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Monday, December 01, 2008

Alternative Arrangements for Ancients (AAA)

Monday, December 1, 2008

I’ve been living alone- with my wife of 35 years, for about a year. In many ways it is
“The best of all possible worlds” as far as I’m concerned but if you asked my wife she might disagree.

I first started sleeping in one of the spare rooms because of my wife’s snoring and her tendency to scream “mama” when woken from a sound sleep. Also we have very different ideas about optimum sleeping arrangements; my “better half” insists on hermetically sealed sleeping quarters (windows shut tight, closed, heavy blinds on the windows, doors closed) I prefer open windows, no blinds and the door wide open.
In addition, my wife retires very soon after dinner and I usually go to be at 11:00 PM and read until midnight.

Now, I’m well established in my own room with a desk and my laptop at a large window and the freedom to got bed when I please without being screamed at. However, I still think about future arrangements and the idea of co-housing seems like a very sensible idea to me. I retired at 65, ten years ago, but my wife, who is my junior by 13 years still works at a job she enjoys. She plans to continue until she reaches the point she can qualify for full S.S. benefits. At that point, we could move to co-housing and I would relinquish my housekeeping, gardening and maintenance responsibilities that could prove somewhat “heavy” in another 7 years. (I’ll be 81 by then)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Master of Disguises: Poetry: The New Yorker

Master of Disguises: Poetry: The New Yorker

The "invisibility" of old people is a phenomenon all of us have to face, sooner or later.
The transition from vibrant, sometimes too visible youth to
faltering, opaque age come slowly but oh, so surely.
There's no remedy or recovery and no chance to re-appear.
We go gently but surely and no one seems to notice when we're gone.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thing Will Get Better?

Posted on the 70 Something Blog:

"We have no choice, but to adapt. We will learn some lessons, and things will get better eventually.
We have to believe that."

I think that's one of the main reasons that we are in this horrible predicament. We accepted what the Paulson and the politicians told us. Then Paulson starts handing our money out to the banks and they stuff it into their mattresses to make up for all their gambling losses. The banks are not going to lend any of "our" money to the businesses that need it to cover payroll or inventory. It's "thier" money now and they're free to do with it anything they want.
So the credit-crunch gets worse and we've lost 700 billion dollars but it's OK because "it's only money" and money isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

The lesson? Never trust a banker or a politican.
"things will get better eventually" - Don't hold your breath

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sarah's Sexy Hair: A Desperate Bid For Votes? (SLIDESHOW)

Maybe Palin's looking for an invitation from SNL. Tina, she could do you very easily
Sarah's Sexy Hair: A Desperate Bid For Votes? (SLIDESHOW)

I think Sarah Palin's run for VP is really her press agent's idea. She's had so much media exposure and time to practice her "shtick" that as soon as the McCain/Palin ticket is history - less than a month from now, her TV/Movie career will go into high gear. "Playboy, Desperate Housewives", her own sitcom, maybe a soap? Sky's the limit Sarah but you'll have to lose Todd and the glasses.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

What's Happening to Letterman?

Somebody passed me a piece, purportedly penned by late-night host David Letterman that sent me to the web to try to unravel the mystery.

Letterman wrote this?
As most of you know I am not a President Bush fan, nor have I ever been,
but this is not about Bush, it is about us, as Americans, and it seems to hit the mark.

The other day I was reading Newsweek magazine and came across some poll dataI found rather hard to believe.
It must be true given the source, right?

The Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed and 69 percent of the country is unhappywith the performance of the President.
In essence 2/3 of the citizenry just ain't happy and want a change So being the knuckle dragger I am, I started
thinking, 'What are we so unhappy about?'

A.. Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 Days
a week?

B.. Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer
and heating in the winter?

C.. Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job?

D.. Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time and
more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year?

E.. Maybe it is the ability to drive our cars and trucks from the Pacific
Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers
as we move through each state?

F.. Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along
the way that can provide temporary shelter?

G.. I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from
around the world is just not good enough either.

H. Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all and even send a helicopter to take you to the

I.. Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home.

J.. You may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of a fire, a
group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch
equipment to extinguish the flames, thus saving you, your family, and your

K.. Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs, a
burglar or prowler intrudes, an officer equipped with a gun and a
bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or

L.. This all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias
raping and pillaging the residents. Neighborhoods where 90% of teenagers
cell phones and computers.

M.. How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we
enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world?

Maybe that is what has 67% of you folks unhappy.

Fact is, we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world
has ever seen. No wonder the world loves the U.S. ,
yet has a great disdain for its citizens.
They see us for what we are. The most blessed people in the
world who do nothing but complain about what we don't have, and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the good Lord we live here.

I know, I know. What about the president who took us into war and has no
plan to get us out? The president who has a measly 31 percent approval
rating? Is this the same president who guided the nation in the dark days
after 9/11? The president that cut taxes to bring an economy out of
recession? Could this be the same guy who has been called every name in thebook for succeeding in keeping all the spoiled ungrateful brats safe from
terrorist attacks? The commander in chief of an all-volunteer army that is
out there defending you and me?

Did you hear how bad the President is on the news or talk show? Did this
news affect you so much, make you so unhappy you couldn't take a look
around for yourself and see all the good things and be glad? Think about
it......are you upset at the President because he actually caused you
personal pain OR is it because the 'Media' told you he was failing to kiss
your sorry ungrateful behind every day. Make no mistake about it.

The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have volunteered to serve, and in many
cases may have died for your freedom. There is currently no draft in this
country. They didn't have to go. They are able to refuse to go and end up
with either a ''general'' discharge, an 'other than honorable'' discharge
or, worst case scenario, a
''dishonorable' ' discharge after a few days in the brig.

So why then the flat-out discontentment in the minds of 69 percent of

Say what you want but I blame it on the media. If it bleeds it leads and
they specialize in bad news. Everybody will watch a car crash with blood
andguts How many will watch kids selling lemonade at the corner? The mediaknows this and media outlets are for-profit corporations. They offer whatsells, and when criticized, try to defend their actions by 'justifying'
themin one way or another Just ask why they tried to allow a murderer like O.J.Simpson to write a book about how he didn't kill his wife, but if he did hewould have done it this way......Insane!

Turn off the TV, burn Newsweek, and use the New York Times for the bottom of your bird cage. Then start being grateful for all we have as country.
There is exponentially more good than bad. We are among the most blessed people on Earth and should thank God several times a day, or at least be thankful and appreciative.' 'With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides,flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end toanother, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, 'Are we
surethis is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?'

David Letterman

I can't find any trace of this anywhere on the internet. If Letterman did write it, where did it appear? If he wrote it, "why"? If he didn't, where is it coming from? Sarah Six-Pack or Mad-Dog McCain?

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Bill Clinton : Big News Page

Bill Clinton : Big News Page

I can't believe the latest nasty trick from Slick (Willy)
He's saying: he likes Barack Obama and he likes McCain too
Now America, who to vote for? he leaves that up to you.
Clinton's a traitor and a renegade. He and Joe Lieberman make a great pair

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Last night, Nouriel Roubini,consultant and NYU professor of economics told viewers of the Macniel Lehrer News Hour in describing the current economic situation and probable after-shocks that "the light at the end of the tunnel" just might be a "train wreck"

Can it get any worse? Have we hit bottom yet? I'm not just referring to the sub-prime debacle and it's increasingly dire results nor the political campaign that has become a show that would have been closed immediately if it ever opened on Broadway (or Philadelphia!). No, it's much more pervasive- the rot has spread from Washington to Wassalia contaminating our schools, churches and everything else it touches. It seems as if the American people have completely lost touch with reality (maybe it is all those "Reality" shows on TV.

The guys that wrote all those sub-prime mortgages knew that one-in-four would default and their buddies on Wall St. that packaged them for trade knew that at least 25% (probably more) were junk. The "wise guys" on the right end of the RNC knew that Sarah Palin was no more qualified to be VP than Barney (dinosaurs 4000 years ago??) but they set her up anyway because she shifted the voters' attention from the economy and the war in Afghanistan for a couple of weeks but soon the pig's lipstick will be completely forgotten (McCain now wishes it already was) and we'll all be facing the worst defecit in the history of this country and our grandchildren will have to pay.

The Bush doctrine - maybe Palin doesn't know anything about it (Alaska is a long way from Washington) but we're all going to be apying for it dearly for a long time to come.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Friday, September 05, 2008

Judith Warner Hits the Spot

  • Judith Warner told it like it is in the NYT "Opinion" today
  • and here's the last comment to column that was posted.
  • Maybe 302 mostly thoughtful, intelligent comments is some kind of a record for the NYT?

  • 302.
  • In reading the editorial and the comments posted I no longer feel that I “missed something”. I am from a really small town (pop. 255) in rural America. I am a hockey mom and have a mass comm degree. I have small town policital experience but in no way am I swayed by Gov. Palin. She and the Republican party scare me. I want to know how to fix our broken country.I want a really smart person in the top spot. I want Obama/Biden. Thank you for all the “hit the spot” comments. They are what I am thinking!! Vote Obama/Biden on Nov. 4-a smart change!!

    — Posted by Shannon M.

  • Read the whole thing at
  • Thanks Judith and the NYT

Comments are no longer being accepted.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

It's Not About Palin or Even McCain Vs. Obama

It is about the new " Axial Age" that is upon us. A time when the two opposing sides in the American ideological conflict jockey for position, gird their loins and prepare for WAR!
Maybe you thought that all the radical fundamentalists were in Europe Asia and the Middle East with a few fifth columnists staked out in North and South America? Well, actually almost 20% of the American electorate subscribes to the tenets of radical fundamentalism - here they're known as "Evangelical Christians" and it looks like they've taken control of the Republican National Convention, nominated a real one of their own for the VP spot and are ready to move on Washington with more determination and power than Jerry Falwell et al ever even dreamed of.
They're determined to completely undermine the U.S. constitution, destroy the checks and balance sytem which is the foundation of our democracy and establish that would be the envy of Iran and Franco's Spain.

Is it possible? Can a few religious zealots bring down our country?
The "few" probably constitute about 20% of the electorate , they are strongly united and they are absolutely convinced that "God is on the sure ier side" just like Nazi Germany whose soldiers wore belt buckles inscribed with "Gott Mit Uns" (God with us)

The Bush administration was just a warm-up for the real thing. "You ain't seen nothing yet" but maybe Palin's speech was a teaser.

What can we do if we don't want to submit to a Theocracy led by born-again christians? If we hold our personal liberties dear enough to fight for?
First, unite under one leadership. Second, stand up and fight - don't give an inch and most important make sure that no-one who sides with the radical right- even the apostates like Joe Lieberman gets elected to any office in the land ever again

Friday, August 29, 2008

United States Senator - John Thune

United States Senator - John Thune
Is he any relation to the famous "Looney Thunes"?
McCain is senile but is he that demented?
Bring him on, Joe Biden will take him in the first round.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Veterans for Obama

This is one contribution that I can make on my own. If there are any other vets who would like to carry the colors of the "1st Obama Brigade" send me an e-mail and I'll send a FREE BUMPER STICKER to the first 100 vets.

McCain's a Joke

Are you old enough to remember the "bad ol days", before P.C., the days of radio shows like "Abie's Irish Rose","Jack Benny & Rochester" and the 1000 year old man etc. I think we laughed a lot more when we weren't worrying (too much} about saying the wrong thing. OK so it was wrong and I guess we should have known better but my point is that if we can't laugh at ourselves - we're in trouble. McCain and I are almost contemporaries. I was born two year before he was so I think it's OK to make jokes about his age since I frequently make jokes about my own. I think I might have been a decent president if I had been elected eight years ago but I don't think I'm really up to the job now and neither is McCain and it's for the same reasons. We're both grumpy old men who often forget where we left our glasses or the car keys and we have to pause a little to remember the names of our grandchildren or the first name of the French President and although I aced history and gography in school, I can't remember which countries border on Lebanon or Iraq without looking at a map but the main reason we shouldn't be in the White House is because we can't inspire the young people of the world to go out and make a difference but Barack Obama can, almost the way JFK could.
Considering the kind of campaign my contemporary is running now- he should be treated as a joke.
As my Jewish friends would say:
"I laugh so that I don't cry"

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

(Photo Courtesy of The New York Times)

If ever there was someone who can be the icon of the new age in American politics it is Michelle Obama.

Monday, June 02, 2008

My Real Age

When I was a student at U.C., there was a story going around about two graduate students from the Psychology department who found themselves unable to make ends meet and were forced to find part-time jobs. One, went to work as a teller in a bank and the other decided to be a bank robber. After a few weeks, Robber Student found himself at the counter of Teller Stuudent. He handed the teller a paper bag with a note : "Put all the cash in the bag and hand it over. Just act normal and nobody will get hurt- I've got a gun"
Teller read the note and wrote on it "First, let's define our terms, what do you understand by 'normal' ?"

First, we have to define the meaning of "Real Age". Are we referring to the elapsed time between my birth and today? If so this is actually a rather arbitrary definition. If we were on a planet or star that had no solar system, how would we measure "time" and age? Would there be any time at all? Would we age? Further, why should we accept the idea that "time" is defined by the rise and fall of the sun rather than the rising of the moon or the movement of other planets?

Second, there are the question of "mental" age", "physical age" and "emotional age". There are millions of so-called "adults" who read at a fifth grade level or below and many 50 year-olds who can't climb a flight of stairs or swim 100 yards without assistance. How old are they? If we divided the entire population of this country by those who were of chronological voting age and those who were not, what percentage of the voters have the emotional and intellectual maturity to make the decisions proposed on the ballots?

Why, when we're computing ages, do we count from the moment of birth rather than conception? Or, why do we disregard previous incarnations?

Why do we count backwards with age? "You are 63 years old" (you have completed 63 years of living on this planet) Maybe we should count forward "You have 21 more years to live" (according to current actuarial tables)

The question of how old I am can only be answered in relative terms like:

How old are you right now at this minute?
How old were when you woke up this morning?
How old were you last night when you went to bed?
How old are you when you're playing a good game of golf? Catching a big mouth bass? Flirting with a young woman?
How old am I when come upon a new and interesting idea or concept?

What is my real age?
You tell me.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Vietnam Now

In the three weeks since I returned from Vietnam, practically every publication I read has published lead stories on the upcoming economic "explosion" in Vietnam, (including the New York Times, The Economist, Newsweek, Prospect, The New Republic and more)

It was one of the reasons I felt some urgency about making my trip: it's all going to be very different in a couple of years. When I was in Saigon, I was watching CNN and there was an interview with a major Chinese industrialist who told the CNN reporter that he was moving all of his operations to Vietnam by the end of 2009.
Here's why:
  • Vietnam's literacy rate as of 2006 was 94%
  • 98% of school age children are enrolled in school
  • Vietnam has a labor pool estimated to be nearly 40 million workers, with an additional 1.5 million workers joining the work force each year
  • Minimum Wage $35/month, higher in major cities.
  • Mineral resources (including coal and oil deposits) plus rich and fertile farmland and an immense coast line makes the country almost paradisaical
The major cities Ho Chi Minh/Saigon and Hanoi are already bursting at the seams - traffic and pollution are incredible but there is still plenty of land available for development and exploitation.

However, there is a dark side to Vietnam and it made me hesitate about staying for more than a visit. The people are for the most courteous and apparently friendly but beneath the surface there is a strong feeling of resentment towards foreigners, particularly the Chinese, Americans and the French each of whom invaded Vietnam and occupied for significant periods of time. The Americans had a relatively brief and quite violent encounter with the Vietnamese in the 1970's but their predecessors, the French came early (1859) and stayed late ('til 1954).
The French fought hard to retain their Asian colony the war lasted nine years and left a lot of scars.

In his recently published The Boat, Nam le, the author describes how his father was conscripted into the South Vietnamese Army and fought alongside the American Army: asked how he could fight on the side of the Americans, after what he witnessed at My Lai, he replies: “I had nothing but hate in me, but I had enough for everyone.”

In the past six years I have traveled extensively through eastern Asia but Vietnam is the only country I have visited in the region where almost no signs (advertising or other) are written in English or any language other than Vietnamese. The children are now studying English in school but hardly any of the adults I met spoke English and only my Vietnamese contemporaries, spoke French.

The Hmong people who I encountered in mountains of the north, were congenial and pleasant but they have some "history" with the U.S. and are naturally more friendly than the Vietnamese.

Friday, March 14, 2008

I Found it When I stopped Looking

As I get older, I am more and more prone to misplacing things like keys, eyeglasses, books, files etc.
and when I search for them, I usually don't find them- until I stop looking.

Last week my grand daughter was here- she decided to spend Spring Break with us. It's the first time she's been with us since she was about 11 and she'll be celebrating her 20th birthday in a couple of weeks. About two weeks before she arrived I had misplaced my "good glasses" these are a pair that I bought originally about five years ago. They have titanium frames (really unbreakable) and a new pair of tri-focal no line lenses. Cost to replace today about $400 . I searched everywhere for them and eventually stopped looking. I knew they were somewhere in the house and someday they would turn up. Camille was idly perusing my "stacks" when her hand happen to fall on a copy of Shakespeare's Sonnets. Standing close to her, my eyes followed the movement of her hand, I was curious to see which book had attracted her attention. As she pulled the book from the shelf "I spied, with my little eye" - my "good glasses"!
I've looked, for a long time, for something that could explain the meaning of Buddhism to people like me who are "anti-theistic" but deeply involved in the practice and philosophy of Buddhism. Yesterday, totally by chance I found a short work that, I think is exactly what I was looking for - when I wasn't looking.

The title is Buddhist Meditation and Depth Psychology. The author is David Burns and it is published online by the Buddhist Publication Society.
You can view and download it (38 pages and it"s FREE!) at:

Even if you never read anything else about Buddhism or meditation

You must read this.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Real Hillary Clinton

Previously Posted on the Huffington Post:

When it became absolutely clear at RNC headquarters and in the inner sanctae of the ultra-conservative churches of America that the Republican Party couldn't possibly win the 2008 presidential elections, a cry of anguish and terror was heard from the right side of the land.

The elders joined together with the young neo-con zealots and agreed that the only way to insure the continued mis-rule of America was to elect someone who appeared to be a Democrat but underneath was a true god-fearing conservative Republican stalwart, bathed in the blood of the free-market lamb, dedicated to the principles of "Capitalism Uber Alles"
Hillary was brought before the council of Elders and NeoCon Zealots and after swearing to uphold the principles of Baptist Christianity and Friedman Dogma she was promised the complete support of the council and its members.

Monday, March 10, 2008

T-Mobile is Undercover

It's the "stealth" wireless service provider. A company that will not allow anyone to know where the corporate headquarters are or how to contact them except through the "Customer Service? Department".

Got a problem with your phone or didn't get the rebate you were entitled to and on which you based your decision to buy a particular phone?

Tell it to the Chaplain because there ain't nobody home at T-Mobile USA. Strangely enough, the parent company, Deutsch Telecom publishes the mailing address of their corporate headquarters prominently on the front page of their web site but the U.S. subsidiary keeps everything "very close to the chest"

Why are they hiding? What's going on?
Ask thousands of unhappy customers with two year contracts, lousy service and defective, unsupported phones. They'll tell you.
We can't expect total transparency for scam operations like T-Mobile but this is going a little too far.