Miscellanea

Friends generally fall into tiers, like those old food-pyramid posters in the school cafeteria, except in this case, the tiny triangle at the pinnacle is where the good stuff is, your best friends who provide the most nourishment. The broad base of the pyramid represents the acquaintances, the kinda-friends, the friends of friends and amiable whoevers that, like matcha cupcakes or pigs in a blanket, are great to sample at a party, but do not make a full meal.

I Want My Friends. But How Many? Alex Williams

***

“The two most important days in your life are the day that you were born and the day you found out why.”

Mark Twain

***

“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”

 Philip Dick

***

This country is in the midst of a 5 alarm fire, & so many of the democratic leadership, the media, & much of the general population don’t get it, can’t believe it, or think someone else will stop it. If you don’t see where we’re headed in 3, 5, 10 years, your head is in the sand.

Kurt Eichenwald

***

As I do for the first time in my 62 years, my biggest worry is for my country. But the darkness on the edge of town has spread to the main roads and highways and neighborhoods. It’s now at the local bar, and the bowling alley, at the school board, and the grocery store. And it must be acknowledged and answered for. Grown men and women who swore an oath to our Constitution, elected by their constituents possessing the kinds of college degrees I could only dream of have decided to join the mob and become something they are not while hoping we somehow forget who they were. They’ve decided to burn it all down – with us inside. 

Brian Williams on his final MSNBC telecast

***

“You know, look, one thing that nurses also told us is that not only are they treating these people, but these people come in and ask like it’s Starbucks there. No, I don’t want that treatment. I want ivermectin. I want this, I want that, I want all these other things I’ve heard about,” said Marquez. “And the hospital has to actually fight their own patients to give them the treatment that actually works!”

Reporter on Covid treatments at Sparrow Health System Michigan

***

Expectation is the grandfather of disappointment. The world can never own a man who wants nothing.”

— Aphorisms for Thirsty Fish

***

“Here is a formula for staying young well beyond the days of youth…

“Grow old in a place where you do not think you belong. You will feel like an adolescent, because adolescents always consider themselves outsiders. Then, after decades, just as you have gradually habituated yourself to your surroundings, pack up and leave. It is time for another, perhaps the final beginning.”

Willard Spiegelman

***

Mental Defragmentation

Sorting through various and disparate ideas in my mind…

Friends disappoint, strangers rarely.

***

The greatest gift one can provide to another person is their attention.

***

Generally the people who urge the banning of certain books rarely (or can’t) read.

***

Too many Americans can’t read between the “lies’ much less read between the “lines.”

***

The most thoughtful commentary and analysis of our political and cultural discourse are often found in comedy. (See SNL openings, Doonesbury, Bill Maher etc.)

***

The most preposterous, unintentionally comic and inane commentary and analysis of our political and cultural discourse are often found from the mouths of politicians, pundits and government officials.

***

For me, gambling ads on social media, television and websites are as morally and ethically repugnant as cigarette ads decades ago.

***

If you can’t stand up to a dictator in your own party, why should anyone trust that you would stand up to a dictator in another country?

***

Home prices, gasoline, food, cars and other hard assets continue to inflate, good judgement, rationality and truth continue to abate.

***

Regrettably there is no one-shot vaccination against one of our major contagions, stupidity. Worse, the ones who are most infected would refuse to take it.

***

Three unappreciated occupations dealing with unrealized expectations and public disdain: Detroit Lions head coach, convenience store cashier and public school teacher.

***

Pennsauken High School has an 81% graduation rate. However only 26% can pass a reading proficiency test; only 6% can pass a math proficiency test. How low is the bar to graduate from Pennsauken High School? Which business would take a chance to hire a graduate from PHS based on those statistics?

***

Coincidentally Pennsauken voters will be voting on a bond referendum that includes funding for a new indoor pool. Makes sense as a lot of Pennsauken students are already drowning in terms of their education and future.

***

We live in a country where many people believe professional wrestling is real, the 2020 election was stolen, Joe Rogan is a better health expert than Dr. Fauci, vaccination mandates are totalitarian, the Capitol takeover on 1/6/2021 was: justified/a liberal plot/a peaceful demonstration of American patriots/not instigated by Trump. So much for American exceptionalism!

***

Sage 4

Past pearls of wisdom explaining what is happening today…

Current HeadlineWisdom from the Past
Jan. 6 Was Worse Than We Knew NY Times“We are a paper frigate sailing on a burning lake.” —Frederick Seidel
Republicans Shout Down Lindsey Graham for Pushing Vaccine“The central belief of every moron is that he is the victim of a mysterious conspiracy against his common rights and true deserts.” HL Mencken
Doctors grow frustrated over COVID-19 denial, misinformation“While people are entitled to their illusions, they are not entitled to a limitless enjoyment of them and they are not entitled to impose them upon others.” Christopher Hitchens
Dow sheds 300 points as investors ditch technology stocks, Nasdaq drops 2% CNBC“you cannot cling to anything in a changing world.” 
Osho
Trump, talked out of announcing a 2024 bid for now, settles on a wink-and-nod unofficial candidacy Washington PostStupidity is knowing the truth, seeing the truth but still believing the lies. Richard Feynman

Senescence: Round 3

More reflections, thoughts, perspectives and broodings on being older. You can find earlier and similar posts here and here.

Old age: Current age + 10 years; Youth: Current age – 10 years.

***

You  can only break my heart, once.

***

The ratio of laughter to tears narrows as one ages.

***

2:00 a.m. : (age 18) = 10:00 p.m. : (age 60+)

***

The penultimate expression of acquired wisdom is when we value health over wealth.

***

The value of what we don’t know > the value of what we do know.

***

Britain’s greatest export was The Beatles.

***

Baseball is this nation’s passed time.

***

Picture by Keegan Houser (Pixels)

Many of our sweetest memories generally have a soundtrack playing in the recesses of our mind.

***

Investing today is like playing a game at the carnival fair. You know the odds are stacked against you but the allure of winning a proverbial stuffed animal is too strong.

***

I wish I had a penny for each time a person changed the channel or fast forwarded a program on their remote or Roku. Within a day or two, I would be richer than Jeff Bezos.

***

Mother’s and Father’s Day is “Memorial Day” for many of us.

***

Our portals in time travel include old polaroid pictures, a yearbook and ticket stubs from a decades old concert or sporting event.

***

Do we ever really “grow up”?

***

Not sure that this applies to many 1960’s era football stars, but Jim Brown definitely could have played into today’s NFL.

***

In addition to Medicare and Social Security, one of the unheralded benefits for seniors are naps.

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.” 

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

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???

Sage 3

Seeking the wisdom of the past to explain the present…

News HeadlineWisdom (from the Ages)
Fox News cancels Lou Dobbs’ show; pro-Trump host not expected to be back on air. (LA Times)The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy: the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.
— JK Galbraith
Trump’s attempts to overturn the election have cost taxpayers more than $519 million so far, Washington Post finds. (Business Insider)“He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot but don’t let that fool you. He really is an idiot.” 
Groucho Marx
(Rep. Marjorie Taylor) Greene apologizes to GOP colleagues — and gets standing ovation. (The Hill)“The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” 
― Albert Einstein
‘No regrets’: Evangelicals and other faith leaders still support Trump after deadly US Capitol attack. (USA Today)“We keep on being told that religion, whatever its imperfections, at least instills morality. On every side, there is conclusive evidence that the contrary is the case and that faith causes people to be more mean, more selfish, and perhaps above all, more stupid.” 
― Christopher Hitchens
Poll: 64 percent of GOP voters say they would join a Trump-led new party (The Hill)“The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.”  H.L. Mencken
Supreme Court Rules Against Calif., Doubles Down On Religious Rights Amid Pandemic (NPR)Nowadays, science provides better and more consistent answers, but people will always cling to religion, because it gives comfort, and they do not trust or understand science.—-Stephen Hawking
2 more Trump supporters who took a private jet to Washington, DC, have been charged in the Capitol riot. (Business Insider)“Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.”
― George Carlin

Senescence: Round 2

Some additional Pensées on the art of aging and other ruminations…Earlier Pensées found here

The best thing that we can receive are not presents, but simply “presence”.

✱✱✱

While I sadly accept the fate of lost friendships by death, I continually mourn lost friends due to distance, dispute or their disinterest. 

✱✱✱

Young broken hearts quickly recover; older hearts rarely…

✱✱✱

Memory is a funny thing. It vividly remembers the wink of an eye from a pretty girl 50 years ago but can’t remember what it had for lunch yesterday.

✱✱✱

In every real man, a child is hidden who…misses the comfort of hugs and reassurances of parents, siblings, relatives and friends no longer alive.

✱✱✱

As a young child, I treasured a pocket watch as my timepiece, today I just treasure peaceful time.

✱✱✱

One may try so hard to be liked by everyone that one can forget to take the time to like themselves.

✱✱✱

The average older guy’s daily wardrobe often can fit into the locker he had in high school.

✱✱✱

30 minutes of personal or phone conversation > dozens of text and Facebook messages

✱✱✱

On long solo walks, I find myself rarely traveling alone…

✱✱✱

40+years of marriage: Life accomplishment = .400 batting average: baseball. Both achievements deserve recognition in their respective Hall of Fames.

✱✱✱

Linus has his security blanket; older Americans, nostalgia.

Photo by Daniel Frese from Pixels