Monday, July 26, 2010


Angelina Joli, a home-wrecker with six kids and a handful of humanitarian awards, is the subject of an unauthorized biography written by faux-fiction writer Andrew Morton. The book scheduled for release next month. Whether sourced or not, Morton gets close to his subjects. Consider: when he writes that Angie has a tattoo near her nethers commemorating Billy Bob Thornton, Morton revels it is in Helvetica typeface. Here's the question, Mort -- would that be bold or italic? Centered or flush left? All caps? Exclamation point?

Comic king Stan Lee isn’t satisfied with just creating Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, etc. Now he has unveiled the Super Seven, a group of ink-and-paper heroes who defy convention with powers never conceived before. “Think chubbiness as a weapon,” says the 87-year-old master.

Know what the Senate Dining Room in D.C. is famous for? Beans.

We could make a lot of money if we started selling sippy cups with the Congressional Seal conspicuously imprinted. And maybe bobble-heads, too.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The rhythms of South Minneapolis

This is getting to be even more fun.

Who would have thought a little screened in porch could provide such a window on the world? We live out on the three-season porch unless they need us at Walgreen’s.

Every day, I get to watch this quirky neighborhood come to life.

God lives two doors down. At least it sounds like the voice God when the giant Mastiff barks. Deep. Throaty. But gentle. The dog is huge. Thankfully, it is also friendly. He is so well trained to hand signals and voice commands that the little nurse who owns him walks the dog without a leash. I don't risk that with our Dachshund.

Yesterday, a young boy came walking down the sidewalk playing a violin. He was leading nine or ten children to the park. Picturebook. We could hear him playing for a while. I don’t know Mozart from Bach, but the act itself was beautiful. His music still floats around the neighborhood.

This morning, the music took a different direction. While reading the newspaper, I felt something else sneak into my consciousness. Somebody was yodeling. Not Blue Grass stuff. This was pure Swiss. As the sound grew closer, I realized it was a happy guy whizzing by on a soundless bike. It was electric – both the moment and the bike.

Only minutes later, another of my “markers” rode by. For the past four years, I’ve watched this older guy bicycle past the porch twice a day. Likely, he is commuting to his job. He is always decked out in the proper equipment: helmet, gloves, yellow safety vest, and blinking red lights at dusk. The dude is old and skinny but tough. His is a steady, measured pace. And he rides rain or shine, ice or snow. Always alone. But now there’s something -- rather someone -- new. Three times this week, he’s had a woman riding alongside. I can hear them talking. Not the words, but the tone. Cheerful sounds. Makes me happy just to hear them go by.

I simply love it. Coffee at sun-up, classical music, walk the dog, read the newspapers.

Sit back and smile.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Aging: you say potato, I say baloney

What the hell is successful aging?

An 85-year-old woman down in Austin, Texas, says it’s anyone who is still playing above the grass. Read more.

Hugh Hefner says it’s getting laid two or three times a week. He must have good health insurance; Medicare only pays for four of those little blue pills per month.

I dunno. I think it’s personal. To me, Mick Jagger’s strut is not nearly as satisfying as Tony Bennet’s cool.

And the only time I ever wanted to jump out of an airplane was right after that John Wayne movie about WWII. You want to jump when you’re 70? Be my guest. You’ll lose your dentures.

But ever since 70 became the new 40, skydiving has become part of the new aging narrative. You’d think everybody is doing it.

Not so. This is Tea Party aging. Extremist.

Most of us in the middle know successful aging begins with a functioning large intestine. A good book before the afternoon nap. Maybe a nice walk at sundown with our favorite squeeze. Good wine, reasonably priced. And enough sense to stop with the wine before starting with the emails.

Successful aging, I think, is doing the best with what you have left without too much whining. Not dying. That's what I would call successful aging.

Note to Hef: have you ever considered large print editions? Some only buy the magazine for the articles. And the fact-checking.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Utopia in our lifetime if we hurry

Most retirement facilities suck. They were designed by the same guy who calls Bingo on Wednesdays.

To hell with them. Let’s put our heads together and see if we can come up with something fun and practical, if not entirely legal.

First, let’s get a truck load of like-minded people who know how to have fun. Specialty retirement homes (golf, fishing, bare naked, etc.) have blossomed in the south. Don’t hold your breath until a home for snow shovelers opens in Minneapolis. Ice fishing, maybe.

Location. Location. Location. I want to live across the street from the heart hospital, the pharmacy, Krispy Kreme, IMAX and a liquor store. Every evening, the Wine Boy will cruise the facility two hours before prescriptions are dispensed.

On weekends, a charter flight will land with Tex/Mex for everyone. If we want to fly in Cooper’s BBQ from Llano, this will require a special assessment.

The physical therapy staff will be so good looking that everybody will think naughty. Good for the blood pressure. Improves nimbleness. And is a proven way to discern who is still completing synapses.

The Gift Shop will sell T-shirts that say, “Do Not Resuscitate” and big calendars that can talk to you: “Today is Friday, not Thursday.” Birthdays and holidays will be marked with those special brownies.

Matching clothing will be strictly forbidden. On the other hand, you can wear a glove.

Going commando requires a note from your social worker.

To limit debate, strong diuretics will be issued to residents before they can enter the political salon. Unless they are incumbents, in which case none will be necessary.

No exceptions. Children will not be allowed until they have read the complete works of Shakespeare or Bacon, whichever comes first.

Each resident will be issued a “Beware of Dog” sign unless theirs is a yapper. In that case, “Beware of George” will be your first warning.

Throw in a view of the mountains and the Mystery Woman is packed.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Balderdash can be a verb

The Geezer Hunk is back! Albeit in a different format.


Time was when I was a decent bike rider. Ten miles most every day and a couple of week-long trips of 200 miles. Ahhhh. But I’ve had so many surgeries and assorted half-life experiences that I gradually gained weight and lost hair.

I decided if I walk fast, it might seem like I have more hair. Might even lose some weight. So this past week, I’ve walked eight-tenths of a mile every day. Initially, it was huff and puff. Come to think of it, it still is.

First, I decided to gear up. Literally. My closet and my garage are filled with biking gear. I know the value of taking care of your equipment.

Every morning before I leave the house, I suit up for the trek.

The cell phone goes into one pocket. The younger EMTs will know how to call my bookie to find out who I am.

The digital camera into another pocket. (standard issue for iReporters.)

If I carry a flask, I’ll need to tighten the belt another notch.

Then I sling on the necklace with the medallion advising to EMS that I am outfitted with a fully-charged defibrillator and a four-barrel pacemaker.

What about getting a mouth guard in the event I pitch forward. Over the top?

I need a “Do Not Resuscitate” T-shirt. Maybe Walgreen’s carries them.

Have I forgotten anything? Oh yes, a note explaining my absence to the Mystery Woman so she won’t think I just went out for a pack of cigarettes and never came back.

Time on task should be 23 minutes thereabouts. Anything more than that, call the liquor store. Sometimes I answer to a higher priority.

If this works, next week I'm going to air up the bike tires.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sure, they said that

When asked if he is ready for Hurricane Alex to come ashore, South Texas resident Jerry Wilson said, "We got two generators and lots of guns and ammo, so we're not worried about it."

“When you listen to Glenn Beck, he makes a lot of sense. Of course, when you don’t listen to him he makes a lot more sense.” —John Hodgeman, The Daily Show

“They're having the confirmation hearings down in Washington, DC, with Elena Kagan. And so far, the woman has offered very few opinions. I thought to myself, well, my God -- how do you find a woman like that?"—David Letterman.

In my noggin, it was still dawn when the phone rang this morning. “This is a recording. We have reached your number by mistake.”

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