Eclipse 2017

Another gem of a post from my dear wife, Karen. Well done, babe!

The KReative Corner

The solar eclipse of 2017 provided a moment for many of us to step away from the “craziness” of life and stand in awe of its wonder. However, I knew there would be those that would seize the opportunity to capitalize on this historic day.

During a discussion with my daughter, I said I wouldn’t be surprised if solar glasses used to view the eclipse would make its way to the online market, and I wasn’t disappointed !

Here’s a pair I found right here.   As of this posting, they are still available. C’mon Man!!

Eclipse 2017

I know of at least one person that may have been interested,  because after all who doesn’t love a great deal?

duh.png photo courtesy of Tim Mann of WSJ

No words needed!

until next time . . .

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Does The President Realize What He’s Saying?

I’m a bit annoyed.

I listened to President Trump this week as he spoke on Long Island, NY.  He was there to discuss what he calls an administration priority — combatting gang violence using the scourge of the violent gang, MS-13, as the example.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am all for ridding people of the fear and violence this gang brings…and has brought to Long Island.  Several teens have been brutally murdered by members of the gang.

At one point during the President’s speech, he strayed onto the topic of another crime: human trafficking.  it is a horrible act.   But what the president said about it is what troubles me…and makes me wonder if President Trump really has a grasp on the atrocities of America’s history.

Here’s what he said:

https://www.c-span.org/video/standalone/?c4678677

Excuse me..

At its core..what do you think SLAVERY was?  Africans being brought across an ocean against their will to endure a life of servitude.   That was about as bad as it got.

There are times I wonder if there is anyone in the White House who can..or will..let Mr. Trump know whether what he’s saying is either factual or..purely and simply..makes sense.

Unfortunately, it has become — to use the golf term — par for the course for this administration.

Is it too much to ask to have the so-called “leader of the free world” ditch the bravado and be the diplomat that we need him to be — not only abroad but at home as well?

Maybe I’m asking too much.

 

 

TBT: Cereal Edition

A lot of my “wit and wisdom” comes quite honestly from the person I like to think is the smarter of the two of us in my marriage — my wife Karen. Here is her latest offering from her blog, The KReative Corner. I think the link within may bring back some memories for you. It did for me. If you get a moment..take a look through some of her other offerings. You may hooked into following. Enjoy!

The KReative Corner

The recent Pop culture trend seems to center around the “Reboot” a revival of things from days gone by – a blast from the past !  You see this in fashion, TV shows and even music.  So, on this #TBT I submit a treasure chest of sugary goodies that is breakfast cereal.

A recent conversation with “hubby” prompted a google search for a cereal I used to see on the shelf of our grocery store but didn’t remember who made it.  He was off to get his tablet and scored this.

Enjoy this trip down memory lane.

. . .until next time.

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Thank You, Babe!

gandme

There are not many things that make you feel like you’re on top of the world. A trip to the 86th floor Observation Deck of the Empire State Building in New York with Karen Henderson R. Scott literally represented what she has been to my life. Let me be clear. Karen has a husband who forgets things, misses details and many times fails to do the things husbands should. In other words — I am NOT perfect. But — of her own volition — she has cared for me, encouraged me and called me out on my bulls–t. That is a full-time job with all of her other responsibilities and interests. For that I am grateful.

I like to think Karen and I have TWO anniversaries — six months apart. There is August 15th, 2013 when we promised before God, family and friends to “love, honor and cherish” each other. But that day is not possible without February 28th, 2011 at 9:47 p.m. That’s when we reconnected on Facebook 26 years after we graduated high school together (thanks to a posted Kindergarten picture) to start a conversation that continues today. That day in itself changed the course of my life..and I am certain that in what is going on six years since FB brought us together…she has impacted me for the better.

Being near the top of the ESB..where the wind was whipping and it was much cooler than the 70+ degrees on the ground, I realized how good i have it. I know that if my life ended today, it would be complete simply because she was in it. And though I am nowhere close to the perfect husband…I feel I have a near-perfect woman with me. That’s a really good feeling.

As I watched Karen take photos of the New York skyline that we towered over, I watched her wonderment and couldn’t help but hear one song playing over and over in my head — by a late singer — one of my favorites — with a great name: Karen Carpenter.  And although I know she HATES a country ‘twang’, here’s the song as I heard it in my brain.

Thank you, babe!

The Government Hits The ‘Reset’ Button — Results: Pending

 

trumpsalute

It’s official.

Donald John Trump is the 45th President of the United States.  Get used to it.  He won..and to the winner goes the spoils.

But..the mood was a bit different.  Perhaps because skies were gray and rain spritzed from time to time.  Or maybe…just maybe…people just weren’t so excited about it all

trumpmerch

Sure there were the merchandisers who were making a buck off the event,  but the picture  below seemed to show the most glaring proof of American apathy towards the Trump inauguration.  It’s a high angle shot of the National Mall comparing the first Obama Inauguration (left) and the Trump Inauguration.  It speaks for itself.

trumpobama

It’s impossible to say a presidency is ‘failed’ before it even begins.  However, confidence in the new administration can be visibly and vocally measured.  Much of what I hear is essentially “Wait and see” with quite a bit of “He’s not MY president” mixed in.

Points I will take away from covering this inauguration include:

  1. The endurance of the process — the ‘transfer of power’  — despite who won or lost.
  2. The cordiality of the people (at least where I was near Lafayette Park) for the latter stages of the Inaugural Parade, and
  3. The class and dignity shown as the 44th president Barack Obama and Michelle Obama exited stage left.

obamasleave

Now it’s President Donald J. Trump.   We know what we get with him.  But I will echo my wife Karen’s sentiment that she shared with me in our nightly conversation.  To paraphrase, she hopes the magnitude of the office brings about some kind of change in him.

Hearing that..maybe those who told me to “wait and see” were on the right track.

The Death of One Man…The Diplomatic Contrast of Two

fidel-castro-ruz

Photo credit: radioangulo.com

Fidel Castro is dead!

That is a rather curt and direct quote from the Twitter feed of President-elect Donald Trump in the hours after Castro’s passing.

trumpagain

This got me to thinking about the diplomatic contrast we may soon see between the outgoing administration of President Barack Obama and the incoming one of soon-to-be President Trump.

If you don’t mind a bit of reading…allow me to demonstrate.

Both men released statements on Castro’s death.   President Obama’s reads:

At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people. We know that this moment fills Cubans – in Cuba and in the United States – with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation. History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him. 

For nearly six decades, the relationship between the United States and Cuba was marked by discord and profound political disagreements. During my presidency, we have worked hard to put the past behind us, pursuing a future in which the relationship between our two countries is defined not by our differences but by the many things that we share as neighbors and friends – bonds of family, culture, commerce, and common humanity. This engagement includes the contributions of Cuban Americans, who have done so much for our country and who care deeply about their loved ones in Cuba.

Today, we offer condolences to Fidel Castro’s family, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Cuban people. In the days ahead, they will recall the past and also look to the future. As they do, the Cuban people must know that they have a friend and partner in the United States of America.

Positive and hopeful in tone…expressing support for the Cuban people while not completely hiding the truth that was Castro’s tyrannical rule of the island nation.

The following is the statement from the President-elect

“Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades. Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights.

 “While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve.

“Though the tragedies, deaths and pain caused by Fidel Castro cannot be erased, our administration will do all it can to ensure the Cuban people can finally begin their journey toward prosperity and liberty.  I join the many Cuban Americans who supported me so greatly in the presidential campaign, including the Brigade 2506 Veterans Association that endorsed me, with the hope of one day soon seeing a free Cuba.”

In my opinion..two things are wrong with this statement.  First, the negativity it begins with (while historically true) strikes a callous tone that hasn’t been emblematic of the U.S. Also, the President-elect is — by appealing to the people who “endorsed me” — is going against his election night pledge of being a President for all people.  Most statements from Republicans I’ve seen have adopted the ‘name-calling first, consolation second’ approach.

No one is denying the impact of the ‘boot’ that Castro once ruled the Cuban people with.  However..the tone of progress that the United States can strike with our words and efforts to strengthen ties can leave a lasting impression.  That’s something the new administration should think about.

As of now..Cuba has scheduled nine days of mourning and a cross-nation tour of Castro’s remains from Havana to Santiago.

The Transition To Trump: What We Learned From The 2016 Election

trump

So here we are.  Donald Trump is our President-elect.   The key word here is “OUR”.

I was assigned to be at Donald Trump’s Election Night HQ at the Hilton Midtown in New York City.  I went into the assignment honestly thinking about one question:  What type of tone would Donald Trump strike on his CONCESSION speech?

Boy..was I wrong.

So..come January 20th, 2017, Donald Trump..that guy from the Celebrity Apprentice..will become the 45th President of the United Stares.  How did this happen?

The first thing to realize is that Trump spoke directly to a group of people who had long been discounted in the electoral process:  the non-college educated white male.   Their numbers turned out heavily for the President-elect.

Also..a constant question from many people post-election was how did a majority of the polls..that had Hillary Clinton ahead until the very end..get it wrong?

I’ll dispute that question.

clinton

All the polls..which measure the preferences of likely voters..indicate how those voters are leaning.  Hillary Clinton led those polls…and at last count, WON the national popular vote. So, the polls were RIGHT.

But remember…it’s electoral votes that count.

Many Americans are protesting the results across the country.  I wonder…as CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley asked on the air..how many of those protesters actually voted.

We can all take a lesson from President Obama..who was the subject of a lot of Trump’s campaign rhetoric..when he met with the President-elect this week.  His words about coming together for the good of the nation struck a hopeful chord.

Whether we like this..or we don’t like this, it’s time to show the world what this great Democratic experiment that is America is all about.

 

 

 

 

 

Giving My Thanks To (and For) That Special Someone

I’ve always liked the music of Billy Joel..even before I got to New York.

I’ve always said there’s not one of his songs that doesn’t perfectly describe some aspect of someone’s life.

I was listening to the Billy Joel Channel on SiriusXM and heard a song of his I had not listened to in a while.  It’s called “All About Soul”.  Listening to the words brought tears to my eyes because it almost exactly captured the essence of the woman I married.

gme

I felt I needed to share.

So with apologies to the late Casey Kasem…here is my (not-so-Long Distance) dedication to my wife Karen.

And thanks Billy..for knowing what I needed even before I did.

 

Words…Words…Words..

I thought I was good with words.

Turns out I SUCK at them.  In every way imaginable.

They have power…and one of them — just one — can drop like a ton of bricks in the worst places possible.   After years..and years..and years of thinking I had this down. this realization is a smack in the face.

I often think about what the punishment should be for the irresponsible use of words.

When kids are bad..one way to deal with it is to take away one of their favorite things for a time.  In missing the value of that “thing”..they understand there are consequences.

What if…a person who values words were denied the ability to speak?   How immense would that word value become?  How much more carefully will those words be chosen the next time?

It depends solely on the user.    Words have their place.  We all must communicate.   But to rely vastly upon them is unreliable — even ’empty’ in a way.

It makes me rethink many aspects of my existence.  What I now see is that the last 30 years of my life (and if you know me, you know exactly what that refers to) has ultimately done me more harm than good in totality.  That 30-year relationship may have to be re-thought to make things better.

Can it happen?  Certainly…but it will be — in a word — difficult.

Remember the adage we heard as kids:

“Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

Not entirely true.   The wounds from sticks and stones can heal.   The scars from words can remain for a lifetime.

I’m done with words.

 

 

 

 

 

You Can’t Spell ‘Menace In The Kitchen’ Without ‘MEN’

My wife posed a question to me recently.  I will attempt to paraphrase.

“Why is it”, she asked, “that when men cook in the kitchen, they always wind up emptying the cabinet of every single pot, pan and plastic container?”

toomanypots

It does open the door to those marathon dish washing sessions. Your dinner guest might end up putting out a hashtag on Twitter:

#Ihadtohelp!!

Important rule:  the dish washing should NEVER take longer than the meal itself.

As for my wife’s question, I have a theory.

Problem 1: We, as men, are not very good at judging proportion when it comes to cooking.   If you’re preparing soup for two…you DO NOT need a stock pot.   If you’re cooking French toast for one…don’t reach for the jumbo-neighborhood fish fry-size cast iron pan (even if it is the first vessel you lay eyes on that will do the job).

Problem 2: Once we realize that the pot/pan we’ve chosen is not right for the dish we’re making, we immediately go hunting for a smaller-sized container.  In some cases, we misjudge on the small side too.   There’s nothing like cooking rice or grits and not taking into consideration how much it will multiply in volume once it absorbs the liquid.  This search for the right pot happens several times — hence the great pot pile-up.

Been there.   Done it.

This is why — I believe — men are so fond of grilling.  (Yes..I said GRILLING.  Remember…barbecue is something you EAT, not something you DO)

Outdoor-Grilling

It’s one LARGE, FLAT surface over heat.   And, if you’ve set it up correctly, there are zones on the grill surface that regulate the intensity of the cooking (direct vs. indirect heat).   So if you’re cooking ribs, steak or burgers on the center of the grate,  the vegetables or seafood can cook slowly or stay warm in one corner (or a raised basket) off the heat.  You can brown buns or Texas Toast in another corner.

Thanks Bobby Flay and Food Network for that knowledge.

Guys…I’ve found my way to avoid the kitchen mess.   I confine my cooking to the Crock Pot.   One pot..dump everything in..and wait five hours (or more).   Perfect for setting up and turning on before you go to work, and enjoying when you get home.   And when you tell your dinner guest that the meal has been cooking for hours, it’s not a lie.

And then..there the minimal mess afterward.

You’re welcome.