Thought Salad

Some of my recent thoughts and observations which usually strike at the peak of my daily caffeine high around 10:30 A.M. Like goat cheese, they won’t make a meal or a full article, but mixed with 5 or 6 other ingredients, will make a tasty salad. Enjoy!

A Birthday Message for Joan

What is love? I’m not sure and neither are most people. The divorce rate is still close to 50%, people “love” this TV show, this food, or that celebrity and so on. A year later, it’s forgotten.

Here’s what I do know: 

I love the life we live together right now. We know the boundaries for conversation. When to speak and when not to.

You let my tantrums run their course and I try to answer your “why” questions. We have unwritten rules for the Thermostat, the T.V. remote, and any purchase over $50.

Clean laundry just shows up in my dresser drawers and I don’t know (and don’t want to know) how to operate the washing machine. The cooking is all yours and the landscaping is mine. Imagine for a moment – – – – me making a red curry and coconut milk sauce and you mowing, trimming, and operating the blower.

I’m really glad you were born and I can’t imagine living without you.

I don’t know exactly what love is, but all indications are that I love you, and always will. 

“Is That All There Is?”

Life is like a carnival or an amusement park. Remember, many years ago, the little paper tickets that you purchased to be used for specific rides or “amusements”? Our family didn’t have a lot of money, so the tickets we were given were sparse and we had to choose wisely. When they were gone, we had two options; beg for more or just amuse ourselves with the free attractions.

Fast forward to now —- if the ticket system was still in place, I can afford a limitless number; but I no longer have the desire. I’m an observer now, not a participant. With that gloomy analogy in mind, an old song “Is That All There Is?”, as sung by Peggy Lee, comes to mind.

Check it out on-line.


  I’m probably not alone when I wonder how good a parent I was. As I age, quicker it seems, and look back on interactions with my son and daughter it becomes more and more obvious how I could have done so much better. It’s the old “hindsight” thing.

Our son was born in 1968, our daughter in 1973.  No internet at the time to offer advice and guidance. Although there were plenty of books available on child rearing, my wife and I never once thought to read any of them. Examining one’s own behavior and relationships simply was not in vogue at the time. So, we stumbled and tumbled and fumbled our way through parenting using what we had seen and heard in our own families.

I feel pretty good about the overall role models we presented to our kids. However, honestly, there was way too much yelling. I inherited a hair-trigger temper and I’ll always wonder what the long-term impact of my outbursts were on the kids. We never used physical discipline but there are more powerful ways to instill fear which can stunt the growth of self-confidence.

On a more positive note, there was a lot of laughter in our home too.  

False Start

The most memorable vacation of my life is a 3 week-long tour of Spain back in 2015 with my brother, Harold. Of course, I wanted Joan to go too, but she is convinced that most trans-Atlantic passenger jets fall into the ocean killing everyone aboard. We even offered free drugs to help her make it through the trip. She would have none of it, so it was just Harold and I.

Day One:     We arrive at the Raleigh airport to leave for Barcelona and are checked into our gate without incident. We decide to grab a quick 5 Guys lunch. As we enjoy our calorie laden lunch, the PA announcer informs us that our flight has been cancelled, not delayed, flat out cancelled!! So, we return home and reboot for departure in the morning. Without further incident, we arrive in Barcelona that night. 

Read more detail about the remaining 13 days of this trip in my upcoming book “Angry Tap Dancing — The Thrill of Flamenco”.    

Leave it Alone

Here’s what makes our current voting system work so well. Each of the 50 states control their own elections using a large % of volunteers. The inherent diversity of procedures makes it so much more difficult for any one bad actor to interfere. The people who run the elections are unsung patriotic heroes. Most of them volunteer out of a personal sense of obligation. The gentleman who assisted me told me that he’s been a volunteer for 35 years. Do not buy the argument that “nationalization” of voting processes would be an improvement. It would be an irresistible target for manipulation and corruption —- bet on it!

Hope you enjoyed the salad. Next up? Soup.

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