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Friday, December 2, 2016

Life and Building Bridges

Life and Building Bridges

I consider myself a very optimistic person, however, I would debate with anyone that our state of society is at its best ever.  You would almost have to be in my age group in order to look at society in our life span and compare apples to apples.

For starters, survival skills are one thing and survival instincts are yet another and not to be confused with one and the other.

Survival skills:  The ability to hunt for food, grow your own food, fix your own car, start a fire without matches (or lighters), how to navigate without a compass or GPS, build a raft, make your own home repairs, etc., etc.

Survival instincts:  the ability to read people, to anticipate a confrontation and how to avoid it or deescalate it, knowing when to take action or when to compromise, assessing the unseen dangers (example: undercurrent in a stream or river, making split second decisions, etc., etc.

Many of the skill that we developed in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s was the difference between success and failure, but today our society for the most part consider those to be the skills of dinosaurs (unimportant or at the very least antiquated), and unnecessary. 

Today’s younger generations are so dependent on technology that if a power outage takes place they are dead in the water.  Have you ever seen a young retail clerk struggle to make change for a dollar when their cash register fails?  We are so dependent on GPS that if you go into an area of limited or no cellphone signal a young person can’t find their way around because even if they had a street map they wouldn’t be able to read it.

How about the wonderful communication skills (writing or reading) of our youth due to their prevalent use of texting?  The youth are not the only ones to blame, the educational systems in some States are dropping the required cursive writing, because it is no longer needed or relevant.  The unskilled educated can’t grasp the big picture:  Who is going to translate or decipher our historical records (documents) in the future.  Cursive writing may as well be a foreign language to any one that is proficient in, WTF, LOL, LMAO, etc., etc.

My children and grandchildren are still being raised the way I was raised.  I insist in teaching them the old survival instincts, and skills, and even more important, I am teaching them to be competitive.  In other words, there are winners and there are losers, we all need to strive to prevail (win).  Nothing wrong with 2nd place but 1st place is the objective.


When my children use to complain to my wife that life wasn’t fair, their mother’s gentle response was “build a bridge and get over it.”  If you didn’t get that saying, it's ok, it took my children a few times to get the real meaning also.  My grandchildren don’t only get it, but I hear them saying it amongst themselves now and they are still young.  The best is yet to come…….

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Careful What You Wish For

Careful What You Wish For


Idiom Definitions for 'Be careful what you wish for'
  • If you get things that you desire, there may be unforeseen and unpleasant consequences.
  • ('Be careful what you wish for, lest it come true.' and 'Be careful what you wish for; you may receive it.' are also used.)
How many of us remember telling our parents in our growing up years: “if only I can have this one thing I want, I will never ask for anything else.”  Without exception soon after we got what we wanted something better came along that we wished for. 


One of the things that I remember wishing for was my first car, well, guess what with it came responsibility.  Buying the fuel and maintenance for it, paying for insurance.  Tires, and rims, not to mention tighter restrictions.  Even though I could go anywhere (transportation wise), I wasn’t allowed.

My personal budget got so that I had to plan what I wanted to do for the weekend, because I may not have the flexibility to catch a movie, eat out or go roller skating all on the same weekend.  My friends that didn’t have their own wheels were everywhere, just like I used to be, even if their parents had to drop them off.   I guess if you don’t mind the consequences, it was still ok, because I didn’t know it then (until Happy Days came out) but I was the Fonzi of my crowd.

The same applies to everything in life, try if you can to look ahead at all possible outcomes beyond the obvious because there are consequences to everything we do.  Consequences are also known as side effects (unplanned outcomes), and the worst part is that in some cases, once a decision is made, you cannot get a do-over.


The best is yet to come….

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Losing Its Luster

Losing Its Luster
Luster
Noun                                                                    A position of exalted widely recognized importance:    distinctioneminenceeminencyfamegloryillustriousnessmarknotabilitynotepreeminenceprestigeprominenceprominencyrenown.

Luster is one word that I could think of to describe the level of importance to certain holidays growing up.  Consider that the holidays have remained pretty much unchanged, but in our eyes and mind (which have matured) the holidays are losing their luster.

I totally love all holidays, but number one and number two have to be Christmas and Thanksgiving.  Occupying third place would have to be Memorial Day.  Memorial Day has different relevance to a multitude of people for different reasons:  1) a day designated for remembrance of loved ones that have gone ahead of us, 2) a day to celebrate and recognize and honor our military heroes that made the ultimate sacrifice, 3) of great importance to young people in high school and college; the signal to the beginning of Summer and start of school vacation.  Secondary but also important are the wonderful family and friend get togethers for BBQ’s, and just plain ole catching up.

I still remember being young and looking forward to bed time on Christmas eve, because I knew that by Christmas morning Santa would have come by and left me some presents.  My parents always managed to surprise me and exceed my expectations. 

I can only think of one Christmas when it almost ended up being a total disaster, but instead turned out to be the most memorable Christmas ever.  Check out the post:  Unexpected Best Christmas, http://www.being50.com/2013/06/unexpected-best-christmas.html

I wish I could tell you at what age I stopped believing in Santa Claus, but I honestly don’t remember.  I do know that I had my suspicions about whether he was real or not for a few years, but I didn’t dare not believe, just in case.  After that holiday lost its luster for me, it wasn’t until, I was a married young adult with children before I started to enjoy seeing the same look of amazement in the little faces of my children.


Now, once again the clock keeps ticking, and my babies are now adults with children of their own.  In recent years that same look of amazement can now be seen in the little faces of my grandchildren.  The luster of the holiday is never lost it just gets passed on from generation to generation.  It’s up to people like you and me, to continue to encourage it and keep it alive.  You could even say that as grandparents we would do well to look at Christmas through the eyes of our grandchildren and great grandchildren.  The best is yet to come……..

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Locker Room Banter (NOT)

A real locker room talk

Seems that lately “Locker Room Banter” is dominating the news media and it makes me wonder where I’ve been growing up.  Enough people are coming forward to attest that that is exactly how men behave when women (and/or young ladies) are not around.  One person I saw in the news went as far as to accuse the female reporter: “that is exactly how women behave and talk over a glass of white wine.”

I tried to recollect all the occasions when I found myself in a locker room or office setting with male friends outside of the hearing range of women, and was unable to come up with anything that compared to the locker room banter presently in the news.  I do remember where one coworker tried bragging about his caveman approach to women, and I and most of the males in the room walked away and eventually shunned that person from our gatherings.

There is the one time where I unwillingly became involved in a prank (played on me) that went so bad as to almost break up a marriage.  I was on my third year into a mid-management position with one of the larger corporations in its industry.  The business was linen supply, and we handled the supply of linens to hotels, and restaurants, as well as, industrial uniforms to auto dealerships, gas stations, hospitals, etc., etc.

I was already successful enough to indulge in my passion for muscle cars.  If I must be honest I loved the second glances that my car got everywhere I went.  One day after work I was driving home on a beautiful sunshiny summer day (beach resort town in California), when I stopped at a crosswalk to let people have the right-of-way.  The people at the crosswalk were staring at my car and laughing almost hysterically while pointing at the front end of my car.  It bothered me so much that as soon as I could I pulled into the parking lot of a Frosty Freeze to see what it was they were pointing at.

I couldn’t believe what I saw, hanging from the front license plate was a very large bra (I don’t really know bra sizes) but it was abnormally large.  I quickly removed it and put it in the trunk of my car to try to determine who at work would have done that to me.  It’s not at all unusual to see men’s and women’s undergarment come into the linen plant with the bags of soiled (dirty) linen from hotels.  So I immediately thought of my coworkers.

The very next day at a coffee break one person quickly asked me if anything exciting happened to me when I got home.  Naturally I said no.  I asked should something have happened?  The Sales Manager couldn’t contain himself because he thought he was so slick, and that I would get in trouble when I got home.  He figured someone must have removed it before I saw it.  First chance I had I took that bra and placed it in the glove box of his car.  The sales manager (we shall call Larry) was a very nice almost shy kind of person.  He loved and feared/respected his wife and they had a little girl about 3 years old.  His wife was a high level bank executive, and dressed like Jackie Onassis (gloves included).  The car Larry drove was an Avocado green Ford Gran Torino.

The months went by and nothing was ever said about the extra-large bra so I assumed that like me he just got rid of it and moved on.  Approximately four months later I heard while on a coffee break that Larry and his wife were separated and getting divorced.  I went to Larry immediately and told him that I had just heard about the separation.  I asked him what the cause might be.  He explained that he didn’t know but that his wife was accusing him of messing around without providing him with proof.

I went directly to the bank where his wife worked, and asked to see her.  After about a 20-minute wait I was escorted to her office.  She greeted me very professionally, and I wasted no time in telling her that she was making a big mistake in divorcing Larry.  She explained that while she appreciated my attempt at intervention, she didn’t involve outsiders into her personal affairs.  I asked her if her separation was brought about by a lacey large black bra placed in the car of his glove box.  She reacted with anger in her facial features, and asked me how I knew.  I explained how the whole incident started with a prank being played on me.


Since she hadn’t told her husband the details of her suspicions, she knew that he and I couldn’t have shared information.  To make a long story short Larry and his wife made up but I lost a possible friend since his wife prohibited her husband from socializing with me because I was such a terrible influence.  My lesson at that early age was that acting like school boys playing pranks could have life changing outcomes.  As far as I know Larry never even found out about the large bra that I placed in his glove box.  Boys will be boys is not a good enough excuse for misbehavior or even locker room banter. The best is yet to come….

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Social Tipping Point

Social Tipping Point

As individuals go, we can be extremely different or fairly similar, we are a conglomerate of diversity, and yet unique at the same time.  Personally, I am multifaceted: some of my self-description comes from what I think of myself, and as described by people around me.

In my early adulthood, I was so involved in my community that I could be considered an activist (I even ran for elective office).  I lettered in three different sports in high school so I could be described as athletic, I also carry all the typical labels: son, brother, father, friend, boyfriend, husband, etc., etc. Depending on who you are and what roles you played in my life, I’ve also been described as: nice, friendly, considerate, a lover not a fighter, smug, mean, inconsiderate, etc., etc.

I guess the point that I am trying to make is that as humans and inhabitants of Planet Earth, we adapt well to our surroundings (mostly for the sake of survival).  I prefer to be nice, peaceful, respectful, kind, considerate.  Most important, I prefer to be a survivor, and protector of my loved ones.

I own a firearm, but early in my marriage my wife convinced me to keep it in a safe and away from the children.  Some of my adult children would be shocked to know that I own a gun and that I am licensed to carry.  Over the years I’ve been observing our society spiral out of control.  I’ve been patiently standing on the sidelines observing, and making sure that neither I or my loved ones get dragged into the mix.

In all honesty, it is getting harder and harder to stay safe and out of the mix.  Earlier this summer, we had a motor vehicle stolen from our driveway.  The vehicle was recovered within 2 weeks with minimal damage, but it caused me to upgrade our existing home security system.  Within the last week there have been instances where three acts of fatal violence occurred in our country (USA) that has been covered on the national news scene.  Just last night a second incidence of violence at a shopping mall within a week happened within 100 miles of my residence.


Society is continuing to move in the wrong direction for my liking.  If you are familiar with the comic character “The Hulk” he is a mild mannered individual who gets pushed too far and turns into an angry green monster that strikes back.  I for one am running out of patience and tolerance. Don’t expect me to turn green any time soon, do however, expect Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson to accompany me when I go into public places that offer questionable safety and security.  Bad Guys beware, for your own survival, be more selective of who you pick on to victimize!  The best is yet to come……

Expect The Unexpected

Expect The Unexpected

Despite all the progressive changes in our wonderful United States from one day to the next, not to mention from one year to the next and especially from one decade to the next.  Life in this country can still be taken in stride.  Understanding our society progression and history we can assume that big progressive strides are in our future and even expect things to change.

But if you were to be coming out of coma after 12 to 18 months, you would not recognize the changes that have occurred in the political landscape.  I am making reference in particular to Election 2016.  Unless something changes to return us to more familiar times, I can’t begin to predict where our society is headed.   Not a good thing to be sure. 

Through hundreds of years of political experience, we have come to expect that if we pay close attention, we can catch a politician telling a lie here and there.  Well, it seems we finally are reaching the point of no return in politics: in today’s political scene (2016), if you pay close attention, we can catch a politician telling a truth here and there.

You would have to really be in my age group to remember a scene and quote from the movie Planet of the Apes (1968) Charlton Heston’s character (astronaut George Taylor) walking on the beach comes around a bend and is confronted with the view of the broken Statue of Liberty and a demolished New York City skyline, and he realizes that the whole time he was back on earth in a future time from when he left on his space mission.  He screams, “You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!” My reaction when I first saw that scene, was that it was extreme and that it was great fiction that could never really happen.  Well, as politics go, that scene while extreme is becoming more and more appropriate.

I never thought that I would live long enough to vote on the basis of selecting the best of the worst. While I feel that my vote is important, I also consider it my business, so I will keep it private.  If you live in this United States, still the best country in the world, I urge you to exercise you right to vote, and stay involved.  It’s getting harder but we can still turn it around.  The best is yet to come……….

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Vocabulary Expansion 2

While you sleep

Just an update on the story I shared two weeks ago: http://www.being50.com/2016/05/vocabulary-expansion.html   My Durango was stolen from my driveway.  Fortunately for us the surveillance camera caught a great picture of the car thief.  After being shared over social media (over 2000 times) and with local law enforcement.  The vehicle was recovered in an abandon foreclosed home.  Someone broke into the home and parked the Durango in the garage.  I simplified the process (explanation), but it actually took over a week of following deadend leads from the well-meaning Facebook community. 
Vehicle Prowl while you sleep

The vehicle was reported seen in a couple of nearby towns and I made the dutiful drive to follow every lead.  From the first time law enforcement saw the video footage they knew the name of the perp (police jargon for perpetrator) and even referred to her as a well-known local tweaker.

The PD put out an all point bulletin (statewide) for the stolen vehicle.  Between the All-Points, and Facebook, the stolen Durango became so hot that no one dared to drive it or even give it away.  The vehicle was recovered with minimal damage and something like 10 miles additional on the speed-o-meter.  There is no arguing that criminals are especially dumb or they wouldn’t do what they do.  One of the perps actually contacted my son and tried to collect a few hundred dollars to return it.  The PD got involved and the rest is history. 

I know that for many of us, a criminal act against us is unfathomable, but it does happen.  Even nice neighborhoods have become prime targets, especially because we are comfortable knowing that we have good neighbors.  Well guess what, the criminals also love our neighborhoods.  About seven years ago I invested in a security system that includes 8 exterior infrared cameras.  Most of my neighbors must have thought I was paranoid.  Well, the saying goes, that just because you are paranoid, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t out to get you.
50 Ft. with a 9mm (I wouldn't want to meet me in a dark hallway)


Please be proactive, material things hold the least value, besides all material things are insured.  A security system will keep home burglars/invaders away.  Criminals case their targets, and as dumb as they are, they are looking for easy pickings.  Besides in my case any criminals that don’t get discouraged by a security system will have to deal with a certified marksman if they get into the house.  The best is yet to come………….

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Top Priority

Take care of yourself first

Someone I consider a good friend was recently sent to the ER (Emergency Room).  She is being referred to a cardiologist and the outcome is yet to be determined at this time.  We should use this instance as a reminder that our personal health is and should always be a priority.  Not because we are selfish but because we are selfless.

We live to take care of family members and friends and the best way to do that is to make sure that our personal health is maintained.  I don’t know how many of my readers have noticed that part of airplane safety is to instruct adults that in the event that the oxygen masks drop the parent or guardian is to put their own mask first before helping a child or others.  The reason is that you can’t help others if you don’t take care of yourself first.

I once thought I was having a heart episode and my wife made the decision that I should go to ER immediately, I was 40 at the time.  The macho (very stupid of me at the time) in me convinced her that I knew the way and could get us there quicker so she allowed me to drive.  Fortunately, I got us there safely.

The Summer day was near 100 degrees, and I had been in the backyard digging a 24-inch-deep trench about 30 feet long for the cables leading to the house from a 10-foot parabolic satellite dish antenna. Around 4 pm I walked into the house, not feeling well.  As I got ready to take a cold shower to cool off, I went into shock so bad I was afraid to bite my tongue.  Among others, the weirdest thing I remember doing is jumping on to our master bed with my muddy work shoes on.  You need to know how much I respect (read that fear) my wife to know that I would never knowingly do that.

To make a very long story short, I was ready to make peace with the Lord, I swear that I even had most of my life pass before me in short order.  As it turned out I had managed to dislocate a couple of ribs near the sternum as I manhandled the satellite dish over a couple of fences and into my backyard.  The injury was further aggravated by digging the trench in the heat.

I still vividly remember what the attending doctor said to me with a very grave look on his face. Sir, I wish I could tell you (long pause), that my heart is as healthy as yours, but I haven’t been examined as thoroughly as you have.  Your problem is musculo-skeletal.  And with that I was released with some pain medication, and a referral to a specialist.

Ever since that incident, I take my health and prevention efforts very seriously.  I sincerely apologized to my wife for being so stubborn and promised that I would follow her guidance in the future regarding my health care needs.  Fortunately, I don’t have any health care problems, I subscribe to preventative measures.  I want to be around to provide for my family for as long as possible.  Quality of life should be the goal, so please take care of yourselves.  The best is yet to come……             

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Muhammad Ali, The Greatest

Muhammad Ali, The Greatest

Growing up during the 60’s, one of the favorite activities was the Friday Gillett Fights on television.  Our family was still one of the lucky ones in the neighborhood to have a television set.  Relatives gathered at our house on Friday evening all pumped for the wonderful meal that preceded the Friday Night Fights.  I never actually saw anyone get drunk but I do remember that the adult men in the family (my step-father, uncles and cousins) all drank beer with their meal and during the fight.

I recall that the more exciting the boxing match was the less beer the men drank because they were so into the fight.  It was obvious to me that the beer drinking was not the object of the night.  As was customary for the ladies of the house to be found working in the kitchen preparing the extravagant meal of the evening (a feast to be sure).

The children (anyone under the drinking age) downed their meal with a couple of cold glasses of Kool-Aid.  It was during this family gatherings that I became aware and a fan of Cassius Clay (Muhammad’s name before he changed it soon after the Liston fight).

I remember with great clarity my introduction to the big time 1965.  I was still a teenager, and was happily surprised to be invited to a close circuit television presentation some 40 miles away from my home.  My biggest disappointment came when we arrived inside the venue three minutes into the fight, and fight had only lasted two minutes.  We sat there and saw the replays over and over on the large screen.  The excitement in the room was unbelievable.


  • Soon after the Liston fight, Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali upon converting to Islam and affiliating with the Nation of Islam. Ali then faced a rematch with Liston scheduled for May 1965 in Lewiston, Maine. It had been scheduled for Boston the previous November, but was postponed for six months due to Ali's emergency surgery for a hernia three days before. The fight was controversial. Midway through the first round, Liston was knocked down by a difficult-to-see blow the press dubbed a "phantom punch". Ali refused to retreat to a neutral corner, and referee Jersey Joe Walcott did not begin the count. Liston rose after he had been down about 20 seconds, and the fight momentarily continued. But a few seconds later Walcott stopped the match, declaring Ali the winner by knockout. The entire fight lasted less than two minutes. ~Wikipedia

The loss of Ali is every bit as impacting to me as the day I heard on the radio of the other major icon of my youth’s passing, the King of Rock and Roll.  R.I.P Muhammad Ali.  For the rest of us life goes on and the best is yet to come……..

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Hit The Road Jack

Road Trip Time

If you have plans to travel over the holiday weekend, be prepared to pay higher prices for a gallon of fuel if you travel to or through high traffic and popular areas.  The price for a barrel of oil just went over the $50 dollar per barrel mark since February 2016 when it was $26.
Whenever I go on a road trip I google the location of all the Costco gasoline station along my route.  They are not always as convenient as I wish they were, but I’ve been known to go a few miles out of my way to fill up at as much as 30 to 70 cents cheaper per gallon.
Looking at the Los Angeles area for this holiday weekend the Costco gasoline stations range from $2.32 per gallon on the low end to $2.42 on the high end.  By comparison the in the same area (LA) Super 8 in Norwalk from $2.37 to $4.29 at a Chevron on N. Alameda and N. Main St.

If you take a chance it will just come down to where you get low on fuel, and feel that you can no longer risk it and go for the best price you can get at a gas station.  On the other hand, if cost is no object, simply enjoy your trip and know that this holiday’s gasoline prices are amongst the best (lowest) we’ve seen for a while.


Many experts are predicting record number of travelers due to the great gasoline prices and the fact that we just came out of a long winter, and need the family getaway.  Expect heavy and slow traffic at times, and long lines almost everywhere you go.  Safe and happy motoring.  Remember the new laws regarding use of restrooms, keep your family safe.  The best is yet to come…………..