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Of Politics, Sports and Sex

OK, so there won't be a LOT on here about sex, but tell the truth, that's most of the reason you entered this site, right? So, I'll slip some things in from time to time just to keep you coming...back.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

There was a young woman...ah, fuggit!

So, many years ago, I was dating this girl and before long, it was clear to me that she was way more into me than I was into her. She was writing me weird love letters full of references and concepts I just really couldn’t make heads nor tails of and calling too often.
And I was way too nice (read cowardly) to tell her that I just wasn’t that into her. So I tried the usual guy approach which was to just not call or write back.
So one night, I was walking into a party with a buddy who was fully aware of my situation, and who should be in the doorway as we walked in, putting on her coat to leave but my young lady friend. So she saw me and ran up to me and gave me a big hug and asked if I’d gotten her letters, to which I said I had. And then she asked me what I thought of them and I paused, my mind racing, trying to decide to tell her the truth or to avoid it. Finally I made my decision. I said, "Your writing...your letters are like poetry to me!"
So after another even bigger, longer hug, she left and immediately, my buddy grabbed my arm and said “What the hell?! Why did you lie to her like that?! ‘Your letters are like poetry to me’?! You liar!”
I looked at him and smiled. “I wasn’t lying. I don’t like or understand poetry either.”
I know – it really wasn’t worth it, was it?

Monday, November 23, 2015

I am no longer burning, and hopefully neither is Paris.

Sooooooo much I keep wanting to write on here, and I always run out of time to give it the time it deserves, but I just have to get this off my chest.

And to go all Hank Kimball here, as I am so often wont to do, it's probably a good thing I didn't find the time to write this a few days ago, because it would have been a completely different post as I'll explain as long as I can kick my buddy Hank out of here, well, actually out of me, for now. I'm sure he'll be back, well, I'll be back, or maybe...(just watch the clip on the link above.)

Anyway, the big topic in the news since the Paris attacks last week has been the issue of whether we should allow or restrict Syrian refugees in coming to America. I was upset to see the Republicans quickly pass a bill seemingly restricting it (though arguably, the bill was pretty pointless from a policy or regulation standpoint).

And for a few days since it passed, I was pretty upset about it and feeling like more than ever, it was yet more proof that we have two Americas - dark red and bright blue. And if I had posted about this earlier than this morning, that would have been the gist of my post.

But as I thought about it more, I decided that this was such a missed opportunity for our legislators. When one looks past the sound bites, I really believe that we are actually all on the same side of this issue. Well, except for the racist fringe that was against the idea even before the Paris attacks.

We all want to feel compassion for those people fleeing the atrocities of an out-of-control civil war. People on the Right have only slightly less compassion on this issue than those of us on the Left. And we are concerned about the security issues as well, though not to the point of paranoia.

And this was a golden opportunity for the Republicans to pass that bill, emphasizing not the fist-pounding xenophobic fear mongering to keep people out, but how much they believe in the strength that immigration has brought to our country, not to mention how poorly we have handled it in the past, with Jews and the Irish as 20th century examples. And that this time, once certain security standards are met, we are going to do it right. We are going to throw open our doors to once again show the world that we take great pride in our Melting Pot society and show that we have no ill will toward Muslims or any peace-loving people.

And similarly, President Obama should have said the same thing, but emphasizing first that as President, it is his job to keep America safe, and that he will not allow one single (or married - yuk yuk!) person to come in to this country without 2 years of vetting by the greatest security system in the world.

And this afternoon, I had a perfect opportunity to tell my Congressman, Ryan Costello, exactly that point, particularly since he co-sponsored the House Bill I referred to above.

And he listened to everything I had to say and said "I agree completely. What should have happened was...well, exactly what you just said. The Republicans should have emphasized compassion and the Democrats should have emphasized security. Yeah...exactly what you just said."

OK, Hank and I are done...for now.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

And if their prayers are answered, would that person take the (newly) evangelical vote away from Ben Carson?

Considering I attend religious services almost every Sunday, maybe 3 of every 4 weeks anyway, it might seem hypocritical for me to say that I think this is really good news:
Pew Research Center study finds “U.S. Public Becoming Less Religious”: “An extensive new survey of more than 35,000 U.S. adults finds that the percentages who say they believe in God, pray daily and regularly go to church or other religious services all have declined modestly in recent years. The recent decrease in religious beliefs and behaviors is largely attributable to the ‘nones’ – the growing minority of Americans, particularly in the Millennial generation, who say they do not belong to any organized faith.”

That said, they should give this poll again come next summer, when we’ve narrowed down the Presidential race to Hillary Clinton vs Ben Carson. I’ll bet the number of people praying regularly goes up significantly, and all probably with the same prayer:
Give us a Third-party candidate!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Then we can get to work on controlling personalities - as long as it isn't mine

Okay, I just need to get this out there because it’s been weighing on my brain since my ride home from work last Thursday.

Why-oh-why must we all, when we get fed up with our (non-Apple) PCs, feel the need to control alt-delete?!

Why can’t we just let alt-delete be alt-delete?!

(Sorry – sometimes I just need a goofy little post like this one to get back on track on this blog.)

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Lucky guy, me

The wife of my good friend, Martin, asked his friends to send something in for her to put together to give him for his 60th birthday and she is giving it to him this weekend, don't you dare tell him about the post below (!), which was my love letter to Mar:
My memories of Martin Bradfield. Ah to be as eloquent and erudite as is my lifelong friend, Martin.

My memories of Martin are many and varied (your dad would have hated my switching tenses throughout – my apologies!):
-          Getting sunburned on the beach in New Jersey together

-          Martin being dared to try on one of my sisters’ bras as a teenager, and his accepting (it wasn’t a good look for him)

-          Going to many Phillies games together, including our first game Campbell Kids Day, where we saw the only Major League game ever started bya pitcher wearing sunglasses – Lowell Palmer. Phils lost badly, but we did get to see Richie Allen hit a “moon shot” completely out of Connie Mack Stadium

-          (a guaranteed way to get Martin to dissolve into hysterics…and me with him – get him to tell this story) Our convincing a friend – Dennis Moore – after he begged us not to, to pitch some batting practice to a bunch of us, and on the 2nd or third pitch, one of us drilling him with a line drive hit so hard, it left indents of the ball’s stitch marks on his stomach.

-          His explaining some theory of drumming to his Dad at the apartment in Charlestown and his Dad listening with such rapt attention that the house could have collapsed all around them and his Dad wouldn’t have stopped listening to his every word

-          Martin staying with me for a short spell at my apartment in Pottstown when he had no other place to stay and after he’d been there “long enough”, waking me up one morning in my grumpy state by announcing “Jame! Time to begin your happy day!”

-          Listening to a National Lampoon album over and over and over so we could practically say the routines word for word.

-          “Don’t be noxious!” “Hiyucatan!”

-          The McVickars and Bradfields driving to Cape May in time for the sunrise on a Sunday morning

-          Playing All-Star spin baseball

-          Seeing how many catches we could do consecutively until we got bored and never came back to it. (I think we stopped at 500)

-          Playing “touch” football with poor David

-          Seeing how much Trevor adores him

-          Arguing politics over beers for close to 4 hours at a brewpub in Devon but never getting upset or feeling like our friendship was in any kind of danger

-          Watching Martin eat 10 hot dogs at one Phillies game…or ok, maybe that was me…or so Martin would have us believe

-          Martin coming all the way up to Maine for Cheryl’s and my wedding

-          Watching Martin fall in love with drumming as a young teen and drumming his fingers on anything in his reach, especially when listening in his earphones to a Bee Gees 8-track or cassette

-          Falling in love for real for the only time with Cathy!

-          Skipping organized activities at Camp Hilltop to organize our own activities
So that’s all I got off the top of my head. The memories come flooding back once I give them a chance to.

But those aren’t the first things I think of when I think of Martin. What I think of first is the value of a long time close friend, with me through lots of incredibly good, fun times and lots of incredibly unimaginably bad times.  But there throughout. The kind of friend I can go months, maybe even years at times, without being in contact with and then when we do get back together, chattering away like we’d just talked yesterday.
True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert island... to find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune; to keep him is a blessing.

-          Baltasar Gracian

And I am so blessed. Thanks, Mar, for so many great times. I love you, and I look forward to another 60 years of making great memories together.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Learn-up, people!

This is just too good not to post...thanks to the Daily Kos...although I admit all the snarky italicized comments are mine:

Things I Learned From Republicans in September:
  • If you work hard, you won’t have time to get hooked on drugs and that will solve all our drug-problem woes. (Rand Paul
(Which might suggest that Rand has never worked a day in his life to come up with this kind of crazy.) 
(And neither should people who have neglected to read the constitution.) 
  •  Charles Darwin came up with his theory of evolution at the behest of Satan. (Carson again)  
(I'll give him a pass on this one and just assume he was auditioning to replace Dana Carvey as the new Church Lady and this was part of his comedy routine.)
  • America should get back in the torture business. (Carly Fiorina
(Watching your campaign would certainly qualify.)
 (Which is why he prefers to stay in the party that votes like he means it.)
  • The discovery of water on Mars was faked by NASA. (Rush Limbaugh)
(With 4 wives and counting, he's probably used to spotting people who fake things.) 
  •  It's acceptable to walk into a classroom of seven- and eight-year-olds and coldly ask them, "Do you know what a nuclear weapon is? Do you know that there are schools that train children your age to be suicide bombers?" (Arizona Congressman Matt Salmon
(Doesn't appear he spent much time paying attention in school to be much of an authority on anything classroom-related.) 
(As opposed to whatever the heck her sentences can be identified as.) 
  • The Dred Scott decision is still the law of the land, so slavery is still on the books. (Mike Huckabee
(Sounds like the typical Republican "What the heck do we know - we're making this up as we go?!) 
  • To appeal to Latinos, just leave 'em a little tip when you check out of your hotel. (Gov. John Kasich
(I'm sure they have a few tips for you as well, sir, on how best not to alienate millions of voters with one simple sentence.)
(As opposed to people who contort Jesus' teachings to fit their intolerant, hate-filled delusions.) 
  • Same-sex couples getting married is the same as gassing the Jews at Auschwitz. (Bryan Fischer, speaking for the American Family Association)
 (I'm just going to go ahead and hope this isn't possibly what the man really said and not even comment on it here.)
Well that was fun!
(For the sources, go to the original post here where the links are provided:

Monday, September 28, 2015


I keep holding off on posting things for a variety of lame reasons, so instead of lengthy wordy posts, I'll throw a few quick hitters down here:

 - Forget that post a few weeks back that I called "Handicapping America".  I keep trying to imagine scenarios where any of the current R candidates can win a race that SOMEone has to. Even though he still has a long way to go in the polls, I think it is High School Debate Captain Marco Rubio's race to lose.  Stay tuned next week when I change my mind again completely.

- And I still hope it's Kasich, or if not him, Jeb!? Bush. and you can call me all sorts of anti-women names for saying this, but Carly Fiorina annoys me more than all the other candidates combined. I sure hopes she is the R nominee!

 - I somehow became subscribed to Louise Hay's emails a number of months back, probably because I ordered one of Cheryl's annual Cmas presents from there, and the only reason I haven't unsubscribed is that I love the quotations they sometimes include in their various sales pitches. Today's was a good one:  

“What greater thing is there for human souls than to feel that they are joined for life – to be with each other in silent unspeakable memories.”
George Eliot

This describes the feelings I have for so many people I've loved and not communicated with, at least on a tangible level, in some cases for a decade or more.

- I didn’t post last week’s weigh-in total, though you can guess why – I was disappointed with the result…as I was today. So, I had started this whole thing at 208.6. Last Monday, I weighed in at 199.6 and today at 199.0. I know it isn’t bad, but I’m influenced a little by a rogue weigh-in on Saturday where I was 197.6. Damn Station Taproom truffle fries! And an apple-cider donut or 3 over the weekend.
Moral of the story - do weigh-ins on Saturdays from now on! (Or maybe stop eating donuts? 'Sif!)
- A rare sports reference here. The bad news is that the Iggles are 1-2 when many thought they’d be 3-0 at this point. Good news is the 3 teams they’ve played have a collective record of 7-2 so far and the Birds are only 1 game behind the hated Cowboys and have an easier schedule coming up.

- I watched far more of the Pope in Philly this weekend, well, just on Saturday, than anyone might expect. And I love the guy and everything he said here. I just wish he weren’t a hypocrite when it comes to loving and respecting gays and women. But these things too will change over time, I am certain.

- I am just loving that John Boehner resigned, not because he was such a bad guy, which he was, and wasn't.  But because it will further expose the extreme wing of the republican party (The Extremities?!). I expect their whole influence to implode on themselves and their party within 2-3 years, either in the 2016 elections or in 2018. I think (and hope) they'll do substantially more damage to their party and their cause than to the nation in the meantime.

- The beginning of the end for Donald Trump as front-runner of the R party. He's starting to make sense: "Donald Trump will unveil his tax plan at 11 a.m., calling for higher rates on the rich. On CBS’s “60 Minutes,” Trump told Scott Pelley from his 5th floor Manhattan penthouse that the tax plan would hike taxes on the wealthy while eliminating some “unfair deductions.” “What kind of Republican are you?” Pelley quipped. “I don’t want to have certain people on Wall Street getting away with paying no tax,” Trump replied. The real-estate mogul revealed that a “large segment of our country” (referring to the poor) would pay a “zero rate” and that middle-class and corporate tax rates would also go lower."

- I've enjoyed this new approach. If anyone has any pros or cons, let me know, please, either here or via email.


Friday, September 18, 2015

Besides, I like the new title of yesterday's post much better now anyway

So, for the first time in OPSaS history, I have made substantial edits to a post - yesterday's. Cheryl didn't like it one bit - the section about Race...or maybe both parts - she didn't say anything about my perky breasts reference. Wait, maybe I could have worded that better... she didn't say anything about my reference to perky breasts.

And even though I stand by my original thought, to just make it a one sentence post doesn't do enough to explain my thinking, and it is an issue that deserves a lot more thought and depth than one sentence can contain. So, thank you, Cheryl, love of my life, for bringing that to my attention for further consideration.

At lunch today, I read this article, which I believe represents both some proof of my deleted point yesterday, as well as Cheryl's which is just the opposite:

It's a very sad article, but also very hopeful and in some ways, uplifting, showing the African-American community addressing some of their challenges from within, particularly with a "March for Peace" at 10 a.m. Monday from Mount Airy Park through Germantown (

And also from the article, is this: "At noon Monday, the International Day of Peace, he will join with the rest of the world in a minute of silence and he will pray for peace."

Count me in, though frankly, chances are that I'll be in a dentist's chair at that juncture on Monday and won't be in much position to be especially chatty anyway.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

You think that's bad, imagine what my brain would have done if they had said that Pert and Turkey Breast was on sale

I wonder what age I was when I became less interested in turkey breast and more interested in perky breasts.

Sorry – I could have sworn they were saying that there was a sale at Acme all next week on perky breast, but turns out they might have said something else. I’m sure the radio announcer dude just has bad diction because certainly my mind would never work in a manner that would have come up with that on its own.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Plateaus suck - Boring weight loss update

I'm a little disappointed in that I "only" lost 1.6 pounds this week to get to exactly 200.0, but I had really hoped I'd go under 200. Musta been the damn potato chips I had at a company lunch...or two. Didn't have anything to do with the willpower of the guy eating!

Oh well, all the more fun to look forward to next week when I go under 200.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Handicapping America! The 2016 election.

Seems like as good as any to do some fun handicapping of the Presidential race, despite the fact that, as John Oliver pointed out a few weeks back, there will be babies born on Election Day, 2016, to parents who haven’t even met each other yet, so why should we even start discussing it yet.

But since there will be babies born 9 months from now to parents who will meet at a bar somewhere around 1am tonight, I won’t wait to be interested in the election…or to needlessly blog about it.

Just pontificating (if you live near Philly, you cringe any time you see the word “pontif” in a sentence, or even as part of a word, so I apologize to local readers).

So, as of yesterday’s CNN poll, here is the breakdown for the current Republican Presidential Nomination:

Trump 27
Carson 19
Bush 9
Cruz 7
Walker 5, Huckabee 5
Rubio 3, Fiorina 3, Paul 3
Kasich 2, Christie 2
Santorum 1, Jindal 1, Graham 1, Perry 0

First, the easy ones to eliminate:

Cruz, Huckabee, Christie, Santorum, Jindal, Graham, Perry

Somewhat sadly for Chris Christie, who I like on some levels, and not all of them related to our mutual love of Bruce Springsteen, ever since he walked arm in arm with President Obama after Hurricane Sandy, his chances of winning the republican nomination went to zero. Sadly, that would help him hugely in the general election, but he and we will never know for sure. And Ted Cruz at 7% and Mike Huckabee at 5% have no shot either.

I will eliminate them without second thought, but it isn’t obvious based on the above poll:

Ben Carson – if we are this far along and the only thing I know about him besides his, ahem, physical appearance is that he is a neurosurgeon and a born-again, well that tells me that most Rs don’t know much either. But he’s not a politician, and this year, that seems to be the #1 qualification…or lack thereof…that attracts potential voters.

That leaves these guys, who I’ll list in inverse order of their likelihood of being the eventual nominee:

Scott Walker – he is at 5% and fading fast. I was totally on board with him even just a month ago. He interviews so well and even gives good speeches, but he has fallen bigtime in Iowa, where he was leading not long ago. So he is no longer a top-runner.

Carly Fiorina – If I had done this list a month ago, she would have been in the first category. She has done well lately after the first debate and I think she will continue to climb, but I’m going to go ahead and agree with Donald Trump, even though he has since walked back his comments. And I sincerely believe that most Americans would say he exact same thing: 'Look at that face!' I’m sorry, but American voters are not willing to elect someone who is hard to look at, male or female. And to be blunt, she is not easy on the eyes.

Marco Rubio – there are people who still think he is one of the top 3 contenders and I just don’t see it. He looks and sounds more like the captain of the debate team than a President. That said, if he isn’t the Republican Vice-Presidential nominee, I’ll be shocked. Either him or Carly Fiorina. We can have a funny-looking VP, because we have just come SO far as a people in the 2010’s!

Donald Trump – I know – most people would have seen him way earlier on this list, and I would too a month ago. But I’m just starting to believe he even has an outside shot, unlike every one I’ve listed before him, though I’m still struggling on giving up on Walker. I just think voters of both parties are in a weird enough mood that it could possible happen, but still very unlikely, despite his big lead in every poll, in every state and even in the country.

John Kasich – Thought I forgot about him, didn’t you? I dunno – maybe it’ just wishful thinking that R voters will come to their senses on this guy. He is definitely not a moderate…but he is the most moderate, and frankly, the most electable, from my perspective.

And finally, the most likely, and you probably know how much I hate picking the guy everyone else says the same thing about:

Jeb! Bush – there are a LOT of Rs who don’t like him, and I can see why. Too thoughtful, too open-minded, too related to his brother. But he has the cash and is more electable than many of the others.

But seriously – Bush vs Clinton again? Like I said in the title above...with that choice, American will surely be handicapped for (4) years to come.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Oh sure, blame it on the dead guy

A bad week, weight-loss-wise. I gained a pound, probably due in part to the funeral of a classy, by-all-accounts-lovable, Irishman, whose awesome family threw a helluva lunch afterwards.

Other than that, I probably ate a little too many chicken tenders, french fries and hash browns at the various baseball games and lunches and breakfasts I went to with friends during the week, but if I believed that, I’d have to somehow blame myself, and we can’t have that.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

A simple, complex question

I wonder which is the most complex – our brains or the earth?

Both are way over my head in trying to understand them…or in it…or under it…unless I’m in a cave.

And of course, there's always the possibility that both are all in our head.

But that makes my head hurt.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Call it the Nizz-Nizz diet and we'll try to make a full book out of it...though maybe that Nizz part might look a little too familiar for some

Oh right…my update from the Monday weigh-in. Another good week – 2 more pounds, so 8 in 4 weeks and am now at 200 even. I won’t feel like I’ve made real progress until I’m in the mid 190’s but 8 lbs in one month is certainly commendable.

I think what I like best about it though is the discipline I’ve had in keeping to it. I really have been good about sticking to the No Sweets/No Snacks approach. It allows me to eat pretty normal meals, though Cheryl’s generally healthy cooking may be as important as the NS/NS aspect.

Monday, August 31, 2015

And then, you can race me to grab 2020 Hindsight before the election after that one

I watched the VMA’s last night, with the occasionally-attired Miley Cyrus as host…as pictured here for the purposes of increasing web traffic only:


It was one of the best VMAs in memory, I thought, though it was nice to have the fast forward option from my DVR recording for some performances (apologies to you Beleibers out there.)

But the reason for my post is the rambling and odd but entertaining speech by Kanye West…the most entertaining he’s been in many years, from my perspective. At the very end of it, he announced he’d be running for President in 2020, did a mic-drop and walked off the stage.

Why is that blog-worthy? Because I woke up at 3:05am, inspired and determined to contact a patent/copyright lawyer first thing in the morning, to secure the copyrights in advance of the next Presidential election after the one already in full swing.

The phrase to grab before any candidate, quasi- or otherwise?

Vote for _____: The only candidate with 2020 vision.

I got your mic drop right here, Kanye.




Tuesday, August 25, 2015

(But here's a shout out to my one other fan in West Chester!)

I'd feel self-conscious that my only post today is an update on my weight-loss process except that when I look at the list on the middle right-hand side of this blog that shows the locations of people who visit this blog, it shows that 8 of the last 9 people to visit are from Kennett Square, which is to say...the visits are from me.

Maybe proving what some people have already surmised – that I may be my biggest fan.

So, I’m at 202, having lost 6 lbs in 3 weeks.

Yay me.

Told ya.


Monday, August 24, 2015

Unless maybe we change as much as you wish we would when you are a teen

We, your parents, are neither as terrible as you think we are when you a teenager, nor as wonderful as you’ll think we were when we are gone.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Don't mock my macaque story!

In a staff meeting here at work yesterday, we were going down the project list when my boss mentioned that we were preparing for a new project down south called Gibraltar, and asked if any of our biologists had been there yet. I casually, but boldly, mentioned that I had.
“I’ve been to Gibraltar,” I said. “Went there on my (first) honeymoon. Got bitten by an ape.”
My boss, quickly recognizing that I was referring to a completely different Gibraltar than he was, laughed and said, “yeah, that’s not the Gibraltar I’m talking about!” and the conversation continued from there for a few minutes when suddenly, Matt, sitting next to me, said “Wait. You got bitten by an ape?!”
I laughed, thanked him and said, “Since the reality of my story is far less interesting that whatever you’re picturing, I think I’ll just leave the story right there.”
Everyone laughed and we got back to talking about the new project.
But for future reference, here is the story of the apes on the island of Gibralter, which to be more accurate are actually macaques, not apes (Oh, like YOU know the difference!):
And although my bite happened when I went to pet one on his head and just as I neared his head, he quickly turned, took a firm bite on (thankfully not from) my hand and went back to looking from his perch out at the ocean, it was not as bad as what happened to this guy.
The skin was broken and I kept checking it, oh, only about every 5 minutes the rest of the week to make sure there were no sudden tufts of hair growing out of my hand, but eventually it healed up and everything was fine.
(That’s the point where the few times I’ve ever told that story in person, I break into laughing like a monkey, scratching under my opposite arm.)


Which I bet you just did yourself.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Bet ya just can't weight to hear more about it! (Thanks for listening anyway)

Kind of a boring, totally self-serving post here, but I am going to resort to self-body-shaming as added incentive to lose weight.

After 2-3 months of vacation and lots of really, I mean REALLY good eating, I topped out at 208 lbs as of August 7th, I think it was, when I weighed myself for the first time in months. I don't have to look at the dumb government definitions of Obese to know that I'm there.

(OK, I peeked, and well, yup:

So as of that day, I started cutting back on snacks between meals or desserts of any kind and have, with the exception of this past weekend, done a really good job of it.

(except when my loving and thoughtful, and normally far-more-supportive wife brings me a home treat like this from the Reading Terminal Market.)

As of Monday morning, August 17th, after the aforementioned bad (read: yummy) weekend, I was at 204, so I'm at least headed in the right direction, with a looooong way to go.

My semi-realistic goal is 193...but once I get there, and plateau for awhile, I'll try to start up again to get into the 180s.

Two years ago, I did my best diet...excuse me, I mean lifestyle change...wait, that sounds like I'm switching gender or sexual preference, so uh, eating-style adjustment (?!) and with HUGE help from Cheryl in the form of an amazing unconventional reward program that probably isn't appropriate to describe to this blog audience, I did get down to 187, I think it was.

And goodness gracious, did I ever have fun putting that weight back on! 

So, I’ll weigh in once a week on our scale and then weigh in here with how it’s going until I get to at least 193.

Anyone wanna race me?!


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Hair's my question!

I wonder why we thank people after they tell us how much they like our haircut, as if we had stood in front of a mirror and cut it ourselves.

When we're at a museum with someone and they say how much they like a painting, do we say "Oh, thank you! Me too, though I wish he had made the coloring a little lighter."

Monday, August 17, 2015

I got your religion-based guilt right here, pal!

I'm a Quaker. The phrase "Guilty Pleasure" is redundant to me. If something gives me pleasure and isn't making the world a better place, then it makes me feel guilty.

Friday, August 14, 2015

It's a JOKE, people! (or is it?)

The way I figure it, one of the reasons Donald Trump is doing so well in the polls is racism.

The haters figure that if even Obama can be this incredibly successful, how bad could Trump be?

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Maybe happiness is just a warm memory

A Facebook page I am on posted this story, listing 40 great quotes from famous folks about happiness:

...and asked us to pick our favorite, and this is what I wrote:

I reached overload with about the 3rd one. I stayed with it for awhile though, long enough to realize there are as many in that list that I disagree with as I agree with.

I received great perspective on happiness in one of my first jobs out of Earlham, working with what we were then allowed to call mentally retarded adults. I lived in a home - a Community Living Arrangement - with 3 adult men of varing low levels of intelligence, who had been moved out of an institution called Pennhurst that was closed down by a judge. And all 3 of them taught me far more, I'm certain, than vice versa, even though I was paid for it to be the other way around.

This one fellow, Mark, built like a fire hydrant, was about 23 years old, had Downs Syndrome, and an IQ of about 50 maybe? He was, to this day, 35+ years later, the single happiest person I've ever met in my life. The only time, ONLY time, he didn't have a smile on his face was when someone scolded him for doing something he "knew" he wasn't supposed to do. Dude even smiled in his sleep.

So I read many of those quotations from Mark's perspective and thus a number of them failed me.

And I've often wondered what the value of intelligence is in relation to happiness. Sounds like one of those riddles:

Money doesn't buy it, and intelligence doesn't enhance it. What is it?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Asleep for too (perchance) to begin dreaming again

OK...I've left this blog alone for far too long now, and every time I think of something to write, I think, Well, that's not worth starting it back up again, so here is a mini-entry that I think is perfect to get things re-greased and flowing again:

"Dreams don’t work unless you do.”
John C. Maxwell
I love that.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

BPS (Boring Political Stuff) Alert (sorry)

These are all so good and so spot-on, I'm just going to combine these all into one post since there is so much good stuff here:

From George Will (!): Proponents of capital punishment are losing the debate. "Nebraska is not a nest of liberals. Yet on Wednesday its 49-member unicameral legislature passed a bill abolishing the death penalty 32 to 15. ... First, the power to inflict death cloaks government with a majesty and pretense of infallibility discordant with conservatism. Second, when capital punishment is inflicted, it cannot later be corrected because of new evidence, so a capital punishment regime must be administered with extraordinary competence. It is, however, a government program. Since 1973, more than 140 people sentenced to death have been acquitted of their crimes (sometimes by DNA evidence), had the charges against them dismissed by prosecutors or have been pardoned based on evidence of innocence." The Washington Post.

From The Atlantic: Policymakers knew at the time that Iraq wasn't a threat and the invasion would be risky. "No one ever again—not a news person nor a civilian, not an American nor one from anyplace else—should waste another second asking, 'Knowing what we know now, would you have invaded Iraq?' ... Leaders don’t make decisions on the basis of 'what we know now' retrospectively. They have to weigh evidence based on 'what we knew then,' in real time. ... The 'knowing what we know' question presumes that the Bush Administration and the U.S. public were in the role of impartial jurors, or good-faith strategic decision-makers, who while carefully weighing the evidence were (unfortunately) pushed toward a decision to invade, because the best-available information at the time indicated that there was an imminent WMD threat. That view is entirely false."

In Bloomberg today: A report concluded years ago that the Bush administration misrepresented intelligence officers' conclusions. "That report, from June 2008, found that President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and others used information from the intelligence community in public statements about Iraq but routinely glossed over uncertainties, some of which were significant. ... Administration officials’ statements about the link had no basis in analysts’ conclusions, while officials' repeated insinuations that Iraq would give terrorists WMDs to attack the U.S. actually 'were contradicted by the available intelligence.' The report also addressed the administration’s rosy predictions about postwar Iraq. ... Before the war, the intelligence community actually believed that '[e]stablishing a stable democratic government in postwar Iraq would be a long, difficult and probably turbulent challenge.' "

"After more than a decade bearing the political burden of Iraq, Republicans are making a dogged effort to shed it by arguing that the Islamic State’s gruesome ascent is a symptom of Obama’s foreign policy, rather than a byproduct of the 2003 invasion they once championed. ... The rapid move to shift responsibility is at the core of the GOP’s plan to define 2016 as a foreign-policy election. Anxious about demographic trends and the leftward drift of the electorate on social issues, many Republicans hope to seize on global unrest and offer voters a steady hand."
-- "At the least, it is an attempt to have Iraq seen as a shared failure, begun by a Republican president and a Republican-controlled Congress but inherited and fumbled by Democrats." (Washington Post)

In Vox today: Hillary Rodham Clinton has a plan to help small bankers. "Being for small business in American politics is like having a favorable attitude toward Mom or apple pie. But campaigning in Iowa this week, Hillary Clinton's thus-far policy-light campaign rolled out the germ of a small-business idea that has big implications: the federal government should help smaller businesses by showing more favorable treatment to small banks. ... The specific claim that the health of the community banking sector is critical for small businesses is a piece of longstanding conventional wisdom within the small business community, a point of pride for community bankers, and backed up by a fair amount of expert analysis. It is not, however, a point of universal agreement. ... Of course, a separate question is whether a financial model that disproportionately benefits smaller companies is good for the country overall."

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Brush with Greatness II - James Earl Carter

Eighteen years ago, when I was between jobs, I read in the newspaper, probably the Phila. Daily News, about an upcoming Volunteerism Summit to be held in a dicey part of North Philly, where volunteers would be asked to clean up pre-designated parts of the city for an afternoon.

I’d like to say that I just signed up to be helpful since I had a lot of free time on my hands, and I’m pretty sure that was an element of my decision to get involved, but included in the story was the news that President Clinton would be there as well, so I decided that this might be a good chance for me to spend some quality time with one of the greatest Presidents in this Nation’s history.

As it turned out, President Clinton wasn’t the only dignitary to attend. Arriving early, I was about 10-15 yards from the outdoor stage, where President Bill Clinton and wife, Hillary; President Jimmy Carter and wife, Rosalyn; President George H.W. Bush and (I think) his wife Barbara Bush; General Colin Powell; Nancy Reagan; and Vice President Al Gore and his wife, Tipper stood on April 27, 1997 at Marcus Foster Stadium.

(Links here or just Google “Presidents' Summit for America's Future”)
Once the hour or so of speechifying was finished, we were all sent to our pre-set assignments based on the color of the t-shirts we’d been handed upon our entry. I rode my assigned bus until they told us to get off, just 50 or so yards down the street from where I saw a large media crowd gathered around one particular work group.
Despite the protestations of an organizer who insisted, fruitlessly, that I stay with my group, I jogged up to the other group to see who the fuss was about.
And there being interviewed on CNN was my favorite all-time President, or if he wasn’t already, he has been ever since that day, Jimmy Carter.
And pushy wangler that I am, by mid-afternoon, I was literally elbow-to-elbow with the (ex-) President, painting an old building. Not surprisingly, my mind raced with things to ask him about, but I came up blank, except when he asked me my opinion on whether we should paint over one particularly artistic 3’ by 3’ area of colorful graffiti. After discussing the options, I demurred in my reply, but unsurprisingly, President Carter chose to paint around it, not wanting to whitewash, so to speak, a local child’s expression of artistry.
Later, we were given box lunches, and I ate on a stoop of a building there with Roslyn and Jimmy, who were constantly asked to pose for photos (pre-selfie days). True to his reputation, President Carter obliged each request though my two clear memories of that interlude were:
1 – When those making the requests were young males, he would pose and then go sit back down to eat. When they were attractive young college-age girls, he gave them all the time they desired, with Roslyn smiling and rolling her eyes as she watched.
2 – When the organizers asked us to finish our lunches to get back to work, and there were still people who wanted to chat and get pictures with the 73-year old President, he reminded them that we were all there to work, and he picked up his gloves and rake and got back to cleaning out an area strewn with trash.
A few years later, I went back to the site to see whether the graffiti was still there, and if the area was still as clean as we’d left it. The entire building the President and I had painted was gone…demolished with no tangible evidence of its existence, unlike the strong memories I have of that day that I hope will never leave me.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Maybe a benefit of an open mind is that it both lets in new thoughts but also lets some old thoughts spill out

This coming weekend, I am going camping with a bunch of Quakers – a couple hundred of them/us. Some fun, eh? It’s something I’ve been doing off, but mostly on, for close to 50 years, since it was held at Camp Hilltop in Downingtown, a camp than no longer exists except in our dulled, but fond, memories.
When I was a teenager and had to go to these camps, my friends Martin, Eric, Dennis, Chris and Brad, among others, made a fine art out of skipping the workshops and “fun” activities the parents had worked hard to organize to help teach us big issues about the world, probably involving lots of Peace, Love and Understanding. Our favorite trick was to walk in one side of the meeting hall, sign in, and then, while they were still signing kids in and getting organized, we would walk out the other side, at which point we would head for the ball fields or basketball court or just up to the woods for a while to lay low and talk about sports or girls, honing the fine art of exaggeration in both cases, no doubt.
But I digress…back 45+ years I guess. Fun while it lasted…both the digression and our times at Camp Hilltop, that is.
Anyway, that intro is to put in minor perspective, the irony that is the fact that this weekend when I attend the grandchild of Camp Hilltop, now held at a Brethren Camp out past Harrisburg, I will be hosting a workshop, not escaping from one.
The workshop I described in the brochure as:

2A “ Race Relations – Discussion to Action”

MAIN HALL, handicapped accessible

(Jamie McVickar, Downingtown)

We have been asked for decades to have a national discussion on race. This workshop will briefly be part of that, then we hope to spend a majority of our time developing ideas for specific actions we can take or lead others to get involved with. Please come ready with ideas, suggestions and an open mind, though not so open that things fall out.

My fear is that the discussion will take the form that every workshop on race issues has taken since I was in college, where a bunch of like-minded folks sit around wringing their hands over how terrible it all is, observing that It’s just terrible what those people have to go through every day, but what can we do?!

Two weekends ago, I attended a 4 hour session in West Chester, described as

Courageous Conversations: A Community's Effort to Understand and Overcome Implicit Bias

And it was courageous of them to put the program together but I was pretty disappointed in it. It consisted almost entirely of telling us things we already knew, primarily about the concept of White Privilege, a concept I see as real, but over-rated as a hindrance or benefit in any of our lives. I barely snuck it into my top 10 list of privileges when I was asked to make such a list at a similar event in Philadelphia month or so earlier.
Here was my quickly jotted list on a scrap of paper, with “privilege” being defined as a “right or unearned advantage” in no particular order:

 -         good health, despite needing to lose a pound or 30
  -        being born in the USA
  -        born to caring, loving parents who emphasized a good education
  -        an amazing, supportive, fun extended family
 -         relatively good finances, though I’d argue that’s probably earned, not unearned
 -         being raised a Quaker with good values
 -         an incredible wife and family of 7 or so, depending on one’s definition
 -         being born in the 20th, and now living in the 21st century
 -         a decent IQ (though I worked for many years with people in the double digits in their IQs and some of them seemed way happier than I'll ever be!)
 -         a particular skill set, or aptitude for numbers
 -         an ability for introspection and desire to work to be a better person
Ah right, and then there’s that whole being Born White thing. I may be na├»ve, but I believe that if I had been born as a Person of Color with the above same attributes, that I’d certainly have more challenges than I currently do, but not challenges that would be debilitating, and I believe my life would not be demonstrably worse than it would be if I hadn't been given the other things on that list. Oh, I am pretty sure I’d get pulled over by the cops more often though. And then maybe shot for no freaking reason, but I’ll call that an outlier scenario.

We were then asked at the conference in Philly to make a list of ways we can use our privileges to address racism, and I came up with this list:
-         witnessing – in the Christian sense. Fight it; recognize it; Define it; point it out when you see it; don’t allow it.
-         Educate kids, family and friends
-         Hiring
-         Social media
-         Educate myself
-         Political
    o   Fight for equitable school funding (PA is worst in the nation in that regard)
After that day in Philly, I was asked by a friend to write a column for the local paper about it, unfortunately required to consist of no more than 600 words. I'm not terribly proud of it, particularly because of the word-count restriction, but it can be found here:

This is probably already my longest ever post, and I haven’t even gotten to the one thing I wanted to post here! So I’ll post this and then move to the rest of it.