My Funk-y World

I have been sitting at the computer writing little postettes because I am avoiding writing what I feel. I am, and have been for awhile, in a major funk.

This is not depression, just funk. Big difference. But I can’t seem to shake it. I am bored at work. So bored that even though I am not “making my numbers” this quarter I am not working my butt off to change this. Or to do all the not billable things I have wanted to do for awhile.

Besides work, I feel like an old man. O.K. 51 going on 52 is not the end of the world. Even if it was I should be doing all I can to enjoy the time. Live for today and all that.

I the world I grew up in you are responsible for yourself. That means it is up to me to stop wining and to change things. Get a new job, a new hobby, something. The thing about funks is that it leads to inertia. Lots of time spend doing little, watching TV–damn that TIVO– not even dreaming enough let alone doing enough.

So there, its out. I guess that I am hoping for a bit of confession to make the feeling go away. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10. No. Nothing yet. Maybe tomorrow.

(I never did care for that song. Grumble. Grumble.)

This is more in-line with my mood.

Why Kids Curse

Last week NPR had this segment on why young ones curse.

There is a very simple answer. Because they can. Yes, it is not just that they heard mom or dad spew invectives when they were cut off in traffic. They can. Its fun.

Or as my philosopher son said to me many years ago. If G-d did not want us to swear then why did he invent the words.

On 48Facets radio this would have been a very short segment.

Good News, Bad News

Talk about your GNBS scenario. Grey wolves have been protected successfully enough that their numbers have grown and they are about to be taken off the endangered species list. That of course is the good news. The Bad. The day that happens it will become legal again for humans to hunt grey wolves.

That sounds like a raw deal. If I were a grey wolf I might do as the draft avoiders in the 1960s and 1970s did and head for Canada. Or at least demand a recount.

Good thing that middle aged, Jewish men are still on the endangered list. I am safe for now.

What-Me Worry?

Today’s Headlines

  1. Big Belly Boosts Risk of Later Dementia. That’s where I have been storing 10-15 extra pounds for years.
  2. Bloodshed in Iraq. Not that this is new but now its Shia vs. Shia. I thought violence there was surging down.
  3. Skilling: Thundersnow, 2-4 inches possible. Will winter last until June in Chicago?
  4. ‘Cheese’ Heroin Hooking Young Users in Dallas. Great. Another cheap but potent and addictive drug on our streets.
  5. With bread at $7 million a loaf. Oh, wait. That’s Zimbabwe. Maybe at least they will finally get rid of that nut of a dictator.
  6. Connecticut-Sized Ice Shelf Crumbling in Antarctica. Will oceans rise and Chicago become a coastal town?
  7. Dow down 120 amid Lehman rumors. I finally take some risk in investing and I am in the red.

What – Me Worry?

Obama Wins On Race

Thanks to the magic of YouTube I just experienced Barack Obama’s “A More Perfect Union Speech”.  I knew he had delivered it, I knew the reasons why and had read or heard various commentaries– some providing thunderous applause and others citing flaws. But I had not listened to it myself. So after a long day, a bit of dinner and 30 minutes of “Dancing With The Stars”, it was time.

It was fantastic. Not in a Hollywood magic bigger than life personality way. He is capable of that. His more matter-of-fact delivery belied the manner in which he addressed very complex issues with richness of thought rarely heard these days. 

First he set the context for his thoughts by describing the challenges that the founders of this country had in setting the course for our country. The words on the pages were right, such as equal citizenship under the law, but to achieve consensus they excluded an entire portion of the people who already were a part of the nation.

He then addressed his relationship with his pastor, a man who has been public with hateful thoughts. It would have been easy, even expected for Obama to admonish the man as well as the words and distance himself in order to support his campaign. Instead he denounced the rhetoric but painted a picture of a multifaceted man and church community built upon the black experience in America. People of contradictions. There was much good but also some hate. He acknowledged that and rightly pointed this out as a common experience among whites.

He went on to call out the need for continued dialogue on the race issue but called on all Americans to begin to focus on common problems.  The economy, the poor qualityu of our education, healthcare and global warming. These are problems that have no color. He spoke of the hope for our country. That we have improved and can do so more.

That’s what he spoke about but why did I find the speech fantastic? 

He did not dumb down his thoughts to the simplistic themes and easy sound bites so popular these days. He made us listen to the complexity of issues, of personal relationships, and of people. We are complex, multifaceted and often contradictory. I have yet met no person or people that is all wrong or all right, any issue that is merely black or white. (Pun only modestly intended.)

He did not do the safe thing.

He brought dialogue to the situation. Far too often we are entrenched in our views. This entrenchment leads to hate. To a culture of I am right and you are wrong. We need more intelligent discussion. To not be afraid to state our opinions.

This is not just a white American/African-American issue. I can go nowhere without hearing languages and seeing clothes that I did not know from my childhood. I grew up in a very American/western European centric world. Now what I hear are words that sound Asian, eastern European or African. I now pass women in saris, male Muslims in skullcaps or people in turbans. All this without traveling outside the metropolitan area.

We have had over 200 years to address the black vs. white issues. We now need to address the Judeo-Christian vs. Muslim issues and recognize the differences between the radicals and the rest. No stereotypes. No prejudgements. Get to know someone not like you. This is what I read into Barack Obama’s speech.

After almost eight years of a mind numbing President that has had trouble stringing a few coherent thoughts together it was delightful to listen to a mind expanding man who makes us think.

It is worth the 37 minutes.


As reported in the Chicago Tribune:

On Tuesday, Obama’s rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, weighed in directly, saying: “I think that given all we have heard and seen, he would not have been my pastor.”

This is what I meant by taking the easy way out. Cut and run to placate voters is easy. Addressing complex issues and relationships in an intelligent way is leadership.

Spring Won’t Sprung (or “It’s Spring?”)

Most years by mid – March there are 2 million confirmed cases of cabin fever in the greater Chicagoland area. This season “c fever” materialized in epidemic proportions not seen since the neverending winter of nineteen aught six.

This year we have suffered through the coldest, snowiest, most brutal winter in a generation. The medical community has stated that those few who have survived need sunshine and heat therapy stat. Fortunately, the calendar was in our favor or so we thought. Let me tell you about the first two official days of spring.

On Thursday March 20, the Evanston Township High School (ETHS) played its first varsity baseball game. I left work early to support my son (btw HE MADE THE TEAM!!). Traffic was bad and I did not arrive until the fifth inning.

The scene. Parents were dressed in winter coats and the smart ones had brought one or two blankets that were wrapped around them. Did I mention that it was 35 degrees? And windy. I have no idea how the boys could field, throw and hit in that weather. By the time the end of the sixth rolled around they had to thaw me with a blow torch. The game ended 5-5 and was called for darkness. And that was the best spring day so far.

Today it started snowing early this morning. On March 21 we have 3-5 inches of snow on the ground. I stayed home. Better to be in a cabin than out in the weather. There was to be the second baseball game of the season tomorrow but the rule on playing with snowshoes and using sled dogs has not yet been signed by the baseball commissioner.

Here is the view from our house at 5 pm March 21.


Sorry, that is the beach in Mexico. This is today in Chicago.


Is It Just Me?

I am not one who believes that the entire private life of public people needs to be shared with the world. Even politicians should be allowed the occasional error in judgement as long as the act was not illegal or took advantage of their office.

Having said that this is too much irony. The people of the great state of NY must be proud.

New NY Governor Admits Affairs Years Ago