COVID Cranky!

Doubling Down on Lockdown!

Okay, I’ve had enough of this nonsense. No, not the social isolation thing, I understand how necessary that is just now. I’m talking about politicians. I’m sick of some of these “representatives of the people” parodies. I wonder if some of them, spouting their anti-the-other-party rhetoric, even believe it themselves. Or is it just a show for their followers? Does everything have to be thought of as an opportunity to snipe at the other guys? How did it come about that we think this is the best way to run a country?

Sure, I understand that we need checks & balances. I get that we need someone reining in the power of those currently in charge. Yes, of course we need contrary perspectives. But this negative, agressive, bitchy, bickering style of party politics is dead to me. I don’t always agree with everything on any one platform anyway. I’d rather cherry-pick my positions on those issues that are of import to me. There ought to be a national voting app for that.

Even on this weekend, a holy time of the year for many, I’m hearing some religious stuff coming out of the mouths of some people that I wouldn’t even buy a used car from. Nor do I believe all the empathic stuff we hear from some of them either. It sounds like preaching from a moral high ground, but sanctimony always has a bit of a smell about it.

That said ….

At the moment, is there just a little less of this BS going on in our political circuses? During this COVID-19 outbreak, does it appear that there’s a touch more sanity? Is there a slight reduction in the level of sniping between sides? Are we more focused in the face of the real problems we have to deal with at the moment? I think some of our politicians, from all the different political parties, are actually working together. I might even be … just a little bit … impressed! Please, please keep it up, this is what I voted for. With a bit of luck, some of this will carry over to whatever normal might be in the post-COVID-19 era.

We’re all going to pay a big price for this war on the corona bug. But if our leaders figure out how to lead, if they remember that they are all, individually & collectively, in the service of the people of our country, there might be something of value to be salvaged from this mess afterwards. If nothing else we might all have a better appreciation for a good healthcare system. And maybe we’ll whine a little less when it comes to paying for it.

Okay, enough of my whining, there are still a lot of things I am grateful for. Though losing weight this month isn’t one of those things. This month, that project is going backwards! Come on now, cut me some slack. I bet I’m not alone in gaining an ounce or two during lockdown?

However …

I have done one other thing this month. Or rather, I’ve not done one other thing this month … I haven’t had a cigarette in the month of April. Not a single one. Not even a puff. No idea if it’ll stick but I’m giving it a try.

Amazing that I’m doing all that & not getting cranky, eh! ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜

Now while you can be grateful that you’re not sharing your lockdown space with me, I’m grateful to those who have the dubious honour of having to endure my detox! ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿ˜‚

Whatever you celebrate … Easter, Passover or Ramadan to come … I wish you all the best. Here’s another big digital, socially-isolated, group hug for us. Stay safe & spread the love around. Send some my way too, please, & maybe I’ll be a little less cranky next time!

Meantime, I’m off to see if anyone hid any Easter eggs round here!!! ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ‡๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฅš

Bento’s Take on Weight Loss

Bento’s Take on Weight Loss

Anchor

What’s Weighing Us Down?

I ran into Bento at the pub the other night. Bento is an old friend of mine & he often has a quirky take on things. Sometimes, Bento’s view of things can give me pause for thought.

He was rambling on about how remarkably similar American politics are, to what Irish politics were in the old days. This was all by way of him complaining about winter dragging on & he mused out loud (with the odd expletive to accent an important point): was spring ever going to arrive? Bento wondered if he could get away with saying that his father was born in a warm country somewhere? The idea being that he could claim citizenship there, without all the usual bother, & just head off to the sun for a few months ’til things warmed up. Modern politics gave you great freedom & flexibility these days, he thought.

Bento’s meandering tone, as he muses, has a way of making you believe the unbelievable.

Almost mid-sentence, he asked me why I was trying to lose weight!

He continued …

“Aren’t you better off just enjoying yourself, Paul?”

“It’s not like you’re out night-clubbing & chasing women or anything, is it? And even if you were, sure couldn’t you just find a woman that might like a nice fat fella, like yourself?”

Bento doesn’t necessarily always run his thoughts through a filter to make you feel any better about some particular challenge you might have.

“Is it the health?”, he quizzed aloud.

Not expecting me to fill the silence with what I thought, no answer was required. He then went on to reminisce about a few of our friends who had gone to the great pub in the sky. Undeservedly & well before their time, Bento adjudicated.

“You won’t be running any four-minute miles in the few years you have left, will you?”

Another question that he would undoubtedly answer for me. I sipped my pint. Again. Despite his silent pauses, there was no point interrupting him while he was in flow.

“You’d be better off doing things you’d like to be doing.”, he opines.ย Him looking up, under raised eyebrows, at me. The creamy froth of the pint still on his top lip. Then promptly removed with a practiced twist of the bottom one.

“And then maybe you’d spend less time thinking about what you would & wouldn’t like to eat, wouldn’t you?”

He’s different. But sometimes, Bento has a way of recognizing the anchor below the still surface of the water.

I was missing dinner. We had another pint. Bento carried on musing. All very enjoyable.

Down about a pound & a half this morning!

Trying to be Kind in an era of Anti-Social Media

Trying to be Kind in an era of Anti-Social MediaAntiSocial Mediea

If you’re thinking I’m avoiding talking about my diet because I’m not doing so well at the moment … you’d be right! ๐Ÿ™‚

For the purpose of this piece, I’m going to blame my current, & hopefully temporary, lack of dietary success on the stresses of social media. Some folk are posting & sharing thoughts & beliefs that I could never have imagined coming out of their mouths. These are nice, kind, feeling, thinking people. I’ve spent time with them, eaten dinner with them, had a beer with them, & I can absolutely say that they are nice people. So why would such nice people flip out every now & again, to spread unkind thoughts, memes & tropes?

We seem to be pretty tribal by nature. We prioritize our family, our friends, our neighborhood, our city, state & country, over those of others. Maybe that’s okay up to a point. But it’s not so okay when we start belittling or taking action to lower the “others” position. If, without changing our own position or circumstance, we somehow feel elevated when we take down another, we are in a bad place.

Today’s social media platforms are an amazing way to stay in touch with family & friends around the world. They can be used to spread fun, joy & happiness. They can also be used as tools to denigrate each other, with the safety of that digital distance & anonymity between us. I have been so surprised by some of the posts & comments in recent times, that I renamed my social media app folder “AntiSocial”. Each time I open a social media app, it’s a quick reminder for me to think before I post.

Remember that old saying: if you don’t have something good to say, say nothing. It’s probably still sound advice, isn’t it? Now, I wish I could claim the high moral ground here & say that I am that kind of person. I wasn’t always & indeed, I’m sometimes not. But I think it’s worth trying to be that guy. And I am occasionally reminded of that, most often when someone has higher expectations of me, than I have of myself. We all have the capability of being good people.

This is a great day to remember all this because today, March 20th, is the International Day of Happiness. And spring arrives today!

Now that sounds like a great day to share a little of the good stuff on social media, doesn’t it!

Peace, love, happiness & all that sloppy, mushy stuff (Cut me some slack, I have to preserve some of my bad boy image here! ) to all of you. I hope each & every one of you finds an extra ration of happiness today, tomorrow, & beyond.

PS … I will get back to the diet talk, please bear with me while I battle my demons! ๐Ÿ™‚

Feeling Sorry for President Trump

Feeling Sorry for President TrumpThe Die is Cast

I am so reluctant to admit this out loud, but I’m a big reality TV fan. I was first hooked by Temptation Island. I know, I know, but I couldn’t help it, I loved the show. I always thought that it was too easy though. They should have had longtime married couples on, instead of couple that were just dating. Now that would have had some serious emotional equity to challenge! I have no time for the loud housewives from any city but I still enjoy The Bachelor & Bachelorette shows. I stopped watching American Idol, in favour of The Voice. I thought the judges on The Voice were generally nicer to their contestants. For the past couple of years though, American politics is where it’s at.

Prior to Donald Trump getting into politics, I had such a low level of interest that I had to look up the party platforms, here in Canada, before going to the polling booth to vote. Regardless of your political leanings, you have to admit that Mr. Trump brings a high degree of entertainment to political proceedings. I wasn’t a fan of The Apprentice. Insensitive, overly loud & egocentric characters tend to turn me off. And he was all that. In the political arena though, it became far more interesting. It wasn’t Mr. Trump beating up on some subservient contestant, he was going up against a bunch of big, beefy professionals in the space. Far more interesting!

That didn’t stop him, of course, & he proceeded to run the White House pretty much the same way he probably runs his own businesses. The same way he ran his TV show. And he’s gotten away with it! Or at least ’til now. It’s taken ’til this week for the push-back to be significant enough for him to have to back off on anything. He brushed past a couple of faux pas in Europe, en route to Helsinki, for his meeting with the Russian President. And it’s from this that he’s had to backtrack on a number of his positions.

While I thought that racking up the hours watching CNN & Fox News were educating me, I’ve hit a wall of ignorance again. The big questions I now have surround US foreign policy. And the systems of checks & balances. For example, it looks like the President can have a differing foreign policy from the house & senate, despite them being of the same party. Is that possible? And what can the other branches of government do if they don’t like the President’s position? Is there an equivalent to the Vote of No Confidence that’s sometimes employed in many parliamentary democracies?

Though mostly Trump appointees now, it looks like the President doesn’t take his senior staff into his confidence. Nor does he seek their advice as he wanders the globe meeting foreign leaders. The clip of DNI Dan Coats at the Aspen Security conference yesterday was so funny. I felt the same kind of slight “wrongness” by laughing along, as I might feel laughing at a contestant’s predicament on a reality TV show. But it was still funny.

But that is also quite sad. Mr. Coats learned of the invitation for the Russian President to visit the White House during a televised interview. Mr. Trump doesn’t seem to discuss such things with his senior staff. He’s running the world’s leading superpower country. Alone.

I’ll leave it to others to comment on what policies are, & are not, right. But the sadness comes from the fact that a 72 year old man, powerful & successful by most measures & metrics, does not have a common-sense confidant that he can discuss his daily grind with. He has his own staff on board & he doesn’t seem to feel that he can speak with them. Or ask for their advice on such matters. And I think that’s both lonely & sad.

I hope I’ll be as healthy as he is at that age. Actually, I’m just hoping I’ll make it to that age one day! While I’d like to think I’ll still be motivated & inspired to do great things things as I grow older, running a country won’t be on my to-do list. In between blogging (I’ll probably still be trying to lose weight!), maybe I’ll golf a little. And probably with a cart. I hope I’ll have grandchildren to visit. And I’ll likely be making plans to spike them, just before I leave to go home, with a pocketful of red candies!

 

Lay Off the Fat Guy in NJ!

Lay Off the Fat Guy in NJ!Coffee & Stainless Steel

I listened silently as Canada & Montenegro were identified as potentially threatening warring nations. I felt like all the NATO leaders could, themselves, push back against outbursts that might undermine the solidarity of the alliance. I can almost see why Vlad the Lad might have some appeal to some people. Perhaps if you imagine him as a bad boy villain in a Hollywood movie script. But … I draw the line when youย blame hacking on the 400 lb fat guy in a basement in New Jersey. Why wasn’t it the skinny, nerdy guy? Maybe with glasses? It could have been a totally buff athlete! That was also smart. Equally, it might have been a woman. In any of those guises.

Why did you pick on the fat guy?

That was just …. well …. wrong!

Nobody is more critical of our being fat than we, our own fat selves, are. We know exactly what we look like. And what we feel like. We also know what we look like on the inside. And that isn’t always the person we see looking back at us from the mirror. We don’t need to be told by anyone else. Those that love us hurt us sometimes too. Many overweight people probably know more about diet, nutrition and health than most folk who have never had to worry about such things. The kind exhortations to get in a little walk, and to try portion control, are worthless. Skinny people … go pet a puppy instead. Please!

I get the modern movement to get us fat people healthy. Even if we are to remain fat. I totally understand that it would be nice if we could all accept each other as we are. It would be even better if we could love ourselves, regardless, added fat & all. It just doesn’t work for me! Despite how nice some people are about it, I don’t think it really works for them either. There is no slim person I know who looks at me & wishes they had my shape. And personally, even on a day where I’m at one with myself & the Universe, I would still rather be slim too.

Or is that … I wouldn’t rather still not be slim too. That’s your double negative, right there! ๐Ÿ™‚

There are so many challenges. So many failed dieters. Is it even possible?

Down 6.2