Saturday, February 28, 2009


Shortly after the horrible nightmare earthquake in San Fransciso in 1989, my brother overheard some guys talking about the event. One of the guys said "man, it's like it's the end of the world!" A nearby listener chimed in "well, it's about time!!"

I guess for that listener, the end of the world would have been good news.

We look at newscasts, both local and national, and we notice the predominance of bad news; it always takes center stage. Sometimes the newscast will end with a very short "good news" story, I guess to leave us feeling not quite so doomed.

What would happen if all news media, everywhere, would simultaneously declare a moratorium, for one solid week, on bad news? What if they all agreed to report only good news? Would it be possible to speak for 30 minutes, minus commercial time, on only the good stuff that happens in our world? Or would they just sit there and twiddle their thumbs with an embarrassed smile on their empty faces?

I know it's a silly thought. First of all, they'd never unanimously agree to something so outrageous, because let's face it, if they don't report the bad news we won't be able to get to sleep wondering what happened that we don't know about. Secondly, the sponsors would be in an uproar because good news is boring and we'd all turn off tv, and wouldn't see the commercials which get us out spending our money (those few of us who might still have some). Thirdly, there's a slight (ever so slight) chance that the viewing public might actually like hearing more good than bad news, and that would certainly cause an uproar, then a panic, and perhaps the demise of the entire concept of reporting. (can you see the reporters scrambling all over the world looking for good news?) And the viewers would have to turn to NASCAR for the excitement of wrecks and injuries. And where the heck would Law & Order get new ideas for their episodes?

I guess it was a stupid thought. . .

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


For some, retirement means 'stop working and enjoy the fruits of your labor' but for me it took on a different meaning: it meant 'stop working at your corporate job; sell your home, get a travel trailer and live in it and hit the road with it but keep on working till you die, because you have no retirement income except Social Security!'

Well, I got off the corporate treadmill, with gusto sold my home and now my living area is roughly 8' by 18' -- translates to about 144 square feet. Heck, this would fit inside the bedroom I used to have! And in this tiny space I have a U-shaped couch/dinette combo, a refrigerator, stove, oven, double sink, pantry, double bed, two clothes closets, a single bunk above my bed, and a bath with shower and all the other necessities. When I'm parked in a campground I have a 8' by 14' covered patio.

As for the 'work till I die' part of this scenario: I must be part cowpoke, because I expect to die with my boots on, so to speak. And the work? I'd never have believed I could find a full-time job as a gardener! And in a campground where I get to live! What's this, earning money doing what I love doing more than anything else in the world, in a setting surrounded by nature? Doing work that keeps my muscles toned and my joints agile and my belly fat under control? Every day getting dirt under my nails, every evening trying to scrub off the callouses on my knees? Participating in the coming-to-life of the earth every single spring, and nurturing all this new life until fall, and having our campers comment every day on how wonderful the gardens are?

And in the fall, returning to southwest Louisiana for four months of weather that doesn't even qualify as winter!

Geez. No wonder I'm so crazy happy!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


This came in response to my last post, and I thought it worthy of reprint! See, there are still great ways to enjoy the party ---

For the record, I attended several Mardi Gras events this year, including the 12,000-strong Endymion ball at the Superdome on Saturday night (completely insane - fireworks inside the Dome) and the Zulu parade today (aka Black Face at the Ass Crack of Dawn). I have lived here in LA for 20 years now and have been to many Mardi Gras (though only a couple in the Quarter 'cause that freaks me out), but not for a while. I thought I was pretty much over it and typically blow town for this weekend.

To my great surprise, I loved it! In the interest of full disclosure, that may have a lot to do with the fact that I'm staying in a bitchin' 2-room suite at Harrah's, 17 floors above the madness, with access to 24-hour room service and still-in-theatre movies on television and valet parking and have it all FREE...but really? As I read through your blogs I was thinking about the statement you made about change and how one sees things and it really applied here. I think what I saw in a way I hadn't before was not only the rich tradition at work, but my feeling of ownership / attachment to those traditions. Could it be that after living here for 2 of my 4+ decades I am feeling proprietary about our crazy Banana Republic?!

Believe it or not, after too many days with not enough sleep (a behavior for which frankly I am way too old), I am leaving tomorrow considering starting a savings account set aside to buy a seat on a float next year (Orpheus I'm thinkin...).

Thanks, Tracey -- good memories!

Monday, February 23, 2009


It's alive and well, I understand. My question is actually about where it went in my head. I only found out this morning that it's Mardi Gras because I was planning to go shopping and a friend said 'you'll have major traffic problems because of the parades.' Gosh, here I am wintering in southwest Louisiana and I don't know it's Mardi Gras? OK so I'm a little out of touch -- nothing new there!

I grew up in New Orleans, so I grew up with Mardi Gras as well. We oldsters talk about 'back in the day' a lot, and the Mardi Gras I knew back then was much more family-friendly and not so scary.

I lived out-of-state for about seven years, and when I returned home as an adult I couldn't wait for Mardi Gras! I went to Bourbon Street the night before and experienced a terrifying fear of being swept along in a tightly-scrunched shoulder-to-shoulder crowd of partygoers that extended from the buildings on one side of the street to the buildings on the other side of the street. Lucky for me, I only encountered the friendly types -- we were all, strangers and friends alike, clinging to each other's arms or shoulders to keep from losing our balance as we were swept along in the undertow of the crowd. 'Okay', I kept saying to myself, 'there's an escape somewhere, I just hang on until I see it. This can't last forever.'

The escape was only two blocks away, and as far as I know everyone made it through without incident. As soon as we were free, we laughed somewhat hysterically, popped open our beers and continued with the partying.

I guess I answered my question: Mardi Gras, for me, will remain a distant memory. Now I tend to avoid dense crowds, especially crowds where insanity is legal.


I work in a campground in northern Maryland during the spring, summer, and fall months. During the summer, kids are everywhere, and we joke about being overrun by these youngsters. One Saturday evening I was ready for bed and was acutely aware that the campground noise level was terribly loud. The three cabins next to me were filled with a family group that included about a thousand kids. Around 10:30pm I had thoughts of going outside and shouting QUIET! at the top of my lungs, then realized I just needed to live with the noise on Saturday night. As I turned off the lights, I recalled something I read recently: “when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

I listened again to the aggravating noise, and thought about those kids outdoors playing their games, getting along with one another, immersed in their imaginations, being physical, running and laughing -- instead of being zombies in front of a television or video game or doing drugs. I thought about how fortunate those kids were for some time out in the country, their families around the campfire. I remember them in the pool earlier, more laughter; on the hayride, more laughter. The noise they were now making seemed suddenly refreshing to hear.

Heck, I remembered playing outdoors in the evenings with my own childhood friends, running around and funning around. No longer irate at the noise, I was just glad that kids still have that in them. My reward? An hour later the noise stopped.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


There's something about daydreaming I just can't let go of. When I was a kid, it was my escape from the real world--not that my real world was bad, but I wanted something different. I call it daydreaming, some call it fantasizing. I like daydreaming better.

I've continued my daydreams into my adult life -- and since I was born when God was still a little boy, it's been a long time! Not so long ago I thought more about it, and I discovered how useful my daydreaming has been.

It's been a decision-making tool for me. When faced with a decision to make, instead of heavily pondering the pros and cons, I just daydream about the what-ifs: if I decide to go in the direction of one choice, then what can I expect? I'll flesh out the possibilities with my imagination and live with that idea; kind of like trying on a new dress. How do I look? How do I feel? How do others respond? Then I'll imagine the same things with a different kind of decision. This is so much more fun, and certainly less traumatic, than agonizing with an intellectual weigh-in of each alternative. I find it true for both large and small decisions.

None of us knows what's down the road, or around the next bend in our life, and we think we can't predict future events. Hindsight, however, has taught me that I can sometimes make predictions; I've learned that there is such a thing as self-fulfilling prophecy when I engage my imagination passionately toward an outcome I want. It's happened for me far too many times for me to doubt anymore. Ah, the journey through my daydreaming is delightful, and I wouldn't give it up for anything!