Thursday, November 17, 2011

The George Bush Library.......

OK, I'll be completely up front on this:  I don't like politicians.   They are sneaky and untrustworthy and they prevaricate.  That means they lie.  I like George Washington and Abe Lincoln.  They were pretty honest and cared more about the country than anything else.

Now before I launch into today's topic, let me say in all honesty that I have nothing personal against George W. Bush.  It seems he did the best he could while he was prez, and everyone says he's a nice guy.

He Got His Wife To Sign It For Him  

But when I received a mailer from him yesterday asking me (ME???) for money for his new Presidential Museum and Library in Dallas, Texas, I could only shake my head in disbelief. 

What chutzpah.  What kahunas (as we used to say in Texas).  Or, as the Cowardly Lion exclaimed in "The Wizard of Oz", "Oh, the noive!!!"

I mean, like all politicians (especially after they have been in office a short while), he is quite wealthy.  Of course, he comes from a family of wealth. 

But he has no problemo asking yours truly for coin. In fact, in his letter, he asks for a donation of at least $25.  Gee, I don't
think so, Mr President....

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Holiday Stress.......

Ahhh, yes---the holidays.  "The best time of the year", as the song goes.......

Maybe not....... 

For many folks, it is the absolute worst time of the year.  I speak with a modicum of authority. 

In a previous life, when the holiday season approached, the  dysfunction that epitomized my extended family kicked into action.  This occurred for decades, in one form or another, turning the last three months of each year into a sea of chaos and frustration.

Have a holly-jolly Christmas!

PAST EXAMPLES:   My wife wants to have Christmas dinner at our house this year.  We went to my mom's house last year.  My mom says that is OK, but she wants to bring the pumpkin pie because my wife always makes the dessert and my mom thinks her pie is best.  My wife gets PO'd at the suggestion that her pie is somehow inferior, gets her back bowed and takes a stand that she WILL be making the dessert and my mom and dad are to show up, be nice and leave.  It is, of course, up to me to mediate both sides.  This is not easy, even over over a petty matter like this, because everyone in my family has an ego.

Then there is the matter of uncle Joe insisting on giving our youngest child a gift that my wife has already bought.  I explain this to uncle Joe, but uncle Joe is firm in his stance that the gift should come from him.  I am again caught in the middle, and I ain't happy about it.

Then, wife decides that the children should be showered with gifts (that they don't need or even appreciate) that have to be constructed with screws, washers, bolts, nuts and widgets that are supposedly included with the purchase.  And yet, amazingly, after all these years, I have never seen a package with the correct tools to construct the gift.

OH, Ho the mistletoe!---Kiss 'er once for me!

Grandpa has decided that no one is to buy a gift for him this year because "there isn't anything I need and it would just be a waste of money."

Problem with that is twofold:  his d**n gifts are already purchased, and it is going to be awkward for everyone else to be opening gifts while he just sits there.

Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh!

My wife wants to have Christmas dinner at 4:00.  I want to eat at 6:00. My mom says 2:00 is when they expect to be served.

At Thanksgiving, there is always big trouble over when we eat because dad is going to watch the football game and is not budging from his recliner until the game is over.  Then, with everyone starving and ready for food, he says after he has his two vodka and sodas, we can eat.  Behind the scenes, the bickering is of biblical proportions.

The kids got so much "stuff" for Christmas that they appreciate very little of it.  In fact, they gripe about what they didn't get. 

Gotta return about five gifts (returns are sooo much fun!) because they were the wrong size or wrong model or wrong color or defective or whatever.

Frosty the snowman was a jolly, happy soul.......

I can't wait for January 2nd.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Proper Education.......

In thinking back over my life experiences, it seems to me that I was exposed to a pretty good, all-around education.  Did I make the most of it?  No.  I was too darned immature to study or take anything very seriously until I was several years out of college.  By then, of course, I was working a job, and any further education came at my own expense.  Sometimes, that is the best way to learn something---on your own, with motivation coming from within.

When I began thinking of what a young person of 22 years should know before they enter the wild and wooly world, I was pretty surprised to discover how looooong my list was becoming. I originally thought there might be a dozen or so subjects.  But, in my mind, subjects just kept coming to me that I couldn't ignore.

See what you think (this list is designed for American students ages 5 through 22).......

---English and English Literature, every year, including Grammar, Punctuation, Poetry,Writing, Shakespeare, Literary Giants, etc...

---Mathematics, every year, including fractions, percentages, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, geometry (1 year), algebra ( 2 years)

---Four years of World History

---Six Years of American History

---Four years of Geography

---Two Years of Astronomy

---Two Years of Military Science

---Four years Foreign Language

---One year each Biology, Geology, Sociology, Chemistry

---Two years of Psychology

---One Year of Probability (Statistics)

---One Year of Political Science

---Two years of Art Appreciation

---Six years Public Speaking

---Four years of World Religions, with emphasis on one's preference

---Ten years of Manners and Social Etiquette

---Two years of Culinary Arts, including Nutrition

---Twelve years of Physical Fitness, including emphasis on team and individual sports

---Four Years of Music, Musical Instrument and Choir

---One Year How to Dress for Business

---Twelve Years of Computer Skills

---Two Years of Dance

---Classes on Understanding Chess and Poker

---Classes on Human Physiology and Sexuality

---Classes on Driver's Education

---Classes on First Aid

Give me your thoughts!  Agree?  Disagree?  What did I leave out?  What should I have included?

Friday, November 11, 2011


Oh, those priceless moments at 3:00 AM!

As I laid there in my semi-conscious stupor, contemplating the best position for additional sleep, the words to a song came to me from long ago.  Strangely, I remembered the lyrics and tune to the song, which I first heard circa 1964 on an album by the singing group, The Lettermen.

The name of the song is "The Whiffenpoof Song"; and, although I loved the tune and the harmony, I never understood the meaning.

So, after all these years, the question again popped into my mind---What does the song mean?

When I arose I immediately Googled this subject.  Here are the results of my search (and HEY!----I LEARNED SOMETHING TODAY!)

---A Whiffenpoof is an imaginary or indefinite animal, e.g. "The Great Horned Whiffenpoof"

---The Whiffenpoof Fish that forms the subject of a piece of comic dialogue in Victor Herbert's 1908 operetta, "Little Nemo"

---The Whiffenpoofs, the Yale University singing group founded in 1909 and named after the imaginary beast in Herbert's operetta

The A Capella Whiffenpoofs of Yale sing "The Whiffenpoof Song" as a traditional closing number in their performances.  The song was first published in 1909.

"Mory's" refers to Mory's Temple Bar.  "Louis" refers to Louis Linder, a former owner of the bar.

The chorus is from the poem "Gentlemen Rankers" by Rudyard Kipling.

The Whiffenpoofs tour all over the world and sing a variety of A Capella songs.

The Whiffenpoof Song

To the tables down at Mory's
To the place where Louis dwells
To the dear old Temple Bar we love so well
Sing the Whiffenpoofs assembled with their glasses raised on high
And the magic of their singing casts its spell

Yes, the magic of their singing of the songs we love so well
"Shall I Wasting" and "Mavourneen" and the rest
We will serenade our Louis while life and voice shall last
Then we'll pass and be forgotten with the rest

We're poor little lambs who have lost our way
Baa baa baa
We're little black sheep who have gone astray
Baa baa baa

Gentlemen songsters off on a spree
Doomed from here to eternity
Lord, have mercy on such as we
Baa baa baa......

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Knowing When To Quit.......

Did you ever give much thought to when you should stop doing something you love?  Maybe it is something you have devoted your life to.  Maybe it is something that has become a part of your personality and it is really difficult to let it go.

In the sports world, we see it all the time.  A great player begins to experience diminished skills as he/she ages but cannot stop trying to compete.  Sometimes it becomes an embarrassment. 

But, we see it in the business world as well.  A great performer begins to "lose it" as far as success goes and is nowhere near as effective as he/she once was.

In my case, I finally saw, at age 65, that I wasn't getting the results or the satisfaction from my job that I did for many years.  I was stressed beyond measure.  I prayed about it.  I asked God to tell me what to do.  He indicated to me that I should thank Him for the many great years I had in business and I should retire.  I did---even though I didn't feel comfortable financially.  It was one of the best decisions I ever made.

I will mention two current examples of well known personalities who have struggled with this issue and gone in different directions:

---Pat Head Summitt ---Famous basketball coach of the University of Tennessee Lady Vols

---Tony LaRussa ---Famous major league baseball manager

In the case of the legendary Ms Summitt, a coach who has achieved unparalleled sucess over 38 seasons, she was diagnosed with "early onset Alzheimer's dementia" earlier this year. 
Pat Summitt
She has brought immense pride and success to the University of Tennessee over her career---a gaudy winning percentage of .843; 16 conference championships; 8 times named coach of the year; and 8 national championships.

After it was announced that she is afflicted with dementia, I naturally assumed she would step down as head coach and turn the program over to a successor.  But, no.  She has stated she will stay on at least three more years. 
Tony LaRussa
As for the equally legendary Mr LaRussa, a head coach who has managed 32 years in the major leagues, he recently announced his retirement following his team's (St Louis Cardinals) World Series victory in October.  He is going out a winner while on top of his profession....achieving 2,728 major league victories spanning three teams.

When do you KNOW it's time to quit?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Personal Grooming........

Women know a whole lot more about this topic than I, a mere man.  I mean, women always seem to look so much more wholesome than we guys do most of the time.

But, it struck me yesterday as I was attending to one of the endless tasks that must be performed on oneself at regular intervals that an awful lot of time is consumed while taking care of personal hygiene and grooming.

Daily bathing
Brushing of teeth
Fingernail clipping
Toenail clipping
Trimming of excess hair on eyebrows, nose and ears
Deodorant application
Moisturizer application
Hair trimming and styling
Daily exercising

This is a partial list, to be sure.  When I think of what women go through with their makeup and such I tremble at the thought. 

And I haven't even addressed the labor associated with the cleaning and pressing of clothing.  How do we even have time for anything else in life?

Excuse me now---gotta go brush my teeth.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Lowest Form of Life.......

I abhor the thought of serious felonies being committed.  Murders and other acts of violence are terrible to ponder, but at least I understand how they can occur.

On the other hand, I have no earthly idea how a human being can sink so low as to take candy out of the mouths of their own children.  There must be a special place in hades for folks like that.

As is often the case in these strange stories, the location of this serious crime is right here in east Tennessee in the friendly burg of Oak Ridge.

As reported today by Kevin Saylor in the Knoxville News-Sentinel, the feds have been called in on the case and the thieving mother is under serious charges.  I'm sure, however, that her children will be emotionally scarred for life.

Senior U.S. District judge Rita Whitt commented at the hearing that "It's a sad day when a mother slowly siphons away candy from her own flesh and blood."

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Rites of Passage.......

School started a couple of months ago, and I was thinking last night about how women cry up a storm when their children reach "school age".  I never quite understood it.  That first day of school is quite traumatic for most young mothers.  My gosh---my parents were pretty happy to have a few hours of peace and quiet when I started going to classes.

But I digress.  This post is supposed to be about rites of passage.  And that first day of school is certainly a signifcant one in the lives of parents and children.

But, there are many different rites of passage, aren't there?  I always tended to think that rites of passage were pretty much confined to youth---you know, Bar Mitzvas and engagements and weddings and such.

But ROPs continue throughout our lives.......until that final ROP that we all experience.

There are:

First Job Interview
First Job
First Time you Got Fired
First Surgery
Death of a Loved One

What are some other ROPs you can think of?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Night.......

Daughter Lucinda---Lookit Those Fangs!

Zombie Grandson Canyon

Witch Cindy is Ready for halloween!

Son-In-Law Tracy!!!
Glad They're Not Neighbors!
That's Right---Pizza for Din-Din

Look Into My Eyes.......