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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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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Early in college, I started to notice that my athletic reaction time had dropped, and I realized it was because I wasn't putting in as many hours playing sports as I had at Westtown.

Then soon after I graduated from Earlham, not just my reaction time, but my skills in all sports had slightly declined for the same reason.

When I got to my 30's, it became harder and harder to keep up with "kids" in their teens and 20's, and I decided it was because I wasn't running as much as I once had.

Then in my 40's, when playing soccer and ice hockey, I had lost a step or three compared to younger players, I felt like all I needed to do was get in shape and I'd be right back where I had been in my 20's or 30's.

Now that I'm in my mid-50's, splitting wood and repeatedly picking the wood and wedges off up off the ground for a few hours requires frequent rest breaks, and makes me think for the first time that it isn't just a matter of being out of shape, but //shudder// it may just be that I'm getting old.


Friday, January 25, 2013

And if you still aren't sure of your special purpose, or don't agree with what I wrote below, here's another possibility for you:

And just an offhand thought semi-related to the one previous to this (and below). If one accepts my premise that we crave attention and validation for our contributions to our world, those contributions being what we think of as our purpose - thinking our unique and special thoughts and actions are why we are here, then that is one more reason to take good care of our containers, our bodies, so we'll be here all the longer to share our gifts and prove to ourselves of our worth on this planet.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A post long enough that no one will read it, even if it took me about a week to write and re-write it

Nothing like going out into the back yard...well, up on the hill, to split wood by hand to get one into deep thought. Though I should add, none of these deep thoughts included remembering that our tree guy had told us we could borrow his splitter anytime we wanted, or at least that memory didn't arrive until soon after I'd split about 50 hunks of wood in sizes varying from 1-2 feet across, over a period of 3-4 Saturdays and Sundays.

Anyway, back to my deep thoughts:

OK, and to digress to less-than-important digressions again, as we McVics do to distraction, these thoughts mostly came when I took a break and stretched out on a chair atop the spot where Mom and Dad's ashes reside, which kind of makes it extra cool.

Not sure how I got to this line of thought, but I was thinking about our purpose here in life and I reached the following conclusion, less about our purpose than the things that promote and distract us from that purpose:

I have heard or read of people who say that they were "put here on Earth to...(insert talent or passion here: play basketball...make an actor)" but I sort of feel sorry for such folks, because first I think that's taking it easy, basically saying they don't have any other responsibilities to their fellow human, and second, because they aren't looking deep enough.

But if one concludes, as I have, that our general purpose is not just to simply leave the world in a better state than which we found it but to spread good cheer and positive thoughts among as many people with whom we make contact through the course of our lives as possible, it is important too that we recognize both how some of what might be considered distractions to that goal are both more important AND unimportant than it might otherwise appear.

More specifically, I'm referring to our outward appearance...our bodies, our shells, our containers. We all have this soul, this vibe/mojo/essence/aura, all kinds of things that make us who we are, deep down. And how we look, how beautiful or fat or pimply or athletically gifted or disfigured we are is, we are told, completely unimportant to who we really are. And in the purest sense, and in occasional practice, that is certainly true.

But at the same time, since we were first endowed with the curse not just of self-awareness, but with a sense of beauty and an appreciation of athletic accomplishment, the way we look and act and perform, becomes an important tool in how our message is perceived and the size of the audience and the willingness of the audience to absorb our message.

It has, in the past year or so, struck me how much we all want to be valued. We crave recognition to varying degrees. We revel in being recognized for our contributions, whether they be for a financial donation, or for our hard work or for just "being there" for someone. We want to be thanked for passing the salt, for gosh sakes.Why do we need to be thanked for a gift we've given someone, when presumably we've done it because we want to do something nice for someone else, or, here it is again, to recognize someone for something nice they've done.

Do we need to be thanked for the gift we've given for thanking someone for the gift they've given? Or when we give a birthday gift, which we give to thank them for what exactly - for being a part of our lives? Or for recognition for their simply having been born, validating their existence? And we expect to be thanked for that? Why do we want and expect gifts for having been born? Is it because we can't wait to also be the center of attention, and thus validated, when our birthday comes around? (Side Note: Don't we really have it backwards? Shouldn't that be the day we give gifts to our parents for giving us life and for all they did for us? And to our friends too - in appreciation for all the love they've given us?)

So, as I say, we crave recognition and thus, validation. Even our most altruistic of acts are possibly more for our pleasure than for the recipients. Even if I do something nice for someone else without their knowing it, as I once did - baking a birthday cake for someone, leaving it on her doorstep anonymously, since I knew she had no one in her life, brought me great pleasure. And of course, I secretly hoped she'd eventually find out many months later that it was from me (and she did, from my parents), and I hoped she'd be effusive in her thanks (and she was). (Twas Brenda Peabody, God rest her awesome soul, who lived up the hill from my folks.)

It may seem that I've again gone off on a digression, but the point of the need for validation is germane. I believe that the reason we crave this attention in varying degrees is because we all think our gift, our wisdom, our accumulated knowledge we are passing on to everyone else is what validates our very reason for being here on earth, for having been born in the first place.

So back to the importance of our "containers", our bodies and how we dress, how we fix our face, how we work to get rid of our unsightly bulges, whether they be around the waist, or our, gasp, Visible Pantie Lines! (That should get me some extra google hits!) Because more people are likely to accept, or better, to embrace our thoughts and essence when we are more attractive to them. And it takes an often way-too-difficult leap for us to realize that when our soul is no longer in our containers, which are now buried in an another unimportant, but in this case way-too-expensive...container, or our ashes scattered wherever, that people talk or think about us, not about what a great dresser we were or how pretty we were or what great shape we were in, but it is the gifts we share with them, whether it was the way we could make them laugh, or the life-altering advice we gave, or the chocolate birthday cake we surprised them with, that is primarily remembered.

And thus, we are thanked and recognized and honored just by their memory of what kind of person we were and the contributions we made to their life. Unless we left 'em a bunch of dough, then we're probably remembered for that too...which kind of negates every damn thing I just wrote.

Friday, January 18, 2013

But whatever diet Andy used apparently wasn't working either

My opinion of Andy Reid as a football coach is not unlike my opinion of his personal life. He likes gimmicks. He uses a pass-happy, West Coast offense, and a blitz-dominated defensive scheme, followed by the goofy wide-nine approach. And, gasp - he follows a gimmick of a religion - Mormonism.

So the Eagles fire him and bring in a guy who uses something called the Zone Read Spread offense.

Reminds me of people looking for the latest dieting fad, thinking one of 'em's just gotta work!

I wonder if it's struck anyone else than when Taylor Swift goes through a bunch of hot guys it hurts her image, but when George Clooney dates various beautiful women, it helps his?
There is a lot of discussion in Washington and around the country, about guns these days after what happened at Newtown, CT. Some of us want significantly stronger gun control laws. The gun nuts like to say that guns don't kill, people do. And then they say that the biggest problem isn't guns, it's mental illness.

I agree. And those are the exact two reasons we need to ban assault weapons. And why we need stronger gun control in general. Because people are holding guns that can kill dozens of people in just minutes...and some of those people are not only a lot crazier than any of you reading this, but even crazier still than the gun nuts who defend their weapons of mass destruction.

Friday, January 11, 2013

I was disappointed, but not surprised, that driving home last night, and thinking about Les Miz, which I think Ev, Cheryl and I are going to see on Sunday, I found myself playing with the name and hearing it as Miss Lez, which has just a little different meaning, and from my perspective a way more fun one.

And then I thought, I'll bet there is a porn movie by that name by now, not that I have ever rented one in my entire life I'll quickly add. And I felt like kind of embarrassed for having this entire train of thought in my sometimes creepy head and wondered if it was homophobic to even think of such things.

So, I looked it up, and it turned out that the group who was way ahead of me is not the porn industry but yer Lesbians!

N.Y. Scene March 2012: Miss Lez Pageant, Hey Queen and more!

N.Y. Scene is a monthly column that chronicles events of interest for lesbian and bi women in New York.

Miss Lez Pageant 2012
Move over, Miss America and Miss U.S.A. The most prestigious pageant in the land of the free and home of the brave is Miss Lez, a production that has proven year in and year out to be wilder and more unruly than the unidentified mammal living on Donald Trump's head. The land of the free and home of the brave is, of course, Brooklyn, where — as we learned over the course of the night &mdsah; the "chochas" are free and only those who are brave enough to witness simulated period sex and Rapunzel-esque pubic hair survive.

I think this would fall in the twitter category of #sometimesigivemyselfthecreeps, cuz just Damn, Taylor!

taylor swift peoples choice

Thursday, January 10, 2013

From a Nick Kristof column in today's NYT:

We have, so far, sunk $640 billion into Afghanistan and more than $800 billion into Iraq — all told, according to my calculation, more than $12,000 per American household.

Imagine if those sums had been spent on, say, early childhood education in America. Or on getting more kids through college. Or on global education: About 1 percent of the total sunk in Iraq and Afghanistan, if instead spent annually on schooling around the world, would allow every child worldwide to complete primary school, ending global illiteracy.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Something I've been thinking about a lot lately is the idea of crushes and what they mean in terms of a marriage.

I realized recently that I had confusing feelings about a woman I met and have come to know fairly well and still see on a regular basis. I found myself really attracted to her, and not just in a physical, wow is she beautiful way, though there is that too. I didn't know what it all meant - how could I feel this way, when my feelings about Cheryl hadn't changed at all. My uber-attraction and dedication and interest hasn't diminished even a tiny bit.

But the feelings I was feeling toward this other un-named woman...well she is named, but I won't name her here :-) ..., which I'm very hesitant to admit, or certainly to publish, were significant enough, that I felt like I had to talk with someone about it all. So I went to the one person I have the most respect for, especially in terms of love and relationships and marriage, knowing that person would give me wise counsel. And I was right, she did. And that person is Cheryl.

I debated whether to say anything, but finally did, telling her semi-casually in the kitchen one evening that there was something I wanted to ask her about that might make her uncomfortable, but hopefully, she'd come to realize that my bringing it to her was a good thing and not as scary it might at first seem. Intrigued, she gave her version of President Obama's Please proceed, Governor.

I asked her if she thought it were possible for a person who is totally in love with his or her partner, to still develop a huge giddy, crush on someone else. I had barely completed the question, in fact, I'm not sure I ever did, when she said quite firmly, Oh yeah, definitely. And I went on to tell her again that she had nothing to worry about and I had no intention or interest in being unfaithful to her and in fact, it had happened at least once before as well, but over time, though I still admire and like the other woman very much, the crush dissipated, as I'm sure this one will in the same way as well. But it was important to me that she could agree that the very fact that I was bringing it to her would make clear that this woman was in no way a threat to our marriage...and I think she agreed.

Well, needless to say, she was curious to know who the person was, to which I told her that I'd be willing to tell her, but was she sure she wanted to know? She said she wasn't really sure, and as I was replying, she blurted out a guess at the woman's name and of course, knowing me and my tastes, guessed correctly on the very first try. She said it was a pretty easy guess. And soon thereafter, I told her the previous woman's name as well, and she said she wasn't surprised by her either.

Anyway, one of the things it made me realize, seeing the impact these feelings had on me, who is in a very stable relationship, is that I can see where something like this would be even more difficult and confusing for someone who is much younger than me, who is in a less secure relationship, who sees the person more frequently than I do, or who is themselves not married, when the other person is. How tortuous that would be!

Oh right, that did happen to me once...and I ended up marrying her! Hmmm. So there is that.

So that conversation was a month or more ago and, and nothing has changed. It did for awhile after I told Cheryl. In fact, I think telling her made me lose some of my feelings, interestingly, but they kind of ebb and flow now, but there is also no change in my interests in doing anything I'd later regret. One thing I've realized too, is that as fun a feeling as this crush is, it doesn't compare to the way I felt when Cheryl and I started falling in love with each other.

As for Cheryl, not surprisingly, she's amazing in how she's dealt with it. She is mostly amused by it, I think, referring to the woman with a laugh as "your girlfriend", but is also probably a little confused herself, which I feel terrible about. I have to admit, I now wish I'd never brought it up, since it makes it a bigger deal than it actually is. Regardless, her handling it with humor makes me love and appreciate her all the more.

Sometimes I feel bad for making fun of some behavior of Cheryl's, though my bad feelings are totally dependent on how she reacts. She's way better at dealing with being a target than I am, mostly because I'm either too sensitive or too insecure, but this from David Brooks column today helps me feel better about it:

G. K. Chesterton had the best advice on suffering fools gladly. He put emphasis on the gladly. When you’re with fools, laugh with them and at them simultaneously: “An obvious instance is that of ordinary and happy marriage. A man and a woman cannot live together without having against each other a kind of everlasting joke. Each has discovered that the other is a fool, but a great fool. This largeness, this grossness and gorgeousness of folly is the thing which we all find about those with whom we are in intimate contact; and it is the one enduring basis of affection, and even of respect.”

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Something I read recently that I need to remind myself of regularly when I'm inclined to say something harsh:

Light is always stronger than darkness.

That fits in so well with similar things I try to remind myself of when I start getting upset with someone:

I'll never be wrong when I take the high road.

And it's better to be love than to be right.

And watch out for whitey. Wait, that's a different post.