Monday, May 02, 2016

Ambivalent!

Ambivalent is defined as having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas.  I have a few:

I’ll be going back to India for a visit next year.  I lived there 50 years ago and have returned many times since, so I have a nostalgic feeling for the India that used to be.  I know that for most Indians life is better now.  Yet, the olden days have an appeal.  My workaround: Honor the past but let it stay in the past.  See/accept today with fresh eyes.

Our national parks are said to be America’s best idea.  Today, Donald Trump is America’s worst idea.  Yet I want him to win the Republican nomination.  Why?  Two reasons: First, running him will assure that the Democrats continue to hold the White House.  Second, this country needs to face up to the phenomena that make it possible for Trump to emerge as a choice of so many people.

If the Tottenham Hotspurs lose to Chelsea today Leicester City wins the Premier League title – the most improbable result in football history.  On the surface, my preference is simple.  Go Foxes!  However, my fantasy football team includes three Spurs, so the better they do the better I do.  What, then, do I want?  I want to have it both ways: My guys do well and the Spurs still lose.


An item about which I am not ambivalent: While I don’t dwell on them, I do notice obituaries in the news.  These days most people who die are younger than I am.  Gives me a chance to be grateful.  Every day!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Random Thoughts!

Cruz and Fiorina deserve each other.  It’s a challenge to decide who is the most repulsive.  For those of you who have naughty bedroom minds and a vivid imagination – shame on you.  Ugh – what a thought!

I learned from the movie, “Sherpa,” that these mountain people, many of whom depend on Mt. Everest climbers for their livelihood, have had a rough two years.  After an avalanche in 2014 the season was cancelled.  Last year an earthquake hit Nepal just as the season was beginning so there were no climbers.  I hear there will be a season this year, but with perhaps fewer foreigners than in the past.

I hope Steph Curry is a fast healer.

I’ve watched Charley Rose’s recent interviews with Obama.  Setting aside agreeing with him or not, given all the recent talk about whether his wannabe successors appear presidential, he does exemplify the demeanor and mastery of substantive knowledge a president should have.

I was in Syria in 2009, two years before their civil war began.  We had a wonderful time in Aleppo, the scene of much destruction and carnage as opposing forces fight for control of the city.  I keep wondering what it is like today in the part of town where we stayed and spent a lot of time.  I’ve tried to find out, so far with no success.


I went to my first ballgame of the year last week.  ATT Park was, as always, glorious.  I had my traditional Louisiana Hot Link and Anchor Steam beer.  Everything enjoyable except the game.  We lost!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

ScienceTimes!

Brilliant items from today’s paper:

If you have Type 2 Diabetes, losing weight would be a good idea.

Of a billion dogs on the planet, 750 million are not taken care of by humans.  So if you really want to know about dogs you need to pay attention to these village dogs, street dogs, free-breeding dogs, ‘strays,’ who haunt the garbage dumps of the world.

Many think that vipers like cottonmouths and rattlesnakes strike quicker than other snakes.  Not so.  In a recent test, rat snakes that kill by constriction were just as fast.

One old-growth redwood tree can be home to more than 100 species of life.

Runners who suffer from blisters can avoid them by wrapping their feet in paper tape.  More effective than petroleum jelly, socks, lotion, or bandages.

If I’ve had shingles should I get a shingles vaccination anyway?  Yes.

For children with asthma, reducing air pollution reduces respiratory symptoms.  Makes sense.

Living near greenery may help you live longer.  Also makes sense.


From the author of a new study on obesity:  “Being overweight in adolescence is bad – we knew that before, and this study shows it’s really bad.”  Got it.  Teens should eat less.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Sports Report!

Giants go down 5 in the first inning and come back to beat the Dodgers 9-6.  Go Giants!

Warriors beat San Antonio in San Antonio for the first time in forever and tie the record for most wins in a season.  One more to go.  Go Warriors!

Leicester City continues its improbable run for the Premier League title, leads Tottenham by 7 points with 5 to play.  Go Foxes!

Juventus has a 6 point lead over Napoli in Serie A, heading for its 5th Scudetto in a row.  Go Juve!

Jordan Spieth’s meltdown in the Masters was painful to watch.  Biggest collapse in golf history?  Probably not, but its right up there with the best/worst.

Hakuho, with the best record in Sumo history, should retire.  He’s bored and irritable.  Soon his bad behavior will destroy his legacy.  It’s time go, Hakuho!

Is it just me, or is there little interest in the upcoming Olympics?  Maybe a little of both.

Ken Burns’ new film on Jackie Robinson airs tonight.  I hear Jackie’s wife, Rachel, figures prominently in the story, which is appropriate.  I knew her when I lived in New York back in the day.  She is, indeed, extraordinary!


U.S. women soccer players are asking for equal pay.  Seems they are paid a fraction of what the men get.  No surprise there is inequality here.  I think what players, male or female, earn should be a function of revenue they generate.  If the women bring in more bucks than the men, they should be paid more.  Less they should be paid less.  Like it or not, in life we are not all equal!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Palmyra!

I visited Syria in 2009, two years before simmering unrest erupted into the civil war that continues to kill, injure and dislocate millions of innocent people.  Accompanying the human tragedy has been the destruction of places and relics, many of which are irreplaceable remnants of great historical significance.

Palmyra is such a place.  ISIS occupied the city nearly a year ago and set about destroying and damaging sculptures, temples, theaters and other structures dating back 2,000 years.  When I read about what was happening in Palmyra it felt very personal, since I had gone deep into the desert seven years ago to see it all for myself.

I have a clear memory of walking through the Roman ruins that make Palmyra a UNESCO World Heritage Site, of wandering down the main street of this small town, eating in a simple sidewalk café, visiting small shops.  Unlike other tourist attractions, we saw very few foreigners in Palmyra, and felt like we had the place all to ourselves.  A very pleasant memory.


So I was thrilled to hear that the government has retaken Palmyra and ISIS is gone.  They say the damage is less that was feared and much can be repaired.  I hope so.  While bricks and mortar are secondary to the suffering inflicted on people, there is something special about a place like Palmyra, which is a window into our past.