Archive for December, 2008

It’s heeeeeeeeeere: 2009. Well almost here. It’ll be here when we’re all kissing our sweethearts on New Year’s Eve and falling into bed at 12:06 a.m.

I’m not a resolution guy.  Perhaps it’s because resolutions like, “I will exercise more,” only focus on the “do” in our lives and not on the “be.”  And the “do” we do is done for all the wrong reasons. We “do” something so we can “have” something so we can “be” something else. When we fail on the “do,” the wheels of the plan come off entirely.

So instead of resolving to do something, I’m focusing on being.  It starts with  finding the one area of life you want to positively change, then selecting a word to guide you through the year. Pick a word to remind you to live life on the “be” level.  Instead of “get fit” (do), perhaps you choose the word “health” and focus on making healthy choices the entire year.

My word? Bold.

Short back story: Through the past couple of decades, I got rutted in letting life happen to me. In that time many positive and wonderful things did happen. But I didn’t necessarily play a hand in carving the path with my own machete. No, the path was mostly pre-paved leading to a glass that was just three-quarters full when it should be brimming. My word “bold” will enable me to top off the glass each day – living life intentionally at work, in relationships, at home, in my desire to be fit and happy et al.  With this in the forefront, I’ll change behavior, live more purposefully and take myself out of life on the periphery.

I’ve already practiced using my word in recent weeks. It’s presented me with challenges and  anxious moments resulting in sleepless nights, like any shift in life presents. Being bold has risks, but it’s a step in a direction I must take. Plus, it’s exhilarating to hear my own voice when I say out loud the things that would have previously gone unsaid or take action on something I would have only thought (mightily) about.

I’ll kick bold into full throttle in January and post on my successes and failures during the year.

In the meantime, I’ve picked this John Mayer cover of “Bold as Love” by Jimi Hendrix as my theme song. We all need anthems in life.

Happy New Year. Make it a bold one.


Anger he smiles, towering in shiny metallic purple armour
Queen jealousy, envy waits behind him
Her fiery green gown sneers at the grassy ground

Blue are the life-giving waters taken for granted
They quietly understand
The once happy turquoise armies lay opposite, ready
But wonder why the fight is on

But they’re all, they’re bold as love, yeah
They’re all, they’re bold as love, love, love
They’re all, they’re bold as love
Just ask the axis

My red is so confident, he flashes trophies of war
And ribbons of euphoria
Orange is young, full of daring
But it, it’s very unsteady for the first go round

My yellow in this case is not so mellow
In fact I’m trying to say it’s frightened like me
And all these emotions of mine keep holding me from
Giving my life to a rainbow like you

But I’m, I’m bold, I’m bold as love, yeah
I’m bold, I’m bold as love, love, love
I’m bold, I’m bold as love
Just ask the axis

He knows, he knows, he knows
He knows everything

I’m, I’m bold, I’m bold as love, yeah
I’m bold, I’m bold as love, ohh
Been talkin’ to ya
I’m bold, I’m bold as love, yeah.

P.S.  Be sure to wait an extra second on New Year’s Eve before planting that first kiss. A leap second has been added to the clock by the U.S. Naval Observatory. This will be the 24th leap second added since 1972. Thanks U.S. Naval Observatory clock watchers.



Read Full Post »

I can’t resist providing a couple links to some Christmas hilarity.

First up is the classic “It’s a Wonderful Life,” performed by bunnies in 30 seconds. Be sure to click the bunny icons at the end for outtakes.


And here’s what is sure to be a new Christmas Classic tune featuring The Hives and Cyndi Lauper in “A Christmas Duel.” It’s a cheery holiday song unlike any other.


Howlin Pelle
I bought no gifts this year
And I slept with your sister
I know I should have thought twice before I kissed her
But with the year we had last
And the dress that she wore
I just went along for the ride
And I came back for more
And I’m sorry, baby

Cyndi Lauper
(That’s all okay honey cause see)

I bought no tree this year
And I slept with your brother
I wrecked your Daddy’s car
And went down on your Mother
I set your record collection on fire
And said I never knew
Felt kind of bad about that
And I know you did too

So whatever you say, it’s all fine by me
Who the fuck anyway wants a Christmas tree

Duet : Cyndi Lauper and The Hives
Cause the snow keeps on fallin
Even though we were bad
It’ll cover the filth, we should both just be glad
And spend, spend, spend this Christ- Christmas together

Howlin Pelle
I married you last year
Bet you thought I was sober, right?
But I was drunk as a skunk and I made a mistake
This could all have been over

Cyndi Lauper
Ah honey please don’t excuse your behavior
Cause I hired a hitman and changed your will

Cyndi Lauper and The Hives
It’s now all in my favour

So whatever you say, it’s all fine by me
Who the fuck anyway wants a Christmas tree
Cause the snow keeps on fallin
Even though we were bad

It’ll cover the filth, we should both just be glad
And spend-spend-spend this Christ-Christmas together
And spend-spend-spend this Christ-Christmas together
And spend-spend-spend this Christ-Christmas together
And spend-spend-spend this Christ-Christmas together

Howlin Pelle
Holding on without any reason
Cause something’s strong (something’s strong)
This holiday season (this holiday season)

Duet : Cyndi Lauper and The Hives
So whatever you say, it’s all fine by me
Who the fuck anyway wants a Christmas tree
Cause the snow keeps on fallin
Even though we were bad
It’ll cover the filth, we should both just be glad

And spend-spend-spend this Christmas together
(repeat 3xs)
Come on!

-Merry Christmas!-

Read Full Post »

Wordplay – Diffident

Diffident: lacking confidence in one’s own ability, worth, or fitness; timid; shy or, restrained or reserved in manner, conduct.

“Diffidence crossed his face when asked if he wanted to share his opinion with the group.”


Read Full Post »

Oh Christmas Tree



Read Full Post »

Note: This device will not be available at Wal-Mart.

Bionic ‘sex chip’ that stimulates pleasure centre in brain developed by scientists

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 9:22 AM on 22nd December 2008

Scientists are developing an electronic ‘sex chip’ that works by stimulating the pleasure centres in the brain.

The technology, which creates tiny shocks deep in the brain, has already been used in America to treat Parkinson’s disease.

Now researchers are focusing on the orbitofrontal cortex, which is associated with feelings of pleasure caused by eating and sex.

A research survey conducted by Morten Kringelbach, a fellow at Oxford University, found the orbitofrontal cortex could be a ‘new stimulation target’ to help people with anhedonia – an inability to experience pleasure from such activities.

His colleague Professor Tipu Aziz said: ‘There is evidence that this chip will work.

‘A few years ago a scientist implanted such a device into the brain of a woman with a low sex drive and turned her into a very sexually active woman. She didn’t like the sudden change, so the wiring in her head was removed.’

But Professor Aziz said the present surgery needed to implant the wire in the brain was ‘intrusive and crude’ and would need about 10 years worth of development.

‘When the technology is improved, we can use deep brain stimulation in many new areas. It will be more subtle, with more control over the power so you may be able to turn the chip on and off when needed.’

An electronic machine that creates sexual feelings is already being developed in America by Dr Stuart Meloy. He calls his device, which is a modified spinal cord stimulator, the Orgasmatron. The name is taken from the 1973 Woody Allen film Sleeper.


Read Full Post »

Christmas time is here
We’ll be drawing near
Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year”

Plenty of Christmas childred-treehood memories float around my head this time of year. Like the several-year-stretch of purchasing flocked Christmas trees from Del’s Garden Center in Spencer, Iowa. Dad and Mom even bought a red flocked tree (around 1972, I think). It seems a heinous act, flocking a poor evergreen, but back in the ’70s it was the “in” thing to do and Del’s flocked Christmas trees like nobody’s business.  For those of you unfamiliar with the process, they basically stick the tree in a paint room on a stand that spins in a circle while a thick coating of foam-like, dyed flocking material covers every branch and needle. Instead of vacuuming up dried needles on New Year’s Day, we vacuumed red flocking attached to dried needles. It was stunning stuff.

One of my best Christmas memories involves Uncle Floyd and Aunt Evelyn. Floyd worked for my Dad who owned a machine shop and small-engine repair business. (Floyd and Evelyn were not actual relatives BTW). Floyd should have been retired, but Dad had a soft spot for Floyd who was a fountain of information when it came to mechanics.  The aged Floyd and Evelyn lived in a little town, Sioux Rapids, about 20 miles from our home. Each Thanksgiving and Christmas, we would collect them and host them for dinner. Evelyn made delicious caramel pecan rolls, and it would kill me to sit in the backseat of the car with those rolls waiting until we got home before I could indulge. A few years back, I began my own attempt in mimicking the creation of those pecan rolls. Both Floyd and Evelyn have passed away, so I turned to the Google and after trying a couple recipes and combining a few things, I landed on what I believe is a very close caramel pecan roll recipe that would make Evelyn proud. It’s a tribute of sorts to them both and the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners of my youth.

Some traditions fade away – while others remain or re-occur or begin. Gone are the days of flocked trees but those pecan rolls are back in my life. And my two kids, who practically peed their pants in anticipation of Santa’s secret visit and the  gifts he left them for Christmas morning, are teenagers. The excitement may be (mostly) in the past, but the spirit and intention that comes with spending time together making a dinner, playing cards or watching a movie remains anticipated and important.

Lead on!” said Scrooge. “Lead on! The night is waning fast, and it is precious time to me, I know. Lead on, Spirit!”
A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens


Read Full Post »

This article in The New York Times does an injustice to all practical thinkers when it comes to exercise and living  a healthy lifestyle.

Since forever we’ve known regular exercise, even a little, will deliver a multitude of benefits. So today, in the midst of the obesity epidemic – when the average Cinnabon is roughly the circumference of a toddler’s head – do we need scientific studies and exercise experts to further convince the bulk of people in the world (and believe me, “bulk” is the key word in this sentence) who are living a sedentary lifestyle that exercise is pointless?

Here’s a short excerpt from the article…

Exercise alone, in the absence of weight loss, has not been shown to reduce blood pressure. Nor does it make much difference in cholesterol levels. Weight loss can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, but if you want to lose weight, you have to diet as well as exercise. Exercise alone has not been shown to bring sustained weight loss. Just ask Steven Blair, an exercise researcher at the University of South Carolina. He runs every day and even runs marathons. But, he adds, “I was short, fat and bald when I started running, and I’m still short, fat and bald. Weight control is difficult for me. I fight the losing battle.”

The difficulty, Dr. Blair says, is that it’s much easier to eat 1,000 calories than to burn off 1,000 calories with exercise. As he relates, “An old football coach used to say, ‘I have all my assistants running five miles a day, but they eat 10 miles a day.’”

exerciseMany of us fight the battle of the bulge during our lifetimes. I’ve never delivered on my promise to develop rock hard abs. Even in my best shape, God didn’t grant me Dennis Quaid-like genetics. I know, damn. But this shortcoming doesn’t mean I won’t do crunches four days a week, run or ride three days a week and lift weights twice a week. I fully believe that without exercise I would quickly balloon to 250, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol (mine is 162) and suffer from sleep apnea. So I exercise, eat a balanced diet and strive to keep my metabolism high. Yeah, I’m still soft in spots but imagine what I might look like if I did nothing?

Science that suggests people leave exercise out of the mix of options is not helpful science. The obesity epidemic is contributing to a diabetes crisis, which will in turn contribute to more people with heart disease and a handful of other chronic conditions – which will result in health care costs continuing to sky rocket.  We each must fight our bulge battles no matter what science tells us about the advantages (or disadvantages) of exercise. We each must model good health behaviors for our children if we wish for them to live long and active lives. We each must get out of the recliner and into our tennis shoes for a walk, a ride, a pilates regime, a run – even if only around the block.

What we DO know about exercise, that fewer children are actually doing it and more and more kids are obese in our world, seems to deliver the loudest message of all. A message we need to reshape. Literally.

I’ll meet you at 5.  Bring your workout gear.


Read Full Post »

The Poem

I write. It’s a requisite in my career – but poetry writing, notsomuch.  I penned a Haiku back in 2005. That’s been the extent of my poetic efforts until recently. And the problem with suddenly sitting down and writing a poem – even a free-verse kinda poem – is that no matter how attentive you are to your writing, you have no idea if your resulting effort is garbage or glorious or somewhere in between.  What you do know, though, is that it’s yours and it very likely has meaning to one person on the planet. A for-one-person poem may be the most important kind of all. So, let’s hope I won’t wait another four years to wax poetic.

The Party

What’s the right recipe for a great holiday gathering? Friends (new and old) and food.  At least in the Midwest, food is the focal point of all memorable events – including Christmas holiday parties. While an abundance of people and free-flowing alcohol-based beverages can help a party along, we all need sustenance. Give me a shout out if I’m right, people. Chicken is cheap. Meatballs are perfect on the end of toothpicks. Even tofurkey kabobs can be festive and simple – and your guests will depart filled with more than just holiday spirit.


Tom at Hirshfield’s had all the right answers on Saturday. Unfortunately, he didn’t quite dial in the mix on the Carrington Beige color (the very one used at the infamous Fallon mansion) just right. A small gaffe. We recovered and the remainder of the weekend spent with spackle, brush and roller cruised along uneventfully (are we done yet?).  By the way, Hirshfield’s is a Minnesota-based company that still makes its paints locally.


I’ve written on patience previously on the blog. It’s a re-occuring thought, though, so here’s some added color on the subject.

As we age, adults tend to draw on more and more patience from within. It’s a maturity thing, I’m convinced. While the oldster driving 20 in a 35-mile-per-hour speed zone used to cause you to curse and lay on the horn, today it creates a slight smile for you know that one day you’ll be old and happy to drive s-l-0-w-l-y to get to the grocery store.  Everything is slower in old age as people operate in the mode of “the slower I go the further I prolong life and postpone death.”  Consider, especially during the last 10 days before Christmas, slowing down, drawing from all your patience and making someone else’s day matter more than your own.


There’s a phrase during Catholic mass churchgoers use to greet each other: Peace be with you. Maybe it’s used in other churches, too.  Since leaving the church three years ago, I’ve not spoken those words. And yet, suddenly, that very simple statement bounced into my head.  In all the flurry of news depicting muggings of innocent people who are going about their nomal lives, and shoes thrown at Presidents who visit foreign countries that U.S. troops are trying to liberate, and political scandals that inflict pain on an entire state, perhaps now more than ever it’s time to dust off the old “peace” phrase and say it with frequency. What harm could it do? Moreover, what good might it bring others if said at just the right moment – a moment when the mere concept of peace is the last thread of sanity left to hold on to in a world nearly void of any real meaning?

Peace be with you all.


Read Full Post »

To Sawyer

You gave us a lot of smiles, Lickey. You will be missed.



Read Full Post »

The good governor of Illinois found himself arrested on Tuesday, charged with corruption. His effort to support the working class apparently side tracked by power and money. As his swagger grew, he challenged authorities to investigate him. He challenged the Chicago Tribune’s investigative staff to find wrong doing in his administration. Find it they did.

Does it surprise any of us that corruption exists in politics in Illinois – in Chicago, where during 1930s every man in elected office was bought and paid for by the mob? We shouldn’t be surprised, but yesterday’s news doesn’t help us feel better for thinking politics as usual was a thing of the past.

Politics is politics and politicians will…well, they will not always do what’s necessarily in the best interest of the people. They only will choose to walk the thin gray line when it’s convenient for them to do so. Fortunately, when they veer into the weeds of corruption, they are caught, arrested and skewered publicly – more so than ever before.  The working class that is America likes nothing more than to see a powerful, money-grubber brought to his or her knees.


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »