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Children In Puerto Rico Following Hurricane Maria With Stuffed Toy Animals

November 16, 2017

Every year, we collect toys to give to the kids at the local children’s hospital.  But last year the hospital stopped accepting the stuffed ones.  As such, I saved what we had for another worthy cause. When our friend, Laura, became a Facebook friend with a mother in Puerto Rico following the devastating Hurricane Maria, we found some other children who needed something to hold on to in tough times.  Laura helped us mail these toys to her new friends on the island.  Here then is the spirit of Thanksgiving!   The video was sent to us today and it fills my heart.

Senator Franken Let Us Down

November 16, 2017

There are times when the news is not only surprising but just plain sad.  As today with Senator Al Franken.  I always felt Franken was somehow different from the general mix of those in congress.  Somehow a bit brighter, a bit more grounded.

So this news was most disturbing.

While rehearsing alone backstage one day ahead of the performance, Tweeden said that Franken told her “we need to rehearse the kiss.” She says she laughed it off, but Franken persisted, to which she responded something like, “Relax Al, this isn’t SNL…we don’t need to rehearse the kiss,” she says.

But Franken’s insistence continued, which Tweeden says made her uncomfortable. Eventually, she broke down and agreed to rehearse the kiss with him.

Running lines together leading up to the scene, Tweeden says that Franken then came at her and “put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth.”

Words About Loving Maps From Ludovico Ariosto

November 16, 2017

I love maps.  Always have.

As a young boy after school I would lay down on our dining room floor and open a large hard-covered atlas.  Then I would get out our daily newspaper and locate names of places around the world I did not know and search for their locations.   That amusement with maps, and the information they impart has never diminished.

Today while reading The Fourth Part of the World by Toby Lester I came across a poem written by Ludovico Ariosto in the 1400’s which spoke to me with clarity and beauty.

Let  him wander who desires to wander.

Let him see England, Hungary, France and Spain.

I am content to live in my native land.

I have seen Tuscany, Lombardi, and the Romagna, and the mountain range that divides Italy, and the one that locks her in, and both the seas that wash her.

And that is quite enough for me.

Without ever paying an inn keeper I will go exploring the rest of the world with Ptolemy, whether the world be at peace or else at war.

Without ever making vows when the heavens flash with lightening, I will go bounding over all the seas, more secure aboard my maps than aboard ships.

And You Thought The News Could Not Get More Appalling?

November 16, 2017

Simply sickening.

The Trump administration confirmed it has lifted an Obama-era ban that had prohibited big-game hunters from importing trophies of elephants killed in two African nations.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service confirms the agency had determined limited hunting of African elephants in Zimbabwe and Zambia would enhance conservation efforts. The Humane Society, however, blasted the move as a “green light” for wealthy Americans to kill an endangered species.

Those who have no regard for the needs of these gentle beasts are soulless people who will rot in hell.

Tax Increases For Lower Income Workers Under Republican Plan

November 16, 2017

When a tax plan is hatched so the GOP donor class are pleased means that American voters are about to be cheated.

The tax bill Senate Republicans are championing would give large tax cuts to millionaires while raising taxes on American families earning $10,000 to $75,000 over the next decade, according to a report released Thursday by the Joint Committee on Taxation, Congress’ official nonpartisan analysts.

President Trump and Republican lawmakers have been heralding their bill as a win for hard-working Americans, but the JCT report casts doubt on that claim. Tax hikes for households earning $10,000 to $30,000 would start in 2021 and grow sharply from there. By the year 2027, Americans earning $30,000 to $75,000 a year would also be forced to pay more in taxes even though people earning over $100,000 continue to get substantial tax cuts.


You Want To Talk About Political Hi-Jinks!

November 16, 2017

The Roy Moore sex scandal is so out of control that a new way to exit the matter has been getting air.  And it is simply an abuse of the political process–no matter how one looks at it or from which partisan perspective.

Politico reports that Senate Republican leaders are considering just scrapping the entire special election and rescheduling it.

They don’t have the power to schedule elections in Alabama — only the governor does — but they are considering asking interim Sen. Luther Strange to resign before the Dec. 12 special election, hoping that could trigger a whole new special election. (The first would be to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and the second would be to replace Strange.)

When a political party has devolved to such a place they have a candidate who has a sexual interest in teenage girls, but the internal compass of the party is not strong enough to absolutely jettison the perv from their ranks before the sun goes down, means their is a fatally flawed and moral problem with said party.

To re-stage the election because there is not enough of a collective and demanding insistence to remove the offensive candidate is simply appalling.

Letter From Home “Those Who Are More Elderly” 11/15/17

November 15, 2017

I am not a fan of my annual physical—something that this year seemed to sneak up on me, as I had not spotted in on my calendar until less than 48 hours before I was scheduled to appear. That was fine as the idea of being probed and poked as a doctor pushes on my stomach interests me as much as finding out that 4:00 comes twice a day.

As the doctor questioned me about my daily routines, mental outlook (and what was I to say in this era of Trump), cholesterol count, and a laundry list of other things he made a statement that seemed to hang in the air. When commenting on a matter he stated that “those who are more elderly” and it seemed like two large symbols had crashed together.

With a smile I raised my hand and asked, “What did you say?”   The implication was of course that I was elderly. We chuckled for a moment—but I must admit that line has left me thinking.

My doctor is top rated in Madison, and also serves in an administrative role with the clinic. I have been going to that place for 25 years. While the doc is great with detailing how a few tenths-of-a-point increase in my bad cholesterol over 20 years may make this or that impact, he is not one to easily break into a broad smile.

And Lord knows I try.

Each year it is the same routine.   He uses the small device to tap my right knee for a reflex and I lift my left leg.  Ba-Da-Dum.   Who said vaudeville is dead? Or that The Three Stooges do not make for lasting memories?

The night before the exam I was up late making some last minute notes on a project and for some off-reason thought what color underwear is most appropriate for a physical?  One would think Goggle might be able to provide an answer. But you would be wrong.

One can discover on the search engine how many earth-sized planets can fit into the sun or the best way to serve crow, but try to find if blue or red boxers are the best way to say hello to the doctor and there is a complete lack of information.

I poured a cup of coffee today and started to think about the doctor’s statement from yesterday.   While taking a few sips I looked out at the lawn where in just a matter of time the snow will be piled. It will be there that with the aid of a kid or two snow angels will be made.   And I will be right there to add my version of winter fun, too!

My zest for learning and laughing has not been tempered with time, and each year my curiosity leads me to pick up a book on my latest topic and venture forth. And I still have those vaudeville laugh lines that truly should never be lost.

I recall another man who had such a view of life. Several years ago as I was about to leave him after a nice long chat in a Madison hospital when he said, “Now be like an egg, and beat it!” He had perfect timing as he delivered the laugh line.

It takes practice and time to make such simple lines echo as his still does for me tonight. The years go along but if we are wise we always grow and try to hit the right tone with how we deliver ourselves to the world around us.  We may never learn for sure if blue or red boxers are the best way to greet the doctor but we sure can have a laugh finding out.

And in the end is that not the best way to live life as we get older?

And so it goes.

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