Friday Favorites 1/25/2013

neil simonLast Sunday afternoon, we went with our friends, Ron and Kerry, to see the Laguna Playhouse production of Chapter Two by Neil Simon.  Chapter Two was first produced at the Ahmanson Theater in 1977 and is a semi-autobiographical comedy based upon Simon’s marriage to Marsha Mason shortly after the death of his first wife, Joan Baim.  In the play, a writer, George Schneider, has just returned from a trip to Europe during which he visited only places he’d been with his recently deceased wife.   His unhappily married brother, Leo is determined that George should move on and keeps fixing him up with disastrous dates.  Meanwhile, actress Jennie Malone has just divorced her football player husband, Gus, and her married best friend, Faye Medwick, is playing matchmaker for Jennie with similarly bad results.   When Leo runs into Faye, who he dated before his marriage, at a party with Jennie in tow, they decide to bring Jennie and George together.  Both Jennie and George are reluctant, but from the time they first speak on the phone, they are taken with each other.   Two weeks later, they are married and off to honeymoon at the resort where George and his first wife, Barbara, stayed after their wedding. Continue reading

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Going Ape Over iPads

I didn’t plan on posting today.  I have the head cold from hell (yes, I am a wimp when it comes to being sick) and the kitchen renovation guys are demolishing our counter tops downstairs, so while my recliner is available, it’s an inhospitable environment for writing.  It’s a gloomy, rainy Socal day and I have a doctor appointment in less than two hours.   But a headline caught my eye on Yahoo this morning and I just can’t let it go by.  The headline said Apes Get iPads at the National Zoo.  My Anything-but-Apple Inner Curmdugeon said, Oh, let me take this one, but in the interests of not offending any readers, I shut him down.  One does wonder, though, how does the average iPad user feel about this?  Do they say proudly that, I use the same tablet as Gunung the Orangutan?   How does Apple feel about it?  In other words, when you look at this picture,

apps for apes


is the appropriate caption, So Easy to Use an Orangutan Can Do It … or … The Tablet preferred by Lower Primates?  Why iPads by the way?  Why not a Google Nexus tablet?  Or a Microsoft Surface?  Yeah, I know, orangutans don’t use Excel*.   Given the prominent display of the iconic logo, one has to think Apple is subsidizing this in some way. Continue reading

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Mindful in the Morning

BOAI mentioned in passing at the beginning of the year that I’d started using a new daily reader as part of my Morning Practice.  More exactly, I should own up and say my  Most Mornings Practice.  Like many of the books that have had a significant effect on me, it was a random selection from a bookshelf full of similar books, this time at a Barnes and Noble in Arizona.  That’s one of the reasons I still visit real bookstores … that sort synchronicity doesn’t seem to happen on Amazon.   The book is The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Live by Mark Nepo.  Yes, it’s about mindfulness, something my monkey mind (it swings from thought to thought, don’t you know) does not give into easily, which is why I study it frequently.  Sometimes I wonder – when I study mindfulness, am I being mindful or am I looking ahead to the time when I will be? Continue reading

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Please. Thank You. You’re Welcome.

PTYI was standing in line at the local Subway on Saturday.  It was lunch time, so there was a long line, each customer ordering multiple sandwiches, not the sort of situation in which I’m at my best.   Four customers ahead of me, the Sandwich Artist said to a nicely dressed young man, What can I get you?  Gimme a six inch roast beef on wheat, he replied.  Would you like cheese? she asked.  Nope.  It was now the Veggie Lady’s turn to take over.  What would you like on your sandwich?   Lettuce, our nicely dressed man said.  Tomato.  Gimme a little onion and a few peperocini.   And mustard.  Not too much.  Cashier’s turn.  Would you like anything more, sir?  Answer, NoThat will be $7.45, sir.  Money exchanges hands, and it starts again with the forty-something male gym rat in the workout clothes then the thirty-something woman in the designer jeans. Continue reading

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Monday Smiles – 1/21/2013

gadgetsFor a techie, I don’t have a lot of state-of-the-art electronic gadgets.  Oh, I have a nice (middle of the technical road) Acer desktop computer in my office and a Asus laptop that cost a modest $400 (and is my primary platform for blogging).   I have a last generation Samsung Galaxy smartphone and even a last generation e-paper Kindle.  When I go to Starbucks or to the Corner Bakery with Muri, I appear reasonably well-equipped as a senior but hopelessly behind the thirty-somethings sporting ultrabooks, tablets and the latest smartphones.  I rarely upgrade my electronics unless there is a practical reason to do so and I rarely purchase anything electronic that does not serve a definite need.  I don’t buy toys, I say, and tablets are definitely toys.   But, for Pete’s sake everybody has one and they all seem to love them.  So over the weekend, I decided to buy one, even though I still don’t know what I’ll do with it. Continue reading

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spiritualityI know a few people who are always talking about blessings.  It’s such a blessing that your baby was born healthy.  It’s such a blessing that you found a new job so quickly after you were laid off.  Having good friends is such a blessing.   It always feels vaguely religious to me, perhaps because the people I know who say it are on the born again side of Christianity.  At sixty-eight, I no longer criticize anyone’s beliefs … although I may avoid their evangelism … but still, I rarely use the phrase.  In 12-Step programs, I often hear an unexpectedly good turn of events called a God-Shot.  Carl Jung calls the fortuitous benefits of seemingly unconnected events synchronicity, which has the benefit of not requiring anyone to do the blessing.  For much of my life, I let blessings … God-shots … synchronicity … pass by unnoticed.   I was willing to take complete credit for most of my successes and the rest were luck. Continue reading

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Friday Favorites 1/18/2013

book of runningA while back … in the Paleozoic era … when I was doing several marathons and triathlons plus an assortment of 10K runs each year, my training regimen consisted of cycling 100 miles, running 25 or 30 miles and swimming 4 or 5 miles a week.   It was the only time in my life that I had to try to eat more so that I wouldn’t lose weight.  The book that got me started was the 1977 best seller, The Complete Book of Running by Jim Fixx.  By the time Jim’s reputation as a running guru was tarnished by his death from a heart attack after a training run in 1984, I’d moved on to more specialized books like Jeff Galloway’s Book on Running, which in its first edition included a training schedule that I used to train for my first marathonLB marathon and Scott Tinley’s Winning Triathlon.   Like most runners, I found that dealing with leg and foot injuries were part of the process, perhaps more in my case because I had more upper body mass than most runners.  Every book on training included at least a chapter on preventing and treating injuries but I needed more.   The more I found was The Runner’s Repair Manual by podiatrist Murray F. Weisenfeld.   My training books have departed from my bookshelves for places unknown … library donations, our storage bin or those unidentified boxes in the garage … but The Runner’s Repair Manual lives on in my nightstand because I know, as long as I am ambulatory, I will deal with leg and foot pain. Continue reading

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pedestalThis week, my favorite morning sports talk show guy, Colin Cowherd, was commenting on the interview of Lance Armstrong by Oprah Winfrey that will air later today.  The media publicity machine has been working overtime to leak just enough information to draw in the rubes (he confesses to doping) without giving away the whole story (how complete is his confession?).   This is, of course, the Feeding Frenzy Phase of the Celebrity Adulation Cycle, where we lionize a flawed human being, building him into a larger than human figure, then tear him apart when we discover he’s human after all.    Cowherd is a realist.  He’s not surprised when an athlete, particularly one in a sport known for cheating, cheats then lies about it.  His biggest criticism of Armstrong is that he ruined the lives of other cyclists to protect his legend and, in the end, he says we should never be surprised when the human beings we adulate turn out to be human.   As a person who’s followed Armstrong from the beginning, I’m not surprised but disappointed.  The man was a genuine inspiration to cancer survivors and raised millions through LiveStrong.  At least he did something to earn his celebrity.   What have people like Paris Hilton and Brody Jenner done to deserve the public’s adulation except provide sure fodder for the Feeding Frenzy Phase? Continue reading

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Winter Leaves

Although I can’t specifically remembering her telling me so, I’m sure Autumn was my Mom’s favorite  season.   I also know that Autumn Leaves was one of her favorite songs.  She liked the Roger Williams version known more for its cascading arpeggios than its sentiment.  Me?  When I lived back East, autumn was my favorite season, too, but I wasn’t very fond of Autumn Leaves until I heard Eva Cassidy’s beautiful but melancholy version.

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When you believe in things that you don’t understand, Then you suffer, Superstition ain’t the waySuperstition by Stevie Wonder

If you’re a regular here, you know … in general, Older Eyes hates commercials.  Older Eyes especially hates beer commercials.   But I am a reasonable man and, every once is a while, when a blind squirrel finds a nut, I’m willing to acknowledge it.   I love the current Bud Light commercials featuring the peculiar little superstitions of sports fans.  This is my favorite … the expression on the face of the skeptic when the field goal is good is priceless. Continue reading

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