Monday, December 05, 2016

Sports Preferences!

I hope Tiger plays well and is competitive in 2017.  He’s doing a good job on himself and his game and putting some excitement in the game would be good for us fans.

Big mouth Jim Harbaugh should concentrate on coaching and stop complaining/blaming.  I’m glad Michigan won’t be in the final football four.

Good news the Santa Clara 49ers continue to go down the toilet.  Also good news that the Raiders continue to win.  Bad news that there is talk of using public money to bribe the team to stay in Oakland.  Let them accept the bribe from Vegas and help make Sheldon Adelson richer.

I’m positive about Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool, but you’ve gotta love watching Bournemouth come from being down 3-1 and win 4-3 against Liverpool this weekend.  11,000 fans in the smallest Premier League stadium went crazy and millions around the world had a smile on their faces.  Klopp was gracious in defeat.

Speaking of smiling faces, the Warriors continue to light it up.

Some people are upset with Nico Rosberg for winning the Formula 1 championship and retiring.  I say good for him.

Sorry that the dour Scot Andy Murray will go into the new year ranked #1.  I wanted Novak to beat him.

Finally, for you Sumo lovers: I’m not thrilled that Kakuryu won the Kyushu Basho (I would have preferred it be Harumafuji) but I am happy that Goeido failed in his run for promotion to Yokozuna.  Failed badly, actually, finishing with only 9 wins.  I’m mellowing on Kisenosato.  I’m OK with him winning one of these days.  Watch Shodai – he’s the real deal.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

An Empty Bucket!

Not long ago (knowing I’ve made travel a priority) a friend asked where I’d like to go in the coming years.  Good question – and I realized I hadn’t given it much thought.  Did I have a travel bucket list I’m working on?

What came to mind first were places I’d been that I would enjoy visiting again:  Bhutan, Iran, Turkey, Peru, Borneo, Laos, Myanmar, and many more.  For sure, returning would be fun, but I wouldn’t say that any were in a “Must Do” bucket.

What about places I’d been to many times, like India, Japan and Italy and had a clear affinity for?  In recent years I’ve noticed more of a pull to return to my favorites than to go someplace just because I’d never been there.

Last year I had a wonderful return visit to Japan where in the past I’ve lived and worked.  Earlier this year I returned to Sicily to visit my Italian family for probably the 30th time.  And in February I’ll be traveling again to India, where I’ve also lived and worked and feel a special relationship with.

It seems I do have an answer to my friend’s question after all.  While new places and exotic adventures are wonderful, as I near my 84th birthday I clearly have a preference for concentrating on the people and places I love the most.  So in that sense my bucket may seem empty, but in fact is filled to overflowing with what is best in life.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

In Case You Missed It!

The Brits are going to spend a half billion dollars to refurbish Buckingham Palace.  I wonder if there aren’t a few people in the Sceptered Isle who think there are better ways to spend money other than propping up a creaky, outdated institution in a house that’s falling down.

Researchers in New York City swabbed the keypads of 66 A.T.M.s and found they were covered with microbes from human skin, traces of food and a mold associated with spoiled baked goods.  Icky, they said.  But not to worry – they’re mostly harmless.

Some scientists say that cockatoos are as smart as a 3-year-old human.  Example: In Vienna, a cockatoo named Figaro is fond of making tools.  When a pebble he was playing with fell outside his cage he used a piece of bamboo to try to rake the stone back in.  Terrific!  If your 3-year-old did this would you be impressed?

In the English Premier League last season’s wonder-team champions, Leicester City, is in 14th place, just ahead of Middlesbrough and a point behind Stoke City.  Disappointing but not surprising.  Who’s on top?  The usual suspects.  Order, and money, again rule the day.

Staying with sports (laughingly said to be fair competition) an additional 75 athletes in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, mostly from Russia and Eastern Europe, have been found guilty of doping violations.  If you are shocked you’ve been living on another planet.

Regarding the stories that dominate the news these days, I’ve said I expect the worst and, for now, will shut up rather than comment.  I’m stickin’ with my story.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Sorting Through the Noise!

The clamor is deafening.  It seems that everyone has something to say.

Some are in one of the five stages of grieving.
Some are angry.
Some are worried.
Some are blissful.
Some are wondering who will be chosen.
Some are floating names of who might be chosen.
Some are appalled at who they think might be chosen.
Some are depressed and would rather not get out of bed.
Some are challenged and want to keep fighting.
Some caution patience.
Some are philosophical and say we’ve weathered worse.
Some say we should not compromise with evil.
Some say we should find common issues and work together.

Everyone’s got something to say.

Me?  I think I’ll just shut up for a while and live my life.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

What Now?

It’s like waking up in the middle of a bad dream and realizing that it isn’t a dream.

It’s still like that.  The bad dream has not faded away, nor is it likely to any time soon.  So what now?

I have no interest in the conjectures, analyses, anguished screams that ‘the sky is falling’, or pollyanna-ish voices telling me that everything will be all right.  I’m only interested is seeing what is going to happen.

I expect the worst and hope I’m wrong.  I see no place to hide.  The three branches of government will be aligned to promote their agenda and thwart any opposition.  Promises that were made that tapped into widespread anger and discontent and yielded an electoral victory will not be kept.  So the anger and discontent will not disappear.

Watching the electoral maps on TV as the results came in and the blanks were filled in was surreal.  The urban enclaves in blue seemed insignificant as a tidal wave of red engulfed them.  It seemed inexorable – and it was.

A broader point of view is instructive, but it doesn’t help.  We’re just the latest example of a red tide that is sweeping the world.  Populism, dissatisfaction, nativism, authoritarian rulers – they’re everywhere.  Beyond Brexit we see examples all over Europe, and in Russia, China, India, the Philippines, and beyond.

So what now?  I think I’ll focus on what I care about most and can influence.  At the top of my list are those closest to me and being grateful for my well-being and good fortune.  Every day is a gift that I want to fully appreciate and enjoy.  All the rest is noise.