Monday, October 31, 2011

A Father's Duty

They say being a parent or a father doesn't come with an instruction manual. That is true. But you can observe the fathers you have seen growing up and learn who does what best with their children, your friends.

I don't claim to be the world's best dad. You would have to ask my 3 kids about that. Here is a letter from my daughter, maybe I haven't done too bad.  A Father's Day Letter Repost

But I do know what a father is supposed to do. You don't put your children in harms way. You don't ridicule them, demeanor them, belittle them.  You don't try to make them a carbon copy of you. You don't abandon them because raising children is hard. You try to guide them, a nudge here and there.

You can't say I am like that because that is how I was raised. It stops now. You make the changes.

Verbal abuse

Physical abuse

Sexual abuse

It all sucks. And some children suffer from it all.

Unfortunately you can't be unfathered.  But you probably shouldn't have been one to begin with.

For many of you, you have scarred your children forever. Eating disorders, depression, nervous breakdowns.

And the sad thing is they tried to please you. They lived in fear growing up around you. You didn't care.

And your legacy. You left behind some wonderful children who grew up thinking it was all their fault.

But we know better don't we.

As a dad, you were a piece of shit.

That should be on your tombstone.


To the fathers who are doing the best you can, thank you. This wasn't about you anyway.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I Was Told To Try Change My Point Of View


not this one

not this way either

hey, I tried
I really did!

coffee time!

is this how the brady bunch started?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Don't Mind Me, But I Need To Know...

I am blessed with an insatiable curiosity.

Some people might think I am nosy.

I don't want to be a one trick pony.

I am okay to be a jack of all trades, master of none.

I find people and how they are and why they are fascinating.

People have many talents, many are hidden from view.

Even from them.

People have insights they are not aware of.

By asking questions I find out stuff.

By you sharing with me I find out stuff.

Once I wanted to know where math came from.
I looked on line for two weeks before I was satisfied
with what I found was the answer.

Some times it may sound or feel what I ask is too personal.
My intent is to gain knowledge not pry or belittle.

If what you tell me is to remain private, it will 
remain private.

That is how I am.

I don't violate a confidence.

Unless you say it is okay to do so.

I love interesting people.

You may not think you are
but if I do, you are.

There is an epiphany out there waiting for me to find it.

You will help me find it.

time for a deep and meaningful
giant bottomless cup of coffee!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Natures Clean Up Crew

A day or two later after the duck visit, I had another local visit.

They have incredibly long beaks to do there digging for bugs and worms and stuff. Being by the water
and in Florida, you never know who will stop by!

and of course, for those playing at home
grab your scorecard and get that big cup of coffee!


Monday, October 24, 2011

I Haven't Changed Much Have I?

Thinking about it, I guess I have. Besides the physical aspect over the years, shrinking in height, hair slowly going grey, hairline moving back some, athletic ability in decline, weight gain over the years, I hope I have made up for it with knowledge and intelligence and insight gathered up over time. To what degree, I don't know, but it is not for the lack of trying on my part.

But just like weight gain, getting wiser takes many years too.  When you are younger you have the impatience and bravado of youth. Energy makes up for lack of experience but there is much time wasted because of a lack of direction.

Confidence is something to be grown. Some have it early, some later. I fall in the latter category. The life long search for what I am good at is an endless search for me. I have to keep learning.

Part of the self doubt comes from belief in the kind words people say to me, whether in my writings or my drawings. I wonder how someone whom I have never met can say the right things to me and people around me barely acknowledge the same. Maybe I come across as confident or cocky, but trust me, it is all an illusion on my part. Like an actor, you never know is that really me or a role I am playing.

Maybe age changes ones perspective. I am slow to anger, try to remain calm in a crisis, plan ahead for things that can go wrong, maintain some type of routine, try to find a comfort level with ones around me and most of all , keep my wry sense of humor intact. None of those things mentioned were ever found in my youth.

Most of all is to be loved. The most important aspect of life is sometimes lacking, but when it is there in some type of quantity, the warmth of the moment triumphs over all and brings the mountains back down to mole hulls.

Now of course is is time to brew the second pot of coffee


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Random Thoughts From RJ

In 1776 we rose as one people in a revolution to free our selves from a tyrant government.
We have been working ever since to make sure the people don't do that again.

If I you are a dictator of a country that has oil, I would start getting my personal affairs in order.
You are next.

The United States has never been the worlds policeman.

If you could remove politics and religion from the equation, most of the world would be at peace.

If the story of Pandora's box is true, that is where greed and corruption got its start.

The difference between the government and the mob is size.

The difference between a major religion and a cult is the amount of members.

Everyone has a dark inner secret or two. The really brave people reach out for help, the others shove it under the bed and sleep with the light on. Hey, I like sleeping with the lights on!

Surprisingly. all religions seem to have the same story about how their religion started.
And they are all wrong.

Our government now believes it is okay to kill its own people if it is more convenient to do so.

Animals kill for food or to protect its self, man kills because he can.

Will the world ever be war free? Sadly no.

Wiki Leaks is the most important source of information since the Pentagon papers.

If man could be like a tree, we would not wonder how high we could grow, we would just grow.

Yoda was right, "Do or Do not, there is no try."

Every failure is one step closer to success. One cannot stop growing.

The reason newspapers are failing is that aren't  that many good writers or reporters any more.

After oil, drinkable fresh water will be the next battle field. It is already started.

Fluoride is a by product of the production of aluminum. It has been used as rat poison. It is expensive to dispose of. We use it in our water and drink it. Makes perfect sense to me.

Commercials always show tooth paste as a full strip on the brush. That is twenty times or more that you are supposed to use. A tube could last for years.

The directions on fluoride tooth paste say not to swallow it. It is harmful.

The nuclear reactor in Japan is till wreaking havoc. But it is no longer news worthy. Until it happens in your hometown.

Till death do us part seems like a tough way to end a marriage.

The dream of home ownership, seems like a dream doesn't it?

Needs, wants, desires. It is funny how the first two get skipped so easy.

Guilt is a tool that is used very effectively by religions, governments and family members.

Love and hate have been battling since time began, Love is hard to understand while hate is always at the ready.

Why does the average person always rank themselves as a good driver when the ones around them would disagree?

If there was no debt there would be no need for money.

If you have gold instead of paper money, exactly how would one go to the store and buy a loaf of bread?

If it takes on the average 10 years to get really good at something, and you have been doing it for 30 years, when did the improvements stop?

Enough for today.
Time for the biggest cup of coffee
I can find!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Version of Roy Lichtenstein's Seductive Girl

High Corn Fructose Kills, Here Is More Proof!

"Cancer Feeds on Fructose,
America's Number One Source of Calories"
by Anthony Gucciardi

“High-fructose corn syrup is the primary source of calories in the United States. In addition to containing mercury, a known carcinogen, cancer cells actually feed on high-fructose corn syrup after it is metabolized by the liver. A new study, published in the Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets, examined the link between refined sugar and cancer. The results add further evidence to the reports of many health experts and scientific studies that have drawn the connection between excess sugar consumption and the development of cancer. The researchers highlighted the numerous ways in which fructose directly contributes to cancer risk and other health problems, including:

        * DNA damage
        * Inflammation
        * Altered cellular metabolism
        * Increased production of free radicals

According to Lewis Cantley, director of the Cancer Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School, as much as 80 percent of all cancers are "driven by either mutations or environmental factors that work to enhance or mimic the effect of insulin on the incipient tumor cells." Similar research published in the journal "Cancer Research "found that the way in which sugar is metabolized stimulates cancer growth. The researchers reported:  "Importantly, fructose and glucose metabolism are quite different. These findings show that cancer cells can readily metabolize fructose to increase proliferation."

What is even more concerning is that the scientists conducting the research used pancreatic cancer cells, widely considered to be the most deadly form of cancer. The discovery was monumental because not only did the researchers prove that tumor cells feed on sugar (glucose), but the tumor cells used fructose for cell division in order to speed up the growth and spread of the cancer. Fructose consumption actually led to a massive increase in tumor cell growth and proliferation way beyond that of glucose.

This cancer-feeding fructose is what the majority of Americans are consuming on a daily basis, to the point where high-fructose corn syrup is their number one source of calories. Even children are consuming excessive amounts of sugar in juice boxes, candy, and even 'healthy' sports beverages. The amount is so extreme that the average American consumes around 150 grams of sugar each day; whereas, many experts believe that the number should be around 15 grams per day or lower to prevent cancer.

The ubiquitous nature of fructose is so apparent in the food supply that it can be found in one form or another in 5 of the top 10 sources of calories in America, according to a USDA report. As cancer rates continue to explode, it is vital that dietary changes are made involving the emission of fructose from the global food supply. Natural sweeteners like Stevia contain 0 calories, and have been found to prevent and reverse diseases like diabetes. It is time we revolutionize the food supply and utilize natural sweeteners as tools to reduce cancer and obesity rates worldwide, naturally."
Sources: "Is Sugar Toxic?", New York Times

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Oh Boy I Get A Penny Back Or What 1% Means

The commercials try to get you so excited. Cash back!!!! Come on people, a penny or two or three?
Soon you will be rolling in dough. Huh? Limitations apply, see store for details.

People are easily mislead when it comes to credit cards. Deferred payments come with a huge prices. Store promotions can seduce you into buying more then you can afford.

Ever take a look at the terms? Sometimes you might pay 25% interest! You get a penny, they get a quarter!!
And they know that you will fall behind and pay a hefty interest fee when it is all over.

And you might say "not me". Big deal, the next hundred people will pay for you.

Now credit can be very convenient. Pay at the pump for gas for example, large purchase made, don't have to carry a lot of cash. In fact people get suspicious if you pay with cash sometimes.

Please don't succumb to the credit man. Think first.They are not here to help, they are here to make money!

Now, will that cash, check or charge?

Who is going to buy my coffee?


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Wiki Leaks And A Marine

wiki leaks from Coyote Prime

Monday, October 17, 2011

So I Was Sitting In A Bar

I met a few golfing friends after work Friday at a local eatery because one of them was retiring. I realized I had not been to this place in almost 5 years, when we had a get together because I was transferring locations and would not be working with them anymore. The place has a comfortable feel to it. The food, standard fare, is good, the beer cold, and the music just right. Many games on TV of all types to enjoy as well.

Our waitress was pretty and competent in her job. She was very nice to look at. I pointed out to one guy who was flirting a bit with her that she was way to young for him. I guessed 25, turned out she was 24. About half his age. I thought she was interesting but way too young. She was of course, tipped nicely!

I did notice however, several attractive middle-aged women that were around the bar and tables that got my attention at times. Yep, the radar was still working! ha ha It is amazing in a good way they are still head turners.

But for some strange reason, it never dawned on me until a few days later, were any of them looking at me in the same way? Sometimes it is good to be oblivious to things happening around you and sometimes you might miss something.

Over time the shields go up and subtle hints are missed that years ago would have been eagerly looked for.

ah, the male ego.

time for the morning coffee


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Lost From View

Inner thoughts
hide from her
what others see
so plainly

style and grace
inner and
outer beauty
missed time
and again

not recognized
missing the joy
one brings to

happiness uncloaked
great day for all
beaming outwardly
at last revealed

fairy princess
belle of the ball
as it should be
as it always is

she sees herself
as others do
her beauty
walks among us

now we all
are happy

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Where Do Ducks Dine? At The All You Can Eat Grub And Worm Of Course!

I was doing some yard work a day or two ago
and I spotted 16, yes 16 ducks walking in line
foraging for food.

I raced in to get my camera to get a picture
of them doing a line dance to the food

as you can see they are across the water 
from my house

I was hoping against hope for a huge group shot
it was not to be
but it was still fun to see a bit of 
florida nature

it must be a beer time


Psychology: “What Is The ‘Oakland Effect’?”

“What Is The ‘Oakland Effect’?”
by Scott Johnson

“Why is it that when we hear a rumble, the sound of an earthquake, say, we don't try to locate the sound, but we immediately try to get away? Or, if we hear a high-pitched sound of distress, we try to locate it because, well, someone close to us might be in pain? Did you know that the muscles in your middle ear are linked in your brain stem to the muscles that control your upper face? Or that when you see people's eyes droop during a conversation, they're probably not hearing a word you're saying, or not well?

Broken down into their most basic components, our neural systems are modulated on two systems: safety and novelty. Safety is the more important of the two; it's the most important thing for every one of us. Novelty is also important; it helps our brains to grow, but novelty can't be experienced without safety. And yet we require novelty to become fully human; we can't expand as living beings without rich lives.

This idea and the complex questions that flow from it lie at the heart of one of the most intriguing and exciting ideas in the world of neuroscience, psychology and the study of complex psychiatric disorders and trauma. It's called polyvagal theory, and it was crafted by Dr. Stephen Porges, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and the director of the Brain-Body Center.

The theory is complex, and I won't be able to do it any measure of justice in this short space, but it is worth exploring, and links to his work are available here. Porges believes that human beings have evolved in such a way that social behaviors, emotional disorders and the ways we respond to stress, trauma and psychological distress are deeply rooted in our biology, that our behaviors are more "hard-wired" than previously thought. For instance, Porges says that the neural pathways of the body's nervous system are closely connected to the muscles in the face. The muscles that control the heart and lungs are tied to the muscles that control how the face operates, how it looks when we interact with each other.

Here's Porges in a 2006 interview in "We forget that listening is actually a 'motor' act and involves tensing muscles in the middle ear. The middle ear muscles are regulated by the facial nerve, a nerve that also regulates eyelid lifting. When you are interested in what someone is saying, you lift your eyelids and simultaneously your middle ear muscles tense. Now you are prepared to hear their voice, even in noisy environments."

What does that mean for you and me? Well, for people with high levels of anxiety, or stress or even post-traumatic stress disorder, this can be very useful information. Here's Porges again: "The concept of safety is relative. You and I are sitting in this room together and nothing appears to threaten us. We feel safe here, but it may not feel safe to a young woman with panic disorder. Something in this environment, which is safe for us, might trigger in her a physiological response to mobilize and defend. But this approach doesn't work very well with social engagement behaviors, because they appear to be driven by the body's visceral state. Our current knowledge based on the polyvagal theory leads us to a better approach. Thus, to make people calmer, we talk to them softly, modulate our voices and tones to trigger listening behaviors, and ensure that the individual is in a quieter environment in which there are no loud background noises."

This may seem to make intuitive sense. But it's not always obvious to the listener. People who are traumatized, for instance, or those with bipolar or somewhere on the autism spectrum - those people, in certain states, may be simply unable to distinguish human voices from the kind of background noise you'd hear in a shopping mall or at a concert.

Porges says his theory also supports the notion that we can potentially have a lot more control over our own emotions and our responses to others by breathing. Why? Because controlling breath exerts a powerful influence over the "vagal" nerve that connects our faces, lungs, heart and muscles. "Breathing exercises the vagal (nerve)," Porges said at a recent conference I attended. "The longer the phrase, the calmer you are. The shorter the phrase, the angrier, more stressed. Breath is extraordinarily powerful in shifting the neural platform upon which we interact with the world."

What's the point, then? The idea is that by paying attention to your own body, your breath, your face, you can help regulate yourself to become less of a hostage to the powerful grip that fear and trauma can hold on your body. I'll give Porges the last word: "The point of these strategies is to create an environment in which we no longer need to be hypervigilant, and to allow us to participate in the life processes that require "safe" environments. Social engagement behaviors - making eye contact, listening to people - require that we give up our hypervigilance."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Another Tree-mendous Day In Who-ville

Another tree cutting day around here. It is my continuing saga of cutting down a forty foot high tree with just me, a ladder, and my trusty saws-all. It is dangerous to do, trying to figure what direction the huge limbs will fall without knocking me off the ladder or getting hurt or killed!

So far so good. But it is very tiring to do. And tree limbs are very heavy. And I never ask for help.

Here are some pictures of my day.

the seeds which there are thousands 
dropped each day

oh they annoy me so

ladder at the ready

another view
it does a nice job providing shade
but since the old tree is dying
big winds continue to knock off
some of the smaller branches

the cuts out by the street waiting
for pick up Monday

some of the pieces were 25 feet long

the main limbs left are now on the other side
I have to make sure when 
I cut them that it doesn't hit the 
neighbors screened in pool enclosure
You can see it on the left hand side
of the picture.

Waiting on the left hand side is the new tree
which is actually attached to the old tree

I happened to look next door while I was up on the ladder
to see my neighbors watching me, with coffee in hand, wondering
I think, to see the idiot hanging on with one hand and cutting with
another. I survived for another day!

beer time!


I Stand Naked Before You

Ok, you may want to avert your eyes, but the only way to see change is to look at myself naked. There is of course the tendency to judge myself against the society norms of what looks good or not. But at this stage of my life I have to make compromises.

I wondered one day, that at work I lift and or move very heavy appliances and other products on a daily basis. It keeps me in some type of physical shape, but not what I would call athletic looking. I did this post here about strength. Old Man Strength.

So I look in the mirror closely and can see the abs showing more and more as the weight comes off. And other parts looking better, Will it get to where I want to be? Most likely not, getting older does stuff to skin and muscles that won't be looking younger anytime soon.

But there are mornings that I look like I have taken a step backward and my journey has been for naught. Sometime arthritis rears its head and I can literally put on 6 lbs overnight. I know the cause (water retention) and understand that in three or four days it will subside and go away, but still it is a bother.

But losing weight is a marathon not a sprint. I have figured that it is a two years or less journey to get where I want to be weight wise. I am half way there. But I think I look better overall now and it is a confidence builder  in itself.

And someday, on the scale and looking in the mirror, I might think...

"Not bad, not bad at all"

morning coffee time


Saturday, October 8, 2011

I Can Feel It In My Bones

I live in south Florida, a sub tropical paradise.  Well not really, but close enough. The summers can be very hot and lately the winters colder then they should be. There is always the humidity to put up with.

But come winter time there is a cold dampness in the air. The aches in the joints start to show up. The knees start to ache a bit more. The feet get colder. Time to retrieve the slippers. The old man's feet are cold.

But it is the ache that doesn't go away until spring.  Sometimes it is tough getting old. But being older beats the alternative.

I can feel it in my bones...


Time for ancient Ray to get a hot cup of coffee...

Friday, October 7, 2011

My Son The Artist

My son ( almost 22 ) has done some drawing on and off over the last few years. I came home from work yesterday and found this with my drawing book. It is quite original and very good ( proud father ), and I encourage him to draw more often. He loves to play poker. I love how he used his perspective to show what is going on. There is a lot of detail in his drawing. I think he is better then me! He does not know that I am posting this, but I don't think he would mind.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs - Failures Lead To Success

Sometimes many failures lead to success. There are many steps along the way that have a tendency to be forgotten. We know only the public persona of Steve Jobs, this sheds some light on the man. My thanks once again to Coyote Prime for this article.


Steve Jobs, "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish."

This is a prepared text of the Commencement address delivered by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, on June 12, 2005.

“I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots. I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out? It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it's likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss. I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life. During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death. When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes. I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope it's the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept: No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called "The Whole Earth Catalog," which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of "The Whole Earth Catalog," and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much."

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sophie - Davinci Code

No Pink This Month

Last year around this time I was watching a football game on TV and noticed the players wear pink colors with parts of their equipment. Cool. Supporting the cause, breast cancer awareness month. A good idea. I decided that I would used pink as much as I could in my blog as support to the cause. But not this year and I will tell you why.

I work in retail. I notice things. And I think. I noticed that one makes some mixing bowls in pink, put a sign on it that would say we support cancer research, tug at the heart strings, add a guilt trip and make a sale.
Wouldn't a better, bolder statement say, we have donated this much money to cancer research and we hope it helps and we make good stuff and we hope you buy it?

A long time ago, I had for a short time, a job delivering radiation medicine to a group of local hospitals at night, trying to earn some extra money.  I grew concerned about being around radiation and nuclear medicine and quit. But not before thinking about the whole process.

Why would they and why should they find a cure for cancer?  There are millions of people and billions of dollars involved in finding a cure. If and when they find a cure it would shut down an industry. I realized it will never end. Too much money$$$$

Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, the treatment alone will kill you, disfigure you, or make you sicker then before. Just a guess on my part but our environment and foods we eat and the water we drink are major reasons why we get sick in the first place.

Medicine looks at the disease and not the cause.

They will never find a magic bullet or a cure for cancer, Follow the money.

I hope if you are reading this that you followed the link that I posted a few days ago, which expires Oct. 8th, and start coming up with your own cure. It is never too late.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Version of Roy Lichtenstein's "Drawing For A Kiss V"

Food Matters, The Movie

Come on, you knew all along that the foods you think you love were not good for you. You would joke about a Twinkie or a chicken nugget or whatever pops up on your radar as a must have. You wondered how something could have a shelf life for over a year and still be good for you. Ah Skittles, taste the rainbow...of food dyes and all sugar and fructose.

You close your eyes and mind and cross your fingers and hope you won't be harmed in the process of eating.
You did wonder how something without blueberries could taste like blueberries and then eat it.

Here in America, one of the criteria of a meal is did you get your money's worth. Load it up and come back for more. Quantity over quality. We want it fast, we want it now!

I know, I am late to the table on this too. But when one starts to read and watch how foods are prepared for human consumption for fast food franchises and the home, it can scare you straight. It did me.

Natural and Artificial Flavors, they should have a skull and cross bones marking on the package. You will find coloring, thickening, and extenders listed on the food labels that are also used in paint products and sink drain cleaners. But we go blindly on consuming. Quantity and price matters most.

GMO or genetically modified foods and plants created and tinkered with are unsafe to eat and drink, but if you don't know or care it will happen in the market place.

Much of the milk sold in stores came from dairies that used growth hormones to make the cows grow bigger and faster and because of the unsafe living conditions, were loaded with antibiotics to keep them healthy.
A funny thing happened when some of them stopped that, the milk tastes better and lasts longer.

I know I could go on and on about this, maybe later. Watch the movie, open your eyes, question everything, and you will feel better. I promise.

If you have a problem with this link e mail me and I will forward it to you.
The link I am posting is only good until October 8th. It is worth your time, trust me on this.
Click on the title or go here.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Incredible Shrinking Ray!

If you are a regular reader, you know I have been going through some health issues, a main one being a tear in my right knee, which I hope will be resolved later this year.

Even with the knee like it is, I tried various exercises to get in better shape. But my body kept saying stop.

So I decided to try a different tack. Lose some weight! Duh! I figured any weight reduction would help take the pressure off my knee and help with other pain issues.

It is has been a very slow process. But I have to keep reminding myself, again and again, that it took years to put it on and it will take time to take it off.

The results, bottom line are so far I have been successful on my quest. But I am not done yet.

Some eye opening stats, at least to me.

Blue jeans waist size a year ago. "42"

Blue jeans waist size today "36"
6 inches!!

I am very excited. I had by accident had bought a pair of jeans and had not noticed the waist size was "38". But I did not bring them back, left them hanging in the closet and on occasion would try them on to see where I was size wise. I could see progress now and then. I did not get discouraged.

Last week though with inventory coming up, I decided to try them on. They fit!! I was very happy.

I wore them all week, (yes, I did wash them), but a funny thing, during the long day, they would start to droop. After inventory, I went to buy a smaller size "36", and use them as an incentive once again to downsize myself once more. When I got home I thought I would try them on to see where I was and to guess how much more I had to go before they would fit.

To my shock and awe, they fit! Even better then the "38" size. I was literally dancing around the house with happiness and excitement. So tomorrow I will be back at the store to buy a pair of size "34" jeans.

Weight loss so far 46 lbs.
weight to still lose 54 lbs.
Time frame, about one year, so far.

I don't use vending machines. I don't do fast food. I read labels. I don't like additives, food dyes and the like. I bake my own bread and cakes and cookies. I will turn down food if I don't know how it was made. I drink coffee black. I make a quart of tea a day to drink at work, no lemon or sugar. I make my own breading for pork chops or chicken, It's easy. I eat fruit instead of drinking juice. My concession on veggies is to drink Low Sodium V-8 juice.

Someone has taught me, without trying, to be thoughtful about what I eat or drink. It has worked well I think.

I will stand in front of any open fridge and look and not grab anything, turn and walk away. Many times in one day that will happen. I still drink beer. One or two a day. Once in a great while I will binge on sweets and salty foods. It happens every 3-4 weeks. It doesn't bother me when that happens, it is almost like a palette cleansing of sorts.

I weigh my naked self every morning, the tale of the scale so to speak. No surprises except when the scale moves down. Those surprises are happy ones. There might be weeks when nothing happens and some discouragement sets in. But I soldier onward and downward. Doing your own cooking and baking takes time so allow for it. But to me, it is not a chore, it is fun.

When I hit my weight loss goal, I will write about this once again. I wrote about this to give some hope out there. The saying goes, "If I can do it, anyone can."

And now it is time for breakfast, coffee and bread baking time!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...