Saturday, May 7, 2016


While watching the news on TV, I was shocked to see a brief video clip of David Letterman and Jon Stewart (two of my favorite comedians) at a USO event. I don't recall seeing them since they retired. 

It wasn't shocking to see them together after their retirement, what was shocking was their appearance! It brought to mind an article I had read in the past few days about the discovery of a series of articles written by Walt Whitman in 1858 under the pseudonym Mose Velsor. In 13 weekly newspaper installments, Whitman wrote "Manly Health and Training" -- how to be a "real" man. 

When I first read the article, I immediately forwarded it to my granddaughter Audrey and her love interest, Rob, who sports a lovely beard. You see, one of the articles Whitman wrote was about beards. The news item I read was an online NPR article, which included the audio. Audrey said they got a kick out of it as they listened to it over morning coffee. 
In case you missed it, here is what Whitman had to say about beards:

"The beard is a great sanitary protection to the throat — for purposes of health it should always be worn, just as much as the hair of the head should be. Think what would be the result if the hair of the head should be carefully scraped off three or four times a week with the razor! Of course, the additional aches, neuralgias, colds, & etc., would be immense. Well, it is just as bad with removing the natural protection of the neck; for nature indicates the necessity of that covering there, for full and sufficient reasons."  (I wonder what he would think of all the young men who shave their heads today?)

Of course, in Whitman's later years, his beard (and hair) were more on the order of Letterman's. In fact, Letterman told a funny story about someone mistaking him for Whitman. Not sure how true that is, but the resemblance is uncanny.

I got to thinking how beards seem to be cropping out everywhere nowadays. My older son, Craig, has sported a beard most of his adult years. He did shave it in order to look younger when applying for a new job. I had to admit he looked a lot younger clean-shaven, but I was happy to see the familiar fuzz back on his face -- even if it did make me look older.

The baby of the family, Matthew, has grown his own beard intermittently through the years. Usually, he waits until the colder winter months, as in this photo taken six months ago. I was shocked to see how much gray his beard now contains. The hair on his head remains black as coal, with very little, if any, gray. Hmmm. Matt's at the age now he may wish to look younger, too. Off with the beard? Or maybe a little touch-up?

The only one of my three grandsons with enough facial hair to grow a beard, is Cameron, who is Craig's son. Like father, like son. He has even grown his hair long, which is something his dad did when he was still a teen.

All of this attention to beards brings to mind the latest heartthrob I've noticed on TV. I am a big fan of "The Good Wife". Julienna Margulies' love affair with "Jason", her firm's private investigator (who also holds a law degree - I think they put that in there for the elitist viewers who thought his occupation might be beneath her), makes me want her to run away with him. He -- and his beard -- would be hard for any woman to resist. Agree? (Come to think of it, he looks a lot like my son Craig!)
(Jeffrey Dean Morgan)
In researching the images and articles for this post, I ran across a series of naked photos of Whitman, taken when he had a full head of gray hair and beard. (And I have Safe Search on my computer!) This was a scholarly article, too. Needless to say, that was much more than I wanted to know about good old Walt. 

Got a hirsute man in your life? According to Walt Whitman, that beard may keep him healthy. At least it will protect his neck.


Tuesday, May 3, 2016


KUDOS to some of the news recently. Among them are the following:

* Number One has got to be the news that Ted Cruz has dropped out of the presidential primary race! Now if there were only a way to get Trump to drop out as well, just think of all the campaign money that could be saved. Nothing about the current campaign has been ordinary so far. Anything is possible. So many folks I've talked to say they don't think Donald Trump ever really wanted to be President. He must be as surprised as everyone that he's come this far. 

* Obama deserves a lot of credit for the US tax rule that caused Pfizer and Allergan to scrap the $160 billion deal that prevents companies moving overseas to save on taxes. Pfizer would have saved $1 billion annually by "domiciling" its business in Ireland, which has lower tax rates. Why don't more companies come back "home" to the country that presented them with the opportunities to establish their extremely profitable businesses in the first place? Is it too much to ask them to pay their fair share in taxes for the possibility granted them to become so prosperous? It seems that greed is rampant in America - especially among pharmaceutical companies.

*This video tickled my fancy. Have you ever felt such joy? Animals are not so different from us after all, are they? Nonprofits like AnimalsAsia deserve more than just kudos. If you are interested in their work, please look at their site AnimalsAsia.

(Watch Tuffy jump for joy in his first days outside after being rescued from a bear bile farm where he’d spent years of torture in a tiny cage.) 

*More joyful news was the rescuing of the 33 circus lions who were then taken to a new home in South Africa. Some had never felt the earth beneath their feet, as witnessed by this lion's first experience outdoors.

Can't you feel his joy? Hats off to the group Animal Defenders International for the undertaking of such a humane - and expensive task.

*This past week also saw the rescue of circus elephants. Ringling Brothers was the largest circus to retire them to a preserve in Florida. If any of you read the book or saw the movie "Water For Elephants" you have an idea how many of them were abused in captivity. Elephants are known to have emotions similar to us humans. How they could be held and treated so poorly for so many years is hard to believe. Thank God for all the people who worked so diligently to put a stop to their captivity in circuses in the United States.

The wave of compassion for animals around the globe has grown so much recently that it is indicative of a change in the consciousness of mankind. It must mean that we are evolving into a kinder, gentler species on Planet Earth. As such, this new consciousness must soon reach those who are still perpetrating such violence on our own kind, and help to bring about peaceful resolutions to the wars that have been ongoing for too many years. If we can love and care for the animals, can we not extend that same loving care to our brothers?



Number one on the following list should be the story that broke on "60 Minutes" recently  about our elected officials in Congress putting in as much as 30-hours a week making telephone calls to seek campaign donations for not only themselves, but also for their respective parties. It has been rightly compared to telemarketing. We, the American people, pay these Representatives $174,000 a year to work for us -- not to spend more time raising money than they do legislating! If you didn't see this segment, watch it here Dialing for DollarsBe prepared to have your blood boil. This "do nothing" Congress has been busy on their own behalf not ours!

Florida Representative David Jolly has introduced a bill called "The Stop Act" that would ban all federal elected officials from directly soliciting donations. Needless to say, the bill is not expected to pass. I suggest we each contact our own representatives, and sign the petition to get this bill passed through Congress. Just go to the site Stop Act to add your name to the petition.

reverse diabetesThe number of adults with diabetes has quadrupled worldwide in under four decades to 422 million, and the condition is fast becoming a major problem in poorer countries, a World Health Organization study showed recently. Changing diets and obesity are the main culprits. Even in many poorer third world countries, American products full of sugar -- such as soft drinks by major manufacturers, have made their way into the local economies. American corporations' greed extends to those countries most susceptible to their products. The damage these sugary products cause to the health of these nations may not be well-known, due to the lack of information technology in many of the areas targeted.

*  Kids Need Vaccines "As many as 2.1 million American children aren't getting timely vaccinations because of holes in the public health system. That's because a sizable segment of the population -- the working poor -- makes too much money to qualify for federally funded vaccinations but has health insurance so meager that it won't cover some or any immunizations or booster shots. (My emphasis.) This is particularly true of new vaccines, the experts say." Something must be done to fix this problem in our health care system. World health organizations provide these vaccines for free in many cases. Why do so many impoverished children in the U.S. have to go without these important disease prevention vaccines?
(PegIt Board)
The intentionally unvaccinated children in the U.S. and abroad by philosophically or religiously anti-vaxxer parents, not only have their own lives placed at risk of catching diseases that were once almost eliminated, but also put the lives of others -- particularly those infants too young to be vaccinated -- in danger. Many die from these preventable diseases. Some sad stories of these tiny, unfortunate victims can be read here Shot by Shot.

There are so many, many stories coming to light that can delight or dismay us. It's up to us to do something about the ones that deserve our condemnation. And it's also up to us to share the good news and uplifting stories. After all, "What we focus on increases."

Peace, love, and joy,