My Playlist

I go to the local fitness center a few times a week. I usually do 30 to 40 minutes on a NuStep T4R Recumbent Cross Trainer or a recumbent bike. Then I do some weights, bands, stretching and my own brand of Zumba dancing (you could sell seats for this).

While doing the bike, I listen to Ted Talks; language lessons; or something educational, religious or inspirational. However it’s when I do the other stuff that my playlist changes. And I listen to music. And ramp up the . . . . pace.

Lately, my playlist consists of some stuff that I can move to. If you get my drift. Including:

“Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siwpn14IE7E

“Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btPJPFnesV4

“Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPf0YbXqDm0 (see posts of July 7, 2016, and March 7, 2019)

“Hotel California” by The Eagles – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BciS5krYL80

“Sultans of Swing” by Dire Straits – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0ffIJ7ZO4U

“Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTP2RUD_cL0

And a little Michael Jackson certainly adds to the tempo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zi_XLOBDo_Y

I listen to my music using corded earphones from my original Walkman. The earphones plug into my phone. The links above are offer some cool music videos – which you may enjoy.

A Light Show

(An interesting repeat from January 3, 2016) When we blink our eyes closed, we are usually greeted by an assortment of exploding stars, shapes and colors.  When head hits the pillow and it’s dark, there can still be a veritable light show when our eyes close.   The phrase “seeing stars” from a bump on the head or being dizzy refers to these closed eye light phenomenon.  The illuminations you see – when there is no light – are called “phosphenes.”  The term comes from the Greek “phos” (light) and “phainein” (to show). 

When people are deprived of light for long periods of time, phosphenes occur in vision as well — when eyes are open.  Thus phosphenes used to be called “the prisoner’s cinema.”  People who are blind will sometimes press or rub their eyes to stimulate phosphenes (which they can “see”).   While phosphenes have been around as long as the human condition, they were first reported in 1819 by Bohemian physiologist Johannes Purkinje.  Benjamin Franklin was reported to have used an electrical stimulation to cause a closed-eye spectral. 

Trouble sleeping?   Apart from checking out March 19, 2012, just close your eyes and watch the unfolding kaleidoscope of phosphenes.  And breathe deeply. You’ll be asleep in no time.

Honk if You Love Peace and Quiet!

[We all need a smile. Here are a few from February 7, 2016]

I can’t take credit for these examples of “lexiphilia” but I can be given credit for selecting the ones that made me laugh the hardest.

I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory.
42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.
99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.
I feel like I’m diagonally parked in a parallel universe.
I wonder how much deeper the ocean would be without sponges.
Remember half the people you know are below average.
Despite the cost of living, have you noticed how popular it remains?
Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
He who laughs last thinks slowest.
The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
I intend to live forever – so far so good.
Borrow money from a pessimist – they don’t expect it back.
Love may be blind but marriage is a real eye-opener.
Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.
Success always occurs in private and failure in full view.
The colder the x-ray table the more of your body is required on it.
The hardness of butter is directly proportional to the softness of the bread.
To succeed in politics, it is often necessary to rise above your principles.
Mondays are an awful way to spend 1/7th of your life.
A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
Change is inevitable except from vending machines.
Plan to be spontaneous – tomorrow.
Why are there 5 syllables in the word “monosyllabic”?

I Hope. . . .

Our “Inboxes” get an abundance of jokes, videos, political tripe, inspiration and miscellany. Most that I receive, I delete. But the video below is an exception. It struck a nerve. I would like to share it with you.

Just two weeks ago (May 26th), I mentioned how in World War II – 16.1 million Americans served in the military. 408,000 were killed – to the tune of abut 1,800 young Americans killed every week for nearly four years.

As we enter the post Memorial Day weekend, I would invite you to spend 6 minutes and 50 seconds and watch this powerful narration. And conclusion. We continue to owe much to our parents and grandparents for what they went through during years of conflict. And we owe many of our friends, brothers and sisters for their service today. I hope that future generations will remember their sacrifice. And appreciate.

Renaissance Hombre

It’s ten years since I first posted on my blog – http://www.renaissancehombre.com. What started as a – where will this go – endeavor, is now a twice a week offering. There have been a thousand posts.  Usually 200 to 300 words.  I try to stay away from political stuff though I occasionally dip my toes (in my opinion – gently) into those frigid waters. . . . .

It has been fun. And challenging to come up with something new. When I’m lazy, I can always “repeat.” There are about a hundred subscribers. Plus others get a copy of the posting. And each day, lots of folks will log on to the site.

It was about three years ago that I decided to compile a collection of “posts.” And I did. I worked with an editor – Pat Vaccaro – who fine-tuned the manuscript and in late September 2020, Renaissance Hombre was published. There is a YouTube video promotion – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2MlesbpAT0. The book is sold on Amazon (and other book sites) – https://www.amazon.com/Renaissance-Hombre-Reflections-Well-Rounded-Life/dp/1728372356 And there is a Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/RenaissanceHombre/

There are even bookmarks and business cards. Let me know and I’ll send some along 🙂

A 6th Grade Lesson

  Here’s a repeat from November 23, 2011). 

 On April 2, 2007, I presented a paper to the Chicago Literary Club on 5 lessons that I had learned in life (see post of August 16th for one). A big one occurred in 6th grade.

One afternoon between classes, I saw Tim H in the hall. In a show of 6th grade bravado, I grabbed him and pushed him bodily into the girls’ bathroom. And I held the door closed – chortling – while screams of girls and cries from Tim resounded down the hall. What happened next occurred in a kind of slow motion though I’m sure it took place in a flash. I felt a hand on my shoulder which spun me around. Suddenly a bright light exploded on the side of my face. My teacher, Mrs. S, had slapped me. Hard.Don’t you ever do that again.” Tim escaped. I wobbled back to the classroom. When I got home, my mother was there – arms akimbo. She knew. . . . Instead of hugging me and spitting about the mean teacher, my mother simply commented that she hoped I’d learned my lesson. I had.

I learned a lesson. It was epiphanal. I learned that there were lines that were not to be crossed. In today’s world, Mrs. S would’ve been summarily fired, the school system would have been sued by some money-grubbing plaintiff’s lawyer and there would’ve been nasty articles expressing righteous outrage.

I tend to think our educational system needs options for teaching lessons (even like this one) — without the consequence. After all, who wins? I sure did. . . . .

Bring Back the Draft?

The United States has had “conscription” – mandatory induction into the military for able-bodied men – during six conflicts in our nation’s history: the Revolutionary War; the Civil War; World War I; World War II; the Korean War; and the Vietnam War. Most recently, Ameria had a “draft” from 1940 to 1973. In 1965 when I turned 18, I had to register for the Draft. Since I was in college, I was rated 2-S (“S” as in “student”). Later in my college career, I was rated 1-A (“available”) and after I took a pre-induction physical I was rated 4-F (as in “unFit”). Bad knee. . . . Those who were 1-A were put into a lottery – where the low numbers went first. And were “drafted” into the Army for a 2 year term. And often sent off to Vietnam.

Those who objected to military service on the basis of religious belief might be classed as a “conscientious objector” (rated 1-A-O). That would allow conscription into the Army as a medic (so as not to carry a gun). You may have seen the story of Corporal Desmond Doss in the movie “Hacksaw Ridge.” Doss was a Seventh Day Adventist and because of religious belief he refused to bear arms. Yet as a medic – he was awarded the Medal of Honor for saving the lives of 50 to 100 soldiers during the Battle of Okinawa.

In World War II 16.1 million American men served in the armed forces. 405,000 were killed. That’s about 1,800 Americans killed – every week – in nearly 4 years of war. Consider the magnitude of that statistic. Yet our fathers and grandfathers signed up. And served.

But the “draft” is now ancient history to most folks. Sooo. . . what would happen if America reinstated the draft? I suspect that millennials would go shrieking for a “safe place.” Academics and progressives would scream to the rafters. Many would demonstrate. Riot. Burn businesses and attack police. And America would sink further into the malaise that seems to be turning our nation into a third world country. . . . .

But think if we did reinstate the draft? Instead of the military, we conscript the 18 to 26 crowd to take courses in American history, world history, economics and civil discourse. Hmmmm . . . .

Anti-Semitism

[An appropriate update of June 1, 2019] Donna and I went to a local synagogue to hear James Carroll speak about his book The Cloister. The presentation was on a Saturday following Shabbat services. As we approached the entrance, we were greeted by a heavily-armed security guard – wearing body armor. We looked okay so we entered the temple.  And I donned my kippah. . . .

Mr. Carroll, a former Catholic priest (who remains a devout Catholic), discussed his book — and the love story of Heloise and Abelard.  But then he began discussing the issue of anti-Semitism which has roots going back more than a thousand years.  14 million Jews in the world.  1.8 billion Muslims.  2.18 billion Christians.  And who today gets an uneven distribution of hatred?    Yep. . . . .

I just finished the book Anti-Semitism – Here and Now by Deborah Lipstadt.  Read it.  Please.  Most of us are aware of anti-Semites from alt-Right jerks.  But there is a smoldering anti-Semitism from progressives and those on the left. We see bigotry and hatred of Israel and Jews in American colleges and universities. For the latter, it is pointless to ask why we do not boycott human rights abuses in China, Russia, Syria, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Sudan, Zimbabwe. Oh no. It is Israel that is in the cross hairs of the left.  And because many Israelis are Jewish, it is their faith that take the heat. 

In Europe it can be dangerous for a man to wear a kippah in public.  Synagogues are guarded by police.  And Jews feel concerns for safety from the moment they arise in the morning.   Anti-Semitism.  Making a comeback.  But did it ever leave?   

Randy Rosenthal’s Chicago Tribune review comments and quotes Lipstadt’s work “And so if we think ourselves to be liberal, or progressive, or simply decent, ‘we must insist that anti-Semitism be treated with the same seriousness as racism, sexism, homophobia and Islamophobia.'”  I hope you say “Amen.”   

Therefore. . . .

Henry Joel Cadbury (1883-1974) was a Biblical scholar and Quaker historian. He served as a professor of divinity at Harvard. He was Chairman of the American Friends Service Committee. And he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947 on behalf of the Religious Society of Friends.

When addressing his fellow Quakers, he would often speak of how there are two kinds of people in the world: “Therefore” people and “However” people. He explained that when faced with life’s problems and difficulties, many folks will say “Therefore” I need to do something. “Therefore” I need to help. These folks would then go on to correct the problem – or seek ways in which to do so. It is the “Therefore” people who continually look for reasons, ways and means to help.

“However” people have a different view. When faced with the same problems or difficulties, their response might be “I see the problem, however there’s nothing I can do about it. . . . .” Cadbury’s conclusion was that the world needs more “Therefore” people. We each have the capacity — to be a “Therefore” person. Each day is an opportunity — to make a difference.

Mother Teresa’s eloquence gives inspiration to “Therefore” people:

I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.

Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.

Therefore. . . .

Maybe it’s Just Me

[An update from March 29, 2017] I am diligent about conserving water.  Turning off light switches.  Turning off the car rather than wasting gas – and polluting the environment.  Recycling.  Since 2008, I have promoted my registered trademark – JUST TURN IT OFF® – whenever and wherever I can. To get people to be aware of our fragile environment – and to take steps to protect it.  I’ve frequently posted on the subject of conservation.  If you want to see what rankles me, see April 10, 2016.  

That said, I continue to have questions about climate change.  It’s not a scientific law.  Nor a theory.  Or a hypothesis.  It is a consensus.  Of some people.   It’s interesting that there are scientists and respectable folks with differing views on the subject.  But have you noticed how those who raise questions about climate change are put down?  Vilified?  By some politicians. And the “media.” By those who have drunk the Kool Aid (“Eeek!  He’s asking questions!”)?  Great.  That’s really productive. But why silence those who ask questions about climate change?  Why squelch discussion?    What ever happened to civil discourse? Most folks agree that shutting down carbon emissions and pollution is needed. But how about some constructive discussion on the underlying topic. By all sides.  Since discussion, analysis, diagnosis and then consensus may be more productive. And help solve our world’s environmental problems.