I told you so. . . .

In my post of March 11, 2018 (“He’s Back“), I shared my elan for Tiger Woods.  And I predicted that he would make a come back. Well Pilgrims. . . . fasten your seat belts. He’s back.  Big time.  Tiger won the Tour Championship this last weekend. And he missed winning all the marbles in the FEDEX Cup Championship by one stroke (a birdie on the 18th by Justin Rose gave him the title).

As I mentioned in that earlier post (and one on January 31, 2013), Tiger is the best thing golf has ever seen.  Last Sunday, did  you see the crowd following him!!??  Did you hear the cheering?  Did you sense the spirit for the game?  In the post-win interview, Tiger laughed that he thought he was going to be “run over.”   And that’s the way that some of Tiger’s competition felt (witness Rory’s sheer drop from second place). 

Tiger is 42 years old.  And still has tournaments to win.  On to the Ryder Cup!  Spend five minutes and 42 seconds and watch – Tiger’s greatest shots (see  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2AvRfxgpL4   ).   And then spend two minutes on  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpRmF__A33U   OH MY!!!  

      

“Don’t get off the train ’til Denver. . . .”

When I was 10 years old, my parents put me on a train with two other 10 year old boys – my friends Kurt and Steve.  We were headed for Denver. And a camp in Estes Park.  Skyline Ranch.  The  three of us were alone.  No adult supervision.  My father admonished “Son – don’t get off the train ’til Denver.”  He handed me a ten dollar bill for food.  And that was it. 

Once there, every day, I rode horses, shot BB guns, hiked, swam and shoveled sand. Yes – sand. After winning a junior rodeo, I was given the task with Marvin B. (also age 10) of rounding up the horses each morning.   We had to rise at 5:30 a.m., walk out past the corral, fence off a dirt road and walk into a high plains pasture of several hundred acres. There were cows, horses and a bull. “Flap your poncho at the bull if he charges you” was the advice given to us. So two 10 year old boys headed off alone.  On foot – into the high grass.  Looking for horses in the gray twilight of dawn.

The cows paid us little mind.  The bull mercifully stayed away (“it’s those punks“).  When the pack of horses would see us, they would cock their ears back (“danger”) then forward (“huh”?) then normal (“oh it’s them“) and begin galloping past us toward the corral. They knew we would feed them. So we hiked the mile or so back to the corral with a weather eye on the bull – who kept a weather eye on us. All the horses – Arab, Bubbles, Chief, Dakota, Eagle, Hi Boy, Indian and the others – would be standing at parade rest in the corral. Marvin and I would put 2 cups of oats in each feed bag and slip it over their ears. Then we’d lead them (“come on Bubbles“) to the fence, tether and saddle them.  No adults were ever around. 

Kids today have a tough time developing independence.  You don’t need to do it on a ranch – at dawn.  With a 900 pound bull giving you the evil eye.  But I believe there must be challenges for kids to face or they will have trouble as adults.  Today, we move in the direction of no grades (“oooh – it can damage ego“), no playing tag (“too rough“), no dodge ball (“too violent“), no pointing your finger like a gun (“eeek!”), safe spaces (you are nuts if you believe in safe spaces), teachers cannot raise their voice at or touch a child (“don’t you dare raise your voice to my little Dwarfus”), and of course no – often well-deserved – corporal punishment (see posts of 11/23/11 and 2/1/12).  It’s one thing to protect.  It’s another to insulate.  As I see it, insulating kids from challenge has negative consequence.  For everyone.     

Civil War

America had one civil war with over 620,000 men killed (2% of America’s population).  That’s one too many.  Let’s hope we’re not on tap for another.  But according to a June 2018 Rasmussen poll, 31% of Americans are concerned about another civil war within the next five years.  Only 29% of Americans believe a civil war is “not at all likely.”   

We’re coming off of eight painful years of Obama — that divided and weakened America.   Now we have Trump.  Friends and families are divided.  Over politics.  Today, the nation seems more polarized than ever.  Decisions are made along party lines.  By Democrats who are evil.  Republicans who are stupid.  And a President who is an arrogant jerk.  There is no compromise.  No quarter.  America has become dangerously tribal. Identity politics.  Everyone has a righteous mind (see 7/6/14).  That is closed.  With no room for facts.  Logic.  Or truth.     

Not many Americans are happy about this situation.  Contemptuous undisciplined tweets from the White House.  Revenge over compromise in the Senate.  Ideology over patriotism in the House.  Rising global tension.  A toxic press that is ravaged by its own partisanship.    

America.  The United States of . . . .  Wouldn’t it be nice if a pledge of allegiance to our nation came back into fashion?  Conciliation? Compromise?  Civil discourse?  Charity?  That’s way too much to ask of anyone in Washington.  But for the rest of us?  Can we do anything to improve things?  Or should we just take a knee. . . .   

The W.C.

It should be comforting to know that four national organizations have now identified 22 different genders.  Being a “man” or “woman” is no longer the norm. I’m not sure if this means we will now have 22 different bathroom doors to choose from but we may be going in that direction (see CBS News report http://www.cbsnews.com/news/transgender-gender-identity-terms-glossary ).  That said, I have a suggestion.  

We just got back from Europe having been on a Baltic Cruise (Regent).  We left Copenhagen a few days ago.  Europe has a much easier solution to this situation.  Unisex bathrooms.  Everyone walks in the same door (marked “W.C.”) and goes into a stall.  In some countries, the men who stand up to do their business simply go behind a chest high partition while others – men and women – pick a stall and walk in.  There are no looks.  No questions.  No embarrassment.  Everyone – and I mean everyone – belongs.  And is accepted.  To me, this makes a lot of sense.  It’s smart.  Rather than having to decide between door number 11 or door number 16. . . . .  

Once Upon a Time. . . .

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess. She lived in a big castle and had a cat. The cat’s name was “Flashy.” One day, the beautiful princess stepped outside the castle with her cat – and THEN . . . .  

Donna and I happily entertain our granddaughters with regularity.  It’s always special to share time with them.  When we have a meal, we normally encourage some sort of interaction.  It’s more than “how was your day” or “do you like your spaghetti.”  Donna or I will whirrrrr our arms around and point to one of our granddaughters and say “You begin a story.”  The 3 or 6 year old will begin a story – often like the four lines above.  Sometimes – they’ll start a story on their own.   After “and then” — the obligation shifts to the next person at the table to continue the story.  We’ve had some verrrry interesting adventures come out of this round table authorship.   I often include the beautiful – yet powerful – princess going to the local golf course and shooting a sub par round from the back tees.  

Another staple for dinnertime discussion is “Rose and Thorn.”  Everyone is asked the “Rose” of their day — the happiest or most exciting part of the day.  Then we will  ask if there was a “Thorn” in their day — something that happened that wasn’t pleasant or happy.  We learn a lot – from our granddaughters and from each other from these simple yet insightful interactions of dialogue.  What was the Rose of your day?     

Blind Date

When I was in law school, a great friend of mine from Augustana College – Diane – was living nearby while going to grad school.  One day, Diane said to me “Scott – I have this girl that I think you should meet.” In my own inimitable way, I probably said something like “Duhhhh-okayy. . . .”  And drooled . . . . . 

A few weeks later, at the appointed hour, I knocked on the door of my blind date. This cute girl opened the door, smiled and I fumbled for words “duhhhhhh hummna humna . . . . nice pad ya got here. . . ” [those were among my first words].  She probably wondered what sort of bozo Diane had fixed her up with.  “Yes. . . . uhmm. . . thank you.”  I remember sweating a lot and making a lot of “duhhhhh” sounds but for some inexplicable reason she must have found these qualities endearing.   So we went out.  Double-dated.  To the racetrack of all places.  And then dinner. 

A few months later, the most cosmic of coincidences occurred (see post of August 2, 2013) which probably sealed the deal.   A couple years later, we were married and we’re still at it.   Duhhhhhh. . . . . 

1913 “V” Nickel

[An update on one of my very first posts – of August 3, 2011]  The Liberty Head five cent piece (the “V” Nickel – because of a Roman numeral “5” on the reverse) was made from 1883 to 1912 and was America’s second “nickel.”   In 1913, the United States Mint produced Liberty Head nickels but they were never intended for circulation.   Colonel E. H. R. Green (the son of the famous Hetty Green) owned 5 strikes of the 1913 nickel.  These five rarities have since been dispersed to collectors.  

Around 1960, I was a Boy Scout working on Coin Collecting Merit Badge.  The merit badge counselor was a gentle man named Herman Noll (he lived in Mt. Prospect, IL).  He had an amazing collection of coins housed in a walk in closet off the living room.  Apart from quizzing me on and helping me with the merit badge requirements, Mr. Noll generously gave me some assorted coins for my collection.  I remember him telling me that his father was an employee of the U.S. Mint that produced the 1913 “V” Nickel.  His father took a few — apparently beyond those belonging to Mr. Green.  Mr. Noll never told me where the remaining 1913 nickels were or what had been done with them.  On August 14th, a 1913 “V” nickel sold for $4.5 million (see http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/rare-nickel-sells-for-record-breaking-dollar45-million/ar-BBM0vFy?li=BBnbfc ).   I wonder if they know about Herman. . . . .

 I wish I’d asked a few more questions . . . .