Blog Buffet

Ruminations on various topics…

Instead of raising and lowering our U.S. flags, keep them at permanent half staff. We are having daily shootings, acts of terrorism and other violence. The half staffed flags are a symbol and a constant reminder of how this country has fallen into shame and disrepute.

Choose your martyrs and outrage carefully! Not every police shooting is an unjustified act or murder.

A five second slip of the tongue can undermine 20, 30, 50 years of exemplary behavior and reputation OR can propel you to a career at Fox or Newsmax.

The line between flirtation and harassment often falls on the perceived interest level of the person receiving the attention.

I think it’s very possible that what we don’t know about what we don’t know is greater than what we know about what we don’t know.

Anyone else notice that any UFOs captured on photos and films are not the same? They differ in size, speed, shape. It’s as if the aliens have compact, economy and luxury space crafts.

Maybe the reason that aliens don’t make landings on earth is the same reason championship sports teams did not stop at the White House between 2017-2020—-they did not like the company.

To the best of my knowledge, there has been only one sore Presidential election loser. Not even Richard Nixon in 1960, who could have easily contested disputed votes in Illinois, raised an objection. Nixon also certified John F. Kennedy’s election.

Those who try to persuade by faith alone are poorly armed against those who persuade or argue with knowledge and facts. An argument made without knowledge or facts is like firing a gun without bullets.

2021: Athletes and celebrities acting or wanting to be political leaders. Politicians content to be celebrities.

Everything we were taught about money, not that long ago, including the conventional financial advice to avoid debt, keep your money in a bank savings account, and invest long term in blue chip stocks has been swept away by bitcoin, NFG and cryptocurrency. There are now two types of financial investors: those deceived by the magic and those that understand the sleight of hand.

 “Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.” 

My Top 22 Political Themed Movies

Combining my interest in both politics and movies, I list the top 22 Political Themed Movies of my lifetime.  The first seven on this list I would  categorize as “classics.” Some movies are serious, some are satire, a few comedic.

  1. Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, Joseph Cotton) 1941
  2. The Candidate (Robert Redford), Peter Boyle ) 1972
  3. Nicholas and Alexandra ( Michael Jayson, Lawrence Olivier) 1971
  4. The Best Man (Henry Fonda, Cliff Robertson) 1964
  5. All The Kings Men (Broderick Crawford) 1949
  6. Advise and Consent (Henry Fonda, Charles Laughton) 1962
  7. The Last Hurrah (Spenser Tracy) 1958
  8. The Ides of March (George Clooney, Ryan Gosling) 2011
  9. Downfall (Hitler’s last days) (Alexandra Lara, Bruno Ganz) 2004
  10. Nixon (Anthony Hopkins) 1995
  11. Game Change (Julianne Moore, Woody Harrelson) 2012
  12. The Contender (Joan Allen, Jeff Bridges) 2000
  13. Seven Days in May (Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas) 1964
  14. Failsafe (Henry Fonda, Walter Matthau) 1964
  15. City Hall (Al Pacino, John Cusack) 1996
  16. Primary Colors (John Travolta, Emma Thompson) 1998
  17. The American President (Michael Douglas, Annette Bening) 1995
  18. Duck Soup (Marx Brothers) 1933
  19. V for Vendetta (Natalie Portman ) 2005
  20. Frost/Nixon (Frank Langella, Michael Sheen) 2008
  21. Vice (Christian Bale) 2018
  22. The Seduction of Joe Tynan (Alan Alda, Meryl Streep) 1979

Lost Religion and Other Beliefs

All religions promise a reward for excellence is of the will or heart, but none for excellences of the head or understanding.

Schopenhauer

Interesting article titled “Can the Meritocracy Find God” in the April 10 edition of The New York Times by Ross Douthat, a Christian journalist who is trying to imagine a scenario where “not just would-be intellectuals but the wider elite-university-educated population, the meritocrats or “knowledge workers,” the “professional-managerial class” would convert or turn to religion.

He cites considerable obstacles, including that the “American educated class is deeply committed to a moral vision that regards emancipated, self-directed choice as essential to human freedom and the good life” and the meritocracy’s reliance on science, “which regards strong religious belief as fundamentally anti-rational, miracles as superstition, the idea of a personal God as so much wishful thinking.”

Douthat expresses a concern about the “deep secularization of the meritocracy.” He is disappointed that people who could have pursued religious careers as priests, ministers and rabbis have turned to secular positions as social workers, professors and psychologists. Instead of running religious missions, these secularists have started and invested in their own foundations.

The essay sparked an interesting online debate from readers and I have posted selected comments below. I will complete this post by adding my thoughts at the end. Comments by New York Times readers are in italics:

We’ve come too far to believe in the mean-spirited garbage spewed by self-serving individual sects. When God is the God of every human being, bar none, then people will flock to houses of worship.

****

All religions rely on blind faith and magical beliefs where as non believers rely on science and facts.

After years and years of of seeing the damage caused by religion to humans throughout history is it any wonder that people are finding that they do not need religion to be Good people or do good for their fellow humans which is progress we should all be happy about.

****

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” – Seneca

This couldn’t be more blatantly true than in today’s politics.

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Raised Catholic, the teachings of Jesus are engrained in the fiber of who I am and how I live my life and treat others. It is the basis of my morality. But, I think Jesus was a Jewish social justice reformer, not the son of a supernatural creator.   It’s the very conscience I developed as a Catholic that forced me to leave the Church.I just can’t participate in the hypocrisy, sexism and homophobia of the leaders and the institution.

****

The Christian church was instrumental in colonialism. The Christian church led the way to anti-Semitism. The Bible belt in the US led the way to slavery, Jim Crow, and white supremacy. The world-wide Roman Catholic church issues pieties while continuing to downplay sexual abuse of children by priests. Why would anyone look to the church for moral guidance? For spiritual guidance?

****

The churches have only themselves to blame for the decline of church membership: Pedophile priests and cover up of them in the Catholic Church; evangelicals supporting the anti-Christian values of Trump and Republican party. The “prosperity gospel”?  It’s an oxymoron.

No, the secularization of America won’t reverse until the institutions of Christianity and their leaders start talking and acting like Christ. The present hypocrisy is too blatant. The lack of humility is too off-putting. 

****

If more people were actually educated in scriptural studies, there probably would be many fewer adherents to the claim that the bible is the inerrant “word of God.”

Example:  King Solomon is only a fictional character. There is no record of this so-called great and powerful monarch in the considerable historical documents of the period in which he would have lived and reigned.

Furthermore,  in Israel, perhaps the most excavated region on the planet, archaeologists have not uncovered a single bit of evidence of the vast temple he supposedly built. Apparently, the temple existed only in the minds of those who wrote the books of Chronicles and Kings and described the edifice in great detail. 

****

I was raised a Catholic and a Christian as was Mr. Douthat.  At some point I determined that, while I deeply admired the teaching and example of Jesus, I did not think he was god and I did not think he believed he was god so I am not religious any longer. 

As my life has progressed I am amazed at how much Jesus’ teachings have stuck with me and at how little Jesus’ teachings have stuck with Christian believers.

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The problem, Brother Douthat, is that the atheists and secularists in this country generally act a lot more ‘Christian’ than the ‘Christians’ in the pews.

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What I still can’t fathom about Ross–and the many others that lament the decline of organized religion, Christianity or otherwise–is the presumption that the possession of an organized religious epistemology and creed is prerequisite for a moral outlook.

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But I still practiced my religious beliefs until religious leaders backed the former president 4 years ago and then last year. Even against all he did, including his horrendous handling of Covid in the name of economics. Some of these religious leaders even went along with his anti-mask rhetoric and mass gatherings.

The former president was not religious, he is a womanizer, he is rude and obnoxious to everyone. Yet many religious leaders still backed him. 

Religious leaders chose to back a non-religious leader over a religious leader.

To me that says cult.

Religious leaders need to support candidates that represent who will help the people.

Until that happens more people will become disenfranchised as I have.

****

As a science PhD, there is a very simple reason why I don’t “get God”. It is because I prefer an evidence-based worldview. And, by evidence, I mean something that is verifiable and falsifiable, and does not just consist of murky warm feelings, vague philosophical arguments, or references in ancient writings.

****

My Thoughts: I was baptized and raised as a Catholic. I attended Catholic grade schools and high school. Despite all the sermons and religion classes, I rejected Catholicism when I was 16. I did not accept that Catholicism was the one true religion and that those who were not Catholics were destined to limbo instead of heaven after they died.

I did not buy into papal infallibility and the church’s positions on birth control, divorce, pre-marital sex, abortion and women’s role in the clergy. The parish and diocese I belonged to were hotbeds of child abuse cases committed by priests. People were aware that these incidents were occurring and nothing happened until much later. The monsignor at my parish was more interested in soliciting contributions than saving souls and protecting children from his demented priests. The more I read into the church’s history, the more disillusioned I became.

I looked into other religions and found them wanting. I realized that the bible was part history, part fable, part mythology, part propaganda but certainly not credibly God’s word. I had not yet rejected God’s existence but I grew doubtful. I was uncertain and continued to read, study and ruminate about God as I got older.

Many of the people who I find devoutly religious experienced a momentous, sometimes catastrophic personal event or strong feeling that convinced them that God exists. I never had the feeling or maybe I ignored or misinterpreted it. I don’t have a God gene. I find an empty church more of a religious experience than a full one. I think the practice of meditation is more useful than prayer.

As I read religious history and literature further, I was more impressed with the arguments of Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Steven Hawking and other agnostics/atheists/scientists that there is/was no God.

All that being said, I would not criticize anyone for their belief in God alone. I will criticize certain unwise or irrational actions, beliefs and deeds based on contorted religious thinking. I find support by evangelicals for Donald Trump and many of his policies reprehensible. 

Last point, I try to live by the tenets of the prayer of St Francis Assisi. One does not need to belong to a religion to perform good acts. One just needs to be a caring and moral human being.

Early Spring Muses

The most impressive NCAA college basketball player this year is a woman, Paige Bueckers who plays for Connecticut. Only a freshman, she seems to be a better all around game than Diana Taurasi, who I had considered the best women’s college basketball player that I have seen.

***

With the announcement of the resignation of Roy Williams at North Carolina, the five best college basketball coaches in my lifetime:

  1. John Wooden
  2. Mike Krzyzewski
  3. Dean Smith
  4. Roy Williams
  5. Jay Wright (this choice may be a bit premature but I wanted a Big 5 coach on my list)

***

I would not need to sit on a jury for an hour, a day, a month, two months or however long the trial of Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd takes. I had the correct verdict figured out in nine minutes and 29 seconds.

***

Many years ago I bought and read a book by Lawrence Shames and Peter Barton titled Not Fade Away: A Short Life Well Lived. This book reflects the thoughts, actions and philosophies of Barton, a successful businessman who was dying from cancer in his early 50s. Barton began his book,  “There’s not one thing I regret or wish I could redo. There’s not one thing I wished I done, and didn’t. I’m contented and fulfilled.

Barton died at age 51.

Here are some sections of the book I have underlined as constant reference as I get older…

The stories of our lives have a due date, like books at the library.

A problem that can be fixed by money… is not a problem.

If I have anything at all to teach about life, it probably comes down to these two simple but far-reaching notions: 

Recognizing the difference between a dumb risk and a smart one, and 

Understanding when you need to change direction, and having the guts to do it.

I promised myself that I wouldn’t have a bad day for the rest of my life. If someone was wasting my time, i’d excuse myself and walk away. If a situation bothered me or refused to get resolved, I’d shrug and move on. I’d squander no energy on petty annoyances, poison no minutes with useless regret.

I would only work for someone I thought was wildly smart.

Duration, for him (Barton), is no longer quite the same as it is for most of us; he sees time not in terms of days or hours but in episodes of energy, bursts of attention.

There’s just one final thing I want to say. Probably it’s how everyone wants to be remembered. But that’s OK. I’ve said from the start that I make no claim of being special; I’m just one more person dying, revisiting his life. I think my father would’ve said the same thing, in the same words, If he had had the time. It’s simply this: I really tried. I did my best.”

***

Coincidently I have just finished a book by William R. Irvine titled the Stoic Challenge: A Philosopher’s Guide to Becoming Tougher, Calmer and More Resilient. I reommend the book. Barton epitomizes the stoic philosophy that Irvine promotes. Barton comments on his acceptance of his diagnosis and prognosis, “My frame of mind was something I could still control,. Doing so would be a sort of victory I was not accustomed to valuing – – a totally inward, private victory – – but a legitimate accomplishment nevertheless. I resolved to control my own discomfort, to rise above them if I possibly could. In doing so, I came to understand the deep truth that, while pain may be unavoidable, suffering is largely optional.

Dinks and Smashes

Now that Pennsauken has the new courts on River Road, I am somewhat nostalgic remembering the start of my pickleball playing at the Browning Road courts. Cookie Sey introduced a number of us to the game including Rita and Art Lattanzi, John Babcock, Bill M., Celeste Bub, Fran Mick, Lisa Heisler, Shira Carroll  etc. Lots of good memories, great people…Browning Road was our entree to other pickleball venues like Lions Den etc.

Every local pickleball venue (DeCou, Berlin, Hainesport, Pennsauken, Runnemede, Willingboro, etc.) has its own unique personality and characters. There are varieties of competitiveness, social interaction, formality, protocol and atmosphere. Each site is blessed with a good Meet-Up host.

Finally a pickleball player whose BMI is closer to many of us! Eden Lica is 6’5 and about 250 lbs. Despite his size, he has very good foot movement on the court as a singles player and he offers a nice touch and a finesse game to go with his power shots. Watch Lica’s recent singles match against Frank Anthony Davis at Delray Beach to get an idea of his agility and touch. Video starts with Lica-Davis match and continues for about 21 minutes. Note: lots of good action of other players including Ben Johns throughout video…

Experiment of one: I’ve played with a $150 Selkirk paddle but it doesn’t translate to a 100% performance improvement from playing earlier with a $75 graphite paddle. It’s often the archer, not the arrow.

Locally, informal scouting reports on players are being shared even at the intermediate level. The word of mouth reports are not only based on a player’s skills and performance but also, ominously for some, about their attitude and temperament on the court. Anecdotally I’m sad to hear stories where some players are made to feel uncomfortable because they may not be at the playing level of their fellow or lady competitors.

I commend Mindee Goldstein Hewitt for her continued improvement. She’s a pickleball dynamo and whirlwind. Not big in size, but big in heart. I’ve played with her on the Pennsauken courts. She is about a foot smaller than me but possesses a spirit and enthusiam for the game that complements her ever increasing level of skills and performance. She always has a smile on her face and has an energy level that belies her age.

If you measure your game solely by wins and losses instead of the opportunities for improvement, having fun and meeting friends/new people then you don’t understand the game.

The current performance gaps between Ben Johns from other men’s professionals and Simone Jardin from other women’s professionals are huge. Both are dominating pickleball like an early Mike Tyson with boxing and Simone Biles in gymnastics. Both players need rivalries and with new talent moving in from tennis and other sports, they soon may find it. Johns is dominating current pickleball like Bjorn Borg dominated tennis in the 1970s.

I’m amused that some of the topics (paddles, illegal serves, rules interpretions) on various Facebook pickleball forums draw as much heat as those on political topics.

I’m noticing that the streams and commentary on YouTube and Facebook from different pickleball venues and tournaments continue to improve. Those improvements will generate a wider audience and interest from casual fans.

The one exercise that may be most helpful for pickleball players is hitting a speed bag. Many pickleball shots, at the net, are like a boxer’s jab, requiring no wind up but quick flicks, reactions and jabs. Advanced pickleball players need the hand speeds and reflexes possessed by top amateur and professional boxers when parrying hard shots and volleys at the net.

My pickleball goals for this spring and summer are simple. I want to reconnect and play with old friends who I have not seen due to the Covid outbreak, improve my serve, try singles play and stay healthy.

See you on the courts!

Thoughts on the Fly

Close friends, family and even spouses may know 60-80% of who we really are. No one knows 100% of us, not even ourselves.

Emotionally it is easier to give help than to accept it. Giving is an expression of the heart;  accepting often requires the surrender of ego and pride.

The endings of most friendships and relationships are not mutual decisions decided concurrently. Often one of the parties finds it an unpleasant surprise…

Strangely enough in retirement, what I miss most are not the paychecks or the benefits but the memories of the joys and anticipations of a two week vacation from work.

A very useful and unique skill I possess is the ability to quickly retrieve my wife’s train of thought, without prompt, from a conversation or point she was making from a day, weeks or months before.

Does anybody remember the excitement and feeling of accomplishment from the first time they were able to ride a two wheeled bike? Does anyone remember their first bike like they remember their first car?

A great coach teaches not only how his team should win with class but also to lose with dignity.

After one retires, does one really need a watch? It’s like a prison ankle bracelet that serves little purpose once one escapes the confines of working 8 to 5.

Sage wisdom from a New York Times Article 7 Questions 75 Artists 1 Bad Year

I’ve made peace with myself. I chose to no longer stress over the things I have no control over.

Tiwa Savage, musician

I have to have a thousand bad ideas before I can get to a good one.

Aaron Sorkin, writer and director

I’m writing a book, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started over from scratch. But the bad ideas lead to the best ones. Sometimes you have to break down to break through.

Amanda Gorman, poet

My Basketball Books Hall of Fame

It’s March Madness time so I thought I would share a list of the top books that I have enjoyed about basketball. The first ten books represent my “top seeds” but let me offer at the outset that any basketball (or any other sport) books written by John Feinstein are Hall of Fame worthy.

  1. A Season on the Brink by John Feinstein
  2. The Miracle of St. Anthony by Adrian Wojnarowski
  3. The Last Amateurs: Playing for Glory and Honor in Division I College Basketball by John Feinstein 
  4. Basketball: A Love Story by Jackie MacMullan, Rafe Bartholomew, Dan Klores
  5. Michael Jordan: The Life by Roland Lazenby
  6. The Hoops Whisperer by Idan Ravin
  7. Three-Ring Circus: Kobe, Shaq, Phil, and the Crazy Years of the Lakers Dynasty by Jeff Pearlman
  8. To the Hoop: Seasons of a Basketball Life by Ira Berkow
  9. A Sense Of Where You Are by John McPhee
  10. Dream Team by Jack McCallum
  11. A March to Madness: A View from the Floor in the Atlantic Coast Conference by John Feinstein 
  12. Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich by Mark Kriegel
  13. The Breaks of the Game by David Halberstam
  14. The Jordan Rules by Sam Smith
  15. Showtime by Jeff Pearlman
  16. Eleven Rings by Phil Jackson
  17. The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to The Sports Guy by Bill Simmons 
  18. Last Dance: Behind the Scenes at the Final Four by John Feinstein 
  19. Unfinished Business: On and Off the Court With the 1990-91 Boston Celtics by Jack McCallum 
  20. The Back Roads to March: The Unsung, Unheralded, and Unknown Heroes of a College Basketball Season by John Feinstein

Recommended Reading

The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself and Win by Maria Konnikova (With help, a plan and a lot of preparation, a woman writer learns to play professional poker and beats the pros. Excellent psychological insights on mastering poker and life.True story!)

Three Ring Circus: Kobe, Shaq, Phil and the Crazy Years of the Lakers Dynasty by Jeff Pearlman (I really enjoy Pearlman’s sports books and this one is really good with a lot of interesting inside stories. You don’t have to be a Lakers fan to enjoy this book about a dysfunctional group of players and egos who manage to win world titles.)

Gods at Play: An Eyewitness Account of Great Moments in American Sports by Tom Callahan (Reporter’s memoir of covering great athletes like Muhammed Ali, Pete Rose, Oscar Robertson, Roberto Clemente, Arthur Ashe and others. His story about Bob Cousy and how Cousy took care of his sick wife was very moving.)

The Presidents vs. the Press: The Endless Battle Between the White House and the Media by Harold Holzer ( a very long book with interesting anecdotes of Presidents vs. the Press going back to Washington; chapter on Trump is very interesting):

Billion Dollar Loser: The Epic Rise and Spectacular Fall of Adam Neuman and WeWork by Reeves Wiedeman (business book that reads like a novel)

Epitaph by Maria Doris Russell (Historical novel about Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and Tombstone. Great read!)

What They Said

Smart commentary and analysis by writers much smarter and more thoughtful than yours truly…

Refusing to wear a mask has become a badge of political identity, a barefaced declaration that you reject liberal values like civic responsibility and belief in science. (Those didn’t used to be liberal values, but that’s what they are in America 2021.)

Unfortunately, identity politics can do a lot of harm when it gets in the way of dealing with real problems. I don’t know how many people will die unnecessarily because the governor of Texas has decided that ignoring the science and ending the mask requirement is a good way to own the libs. But the number won’t be zero.

Unmasked: When Identity Politics Turns Deadly Paul Krugman New York Times

***

The Pew Research Center found that the number of nones in the population as a whole increased nine percentage points from 2009 to 2019. The main reasons that nones are unaffiliated are that they question religious teachings, or they don’t like the church’s stance on social issues.

There is a chasm between the vast scope of our needs and what influencers can possibly provide. We’re looking for guidance in the wrong places. Instead of helping us to engage with our most important questions, our screens might be distracting us from them. Maybe we actually need to go to something like church?

Contrary to what you might have seen on Instagram, our purpose is not to optimize our one wild and precious life. It’s time to search for meaning beyond the electric church that keeps us addicted to our phones and alienated from our closest kin.

Influencers Are the New Televangelists Leigh Stein New York Times

***

Evangelicalism in America, however, has come to be defined by its anti-intellectualism. The style of the most popular and influential pastors tend to correlate with shallowness: charisma trumps expertise; scientific authority is often viewed with suspicion. So it is of little surprise that American evangelicals have become vulnerable to demagoguery and misinformation….. In 1994, Mark Noll, a historian who was then a professor at Wheaton College in Illinois, the preëminent evangelical liberal-arts institution, published “The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind.” In the opening sentence of the book’s first chapter, he writes, “The scandal of the evangelical mind is there is not much of an evangelical mind.”

Recently, some pastors and other evangelical leaders have begun to express alarm at how unmoored some members of their congregations have become. More leaders in the American church need to recognize the emergency, but, in order for evangelicals to rescue the life of the mind in their midst, they need to acknowledge that the church is missing a vital aspect of worshipping God: understanding the world He made.

The Wasting of the Evangelical Mind The New Yorker · by Michael Luo · March 4, 2021

***

The Republican Party has become, in form if not in content, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union of the late 1970s.

I can already hear the howls about invidious comparisons. I do not mean that modern American Republicans are communists. Rather, I mean that the Republicans have entered their own kind of end-stage Bolshevism, as members of a party that is now exhausted by its failures, cynical about its own ideology, authoritarian by reflex, controlled as a personality cult by a failing old man, and looking for new adventures to rejuvenate its fortunes.

A GOP that once prided itself on its intellectual debates is now ruled by the turgid formulations of what the Soviets would have called their “leading cadres,” including ideological watchdogs such as Tucker Carlson and Mark Levin. Like their Soviet predecessors, a host of dull and dogmatic cable outlets, screechy radio talkers, and poorly written magazines crank out the same kind of fill-in-the-blanks screeds full of delusional accusations, replacing “NATO” and “revanchism” with “antifa” and “radicalism.”

The Republican Party is, for now, more of a danger to the United States than to the world. But like the last Soviet-era holdouts in the Kremlin, its cadres are growing more aggressive and paranoid. They blame spies and provocateurs for the Capitol riot, and they are obsessed with last summer’s protests (indeed, they are fixated on all criminals and rioters other than their own) to a point that now echoes the old Soviet lingo about “antisocial elements” and “hooligans.” They blame their failures at the ballot box not on their own shortcomings, but on fraud and sabotage as the justification for a redoubled crackdown on democracy.

The Republican Party Is Now in Its End Stages The Atlantic · by Tom Nichols · February 25, 2021

Miscellanea: Ruminations on a Dreary and Somber Day

Sandra Lynn Burleigh (Donahue) 2/28/1956 – 1/5/1995

I have lived 25,080 days. My sister Sandra who would have been 65 today died at age 38 in 1995, lived 14,191 days. She embodied the adage that it’s the quality of life in your years that matter not the years in your life.

***

While it’s important at any time, the value of having good friends and family is far greater in our senior years than the value of one’s investments and assets.

***

There are people who have hundreds or thousands of “friends” or followers on social media that may influence their lives. In my life, there are or were five people who influenced me by their thoughts and examples to be a better person. For them, I am grateful.

***

We receive 86,400 “presents” daily so everyday is Christmas.

***

According to the book, Fundamentals: Ten Keys to Reality by physicist Frank Wilczek, we can have a billion thoughts in our lifetime. I think that as we get older many of our thoughts are re-runs like old Gunsmoke or MASH episodes.

***

Based on normal actuary tables, I have probably lived between 87-89% of my expected life. If I was a car, I would probably be replaced for a new model. Regrettably my trade-in value would be relatively low. My tires are worn, my headlights are dim and my engine is not as powerful as it once was.

***

Ben Johns: Pickleball = Michael Jordan:Basketball

Johns and Jordan are the best closers in their respective sports.

***

Cash Prizes: 2021 Australian Open = $80,000,000; 2021 Pro Pickleball Championships = $100,000

***

Mitch McConnell: on Capitol Riot 1/6/21

“The mob was fed lies,”.“They were provoked by the president and other powerful people.”…”These criminals were carrying his banners. Hanging his flags. And screaming their loyalty to him,”

Mitch McConnell on 2/25/21:He would “absolutely” support former President Donald Trump if he became the GOP presidential nominee in 2024.

WTF???