Archive | December, 2009

Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año Nuevo to all!

22 Dec

Well, I think it’s time I took a couple of days off from the computer, and spend all the time possible with my family. I want to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas.

For those of you that are living in harsher climes, stay warm! I feel for ya! Personally, I’m looking forward to summer already, and I haven’t had to shovel any of that white crap! The day I do, I’ll put the house up for sale, and start looking for a place on the equator.

Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año Nuevo to all, from Casa Campbell.

Updated My Last Will & Testament

21 Dec

Sorry, this post has been removed. You can see it at Doc Sheldon’s Clinic, though.

The Great Global Warming Swindle

20 Dec

I’m sure most of us by now have gotten embroiled in at least one heated argument regarding global warming, on one side of the argument or the other. It seems to be a very emotional topic, and as such, is often lacking objectivity.

Personally, I don’t doubt that global warming is occurring. What I DO doubt is that it is anthropogenic in nature. I have researched the issue, been swamped with papers, videos, and documentaries, and had obscenities hurled at me. Perhaps much of the warming is coming from the discussion?

The BBC aired this film by the documentary-maker Martin Durkin, in which he presents the arguments of scientists and commentators who don’t believe that CO2 produced by human activity is the main cause of climate change. For anyone that is undecided, curious or simply open-minded, I strongly suggest you watch this documentary in a series of 10 minute sections. It is well made, and raises a number of very valid questions.

Then, you can make a more informed decision of what to believe.

Fortieth Class Reunion

19 Dec

I was contacted a few months ago by a high school classmate, and asked if I’d be willing to serve on a committee to organize our 40th reunion.

In a moment of weak(minded?)ness, I agreed. I then proceeded to volunteer my services to design and develop a website for the class, to aid in the endeavor. It has turned out to be more fun than I ever anticipated… and the reunion is still ten months away!

I started teaching myself website development a couple of years ago, and found it interesting and challenging. It takes a good amount of concentration, which for a madman, is a challenge, in itself. And each site I do, presents opportunities to learn something new. My AARP magazine tells me that such mental activities are helpful, to fend off senility. Time will tell, I suppose. It’d be a shame if I were to show up at our reunion, and not only not recognize anyone else, but draw a blank when asked who I am.

So, I built the website, uploaded a bunch of photos from our school, plus another batch provided to me, of the 35th reunion (which I didn’t attend). Then I proceeded to setup the different services to allow us to receive payments on the website, and automatically issue validated invitations and interfaced our shopping cart with our bank account. I also set up a forum, so all our classmates would have someplace to congregate and exchange good-natured insults, innuendos and old memories. You can check out the website here, and the forum, here

Normally, I’m not a big fan of the whole reunion thing. I have been content to remember my school chums as they were, slim, athletic, with hair where there should be, and none where there shouldn’t be… all its original color. But then I take a look in the mirror, and I realize that it isn’t realistic, since I have adopted the Walter Brennan look myself. Hell, I have more hair sprouting from my ears these days, than I could muster on my upper lip in high school.

So, I’ve committed to attend, and although she is less than enthusiastic, I’ll be taking my wife along for the fun.

Good music, food and camaraderie, along with lots of memories, washed down with copious amounts of alcohol. It doesn’t get much better than that!

I wonder if I can still drink Rudy under the table???

Eight Days ‘Til Christmas

18 Dec

Like many of you, I’m scrambling trying to finalize our Christmas preparations. We’ll be having some family over for Christmas dinner, which I’m preparing, and that needs some planning. The missus is puttering about, changing the Christmas decorations on an average of twice a day… she really gets into Christmas, and is in her element, so I just stay out of her way, and help out when she asks.

I haven’t gotten any of my shopping done yet, but for me, that’s about par for the course. I’ll probably still be looking for at least one gift on the 24th. My daughter is the tough one – at eighteen, her tastes and mine don’t agree much. And I learned a long time ago not to even try to pick out clothes, music or perfume for a teenage girl! I’m still undecided on what to get her, but since we just gave her a car a couple of months ago, I’m not expecting to max out any credit cards.

I find it more difficult each year, to get into the Christmas spirit. My wife plays Christmas caroles throughout the month, and we put the tree up on Dec. 1st, but I still can’t muster the same enthusiasm I used to. Maybe that’s just a normal part of getting older.

For that matter, I don’t have any idea what to get my wife this year, either. Usually, I know what she wants, and I just have to figure out where to find it. This year, she’s not offering any clues at all, and I … well, as usual, I just don’t have a clue!

Anyway, Christmas approaches, and with it, another year will be behind us. I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and a prosperous New Year. I look forward to seeing you all back here after the new year begins.

And please… wish someone a Merry Christmas… NOT a happy holiday! It’s Jesus’ birthday, after all!

Serenity

16 Dec

Oracion de la Serenidad

Señor, concédeme la serenidad  para aceptar las cosas que no puedo cambiar,

Valor para cambiar las cosas que puedo,

Y sabiduría para reconocer la diferencia.

Translated, it says:

Lord, grant me the serenity to accept those things I cannot change,

Courage to change those things that I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

I cannot say that if I were given a chance to live my life all over again, that there aren’t some things I wouldn’t want to change. I don’t have a lot of regrets, but there are a few.

I would still want things to end up as they are now, though. If I had lived differently, I wouldn’t be the same person I am. I might be less prepared to appreciate what I have, if I had lived a little more sanely. Certainly, I would be a different person, and I don’t think I would want that.

By no means, have I had a bad life, nor even a difficult one. Sure, I’ve had setbacks… financial, emotional, physical…but they’ve helped me become the person I am, and while I’m sure there are some that might not agree, I like who I am.

I’m a little irreverent, to be sure. And I’m certainly not a religious person. But I do have an opinion of what I think God wants of us, and I try to live up to those expectations, at least for the most part.

I now know what it is to be loved. And I know what it is to truly love.

I used to take pretty good care of myself, and was in good physical condition for the most of my life. I don’t remember exactly when I stopped caring so much, but from looking in the mirror, it certainly wasn’t just yesterday. You don’t achieve this level of deterioration overnight!

I used to be fairly sure about my opinions on most issues. I’ve learned that there are no absolutes, however. Now I can look objectively at both sides of an argument, and pick out the good and the bad of each.

In my younger days, I was very judgmental, and tended to be closed-minded. Now, I can not only listen to opposing arguments with my mind open, I seek out debate, in order to learn more.

Of all the changes that I have undergone, in the last half a century or so, I think the most valuable has been this. I have finally realized (and it was slow coming, believe me) that I’m not an island. I’m a part of my family, my community, my country and the world. Every action or inaction, on my part, eventually affects someone, somewhere. Just as every thing else, affects me.

And I think that realizing that has helped me to become a better person, a better husband and a better father.

And when you come right down to it, that’s the main reason I’m here, isn’t it?

Honey-Do List

15 Dec

Every man that has spent any time in close proximity to a women knows what a Honey-Do List is. It’s a secretive List, maintained by women, in order to have tasks upon which they can draw, in case of emergency. These tasks are designed to keep us out of their hair, keep us out of trouble, or in rare instances, to fulfill some necessary service.

These emergencies can occur under different circumstances. For instance, if she is simply looking for a way to get him out of her way for a while, she can tell him how imperative it is that the attic be cleaned out, before tomorrow. This may be because her mother is coming to visit on Saturday, or because Oprah has George Clooney scheduled on her show today. Some women may even decry the necessity of leaving a clean home behind, in case of Rapture. The reason doesn’t really matter…she wants it done, so we must do it.

She may also have a real need. Her mother may really be coming in on Saturday’s early flight, for the sole purpose of inspecting the attic, so that she can pass judgment on her daughter, in case it’s necessary to rewrite her will. It really doesn’t matter, as I said. Just smile, and get ‘er done!

More often, it will simply be a matter of her having noticed how content you seem, sprawled out in your favorite chair, waiting for the second overtime to expire in the NFL playoff game of the century. You are doomed. Whether it’s the attic, the front lawn, or a wobbly chair in the front hall (that nobody ever sits in, anyway), don’t despair….you can catch the final score on the radio, on your way to work in the morning.

Of course, if you could get a look at the List, you’d be forewarned. You could even get a jump on things. Just think, the next time you hear, “Honey, I really need you to take care of the ….”, you can respond, with aplomb, “Already did it, babe, while you were taking your shower this morning.”

She’ll be so flabbergasted, that you’ll be halfway through the post-game analysis before she can get a grip.

But forget it! You see, the Honey-Do List only exists in another dimension…her mind. It is virtually impossible for a man to foresee what his woman will come up with as the handyman crisis of the moment, because even she doesn’t know, until she thinks of it. The List is limited only by her imagination, and she is adding to it EVERY SINGLE WAKING MOMENT.

Because that’s her job.

So, grin and bear it, my friend. Even if you keep things up like a finely tuned nuclear reactor, she can still point out, at a moment’s notice, how the collapse of civilization is imminent, and only YOU, by immediately fulfilling her “request”, can stave off the destruction of mankind.

Makes ya kinda feel needed, doesn’t it? Well, you are!

Sorta!

There’s another approach to the List, of course. You can simply refuse to interrupt your important activities, for such trivia. It might work.

Nobody knows of course, because nobody that’s tried that approach has survived to report. Maybe you’ll be first….or not.

Let me know how that works out for you, okay? And let me know who won the playoffs… I’ll be up in the attic.