New Year’s Resolutions

Do you have any? New Year’s resolutions that is?   To do, not do or to accomplish something?  New Year’s resolutions date back to Roman and even Babylonian times.   Nearly a third of all people make some personal commitment for the new year.  However, a University of Bristol study showed that of the people who make New Year’s resolutions, 88% fail.   Mine will not.

Here are a few that crossed my mind:
Exercise more
Read more
Work less (just joking if anyone from my Firm is reading this)              Play more golf (Senior Tour?)
Travel more
Play my guitar more (get the old group back together?)                  Volunteer more and be a better person.                                                            Eat healthier                                                                                                                 But – give up eating green beans (NEVER AGAIN!)

Best wishes to all for a wonderful, healthy and happy New Year!

Christmas 2015

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given . . . . and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David). To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:4-7

Here we are again!  Christmas 2015.  Mercy – the days are long but the years go fast. . . .

My best wishes to all of you for a Happy and Blessed Christmas, New Year and Holiday Season!!

A Conversation on Islam

I had a 30 minute cab ride with a driver from Tunisia.  A Sunni Muslim.  As I mentioned on August 19, 2012, when I get into a cab “it’s never just a ride.”  We started talking about Islam – and the issues that are forefront in the media.   We chatted about the Quran, the Prophet  and the hadith (the conversations of Muhammed).  It’s then he opened up.

You want to know the real problem is in the Muslim world?” he asked.   “You didn’t hear it from me.  Two words.  Saudi Arabia.”  This chap said that Saudi Arabia — with its Wahhabi (or Salafi) demands and sharia law — is wholly responsible for the radicalization of Islam.  Much of the negativity seems to orbit around that Middle Eastern power.  Women are denied the most basic of freedoms and the disease of sharia law infects everything and everyone.  You are a kafir (infidel) or mushrak (denier like Sunnis) if you are not a Wahhabi Muslim.  Saudi Arabia sponsors terrorism across the Middle East.  And elsewhere.  The tentacles of fundamentalism (and extremism) reach far and wide.  And now the Saudis seem to be caught up in their own cult of extreme Wahhabism – the puritanical, ultra-orthodox branch of Sunni Islam.  The offspring of Wahhabism now wants a return to the 7th Century caliphate.  ISIS cells are creeping inexorably into Saudi Arabia (as they are around the Middle East).  It will be interesting to see how Saudi Arabia fares in the next five years.      


I’m not a movie critic – but I do (like you) have objective credentials for offering comment. The movie “Creed” had primo reviews (“best since ‘Rocky’“).  But in my humble opinion, the film was pretty boring.  Donna needed popcorn and Pepsi to stay awake.   The movie’s path was predictable.  Sylvester Stallone acted in his usual “duhhhhh how ya doon’?” fashion for the entire movie.  My mouth logged open and my eyes were glassy. . . . .    

The final “Rocky” scenes are unpleasant with the gratuitous violence and graphic result.  Slow motion blood, guts, vomit and disfigurement.  People who enjoy ultimate fighting, boxing or violent movies will like this.   Frankly I had trouble watching “Creed.”    One star.  Tops. 

If you see something, say something. . . .

Every day we hear the admonition that is borne of terror – “If you see something, say something.” It is that mantra that tells citizens to be aware of their surroundings — and to report anything that looks out of place.  I’ve been saying that for years — “Watch for Anomalies” (see 6/18/12).  But should we really “say something“?

First – “if you see something” it will likely be someone (or something) that looks “out of place.”  Someone who raises suspicion.  This in turn requires some level of “profiling” which we are told in the United States is politically incorrect and thus forbidden.  Though profiling is viewed in most countries as smart.  Remember the 14 year old boy in Dallas who came to school with a package filled with wires and containers.  Someone “said something.”  Police showed up and detained the boy.  Turned out the boy had a homemade clock.  The clock was examined and dismantled by a bomb squad. The boy – a Muslim – is now suing the Dallas school system for $15 million.  And he’s moved to Qatar.  Airlines who question or debark suspicious passengers are sued routinely.  Same with police.  By the usual and predictable coterie of loathsome plaintiff’s lawyers . . . .      

Maybe the lesson should be — “if you see something – run the other way.”  And leave others deal with the consequences.  Sergeant Schulz comes to mind “I know nothing!  I see nothing!”   

Rice and Beans

Rice and beans is a food staple in much of the world. And for me, rice and beans has always been a staple. But not just any rice and beans. 

Last weekend, I started with a container of Rice Select Royal Blend. This wonderful mix combines Texmati, white, brown, wild and Red Thai rice. I boiled 1 cup of rice mix in 2-1/4 cups of low sodium chicken broth for about 30 minutes.  In a saucepan, I washed – then heated – a 15.5 ounce can of organic black beans.

But it was the addendum that helped bring “rice ‘n beans” to a whole new level of gastronomy. In a fry pan, I heated some olive oil. Then tossed in a diced onion, 2 minced garlic cloves, two finely chopped celery stalks and a large carrot (or 2)  also finely chopped. For seasoning, I used 2 tsp. of minced fresh oregano, 1 tsp. ground cumin and 2 tsp. of chopped, fresh parsley.   I tapped in a light dusting of (optional) Cayenne pepper to give an added kick.

The combo came together nicely. I mixed everything together and – voila!  A rice and beans extravaganza.   For the “side,” I drenched some wild Atlantic salmon in olive oil, shook on some turmeric and baked at 450 for about 10 minutes. Bake time naturally depends on the thickness of the salmon.

When it came time for the obligatory gelato, Donna and I looked at each other, smiled and dug into more rice and beans for dessert.


“Progressives” believe government should be a tool for change.  And from everything I’ve been reading – and hearing – I’m not sure “progressives” give a hoot. About the poor, the homeless, the sick, those who are victims of abuse, hatred or violence. Those who are lonely or depressed.  They care little about racial issues.  Or minorities.   Or those who suffer.  They care not about virtue.  Or character.   

It seems they care only about control and destruction. Strict monitoring of everyone.  A government which controls every thought, word and deed.  And destroys.  Religion.  Business.  American tradition.  Incentive.  Values.  Censorship and vilification of anyone who gets in their way.  Anyone who objects or even questions is decried as a “radical.”  “Racist.”  “Bigot.”    We hear this stuff every day.  The Constitution is old hat.  Freedom of speech is dead.  Ideology trumps charity and  compassion.  

Where am I going wrong here?  


For Want of a Nail. . . .

If there was a pivotal moment in my life, it was becoming an Eagle Scout. I owe a lot to that boyhood achievement: going to college; going to law school; getting a job; meeting my wife; having a daughter and grandchildren; and knowing how to deal with different “situations.”

The sine qua non for my acceptance to Augustana College was that I was an Eagle Scout (see post of 10/13/13).  It sure wasn’t because I was a scholar.   At Augustana, I chatted with a couple of pals who talked about law school.  Soooo, I went to law school.  At Augustana, I met Diane — who a year after my graduation introduced me to Donna (“Scott I have a girlfriend from New York I think you should meet“).  And because of Donna, we have Lauren and her family.  When I interviewed to be a State’s Attorney, the first 15 minutes of conversation was about Boy Scouts (I’d put “Eagle Scout” on my resume).  And I was offered the job.

Being an Eagle Scout taught a lot – including first aid (see 10/21/11 and 10/31/15).  That knowledge has saved the day on a few occasions.  An Eagle trajectory got me a job at age 14 (for three summers) on staff at Camp Napowan — a Scout camp in Wild Rose, Wisconsin.  The experience provided a major education and provided friends I have to this day.

All in all, I’d have to say that being an Eagle Scout was the “nail” (Poor Richard’s Almanac 1758) that made all the difference in the world for yours truly.  And you know what?  That achievement has made – and will continue to make — all the difference in the world for a universe of young men.