewed people on my radio shows who were experts on limited vision, including executives with Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind and an organization that provides reading services for those with vision impairments. My current experience with cataract surgery, however, has sharpened my view on the subject and given me a deeper perspective on how important sight is to our lives.

My surgery yesterday was successful. I now have 20/20 vision in the affected eye for anything further than three feet away. For the first time in more than ten years, colors are bright and crisp when viewed through that eye. The photographs on my photo blog look completely different to me now. The page I'm writing the first draft of this post on looks bright white on my computer monitor through one eye, muddy off-w…

Randomness Randomness

Randomness randomness randomness randomness randomness randomness randomness randomness randomness randomness randomness randomness randomness randomness randomness randomness randomness.

Private joke. Sorry.

Post-op Randomness

- Eye drops
- The whole surgery process was surreal and remarkably easy. Vision won't be great for several days or even weeks but there are moments where focus is clearer than it was with glasses. I'm very optimistic. 
- I'm also bored but that's ok. Taking it easy at home today and tomorrow. Might be back at work as early as Wednesday. Wow. 
- I should buy stock in eye drops companies. 
- News, soaps or Law & Order reruns?  Choices choices.  
- Couldn't have food or drink after midnight so the first thing I did when I got home was make coffee and lunch. Yum. 
- Someone I know who had this surgery said colors get vivid, especially blue and white. She was right. Hard to believe
- I was worried early on in this process because this eye place misspelled my name three times. But other than that everything was great. Good staff, nurses and doctors and everybody explained each step before, during and after. 

All for now   More later.

Pre-op Randomness

- My eye surgery is tomorrow and I'm chilling at home getting ready. 
- I can't have alcohol today. No wine. Ugh. 
- Eye drops, eye drops, eye drops. I was warned. 
- I am surprisingly calm, despite my obsessive personality, my lack of experience with medical procedures because I never get sick and the fact that I hate anything in my eyes so much that I've never worn contacts. 
- Eye drops. 
- On a somewhat related  note, the first  week of my diet has been mostly successful. I only hit the vending machine once and I have been reading food labels looking for fat and sodium information. 
- Oatmeal has sodium. Geez. 
- Saints won last night, which put me in a good mood. Good moods are good for good health. 
- Eye. 
- Drops. 
- There are risks involved with cataract surgery but they are small. Everyone I know who knows anyone who has had this claims success. You know I am an optimist. I'll be fine. 
- Wish me luck anyway. Positive vibes help.

2 Days

You know what I'm talking about.

3 Days

Three days till my surgery.  Surprisingly I'm not nervous ... too busy to think about it.

Diet? WTF?!

I was a skinny boy until after puberty, at which time I was a skinny man. I am 5’11” tall now and that was my height in 8th grade. Back then I weighed 150 pounds and stayed at that weight well into my twenties. My normal adult weight through my thirties and early forties was just under 180, which is normal for my height. For much of the past five, OK ten years I have tipped the scales near 200, sometimes a couple of pounds over that magical, frustrating number with zeroes in it.

During that same ten-year period three different doctors told me to lose weight, ideally twenty pounds. Three times I lost ten; three times I gained it back. This year I will lose the twenty and keep it off. You can hold me accountable to that statement. I will.

I made this promise to myself a few weeks before entering the New Year’s resolution zone and did a fairly good job of not overindulging during the holidays. Now I have resorted to reading labels. Ugh. Low sodium, low fat, low cholesterol blah blah blah…


I'm in a writing mood but too tired to elaborate on anything.  There is plenty out there, of course ... Iowa caucuses tonight should leave plenty of bullshit and comedy, my mostly successful day with a diet, my new self-imposed work hours that have me leaving home around 6am and my upcoming eye surgery.  But I am tired and it's already bed time.  So I'll just share this cartoon. 

The 50-yard Line of Life

Many boomer men are thinking about/obsessed with making a mark with their lives. They wake up on their 50th birthday and realize they’re first-and-ten and less than fifty yards from the end zone. Pass or run?

Some hit a mid-life crisis of sorts, with the stereotypical red sports car, girlfriend half their age, career change, etc. The rest of us just think about the future and the meaning of life. Also typical, I guess. Nobody knows the meaning of life but some of us want to find meaning and purpose in our own lives.

That might be part of why I am on the verge of big changes in my own life. I see the end zone but I think a lot still is ahead in the next forty or fifty yards. I want to do something important; I want to have a positive impact on other people’s lives, strangers as well as friends. Most of all I want to be remembered. I want someone to miss me when I’m gone.

Bucket lists come out of this kind of thought process. I commented on mine in a recent post but the list is longer t…

New Year Randomness

So here are a few random things floating in my head tonight:

- I’m listening to classical music right now, specifically Handel’s Concerto No. 1 in B Flat Major. It is complex, upbeat, interesting and relaxing all at the same time. It is a peaceful auditory backdrop for the visual cacophony of my cluttered home office.

- The biggest problem I face in reaching my goals is getting past procrastination. Case in point: my cluttered home office that I should have spent all day de-cluttering. I did other things instead. Maybe tomorrow.

- Photography is a passion but sometimes I take a break from it. I’m not sure why. My recent road trip provided numerous photo opportunities yet I shot only a few pictures and most with my iPhone and not my Nikon SLR. And I haven’t posted them on my photo blog or facebook yet. Procrastination again.

- Fortunately I have attacked my new fitness plan successfully. Doc said 30 minutes a day five days a week. I’m actually hitting that goal so far, including during…

Happy New Year