Friday, June 30, 2017

No fumbles or interceptions

How time flies when we middle-aged men are having fun gracefully-aging in the game of line.

Metaphorically, after the end of today in our game of 2017 life, we’re on the 50-yard line for third down with 10 to go.

Let’s you and I continue playing this gracefully-aging game after our weekend half time.  We’ll continue being the quarterback in charge of our destination with, hopefully, no fumbles or interceptions.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Hot and humid summer day

Progress has been so-so and slow in my Summer 2017 resurrected running journey.  Now, due to circumstances beyond my control, I’m taking at least a one-week time out.

Why, you may be wondering?

I’ll be glad to tell you.

Last weekend, this middle-aged man found himself enjoying more pleasant coastal weather so he took advantage of a break from triple-digit weather he’d been enduring to get outside and do some serious walking.

He walked about six to seven miles on Friday and the same distance on Saturday.  It felt good breathing coastal-fresh air, and being free of any self-imposed performance expectations.  My stopwatch and heart rate monitor were nowhere to be found.

Unfortunately, I “caught” a serious blister on the ball of my foot.  How this happened I’ll never know, but it did.  Consequently, running is not in my game plan this week.  I’m walking around with a limp like the character Festus from the old Gunsmoke western television series long ago.

I honestly couldn’t run if my life depended on it.  Well, maybe I could but there’s nothing on my horizon now indicating my life is depending on it.  So, I’ll let my paw heal before lacing up my running shoes and continuing in my running pursuits.

This middle-aged man running now wouldn’t be pretty.  Imagine the speed of a fat man running an uphill 100-meter dash on a hot and humid summer day.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, June 26, 2017

Sunday morning ocean mirror

This middle-aged man’s mention of looking in a mirror is legendary but honest because that’s what we middle-aged men do.

Yesterday was no exception but the mirror was different and the reflection more pleasant.

The reflection provided no shock effect but, rather, peace and tranquility. 

I now realize it’s a mirror I need to look in more often; this Sunday morning ocean mirror.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, June 23, 2017

Summer in the city

Fifty years later, as expressed in the 1966 hit song by The Lovin’ Spoonful, it’s still hot town, summer in the city.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Not my new midnight

Yesterday, the first day of summer 2017, this middle-aged man drove past the neighborhood he lived when a 16-year old kid.  

Driving past the post office that long-ago was a neighborhood grocery store, a memory came to mind of an empty parking lot where, after the store closed, we played tag football games on hot summer nights.     

Another memory came to mind of my friend, at one end of the parking lot, throwing a quarterback “Hail Mary” pass to me at the other end of the parking lot.  The parking lot’s bright lights made those hot summer night tag football games possible.

How often we did this I can’t remember but often enough to give many pleasant youthful memories that’ll forever be mine to enjoy. 

It seemed as if our day had just begun on those hot summer nights.  Bright stars above illuminated in the darkness of the night and spoke to our youthful psyche that the sky was our limit.

And it was.

Fast forward 46 years later and this middle-aged man wonders if anything has changed besides his chronological obvious.

I recently visited an internet retirement discussion forum and stumbled across a discussion topic title catching my attention.  It read, “In my sixties, 9:00 p.m. is the new midnight!”

The author starting this discussion shared how one of the worst things about being older is his energy is gone.  He used to stay up until midnight and not be tired.  Now he feels so tired by 9:00 p.m. and can barely keep his eyes open.  He shared how he’s “crashing” and wondered if that was also the case with others in their sixties.

Others joined the discussion sharing their experiences.  Some shared similar experiences but others shared they were still midnight owl characters.  It made me wonder about which camp I reside.

I’ll need more time to reflect but find inspiration in my youthful memories of those great hot summer night tag football games.  Inspiration that, in my sixties, 9:00 p.m. is not my new midnight.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, June 19, 2017

Que Sera, Sera

Any middle-aged man worth a bucket of spit will experience a range of feelings and thoughts in his normal course of living.

Most of the time, hopefully, they’re exciting and pleasant.

Sooner or later, though, a high tide of anxiousness and restlessness will come to shore.

It’s only natural to prefer the former rather than the latter but truth of the matter is there’s good to be had in both; we’ll do ourselves the best if we welcome all with open arms and experience them to their fullest.

Easier said than done for many and this middle-aged man is no exception.

Sometimes, I need a prop to help me go along for the ride and accept standstills that periodically enter my mindscape.  Something to remind me that whatever will be, will be.

For me, a good prop is a song with good lyrics such as a middle-aged man rendition of Que Sera, Sera.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, June 16, 2017

Heading to the beach

Weather forecasts are sometimes wrong but they’re good enough for me and they’re telling me it’s going to be hot this weekend.

How hot? 

102°F on Saturday and 107°F on Sunday.

Hot enough so this middle-aged man is heading to the beach.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!

RIP Mr. Adam "Batman" West and thanks for the memories
An unknown but sizable number of middle-aged men across America continue their grieving and mourning after learning last week that one of our boyhood superhero characters, Adam “Batman” West, passed away.

Forever typecast as Batman, Mr. Adam West lived a full and rewarding life for 88 years.

From an early age, Mr. West knew he wanted to perform for a living.  In his youthful and young man dreams, however, it probably wasn't likely that he envisioned one day being a 1960s-television superhero to a generation of middle-aged men like me; a larger-than-life and new-age clever and witty version of the comic book Batman character created almost 30 years earlier.

As young boys, we middle-aged men lived for the next episode of Batman, a television program delivered weekly in a two-episode format with its patented first episode closing of “Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!” 

I recall pleasant and vivid elementary school playground memories where we’d all engage in chatter about last evening’s Batman episode during recess kickball games.

Eternal memories were made that, for me, had been dormant but were powerfully resurrected last week upon learning of Mr. West’s passing.

Rest in peace Mr. Adam “Batman” West.  Thank you for all the memories.  As ambassador of all middle-aged men across American, we continue to grieve and mourn your passing while looking forward to when we next meet again, same Bat time, same Bat channel! 

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, June 12, 2017

Embracing capitalism

About 25 years ago while on vacation, my wife and I spent a hot and humid summer day in New York City (NYC).  Our goal was to explore as many Manhattan nooks and crannies as possible.  Eventually, as most tourists do, we strolled into the Chinatown neighborhood when something happened that oftentimes happens on hot and humid NYC summer days; it suddenly started raining.    

Hot and sweaty one moment earlier, we were now quickly cooling off thanks to a downpour of rain splattering on our heads and soaking our clothes.  We were ill-prepared for this rain; however, our quandary was brief as countless solutions immediately presented themselves.  In less than two minutes and two seconds, there were brigades of street vendors offering umbrellas for sale.  

All of us needing an umbrella were willing to pay a premium price but it wasn’t necessary because competition among these street vendors was intense.  Waving their umbrellas for sale, they sang their low prices in non-orchestrated unison in what seemed like a big band performance.     

It didn’t take long to decide which vendor would get my business.  I pointed to one and told him I’d buy one umbrella, pulled out my wallet, and completed my purchase.  My wife and I were now spared of further spoils from this summertime downpour, thanks to these small business capitalist NYC umbrella street vendors.

What an example of small business capitalism at its finest.  It gave me a better understanding and appreciation of Adam Smith’s “Invisible Hand” and the economic law of supply and demand than my college economic professor’s lecture 15 years earlier. 

Fast forward to the present, I wonder what would have been the outcome that day if a government program was my only solution. 

Such a program would have been the result of a study determining how best to respond to emergency umbrella needs.  Consultants would have been hired to conduct this study.  Purchasing the umbrellas would have followed a complicated and lengthy bidding process but only after stringent and politically-influenced product specifications were lobbied for and determined. 

Additionally, eligibility workers would have been hired to determine who among those needing an umbrella qualified for taxpayer-subsidized ones at a lower price, or perhaps qualified for a “free” one. 

This summertime shower would have been long gone before umbrellas arrived on the scene to save our day.

This decades-later Monday-morning quarterback reflection made me realize how capitalism fueled by the economic law of supply and demand does the most efficient job of delivering cost-effective and best solutions for taxpaying consumers.   Granted my story is a simple example demonstrating this so you may want to use your own more-complex scenario to see if you come to a different conclusion.

We’re living in an era that may be recorded in our future history books as the 21st century “Make American Great Again” continental divide. On one side are angry Americans and political leaders who are now underdogs.  Happy Americans and other political leaders now top dog and in charge are on the other side.  They want to do things different than how things were done the past eight years.

Each side is at intense odds with the other about what’s the best way to make America great again.  A competitive tug-of-war is taking place between two broad-based approaches.  One approach advocates government program solutions to fix our great nation’s socio-economic maladies while the other advocates private marketplace solutions.

Government solutions fail miserably; they’re terribly taxpayer expensive, reactionary, challenging to end when they’re no longer needed and subject to the perils of political influence.  Pick your favorite government program and test it for yourself. 

Like affordable housing, for example.  I recently wrote an op-ed article appearing in the Sacramento Bee asking the question of what’s the solution to California’s unaffordable housing crisis.  I gave examples of how government affordable housing programs are not efficient or cost effective. 

One example was of the State of California Department of Housing and Community Development’s helping hand in a new $15.8 million affordable housing apartment complex that’s now home to 30 lower-income facilities at an average cost per family of, ahem, $526,667.

In response to this article, I received an e-mail from a state housing official privately sharing another example even more mind-boggling.  He told me about a government affordable housing rehabilitation project in San Francisco, offering views of the Golden Gate Bridge, costing about one million dollars per unit.

Why do we need a Small Business Administration government agency?  Do you think Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame created this multi-billion-dollar company with seeds planted from attending an SBA workshop or funded by an SBA-guaranteed loan?

Why do we need any government-guaranteed loans? 

What’s the cost of these programs to taxpayers and who are the beneficiaries? 

Taxpayers or a few lucky souls like institutional lenders and borrowers having the wherewithal to borrow that may just take a little extra effort without a government-guaranteed loan?

Private marketplace solutions are clearly the best.  They’re the most cost-effective way of getting the job done.  Have you ever stood on your front porch holding your newly-arrived package from Amazon shaking your head in disbelief how quickly it arrived because you just ordered it the other day?

Adam Smith correctly figured this out over two hundred years ago and it’s time for us to rediscover and embrace it once again.  Capitalism is nothing about which to be embarrassed.  We should be its biggest fan just like we are for our favorite professional sports team.  

Granted, there are some public goods where private marketplace solutions may not do the best job of meeting our needs.  Providing a militia to defend our borders and interests around the world comes to mind.    

But such a public goods laundry list is smaller than we’ve been led to believe, meaning most of our public good needs are more efficiently and cost-effectively met with private marketplace solutions.

Just like that hot summer day in NYC Manhattan about 25 years ago when a sudden summertime shower appeared out of nowhere, and my wife and my needs for cover were immediately and cost-effectively met by small-business capitalist umbrella street vendors.

We’ll make America great again by embracing capitalism.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, June 9, 2017

Things I used to do

Two days ago, not knowing it was the 100-year birth anniversary of the late and great Dean Martin, I listened to some of his music on YouTube.  I sometimes do this while at work when taking a pause for my cause to rest and rejuvenate my overworked brain.

The song’s title was “Things”, and 50 years ago Mr. Martin sang it in duet with Nancy Sinatra.  Its lyrics and melody mesmerized me, taking me back to a pleasant memories yesteryear I often like to visit.   

“Ev'ry night I sit here by my window (window)
Starin' at the lonely avenue (avenue)
Watching lovers holdin' hands 'n' laughin' (laughin')
And thinkin' 'bout the things we used to do”

These pleasant memories of the things I used to do danced in my mind’s eye in front of a nostalgic mirror.  They were also, like the song I was listening to, in duet with pleasant dreams of my life not yet lived; things, God willing, I hope to do.

Like being retired after having worked many years in an honorable profession, and now able to breathe and smell the roses without being hurried or preoccupied with work.

Like walking along the beach in Santa Cruz with my wife, Watching lovers holdin' hands 'n' laughin' and thinkin' 'bout the things we used to do.”

Like being a grandpa and watching my grandsons grow up to be good, honorable and wholesome men; hopefully I’ll be fit and healthy enough to keep up with them. 

These dreams of things I hope to do along with pleasant memories of things I used to do tap-danced in my mind’s eye while Dean and Nancy continued singing, “And thinkin' 'bout the things we used to do.”

Then, the song ended.  My brief mental rest and rejuvenation break had come to an end.  It was time for me to get back to work. 

But not until I snuck in one last quick pleasant memory reflection about the things I used to do.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

There's a soft spot or two

Little Eli Thompson and father - RIP
The other day I read an internet news article that stopped me in my tracks and touched my emotion, heart and soul in a way that’s still resonating.  It was a story about a little boy who died at age two.

Little Eli Thompson passed away last Saturday night three months after celebrating his second birthday.  He was a little younger than my first and oldest grandson and a little older than my second and youngest grandson.

Little Eli was born without a nose, prematurely and without any nasal passages or sinus cavities.  His rare medical condition only afflicted 36 others around the world.

Pictures of little Eli accompanying the article showed a very happy little boy and a very proud father.  I can only imagine what it would have been like being in his so-full-of-life company.

I was so saddened from reading this article and tried to imagine what his parents are now going through in their grieving and mourning journey.

After reading the article and realizing the affect it had on me, I did the only thing I knew how to do; say a prayer asking God that perpetual light shine on little Eli’s soul and that he enjoys eternal rest.  And, that his parents are comforted in their grieving and mourning by the many blessings, however brief, of having little Eli part of their lives.

I’ll always remember little Eli Thompson for his amazing ability to help this rough-around-the-edges and tough-as-nails middle-aged man be reminded that, deep inside, there’s a soft spot or two.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, June 5, 2017

I’ve been doing lately

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a workout so that’s what I’m doing today.  

The following is a kettlebell KB circuit I’ve been doing, taking-it-easy style.  It consists of the following combo using a 20kg KB.

(1)  Standard pushups x 5 reps, then
(2) KB snatch right x 5 swing switch and then left x 5, and finally
(3) KB hand-to-hand swings x 15 reps

Completing the above equals one round.  My current workout consists of completing ten rounds. 

When I started doing this workout, I was coming off an extended fitness sabbatical so my cadence was to start a new round every three minutes.  The last time I did this workout, I started a new round every 2:45.  Next time it’ll be every 2:30.

Once my round speed is every two minutes, I’ll either to one of two things:

(1) Perform 6 pushups, 6 KB snatches and 18 hand-to-hand swings for each round, or
(2) Keep the rep count the same but jump up in weight to the 24kg KB.

Time will tell.

I’m trying and learning that every workout I do doesn’t have to be pedal to the metal intensity.  I’m getting older and need to do a better job of behaving and training my age.

This is one KB workout I’ve been doing lately.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, June 2, 2017

A middle-aged man national holiday

This middle-aged man thought he had a decent grasp of history to be a legitimate contender on the game show Jeopardy.  However, based on a recent discovery, he now questions his history knowledge prowess.

You see, yesterday I learned that today is National Donut Day.

Adding to my history trivia tank, I’ve learned that National Donut day is celebrated in the United States the first Friday of June.  This event was created by The Salvation Army in 1938 to honor its members who served donuts to soldiers during World War II.

Note how Pierini Fitness has chosen the meathead version “donut” rather than the King’s English version “doughnut.  It’s better aligns with my raw middle-aged man meathead nature.  Along with contractions, it better speaks the dialect spoken by the many simpletons who are part of my vast middle-aged man audience around the world.

Donuts are as middle-aged man as apple pie is American.  It ranks up near the top of the list along with BBQ ribs, hamburgers, hot dogs, beef jerky and tacos.

Now that I’m in the know about today, as ambassador and the number one advocate for all middle-aged men of the world, Pierini Fitness declares that, starting today, National Donut Day is a fully-paid and day off middle-aged man national holiday.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum