Happy New Year to All and to All a Pop Quiz

So the new year is finally here and if you’re having trouble reading this, you’re getting no sympathy from me as I’m having trouble writing it!  I drank everything I could get my hands on to help me forget the past year filled with  political rancor, ‘fake news’, tweets and sciatica!  The good news about this first week of the new year is that your resolutions are mostly still in tact – ok, some of them.  I know how you all looked forward to pop quizzes when you were in school, so here’s one to clear that head of yours and start the new year off with an educational experience.  Answers below, but don’t start off the new year by cheating!

  1. When was the first New Year’s celebrated?

– 2000 B.C.

– 1 A.D.

– 150 AC/DC

– I don’t remember I was too drunk

  1. What percentage of Americans make New Year’s resolutions?

– Only the top 1%

– All the Millennials

– As many as break them by February

– 45%

  1. Tradition says that the more ____ a person has on New Year’s Eve, the more prosperity he or she will experience the following year.

– Alcohol

– People to kiss

– Leafy greens

– Bologna sandwiches

  1. How many glasses of Champagne will America drink this New Years?

– 3,600

– 36,000

– 36,000,00

– too many

  1. In the last scene of When Harry Met Sally, after they kissed, what song played?

– I’ve Been Cheated

– Auld Lang Syne

– Sally Go Round the Roses

– Make An Ugly Woman You Wife

  1. What is the most common symbol associated with New Years?

– The Grim Reaper

– A baby

– Playboy’s Miss January

– Foster Brooks

  1. What happens if a couple celebrating New Years together do not kiss?

–  He’s not getting lucky

–  They buy more breath mints

–  He’s not only not getting to 1st base, he’s not even getting into the batter’s box

–  They’ll be seeing a divorce attorney in the morning

  1. Typically _____ gather in Time Square on New Year’s to watch the ball drop

– Millennials looking for loose change on the street

– Broadway ticket scalpers

– Muggers and pick pockets

– One million people

  1. What do the words Auld Lang Syne mean?

– Up yours

– Times gone by

– There’s better days ahead

– Good riddance

  1. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, what is the most common object stolen on New Years Eve

– virginity

– wallet

– car

– your soul

  1. 22% of New Year’s frolickers admit to

– Grand theft auto

– Not knowing where they are much less what time it is

– Having their first drink

– Falling asleep before midnight

Answers: 1. 2,000 B.C.; 2. 45%; 3. leafy greens; 4. 36,000,000; 5. Auld Lang Syne; 6. baby; 7. Seeing an attorney in the morning; 8. 1,000,000 people;   9. times gone by; 10. car; 11. falling asleep before midnight

The entire staff here at ‘From A Bird’s Eye View’, wish you a happy and healthy 2018. OK, there is no ‘staff’ here, but Suzanne and I are hoping that this year will be your very best – make it so!

Getting into the Christmas Spirits

by Bob Sparrow

Thuringia, Germany

Suzanne’s blog last week mentioned that the town of Thuringia, Germany as the birthplace of Christmas decorations and also may be known for its beer, and that I would be more likely to write about that, the beer. Well if that wasn’t throwing down the gauntlet then I don’t know what was.  So . . . I did a little research on this quaint little town and have found that it is indeed steeped in Christmas traditions, among them is a keen appreciation of holiday hooch. To wit: During what they call the Advent season, which begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve, people there gather together and drink Gluhwein, a mixture of red wine, sugar and winter spices; add a shot of rum and you’ve got a Gluhwein mit Schuss, you’ve also got a headache in the morning.

So while you may not need a guide to traditional Christmas cheer like Peace on Earth Good Will Towards Men’ (and Women we presume) or as The Elf says, The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear”, I personally like Dave Barry’s Christmas cheer, “Once again we come to the holiday season, a deeply religious time that each of us observe in our own way by going to the mall of our choice.” There is of course the holiday cheer reminding us to Jingle all the way, no one likes a half-assed jingler.’

This blog however is about the ‘other’ Christmas cheer, the one that we can consume and often times helps us get into the Christmas spirit or simply helps us get through the ‘Holidaze’.  In the event you don’t have access to Gluhwein mit Schuss, here’s your imbibing guide to, and definitions of, some traditional Christmas cheer, along with their country of origin:

Christmas beer – Germany (official definition): A seasonal beer brewed for consumption at Christmas (Duh!). It is usually strong and spiced with a variety of ingredients including cinnamon, orange peel, cloves and vanilla.  I guess it’s still beer, it just doesn’t taste like it.

Wassail – England: The word comes from an Old English word for ‘healthful’ and is a beverage of hot mulled cider, originally not an alcoholic drink, but we took care of that little shortcoming as modern recipes start with a base of wine or mulled ale with either brandy or sherry added.

Hot Buttered Rum – Colonial America: How do you go wrong with butter and rum in anything? (These two ingredients along with some brown sugar and bananas makes a wonderful Bananas Foster dessert, but I digress).  This traditional holiday beverage is typically sweetened and spiced with such things as cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

Hot Buttered Rum

Hot Toddy – Ireland: Yes, a Hot Toddy is different from a Hot Buttered Rum, as it is made with whiskey, hot water and honey; some recipes add herbs and spices. Some believe it relieves the symptoms of a cold or flu as the honey soothes while the alcohol numbs. Forget CVS you need to get to BevMo.

If you’re not a traditionalist there are plenty of modern holiday cocktails that will definitely get you in the Christmas spirit, like a Poinsettia Spritz Punch, a Pomegranate and Peppermint Moscow Mule or a Gingerbread Latte with Caramel Sugar.  However, if you still find yourself in a ‘Bah Humbug’ mood, I’d recommend a shot of tequila and a regular beer back, no cinnamon, no cloves, no nutmeg.  Country of origin?  My house.

Hoping you get into the Christmas spirits one way or the other this season. Cheers!

 

Four Seasons

by Bob Sparrow

Well with a title like this we could go anywhere – the luxury, five-star hotel chain who has Bill Gates as one of its majority owners; Jersey Boys backup group to Frankie Valli; the classical violin concerti by Vivaldi, or simply the four seasons.

All weighty subjects to be sure, but the oppressive heat in our part of the country over the last several days, begs the question, “Isn’t summer over?”

Unofficially, Yes; officially, No.

You see when I don’t travel I have to write about stuff like Mayberry, Margaritaville and the weather. Unfortunately, for you, I haven’t been anywhere exciting in the last couple of weeks (OK, I was in Vegas last weekend, but I was reminded that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas – I know my money stayed there!), so now you get to read about the changing of the seasons. I can sense the anticipation building already!

I thought the subject appropriate since we’re just sobering up from the Labor Day holiday, which is the ‘unofficial’ end of a summer, which ‘unofficially’ started on Memorial Day. Officially summer begins with the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year in terms of light in the Northern Hemisphere. Summer officially ends with the Autumnal Equinox, when days and nights are equal (almost) with 12 hours of sun and 12 hours of no sun; equinox actually means equal nights. Am I going too fast for those taking notes?

If you’re wondering, like me, whether we get more ‘official’ or ‘unofficial’ days of summer, here’s the math:

Summer officially started on Wednesday, June 21th this year and ends on Thursday, Sept 21nd (at 1:02 PDT to be precise) – that’s 93 days. ‘Unofficially’ summer started this year on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend (perhaps some cheated and started early on Friday night), May 27th and ended on Labor Day, Monday, Sept 4th – that’s 101 days. So we took eight ‘unofficial’ days of summer this year that I suppose we’re going to have to give back at some point, aren’t we?

One would think that because we declared these ‘unofficial’ starts and stops of summer, borrowing several days from the end of spring and giving a few back during the dog days of summer, that summer would be the season that people like the most – that all depends.

A recent survey by YouGov was conducted on this very subject (are you on the edge of your seat yet?), and depending on your age group and the particular region of the country in which you live, the results vary. But if we’re looking at all age groups across the entire country, the results are as follows:

  1. 29% favor Fall
  2. 27% favor Spring
  3. 25% favor Summer
  4.  7% favor Winter

Favorite season by age group:

55+                Spring

35 – 54           Fall

18 – 34           Summer

While Winter didn’t score high enough to even rate a place on the chart, we all know that winter in Scottsdale, Arizona is slightly different from winter in Bemidji, Minnesota, so let’s look at favorite seasons by region. Isn’t this fun?!

In answer to the question, “I like the weather where I live” the results by region are as follows:

  1. West 66%
  2. South 59%

3.  Northeast 59%

  1. Midwest 47%

The ‘West’ is probably skewed by Alaska at 33% and Hawaii at 100% (my figures, not theirs)

But, those who DON’T like living in the:

West say it is too rainy (26%) or too dry (36%)

South say it is too hot (70%)

Northeast say it is too cold (68%)

Midwest say it is too cold (62%) or too hot (26%)

Ok, maybe what happens in a YouGov survey should stay in a YouGov survey.  Hope you’re enjoying these last ‘official’ days of summer.

 

Finding Margaritaville in the ‘Hood

by Bob Sparrow

Late best friend, Don Klapperich, introduced me to Jimmy Buffett’s music in the late ’80s via cassette tapes from Saudi Arabia. I have since collected all his music, videos, read all his books including the Margaritaville Cook Book. My Sirius Radio in mostly on  the ‘Margaritaville’ channel, I’ve seen him live in concert numerous times and recently went to San Diego to see the play, Escape to Margaritaville, based on his music and lyrics, much like the play Mama Mia is based on ABBA’s music. The production is hilarious and is eventually headed to Broadway. I am clearly a big fan – a Parrothead. What is the appeal of a singer whose voice is more a kin to that of a carnival barker?  The vibe he creates!

Marge, Jeanne, Diane, Julie, Reta, Linda, Althea

Last weekend, we decided to celebrate the first weekend of summer Jimmy Buffett-style by hosting a ‘Finding Margaritaville’ party for our neighborhood. How do you find Margaritaville? Where is it? Some people say it’s in the Caribbean, other say it’s in Key West somewhere around Kokomo. According to Mr. Buffett, “Margaritaville is a state of mind where there is booze in the blender, good weather and colorful characters, just on the edge of paradise with a dash of reality thrown in to add flavor.”

Dianne, Pam, Kathy, Shelly

Well, that comes very close to describing the neighborhood we’ve lived in for the past 32 years, especially the part about the colorful characters. It was here I was going to start listing some of the characters and their accomplishments/antics, but there are 20 some couples that live on the two streets that make up ‘the ‘Hood’ and there is not room here to do them all justice and I wouldn’t want to leave anyone out, so let’s leave it at it’s a neighborhood filled with interesting, giving people where you can always find booze in the blender.

Banana Dolphins

Marge, her monkey and parrot in her tree

A good example of this giving neighborhood occurred when I asked if anyone in the ‘hood wanted to donate money to help the guide we had in Nepal after his home was destroyed in the 2015 Kathmandu earthquake – I had $1,200 on my doorstep that afternoon!   If someone is sick or housebound for any reason, neighbors will take turns preparing dinner for that family – and we have a number of outstanding chefs in the ‘hood (Rob Warren & Richard Wade immediately come to mind). When our kids were growing up and playing at each other’s house, wherever they were at lunchtime the mom would fix lunch for the whole gang. No one ever worried about where their kids were or if they had eaten lunch. It is an amazing group of people with whom we are lucky to be associated.

Phyllis & Starlet

Captain Jack

At 6:00 on Saturday, the house and yard were in their final stages of decoration; inside the ‘food island’ highlight was the pineapple palm tree, thanks to Marge Dunn and the dolphin fruit plate, thanks to Linda and Starlet. The best decoration outside was the Margarita machine; the surrounding palms and pool complemented it nicely. Partygoers arrived in full ‘Parrotfanalia’. Aside from the 40 attendees who were within walking distance of our house, more importantly within crawling distance home, we had a few family members to add a bit of spice to our already colorful cast of characters; including Linda’s 91 year old mom, Phyllis, who didn’t miss a beat, Linda’s sister, Starlet both in from Minnesota and my brother, Jack, who lent his deft bartending skills to the party, his wife Sharon and her son Brad.

‘Creative’ winners, Dunns, Baldwins & Webbs

Marc Webb, the Pied Piper, started the ‘pool party’

We had a contest to find out “Are You More Creative than Jimmy Buffett?” where couples had to change the titles of Buffett’s songs to something more original.  I can’t write all the answers we got here due to our PG rating, but needless to say the ‘hood is very creative.  So of course the party was a success, how could it not be with this group? As they say, a good time was had by all, especially those who jumped in the pool with their clothes on later in the evening – alcohol may have been a factor.

I’ve probably forgotten a few things that happened that night, but I know this, the ‘hood has been a great place to raise our little kids and a great place to raise a little hell.    Fins Up!

Phyllis bracing for the start of the party

 

Tanis, Stefanie, Lisa, Doug, Keren, Sandi

The Unexamined Life

by Bob Sparrow

“The unexamined life is not worth living”

Spoken by Socrates at his trial after he chose death rather than exile

philosopherIt was suggested by more than one reader that my last blog, the one about ‘creative’ Christmas gifts, was simply filler, fluff, no real depth, mailed in, not intellectually challenging, stimulating or provocative.

I offered excuses about the hustle and bustle of the season, my new work schedule, another birthday, travel demands (Dallas, Salt Lake and Vegas in the last 60 days).  But after searching for the many layers of that last blog, I discovered that it was a piece with no layers at all and in fact had no redeeming social, or for that matter, antisocial, qualities. So, as an apology I proffer a Top 10 list (along with my cogent comments) espoused by an All-Star cast of deep, philosophical thinkers to help you put your New Year’s resolutions in perspective.

  1. I will say yes to life

Nietzsche, means rediscovering the seriousness one had as a child at play.  (Pretty heavy when you think about it)

  1. I will grow collective

Badiou commented that when people find love, they realize life offers them more together than it does alone. (Can we really trust a guy whose name is BAD  I.O.U.?)

  1. I will be present for others

Authentic engagement is world-disclosing work. Implicitly, by trying to enable the other, I acknowledge the value of sharing a world with them.  (I think he means, wherever you are, be there!)

  1. I will be a giver not a taker

Ask yourself, ‘What unique contributions can you make that could empower others?’ (Great arm farts probably don’t count)

  1. I will focus on the things I can control not the things I can’t

Genuine self-control is equal parts focus, drive and humility. (and perhaps some prozac)

  1. I will be a meaning maker

We must be prepared to disrupt ourselves every now and then in order to see the unexpected opportunities in daily events and take our lives in new directions.  (We have to look no further than the latest election to affirm that we have indeed disrupted ourselves)

  1. I will convert negative emotion into creative energy

Anger can be a gift. Channel it into a creative activity (Some are more ‘gifted’ than others)

  1. I will question everything

By learning to think skeptically, we are not only better able to identify things that have real meaning, relevance, and value in life, we are also enabled to identify the things that lack meaning, relevance, and value (I know what you’re thinking – this blog lacks meaning, relevance and value)

  1. I will celebrate abundance

Everything is fed by the flow of radiation from the sun. Hold out your hands to the sun. Feel it vitalize the molecular flows of your body.  (Sun worshiping – it’s all come full circle)

  1. I will never give up

Sartre argued that authenticity involves making a fundamental choice about how to live – as a philosopher, writer, communist, whatever. The caveat is that we acknowledge that this is only a choice, and there are other choices we can make in life. Camus argued for what is ultimately, I think, a more uncompromising position: that existential authenticity demands that we admit to ourselves that our plans and projects are for the most part hopeless and in vain – and struggle on regardless. This, for Camus, is existential revolt – to affirm the absurdity of life and continue. (I couldn’t have said it any better myself, actually I couldn’t have said it at all!)

Final words to think about when making your resolutions, from former publisher of Success magazine, Darren Hardy . . .

“Resolutions tend to focus on what you are not (skinnier, wealthier, punctual).  As you try to focus on the life you want, you’ll be fixated on the things you haven’t accomplished”.  He suggests that resolutions should start with your abundances and expand them.

Or you could forget about resolutions this year and just curl up with your new Santa Farting Butt Pillow.

 

HAVE YOURSELF A FIZZY LITTLE CHRISTMAS

By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

Music, in all of its forms, always seems to evoke memories of times past.  That is never more true than at Christmas when emotions run a bit higher and hearing a carol on the radio can make even the most hard-hearted a bit sentimental.  I have been listening to the “Holly” station on my satellite radio and find myself drawn back to some wonderful Christmas memories.  Here are just a few – and to make sure you read until the end – I am also including Pop’s Christmas Ice Cream Fizz recipe.

“Silver bells, Silver bells, it’s Christmas time in the city.”

The City of Paris tree

The City of Paris tree

“Silver Bells” was our mother’s favorite Christmas song.  I remember back in the 1950’s we had a record player that was roughly the size of a modern day refrigerator.  I thought it was a miracle of engineering that we could stack records on top of each other and they would drop in succession.  At Christmastime our mother couldn’t get enough of “Silver Bells” so each time it concluded she rushed to the record player to keep the next record from dropping so she could hear it again.  The song was our anthem; every year during the Christmas season we got dressed up, including gloves and hat, to make the 22 mile trip into San Francisco.  We had three destinations:  the Christmas tree in the City of Paris rotunda, the windows at Gump’s, and getting a sundae at Blum’s on Union Square.  Only Gump’s has managed to survive.  Blum’s closed in the 70’s and Neiman Marcus is now in the City of Paris building.  The magic of the City of Paris Christmas tree was not only its 40 foot size, but the decorations – tricycles, dolls, trains and all manner of toys, bright lights, glass bulbs and a huge star on top.  Each year it was a bit different and each year I stared at it in wide-eyed wonderment.  When Neiman Marcus bought the store they tried to carry on the tradition but judging by this year’s effort – a metal, blue spiral cone hung upside down – they have done an abysmal job of it.  Where is the magic in that?  Makes me glad I grew up when I did.

 

“Silent Night, Holy Night”

Our grandmother was in her 50’s when our grandfather died in 1948.  She never re-married.  She referred to him constantly and loved to keep his memory alive through stories.  She had a full life but was always a little sad around the holidays when she missed him most of all.  His favorite Christmas carol was “Silent Night”.   When all of our relatives would come on Christmas morning our mom would always have Christmas albums playing (by now we had graduated to a “console”).  The problem was that “Silent Night” would bring our grandmother to tears.  Unfortunately, of the approximately 87 Christmas albums our mother had, “Silent Night” seemingly appeared on all of them.  So my job was to remember the various “cuts” on the albums where “Silent Night” was placed and then race to the console to skip over the track before grandma dissolved into tears.  I can’t hear that song today without thinking about her and about the countless times I practically tripped over the Christmas tree lurching for the record player.

Through the years we all will be together, if the Fates allow…”

A jolly man indeed!

A jolly man indeed!

This will be the 15th Christmas without our dad.  I miss him just as much this year as I did that very first one.  He was a happy, joyful guy, always kind and helpful to others.  He was also one of the funniest people I’ve ever met.  All year long he embodied the Christmas spirit and when I was very young I thought he even looked like Santa,  with his twinkling blue eyes, rosy cheeks and a stomach that shook like a bowl full of jelly.  He loved the holidays, welcoming friends and family alike into our home.  Our whole family misses his loving spirit but we also recognize we were very lucky to have him as long as we did and are grateful that he left us with so many cherished Christmas memories.

“…So have yourself a Merry Little Christmas now.”

One of Pop’s hallmarks was the Ice Cream fizz he served every Christmas morning.  Oh sure, most families had hot chocolate and cider while we were drinking gin.  But don’t judge – it has given a roseate hue to many a Christmas morning.  So this year we are once again sharing his recipe so that you and your family might also enjoy this wonderful tradition.

 

 

POP’S CHRISTMAS ICE CREAM FIZZ

Fill a blender 1/4 full with ice cubes

Add 6 jiggers of gin

Add 4 scoops of French Vanilla ice cream

Add 1 small bottle of soda water (the size you get in a 6-pack)

My brother Bob adds an egg so the white adds some froth, brother Jack doesn’t add an egg.  Personally, I’d add it just because you can then claim it’s a protein drink.

Just blend it well and – voila – you have a concoction sure to put a positive spin on everyone and every thing!

Our mom served them in a wine glass with a dash of nutmeg.  As we got older we would conspire with Pop and ditch the wine glass for  a chilled beer mug from the freezer. Saved having to go back for seconds…or thirds.

 

We wish everyone a Happy Holiday season – we’ll be back in 2017!

 

I’m Not Making This Stuff Up!

by Bob Sparrow

turkey-hat

Who wouldn’t look good in this?

Some of you may remember that last year around this time, I posted a blog entitled ‘Gift dog-go-proIdeas for Those Who Have Everything’.  It was one of our least read blogs, but I did hear from readers who found it helpful, not for finding things they would really give to someone, but for putting into perspective the things they actually bought. “Hey, that laundry soap on a rope wasn’t as stupid as that yodeling pickle!” So, here I am again this year, with another selfless act of providing you with great ideas for gifts for that person who may not have everything, but you can be sure they don’t have any of these!

Doggie Go Pro – Tired of a bird’s eye view? Get a dog’s-eye view with this ‘fetch mount’ camera.  Shouldn’t your dog be able to capture his adventures on film?  Only $399.99 – film not included.

coffe-mug-hoopYour Cup of Joe – You coffee lovers who didn’t jump on the coffee mug in the shape of a vodka-mugtoilet bowl last year, probably won’t jump on this coffee mug in the shape of a basketball, complete with hoop and ready for dunking marshmallows.  Or you may want to just be honest and get the ‘There’s A Chance That This Could Be Vodka’ mug

What could be more romantic than snuggling up with that special someone withsabutt_2_thumbnail your own Santa Farting Butt pillow.  Aside from the Santa beer fart smell, it comes in various holiday fragrances, my favorite is reindeer breath.

ashtrayTrying to get that special someone to stop smoking? Here’s the perfect gift, the ‘Black Lungs Ashtray – the more you smoke, the blacker it gets.

The Faux Tummy Stuffer – we all over-indulge during the holidays, what with all the cookies, candy and booze laying around.   It’s hard not to become an alcoholic or chocoholic at this time of year; so when people comment, “Say, that extra weight really looks good on you.”, you can surprise them by revealing the Tummy Stuffer that makes you look fat, which takes their attention away from how really fat you are.

hillarynutcracker1_thumbnail

Hillary Nutcracker – no comment

spray-timeTime in a Can – Is that special someone tired of the convenience of a wristwatch, but wants to know the time?  Here’s your solution; just carry around this ‘Time Spray Can’ and you can spray the time on anything. Now that’s convenience!

You’re welcome!  You’ve still got a few more shopping days left!

S.P.  Suzanne and I wish you and your family the very Merriest of Christmases

 

Are You Ready For Summer?

by Bob Sparrow

stonehengeWhile some people like to call Memorial Day the ‘unofficial start of Summer’, I like to call Memorial Day the official recognition of those brave men and women who paid the ultimate price for preserving our freedoms.  The ‘unofficial start of Summer’ when I was a kid started at about three o’clock on the last day of school – which was typically around the middle of June.  However, the ‘actual start of Summer’ in the Northern Hemisphere occurs this year next Monday, June 20th at exactly 9:34 a.m. PDT when the sun reaches its northernmost point of the equator, but you probably already knew that.  So during this last week of Spring I’m going to help you prepare for Summer.

As sister Suzanne explained last week, preparing for summer for those in Scottsdale means getting out of town.  But some of us, who actually have to live in the same house all year long, have to ready ourselves in other ways. To wit:

Summer Songs – Nothing says summer like a great summer song, so I’ve put this compilation of ‘A Baker’s Dozen Summer Oldies’ together, burned them onto a CD and will be listening to it all summer.  If you’d like a copy, send a self-addressed CD envelope to me and if your among the first 25 to do so, I’ll throw in some old Ginsu knifes that I’ve had lying around here for several years.

Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer – Nat King Cole

A Summer Song – Chad & Jeremy

In the Summer Time – Mungo Jerry

Summertime – Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald

Summer Nights – John Travolta and Olivia Newton John

Summer (from Four Seasons) – Vivaldisongs-of-summer-660x265

Summer Breeze – Seals & Crofts

Summer of ’69 – Bryan Adams   

Summer in the City – Lovin’ Spoonful

Summer Wind – Frank Sinatra

Summertime Blues – Eddie Cochran

The Boys of Summer – Don Henley.         And for my friends in Michigan . . .

All Summer Long – Kid Rock

 Or you can just put on some Beach Boys.

Exercise – Remember the New Years’ resolution about losing that weight and really getting into shape?  Yes, round is a shape, but just a reminder that you have about 4½ months before you start nibbling on that Halloween candy and attending those holiday parties.  Now is the time, even if it’s just walking, to get out of the house.  What are you doing still sitting at your computer?  Go outside!!  You can finish this later.  It only goes downhill from here anyway.

Summer attire – No, you haven’t lost that weight and so you’re not buying that new wardrobe, but hey, it’s summer, buy some loose fitting Tommy Bahama or  Margaritaville stuff along with a pair of Sanuk ‘beer cozy’ flip flops – the most comfortable flip flops you’ll ever own! Find them at REI – you may even find other cool stuff there that will get you outside.

BBQ – Yes, you can still do your favorite chicken or ribs recipe, but make this summer the one that your bbqguests rave about your ‘new’ barbecuing skills.  Try some rack of lamb as well as grilling some fruit and vegetables – watermelon, pears, how about grilling some lettuce for a Caesar salad?  Corn and artichokes are awesome on the grill.  Be different this summer.  You can find a recipe for grilling almost anything on line.  Go crazy – you’ll thank me later.

Summer Blockbusters – I understand that it’s early, but so far it doesn’t look like Tinsel Town will bust too many blocks this summer. So far we have The Conjuring 2, Warcraft, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, X-Men Apocalypse; Alice Through the Looking Glass (featuring Johnny Depp wearing his wife-beaters).  Clearly Baby Boomers are no longer the ‘target market’.  Reruns of M.A.S.H. and The Twilight Zone may be of more interest.  You should be outside anyway!   
crowds

Travel – What about travel? you’re asking.  Summer used to be the time for those trips to the mountains, the beach, the national parks as that’s when our kids were out of school, but most of our reader’s kids have kids of their own, so I suggest that you stay away from those places and spend the summer planning to go there in late September or early October when the kids are back in school and the weather is still nice.  Beside, ‘summer gas’ is more expensive that ‘winter gas’.  What?!  Yes, the oil companies would have us believe that they are two different products, but we understand supply and demand economics.

Sunblock – If you take nothing else away from this blog (which is very likely), take this: being tan is no longer cool, it’s asunblock sign that you don’t understand actinic keratosis, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma or melanoma.  I don’t either, but just put on sunblock!

Summer Quotes – I’ll leave you with some summer quotes.

“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability” – Sam Keen

“Summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most  beautiful words in the English language” – Henry James

“The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco – Mark Twain”

“Some of the best memories are made in flip flops” ― Kellie Elmore

“Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it . . . in summer school” ― Josh Stern

Enjoy your last days of Spring and next week, don’t forget the sunblock!

 

How Are Those New Year’s Resolutions Going?

by Bob Sparrow

Resolutions (1)It’s only half-past January and statistically 46% of you have made New Year resolutions that are now 100% in jeopardy. The rest of you didn’t bother to make any resolutions, so once again our blog will be useless to you. For those still reading, as a public service, ‘From A Bird’s Eye View’ is offering simple, yet ineffective ways to approach your resolutions this year.

First, let’s look at the word resolution – it come from the root word ‘resolve’.

(ri-zolv) a transitive verb (duh, who didn’t know that?) of Middle English/Latin origin, originally meaning to dissolve, melt or loosen.

Inexplicably, over time, this word has come to mean ‘to come to a definite or earnest decision about’.   So essentially the meaning has changed from ‘loose’ to ‘definite’ – with this kind of beginning, it’s no wonder resolutions are so hard to keep. But let’s not let semantics get in the way of our resolve to help you attain or forget those resolutions you so optimistically made just a few weeks ago.

I’ve done a little research and, in order of popularity, here are the Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions nationwide, Top 10followed by what some have said are insightful, others have dubbed useless, suggestions that could help make this year different . . . or not.

  1. Weight loss – by far the most resolved lie of every New Year. This harkens back to the original meanings of ‘definite’ and ‘loosen’, as in you’ll ‘definitely’ be ‘loosening’ your belt. Statistically, middle-aged to older adults gain between 6-8 pounds per year (women a little more than men – sorry ladies), so in order to lose weight, you not only have to lose the extra weight you already carry around, but lose the weight you don’t even have yet! Not fair. Let’s face it, you’re probably not going to lose weight again this year, so just buy bigger clothes so you ‘feel’ thinner.
  1. Improve finances – Unless you have a plan to win the lotto, get a different job, are in line for a big promotion, have a rich relative with a bloody cough, or are delusional about how the government is going to help you, this is not a resolution, it’s a wish. Want to improve your finances? Stop buying those $5 lattes every morning! And just so you know, statistically, right after you win the lotto you’ll be struck by lightning.
  1. Exercise more – This is a trap resolution, if you don’t exercise at all, lifting another glass of wine would be exercising more, so here’s a real tip: Don’t underestimate the power of the walk. Every day, start at your house and walk 10 minutes down the road, then walk back. That’s it! If a bar or a Baskin-Robbins is 10 minutes down the road, walk the other way.
  1. Get a new job – Many who read our blog are either retired or too far down the road in their careers to genuinely consider this resolution, so reword this one to say, ‘Get spouse a job’.
  1. Healthier eating – The list of foods that are healthy and unhealthy for you continues to change on a regular basis; so let me make this simple; assume the foods you’re currently eating are or will be on the ‘healthy’ list and continue to eat  them, and drink . . . more water and less alcohol. Wait a minute, did I just suggest you drink less alcohol? Forget that, but do drink more water.
  1. Manage stress better – this resolution assumes a) you have stress and b) you’ve been managing it poorly. It’s been reported that a certain amount of stress is actually good for you, so this year assume that whatever stress you have, is good for you. There now, doesn’t that feel better already?

7. Stop or reduce smoking –If you are still smoking, you already know that cigarettes contain more than 70 cancer-causing chemical compounds, which along with second-hand smoke, significantly affects yours and other’s respiratory organs and immune systems and that half of all long-term smokers will die of tobacco-related death. So there’s nothing that I’m going to write here that’s going to convince you to stop. However, if your doctor has told you, like mine has, that your body is actually low on the tar and nicotine found in Cuban cigars, then smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.

  1. Improve a relationship – If you’re bad at relationships, which statistically all of us men are and we just don’t know it, start with something simple, like improving the relationship with your dog. Let him know that you’ve peed on the carpet a few time yourself, of course you spent the night in the doghouse, but it was like camping with your dog. Just remember that your dog will forgive you long before your spouse will.

9. Stop procrastinating – I’ve got a lot of stuff on this, but I’ll get it to you later.

  1. Stop/reduce drinking alcohol – I think this one was worded incorrectly, it should read, Stop reducing alcohol drinking. This raises several questions:
    1. What alcohol has the best affect on your health?
    2. If some amount of alcohol is actually good for you, isn’t more better?
    3. Can I actually drink someone handsome or pretty?
    4. How does alcohol actually improve my personality?
    5. Does alcohol really make me invisible sometimes?
    6. Why does alcohol make me sing better?

wine arobicsI think the key here is to remember that whatever the question, wine is probably the answer!

 

However you’re managing your resolutions this year and even if you didn’t make any, the good news is that January is almost over and then no one will be talking about resolutions anymore.

 

The Night Before Posting

by Bob Sparrow, with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore, author of The Night Before Christmas

'twas

‘Twas the night before posting and I had not a clue,

Should I write more of Christmas or the year that is new?

My head’s filled with carols that are driving me crazy

My shopping’s not done and my blog thoughts are hazy.

No travel this month or adventures been on

And I’m wondering if the creative juices are gone.

Could it be all the food and the drink I’ve consumed

That’s dulled all my senses?  This week’s blog is doomed!

Then a Grinchy idea popped into my head,

Instead of some prose, I’ll do rhyming instead.

This will be cinchy was my first lazy thought

I started to write; and discovered it was not!

I remembered back when our subscriptions were low

When we tried to rhyme news that most readers don’t know.

So I still didn’t have any subject to write,

No people or places to shine a bright light.

Suzanne wrote last week of our holiday caper

And I stooped to hawking some Trump toilet paper.

What I now look to ponder is the day Christ was born

And the glee of a child on a bright Christmas morn.

And looking to others to help where we can,

To enjoy peace on earth and good will towards all men.

Of families that gather by a warm Christmas fire

And pray that our leaders will lead and inspire.

To thank all who serve, those brave women and men

Whose Christmas with family they’ll miss once again.

To share Christmas joy in the time that you spend,

For nothing replaces our family and friends

So to briefly conclude what I wanted to write,

Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night.

*****

From our families to yours, Merry Christmas

and a Healthy & Happy New Year!