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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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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Smoke on your pipe and put this in (West Side Story reference)

Karl Marx once said: "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people".

Given the decrease in people’s attendance at churches over the past 40-50 years and the epidemic level increase in the use of opioids, I am starting to wonder if the reverse could now be true, as opiates now seem to be the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions…and the new religion of the people.
Or maybe it's Donald Trump.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

So Dad maybe is STILL the Easter Bunny!

For posterity:

Soon after Trev was born, I wanted Dad to hold him and whisper some advice in his ear – some words to live by so I could remind him of it when he got older.


Dad thought for a minute and with me expecting something very profound, he said “Listen to your parents!”

To this day, Santa writes that on his thank you note for his cookies, and the Easter Bunny writes it at the bottom of the instructions to the kids for hunting for Easter eggs and presents at our house when they get home from Meeting.

Wise man, that guy.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A Letter to the President

Hello Mr. President -

I write today in hopes that you will please consider the case of Native American activist, Leonard Peltier. As I'm sure you know, Amnesty International placed his case under the "Unfair Trials" category of its Annual Report in 2010. 

I recently returned from an 8-day service trip to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota with 14 members (including my 15 year old son, Trevor, and 7 other teens) of our Quaker Meeting in Downingtown (Chester County) PA, organized by the William Penn House in Washington DC. (We were joined there by 2 of Sasha and Malia's classmates from Sidwell - 2 really amazing kids, by the way - Emmett Stern and Liam Kirsch.) We found terrible conditions on the reservation (80% unemployment; poorest county in the USA, life expectancy of 48 (!)) but also a number of people trying to improve the lives of the people there by teaching them about sustainable organic farming.  We helped them with their work there and then helped set up and then participated in a sun dance - a very sacred ritual that outsiders aren't usually allowed to be a part of...though I'm sure they would welcome you and your family if you asked nicely! :-) 

Anyway, in speaking with folks there, it was clear that there is a great deal of pain surrounding the case of Mr. Peltier, who they feel was given an unfair trial. They very much hope you'll review his case and find that he should be set free before you leave office.  

Thank you for your consideration, Mr. President. 

With gratitude for all you've done,


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Everyone has heard of Catholic guilt and Jewish guilt, but with absolutely no knowledge of what either of those things entail, I submit that Quaker guilt can’t be any less powerful.
Quaker guilt surrounds the idea that we aren’t doing enough in the world. We aren’t doing it right. We need to make more of a positive impact on the world.

Over the years, a number of young people have said to me how unhappy they are with their jobs, primarily because they are embarrassed by it. It isn’t an ideal job, not because of the pay or responsibilities or because it doesn’t meet their passion. It’s a feeling I am well familiar with because I was once that kid. Heck, I was once that adult. And whenever one of those kids comes to me with that concern, I tell them this story.
Many years ago, one of the people from our Quaker Meeting who had known me since I was wee, passed away. I’ll call him Jim. Jim McQuail. Just a random name. He was a guy I had a great deal of respect for, and after listening to the messages at his Quaker memorial service, I realized that my respect for him was dwarfed by the dozens of people who spoke that morning. I don’t remember a single message specifically, but every message was about some way Jim had helped that person in their time of need or struggle. Some of them were clients of Jim’s, hiring him as their CPA, and some were members of our Meeting, and others were just friends he’d made on his journey through life.

(I said earlier that I don’t remember any of the messages specifically, but come to think of it, I do remember one, from his wife Virginia. Ever the blunt speaker, either with a comment that could make you feel a mile high or as low as could be (having been on the receiving end of both examples), but always said in love and with a smile, Virginia listened to nearly an hour of adoring messages reflecting on what a wonderful person Jim was, when she rose to speak, all of us expecting Virginia to add another touching tale to those already proffered. She stood, paused, and said “Well, now, he wasn’t THAT great!” The place erupted.)
Anyway, when the service was over, we headed over to the schoolhouse across the driveway for a luncheon reception where I found myself talking with a childhood friend, Jim’s nephew David. David asked me what I was doing with my life, and I told him about my accounting job and how, even though I generally liked my job, I felt unfulfilled, as I didn’t think I was making much of a positive impact on the world.

David listened to what I had to say and when I was done, he gave me a disappointed frown and said “Weren’t you just in Uncle Jim’s memorial service?” I told him that indeed, I had been. And he said the words I’ve never forgotten and have repeated so many times over the years:

“Then you heard all those people stand to talk about Uncle Jim. Did you hear any of them say anything about his job? About how he had saved them money on their taxes? About financial advice he gave them as their CPA? No. They all talked about the huge impact he had on their lives as a person, the help he offered, the personal advice he gave.”

Thanks, David. And thanks, Jim, for setting such a wonderful example.


Monday, June 6, 2016

And I'd bet The Donald would assume the Blacks aren't very good swimmers for some reason

You know you’re too obsessed with politics when you get this email, look at the subject line, and assume there is a Donald Trump joke waiting inside.

Sent: Monday, June 6, 2016 8:44 AM
To: Jamie McVickar
Subject: Invite From the Blacks

Hi from the Blacks!

If anyone forgot to RSVP to the pool party today no worries, come on over! 

Please see the below information from Sarah Black regarding their end-of-year party!

End of year pool party
Come over after the 6th grade picnic; After school - 5:30pm; Monday 6/6/16
Siblings are welcome. Bring bathing suits and towels. We will have plenty of snacks and drinks  

- Sarah Black

Friday, June 3, 2016

It must be Loyal Reader Week!

About once a week, I get a spam comment that tries to get itself posted to this blog, but can't be unless I accept it as post-worthy. They are often so complimentary, I just revel in their kind words until I get to the second sentence which usually asks that I check the exciting link they provide to their particular site, which, well, don't promote the sorts of behavior we like to share on this site. Not judging though!

This one below came through a few weeks ago and I decided to copy and paste it here, just because it reeks of such sincerity...and it reminds me of loyal reader, Becca Jane, for reasons she'll understand.

WWICS Review has left a new comment on your post "Filling your blog brain shopping cart with News It...":

Very attractive theme of your blog and i have have learn your blog and it's really in very nice. Thanks.

No no, really, thank you! I'm sure your blog is Very Attractive too. :-)

Since I'm such an expert on how to be a good Mom

I received a really nice email from another loyal reader, name of Judy, coincidentally NOT related to me, but is just about the sweetest person with one of the nicest, most sincere smiles you'll ever see. And she has a blog that is 10 times better than this one, but I'm not linking to it until she promises to make a new entry, even if it doesn't have anything to do with clutter! :-)

Anyway, with her permission, here is the email she sent me:

Hi Jamie,

I've been meaning to tell you how touched I was by Reat's journal entry words you quoted in your recent blog post.  (And a tip of the hat for keeping at your blog, unlike some people ... Ahem.)  

You reminded me of a few sun-drenched memories of mine, talking to Reat while waiting for Emily to finish her art class with Paul. One time she told me she had been reading over her journals, and she said, "I thought, wow, I was a really good mother!"  Such an enviable revelation ... especially to me ... one who is overly, overly self-critical.  She was so very special.



Well, first of all, thank you for taking the time to send me that, Judy. And secondly, judging from the quality of your amazing kids, you too are "a really good mother!"

But yeah, Mom was a great mom. I guess it's safe to say that we kids saw a side of her that many didn't, and are aware of decisions she made that we like to think we might have handled differently, and, I believe, in retrospect, that she wished she had too. (As is certainly true for me as a Dad as well.)  As wonderful a mom and person as she was, she did go through some tough times when she and we were much younger, but regardless, I put her in the small category of Quaker Saint from back in her era, along with people like Enid Brown, Virginia McQuail and Jane Moore. Not necessarily parent-related, except in the It Takes A Village scenario, in which case, since they certainly all helped raise me and my sibs, I think they certainly qualify.

I know Mom worked her butt off to be the best mom she could be. Funny, now that I'm a Dad, and have been for the best 18 years of my life, partly thanks to my kids, in some ways I have both more and less respect and awe for my folks. More, because I realize how incredibly hard it is, especially in terms of time and energy. But also, less, because I, like most of us, put my folks on a pedestal. A pedestal of perceived perfection (!) that though I still feel an element of for them, the idea that my kids may feel that way about me is just crazy. Whatever nice things they might think of me as a Dad, well, thanks, it means a lot, but there is so much I might have done better.

Mom was a mom during an important historical parenting transition, one I don't think has been written about much, at least that I have seen. Up until Dr. Spock (no, not this guy), the one who wrote THE book on parenting in 1946 which was a bible to post-war moms. But even past that, the women who were moms from the mid- to late-50's and into the 60's, when the idea of kids being seen and not heard was not only questioned, but pretty much abandoned. I don't know whether it was the moms who caused that to happen or the kids, starting around the time that Blackboard Jungle (really hitting Wikipedia hard today!) was written (another of the rare books that I actually read!...ok, it's a not a rare book, it's a book read by me, which is rare. Sorry, grammar/syntax-police.) and the movie version was filmed. (Movie note: "It is remembered for its innovative use of rock and roll in its soundtrack and for the unusual breakout role of a black Bahamian-American cast member, future Oscar winner and star Sidney Poitier as a rebellious, yet musically talented student.") Awesome book, awesome movie!

I remember a time in the late 60's/early 70's when Mom became really, really into reading up on all kinds of new parenting and education-related techniques. The book Open Classroom was especially important to her - not geared toward parenting, per se, but I know it had an impact anyway.

I guess that's all I wanted to share for now, when I think of Mom as a mom.  I guess the nicest thing, of many, that I could say about her as a mom, or more importantly maybe, as a person, was that after she died, my sisters and I decided going forward, without her as a person to help us with our day-to-day challenges, we would approach each such challenge based on WWMD: What would Mom Do. And that mindset has rarely, if ever, failed me...when I've remembered to use it.

All that said, the two things I always try to come back to related to parenting are:

1 - I believe that we play way less of a role in our kids development than we think we do, and...

2 - As our wise friend, Wanda, who lives in St. Croix in the Virgin Islands once said; "We're all doing the best we can." Amen, Wanda.

And thanks again, Judy.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Maybe I'll meditate on this if I ever start meditating

We have a guest contributor today. This was written by my mom 51 years ago in her journal, lovingly transcribed and forwarded by loyal reader, and coincidentally, also my sister, Laurie:

Monday, May 17, 1965:

I believe there is a possible story in a woman or woman and man who are trying to prepare their children for adulthood.  And with this difference: we all are doing this of course, but we are preparing them for the adult world that we know, not the world which will be in 20 years.  This woman and man of my story are like Paul and me who have a complete life in each other and in their own quiet interests.  Meeting people and having to get along with people is difficult for them.  But their children’s world will be crowded.  Their children must get along with people they meet.  And they must learn how to obtain solitude while among people.  Maybe the Friends meeting house is an example of how this is done. 

So many truths in those wise words of yesteryear. This was truly prescient:

But their children’s world will be crowded. 

How did she know?! I am frequently struck when reading Laurie's daily transcriptions, of how simple life seemed back then. It probably didn't seem simple to them, so maybe that's how they knew, but that doesn't seem to be what her prediction was based on.

And this is brilliant too:

Their children must get along with people they meet.  And they must learn how to obtain solitude while among people.

These are both daily goals and challenges for me - getting along with people who annoy me, as sadly, I am way too easily annoyed, and of course finding solitude.

I just gotta start meditating. As soon as I find a time and place where I can have some solitude.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

And that's the truth, the whole truth and maybe isn't even close to the truth

I've been so scared of this blog lately. Scared like for most of the past 4-5 months, except for that one mini-post a week or 2 back. I don't know why. I have a feeling once I get going again, it won't be hard to get into the swing again.

I say I don't know why, but more likely it's because I've known for months what my next entry had to be about. It's an entry I've been putting off about...The Truth.

I was challenged by a Facebook friend in the midst of an argum...I mean, in the midst of a discussion about religion and politics, since he and I always stay away from any controversial topics, with this question:

What is The Truth?

It seemed like one of those navel-gazing questions that I have absolutely no interest in and would only serve to make my head hurt, and I tried to wipe it from my mind, so I quickly shut Facebook down to avoid having to think about it. But I couldn't stop, and now this, 4 months later, is what I came up with:

The truth is whatever one defines it to be.

But then I realized that there may actually come a time when we find out whether The Truth was/is what we define/d it to be - a time none of us is particularly looking forward to, except those who actually are sure they know what The Truth is, even if they really don't, even if they are eventually proved to be right. That would be the folks looking forward to The Rapture, or some equally convenient belief in what happens when we take our last.

So I had to refine the definition to this:

The Truth is one of two things: It is either what we say it is, or it is something we have absolutely no proof of knowing for sure that we are right. Unless we were right in the first place, in which case, we may never know that we were.

If one believes in God and an after-life in Heaven, you will never know if you were wrong.

Four months ago, I thought that was all pretty profound. Now that I've tried to put it in writing, I think I know why I've been afraid of this thing. Because trying to put it in writing makes as little sense as anyone thinking we know for sure what The Truth is.

And head hurts.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Or as much as we can spare anyway

We go to Quaker Meeting on Sunday mornings to let the light hopes we can let it back out the rest of the week.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Hear me now, laugh at me later

So freaking behind on all the blog posts I've been wanting to make, but here's a quickie:

A friend asked me on Facebook yesterday what my prediction is for the election in November, and it took me a day to come up with my reply and here is what I wrote:

"Hard to give a short answer to this, Chris. If you and I get a vacation day for every time one of us hears in the next 8 months how it will all come down to turnout, we'll get most of 2017 off. The other one we'll hear a spitload of times is how these 8 months are a political lifetime and SO much can happen between now and election day so it's impossible to predict. So let's stipulate those two alphorisms (if that's what they are) are a given.

There are great arguments for why each of DD  (Donald Drumpf) and HRC will win but to keep it simple, assuming there are no surprises and turnout is roughly the same for the Ds as the last 2 elections, which is certainly not a given, I'll go with what I have been saying for months and even though I've been wrong everywhere but Iowa, I'll double down on it here. I can not believe that when voters enter that booth in November and see the name Donald S Trump on the ballot, no matter how intrigued and entertained they were over the past year and maybe even supported him, when they really try to picture that guy in the office for 4 years...they'll swallow hard and vote for Hillary."

But just remember that this is from the same guy who said a few months back that Jeb! would be the R nominee and he is long gone. And I still have not given up on a miracle - that R voters will come to their senses and make Kasich the nominee!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Go ahead and try me - tell me what you REALLY think of this post!

So…back on January 4th, I wrote about the 3 topics I wanted to cover here that I was going to remember based on the letters S, O and T which was a great idea in concept though at the time, I forgot what the O was for. And I wrote about the S, which stood for Strategy, but that post was a total disaster.
And here we are a week later and I remember what the O was for now – Opinion (I think) - but forget the T. I think it had something to do with my niece’s husband, whose name contains no Ts. So I have that to work through.

Fascinating, eh? And of great concern to you all, I’m sure.
So…Opinions. Here’s my take, and interestingly, I’ve seen quite a few Facebook posts to this same general concept in this new year, including one on a Quakers page (as opposed to a Quaker’s page. This one is directed at Quakers).

I’ve been thinking a lot about why people, and by “people”, I probably mean me, so I’ll just go first person from here out, get so easily offended when people…and this time I don’t mean me…either have a different opinion than I do or say something about me that offends me.
And as often happens when I actually take the time to write these things down, they seem way more obvious now than when I formulated the thought, but in the Seriously? It took me 59+ years to figure this out? category, I realized that for every opinion, there is a dissenting opinion.

If everyone had the same opinion, it wouldn’t be an opinion, it would be a fact.

So, if one starts with that…opinion…fact (!), then why should it ever upset any of us, I mean me, that someone has a different idea than mine?  Certainly sometimes it’s because we believe it so strongly, that we want others to feel the same way, and our frustration isn’t with them as much as it might be with ourselves for our inability to convince them. Or maybe, to us, it is a sign of why the world isn’t a better place. And of course, in those circumstances, the first thought that comes to mind is politics.
But it might also apply to when we are trying to make an important decision with our relationship partner, when they want to go with the blue window treatment and I, I mean she (!), might want Phillies season tickets.

So, also somewhat of a New Year’s Resolution for me is to value our humanness. To allow other people to think differently than I do, to drive differently, to vote differently, to like different seasons of the year and to get the damn blue window treatment.
And of course, the whole thing extends past opinions to that same issue of humanness to include personalities. Why does a particularly outrageous or sullen or goofy or serious person put us off? Instead of allowing myself to be put off by what I don’t seem to enjoy in a person, I will try to look for what Cheryl might call The Connection. What is it about that person that I do like, that I do enjoy, accepting that there are, not flaws, but differences, that needn’t be more dividing than that which brings me pleasure about that person?

And from a Quaker perspective, George Fox’s phrase, “Walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone” does a nice job of summarizing it, though I might substitute the word “seeking” for “answering”.
The tougher challenge comes when someone says something seemingly judgmental about me or my tastes or about people I love. If someone were to visit my house and say “Gawd – how could you live in this weird place? And what was your father thinking with all these windows? Was he some kind of perverted exhibitionist (wow – multiple judgments in one sentence!) ?!”

Or if they were to say something mean about any of my 4 or 5 or 6 kids (give or take an Iraqi or 2), or about Cheryl!? Would I be able to find God in them when they say such things?  
I look forward to the challenge…not that anyone ever could find something negative to say about any of them obviously. Or maybe that’s the key – I’ll just assume they couldn’t possibly mean it, and I’ll laugh.

I’ll try to post some examples in the coming weeks to let you, and history, know how I’m doing.


Monday, January 11, 2016

Filling your blog brain shopping cart with News Items aplenty

I'm often torn as to whether to post certain things to Facebook or here. Maybe a handful of people will see them here, but a hundred or more will see them on FB. But is that the goal - to have people see these? As I say over and over - it's all about validation, babee - the secret to life and motivation.

(Or is that one of the dozens of posts that I always plan to write about here? I even have a written list of many of them, that I plan to write about, and then don't because I've thought of it so often, I end up assuming I must have finally written about it?)

So...some random thoughts:

I'm starting to wonder if Bernie can actually beat Hillary. I doubt it for a lot of reasons. One of the biggest, but least reported on, is the hundreds of Super Delegates that have already committed to Hillary. She messed that up 8 years ago, but gets it...and got them...this time.

But if it turns out that Bernie somehow was able to win, this will be the moment that I look back to as the beginning of the end:

News Item: “Girls” star Lena Dunham, stumping in Iowa City, said Clinton faces unfair attacks because she is a woman.

Please. Lena - you're insulting women with this.

News Item: The Supreme Court today will hear arguments from a group of California teachers who say it violates their First Amendment rights to be forced to pay dues to the state’s teachers union.

Hear me now, believe me later. No chance the unions win this (or should, in my opinion). I'm anything but a huge fan of unions, but this will be terrible news for the country as a whole. Just another shot at lower income folks.

Finally some good news for American Indians!

News Item: The tagline of a new ad from a Ted Cruz super PAC, going up today in Iowa, is: “You can take your country back.”
And one more:

News Item: "The Clinton campaign released an ad touting her electability, to air in both Iowa and New Hampshire. It includes clips of Trump and Cruz talking. “Think about it: one of these Republicans could actually be president,” a narrator says. “So ask yourself, who is the one candidate who can stop them? Hillary Clinton.”

And from my perspective, the same answer can be given to a similar question:

So ask yourself, who is the one candidate who can stop Hillary Clinton?

Friday, January 8, 2016

It is the Show Me state after all

News Item from the Kansas City Star : "Lobbyists who have sex with a Missouri lawmaker or their staff would have to disclose it to the Missouri Ethics Commission under a proposed state measure. The bill, sponsored by a Republican, defines sex between lobbyists and legislators as a gift. 'As such, sexual relations would have to be included on monthly lobbyist gift disclosure forms'."
Sooo many thoughts:
 - This guy must be so sex-deprived, that he considers it a gift when it happens.
 - Or maybe he has fantasies about sex with lobbyists (he is a politician after all).
 - Or maybe his wife is a lobbyist.
 - Maybe they should offer the Disclosure Forms for sale...and then, with Amuricans' fascination with all things sex-related, those things would probably jump to the top of the NYTimes best-seller list.
 - I suggest that any time the State Legislature f*cks over the good people of Missouri, they should have to report that on there too.
 - I can't help but wonder if the words "a Missouri lawmaker or" were taken out of that first sentence, that if this law included this guy too, he would need to report so many times, he'd run out of forms. Better be careful how the bill is written to get all the commas in the right places. 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

In keeping with my resolution to be less sensitive in my posts, here are two:

It finally struck me why there have been so many problems in the Middle East for centuries. They don't eat pork at their New Years dinner, duh!

And discovering further evidence of God's love of irony with perhaps a slight sense of humor, I realized yesterday that some things that are so soft make me so hard.


One more thing - for those of you who receive emailed updates of new posts, but won't see edits to previous posts - after a conversation with Cheryl yesterday, I updated my post about my "strategic interests" from Monday, so if you care, you'd have to go to the actual site to see what I felt compelled to update.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Thus the title above, apparently (Editor's Note - or apparentl not)

Happy 2016, everyone! We had a really wonderful 2015, so I hope for more of the same this year. I need to go back to look to see if I posted any new year's resolutions last year to see how I made out. But in the meantime, here's one for 2016: To post in this blog more often! And to not care about how I might offend anyone reading it, not that that is ever my intent - offending, that is, not caring whether I do.

Last night, I laid/lay/lied in bed (countdown til Sherry corrects me...3..2...1), trying to fall asleep, thinking about 3 different posts I wanted to make in here, and used the acronym of SOT to try to help remember them, and at this point, I only remember the S and the T, so that's frustrating because I'm sure the O one was incredibly profound!

So here's my first post of 2016:

I was enmeshed in a Facebook dialogue with someone whose opinions on such things never fail to impress me, mostly in terms of the care and intellectual depth of his thoughts in this topic, which is one that interests me very little - and that is religion.

And it got me to wondering why so many topics that fascinate others don't interest me at all. Once a conversation wanders away from politics or sports, I have very little of interest to share. And it got me to thinking that there are so many topics in that category besides religion, including gardening, movies, books, the weather, astronomy, dreams, birds, body modifications (Hey - sorry - I googled "things that fascinate people" and that was on someone's list) in which I have little or no interest and it struck me that the dividing definition of my very short list is that my two things involve a great deal of strategy and that list contains none.

So maybe that's what I need involved in a topic for me to have interest.

Except sex. I can talk about that at length too. Probably. Maybe. Depends, I guess, on who's involved. Which at one time would also have defined the other way I would decide how to partner with someone on the same topic. Also as to how much I'd had to drink.


It has been pointed out to me by one of my favorite readers of this blog, namely, my amazing wife, that there are a great many things wrong with the post above. To enumerate:

1 - The tone is judgmental, as if there is something inferior about an interest that doesn't involve strategy. I sure didn't mean to imply that, so I apologize.  I think a voracious reader, or even an occasional one, uses a far higher % of the brain that sitting watching a Padres - Phillies game and trying to figure out whether the pitcher should tempt the batter with a low and away slider or bust him up and in with some heat.

2 - You do too like movies! OK, yeah, she has a point there. I do.

3 - There is a great deal of strategy involved in gardening, and believe me/you, I got quite the extensive run down of such crucial decisions, some involving soil amendment indentation implementation, or something involving multiple syllables that my first thing in the morning brain didn't quite comprehend.

 4 - Cheryl didn't mention this part, but I can even disagree with me on another point - racism is also a topic in which I have great interest, and reading newspapers (3-4 a day) and magazines (3-4 a month), so ya know...just forget the whole dang thing.

And now I owe you 5 minutes you might otherwise never get back.

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: