“I am what I am, and that’s all that I am.”

When I was a young fat kid. Popeye gave me the key to a happy life.  I used to worry about what I should be rather than what I was. It warped my responses tPopeyeo almost everything around me.  In some cases it was a huge blow to my self-confidence in others it was a motivating factor for success and most certainly the foundations of the philosophy by which I try to live my life.  “I am what I am, and that’s all that I am or as Popeye would say it , ” I yam what I Yam and that’s all that I yam.”

There is a lot of meaning in that short cartoon sentence.

I was sick for months in 2nd or 3rd grade, it weakened my legs and I got to spend my days and nights  laying on the couch in the living room because it was difficult to get upstairs to my bedroom.  During that period there was little to do  during the day but watch TV, read or eat. I did all three things to excess.  I became the “fat kid.”  I loved ice cream and we had a freezer, my mom limited me to one bowl of ice cream a day… so when she wasn’t looking I got out a soup bowl. Many of you have never seen a soup bowl but when soup was king there were larger bowls ( bigger than salad bowls) in most dish sets.  And so I laid around , ate what ever I could find and gained weight although I must admit I wasn’t particularly svelte before that occurred.

I returned to school and kids being what they were and are  I was at times made fun of because I was fat, short, and more importantly slow.  I probably learned a lot from that.  There was one girl in particular who made my days difficult, she was big, strong, and eventually became a great  high school swimmer but in 5th grade she was the bane of my existence.  She teased me unmercifully, verbally and one day I crept up behind her and to my shame “rabbit punched” her in the back of the neck.  I probably had to  use all 4 inches of my vertical leap to do so.  She got hurt I got sent to the office and my recovery began. The principal of course was not happy about me hitting anyone but as part of the process of explaining myself to the principal I began to realize that by reacting I was losing and  that rather than “ignorance being bliss,” perhaps ” ignoring might lead to bliss”.  That becoming angry was losing, thinking of a solution was winning.  In short acceptance of who and what  I was and working from that basis was a much better solution than wishing I was someone else.

I learned to use my brain instead of my feet, although as I grew into my ” fat” my feet got just a little quicker as well.  I got into sports and was at least average and played in high school until my thinking and at times uncontrollably attached mouth got me into trouble with two coaches leading me to spend much of my time my senior year sitting around.  And yet I didn’t quit, even though at least one coach advised me to do so and proudly I even got to play 34 seconds of one game after being a starter the precious year, when the coach  noticed that we didn’t have enough players on the field and grabbed the first one, who just happened to be me and threw him into the game.

In my perhaps warped perception not quitting made me a winner.  I learned that I couldnt control what others did but I could control how I reacted to it, because my reaction was my decision.  I was what I was and although I sometimes think of what I could have been the pain is lessened by the knowledge that I chose the path I followed.

So back to Popeye,  If you accept who you are you can move forward with the understanding that you may never play the piano or be skinny, or be wealthy but when you die everyone will recognize your face because it’s your face not someone elses.

The implications:

Don’t worry about things over which you have no control

Don’t worry about what you might be or might have been but think instead of what you may become if you only understand who and what you are.

Don’t worry about the perceptions of others, worry instead  about your own self-perception

Repeat to yourself when you make mistakes or  things spin out of your control, ” I am what I am and that is all that I am.” and because I know what I am I can improve my own  reality not perception.

It also seems that Popeye was a lot smarter than most of us thought because when he said , ” I am what I am and that’s all that I am he  was just paraphrasing Tennyson’s Ulysses; ”

…..that which we are, we are;

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Renewed by time and fate, still strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.


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Thoughts on a Nor’easter

noreaster-loopAs a strong Nor’Easter approaches the East Coast there will be some positives. No it may not be a positive for those who have to shovel or those whose deaths or property destruction are attributed to the storm whether actually caused by it or not. Nor will it be a clear positive for most people other than school children who may avoid another day of too often stultifying sameness in their classrooms.

But it will be a positive because it will drive politics off the front page for a day, it will stem the blizzard of half-truths and innuendo to which we are currently being subjected. It may stop the gusts of lies and their thin and unsatisfying  explanations with the probable exception of TV weather people who will continue to throw words around like ,”catastrophe, worst, and disaster” uncaring that they are making those words meaningless by their continual use.

Enjoy the nor’easter, sit snug in your homes. Hug your wife, your husband, your children, your dog, yourself even your cat if they will allow it. You might even consider secretly unplugging the cable or the wireless and  spending your time talking or thinking rather than being talked at and thought for, go outside and if you have children, take your children with you  to experience the power of nature and be humbled by the frailty of invincible men in the face of her power.  Read about the Armistice Day Blizzard or Jack London’s ,”To Build a Fire.”  and feel better about where you are now.   Make some cookies or cocoa from scratch, turn off the furnace and sit in front of the fireplace together for warmth and if you don’t have a fireplace turn on the oven and sit together in front of that. with one blanket covering all, if you don’t have an oven then a candle will do. But do it together, nothing creates real understanding more than an inconvenient  shared hardship.

And as to shoveling, although considered a negative by most, there is a little known but I believe  strong relationship  gained by shoveling together. In fact I would guess that to paraphrase a popular  saying,  the family that shovels together stays together.

It could be that a driving blizzard with zero visibility and all the changes in our normal routine is mother natures way of showing us what we should be doing and where we should be going.

I do however wonder if someone somewhere is right now penning a screed about the injection of the Christian religion into the weather! Offended! because after all it is called a nor’EASTER. I also know that for some people this storm will be a test of their wills, their family and their lives and for those people I empathize and wish the best.

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New Electoral Medical Condition identified

bacteriaNew information of medical conditions affecting elected officials!
Party in power- characterized by poor hearing,slow reaction time, and long selective memory.
Party out of power: characterized by very sharp hearing, over reaction and a short selective memory.
Often very contagious and  characterized by over stimulation of the id and superego while paralyzing the ego. Infection is common immediately after elections and is diagnosed by the observable presence of self serving serial lying, self denial with ancillary self esteem issues including false feelings of powerlessness and grandeur.

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The Supreme Question

My Constitutional Amendment for the day:

The Supreme court is increased to up to 15 justices only nine of which sit at any one time while the rest not seated justices are assigned to the Federal Court of Appeals The currently sitting justices are chosen by lottery before each individual session or yearly sessions of the Supreme Court. In the event of a recussal a pool justice will be chosen by lottery for that case session

The process of selecting a new Supreme Justice will begin within 45 days of the opening of a position on the court whether it be through death, impeachment or retirement and a new Supreme Justice will be selected within 90 days of such opening. Should a new justice not be selected within the 90 days then a new justice will be selected by random selection from the top 10 most senior sitting judges on the US Court of Appeals.

No justice once seated may serve more than 15 annual sessions or beyond the age of 75

If a nominee for the Supreme Court is rejected by the senate then the minority party may put forth their own nominee for consideration. If that nominee is also rejected then the new supreme court justice will be determined by random selection between the two competing nominees the winner of such selection to be affirmed and seated by unanimous consent of the senate.

The foundational idea being that you do not want your nominee rejected so you may choose one somewhat closer to the middle of the road rather than gambling on a candidate with a more extreme ideology.

We need to someway reduce the role of politics in the Supreme Court…. just some off the wall ideas.

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Protesters, Thugs, Facists, Michael, Emily, and Bill

A protester is normally proud of what they are doing speaking loudly with their faces uncovered, some to support their cause openly others to feel the full force of the notoriety they believe they are gaining for their cause. . Their actions of course in a large part consist of singing to the choir, which may be ineffective as it is difficult to determine how many non-musical people actually begin singing a different tune after any protest.

A thug on the other hand conceals their face and depends on the anonymity gained in a crowd to damage things sometimes for personal gain, sometimes because they enjoy damaging things and sometimes, although rarely, by actually targeting the great evil American business which they believe is the source of their either fake or real anger.

The net result is that the protesters feel good about themselves because they have re-affirmed their own prejudice, while sadly only truly energizing those which they protest against. The thugs reaffirm their own proclivity towards destruction and violence as valid forms of protest, while at the same time blackening the eye of those who protest honestly. Sadly at the same time also reaffirming the prejudices of those at whom the protest was aimed.
Protesting is a zero sum game, it does little to change the minds those at whom it is aimed unless violence makes the subjects of the protest fearful enough to take an aggressive approach to quelling dissent and that in itself becomes dangerous to our form of democracy.

The United States has a huge angular momentum. built in, where the direction of the country runs in one direction AND is not easily changed, rarely does the direction of the country swing greatly in one year or two year’s time. Elections and appointments by their very nature are temporary and can, and I would guess will be,  partially remedied in two years and fully remedied at the end of four.

Continue to protest if you must, it is absolutely your right to do so within the laws of the country in which you live, but I don’t believe that this administration is going to be doing any listening or changing because of the protests. Which is not unlike the results gained by the previous administration that tended at times to belittle and ignore the belief systems of the people who later voted them out of office.

The net result will be the same for this administration.

On another subject those who are advocating ignoring the rules and laws of our country with which they disagree, rather than attempting to change those laws through the systems created to make those changes are setting an unfortunate precedent that will come back to haunt them in the future.  At least one celebrity pundit advocating the military step in to depose President Trump.  REmember that no other rule of politics is more inviolable than, “What goes around, comes around.”

Finally the throwing around of the word facist bothers me greatly. I reminds me a great deal of the history of the word communist in the 50s of the US. It is one of those words that even if you don’t know what it means it just sounds evil said aloud. The strangest part of the use of the word facist by protesters is that in a society controlled by facists openly calling those in charge facists would have nearly immediate and unfortunate consequences beyond tearing up your sign or quieting your rhetoric. I would ask that before you utter that word or put it on a sign again do a brief re-reading of the history of Italy up to and including WW II or barring that simply the dictionary definition although that will not be quite as clear.

Well now I have had my little protest, which has most likely changed no one’s mind, and I will now go back to doing my very best to not offend those around me for no real reason. Except for Michael who calls me nearly every day trying to get me to renew my car warranty or Emily who pretends that she doesn’t know exactly who she is calling on the phone, before offering me 4 days in sunny southern Florida and a cruise to the Bahamas for free. I may even offend Bill who always starts of his sales pitch for medicare advantage plans with ” HELLO SENIOR,” Even though I recognize they are simply doing a thankless job ( I think Emily may actually be a robot) I will probably not be too concerned if  I offend.

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Fake News

foggy-1853131__340This morning I spent some time wondering which is more insidious, fake news where we see things that don’t exist   or unreported news where we are unable to see things that do exist?



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Something to think about in these contentions times.


“Imaginary evils are incurable.”……..Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

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