Mom and dad in 1950.  I was still 5 years away from being a twinkle in the imagination.  Time is a one way street of course, but as I grow older it seems the past looms ever larger.

Well, at least I’ve already chosen my funeral music.  I’m in no hurry to get there, mind you.

Time, flowing like a river
Time, beckoning me
Who knows when we shall meet again
If ever
But time
Keeps flowing like a river
To the sea

Goodbye my love, Maybe for forever
Goodbye my love, The tide waits for me
Who knows when we shall meet again
If ever
But time
Keeps flowing like a river (on and on)
To the sea, to the sea

Till it’s gone forever
Gone forever
Gone forevermore

Goodbye my friends, Maybe forever
Goodbye my friends, The stars wait for me
Who knows where we shall meet again
If ever
But time
Keeps flowing like a river (on and on)
To the sea, to the sea

Till it’s gone forever
Gone forever
Gone forevermore

–Alan Parsons

And so it goes


It’s Memorial Day so of course today I’m remembering the brave men and women who answered our nation’s call to duty and paid for our freedom with their blood.  I wrote about one of them, my great Uncle Frank, last year.  Have a read if you are so inclined. 
Back home from a weekend of darts action in lovely Greenville, South Carolina.  I’d like to say I’m seeing noticeable improvement in my game, but I’m still throwing entirely too inconsistent to be truly competitive at tournament level play.  There were some islands of brilliance in a vast sea of mediocrity, but nothing worth blogging about.  Well, two things I’ll call progress.  I’m over the jitters of playing against outstanding darters, and I did manage to advance to the third round in singles cricket which was one of my goals going in.  Yeah, that qualifies as setting the bar pretty low.  But it’s my damn bar to do with as I please, right?

Came home and hit the scale for my weekly weigh-in and was pleased to see a loss of three pounds.  That brings me down to to 249.  Glad to put those 250s behind me, hopefully forever.  Total weight loss thus far is 29.5 pounds, pretty nearly half of my 60 pound goal (see, I can set the bar high too).  Oddly enough, my girth measurement is up one inch to 47″.  It boggles my brain to lose weight and get bigger at the same time.  Jee Yeun says it’s from all the beer I drank this weekend.  Well, I did put away some brewskis, but they were of the low carb (2.5 grams per bottle) variety.  I’m more inclined to think it was the watermelon I scarfed down, which was pretty much my only major diet violation this week.  Ah well, I guess the old saw that less is more has proven to be accurate in this case.  Onward and downward!

To blog or not to blog…

…is that the question?

It was the best of posts, it was the worst of posts.  Bloggers of the world unite!

No, I have no idea where I’m going with this blog post.  Apparently the latest grammatical faux pas is to call something you write on your blog a blog.  As opposed to a post on your blog.  Me, I’ve never been a slave to grammatical correctness but this whole kerfuffle strikes me as much adieu ado* about nothing.  A tempest in a teapot.  And don’t even get me started on the overuse of cliches.  Personally, I avoid trite phrases like the plague,  but that’s just me.

But seriously, I don’t see why this whole “blog versus post” issue matters enough for someone to actually to actually blog about it.  Or to warrant writing a post on your own blog in response.  I have a blog and sometimes I even write some worthless crap and post it here.  My mother used to say “oh, I loved that blog you wrote today.”  I’d dearly love to hear those words again.

Anyway, when I see something that strikes my fancy I’m liable to blog about it with a post like this.  Can’t we all just get along?

*Thanks to Kevin Kim for noticing my brain fart.  Sometimes I’m too smart by half.  I knew what I was trying to say, why I wrote it the way I did is a mystery.  Kevin generously would have let me play it off as an intentional gaffe, but when your wrong your wrong.  And yes, you’re right, that last one was intentional.  I guess it might be wise for me to keep y’all guessing whether I’m really that ignorant or just bad at being funny…

The wonderful world of Disney


Back home from my weekend jaunt to Walt Disney World in Florida and here are some random thoughts on the experience.

I am a Disney agnostic which sets me apart from the fanatics and haters.  And me and Disney go way back.  Disneyland in California opened a month before I was born, and I grew up living less than ten miles from the park.  Back in those days you paid a small admission fee to enter the park and then paid for each ride individually.  Or you could purchase a book of ride coupons called a “Valu-Pak”.  The rides were all graded A-E, with A being the least popular (cheapest) and the best rides (Matterhorn Bobsleds, Jungle Cruise, etc.) requiring the much coveted “E ticket”.  Now, my grandma worked as a housekeeper in a motel near Disneyland and the tourists would leave unused coupons as a tip (cheap bastards) when they checked out.  Usually there were only crappy A and B tickets, but once in a while she’d bring home some books with some D’s and on a few joyous occasions we would score a magical E ticket.  So, even though we were comparatively poor I’d visit the Magic Kingdom at least a couple of times a year.  Hell, in high school Disneyland was was a great place to take your girl on a date.  There was this nice sit down restaurant (with waiters and everything) inside Pirates of the Caribbean that never failed to impress, well I was gonna say impress the pants off a virgin, but that never happened.  For me at least.  I had more success in that regard going to the beach to watch the submarine races.  But that’s another story.

Now that I’ve digressed, let me head off on a tangent.  Mr. Boothroyd was my seventh grade math teacher.  During the summers he was a “guide” on the Jungle Boat attraction at Disneyland (which he would brag about in class). For some unknown reason he disliked me.  Well, to be completely honest back in the day I could be a bit of a smartass and my mouth earned me a paddling from more than one teacher.  But it was different with Boothroyd.  He would mock and humiliate me.  We were a working class family in an upper middle class school district.  And Boothroyd would actually make fun of my clothes in front of the rest of the class.  I guess it was a tradition for him because he hated my older brother as well.  My father was in route sales back then supplying packaged foods to catering houses, including salads and desserts.  Boothroyd told my brother (again, in front of the whole class) if he didn’t study harder he’d grow up selling Jello out of a truck just like his dad.  Bastard.  To this day I can’t ride the Jungle Cruise without thinking of that prick.  Ironically, just before I entered government service I was working in route sales supplying ready-made sandwiches to convenience stores.  I did pretty well at it too.

But let’s get back to Disney World shall we?  These days you buy a park pass (about $90 per day) and all the rides are included.  The rides are mostly better and the lines longer than I remember.  In addition to the Magic Kingdom, you can visit Epcot (my personal favorite) Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and the Animal Kingdom.  These parks are surrounded by Disney owned hotels and resorts.  In fact, the whole complex at some 47 square miles is larger than San Francisco and all privately owned by the Disney company.

Now, Walt Disney was a visionary and by most accounts a truly great American.  I certainly admire him.  But the Walt Disney World we visit today is decidedly not what he had in mind.  The Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT) as conceived by Mr. Disney was to be a “community of the future” designed to stimulate American corporations to come up with new ideas for urban living.  In describing his city, Walt Disney is quoted as saying: “EPCOT will take its cue from the new ideas and new technologies that are emerging from the forefront of American industry. It will be a community of tomorrow that will never be completed. It will always be showcasing and testing and demonstrating new materials and new systems.”

Alas, Walt Disney died while his dream city of tomorrow was still on the drawing board.  After his death, the Disney Company scrapped his vision and went with the money making theme park/resort hotels concept.  And you really can’t argue with success, today Disney World is the world’s top tourist destination and it provides employment for over 66,000 people.

But what really prompted this overly long post is this simple fact: it works.  Although I had visited Disney World several times in the past, this was my first experience staying in a Disney resort and doing the package deal (including multi-day theme park tickets).  What impressed me was how seamlessly and smoothly the whole thing comes together.  I drove down, but if you fly in a Disney bus picks you up at the airport and delivers you to the resort, free of charge.  You don’t mess with your luggage, they bring that separately and deliver it to your room.  When you check in, you are given a “key to the world”.  Not only does this key open your room door, it serves as your ticket to all the theme parks, and allows you to charge anything you desire to purchase with a simple touch of the key (same concept as the T-money system in Korea).  That key is all you ever need during your entire visit.


Disney also provides complimentary bus service to anywhere and everywhere in the park.  The buses run on time, they are clean and comfortable, and the drivers are friendly.  Well, EVERY employee I encountered during my weekend stay was smiling and courteous without exception.  No detail goes overlooked, and it just all comes together in the most extraordinary way.

And that’s the thing.  Walt Disney World is for all intents and purposes a small city (albeit with an incredibly transient population) and they get it right in a way real cities can never seem to manage.  Why is that?   Absent evidence to the contrary, I’d say it is more proof that the private sector can do almost everything the government can do, only better.

So there you have it.  My point that is.  Which I could have made in the first two paragraphs and saved you all this pain (assuming you actually made it this far).  But what can I say, after 34 years with the federal government I even blog like a bureaucrat.


“Grandpa went to Disney World and all I got were these crappy Mickey Mouse ears”

As certain as I can be

Back in those long ago days of the 1980s I had reached a stage in my career where I enjoyed the services of a secretary.  It also so happens that she was the only person in the office who had a computer on her desk (it was a Wang).  My desk was equipped with a Dictaphone, a nifty device into which I would speak my thoughts, hand a tape to the secretary, and in a hour or two, I would have those words composed and formatted into proper business correspondence.  Well, truth be told, I’d usually have to edit two or three times to get it right–turns out what you say is not necessarily how you would write it.

And sometimes how you say it is just flat out wrong.  I have words in my vocabulary that I know and understand, but have never actually heard in conversation.  So, one day my secretary comes to me and says “boss, that word you keep using–‘as-certain’–is pronounced as-ser-tain.”  Then she laughed.  And told the rest of the staff, who laughed as well.

So, I learned humility and developed some tolerance and compassion when I see stuff this:


But I still laugh.

A walk in the park

Actually walks in the parks.  Thursday I hiked throughout the Magic Kingdom.  Friday I spent the day strolling the pleasant environs of Epcot.  And Saturday found my feet wandering around Hollywood Studios.  And when I wasn’t walking, I was standing in a long-ass line waiting to experience the most popular attractions.

I also stuck to the LCHF diet for the most part.   Had a Wendy’s burger on the drive down and on Saturday I gave in to temptation and enjoyed (thoroughly enjoyed!) an apple pie sundae.  I don’t know why, but I just remembered the story about Robinson Crusoe inviting his native companion over for a treat: “Hey Friday, come over Saturday and we’ll have a sundae.”

Anyway, this week’s weigh-in finds me at 252, down two pounds from last week.  Girth remains unchanged at 46″.

Onward and downward!

A disappearing act

What an exciting end to the day!  After a full day at Epcot we took a nap and then drove out to Downtown Disney to check out the nightlife.  Not having much life (night or otherwise) left in my tired legs we didn’t stay long.  Re-entering the resort I had to show my Disney ID, which involved taking out my wallet.  When we got back to the room I was without said wallet.  We searched the car top to bottom and front to back.  Retraced our steps from the parking lot back to the room.  Even rummaged through the garbage can where we had deposited the trash from the car.  No luck.  So, I was facing the prospect of being hundreds of miles from home with no cash, no credit cards, and no ID.  Ah well, nothing to be done but start the process of canceling my check and credit cards.  While I was doing that, Jee Yeun made one more trip down to the car.  As I finished the last card Jee Yeun returned with the astonishing news that she had found the wallet.  Wedged between the door and the seat on the driver’s side (so the whole fiasco is on me!).  I happily called the bank with the good news and now I am once again golden.  I guess they don’t call it the Magic Kingdom for nothing!

Ups and downs

Today marks 13 weeks on the LCHF diet.  The halfway point in my quest to lose 60 pounds in six months.  Although I’ve been making pretty steady progress and have done pretty well at sticking to the diet, I’ve got a long way to go to achieve my goal.  One thing I’m going to have to do in the next 13 weeks is actually get serious about adding some exercise to my daily routine.  I’ve got a treadmill in the spare bedroom and a bicycle in the garage.  I need to start actually using them.

Anyway, I actually lost ground this past week, gaining one pound which puts me back to 254.  I’m not overly distressed because I had a three pound loss the week before which seemed somewhat unnatural.  Plus I was in travel mode this week which is always tough (fewer food options, lots of sitting behind the steering wheel).  Overall I’ve lost 24 1/2 pounds, so there’s that.

In the good news department, this week’s girth measurement has me at 46″, down 1″ from last week 5.5″ overall.  Now, the week I lost three pounds I saw no reduction in my belly.  The week I gain a pound, I lose an inch off the middle.  Go figure.

Onward and downward!

Centenarian sighting

Yesterday I experienced a first (and how often does that happen at my age?) when I sat and chatted with a 100 year old woman.  We even had something in common having both worked for the federal government.  Although she worked for FDR in 1932.  She was still sharp and witty and engaged and it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

I’m reminded of the reporter who was interviewing an local man on the occasion of his 100th birthday.  “To what do you attribute your long life?” asked the intrepid young reporter.  The old man didn’t hesitate in replying “Primarily to the fact that I haven’t died yet.”

Mother’s day

A mother’s hug lasts long after she lets go.

Miss you mama.


I remember this poem for my distant past…

Somebody’s Mother
– Mary Dow Brine (1816-1913)

The woman was old and ragged and gray
And bent with the chill of the Winter’s day.

The street was wet with a recent snow
And the woman’s feet were aged and slow.

She stood at the crossing and waited long,
Alone, uncared for, amid the throng

Of human beings who passed her by
Nor heeded the glance of her anxious eyes.

Down the street, with laughter and shout,
Glad in the freedom of “school let out,”

Came the boys like a flock of sheep,
Hailing the snow piled white and deep.

Past the woman so old and gray
Hastened the children on their way.

Nor offered a helping hand to her –
So meek, so timid, afraid to stir

Lest the carriage wheels or the horses’ feet
Should crowd her down in the slippery street.

At last came one of the merry troop,
The gayest laddie of all the group;

He paused beside her and whispered low,
“I’ll help you cross, if you wish to go.”

Her aged hand on his strong young arm
She placed, and so, without hurt or harm,

He guided the trembling feet along,
Proud that his own were firm and strong.

Then back again to his friends he went,
His young heart happy and well content.

“She’s somebody’s mother, boys, you know,
For all she’s aged and poor and slow,

“And I hope some fellow will lend a hand
To help my mother, you understand,

“If ever she’s poor and old and gray,
When her own dear boy is far away.”

And “somebody’s mother” bowed low her head
In her home that night, and the prayer she said

Was “God be kind to the noble boy,
Who is somebody’s son, and pride and joy!”

The most likely suspect has fled the country…

…and he better hope he stays there.  Because when I read this I immediately thought of just one person:

“Who is so devoted to the park, and to the rules of grammar, that he or she would break the law to correct these mistakes?” 

Now, it could be that the Big Hominid is innocent of these crimes.  He’s never blogged about being in Brooklyn. But then again, he wouldn’t be likely to place himself in the vicinity of the illicit activities, would he?  I suppose it’s just as likely the perpetrator was some fellow traveler, taking his or her inspiration from the King of the Grammar Nazis.  Or perhaps the “mad marker” was hoping to curry favor with the intrepid Mr. Kim.

Innocent or not, I am quite certain that the hominid known as Kevin would agree that poor grammar should, nay must, be corrected whenever and wherever it is discovered.  And that makes him guilty by association in my book!

Having said that, if the Brooklyn grammar vigilante turns out to be female (especially one with a round American butt) a romance made in heaven may be in the offing.  It’s not everyday you find a soul mate in this world of forgotten grammatical correctness, hackneyed word-smithing, and generally sloppy, lazy and ignorant writing.  Hey, I think that’s just about a perfect description of this here blog.


I walk the line

Who says dart players aren’t athletes?  I did the math and I can prove what a physically demanding game darts truly is.  For example, I played in a round robin format event on Saturday with 8 other players.  That means I played each player three games (legs).  That’s a total of 24 legs.  Now the throw line (oche) is 5′ 8″ from the dart board.  Each turn (throw) consists of three darts.  So after every throw you walk from the oche to the dart board and back, a distance of approximately 12 feet.  It’s actually more, because you don’t walk directly back to the oche, you move behind your opponent while s/he thows.  And usually you walk ever farther, because normally between throws you go back to the table area for a swallow of beer (aiming fluid).  So, it’s fair to say the distance traveled for each throw is around 20 feet.

Now, I’m an average (at best) darter.  And I reckon it takes me 30 darts to finish a leg (sometimes less, sometimes more).  So, that’s 10 trips to and from the dart board, or 200 feet.  That means each 3 leg match equals 600 feet of walking.  What with warmups and trips to the restroom to recycle the aiming fluid, I walked over a mile during Saturday’s round robin.

But wait, there’s more!  I played in a blind draw Saturday night (although I only lasted 9 legs before being eliminated).  And on Sunday I played another 27 legs in the ASS (Aiken Singles Series) league.  That’s a lot of walking!  Come to think of it, maybe that’s why they call each game a leg!  Hell, Johnny Cash even wrote a song about it.

Anyway, the above is a round about way of getting to this week’s progress report on my LCHF diet adventure.  Other than darts, I’m really not managing much exercise.  I am sticking pretty close to the dietary requirements without being fanatical about it.  I have small helpings of fruit and berries occasionally and on Saturday I had a few fries because I was hungry and there were no other readily available options. But no bread, no starches, no sugary sweets.  I dearly do miss them.
And so I was very pleased when my scale reported my weight as 253 pounds.  That’s an incredible FOUR pound drop from last week!  Overall I’m down 25 and a half pounds since February 19.  It’s good to see that the self-sacrifice is showing some results.  Now, I’m not sure where the weight is coming from.  My girth is at 47″, just a half-inch reduction from last week and 4 1/2 inches overall.  Still, my pants are riding higher these days, and that’s a much more comfortable fit.

Onward and downward!

A fellow traveler

Scott Johnson from the PowerLine blog offers up his experience following the Taubes low carb/high fat diet.

Unlike Mr. Johnson, I’m still craving the sweets.   It is almost painful to walk sadly past the ice cream, pies, cakes and cookies at my neighborhood Publix supermarket.  I’m resisting the urge, but not liking the self-denial.  Tonight I had two small bites of my granddaughter’s birthday cake.  It’s practically unAmerican  I tell ya.

On a lighter note, Johnson links to this clip from the Woody Allen classic film Sleeper.  I wish, I wish, I wish!

Update: Geez, even Barney Fife knew about carbohydrates in 1964!  No wonder he was so frickin’ skinny.

A spam fortune cookie

I generally don’t open email from people I don’t know.  If unsure, I sometimes will check the full email address of the sender which is normally a dead giveaway for spammers.  This one was just your standard gmail account, so I opened it.  This is what it said:

“Hello, There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.

Sorry to bother you with this message, I came across your summary, while searching for an old colleague of mine and decided to send a message to you.”

I can’t figure out what the purpose or benefit derived by the sender in putting this message in my inbox.  None of my virus alarms went off when I opened the email.  Obviously, I won’t be so foolhardy as to respond.

Lots of excitement and intrigue in my life, wouldn’t you say?

Addenda Addendum:  This sentence is problematic: “I can’t figure out what the purpose or benefit derived by the sender in putting this message in my inbox.”  I know it needs a “was” or something, or maybe trying to get purpose and benefit in the same line was too much.  Anyway, I could and probably should fix it, but believe it or not this was the simpler course of action.  I only have one reader who will care (truth be told, I may only have one reader period), and it’s good to tweak him with bad grammar and/or poorly crafted sentences now and again.