Friday, October 29, 2010

What would you do?

I hadn't planned on posting today but as I visited one of my bookmarked sites I just wanted to pass on a question to any who follow along.

As I am fascinated by the oceans and the seas and water in general, something that has long had a pull on me, the question pops to mind, if you could do anything you wanted to do what would it be? Before you answer that or think about it you get to take this into consideration. When you start your new career tomorrow, you are endowed with the skills and knowledge it takes to do this job. In essence, you already have trained your entire life for this career. What would it be?

Many would pick glamor jobs, brain surgeon, astronaut, pilot etc. Perhaps it is a higher intellectual pursuit such a mathematician or astronomer. If that time ever came I think I would become an oceanographer. The physical study of the oceans and the life within has always held my interest. Two of the sites I have bookmarked are Woods Hole and Harbor Branch Oceanographic. I pull them up periodically to see what the latest projects and areas of study have become. Where are their ships and what are they doing?

Have some fun with it and if anyone wants to chime in leave your choice in the comments. And no fair picking what you already do if you are someone as smart as First Niece (Appfilly) who is an engineer. You have to pick something else.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The wet head is dead

Unfortunately as we age we lose some of the vigor to play we had as children. We grow up and to some extent become more conservative. I'm not talking politics or jobs or views on life and family et al. Perhaps it is a reaction to our physical self. At thirty, one starts to see his/her body isn't quite in step with the way it was in their twenties.

And it gets worse. In your forties you still think you have the moves to compete but then you find out you can't move your legs the next day. In your fifties, all hope is lost. Our week in Hilton Head was relaxing. We had a chance to romp in the ocean, stroll down the beach and lay pool-side. Several days into this demanding schedule I began to notice something. I watched for an hour and verified my 'scientific observations' over the next few days.

Down at the beach most of those in the water were children or men with fishing poles. We had one intrepid gentleman with a metal detector waist deep in the waves. The water wasn't cold but did have a slight chill to it. The pool however was just cold. I watched as adults slid around the pool and waded waist deep into the blue abyss, but virtually no adult (sans me) got their head wet!

Both men and women swam around without letting their locks touch the water. I will say more women were in the water than men but it was the same story every day. When did we become so grown up that we couldn't get our head wet on vacation. I understand women are extremely finicky how their hair looks at any particular minute of the day and most men just don't care. But to be ocean-side and splash in a pool and stay dry leaves all your childhood tendencies in the dust, a sellout to the adult world of rules and conservatism. It's not that your head has to stay dry because you're going out to dinner later. Jeesh, you still have to take a shower due to all the sun lotion and sweat.

So, come on, let out your inner child and dunk someone! (Except for North of 50 whose head swells like a basketball if he gets water in his ear). You are exempt, all others, play like you're ten. That's what a vacation is for.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

To: Baby Sis

I look back at the early years of my life, the years where the closest person to me was my sister. We were running mates. We shared a bedroom and ran around the house together. We played all day, dolls and war and mass and countless other things. We were the youngest of the bunch.

As we grew we still ran in some of the same circles. We swam together at the local pool. I helped teach you to swim at the puddle. You looked out for my safety and others as the lifeguard and we were only a year apart in high school.

That was when our worlds began to diverge. We took different paths although on the surface they were similar. You took the biggest step by moving away. I helped to bring you back once, but you moved away again. But the years again began to bring out the similarities in our lives. We both have families, children we love, a grandchild for me and someday for you, my children grown and yours nearly so, at least the eldest of them.

We have experienced the loss of our parents, those that set us on our path and guided us along the way letting us make our own success and mistakes, and now we are the adults, the leaders of our families. We move into a world again together though it is one a thousand miles apart, a world neither of us have ever experienced. I look forward to being your guide and running mate once again on the second half of our lives.

Welcome to the world of 'over 50'. The best is yet to come. I love you dearly.

Happy birthday, Baby Sis

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fun at the beach

My current trek to HHI with My Beloved has been a restful time, generally unplugged from the world of electronic noise. A quick walk down the beach this morning hand in hand in the rising sun with the waves lapping against the shore was just what the doctor ordered.

My favorite other moments have been watching the children gallop around the beach. Being away from my boy I can only imagine what he would be doing as he discovered the ocean for the first time. (He is days away from nineteen months of age). I imagine him running in and out of the water then stopping as his feet get wet, screaming and hollering and laughing. He does that a lot. I watched today as a young boy about three or so ran after his brothers with a bucket in his hands down to the waves. They all stopped and threw their pales down and started digging in the sand. It was pure discovery. There was a time when all young boys discovered their world this way. Now, everything seems to be behind the screen of a game or a computer. I understand how facts can be gained this way but pure discovery is from learning first hand.

Later in the day another boy chased two butterflies around the beach trying to shoot them with his squirt-gun. They flittered and fluttered about as he ran behind them. Another five year old dug himself a hole in the sand and putted a golf ball with an iron. Each time success was had he reached into the hole and pulled out the ball raising his hand just like the pros do on Sunday.

Too often children vegetate in front of a screen, be it computer, game or television. I was fascinated to watch as I realized children can still play without being plugged into the electric world.

There's nothing like learning with sand in your hair.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tattle-tale tit

The magazine Sports Illustrated is/has published an article from a former sports agent who confesses to paying college athletes when in school. It has created a buzz through the sports world and all seem to have an opinion on how to stop or change the process. Some have voiced the opinion this man is nothing but a snitch. So, I ask you, what is a snitch?

The role of the snitch has always put one in the company of a rat, one step above gutter slime. Often the tales told are between men, but what type of man? I have never heard a woman use the term snitch, at least that I can recall. The snitch term always pops up in prison movies, gangster films and similar genre. But when you discover an injustice, what would you do about it? Our moral upbringing, most people, say to stand up and do the right thing. Stop the injustice, correct the wrong. But then the whispering starts; snitch.

That often puts the snitch into a untenable position. Do what is right or face the wrath of others. I ask you though, what is the quality of the people that put the whistle blower in such a position? I would guess those who speak ill of the snitch aren't the type of people I would want to associate with anyway. In the real world pressure to keep quiet can be enormous. Someone works hard to establish a reputation and build a better life. Then, out of nowhere they can be faced with such a moral decision. They must consider how they would be putting everything they worked for in jeopardy.

I would propose those who belittle the snitch likely would be the same ones who would take part in the deception but no one has asked them to. They would often think twice about it but would at some point jump on the bandwagon. Think of a good 'cop show' that has taken on this type of storyline. Think of the cop who often is the best friend of the snitch. What happens to him. He always seems to be the one trying to talk the snitch out of uncovering the mess. Don't risk it, he says.

There are a myriad of things to consider when you step forward to do the right thing. The thoughts of those who would belittle you as a snitch aren't worth the brain power.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Rails to nowhere

There are many that are fascinated by trains. A friend of ours has a separate room devoted to them. I have never had a particular draw to them although I think I likely understand the allure they have and the pull others feel toward them. They are symbols of a mighty industrial past, a past tied to memories and often days of our youths.

My way home each day takes me on a highway overpass that overlooks a long stretch of tracks. They are by their nature nondescript as railroad tracks go, straight as an arrow resting on a bed of stone and earth higher than the surrounding points. They are flanked on either side by a long row of trees. Each day, if traffic permits I find myself snatching a glimpse over the rail watching the tracks disappear in the converging distance.

For some reason, trains themselves have little appeal to me, be they old fashioned or modern monsters. However, I find the tracks and structures of a railroad fascinating. Actually, I find them more intriguing when they are empty, sans locomotive. Perhaps the engine and all its cars represent the here and now, a passing by on the way to a destination. The tracks however don't give me that impression. They are a road to somewhere else, a possibility, never fully realized. They have potential, a treasure map to a far off place.

I don't know if I'll ever take a train ride to see where any tracks may lead, or ride on a trestle as it passes over a gorge or a hidden river, but I may walk a mile down the rail just to explore.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Gum-flapping 2010

Nothing bores me more than sitting through political commercials during an election year. And on top of those, signs on every street corner and countless stories on the evening news about politicians and the election. Sure, it's big news and will be the most prominent topic for the next two months, then the wrap up for another month.

Tonight, I listened to a news interview on Walter Cronkite's network. Katie Couric interviewed several people that were unemployed in Ohio. They discussed the tremendous loss of jobs in the state and how these people viewed the election in November. As they spoke it seemed to me they all danced around the issue. Sure the economy stinks, jobs are scarce and the country is in debt up to our eyeballs. They all touched on these topics to an extent. The Democrats want to do this and the Republicans want to do this. However, no one addressed what I believe the real issue has become.

Perhaps I'm just late to the party, or it has taken fifty years for me to see the light, but the problem isn't the economy or jobs or any other one thing. The problem we have is a group of elected officials who are more interested in pointing fingers at each other and getting re-elected than anything else. We now face as turbulent a time as nearly any in my lifetime. Not since the threat of the cold war and the civil rights era has this country faced problems of this magnitude at one time. But instead of rolling up their sleeves and putting aside their differences, life rolls on in our elected capitols with nothing of substance accomplished. They may claim otherwise but I believe that is the perception of the public.

We elected these persons to solve the issues of our times and yet they either can't, or won't. We hear platitude upon platitude and then get legislative bills so massive to be voted on that no one has the time to read them, let alone decide what the consequences would be. And lets just tuck a passage into the health care bill about building gopher damns in Minnesota or some other such nonsense, and we'll figure out how that affects us after we pass it, along strict party lines.

It's coming close to a time when we do away with the party system and force everyone to run on their own merits. God knows we couldn't do any worse. It's time the politicians actually do the job they were sent there to do; work for the people that elected them. We'll never have a perfect world but this is ridiculous.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Power to The People!

The Green Weenies have taken a step back! And it is all thanks to The People!

Frito-Lay, the maker of, among other delights, Sun Chips, recently came out with a new 100% recyclable chip package, replacing their previous, non-recyclable chip package. While the idea was fine, the execution left something to be desired. The new package was harder to open, and made enough noise to wake the dead. Make that, enough noise to wake Adam and Eve.

And then, the revolt of The People began! Complaints flooded into the Frito-Lay offices by the bagful, and this week Frito-Lay announced that they would be returning to their previous chip bag incarnation, you know, the one that will outlast the end of the planet.

I know many people who took the chips out of the bag and transferred them into a gallon size baggie to make it easy on their ears.

Power to The People!