Usually when I am wogging (walking/jogging) I listen to music from my MP3 player. There's one thing about an MP3 player, when the battery dies the music stops, period. It doesn't fade out or slowdown. It just stops. Today it stopped on the first lap so I was left with going around and around the track with nothing but my own thoughts. This is a dangerous thing.

I thought of my friend, Rafael, who recently wrote telling me it was his 34th birthday. As he said, "Twice 17".

Frank Sinatra used to sing a song that went:

When I was seventeen
It was a very good year
It was a very good year for small town girls
And soft summer nights
We’d hide from the lights
On the village green
I thought about my being 17 years old. It seems that is supposed to be a wondrous age. For me, not so much. I recall it as being one of the most uncomfortable years of my life.

The year I graduated from high school I was 17. My high school years were rather undistinguished to say the least. Although I was avidly interested in all kinds of sports, I only was a member of the Debate Team. As far as I could detect that didn't make a very big impression with girls, but then, nothing I did seem to impress them. Not only had I failed to maketh one lie down in green pastures, I didn't even know where any green pastures were.

When I finally did leave school I had to go to work. I didn't like that much either, especially when I discovered I needed to start paying for things myself. I still don't care for that much.

World War II was looming and when I thought of it, the uniforms were nice but I wasn't all a crazy about having someone shoot at me.

So, not being successful with girls--I guess they were called "women" by then--and not seeing myself as a roaring success in the work field, I decided I would try to be smarter than anyone else. Still being 17 years old, I enrolled in evening classes to study engineering at Northeastern University. It was just my luck to catch a calculus instructor who didn't seem to recognize my goal of being smarter than anyone else. Since the grade he gave me was no real indication of how smart I was, I repeated the course. I discovered that the second time through the course that this particular instructor was no more cognitive than he was the first time. I decided right then to disassociate myself from engineers as they obviously had no awareness of hidden talents. At least mine.

When I was 17 my life was so boring that I had a religious problem. I was a Catholic and made my confessions on a regular basis. At least I tried to but had trouble finding enough sins to confess. I used to go through all of the, "Shalt nots" and couldn't find many that pertained to my lifestyle. As an example, we had a neighbor, Mr. Fowler, and I couldn't even manage to covet his fat wife, though I tried just to have something to confess.
I even lied in the confessional once just so the next time I could confess to lying.
I think the priest in the confessional must have been frustrated. He would often say, "Is that all?”
To which I would reply, "Yes Father."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes Father."
"Are you sure you have committed no more sins?"
"Yes Father."
"Nothing? Nothing at all?" By this time he sounded incredulous.
"Nothing Father."
Then there would be a big sigh, followed by the usual "Five Our Fathers and Five Hail Marys."
Sometimes there were other people waiting to confess and there were times I thought I could hear them giggling.

So, as I look back on being 17 years old, I wouldn't want to do that again for anything. Maybe it would be nice to be able to run as fast as I did when I was 17, but I would rather be my age and not have any reason to run.

I need to go put a new battery in my MP3 player before I forget and need to go through this whole thing again tomorrow.



This morning while wogging I had a thought and I still think it was a cute idea.

Since we now have a new Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, I was thinking about her having to fill the shoes of the former Secretary of State, Colin Powell. I was going to find a picture of Ms. Rice and, using my graphics program, I planned to attach a pair of rather large shoes to her image.

So, I went to Google and did an image search for Condoleezza Rice. Surprisingly I found 1160 pictures of Ms. Rice and, as far as I can see, she has no legs. All of the pictures were upper body shots.

Thinking about Franklin Roosevelt pictures where he never showed his polio-ravaged legs, I suppose it is theoretically possible that we now have a Secretary of State with no lower extremities.

Perhaps that really wouldn't be too bad, after all, there isn't much heavy lifting involved and we do have the part that talks.



Let's see, I think I have this right; in the year 2000 the U.S. Federal Budget showed a surplus of around 236 billion dollars. Now I see the projected budget for the year 2005 will have a deficit of 427 billion dollars. Wait a minute, that's the difference of 663 billion dollars in only four years. Why are not many people seem to be screaming about this? It must be that they don't understand the terms.
Perhaps it should be explained that "deficit" means money that is owed. Maybe we should say, "You know, it's like a VISA card. It's funny money. It must be paid back. It's money we owe. There's interest to be paid."
Obviously, the meaning of 1 billion dollars must be rather vague to many people. It might help if we could get some of these people aside and say, "Ya know, it's like taking a millionaire, a million times over. Ya know, if you had 1 billion dollars you would have trouble spending it all in your lifetime. With 1 billion dollars you would be able to buy enough Domino's pizzas to completely cover the states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida. I mean completely cover every inch of ground. And that's only 1 billion. The deficit were talking about is 427 billion dollars. That would mean that you could cover each of the states with pizzas stacked up more than 400 pizzas high."
I'm not actually sure those statistics are right but the idea of covering all of those states with pizzas is certainly is appealing.
To be serious, as much as I hate it, this morning's paper indicates there is a World Economic Forum taking place in Switzerland. Apparently this is a gathering of the world's economic experts and they are discussing world economic problems. Figures. The headline is, "U.S. Deficits Worry World Forum." Other countries are now worried about our debt! How come we aren't worried?

The present administration didn't even send one senior policymaker to this gathering. The United States was represented by Rep. Barney Frank, a Democrat from Massachusetts. Representative Frank is on the House Financial Services Committee, but it does seem the Powers That Be don't seem very concerned.

How come we didn't do something about this in the recent election?

The only explanation has to be we don't understand.

Perhaps it's better that way.



If there is such a thing as Bloggers Block it has moved in on me the last few days.
However, just lately I have become angry and I don't get angry very often.

Johnny Carson: Cigarette victim 2005 Perhaps it might seem nonsensical, but the recent death of Johnny Carson Nat 'King' Cole: Cigarette victim 1965brought to mind how upset I was in 1965 when Nat "King" Cole decided he would use cigarettes to smoke himself to death, thereby depriving me, and millions of others, the pleasure of ever hearing his wonderful voice again live. I felt he had no right to do that.

And now I read that Johnny Carson died from emphysema. I went to the Internet to check "emphysema" and found a medical dictionary which clearly said "the primary cause was cigarette smoking and the effects are irreversible".

I suppose we all know that all people have the right to punish their systems in any way they might choose and we are also aware of the dangers of secondhand smoke. But I wonder if anyone has given any thought to the responsibility a person assumes when he or she makes a "suicide by tobacco" decision. There are always other people who are deeply affected by the death, even though that person may not have the prominence of Nat "King" Cole or Johnny Carson.

Everyone agrees the world is a lesser place without those two men in it, but it is also a lesser place when anyone leaves it, particularly in such an unnecessary and stupid way.

I wish everyone, even people I don't know, would take steps right away to get rid of this insidious habit. If, through the use of this blog, I could managed to give one person a little nudge in the direction of quitting, I would consider my entire life to be a success.

How about it? Can you help make my life successful?

PS For what it's worth, I was able to kick the habit in 1982 after some 35 years of smoking 2+ packs a day. I didn't say it was easy to do but if I can do it, anyone can.



Many times young people start some fad and it catches on to become widespread. It seems to me that every once in awhile one of these fads comes along and makes good sense. Maybe not very often, but once in awhile.
There now is a
web site selling socks that are a mismatched as far as color and pattern go. I, for one, hope this becomes popular enough to be a permanent addition to the style scene. Think of all the time that could be saved if it were not necessary to sort socks in order to match colors. Now, if we could only come up with the way to eliminate the idea that underwear needs to be folded neatly before it's put into a drawer, where no one sees it, so that when it is removed and placed on the body, in a place where no one sees it, it will be all smooth and unwrinkled. I'll vote for that.



First, pardon me for the length of this thing. Sometimes I get carried away.
Once again, as shown in this Associated Press photo, there has been a flurry of media information recently concerning the phenomenon of the beaching of the whales. Dozens of whales have been found stranded on beaches, for no apparent reason. The most recent discovery was in North Carolina and involved about 30 sperm whales. Naturalists are mystified as to the reason for these occurrences and helpless to do anything except stand by, let the whales die and use the carcasses for research purposes. One theory is that whales utilize a sort of follow-the-leader technique when traveling. If the leader gets lost and strays up on the beach, the others obediently follow.

Some contend an even more human trait is the probable cause. They suggest that one whale, perhaps a sick one, gets in trouble and sends out distress signals, thereby causing all whales in the vicinity to flock to the rescue. If the ailing whale goes ashore; they all go ashore--and die. The experts all agree that no one knows, for sure, why this happens and it may always remain a mystery.

I am surprised and amazed that no scientist has suggested, what to me is, the obvious explanation. Have they never heard of Charles Darwin? Do they know nothing of the theory of evolution? Though I, personally, am not a confirmed evolutionist, I thought every school child was aware of the basic ideas.

There are many people who believe that man once lived in the ocean. They couldn't possibly think that all of a sudden, man jumped up and yelled, "OK. Everybody out of the pool." Whereupon, I assume, they might believe that all the creatures with minimal air breathing skills, marched off to the nearest clothing store to purchase a three-piece suit. Of course, it didn't happen that way. If indeed we did inhabit the sea, I am sure the first batch of dissatisfied water residents did not survive past the edge of the beach.

However, evolutionists make no claim that this happened all at once, but rather over a period of many, many generations. It seems probable, if not obvious, to me that these unfortunate whales on the beach are but the first of many generations to try to ascend the evolutionary ladder. That they mostly failed is a necessary step. The strongest and most adaptable will someday make it.

My only regret is that this will probably take more time than I have left and I will not be here to observe this giant step first hand. It would be exciting to see whales walking on our streets, settling in their own communities, keeping to their own kind, and doing the type of work they are best suited for. This would probably be some sort of work that the species we now think of as humans, does not want to do. Whales don't appear to have a natural aptitude for our type work, though their size and lack of necks could make them good football players, if they were allowed to play.

However, I am sure they can be taught to do various menial tasks and they wouldn't have to be paid very much either. They eat very little of our type food anyway. They eat lots of food, but mostly it’s fish, any old kind of fish. It doesn't even have to be fresh fish and they probably, just naturally, don't like the more expensive shellfish. After all, they should be happy to have the opportunity we gave them to live on land. If worse were to come to worse and they didn't like it here; they could always go back to where they came from.

It shouldn't be too long before some far thinking land-person gets to know a whale-person on an intimate basis and falls in love. There probably will be a wedding (at a site of the brides choice) and children will surely follow. No doubt these offspring will be beset with problems of being accepted by either family and scorned by both.

However, eventually the whales will organize and set up an official group with membership rolls, dues and a lobbyist to protect their rights. They would acquire a catchy name, such as the National Association for Advancement of Whale People (NAAWP, or some similar acronym) with a set of by-laws, complete with a committee structure.
Finally, it will become quite fashionable to have a whale to dinner, or to have a whale live in the neighborhood. Of course, legislation would forbid employment discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, age or ability to breath air easily.

Just how many years do you think would pass before a whale would be appointed to the Supreme Court and how long before all ballots would be printed with squeals and whistles indicated, as well as words? Probably it would be a relatively long time, as whales only bear young one at a time and the gestation period is about a year. But, it might happen sooner than one would think, because, the reproduction rate of the species would be speeded if the whales have high unemployment rates and are forced to live in cramped quarters. This is a statistical fact with other species.

So, let us not grieve for the beached whales. They are but fulfilling another step in the grand scheme of evolution and we should welcome them. "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to be free...." After all, isn't that what America is all about?



They say if you live long enough you will see everything. Well, "They" didn't actually say it, I did. However, I didn't think I'd ever live long enough to see this happen: A United States governmental agency finally got something right.

We probably all have seen the old familiar food pyramid published by the United States Department of Agriculture.

This concept went back to the 1960s, or perhaps even earlier, but it wasn't until 1988 that they presented it in this graphical form. It also was decided to update it every five years. So far, the changes have been minimal. But this year the USDA presented their food guidelines for 2005 and, it seems to me, they finally have it right.

The complete report is available online and you can see it by
clicking here.

In brief, the Committee's findings support eight major messages:

· 1.Consume a variety of foods within and among the basic food groups while staying within energy needs.
· 2. Control calorie intake to manage body weight.
· 3. Increase daily intake of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and nonfat or low-fat milk and milk products.
· 4. Choose fats wisely for good health.
· 5. Choose carbohydrates wisely for good health.
· 6. Choose and prepare foods with little salt.
· 7. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.
· 8. Be physically active every day.

The thing about this that pleases me so much is this is exactly what I have been doing and it has worked fantastically well. I started following the first seven of these about three years ago and managed to lose about 45 pounds. I went from a little over 200 to 155. Then about a year ago I started number eight, the physical activity. The USDA people suggest 30 minutes, at least five times a week which is exactly what I do with my wogging routine. (Click here and scroll down for information on wogging)

For the benefit of anyone who might read this and feel I need of a little encouragement, please believe me, I have never, ever, felt better than this. In a little over two months from now I'll be 82 years old and I didn't feel this good when I was 42 years old.

So as I said at the beginning, I'm glad I managed to live long enough to see something that the government did right. It was worth the long wait. Maybe in another 82 years they will do something else right.



I really know very little about Saint Anthony other than he had a rather unusual hair style. I'm sure you're familiar with the hair arrangement where there is absolutely no hair in the middle and a little fringe around the edge. That used to jokingly be called a "Saint Anthony Cut ".

When I was a boy my grandparents had a friend who they always referred to as "a gentleman friend". They would frequently bring him along when they visited our house. His head had a balding pattern just like that of Saint Anthony. There was absolutely nothing on top and a just little fringe around the edge.

At that time my youngest brother was perhaps two or three years old. I recall him sitting on the sofa beside my grandparent's gentleman friend and staring intently, but silently, at his head. All of the adults were rather tense realizing my brother’s mystification and hoping he wouldn't say anything about it.

After some time had passed my little brother spoke. He looked up and very seriously said, "Did you move your head when you are at the barbershop?"

Some of the best comments come from little people. I have cherished that one for many years.




A few weeks ago I ran across a web site called RealAge. With a FREE registration you can fill out a rather extensive questionnaire that covers just about everything that could affect your health. This not only includes things such as your blood pressure and cholesterol readings but also your driving habits, the longevity of your parents, smoking and drinking habits and many other things. I found the questionnaire takes about half an hour to complete.
At the end it will tell you your chronological age and what your real age is. I was very pleased to find even though my chronological age to be 81.8 my real age was only 72.4. As I see it, I must have at least 9 more years to go.
The reason I didn't post this blog weeks ago was my suspicion that I would be inundated with advertising resulting from the questionnaire. This did not happen. As far as I can see I received no e-mail that was generated from this web site.
There is much good information regarding health and health products at the site and I recommended highly.



Here is a great idea!

Considering the position the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami are in right now, getting help to them as quickly as possible is imperative. Most experts agree using military personnel and equipment is an efficient way to do this as these people have been trained in handling such situations.

Why not get a bunch of men, provide them with striped shirts and whistles and teach them the “Time Out” signal? Then they could be sent to Iraq where they would blow their whistles and make the “T” motion. President Bush could then announce all troops and equipment were being moved out to assist the tsunami victims but promise they would be back soon to continue the improvement of Iraq.

Maybe when the time to return came, everyone would have forgotten the reasons we went to war in Iraq.

That could work.