By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

I recently played in our club’s big invitational golf tournament.  My partner and I won our flight and came in third overall.  But that doesn’t really tell the story.  She played brilliantly and I played like the dog’s dinner.  In fact, that may be an insult to canine fare.  My crowning achievement was picking the right partner.  I was despondent about my play and, having to participate in the “shoot out” in front of 100+ people to determine the overall winner, was horrifying.  But then a good friend sidled up to me and said, “Get a grip.  Think about the people in Ukraine.  This is a first-world problem.”

Of course, she was right.  Bad play in a golf tournament on a beautiful blue-sky day, surrounded by friends, is not something to complain about.  Most of us have lives that are filled with first-world problems.  I’ve heard people complain that their Wi-fi connection at the Ritz was too slow or the roast on their Tanzania Peaberry coffee beans was overdone. The term “first world” is actually an anachronism, since we no longer talk about the “third world”. We have shifted to the more optimistic phrase “developing world”.  Still, the idea of ridiculous first world complaints persist, and they seem particularly trivial in contrast to the horrors we’re seeing in Ukraine on the nightly news.

But for your amusement this Monday morning, and as some relief from the constant bad news, here are some of the first world problems I have heard lately:

  1.  My new iPhone 13 Pro Max doesn’t filter out spam calls
  2.  I can’t remember the password to my American Express Platinum card account
  3.  Neiman’s didn’t have the Christian Louboutin shoes in my size
  4.  I had to open a can that didn’t have a pull ring
  5.  My two-hour Amazon delivery was thirty minutes late
  6.  Why didn’t Amazon release the whole season of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maizel” at once?
  7.  My hotel in the Maldives didn’t have enough outlets in the room
  8.  I chipped my $80 ombre nail gel on the first day
  9.  My personal trainer took the week off to be with his kids on spring break
  10.  We had to fly to L.A. three times to get both of my mother-of-the-bride gowns fitted by Monique Lhuillier

Then there are the “complaints” that are really something else: the humblebrag.  A humblebrag is defined as “an ostensibly modest or self-deprecating statement whose actual purpose is to draw attention to something of which one is proud.”  I think Facebook and Instagram have built their business models around humblebragging.  Parents of school-aged children are particularly good at it. Their posts usually go something like this: “I am so clumsy. I spilled Opus One all over the papers I need to sign to get Missy into the gifted program.”

Whether it’s just complaining about trivial problems or true humblebragging, we could all stand to put things into perspective.  That is easier said than done on the golf course, but it’s worth a try.

Five Minutes You’ll Never Get Back!

by Bob Sparrow

“Hey, a blog about nothing, this should be good!”

It’s one of those weeks where “I’ve got nothing”.  OK, another week where I’ve got nothing!  I am in the desert this week, but I’ve told you all about my escapades there, bad golf, fine dining and not-so-fine drinking, but plenty of it.  Let’s see, Russia-Ukraine, of course, has the headlines and everyone feels pretty much the same about the atrocities happening there. Covid is somewhere between ‘old news’ and ‘what’s the new variant” and the stock market is just a barrel of laughs.

I’ve been reading those ‘good news’ sites I mentioned a few blogs ago, and I find that I’m already bored with all good news.  On that subject, I’ve become less attracted to ‘Squirrel News’, but love Morning Brew, very entertaining If you sign up and tell them that I sent you there, they send me a tee shirt or a coffee mug, or maybe it’s just a tee shirt with some coffee stains on it.

I’m sitting here with a blank computer and a mind to match.  I’m thinking of Jerry Seinfeld’s television series, that he described as ‘a show about nothing’.  I’m wondering if I can write a blog about nothing.  I’m guessing that there would be a number of people out there who would say that I’ve written a number of blogs about nothing. 


So, if you’ve got something important to do, nah, it doesn’t have to be that important, I’d skip the rest of this blog and go do it.  Ahh, wait a minute, here’s something.   I just discovered that it was exactly ten years ago from last Sunday that Suzanne and I abandoned our idea of writing poetic tributes.  Yes, some of you remember the old ‘Red Posey’ business that was augmented by our just-developed blog, All the News that’s Fit to Rhyme, where we followed a USA Today newspaper format by writing a topical poem about World News, Sports, Business and Entertainment – we published it EVERY WEEKDAY!!!  You can still find them at the beginning of our archives on this site.  From a financial perspective, the business failed, but what we found out was that Suzanne and I enjoyed working and writing together, so on March 20, 2012, we had apparently run out of words that rhyme and launched a prose version called ‘A Bird’s Eye View’, which we had to immediately change to ‘From A Bird’s Eye View’ because A Bird’s Eye View was already taken.  Originally, we posted twice a week, but somewhere in the middle of 2012 we transitioned to every Monday, sometimes twice a week if we’re traveling to an interesting place.  The blog’s been posted weekly, without fail, since then. We’ve posted somewhere around 600 blogs and have received over 4,000 comments, although I’d have to admit that the majority of those comments came from the same two people – thanks Pam and Janet!

As I’m fretting over what to put in the blog this week, Linda says, “Why don’t you just skip a week?”  I look at her like she’s got two heads and remind her that Suzanne’s and my father was a newspaper man, so it’s just in our blood not to miss a deadline.  She shrugs like she doesn’t really understand, so I try to bring it home to her and say, “Your father was a dairy farmer, so did he ever decide not to milk the cows for a week, or for a day, or for a morning?”  She had walked away by then, so I’m not sure she got the point, or was interested in the point.  So, I’m still rambling here.  Hey, this week is the first week of spring, which doesn’t mean much to those of us in southern California, since we’ve already had days in the 90s, but for those in the northern environs it will mean warmer weather and for all of us, longer days; well, technically the days we still be 24 hours, there is just more daylight.

I’m reading a really good book, The Beatles, remember them?  It’s by Bob Spitz and it starts from the very beginning – really a detailed commentary on everything Beatles – very interesting.  Unlike this blog!


By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

Two years ago, on March 17th, 2020, I was at a dinner party with five friends.  COVID, or as we said at the time, “a new flu”, had just started to take hold in the U.S.  One friend asked, “What do you think we’ll be saying about this flu in two weeks?”  We all agreed that it would peak and that by the end of the month things would be back to normal.  Turns out that we were only off by two years.  It’s been a stressful two years: important family gatherings were missed, friends died, and, in general, people became crabbier.  A couple of weeks ago, just when life seemed to be back to normal, Putin decided to invade Ukraine.  So now we wake each day wondering if World War III started while we slumbered. The images and stories coming out of Ukraine are horrifying.

We’ve all been through a lot, so I thought this week I would offer some stress management advice and, hopefully, bring you a chuckle or two.  God knows we need it.

Stress Management Tips for 2022:

Stop being on time.  The more you care about being late, the more you stress.  So stop caring.  If you lose your job, so much the better.  Jobs are stressful.

Drink alcohol.  You can’t stress about stuff if you’re drunk.  So go ahead and grab that bottle of tequila and drink away.  Aim for being inebriated 60% of your waking hours.

Yell at people who don’t deserve it.  If you have followed step 2, this should come pretty easily.  Never take responsibility for being a jerk.  Accountability only makes you more anxious.

Pare down your possessions. This is essential.  You no longer have a job and you have an alcohol addiction to support.  See if you can fit all of your belongings in a backpack.

Spend more time outdoors.  Without any means of income, this is good preparation for your future living arrangement.  You are mere steps away from living under an overpass.  You will alleviate any pressure to work or pay rent.

Make new friends.  Ask strangers for their spare change.  By now you have no job, no house and your tequila is running low.  You’d be surprised how many people will throw a dollar bill your way.  Hold up a sign that says, “Need money for gas” and you might double your income.

Finally, if all else fails, I have two tips.  First, eat cake.  Yes, that is my remedy for every problem, but there is nothing like a good sugar high to make you feel better.  Second, learn to handle stress like a dog: if you can’t eat it or play with it, pee on it and walk away.

My prediction is that in two weeks the world will have calmed a bit.  I hope I’m a lot more accurate this time.


Time, Space and the Dinosaurs

by Bob Sparrow


I have been fascinated with space from an early age, and as I have mentioned in previous blogs, my teachers always referred to me as the kid who just took up space in school, but that’s another story.  Most who read our blog are part of the generations who have eye-witnessed the exploration of space first hand.

We remember the Russians, back then it was the U.S.S.R., as the first to explore outer space, as opposed to today’s Russian heart-breaking exploration of Ukrainian space. They opened the ‘space age’ in 1957 with the first satellite to circle the earth, Sputnik, which translated from Russians, means ‘satellite’ – hey, it’s not rocket science . . . well, actually I guess it is!  (Note how small Sputnik is in the attached photo).  A few weeks later, they were the first to send a living creature into space, a dog named Laika, but typical of the Russians, they neglected to send ‘poop bags’ with him, so he returned quite messy.  Subsequently, Americans feared they were falling behind in the ‘race for space’, which we were, so after two mulligans, we finally launched a satellite, called the Explorer, into orbit in January 1958.

In 1961 the Russians etched another notch in their ‘space belt’ by being the first to put a human in orbit around the earth, Yuri Gagarin, which in Russian translates to ‘Neener Neener’.   The Russians had a few other ‘firsts’, one of them being sending the first woman into space, although some say she has still not returned.

“One giant leap for mankind”

President, John F. Kennedy in May 1961, in an effort to put an end to Russia’s dominance in space, made a speech that challenged our scientists to land a man on the moon (and get him back safely) before the decade was over.  While most of our generation remembers where they were when they heard that Kennedy had been assassinated, we also remember where we were in 1969 when we watched Neil Armstrong deliver on Kenney’s promise, and walk on the moon, as well as proving, once and for all, that the moon was not made of green cheese (it was a rumor at the time, kids!).

Clearly the moon landings have been the biggest event so far in human space travel, but since then the launching of various satellites and telescopes that enhance communication and observation, as well as explore other galaxies have taken over the headlines.  In 2017 I wrote here about the satellite Cassini, that took nearly seven years to traveled over 4.9 billion miles to Saturn, made nearly 300 orbits of the ringed planet, took over 450,000 photos (Not all of them got Saturn smiling) and then crashed into the planet that it knew so well, and remains there today.

70 x 46 feet. The sunshield is the size of a tennis court

The next big thing in space happened in 2003 with the launching of the Hubble Telescope, which has provided astronomers with countless new observations about the vast regions beyond our solar system.

And now, we have the James Webb Space Telescope, which was just launched in December of last year (2021), and has now reached its final destination about a million miles from earth, where it will now orbit around the sun.  To say the least, astronomers are giddy!  Why?  Because with this giant telescope we can see further back in time than ever before.  OK, if that statement just made you shake your head, here’s a quick study on the space-time continuum that even those who didn’t take up space in school should be able to grasp. Light is not instantaneous, even though it seems that way when you turn on a light switch, but it is really fast; it travels at a speed of 186,000 miles per second.  OK, you still with me? The moon is our nearest celestial body in the universe, a short 238,900 miles away, it takes light about 1.3 seconds to travel from the moon to the earth, so we are seeing what the moon looked like 1.3 seconds ago.  Expanding that same logic, the Virgo Cluster of galaxies is the largest

I think that’s me in there somewhere!

nearby collection of galaxies at about 60 million light-years from the Milky Way. Still with me? The light we see today from galaxies in the Virgo Cluster started on its path toward the earth at the same time as the age of the dinosaurs was ending on Earth. So, if you were in a Virgo Cluster galaxy today, and you had a telescope powerful enough to study the Earth, you would be able to see the dinosaurs roaming the earth.  What?!!!  Yeah, I don’t fully understand it either!  But I’m thinking that perhaps one day they will be able to figure out how some of us old dinosaurs that are roaming the earth today will be able to actually travel back in time!  Naah, I’m not sure I want to relive all that all over again!!

It is mind-boggling, but so fascinating for those of us that are still just taking up space.