Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ricky Northrup's lessons.............

Shared some memories of idyllic youthful summer days recently.
Left one out.  Besides the activities listed, us neighborhood boys
spent a fair amount of time arguing. 

"Tagged you."  "No, that was just one hand."
"That was a strike." "No way. That was low and outside."
"I'm safe."   No, you're out."

Usually the argument would end quickly with either a grin and a laugh, or an agreement to do a "take over."  About once a day the argument, usually over nothing, would escalate.  While I don't remember any punches ever being thrown, it could get loud and heated.  Eventually one of us would skulk home to nurse hurt
feelings for an hour or two.  The next day all was forgotten and the cycle repeated.  I'm sure we drove our mothers crazy, but they let us be.  Parental interventions were extremely rare.

One hot summer aftenoon about twenty of us were playing baseball behind the bus garage.  No parents, no organization,  just pick teams, sort out positions, and play.  We were probably twelve years old.  In the fourth or fifth inning a huge argument broke out.  No idea what started it, but it expanded and escalated quickly.  Nineteen kids arguing must have been an impressive sight.  About five minutes into the brouhaha, I noticed that Ricky Northrup was laying down, with his head resting on his mitt on second base staring at the sky.  Thinking he was somehow hurt, I trotted over.

"What's the matter?" 
"Why are you laying here?" 
"No reason.  Don't need to be in that fight.  They will stop soon.  I'll wait here until they do.  Don't those clouds look cool?"  

Wow.  I learned a few life lessons that day.  Not all arguments need to be participated in.  I had no idea.
There is something magical about taking the time to really look at clouds.  I had an idea about that, but the context of his comment somehow caused a shift in thinking.

Ricky was a better teacher than I was a student.  It's been a lifetime trying to apply his lessons, but I have never forgotten that hot summer afternoon.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Silly me...........

Nicholas Bate, one of the mainstays in my little corner of the
blogosphere, posted a list of all his fabulous lists.  Here.

I had thoughts of sorting through them to pick a favorite. A
daunting, yet enjoyable, task to say the least.  But where to
start?  Maybe its my age, but some strange gravitational
pull led me to #84 (Why we love the Beatles) first. 
This was found there:

"So what’s your favourite track?

You can do that with Pete Doherty, Dylan, The Scissor Sisters..... But not with The Beatles as they sliced all of Life. To have one track would be to live a one dimensional life. But if you pushed me: Here, There and Everywhere."

I think that means not to have ONE favorite Nicholas Bate list, 
that there is a time and place for each of the lists.  Anyway,
as lists go, #84 is pretty cool.  Found this there too:

"You’ve got the magisterial classics: Hey Jude, Let it Be and Yesterday. You’ve got the awesome B sides such as Rain. You’ve got those wonderful early ones such as Love Me Do. And then there’s: Got To Get You Into My Life. Surprisingly easy to forget about and never get around to on your iPod... which would be a shame as it just reminds you: there’s nothing not worth listing to in the Beatles Opus.A taut, stonking number it-like all Beatles music grounds you and connects you. And as with so many of Paul’s and John’s lyrics, listening to the words carefully gives us the gentlest of nudges we need to play Life fully: I was alone, I took a ride, I didn't know what I would find there….Another road where maybe I could see another kind of mind there. The whole of Life is in The Beatles Portfolio, but you’ve got to listen to them all and more than once, too. After all you wouldn’t want to miss any of the clues to the mysteries hidden Across the Universe?"


Learning new tricks.............

............Patrick never stops. 
Now he is working the iPad.
I'm grateful he shares.  Here. 
Or here:

4. There is no way you can know a thing about all 500,000 available apps. But have found apps so I can open Excell, Word etc. docs. Also apps that tune in the Newark Fire Department, find the weather, a compass for direction, to find a certain business with map by speaking, maps with directions, write out notes by hand, complete pdf files and actually sign the document and of course all of my social media outlets.

7. I can be in my car and the app will locate all homes for sale in a set radius. If I am lost, the GPS is quick and easy to use.

9. Every time I turn the Ipad on, I have learned something new.

Kurt............. I'm ordering your belated birthday present now.....

"A fun accessory for parties and tailgates, the Beer Holster
also makes a convenient holder when you need your hands
free for grill duty."

Thanks Gerard

Sinking the Bismarck...........

For all you history buffs out there, seventy years ago today
the British Navy sank the mammoth German battleship, the
Bismarck.   It was a big deal.

Johnny Horton  made a hit record about it 1960.  The thirty-five
year old Horton died in a car crash later that year.  About all I
remember was that  Dad had an album of Horton's greatest hits.
Dad mostly liked piano music, but for some reason he enjoyed
the rockabilly hall of famer Horton. We liked  listening to this
song, as well as The Battle of New Orleans.  Different times.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tackling The Resistance......

Thanks Jessica

Stuart Wilde on Guilt.............

"Guilt is self-indulgence that comes from remorse, and it has been successfully used by society as a control mechanism.  If you don't follow along, people judge you as a rotten person.  The fact is, most of the things you might feel guilty about are just rules other people created.

"In the eternal Tao, there are no ups and downs; there is no good and evil.  There is high energy that sets people free and expresses love, and there is low energy that restricts, controls, and manipulates people.  But it is only energy. There are no absolutes and no judgments in the grace of the Infinite Self."

"Guilt is a worthless energy.  If you've messed up or failed, grant yourself an absolution.  Then draw a line in the sand and say, 'From now on I'm going to act in a better way.  I'm going to act in a more honorable way.'  The important thing is to truncate the emotion of that guilt before it becomes overwhelming.  Forgive yourself, and realize that in the eternal spiritual sense, there isn't any real sin, there is only forgiveness.  Yes, there are low-energy actions that infringe and restrict, and there are high-energy actions that love, liberate, inspire, and release people.  But that is all there is.  We come to experience both types of actions in this lifetime."

excerpts from Stuart Wilde's  Infinite Self

Memorial Day approaches................

......and the kids are beyond ready for school to be over for the summer.  I remember that feeling.  Summers in the early '60s were an idyllic time.  Too young to work.  The only expectation was that our Moms would schuss us out of doors from 10:00 in the morning till it was time to set the picnic tables for our family dinners.  No sleeping all day, no TV, no video games, yet somehow we entertained ourselves.  Played army ("I shot you."  "No you didn't.  You missed."  "No I didn't.  I shot you."), played touch football in the street, played tackle knee-football in the back yard, read comic books (Woody had this amazing collection of Sgt Rock and Easy Company comics - my personal favorites), played card games (mostly "I doubt it" and Crazy 8's), played Risk or Monopoly, and on occasion, the word would spread and a big baseball game would happen on the field behind the High School bus garage.  Mostly though, we played wiffle ball in the Brooks' back yard.  A old wood frame screen window, leaning against a worn out chaise lounge, created the strike zone.  The back of the house was left field. A ball hit below the top of the first story windows was a single, a ball hit below the top of the second story windows was a double, on the roof - home run.  A ball hit to right field was in the neighbor's yard and an automatic out.  Hours of great fun.  While we were without doubt fabulous wiffle ball players, I don't remember throwing any pitches (on purpose anyway) that looked like these:

Thanks to the Borderline Sociopathic Blog for Boys
for bringing an old memory back to the surface.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Sister, my friend................

My sister.  At various times my playmate, my guide, my
teacher, my traveling companion, my mentor,  my
inspiration.  Always there.  Always available.  Always
my friend.  Thanks Kate.     Happy Birthday!

Taking 80 years to reach 60..........

Many years ago my father cut out, and gave to me, a picture
and an essay from his Rotarian Magazine.  The picture is below,
the caption on the picture is above.

Oddly enough, I found these while getting the previously
posted photo of my sister and me.  They were together in 
one of my scrapbooks.   Hmmm.

From that essay, titled Old Age: The Individualist
Triumphs, comes the following excerpts:

"It is an irreversible fact of life - if the human animal lives long enough, it grows old.  And like any mechanism used daily and undergoing stress, it changes as it ages.

"Some humans age more rapidly than others.  Many grow old with grace and patience, finding pleasure in the process.  Others meet each new year with distaste and dread, finding the stigmata of aging to be degrading and repulsive.

"How will you accept the challenge of age?"

"One thing is certain: you will age in your own way, as your personality and your biochemistry allow.  You are unique.  And although the semanticists will say that you cannot become 'more unique' anymore than you can become 'more perfect,' you will become more individualistic, more truly yourself, as you attain senior citizenhood.  'If old people have any commonality at all,' said psychologist Leroy Levitt, 'it is in their individualism.'"

"The lucky ones welcome their new state of individualness........"

I was not seasoned enough to ask my Dad what he had in
mind by giving this to me, but I have held on to it all these
years.  Sort of always assumed that he was telling me to
slow down, to find my own way, to savor, to notice, not to
fight life, or age - but to embrace it.  He certainly did.

The Dirt Lawyer turns guru on us.........

The Dirt Lawyer's Blog cleverly conceals the true meaning of
life in his essay on how to master commercial real estate and
all things social media in ELEVEN words.

Full post here.    Eleven words here:

Be yourself.    Be genuine.   Be generous.
Share.      Learn.     Teach.       Have fun.


Thanks APOD

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Michael Wade ponders a question about detachment here.  Not
sure this is an answer to his question, but here are some thoughts
on the subject.

As a seasoned veteran of a 12-step group, it is a simple
observation to note that the concept of detachment is the great
confusion-maker.  Many, many are the newcomers to a 12-step
meeting who muscle up when they hear that detachment is one of
the main stepping stones along the path to healing and health. 

Before we go any further with this, one should remember that
the purpose of  most 12-step groups is to either overcome an
addiction or to help those whose lives got tangled up with the
addicted.  It is out of that context that the following content
is derived.

Webster says that being detached means  1) not connected;
separate. 2) not involved by emotion, interests,  etc.; aloof,
impartial.  3) the state of being disinterested.  Webster leaves
us with a feeling that detachment is cold, impersonal,
unloving, and withdrawn.  A general emotional shut-down.
Newcomers generally ask, "how can this be a path to health?"

Perhaps our language fails us.  The 12-step solution to the
languaging problem is the add the phrase "with love," as in
"detach with love."  Of course, that begs the immediate question,
"how on earth do you do that?"

And the 12-step meeting answer is, "keep coming back."
Like many life skills, learning to detach with love is a process.
It takes focus and effort.

There is a reason that our 12-step group opens its meetings by
saying the Serenity Prayer. (God grant me the serenity to
accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the
things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.)  Here is
a short-cut for you:  there is only one thing that is truly within our
power to change.  That one thing is that we can choose to change
how we react, respond, and generally think about all the stimuli
that life brings our way.  Everything else comes under the heading
of  "better be accepting it, because we are powerless to change it."

So.  Detaching with love.  Here is what it is not:
       It is not a withdrawal into a hardened shell.
       It is not indifference.
       It is not isolation.
       It is not a wall
       It is not cold.

Here, in part, is what detaching with love is:
       Surrendering any attempt to control another.
       Surrendering the need to "fix" someone else.
       Letting go of my obsession with another's behavior.
       Knowing I don't have to, and choosing not to, react to a
       Taking a step back from the insanity of the moment, rather
              than diving into it.
       Knowing that I can choose not to argue or fight.
       Concentrating on the things (problems) that are truly mine.
       Paying attention to my own business and my own
              emotional well-being.
       Ceasing to rely on what others say or do to determine what
               is best for my own well being.
       Allowing others to solve their problems in their own unique
       Not interfering, not intervening.
       Allowing others to experience the natural consequences of
              their actions.
       Accepting others as they are.
       Showing respect for another's individuality.
       Showing respect by not doing for another that which they
              ought to be doing for themselves.

Nobody says it is easy, but if one works at it, one discovers
that detaching with love is a great difference maker.  It should
be noted that detachment with love works best when applied
with acceptance, tolerance, forgiveness, and compassion.

To quote the literature, "Hands off, heart on."

Shifting gears:
One of my teachers once said that rather than seeking
"detachment" (with love or without) we should strive to be
"non-attached."  That subtle difference may be worth
revisiting at a later date.  I suspect it will come closer to
the point that Michael originally asked about before we
got all side-tracked by all this 12-step business.

Wither goes free speech?

When the Supreme Court decided Citizens United v. FEC, they
effectively ceded to corporations and associations First
Amendment rights on par with individual rights when it came to
political contributions and “electioneering communications.”  I'm
sure that many faithful readers believe that was the correct
outcome.   Perhaps it was.

In responding to the decision, noted lefty legal scholar Laurence
Tribe noted:

"Talking about a business corporation as merely another way that individuals might choose to organize their association with one another to pursue their common expressive aims is worse than unrealistic; it obscures the very real injustice and distortion entailed in the phenomenon of some people using other people’s money to support candidates they have made no decision to support, or to oppose candidates they have made no decision to oppose."

I think what Tribe is talking about just happened to me.

Last week the Board of  Directors of the National Association
of Realtors (NAR) voted to raise the annual dues on us Realtors
by $40.  The stated purpose for the increase is to raise funds for
political advocacy.  The dues increase "will allow NAR to
provide millions of dollars in additional support to state and local
boards, which are facing a cadre of policy proposals that would
restrict private property rights and drain homeowners' pocket-

Right.  1,000,000 members (actually a few more) times $40.
It is a pretty big pot of money.  My guess is that most of it
gets spent on national issues and very little finds its way to
the local level.  Look for lots of advertising pegged toward
the defense of the mortgage interest deduction.

In case, faithful reader, you have forgotten how I feel about
that, go here.  As Tribe predicted, NAR will be taking money
from me, without my blessing, to defend and protect something
that I believe is a bad idea.

What is called for here is a little detachment.

On The Resistance.................

Two recent Steven Pressfield books have brought the notion
of "The Resistance" to the fore.  The War of Art is a book that
will add value to any life and any library.  His follow up effort,
Do The Work, is  a kick in the seat of the pants in case you
thought the act of reading The War of Art was sufficient in and of

Daniel Rothamel shares a well-told tale of an early battle with The
Resistance here.   Excerpt here:

"There was no fanfare when I returned. No one to cheer, no
confetti, nothing. I was left only with the satisfaction of
knowing that I had done it. I looked The Resistance in the
eye, and I cut off its head."

As a public service..............

What to do about those odoriferous shoes?

Answers to other pressing