So Called YouTube Ads

Has anyone actually listened to or watched a YouTube ad? The people who inhabit these ads have voices remarkably similar to Bill Murray’s Vegas nightclub singer.

If you would like to develop some neck or back pain, try at least three minutes watching one of the commercials. Most of them seem voiced over by the same guy. Chances are his dating life is not good. He may well drive what’s left of his Yugo or Edsel.

However, we can all take heart in the “Skip Ad after 5 seconds” button, a gift.


When I was twelve I first discovered breakfast cereal. Unlike a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with tomato soup for lunch, breakfast cereal became an obsession. My non-OCD spouse marvels at how I down Kashi, nuts, blueberries and milk every morning.

I don’t understand it either, but, I think it has something to do with the words comfort food.

What About American Football Grabs Me?

Football is a little like music. Timing is everything. Take the last second, complete pass before the QB is leveled. That timing is as exquisite as the Moonlight Sonata.

In the 60’s the late historian, Richard Wade, at University of Chicago declared that the human drive to build great cities was a prime mover in the growth of our nation. Football is a way that the fans can bond cheering for their hometown team, their city.

Finally the game is a beautiful harmony of strength, balance and grace. The strongest lineman win the contest of strength. The small running backs have wonderful balance, being closer to the ground, to stay upright in the face of the mayhem. The fluid motion of a quarterback passing in full flight is so graceful. Few such men on earth could effectively take the reins of a team.

American football has both a simplicity and a complexity that just grab me.


Marriage is the most complicated venture in which one ever invests one’s life. The Facebook posed glossies are patronizing us. They are works of art well distanced from the everyday.

Tony Hsieh, an incredible businessman who led high stakes ventures just died, alone, in a house fire. He wasn’t married. “I’m not opposed to the idea of marriage,” he said. “But statistically, if half of all marriages end in divorce, and of the ones that remain married many are unhappily married, the odds are stacked against you.” Sounds like he felt he could not cope with business risks compounded with the risks of matrimony.

Tim Keller, a pastor and author, essentially calls it a place where we learn to love. It requires lots of patience and forgiveness to be that close that much of the time. The philosopher, Alain de Botton, suggests couples should start with a cautious pessimism about the married state. It would seem that would diminish the frequency of provocation. But, who knows?

Churchill not referring to marriage used the phrase : ” It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma…” It certainly has its ups and downs. However, in my own experience, it is a rich and deep adventure worth every sacrifice. It’s the adventure of a lifetime.

This Time of Year

“It’s not what’s under the Christmas tree that matters, it’s who is around it.”—Unknown. Although, they are likely around it virtually this year, if they are adult children.

What an amazing connection you and your spouse have with your children, if that is where you are in life. Even as adult children they only get better. Can you connect? Hey they have half your DNA. How can’t you?

Nevertheless, at this time of year, there are disconnects for some of you with some of those adults. I pray they melt away like a chocolate bar arrayed in sunshine. May God bless you every one.

Thanksgiving, 2020

What has 2020 been to this point? National campaigns. The Australian Open. The Super Bowl. Then, the Ides of March. Ides for the Romans was basically mid-month. Sound familiar for last March? Life changed dramatically.

We learned, for those of us who love to travel, just how deep a yearning we possessed. We absorbed just how much we needed each other.

In families, if we were fortunate, we learned the psychological borders that needed to exist between us, when, more confined to close quarters. Most of us, me included, are trying to learn that slowly, but surely. It’s challenging. Isn’t it? Dear Lord, help me to slow down, choose my borders wisely and love deeply.  

We are fragile creatures and this pandemic has taught us just how fragile. It’s one thing to live with a nuclear threat for 70 years. It’s another to already have lost about a quarter of a million Americans to COVID-19. Now, the hideous virus is surging through America.

We pray that our apparently effective vaccines are proven safe and are in full distribution, soon. Thank you Lord that a large proportion of us have been sparred to this point. At this juncture, on the day of American Thanksgiving, we have much to be thankful for.

Satchel Paige’s Remarkable Perspective

It was 1956. I saw Satchel Paige pitch for the Miami Marlins, a triple A ballclub in the International League. They played, among other teams, the Havana Sugar Kings and the Montreal Royals from which Jackie Robinson came to the Dodgers in the 40s. 

Satchel claimed to be 50 in ’56 and had a miniscule 1.86 ERA. He was fooling hitters with guile and off speed pitches even into his “old age.”

He told us all how he got by. “Work like you don’t need money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody’s watching.” (

Sounds like wonderful advice to me.

Lightness and the Light at the End of the Tunnel

 “In prehistoric times, mankind often had only two choices in crisis situations: fight or flee. In modern times, humor offers us a third alternative; fight, flee – or laugh.” Robert Orben.

Not surprisingly Orben, now 93, wrote speeches for Gerald Ford, not the funniest guy in the world. Try to remember Ford’s best one liner. Right. He had none.

I guess Mr. Orben raised the speeches to the wakefulness level. Gerry did get his head knocked a few times as a lineman for University of Michigan.

I do think humor, with all apologies to Gerald, is a tremendous gift from God. It lightens the load, particularly now.

This looks like the last stretch with hope for the most at risk, around the corner. That would be the healthcare workers and those old enough to remember Gerald Ford well. There are not one, but three, seemingly excellent vaccines that appear to be close to approval and distribution.

Dear God, please speed those approvals along bringing us safety and effectiveness in combatting this serious threat to life and limb.

The Person Who Inspired my Passion for Learning

In some ways, I was the classical neglected middle child. In some ways that wasn’t true at all in that my mother was equally loving to all of us. She was completely committed to each of us.

But, my mother’s interests never extended to the academic in school or later in life. My father’s curiosities barely did to include an ongoing interest in reading history.

Our next door neighbors in Dayton, Ohio were childless. I spent about six years as a child there leaving at the age of 10. I had little interest in school until our last year or so in Dayton.

Our next door neighbor who I will call Mrs. Smith began to show me the wonderful collection of mementos in their house from their foreign travel. I still remember the beauty of her Persian rugs, an item I admire to this day.

The time with her got me excited about geography in fifth grade and ultimately learning in general. She surely turned my life around, by the grace of God. How different my world would have been without her inspiration.

A Rough Day for Rafa

Yesterday Rafa did something rare. He lost a three setter after winning the first set. The opposition was the brilliant rising star at #4 in the world, Daniil Medvedev.

In the first set the changes over time in Rafa’s game were evident, a more penetrating serve and an ability to pick off the low volley. But these were acquired not natural skills done again with the opposite hand. Rafa does everything else right handed.

Under the pressure of serving for set two, the serve broke down. Under the heat of set three his net play weakened.

Medvedev’s game strengthened. Medvedev lacked a history of a failure to win this indoor tournament numerous times. In those days it was a lack of Rafa”s imposing topspin deadened by indoor courts. Now the problems were compounded under maximum pressure.

But, Rafa will be winning Roland Garros at 60.